Roller Derby, like any sport is very, very competitive. Girls and guys, bust their butts, arms, legs, and even their balls to play this amazing game. It is all about winning and about being the best for them! These men and women are driven by stats, awards, recognition, and shear love of the sport; mostly… love of the sport. They are, in my opinion, complete and utter die hards! They are the driving force that makes me want to be better, faster, and stronger. They are my role models and they are the back bone of every good team. However, since I am sharing my opinions… they are also… absolutely… the craziest people I will ever have the great pleasure of bouting with.
Though I consider myself a bit of a derby fanatic, I would not classify myself as competitive. I have had a long/short life filled with close calls, disappointments, and amazing achievements. These seemingly unrelated events have taken me to a place in my life where… I just want to have fun. Enter Roller Derby!!! I love every unbelievable minute of bouting, practice, and hanging with my derby peps. I love the rules, strategies, and plotting of every possible scenario (weather they are questionably legal or not). This is not because I want to win or crush the other team, but because I want to live and have fun. Though I love you derby die hards; sometimes I wish you could feel the freedom of not knowing the score… just like me.
This is a foreign concept to some. My sister, for example, is the amazing women who introduced me to roller derby and all the awesomeness that comes with it. She is strong, smart, genuinely cares for others, and has to be… by far… the most competitive person I have ever meet in my life. We all know someone like her. There is no such thing as a friendly game of cards, race to the end of the block, or in this case… roller derby.
Example: My very first roller derby mixer was held over the thanksgiving holiday. My sister, playing for the other team, lines up in front of me.
“Hey,” I say with a smile, “you’re doing awesome… love you!”
She responds… “Mehh…” with a shoulder shrug, and proceeds to tell me how we shouldn’t even talk to each other since we are on different teams.
I laughed at first. She just stared at me. She was dead serious. Not going to lie… I was a little scared of her at that moment. This competitiveness, however, is what makes her an amazing roller derby player. It also makes her very intimidating. I long to be that fierce about my convictions, but alas I am not that crazy. I guess I will just have to settle for being awesome instead.
Don’t get me wrong. If I had a choice between a Hawaiian Vacation and going to a roller derby bout; it would be an easy choice for me. I love roller derby that much. I would cut you if that meant I could ride the bench instead of you. Because, I… love… roller derby that much! But, ask me what my record is or god forbid the score… and I would never be able to tell you.
Roller Derby for me is like an amazing night out of drinking. In the moment, I am there and giving 110%. Ten minutes after the bout I could not even tell you if I was there, for sure; or if it was just a fantastic dream. It is like I blacked out from all the fun and only remember drunken blurs of the awesomeness that was.
It is also why, when our amazingly, talented, and inspirational coach gives us the… Don’t Look at the Score Speech, I always have a dumb look on my face! Why? What is the score? Are we winning or losing? She is trying to calm us down… even though I am completely calm… and get us back to playing smart and competitive roller derby… which, okay you got me there… and motivate us to play harder… Way ahead of you sister. This is roller derby… This is AWESOME… this is not about winning or losing to me, all though it is nice to win. I get to play. I get to meet new people. I get to hit people and not get assault charges filed against me. What more motivation do I need coach?
I will never know the score or feel the anxiety of it like my sister. I will never really know how much time is left of the clock; only that I am genuinely sad when it is over. I will never know the crush of defeat or the absolution of victory. And you know what… crazy competitive people shaking your head as you read this… I am okay with that. I am happy, I am playing, and I will severely kick your ass if you try to stop me.
Try to remember this the next time you get down on yourself. Yeah it sucks at the moment; yeah the referees are making some questionable calls, but guess what… there is another bout next week… so don’t look at the score!