It’s August of 2013, I’m walking to out to the school parking lot to get picked up by my mom. I’d just been cut from badminton tryouts and tears were burning in the corners of my eyes. I didn’t make the team while my two other friends did- I was a wreck. Now I’m not an athletic person, in ballet I wanted friends more than pointe shoes, kept stopping in the middle of laps when I swam, got over riding horses when my brother stopped and now badminton. It’s not that I was bad… I just wasn’t good.
My first practice was in a warehouse in Phoenix. Girls of various shapes and sizes were all spending September sweating together, I now under the name Luna Shovegood, was one of them.
Turns out doing something new isn’t constant improvement. It’s a lot of improving and plateauing and then improving when you think you’re plateauing. The time I spent trying to move up a level often felt like I wasn’t going anywhere; just frustratingly stagnant, then suddenly doing something right surprised that my body could do more than just spectacularly fall and come out from under itself.
It’s January of 2016 and I’ve been playing roller derby for two years. I didn’t magically get good at it though, it was more the opposite. I had single handedly made falling down a gift and could knock over other skaters with professional level skill, but better, people wanted to skate with me now. I finally know what’s going on and I’m not afraid to tell newer skaters what to do and where to be. I still ask for a lot of advice though, I even ask to be yelled at. Not for any weird reason, but because it keeps me alert.
I’ve been playing on my leagues travel team for a year and I consider all the time I’ve spent loving this sport a real struggle.Roller derby is the only thing I’ve ever found myself loving and hating at the same time. Even at my worst practices I go home knowing I’ll have to try again next week; it’s the first thing I can’t see myself living without.
Roller derby was the first sport I ever chose without the guide of someone else. Roller derby was the first sport I’d ever seen where other girls described it as a place to fit in because they stuck out everywhere else. And it’s true, I stuck out too much doing “regular” things and I’m fitting in a sport that’s always rolling along.