Roller Derby Changed My Life

January 15th, 2013 | 0 comments
Slam Gamgee at Season's Beatings

Slam Gamgee achieves Lead Jammer status at Season’s Beatings, December 2012

Just one year ago, my life was pretty mediocre. I followed the typical educational path, achieved the typical accomplishments, and found a typical job in a typical cubicle. I wore basic business-casual outfits, I avoided conflict at all costs, and if I did go to parties (to be honest, I rarely did), I didn’t talk to anyone new. I was a woman of my routine, and my range of activities was getting progressively more limited. In terms of my actual accomplishments, I didn’t feel like I had anything significant to brag about; that is, of course, until I attended my first Fresh Meat practice on May 6, 2012. That day changed my life.

Joining roller derby is the boldest thing I’ve ever done. It was a huge leap for me to join, and it is delightfully freeing, wildly rewarding, and deeply satisfying. Derby has taught me:

1. … to get out of my comfort zone. It took a year of thought and B-One Bomber’s persistent urging for me to decide to join the team. I had a lot of excuses; my sister was getting married, and I needed to help my family with the planning. I had adopted a dog and she needed too much time and attention. I was too weak. The truth was that Derby scared me, and I was allowing that fear to outweigh the possibility that I would find something that I loved. I am so glad that B-One didn’t give up on asking. It was time to break free from what I considered “comfortable.”

2. … to enjoy progress, however small. There’s something peaceful about skating, which feels ironic considering that derby is a contact sport. Skating gives me a time to stop thinking about my problems and start focusing on my successes. At practice, I forget about all of the things in my day-to-day life that feel overwhelming. I start to celebrate the tiny achievements that come my way instead. That break is an oasis.

3. … to have a little gumption and believe in myself. Suddenly, I feel strong, beautiful, and self-assured. When I look in the mirror, I love the person I see. I’m not sure that I could have said that about myself before I joined the team, and it is empowering to be able to say it now. This change isn’t just a result of my new derby muscles; it’s an inner change that came from plucking up courage, confidence, and determination at each practice.

4. … to broaden my social horizons. Derby has brought me together with people that I never would have met if I had stayed inside my routine. The women and men with the Charlottesville Derby Dames are some of the nicest, warmest, and most genuine people I’ve ever met. I’m amazed daily by their care for not only derby, but for each other. It is truly an honor to consider them friends, and I am constantly grateful that I have them in my life.

So, as we approach next month’s open recruitment, I have to ask you something. Have you considered joining the Charlottesville Derby Dames? If you have, what’s stopping you from joining? You’ll have the backing of dedicated trainers and supportive teammates, and you may even get to shock a few of your friends. What’s there to lose? This could be the greatest adventure that you’ve ever embarked on, and we would love to be on the journey with you.

Post by Slam Gamgee

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