What is a Derby Wife?
As I left practice one night, my car started to feel a little bit off. I turned off the radio and heard the telltale thudthudthudthud that means you have something stuck in your tire. Sighing in dread, I pulled into a gas station parking lot and found that what I feared was true; one of my back tires had a large valve stuck in it, and it was already nearly drained of air. It should have seemed obvious to call AAA, or maybe a tow truck. Instead, I called The Big Bangarang, my derby wife. She and her boyfriend, Tough Schist, left a dinner with friends to come to my rescue. Within minutes, Bang was shining a flashlight on Schist, who had adeptly jacked up the car and was removing the flat tire. Both assured me that it was “absolutely no trouble,” although I know that leaving a warm restaurant to change a tire in a chilly parking lot was not on their list of preferred activities for the evening.
This moment is just one of many that make up one of the greatest friendships I have ever had: my derby marriage. A derby marriage is a declaration of close friendship, but more than that, it is a commitment to support one another both in and out of derby. A wife is a person who always has your back. She will never insult you by taking it easy on you at practice. She will notice your improvements and make sure that you notice them, too. She will work with you to help you excel in areas that you previously felt were weaknesses. When/If you get injured, she’s the one who takes care of you and worries about you. She’ll even back you up at the afterparty.
Bang has been all of those things for me. She always gives 100% at practice, even when we’re opponents. I’ve given her high-fives in between scrimmage jams to celebrate particularly hard hits that she dealt me. She texts me after practices when I feel discouraged and names areas in which she saw improvement. When I bring up things I’m not good at, she helps me work on them. She lends me her shoulder during heartbreak and laughs with me during moments of joy. When I pull out my signature dance move, the running man, during derby parties, she does her best to make me look cool anyway.
In late September I cracked my ribs, but continued to attend practice and participate in low- and no-impact skating exercises. During a drill, I tripped over Bang’s skate and took a dive. As I was falling, I felt her grab me around the waist and I started to twist around mid-air. She was throwing herself underneath of me to protect my ribs from further injury. I had a soft landing, although I can’t say the same for Bang. Landing on a concrete floor with another human on top of you is far from comfortable, but she took it all in stride and insisted that she was fine. Then the two of us rejoined the pace line and continued participating in the drill.
This may be an extreme case of derby wives caring for one another, but it perfectly represents the union of Derby Marriage. Your derby wife protects you from harm, cares about you, and worries about your injuries. She does not, however, coddle you. She did not insist that I sit out of the drill, lest I trip over another skate. She brushed me off, made sure that I was okay, and then had me finish the drill. She was my protector, my friend, and my coach.
So Bang, if you’re reading this, thank you for being my wife, and Happy Valentine’s Day (or should I say Galentine’s Day?)! You’re the best derby wife a girl could ask for.
Post by Slam Gamgee