Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How Roller Derby is Different from 2 years ago

Photo Credit: James Calder

I had a couple of comments on an old post "How Roller Derby is Different from 3 months ago" which has finally gotten me to write a new post.  Let's call it "How Roller Derby is Different from 2 years ago."

Roller Derby is A LOT different then it was when I first started.  At a practice a couple of weeks ago a new freshmeat skater asked me if it got any easier.  In retrospect I'm not actually sure what she was referring to, but my answer was that it gets easier in some ways and it gets harder in other ways.  I think that physically it gets easier because your body has gotten used to this whole crazy derby thing.  Which isn't to say that derby is easy, just that it now feels like a normal physical activity that I do, and not like the most incredibly difficult thing my body has ever even contemplated doing, which it was in the past.  It gets harder in terms of time commitment.  When you're just starting out no one expects you to do anything except learn to skate better.  Once you get decent at that, a whole new world of committees and responsibilities opens up.  A person could spend an infinite amount of time on derby work.  The more involved you get the more opportunities there are to spend more time on derby and the more people will start expecting you to spend more time on derby.

So how is it different specifically for me?

  • New Stuff
    • as you get better, you want new and better stuff.  I just bought new bushings.  2 years ago I couldn't even tell you what bushings were, let alone known when I needed new ones.  I also just bought some replacement axle nuts, cause apparently those wear out.  Who knew?  I would love love love to buy new skates, but I can't afford that now, so they will have to wait.  I have had many many different wheels.  I was skating with Atom G-Rods for the longest time but have just switched to Sugars.  
  • New aches and pains
    • There's always something, it seems.  2 weeks ago my back suddenly went out on me in the middle of practice.  Nothing particular happened -- I didn't fall or get hit -- I was just skating in a paceline and my back suddenly felt like it fell somehow.  I thought I just needed a stretch but within a few minutes I was unable to stand upright.  I spent the next 5 days lying on my back and unable to do much of anything.  But, hey, I'm fine now.
    • Some people seem to go their entire derby careers without a single major injury.  Then there are folks like me.  To date my injuries include a broken arm (L), torn PCL (R knee), torn MCL (L knee), several broken ribs, bruised tailbone, sprained MCL (R knee), and a separated shoulder (R).  And that's just the major stuff that kept me from skating for more than a week or two.  
  • New friends
    • The best difference between then and now is how much more comfortable I am around people and how much more accepted I feel in my derby family.  Part of that is just time, but I think a lot of it has to do with transferring to a new league.  The DC Rollergirls are made of awesomeness.  
  • New Responsibilities
    • I was just recently voted in as co-captain of my new team, the Cherry Blossom Bombshells.  This turn of events came as a bit of a surprise to me, but I am excited and gratified to have this opportunity and I am really enjoying my new responsibilities.
    • I am also now a WFTDA rep for my league, which is a whole other level of derby involvement.  I love being able to see some of what goes into making roller derby run and being a part of shaping the future of our fabulous sport.  What an amazing opportunity!


hotacrossbuns said...

Awesome to read! This will be my fourth year in derby and it seems almost monthly that its tougher or easier in different aspects. The best part of derby is you can do as much as you want to! Four years later i still have pains, and im always striving to make better hits, get faster, and do that new super move!

Anonymous said...; You saved my day again.

Bill said...

I enjoyed the post. I am teaching my daughter to skate and maybe someday she will do Derby. It has been ages for me but I am really enjoying it again and as a man I really like the sport. I don't want to see the girls get hurt but I want to be supportive as they work so hard! I don't like traditional sports and it sounds like Derby Girls are not traditional either - good thing.

Thanks for your inspiration

ethylydia said...

I celebrated my 1st 2 yr derby anniversary a few months back and I look forward to another. I appreciated this greatly.

Anonymous said...

I thinking about starting RD this year..a bit intimidating..can anybody tell me if these are good shorts to protect my tailbone?


Maya Rulz said...

When I started skating most leagues were still using a penalty wheel! Sheesh. Great reality check and post.

Swede Hurt said...

roller derby changed - even the rules did

Swede Hurt said...

even the rules changes

Ria said...

I found this to be really interesting. I am just getting into Roller Derby and it's not a massive sport over here in the UK.

I see that you have a wealth of information on here that will no doubt come in handy. My blog is: and is REALLY basic but I want to help the newbies as I know what they are going through. lol