When you join roller derby, you’re fully aware that something could happen to you. The realities of a broken finger, bruised ribs and a twisted ankle are things you deal with every day. I keep telling people that it’s like the military: you don’t become a Marine or soldier thinking you’ll never go to war. It’s the same way in derby: you don’t put yourself out there if you’re afraid of getting hurt.
Still, with all of my out-of-place bones, wheel-sized bruises and visits to the chiropractor, I wasn’t particularly ready for the one that came in our final away bout this past Saturday. With 15 minutes left in the second half, I was up to jam. I got about halfway around the track, and from what I could see in the video I watched later, I went to break through the pack and was wedged between two Route 66 Roller Girls. I remember feeling a big thud and landing on my knees. I stood up and started skating again, only to realize that my left arm was feeling gimpy. When I reached over and felt my collarbone, I instantly knew it was broken.
I fell back down to the floor and started tapping my helmet to signal I was hurt. I don’t really remember much after that, except that I heard my teammates cheering for me. I remember seeing a guy on the track taking photos of me as the announcer said, “This is roller derby, folks. It’s all real.” I had the urge to vomit (which I did) and I wanted to pass out (which I didn’t do). And eventually, I was pulled off of the track and taken to the hospital, where I sat for about three hours before getting checked out.
Seriously. Derby has saved my soul. The season was almost over, and now I’ve got a fun story to tell. This is only the beginning.