Ahh, the beginning of 2012. With it comes the promise of new beginnings, a Mayan apocalypse, and, as always, the draining of my bank account.
It’s hitting me even harder than normal this year, primarily because of my Dear Love — roller derby.
I was prepared for what I knew was coming: renewal of my WFTDA fees, an increase in my dues, and a new jersey for a new team. But it’s the other costs that have popped up that are starting to make me consider actually selling my blood once again.
Let’s start with pad replacement. I recently had an elbow pad blowout, so to avoid using duct tape, which is a derby girl’s sidekick, I’ll have to buy new ones.
Next, a new bottom half of me. That simply means I’m in the market for new Derby Skinz, plus lots of tights, leggings, fishnets and socks. Those things add up.
New wheels. Because since last season, I became painfully aware of the fact that I need Atom Poisons, which is a solid set of wheels that will keep you from sliding on pretty much any floor.
And finally, the granddaddy of all costs — new skates.
Oh, friends, I am salivating over new roller skates. I was fitted for new skates at regionals, and I’ve barely been able to think about anything else since. I’ll be moving from nylon boots to leather. Plastic plates to aluminum. A generic fit to one that’s made for my tiny little heels. A lighter skate means I’ll be quicker on my feet.
So, by February, it’s likely I’ll have shelled out close to an extra $1000 for upgrading/replacing my gear, insurance and dues.
Yet, one of the things we derby girls are always asked is, “Do you get paid?”
Hardly. This sport is finally starting to get noticed by ESPN, but the crazy reality is that it’s being run by a huge group of women (OK, and men!) who pay dues, shell out endless amounts of money for gear and uniforms, form committees to make our leagues function properly, and who are able to plan and execute bouts and tournaments (regionally, nationally, and now internationally) all while being full-time employees or students, spouses, parents, AND some of the most phenomenal athletes you may ever be able to meet in person.
I bring all of this up because I feel like, often, we derby girls don’t get the support we so desperately need. Showing up to just one bout to cheer me on means the world to me. Not just because I spend hours each week improving my speed, agility, and strength, or drop more money on dues in one month than it costs to buy one ticket to come see us play (season tickets cost less than the dues I’ll pay in two months!). But because it shows you are actually supporting me doing something I love, and helping it succeed. Financially and physically, I’m pouring my everything into this sport, so not showing up to cheer me on tells me you’re actually not interested at all, which hurts as badly as having a mother who tells me she doesn’t support me in this endeavor. People showing up to watch us is what keeps this sport going.
The point is this: the more tickets we sell to our bouts, the more feasible it is for women across the country to continue pursuing this passion. If you can’t come to Kansas City, find a league near you and go show your support in my honor.
I read today that KCRW’s 2011 season opener brought in close to 4000 fans. I really hope more than one of them will be cheering for Mary Lou Wretched.