I stood in the center of the track tonight and looked at my teammates—a sense of pride swelling in my heart. As I’ve said a number of times, I skate with legends in the roller derby world. But even more than that, I skate with countless wonderful women who have become some of my best friends and who will be for years to come. They’ve helped me thrive, both physically and emotionally, all while giving me lots of bruises along the way.
The Kansas City Roller Warriors celebrated our 10th anniversary today, and it was around this time that I learned about it and wanted to play. Circumstances stood in the way and it would be 5 years later that I finally joined. I joined when tutus and fishnets were still common place, but fist fights would result in expulsions. In the past couple of years, the game has progressed way beyond the fishnets and now you see hardcore athletes representing the top teams in the world.
In the early days, I used to wish I had started playing sooner. I wished I was progressing faster. I wanted to say I had been playing for years. Today, I couldn’t be happier that I waited until I did.
I would have been 27 years old back then. I was in a much different place.
My dad died two years after I originally wanted to join a league. Would I have continued playing after losing my dad? I doubt it. And in the grand scheme of things, I doubt I’d be friends with all of the girls who are in my circle this very moment. My entire derby career could have ended with me wearing a hot pink tutu!
I am happy with the path that I took, because things could have been completely different. And I’m thrilled to be a part of roller derby’s continuing growth. It feels good knowing I took the right path and am filling my life with the derby girls of the early days, as well as the derby folks of today.
Here’s to the next 10 years.