These are words that have stuck with me since Sandra Day O’Slaughter said them on the M.E.O. Podcast with Eric and Merr.
At first, it was Merr’s take on it that made the most sense to me. “It’s like an anti-sorority.” But honestly, I’m not so sure that’s correct.
I was never actually part of a sorority myself, so I am not sure I can truly compare the two. But I was lucky enough to attend my dear friend Cat’s wedding this weekend, and joining her in her celebration as honorary bridesmaids were several of the most hilarious and sweetest girls I’ve ever met: her sorority sisters from college. It made me realize that really, the only difference between these girls and my derby sisters is probably a bunch of tattoos and the fact that we spent several hours together without hip checking each other on the dance floor.
Ages ago, I had a “friend” that made everything a competition between us. If I got a promotion at my job, it pissed her off because she didn’t get one at hers. I was told it was annoying when people told me my naturally curly hair was pretty. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when her jealousy over me being healthy (meaning my being within a good weight range for somebody of my height) led her to telling my family on multiple occasions that I’m anorexic. That is when I decided to officially cut her out of my life.
In roller derby, we are accepting. It’s not uncommon to hear girls shouting across the rink, “Ooh, your butt looks amazing!” or asking, “Seriously, how much weight have you lost? You look so skinny.” Because girls of all sizes play important roles, you suddenly have tall girls finding pride in the bodies they previously might have hated. Roller derby allows girls like Beyonslay to be adored for her athleticism. At our bout in Oklahoma City, Vertical Threat, who is probably over 6′ tall, was being ogled over by their mascot, as well as fans. And the much-loved Route 66 Roller Girls from Amarillo were there, hilariously picking up Shotgun Shell, Amtastic and me like little ragdolls.
It’s so refreshing. There’s no jealousy. There’s tons of encouragement. In short, roller derby is the healthiest, most uplifting thing I’ve ever been a part of.
So no, it may not be a traditional sorority. But it is a sorority-like bond that we ladies have, and it’s nice to know that the girls who call themselves my sisters have got my back.