As many of you know from my incessant facebook updates, I start my first day as a derby girl tomorrow. I am going to be on borrowed skates and pads, but I'll be doing it.
How do I describe my interest in and passion for roller derby? I'm so new to the sport. It would be easy to dismiss my love as another flash-fire fad in my life. Easy, but also wrong. It is so exciting to join a new community like this. For what might be the first time in my life, I'm making friends and becoming involved in a community outside of both school/college and my friend's social spheres. Not to say that my friends don't also love the sport - they do. All of them that have had a chance to see it, anyway.*
I don't know if derby is the same everywhere. I doubt it, though. I suspect that MRD is an uncommonly friendly and welcoming community, but what do I know? Madison is already one of the most polite, kind cities in the country. The fact that we also play a really clean game and do it well** suggests to me that the Madison derby experience is probably nicer and more welcoming than it might be other places.
For example: My friend Kate Phelps has lived in Madison her whole life. She's moving this fall to Boston with her fiancée, and asked me to draw her a derby girl to take with her and put on her wall in MA. So I drew up her favorite Jammer, Mouse:
I took this to the bout with me on Saturday. The woman who runs merch, JL Breaker, skates for the res dolls with Mouse, and I asked her if she thought Mouse would be willing to sign the drawing. JL gasped in delight and said that of course
she would, and ran off to find her before I could say "thanks". Mouse was so excited about the drawing that she almost didn't give it back, and demanded that her picture be taken with it. She signed it, and I gave it to Kate, who loved it. I later sent JL a scan of the drawing and she flipped out in excitement, using !!! at the end of every sentence. Every interaction I've had with the Mad Rollin' Dolls has been exactly that gratifying.
I'm incredibly grateful, and terribly excited. There's this underlying energy that makes even my most stressful days doable***. I am so much more confident and comfortable pursuing this than I am in any of my other interests, even art. And I really, really hope I turn into a boss blocker with legs for miles and an ass made of gold. We'll see. Wish me luck.
*even my parents are excited about it, though neither of them know much about it yet. Seriously. They call me up and tell me how they brag to whoever asks how I'm doing that I'm an Americorps VISTA fighting poverty and doing Roller Derby and art on the side. Incidentally, my parents are perhaps the greatest of all possible parents.
**3rd in the region!
***like today, when I gave myself heat stroke and felt like dying for about 7 hours straight, but managed to work like a boss anyway.