It all began on Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 5:30pm, two hours that would turn out to be some of the most fun, painful and nervous hours I'd had in a long time. Well, in fact, it I think it started way earlier than that, but wasn't solidified until then. The day I showed up for roller derby tryouts. It's one thing to say you want to do something, but to actually show up and give it your all for two hours in front of complete strangers?? Lets not forget about the intimidation factor, I've seen these girls skate- they're damn good! Not to mention, the stereotypes that go along with derby...were they gonna yell at us, tell us we're awful, laugh?? NO...completely opposite, in fact!
This is what I wore Day 1 of tryouts!
The coaches made me and 12 other ladies feel so comfortable and welcomed that we showed up again for two more hours of tryouts on Thursday, September 13, 2012. We practiced skating around the rink, talked about why we wanted to be there, asked lots of questions, and did some drills. From the looks of it, I wasn't sure if I'd make it to the fresh meat team. We were walking on skates across the floor, side to side, left over right, right over left...and I was the last one to finish nearly every time. Great, I thought, I suck, I'm never going to make it, and so on and so fourth. Negative self talk, everyone's best friend, right?? At least it seems like it's mine at times.
I didn't think I would make it, but I did. I screamed out loud the next afternoon when I received an email from my coach, DeeMoralizer, welcoming us to the fresh meat training program! We were to start our first training session on Tuesday, September 18th, 2012. I was so excited, I couldn't wait until Tuesday, so I asked if I could start on Monday at the optional off-skate plyometrics/insanity workout!! One other freshie, Courtney, was just as eager as me. I am proud to call her one of my closest new friends.
Six weeks later, I am hooked. I am in love with the sport, my coaches, the league skaters who help out, and my fellow freshies! I finally feel like I am becoming more of the woman I want to be. My husband is my number one cheerleader and I cannot thank him enough for his love and support. Derby is a huge time commitment and is spendy, too...but it is so worth it.
The progress that my teammates and I have made in the last 6 weeks is incredible. Mentally, physically, emotionally and even spiritually challenging at times, but derby is by far the best sport I have ever done. So, what if I cannot do a perfect t-stop, knee drop, or a few other things?? I will learn. My brain is soaking up all of the strategy and rules like a child learning to read.
No name, no big deal.
As I try to stand and not slip onto the dusty, grimy floor of the midtown,
I ponder what will my derby name will be.
The women before me all have pizazz and great names to show it.
Friends and family ask, what's your derby name?
I don't have one, I tell them. Too soon for one.
I want to earn one.
Standing on the floor of the midtown, pushing myself more and more,
no longer do I think of a name, but how hard I must push myself.
These drills are not easy, but they are not impossible.
Skating around the track, being mindful of the apex we follow,
thinking, one more crossover, just one more.
Heeding the advice and love from our coaches and the league gals.
Yelling out loud in frustration,
wanting to progress further,
realizing how far I've actually come
thankful for those around me.
So, what's my name you ask?
Kelly, for now.
The amazing men and women before me have earned theirs and I plan to do the same.