By Sparks & Wreck
As my league moves into a recruitment cycle and the one year anniversary of my Freshie class rolls around, there are a lot of “then and now” pictures flying around on my Facebook timeline, including my own. All of the pictures are success stories in one way or another–they show progress, overcoming setbacks, confidence, and growth. My picture shows all that, but it also happens to show that between two pictures, my body has changed pretty significantly. But I really hope that isn’t the only thing that people see.
In my “then” picture I am looking down at my feet, unsure that they will be where I want them to be. In my “now” picture I am mid-chest block in our 3rd bout. In my “then” picture my stance is wide and my arms look uncomfortable. I am alone and thinking only about my own success or failure. In my “now” picture I have my teammates quite literally supporting me. I know they are there and I am counting on them. I am stopping the jammer with them. I want people to see all of that.
Because, whatever those pictures show about my body, it is not telling the whole story. I did not join derby to lose weight. In fact, I joined derby because I saw women of all shapes and sizes playing and succeeding. I joined derby because I figured a big, solid, immovable girl would be appreciated–we are!–in a sport where the “ball” is a person trying to get around you by crashing into you.
Maybe the first thing you see when you look at that picture is the change in my size. I had made a decision just before joining derby, along with my doctor, after finding out I was pre-diabetic with a family history that wasn’t great, that I needed to make some changes. I’m not going to say that the 2-hour practices 2 or 3 times a week didn’t help, or that the necessity of doing some off-skates workouts to help with my agility and endurance didn’t contribute. But derby, and my team, would have been there for me regardless.
I love my sport for its body positivity. I love my team for their acceptance of me however I come. And I hope that is just as noticeable in that picture as anything else.