By Snack Attack
I’ll always look back and remember when I was a young girl, having birthday parties at Motion 26 or going to the Rollodrome. The ‘Drome was the place to be, especially on Friday nights. Some of my best memories were made there. The Rollodrome was the first place I was allowed to hang out with my friends unsupervised, cruising around on skates to The Ace of Base song “I Saw the Sign”. Ah, the first taste of freedom! I didn’t know any fancy moves and have always been quite the klutz. I wasn’t a skilled skater by any means- I couldn’t come to a stop without doing a few slow laps and eventually slamming into the wall before exiting the rink.
When I became a teenager my interests changed. My Friday nights were now being spent at the movies or the mall. My skates were left to collect dust.
I eventually was introduced to the world of Roller Derby. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment, but I do remember that it reminded me how much I enjoyed being on skates. I saw these women and was inspired. They were also pretty badass! I’d love to be a derby girl someday…
That someday kept getting further and further away from me. This was partly because life happened, but mostly it was due to a huge amount of fear and worry I had deep down. What if I can’t do this? What if I can’t skate like they can? What if I fall and break something? What if the derby members are not so welcoming? These “what ifs” were holding me back.
Years passed. I turned 30. I experienced several monumental changes. During this time I came to the realization that, if I want to accomplish a goal- as challenging it might be- I would have to put any fear I was harboring aside, give it my all and tackle it. 2018 was going to be my year I would embark on my Roller Derby goal.
I noticed on Facebook a new recruitment meeting, that read “Come see what Derby is all about.” I was no longer going to put this off because of my fears. I thought, what do I have to lose? I had known a few people that were already members of the Androscoggin Fallen Angels. Not going to lie, that gave me the extra nudge I needed to show up to this meeting. The room was filled with some players from The Inferno and members of the league. It was overwhelming. I did what I do best and just smiled, said “Hey how’s it going?” to anyone I made eye contact with. I was nervous, anxious, and also excited. The meeting started and I began to think “what have I gotten myself into!? This is going to be a huge challenge. Do I really want to do this? Can I do this? Will I fit in?”
One of the members said something at this meeting that has stuck with me. They said something along the lines of “I like you already” to everyone in attendance. Those few words were welcoming and comforting in this room of strangers. I left that evening still overwhelmed but looking forward to giving this a try.
I have attended several practices since that meeting. I’m so glad that I finally decided to pursue this by participating in the Derby 101 program. I have learned that this league is made up of some of the nicest, most charismatic people I have ever met. They want you to be a part of this league. They support you and want to see you succeed. Wherever this derby journey takes me, I’m proud of myself for stepping outside my comfort zone. This is a league that has people from all different stages in life, different beliefs and backgrounds. A league that strives on positivity, growth, and empowerment. If you have had any hesitations or “what if’s” holding you back, I hope I can be your nudge to come check out derby.
I should also add that I can now stop several different ways on skates, and it doesn’t involve slamming into a wall!