Things I Wish They Had Told Me no image

Published on September 28th, 2011 | by DerbyLife

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Five Things I Wish They Had Told Me

by Holly Grail, H.A.R.D.

It wasn’t until 2010 that I had enough guts to join roller derby, and I came in like all fresh meat. I was nervous, excited and ready to be one bad motherfucker. Well, of course I ate shit the moment I stood up and reality hit. I spent the next few months honing my derby skills and eventually made the league. I had heard all the normal uplifting derby talk from the veteran skaters. Like, “Derby is amazing!” “It’s like an addiction,” and “You make so many life-long friends.” Yet, no one told me the about the derby warfare or how it can bring you to your knees in anguish.

I’m still that starry eyed Rookie, but I wish that the vets would have told me what the hell to really expect. Maybe if they had I wouldn’t have fallen into a pit so early in my derby career and had to claw my way out. Nevertheless, here are the five things I wished they would have told me.

1. You can’t avoid the drama

You heard it before, but the fact is that you can not get so many women together and not have drama. However, the good news is that for every shitty situation there are two good ones. That’s why we’re all still here. You just have to put your head down and power through the tough times to get to the good.

2. There are going to be haters

As you progress as a skater there will be people not on your level. Don’t let their catty remarks stop you from being the best skater you can be, because once you stop growing, you become dead weight. You will be doing yourself and your team a disservice. Also, don’t ever be the one talking shit about a player’s skills. One thing I learned at Blood & Thunder that stuck with me was from Bonnie D. Stroir, who told us to bring what we want closer to us, and don’t push it away. That’s all negativity will get you: stranded on Asshole Island not learning a damn thing.

3. Not everyone is your buddy

When you first join derby you will most likely lose your mind and try to be friends with everyone! For some reason we revert back to high school and have this dire need to be accepted by the cool kids. I know I did. The truth is, that’s not what’s important. No one gives a shit who you hang out with, and not everyone is a good person. There will be people who try to lure you into cliques and therefore drama. Focus on practice, not social time, and you’ll avoid the coyotes.

4. Everyone hits the wall

After encountering the first three points made here, you will hit a wall. Whether it be a year in or ten years in. A person can only take so much and there will come a time when you’ll be ripping the hair out of your head screaming “WHO THE FUCK CARES!” or “I”M TIRED OF THIS!!!” and you will consider kicking derby to the curb. Now, that’s your choice, but take comfort in knowing that every skater has been there or will get there. From what I’ve seen, you may hit that wall more than once.

5. It’s just a game

By all means, win win win! We practice to play derby, and we play games to win. Just remember that a game is no reason to rip your clothes off in a rage and run around the track tearing people’s heads off like a psychopath. Keep your goddamn cool. There are going to be calls you don’t like and people who don’t play very clean. Roll with the punches. You look like a douche when you throw a fit. Remember, Asshole Island is always looking for members. On the other hand, don’t panic. I know, personally, that the anticipation for a game or an intense game can make your anxiety go through the roof or make you puke. Breathe, it’s just a game.

Even with just a year and a half under my Skinz, I have dealt with a lot of derby bullshit, but even as a rookie I know that derby will be a lifelong calling for me. I’ve had to learn these lessons the hard way, and I bring these lessons with me to every derby event and my everyday life. Just remember, there can be no good without evil, and derby is good. Well, more like amazing.

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