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Published on October 8th, 2012 | by DerbyLife

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I’ve Got 99 Problems But A Derby Wife Ain’t One

When you hear about roller derby, you always hear about the main draw: the derby community. It’s a great community and an amazing sisterhood. Roller derby can be your safe place, where you go to work out frustrations and to be with people who care about you.The idea of this sisterhood made me want it so bad. I’m a bit socially awkward and have a hard time maintaining friendships with women.

At the time I had just gone through a friendship breakup. I was heartbroken. But then this idea of roller derby came along with this amazing sisterhood and promise of “automatic” friends. I decided to go with it and start my own league. I had gotten connected with a woman who I knew through a family friend, and together this idea of an amazing sisterhood grew. In a town with nothing, we gained immediate interest and practices began quickly after that.

We became fast friends. It didn’t take long before I had my first derby wife. I was so happy to have someone fill the recent friendship void. I was on the friendship rebound and as any new couple does, we jumped in head first.

Together, we experienced many fun times and many obstacles with starting a league. We tried to deal with them the best we could. But we let our personal feelings interfere with business. It quickly lead to a rift in our relationship and in turn the league. So much happened in such a short time. Many feelings were hurt and many tears shed. Not long after, our friendship ended and so did her status on the league. She resigned and it wasn’t pretty. All of our drama had put this shiny new league through the ringer.

Skaters could tell that things were amiss, and I tried to keep the personal issues out of it. I felt guilty and ashamed. Derby was no longer my safe place. With no derby wife to turn to, I sought support from my family. But they could never really fully understand what it was like. They had never been a part of this sisterhood. I turned to someone who knew what I was going through. We were both on the Board of Directors. We had a common bond dealing with all the drama. We quickly became derby wives! All of the craziness brought us together and made our new friendship so strong. It helped me get through everything that had happened. I finally felt like derby was my safe place again. I hadn’t felt that way in a long time.

Everything was going smoothly with the league. But on the derby home front, things were about to change. My derby wife had been dealing with a recurring injury, and finally decided to hang up her skates. I was devastated. I didn’t know where that left me. I was alone, I had been so focused on this one friendship that everyone else fell by the wayside. For a while everything was the same. My derby wife was still involved in everything, just not skating.

Time went on and she slowly started to remove herself from derby. I ended up getting the dreaded 9 month injury. I stayed as involved as I could. Then the time came when I could finally return to skates. I was hopeful for a fresh start. But I found myself feeling out of place and alone at practices. I didn’t know all the fresh faces. Derby once again wasn’t my happy place. Everyone kept going while I was away. They weren’t on hold while I was gone. I thought I could just push resume and go back to how it was before I left. I felt like I had no one to share this feeling with. It was difficult to keep coming to practices, alone and unattached.

It was time for a change. I am finally finding my footing. I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way and I don’t know if I will ever have a “derby wife” again. It has been one heck a roller-coaster ride thus far. The good definitely outweighs the bad. I love roller derby and there is nothing like it. But I have been focusing on my derby skills (or lack thereof, really) and trying to improve myself. I am setting goals and accomplishing them one step at a time.Things are better in my derby life. I am no longer dreading going to practice. I am getting to know each one of my derby sisters. Every person on my team is important and has something valuable to add to my life and to our league.

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