Published on April 19th, 2013 | by Mollytov Maguire0
Mollytov Maguire Schonfeld Photography
A Blast from the Past
Something pretty special happened to me last week. A friend from a long time ago reached out to me and thanked me for doing derby. She thanked me because hearing about my struggles and successes on the track allowed her to dream big and join her local league, too. She is fresh meat and I am proud of her. This friend and I haven’t really talked much in the last 10 years, but I had run into her a few months back at a bar in her neck of the woods. I mentioned that I was doing derby and it had changed my life. She said it was this brief conversation coupled with my incessant derby talk on social media that gave her the nudge she needed to do it.
She also told me something that broke my heart a little. A few years back, she ran into a player for a very prominent local team and asked about joining, but this person was not very polite or encouraging. She thought derby was for jerks and spent a long time dreaming about it but unmotivated to do it. I can only speculate about this made her feel, but it would make me feel bad. As if that person could see failure written all over my face and that derby was for other people. People who were cooler than me. People who were more athletic than me. People who had crazier hair, or more tattoos, or less body fat, or more confidence, or… something. Now of course, she knows better. Derby is for everyone! Weeeee!
From what it sounds like, her league is similar to mine. They’re a bunch of rad women who encourage one another to push harder and be better. She is learning to find the love of gliding on eight wheels, and from what it sounds like, will be hitting and falling very soon. Oh, the days of being fresh meat… It made me reminisce about my own experience. Learning the T-stop or doing plow stops until you can’t walk the next day were things that I had to go through, too, and not that long ago.
I remember a lot about being where she is now. I hope that sharing my experiences will help her as she moves up. I am glad that my words have inspired even one person and, frankly, it’s why I share them. When I was new, I can remember having “derby anxiety” every week before practice. I would be so nervous to go because there were a whole lot of “what-ifs” swirling around my head.
What if I couldn’t do this? What if they ladies didn’t like me? What if the things my ex said about me were true? It was that last one that was a big damn deal to me. That man thought I was the laziest overweight complainer of all time. He was always trying to get me to go to the gym and I just couldn’t. Something that was unknown to either of us at the time was that I had a serious health issue that was causing me a lot of pain. I had been suffering from it for pretty much as long as I could remember and had been called a hypochondriac for just as long. Because of this, I had normalized the pain and it made me really depressed. Before this diagnosis, I thought I was destined to be fat and unhappy because that was just the way my body was built.
Anyway, there I was, overweight, depressed, lonely, and hurting from a horrific shitstorm of a breakup that left me empty, tired and used up. When I found derby, it wasn’t an immediate love. There were nights that were spent crying in the bottom of the shower, there was a lot of self doubt, but eventually, I learned to surrender those things to people who knew me better than I knew myself at that time. My trainers were experienced and had worked with new recruits of all skill levels for years. I had to learn to trust that even though they were strangers to me, somehow I wasn’t a stranger to them. At least my body wasn’t. They knew how to work with it and mold me into a teammate. So, to the ex who didn’t think I could do it: F#@K YOU. And to the future derby player from my past: THANK YOU. I thought I was getting the derby blues, but between talking to you and missing the last bout, I am ready to hit the track again. Sometimes, the smallest things make the biggest difference. That and a little trip down memory lane to remind myself why I play.
P.S. To my fresh meat friend: we have shared a lot in the past, things that were both beautiful and difficult. I am so excited that you’re a derby girl because, hopefully, we get to make a new relationship built on happier times for us both. See you soon, let me know when you’re ready for that derby date!
Republished with permission. This piece originally ran on the FoCo Derby Blog.