Published on September 18th, 2013 | by Susy Pow3
Photo: Tyler Shaw
My Moving Story
In December, 2012 I moved more than 15,000 km (9,700 miles) from Newcastle, Australia, to Baltimore, MD, chasing some pretty lofty roller derby goals and a man introduced to me by most of the amazing people behind derbylife.com.
My now-fiancé, Ogden Smash (Harm City Homicide, MD) and I met during a black-and-white scrimmage at Rollercon 2012 and later, beside the Riviera cesspool. After Rollercon, I took the chance and flew to DC to visit him and we’ve been in near-constant communication since there. What can I say… chase your dreams. Even the difficult, foreign and ridiculous ones.
I’ve been playing roller derby in Newcastle, Australia since 2009 and tested my dreams constantly. From playing my first game to making the travel team and playing at The Great Southern Slam (Australia & NZ’s ‘national’ tournament) to eventually making it on Team Australia, it’s been a tumultuous and fulfilling journey. I’m of the ‘got to be in it to win it’ mindset.
Besides the cultural differences that I knew there’d be between Australia and the US, I didn’t know what it would be like playing for a WFTDA D1 ranked team or what to expect of trying out for the league and subsequently the travel team. Here are a few tips and experiences I’ve had:
While leagues have different feels to them, different attendance requirements and different goals for the organization, they are by-and-by the same beast. You’ll make friends; there’ll also be people you can’t get along with. If you can choose what league to join (cities that have multiple leagues) try to go with the one that represents your commitment and goals. I chose Charm City.
I planned for Charm City to help improve my skating from top to bottom but I also knew that it was me who was going to have to put in all the extra work. Listen thoughtfully and don’t give excuses. Part of starting anew is that your new coaches are calling the shots exactly as they see them, so respect that and get to work.
Patience is a virtue. I executed my abilities well-enough upon arrival in Baltimore to make the first quarter WFTDA Charter and maintaining my spot in the charter but I’m still working on solidifying my spot in that top fourteen. A massive plus of playing on a top-ranking WFTDA team, especially along the East Coast is that we get the chance to play so regularly and against even higher ranked teams. I’ve lived out some dream bouts this year, including playing with Charm against LA Derby Dolls on the banked track and following this up with a close-loss against Angel City at the beginning of their run up the rankings ladder.
Every day I want to jump on a plane and go back to everything I know and love, but slowly and surely I’ve built up a family of friends here in Baltimore and the increase in my derby play has been astounding. Moving to the US has been the hardest thing I’ve ever worked at in my life and it’s paying off in spades.