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Derby Origin Story: Slampagne Super Nova

My derby origin story

Two years ago I was 35. My husband and I were coming home from a road trip and were making road trip conversation. It came up that we were almost 40. Forty. How did that happen? Have we really been adulting this long? We started talking about the things we wish we had done in our 20’s. Just random risky things that we didn’t have time for because we were too busy trying to be grown ups. We had been going to school, getting married. buying a house, having a child. All the adulty things that we chose to do instead of the silly, impulsive, potentially irresponsible things. We decided to make a “before 40 bucket list” of things we wish we had done, but still want to do. First on my list: Try out for the Charm City Roller Girls. I don’t really know why. I didn’t know anyone who skated. I had never been to a game. Hell, I hadn’t roller skated since I was probably 7 years old. I had seen their posters and checked out their website. Derby girls seems so bad ass and I wanted to glimpse that world. Mind you, my goal was just to try out. I figured I’d do my best, probably be terrible, never make the league, possibly get laughed at, but high-five myself for trying something new.

Checking it off my list.

I looked at their website and found the date of the next tryout. As if by kismet, it was just a few weeks away. Again. I knew nothing of derby, equipment, skates, rules. I was Jon Snow. I knew nothing. I showed up by myself armed only with my son’s skateboarding pads and helmet. Again, I was just going to try out. Luckily, kind skaters loaned me proper gear. And I rented skates. Jon. Snow.

“Are you nervous?”

A younger girl asked me. She seemed to be. No. I was not nervous, because again, I was here to check something off my bucket list. “I’ve been practicing for months,” she said. Shit. Now I’m nervous. What had I gotten myself into? And so tryouts began. We skated laps, worked on stops, falls, footwork, and moving together in a pack. I remember being told that the most important thing was having a positive attitude. Listening. Trying your best. The more I did it, the more I wanted it. I tried. I tried my very best at each and every skill. I wasn’t able to do all the things, but I gave it my absolute all. It was three hours of pushing myself to do things I had never done. On skates.

At the end of tryouts I was exhausted but exhilerated. I had met and bonded with a fantastic group of women. We were told by coaches that we would get our results via email by midnight that night. I was happy with myself for trying and made peace with probably never putting skates on again. I wanted it so badly for the other girls though.

Sure enough, I heard my phone ding right before midnight that night. I was in bed. Because I’m old and had just skated for three straight hours. Through my blurry sleep eyes I saw the word “Congratulations.” I was convinced it was a mistake. I was the girl that showed up in stupid tiny pads and rented skates; I was the girl who fell constantly and couldn’t skate backwards; the one who could only skate 20 laps in five minutes. I was also a girl who tried hard and listened to instruction and gave it my very best.

I.Made. The. League. Not only did I try out, I became a Charm City Roller Girl. Holy Shit.

Over the past two years I’ve fallen head over heals (literally and figuratively) for this sport. For the people. It’s become such a part of me that I don’t know how I existed without it. It’s my family.

I’ve never been stronger physically or emotionally. I have more than friends. I have a pack. I’m proud of the skin I’m in. I’m confident. I’m happy. All because on a whim I randomly wandered into a Charm City Roller Girls open try-out at Skate Land, and never looked back.

That’s my derby orgin story. What’s yours? It might start here: