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10 Ways the First Year of Derby is Like the First Year of Marriage

By Slampagne Super Nova

The other night at practice I was having a particularly rough go of it. I just couldn’t seem to get through the pack and if I did I almost immediately landed in the penalty box. I found myself feeling a bit hopeless, but I kept reminding myself- “it’s only the first year.” I was then reminded of another first year.

My husband and I married young. We were in our early twenties and had been living together for about two years. We’d been told that the first year of marriage was “hard.” No details about what made it hard- just “hard.”

“How hard could it be?” we thought.

We were in love and had already been together for years. Surely, it would be a romantic breeze. It would be passionate and exhilarating and sexy. It was.

And it was hard.

Looking back now I still can’t really articulate why it was hard or what, if anything, was wrong. There were moments when we probably wondered if we’d gotten ourselves into something that we weren’t ready for. There were moments when we didn’t know if we could make it. Truth be told, I’m sure, we both, in our deepest, darkest moments wondered if we’d made a mistake. Did our hearts lead the rest of our bodies into something absolutely crazy?

There were mistakes to be made. There was trust to be earned and given. We eventually stumbled around in our new own roles and slowly started to work together as a unit.

Here are my top 10 ways that the first year of derby is much like the first year of marriage:

  1. Your family suddenly grows. By a lot. You are greeted by smiling faces all welcoming you into the fold. Just like with the new in-laws, you will be anxious to impress your derby family and show them that you really do belong. You won’t remember all of their names, and they may not remember yours, but they are family nonetheless.
  2. You get a shiny new name. You’ll be excited to try it out, yet you may not recognize it when you hear it and will probably forget to respond to it.
  3. You will wonder whether you belong, if you’re doing it right, if you should just quit, but…
  4. …you will be madly in love, almost to a point of obsession.
  5. Your “civilian” friends might get tired of you talking about the new love of your life.
  6. There are new rules, new roles, and new responsibilities. These are frustrating, but you’ve made a commitment, so you stick with it. Your heart makes you.
  7. There are other people relying on you, which is scary for someone who has no clue what’s going on. The good news is that you’re not alone in this world. Other people are looking out for you.
  8. It will get real. And there will be tears.
  9. It’s passionate, sexy and exhilarating.
  10. It’s hard. It just is. But it’s love, so it’s worth fighting for.

I love my marriage and after 12 years of being married, I’m madly in love with my husband and I’m proud of where we’ve been and the challenges that we’ve overcome- either through sheer love and devotion or just plain stubborn determination and a come-hell-or-high-water refusal to throw in the towel.

I’m six months into my first year of derby. I’m in love with it even though I spend most of my time wondering what the hell I’ve gotten myself into, wondering if I’ll ever get it right, wondering if it’s just not meant to be. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but it won’t be for lack of trying. Or lack of love.