If you’re friends with me on Facebook, I just slammed you with a request to like a page called Chicago Bruise Brothers. It’s a men’s roller derby team (yes, men’s roller derby) and I joined up at the end of the summer 2013 (after some poking and prodding from my online bestie who just herself rostered with Philly Roller Girls – proud of you, Leash!).
Why derby? Why NOT derby!? But really, why…
I’ve been rolling around on quad skates since I could stand. Thanks to my mom’s involvment in Jazzercise at the local roller rink and my dad’s company’s annual Christmas party at the rink, it was just something that happened. I spent more than my fair share of time skating around my town, dodging cars and looking for something that resembeled a smooth surface that wasn’t coated in rocks (no sidewalks in the country, y’all). Eventually my parents found my way to roller hockey and I was given a helmet and pads for the first time. There was a lot of travel involved, to very exotic locaitons like Chowchilla, CA (no seriously, it’s a real place) for tournaments and games. After a few years I fell out of hockey and fell into the pool for waterpolo and swimming, never quite hanging up my skates, but never spending days in them anymore.
Fastforward about 15 years, though volleyball, more swimming and waterpolo, cheerleading and a cross country move and I’m looking at years in a weight room and a serious lack of personal interaction. Cheering in Chicago didn’t seem to work out all that well, so I was at a loss of what to do next. Although I’m quite the introvert and very shy, I do need interaction once in a while. After nudging from Leash, I contacted the Bruise Brothers and was told to drop by practice. So one Wednesday, I saddled up my trusty ZipCar and hit up the west suburbs in search of something, but I wasn’t exactly sure what.
What I found was an awesome group of guys and gals playing a sport that I’d seen once in a while, but had no idea what was going on. But it looked fun, and I knew how to skate, so the next week I padded up, threw on some rentals and did skating drills for 2 hours. Just skating, no hitting, it took a LONG time to get to hitting, like 2 months of skating and no hitting. When I got to hitting, it didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it would, but yes, it still hurts, but wow is it fun. At least, I think it’s fun, or thought?
My first sanctioned bout is this coming Saturday. I’ve played in a couple co-ed bouts and always have an amazing time. The hits come fast and hard and the action is nonstop. I’m always super happy to play. For some reason, this weekend, makes me nervous. Maybe because I’ve gotten into my own head too much. Maybe I’m watching too many derby gifs on tumblr. Maybe it’s because the last couple practices have left me feeling like I’m lost once I hear the whistle blow and forget everything my coaches have been telling me. Maybe, I’m confusing nervous, with excited.
In any case, 2 days from now, I’ll be strapping on my skates, pads and pulling my jersey on (TwinkleBeef – #831 – repping the Central Coast), and trying to figure out how to keep that dude with the star on his head from passing me.