A post by GW Shart. Photos by KD Bang.
I am questionable meat. New girls are often referred to as fresh meat, and we on AASRD have referred to our more seasoned players as rancid meat. I fall somewhere right in the middle; I’m not seasoned but I’m definitely not fresh. Questionable meat: you should probably overcook me.
I joined derby about 11 months ago, I’ve yet to play in a bout but I’m hoping for sometime in our 2011 season to show off everything I’ve learned in the last year.
I’m not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination. I am in fact the opposite of an athlete, a couch-lete, if you will. I know some of us in AASRD were never soccer players or softball pitchers in high school. The difference is that I get more competitive with age. I grew up wanting to just be good at something. Now, I want to be the best at everything I do. No lie--there are even board games that exist that my friends WILL not play with me because I just get “too intense”. I want to win, I want to knock you over, I want to send you out of bounds. It’s no longer good enough for me to be just “good enough”. I want to be the best derby player I could possibly be.
But derby for me is more than just the sport; it’s become my other life. I always felt like, in my group of friends, that I was the different one. I was the one that stuck out; I have tattoos and I dye my hair. I’m loud, aggressive and I love gross jokes.
When I joined derby this year, it didn’t take me too long to realize that I had found something really special. My teammates love gross jokes and have tattoos. We stand together as women who enjoy being sent sprawling across the floor, only to get up as fast as possible and do it all again.
My whole “adult” life, I’ve been looking for my person: my partner in crime, someone I could spend the rest of my life with, someone to love and be loved by. But what I’ve found is even more amazing-- I’ve found my people; 65+ women who are my partners in crime, my “let’s go grab a drink, it’s been a rough day” girl friends, my “look at my bruise!” best friends. We’re the people who always stuck out and now we fit in: with each other. Some people spend their whole lives waiting to fit in, waiting to find something, waiting to be entirely accepted. I find myself uncharacteristically lucky that I have found these people who fill in to every corner of my heart, who love me for exactly who I am, who “get” me.
So you could call this my love letter to my derby sisters and wives (I have 3 derby wives, in case you were wondering). That’s really what this is. I have fallen in love with these women: they are strong and amazing. I laugh harder, skate faster and my life is filled to the brim with love.