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How to Become a Derby Diva

Derby Girl Wannabe

  1. Watch the movie “Whip It!”
  2. Spend an inordinate amount of time on the internet, playing with Derby Name generators.
  3. Go to a live bout and become completely obsessed.
  4. Spend two more months obsessing over how you aren’t MUCH older than those girls.
  5. Look in the mirror…acknowledge that a desk job for the past twenty years has not created the optimum body for crashing into women while racing around a track.
  6. Ignore the fact that you haven’t been on roller skates since you were twelve.
  7. Join a gym.
  8. Spend a month walking on treadmills and studiously avoiding any of the weight machines.
  9. Realize that this isn’t helping.
  10. Start a blog, announcing your intentions to the world, thereby ensuring that you will have to put up or shut up.
  11. Hire a trainer.
  12. Put your name on the “Cherries” list for the January training group.
  13. Realize that you only have a month to buy skates and try to stand up on them.
  14. Get skates for Christmas.
  15. Get email with the official start date for Cherries training.
  16. Panic.
  17. Go to the local skating rink during winter break, along with 800 little kids…all skating circles around you.
  18. Avoid killing small child by falling backwards instead of forwards.
  19. Break your elbow.
  20. Uh oh.
  21. Email the league and take yourself off of the Cherries list.
  22. Go through physical therapy.
  23. Put roller skates on in your kitchen.
  24. Take skates off again.
  25. Sign up for the next round of Cherries training.
  26. Push your roller skates further back in your closet.
  27. Pull skates out and go to League Orientation.
  28. Sign 47 waivers and provide three copies of your insurance card.
  29. Have a panic attack when it is time to put skates on and go out with the other Cherries.
  30. Sit with one skate on and the other in your hand, and miss the orientation pictures.
  31. Suck it up, put your other skate on, all of your pads and your helmet.
  32. Wobble out to the floor.
  33. Sweat more than you ever thought possible.
  34. Fall down/get up.
  35. Fall down/get up.
  36. Fall down/get up.
  37. Finish first practice and hobble out to your car.
  38. Burst into hysterical laughter/tears.
  39. Show up for next practice.
  40. Pick a derby name.
  41. Keep showing up.
  42. Realize that this is FUN!
  43. KICK ASS!

I would love for this to be the way that it actually ended up.  Unfortunately, about three-quarters of the way through Cherries training, I broke a bone in my foot and had to drop out.  My doctor said that this was the type of injury that would keep happening, based on the x-rays of my foot.  Ultimately, I had to “retire” before the skills tests and draft.  Several of my fellow Cherries went on to join the various teams and are all awesome, bad-ass derby divas.

I take comfort in the fact that I saw something, worked hard to get ready for it, and tried it.  I faced up to the fact that it was one of the scariest, craziest things that I’ve ever done.  It was the MOST fun, and the derby girls of the Desert Dolls league are the BEST!


I’m participating in this year’s The Scintilla Project.  It’s a two-week opportunity to share stories and build our community.  Come join us!

The Scintilla Project