Friday, May 20, 2011

Did I Miss Something?

By this time, anyone who's known me for awhile is probably looking closely at the pictures trying to figure out if they're really reading the right blog.  "Laura?  Roller Derby?  A SPORT?!?!"  Those who have known me for a long while are sure there's some confusion and that this cannot be my blog.  Even my doctor thought something was seriously wrong when I mentioned roller derby, and wondered if I was exhibiting Dangerous Impulsive Behavior.  Seriously.

This is me at seven.  I was not what one might describe as "athletic".  Nor was I what is commonly called "cool".  It was about this time that I, the shortest person in the class, paired up for the three-legged race with a friend who even then had the build of a blocker.  We - or at least she- took off running, and I tried to keep up.  She grabbed me and tried to carry me beside her as I hopped on the foot that was tied to hers.  Eventually the old nylons that tied us together broke and she ran across the finish line while I rolled across the racecourse.  Alas, we only received the consolation "good sportsmanship" ribbons that were distributed to all the losers - there was no special award for the funniest race.  That was the last time I remember wanting to compete in something, and the last time I remember being at all entertaining to a crowd.

It did not get better.  As school went on, I became untroubled by friends to partner with, and I stayed short and slow.  You know the cliche about the kid who always gets picked last for the team?  That was me.  Between Mean Girls armed with wooden machetes in grade school and enforced short-short wearing by the faculty perv in high school, I hated gym classes with undying passion.  I finally figured out how to avoid field days by hiding behind shrubbery - crouching on gravel under a boxwood was easily preferable to a 1,000-meter run as far as I was concerned.

So I got through the rest of high school and college without any sporting activity, after eliminating from consideration any schools that had a physical education requirement or active orientation.  Somewhere in adulthood I lost the metabolism that kept me at 90 pounds no matter what, but didn't worry too much about that.  I took kickboxing lessons for awhile, but the studio got bulldozed and turned into tacky condos.  I joined the Society for Creative Anachronism with the intent of taking up fighting, but armor was expensive and I became more enamored with the crafty stuff.  I'd stopped actively avoiding sports, but I didn't have to anymore, since they weren't trying to drag me out of my hiding place in the boxwood.

Then I read about roller derby.  A few years ago, Indianapolis Monthly ran an article about the Naptown Roller Girls, and made roller derby sound like a heck of a lot of fun.  It wasn't that much of a stretch - my older sister played hockey when I was a little kid, and I'd long thought that if I were going to play a sport, it might as well be something seriously aggressive.  I lived in Lafayette - home of the Brawlin Dolls - at the time, but worked nights so I couldn't go to practices.  So derby was more something to talk about than something to do.

When we moved to Bloomington I looked for a local roller derby team, but there wasn't one.  It looked like roller derby was just going to be one of those silly things I talked about but never did.  And then I met KateThulu.  A friend brought her to a party we were throwing, in one of those perfect serendipitous moments that changes your life forever - because Kate just happened to mention roller derby.  Kate skates with the Twin City Derby Girls, but she said there were women trying to start a league right here in Bloomington-Normal.  I let my shyness get the better of me and didn't track them down over the summer, but I knew to keep my eyes open, and found out about their tryouts in October 2010.... be continued....

1 comment:

  1. I am utterly fascinated with your Derby venture. Good for you! You make me want to put on skates (for the first time since I was 14 or so)!

    Are you still involved in the SCA? Do you still knit those awesome Wavy Gravy hats?

    I had trouble with my first blog: A Parently Speaking and started a tatting blog called Ambitatterous. Drop by to say Hi when you can.

    Can't wait to read more about Roller Derby!