Roller Derby!

April 28, 2006

At a recent wedding I saw an friend I hadn’t seen in a while.  She has a beautiful new daughter, and I couldn’t help but wonder-how did she look so amazing after five months?  More than two years later, I’m still 25 pounds overweight.  Weight Watchers and aerobics have done precious little to change this.  Before I could ask, Nicole read my mind and simply said “roller derby.”
I had heard that roller derby was being revived, and had been patiently waiting to hear that it was here in Olympia.  I got the information from her and headed to my first practice the next day.
I was so excited.  I would never take another aerobics class!  I would cancle my YMCA membership!  I would live happily ever after!
When I arrived I saw a few familiar faces, including a couple of guys my husband and I know who were there to “support.”  I put on my skates and began doing laps.  I didn’t fall down at all, which in my book is the definition of success.  “I’m awesome!”  I thought to myself just as Nicole skated by, looking at my sympathetically.  “It takes a while to get used to being back on your skates,” she told me.
As practice wore on, I realized that I had been naive.  I just like to skate.  Being too young to remember the 70s, I hadn’t really realized that this was a cutthroat, very competative team sport, which I loath.  Suddenly I was a child again, back on every baseball, basketball and soccer team where I was always the worst.  I wanted to cry, die, sit on the bench with the boys.  As I drove home, I decided to hang on to that Y membership.
But I went back the next day (you can’t show weakness in the roller derby) and had a blast.  Now I understood why sports give girls confidence.  I remembered being on the swim team for years as a child.  I don’t have any recollection of ever winning or losing at a swim meet, although I’m sure both must have happened.  All I remember is that I loved to swim.
I had heard women talk about exercise just making them feel strong and confident.  They had transcended working out to lose weight or look good; that was just a byproduct.  I couldn’t relate to this at all.  I hadn’t broken a sweat without thinking about how many calories I was burning since the childhood swim team.
 Suddenly I can just take pride in being able to jump over four hockey sticks on my skates.  You all may beyond this, since I feel like I’m learning a lesson I should have learned 20 years ago.  But it’s my own Dove self-esteem campaign, all for the low, low price of two dollars a practice, plus doctor’s bills.  
I’d rather my daughter watch me leave excitedly for roller derby than dread Body Step. As Gloria and many others pointed out, it’s not enough to tell my daughter she’s great.  I also need to challenge and feel good about myself.  So if things keep going the way they’re going, Body Step won’t have me to kick around anymore!