Sunday, November 16, 2008

Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary

I LOVE roller derby.

I love roller derby more than I've loved anything else in my life. I pulled the Daria in high school gym class. Sports never called to me, in fact they repulsed me. I enjoyed being active and I skated a lot when I was in middle school, but organized competition was something I saw as a waste of time.

Roller derby changed all that for me. Watching A&E's Rollergirls was addicting. The crazy costumes, the fun names and the attitude first drew me to the show and the sport. I've come to find that those attributes matter the least to me now. For me, derby is all about the athleticism, pushing myself further than I ever have before. It's about the sisterhood of 60+ women who beat each other up and then hug afterward.

Tonight I love derby because of what we have accomplished in a very short time frame. Modern flat track derby has only been in existence since 2000. In 8 short years we have created our own new sport with our own rules, our own tournaments and our own community. We have done it not with million dollar sponsorships but by the hard work and sweat of the women playing the sport. Using money from our own pockets we booked rink time, printed fliers, hired entertainment and ran media campaigns. Together we have created over 100 leagues around the world and then formed an organization to govern ourselves. There are at least 3 print magazines devoted to nothing but derby along with countless blogs and other online resources. We are a movement.

Personally roller derby has changed me physically and emotionally. I am not the timid passive girl who lets things go. I will not let someone just step up and take what's mine. I am starting to learn what I want and how to get it.

Tonight was the game for the WFTDANational Championship. Gotham Girls Roller Derby defeated the Windy City Rollers 134 to 66. It was broadcast live online to over 600 active users.

We have come so far in only 8 short years, I can't even begin to imagine what will come next.

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