Keweenaw Roller Derby invited Traverse City Roller Derby’s Toxic Cherries knowing it was unlikely we would rock the scoreboard. And this mentality is how I know derby is uniquely my scene.
Saturday was my first bout on skates, but I’ve been working up to this moment since September 2017 when I first strapped on skates and duck-walked onto the track at an intro to derby bootcamp in the Calumet Colosseum. I’ve never been athletic, never been on a team, but this sport is an unrelenting inspiration and the people involved even moreso. We skate, we hit, we train, we fall, we laugh, and we get back up. We smile at our competitors and they smile back. KRD plays to win, but we never value the win more than the experience.
Up until Saturday, I’d been involved in bouts on the sidelines: filling volunteer holes, directing, coaching, and wrangling skaters on the bench. Despite my slow mastery of the skills, there has always been a place for me in the league. I have watched my team learn and grow through tough matchups with stellar opponents. This weekend, I got to join them.
It was awesome.
We took some hits, we struggled against their offense, and we often failed to counter their defense. Traverse City was the stronger team, but you don’t gain muscle by lifting lighter weights. We pushed our bodies, found skills to work on, and witnessed new strategies to try. Best of all, we had a great time testing ourselves against a team of excellent skaters, coaches, and staff. This sport encompasses a world-wide community of teams that respect and lift up one another and this weekend was a prime example.
We had a couple of intro to derby bootcamps this week and we’ll be starting KRD new skater training at the end of this month. If you missed the opportunity to try us out and you’re ready to be a part of something empowering and fun, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work with you to get you enrolled in the program. If you’re looking for a way to get involved but don’t want to play, you can train to be a skating official, non-skating official, or help us out by volunteering at a bout!