I started roller derby in January of 2012. I was living in Michigan at the time and joined so I could make friends and get back to the athletic competition with which I grew up. I played with the Killamazoo Derby Darlins for one and a half seasons. I was playing with their charter team when I broke my ankle, which required surgery and being sidelined for months.
During the time I was out on injury leave, I found myself with a new job offer in Atlanta, GA. It was a job I knew I couldn’t turn down. My first thought after how difficult it was going to be to leave my actual family behind in Michigan was how difficult it would be to also leave my derby family. I am a very proud KDD Alum. Killamazoo taught me everything. I wanted to build on that knowledge when I arrived in Atlanta. As the move approached, my other emotions were nerves and uncertainty, but also excitement.
Transferring to a WFTDA founding league as well known as the Atlanta Rollergirls following the 4 month injury leave was daunting, to say the least. I still wasn’t sure if I was going to be Fresh Meat or a Transfer, since I was uncertain how quickly I would progress from my injury. The league invited me to check out a scrimmage practice to see what it was like. Looking back on it now, I couldn’t tell you the names of anyone I talked to or what happened at practice that night – I was so giddy at the thought of getting back to derby. I was also overwhelmed and a little intimidated. The people I met that evening were super nice, but coming from my “home” league with fewer members, the sheer size of ARG was a lot to take in.
I attempted to start with the ARG Fresh Meat in early September, having only been on skates twice since my surgery. I was hoping Fresh Meat would help me ease back into things. Instead, I found that my ankle just was not ready. I was discouraged and wondered if I would ever get back to competitive derby. It took another frustrating month to rehab my ankle. When I tried again in October, I became completely giddy when I realized I was, in fact, stronger and more stable. I had the ability to do so much more than the month before – YAY!
Once my ankle was working like I wanted it to, the next hurdle was adjusting to a different style of derby. Every team seems to have their own methods, drills, and different strategies. Re-learning to play derby might have actually been harder than learning the first time! Everyone was super supportive in answering questions, working with me on learning drills, and giving feedback when I asked for it. While there might be some differences coming from my first league to ARG, there is one thing that is the same: derby family. I haven’t been a member of ARG long, but know that I already have friends I can depend on for pretty much anything.