Monday, May 14, 2012

Random lessons learned in derby

Everyone knows that derby is a topsy turvy world-shaking experience we all live through.  Some lessons we learn are funny, some are sad, some make us question who we are and what we believed about ourselves.  Sometimes we tend to dwell on the serious ones, but the small lessons that make us laugh and make us smile are just as important.  Behold, here are a few of the lighter derby lessons I've learned over the last four seasons.

#1  Tampons, while useful for staunching a broken nose that's bleeding, are not glamorous at all.  In 2010, my nose was broken in a jam, and would not stop bleeding all over the floor.  Eventually, one of my teammates gave me a tampon to put up my nose.  "Are you serious?  I thought that only happened in movies!"  Well, the first tampon didn't fit, and I had to find someone who had "slim fit" tampons.  After practice, my friends took me out to dinner and I then fully realized that "tampon chic" hadn't caught on as nasal adornment.

You checkin' me out, or you just admiring my nose bling?
#2  The Newbie of today might just be the Badass of tomorrow.  Derby has a ridiculous learning curve, and I think people sometimes forget it.  Just because you played against a team or certain blocker six months ago, and they weren't great, it doesn't mean that time has frozen and people are going to stay at the same level.  Remember to work hard, because those baby giraffes are going to turn into Honey Badgers one of these days.

Aw, isn't it cute!  Give it six months and it might be your worst nightmare.
#3  Velcro scratches only seem to show up in the shower.  Ever come home from a practice, strip off your nasty gear and jump into a long awaited shower, only to feel every horrible Velcro scratch make itself evident as hot water hits your body?  I know its petty, but ow!  I hate Velcro.

I feel like I was a scratching post!

#4  Pennies can really derail your skating routine.  Pennies, Skittles, washers, all of these things lurk on skating rink floors and can be unexpectedly disruptive to skating.  I mean, LOOK at a penny, how bad can it be to skate over?  The first time I hit a penny on the rink floor, I swore I had skated over a pencil, or maybe a two by four.  How chagrined was I when I actually found the penny that had practically sent me head over wheels.

Abraham Lincoln hates skaters.
#5  Nobody but you and other derby people get excited in a positive way about bruises.  I know this is shocking, but most people are not thrilled to hear how you got hurt, especially the people that love you.  When I was a kid, I would come home with scraped knees, bruises and cuts from riding my bike or climbing trees; my mother was less than thrilled.  Now that I'm getting some pretty heinous hematomas from derby, my mother is WAY less than thrilled.  "Haven't you grown out of being a tomboy yet?"  Evidently not.  BTW, I do have a derby injury photo album on Facebook.  It used to be way more up to date, but many injuries, so little time.

I often look for shapes in my bruises, like the clouds!
 #6 You don't always answer to your "real" name in "real" life.  I'm around a lot of derby people for a lot of hours, and guess what?  Every once in a while I find myself signing a business email with "Q" instead of my real name.  I have also discovered that I don't know many of my teammates "real" names either, because I think of them as their derby personae.  Honestly, if I learn your real name, I'm probably going to use it on the track, and nobody wants that.

Ok, maybe I'm ignoring him because I don't want to cook dinner.
I know there's nothing earth-shattering here in this blog, but I just thought I'd share some of the silly things I've picked up due to this sport invading every aspect of my life.  Just keep these things in mind when you're at the grocery store and feel the urge to pull down the top of your pants to show your friend your new bruise.


  1. Keep it coming sister...You are talented and you speak truth! I'm a fan!

    Derby LOVE

    1. I am a giant fan of yours lady! You are strong!

    2. Ha ha, I had no idea your name was Renee!

    3. The only Earth-shettering part was learning your real name!

    4. That's not my real name...that's my GOVERNMENT name. ;)

  2. Hahahaha! I definitely enjoyed this read :) Love the part about the bruises.

  3. Cute:) I like the illustrations, especially the tanpon lmao! My mother in law told me a few weeks ago that she was really worried I would get a bruise during a bout :o I pulled down my knee socks and horrified her with my shin bruises before the game even started:)