Let’s see… I’m a stay-at-home mom of three young children. I live in the suburbs. I’m quiet. I only have a few strategically placed tattoos. And probably the most damning — I drive a minivan. When you think roller derby, I’m guessing I’m not what usually comes to mind. I thought the same thing a year ago when I showed up to try out for the Cincinnati Rollergirls, only to realize that there is nothing “typical” about the women who play for this team.

Roller derby entered my consciousness a few years ago when I became friends with a woman who helped found Tucson Roller Derby. I was immediately intrigued but came up with all sorts of reasons why I could never play — I haven’t skated since junior high; my kids are too young; I don’t have any piercings; I drive a minivan. I’d convinced myself that roller derby was something I could never participate in, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to see what it was all about.
My oldest daughter and I went to see the first game of CRG’s third season at the Cincinnati Gardens. I expected to have a fun night out with my girl, maybe share some popcorn or cotton candy, but what I didn’t expect was to fall completely in love with roller derby. It happened just like that. Sitting there in the dark on those steeply inclined seats, watching these amazing women race around the track, I knew it was something I had to do. All those excuses I came up with before just evaporated.
Guided by Vices
I went to an open skate the following weekend and even though I fell flat on my ass while attempting a crossover, I kept going back at least once a week for months and months. And thanks to all those hours of practice, I made the team.
My preconceived notions of a “typical” rollergirl were quickly dispelled. CRG is made up of fifty or so amazingly intelligent, strong, kind and diverse women from all walks of life. We are definitely not a one-size-fits-all league. What we do share, though, is a love for the sport and a love for our team.
Guided by VicesI am so glad I was able to get past those ridiculous ideas of what I could or couldn’t do based on my suburbanite status or the type of car I drive. I’ve realized over the last year that I am strong and can do anything I put my mind to — I am a living, breathing example of all those abstract lessons I’m always trying to impart on my kids. The confidence I’ve gained through roller derby has spread to other areas of my life as well and I find myself doing other things I’ve always wanted to do. Because really, if I can get the crap knocked out of me by Nuk’em over and over again during practice and willingly come back for more, what can’t I do?
I am so excited for our upcoming season and can’t wait to see what it brings. I have so much more to learn about roller derby and there are many, many, many areas I need to improve on. But if I’ve learned anything during my first season, it’s that if I work hard enough and trust in my teammates and coaches, I’ll achieve those goals.
Even if I drive a minivan to practice.