Our 101 class is starting their testing and gameplay phase, so I asked each member of the class to answer the question, “What excites you the most about derby right now?” Here are the responses I got from an amazing group of women who are the future of the Lansing Derby Vixens.
Roller derby is probably one of the most challenging and rewarding things I’ve ever done. I love the fact that everyone is so full of passion for this sport and dedication for this league and its members. This is such an empowering atmosphere, and I’m just in awe to be surrounded by so many amazing people. I feel cheesy for saying this, but LDV made me fall in love with Lansing, and I’m so happy I moved here. -Alex, “Bailey’s Irish Cream-Her”
It’s redefining who I thought I was. There’s a grit now that’s more intense, a voice in my head that tells me in moments of trepidation to suck it up buttercup, this is what you’re here for. And it gets proven right over and over again, when oh my god, did I just do a 180 at the front of the pace line and not fall on my ass and wove through going backwards, holy shit! I get that, every. Single. Week. And I love it. -Chasserae, “Red Ramming Hood”
The camaraderie and support is very important to me. The thought of what’s to come and the excitement of my first bout. Just knowing I will get better. -Alesha, “A-Lesh Da Beast”
There is so much that excites me about derby!! It’s fun to go out on the track, forget your everyday problems and knock a few people around as they try and do the same, all in good clean fun!!I love the support from everyone on and off the track. I’ve loved seeing myself grow as a skater; when I started the 101s I was a horrible beginner. I love being a role model to SOOOOO many and having so many people respect what I’m doing and that I’m learning. I love going out on the track and dominating at some things then having another skater come along and dominate at something I’m horrible at, kind of puts me in my place. I love the athleticism that comes from derby and that derby builds. I love how derby shows you what you are capable of, pushes you to your limits and beyond, physically and mentally. Pushes you to get up after every fall, bump and loss of balance. It shows you that you are capable of what you never thought possible. It’s DERBY!!!! – Tara, “Maullie Maddawg”
My road to Derby started at a friend’s house last November. I had no idea that roller derby was an actual sport or really what it was, save the stereotypical roller derby girl with tattoos and tiny shorts. I was talking to my friends about how down I had felt recently and that I needed to find something that would help me climb out of my proverbial hole. A friend of theirs came over, who also happened to be on the Lansing Derby Vixens Charter team. She began excitedly telling me about ‘derby’. It certainly had the appeal of pushing people around, which at the time, I presumed would assist me in getting rid of some of my excess aggression. Little did I know that I would meet some amazing women, and friends, that I would apologize profusely to every time I ran into them! From the beginning with Derby Lite to now was a whirlwind of Thursday evening and Sunday morning practices. At each practice, I was getting better and better. I started requesting groups of friends to join me at Edru on Wednesday nights so that I could continue practicing, in hopes of being able to skate backwards, do a 180, do a 360, or even just stop correctly. I took a moment at last week’s practice to watch everyone and took note of how far all of us have come. It has been amazing to see the progress in each person!!! I feel lucky to have met every fresh meat skater, the vets, and the coaches. I look forward to getting even better as well as continuing to further build these relationships I have made. – Constance, “Mz. Hyde”
Knowing that tomorrow night I can strap my skates on and practice with an awesome group of people is exciting! – Emily, “Bossy Rossy”
What excites me is the support and encouragement from everyone. -Nicole, “Babb to the Bone”
What surprises me is every time I feel like I’ve hit a wall I find some physical strength left in me to continue. I used to be such a lazy wimp and it surprises and excites me every time I am able to push myself harder. -Ashley, “Eirinn go Brutal”
Mark Twain sums the way I came to fall in love with Derby quite nicely…. “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” And so I did; I love to run, play and be active with my kids like the majority. Then I came to a bout with my family; I ran into some friends who said “come and try it” and “being a LDV means being a member of a bigger family, one where everyone is welcome”. These words of encouragement, (and the constant reminder from my son that Derby was cool), led me to believe in myself, think maybe I should take the leap, and show my kids-I too can take a risk and try something outside of my comfort zone-push myself a little harder-and lead by example for them.
And so I continued to reflect, and think, and then I leapt into a Sunday bootcamp where I was quickly reminded, and I am reminded each and every time I take the track, of yet another of Twain’s condensed wisdoms, “Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today!”.
This is why I fall in love with derby more and more every week. Through Derby I remember to believe in myself and revel in the amazing strength of my body and mind, the depth of my heart, and commitment in my soul. I am a young woman who has brought 4 children into this world in 12 years (meaning i’ve been pregnant or nursing for 8 of them!) and is now blessed with 2 teenage step daughters. I am committed above and beyond all else, to the work of raising them right. So Derby isn’t just for me, by embracing the individual challenge of derby I embrace, and am thankful for, the community it allows me to raise my family in. One of acceptance, encouragement, commitment, teamwork, and positivity. And this is why I LOVE derby and am excited to be a Vixen. -Sarah, “Malificent Midge”
Derby (along with my yoga practice) has pushed me past my limits and boundaries, real, imaginary, and self-imposed. I’ve got a long way to go, but I feel so good about how far I’ve come in less than 3 months on skates. My bestie Courtney got me into this (thank you, love!), but I wouldn’t have made it this far without the incredibly supportive and positive environment the Vixens provide. I am so grateful.
And, strapping on those skates and gear makes me feel kinda bad-ass! – Angela, “Go ManGo”