1) Derby Camaraderie.
I'm talking about sisterhood, bitches. Never in a million years would I had joined a sorority in college. Catty girls getting drunk and making out are not really my style, but derby is essentially a sorority. This isn't a team by team thing either, it's a derby girl thing. Sure, the women on my team are like my big and little sisters now, and that's super awesome but I'm talking about meeting other derby girls... When derby girls get together, every single one of us knows how it feels to get knocked off of our skates, getting the wind knocked out of us, seeing stars, and then how it feels to get right back up and hit that bitch back. I think it's the thing that bonds us together. We show off our battle scars, relive our greatest moments, and yeah sometimes we make out. We don't need greek letters on our chest, secret handshakes (we should look into one though), or dark, devious secret ceremonies to identify ourselves as derby girls. We just know.
2) The Sport
Uhhhh, where the hell else are women going to knock the shit out of other women in high fashion? Cat fighting? Doubtful. In all seriousness, the sport is fantastic. There's high-speeds, checking and blocking, collisions, pile-ups, drafting, hard training, and strategy. Geez, that started to sound a bit like car racing for a second... The training is intense for this sport, and if you're not keepin' up, you're falling back. Roller derby hurts. It hurts your body and your mind. Physically, this is the most demanding sport I've been a part of, and I've been around the "sport block." You learn how much your body can take when you play derby. Just last night we had a free skate night and one of my teammates popped her knee out of its socket. She simply popped it back in place, grabbed an ice pack, and a half hour later she was back on her skates. What a tough bitch. I would have been crying for my daddy in the ambulance if that ever happened to me.
Ask any derby girl who she was before she joined derby, and I guarantee you she will tell you she can't remember. Derby changes women, mostly for the better I think. For me, I became comfortable in my skin. I felt totally accepted for the first time in my life. That for me, is the biggest thing. Many of my friends are straight, with the smattering of lesbian and gay acquaintances and friends. The fact that these women let me open up to them, and let me be the real me, has meant the entire world to me. I have become aware that I am actually good-looking. I know, it seems like a strange self-realization, and it's not because I'm surrounded by ugly people, it really is because finally someone is telling me. I have also become aware of the fact that I am truly an athlete. For someone who has never quad-skated to pick up a pair of skates and in three weeks pass level testing and have their first scrimmage, that's a big fucking deal. Derby has given me confidence. Derby has allowed me to explore myself deeper and walk away a better person.
...I know there's more, but my time is short for today. Thesis action needs to happen!
'Till next time, folks.