Another kid is dead. We need to stop this.

[tw: suicide, transphobia]

Yesterday I heard that the derby world has lost one of its youngest members. Junior derby player Sam Taub- #57 Casper to his derbs- was lost to suicide. He was only 15.

Let me rephrase that. He wasn’t lost. We failed Sam Taub. We failed to create a word where trans kids can see a future that includes them. We failed to give trans kids role models, people they could look up to. We failed to show them the path between where they are now, and a fulfilled life.

When I say ‘we’, I mean you and me. All of us. Us adults. Us cis people especially.

There are so many of us that credit derby with dragging us out of shitty situations. Me included.

Derby was supposed to save us. And while intellectually we know that this sport and this community are both imperfect (oh god are we imperfect) and also such a small part of life? Derby was supposed to be able to save Sam Taub.

I never met the kid. I don’t know what he could have grown up to be- aside from someone who could kick my ass on the track, because it’s not a secret at all in the derby world that the second the junior derby kids start growing up, our asses are toast. Crumbly, crumbly toast. He was supposed to be one of our tough, sweet kids who learn to love who they are through knocking each other over.

Derby couldn’t save Sam Taub.

He was part of our world- this derby world that works so hard to be a place that embraces the lot of us. Takes us as we are, builds us up, makes us into the strongest versions of ourselves. The derby world works so hard to be inclusive. It’s a space aside from the rest of our lives where we’re valued for who we are. It’s supposed to be enough. It can’t be enough.

It wasn’t enough.

Sam didn’t die because he was trans. Transness is a perfectly ordinary variation of what it is to be human, and there is nothing intrinsic about being trans that could make life not worth living.

Sam died because we failed him. He died because we accepted a world where trans kids- kids,  people at the start of their lives who haven’t had a chance to develop the context to see how things can change and who don’t have the option to get the hell out of where they are- are forced to live in worlds and with people who tell them every day of their lives that they are worthless. He died because we didn’t shout loud enough, didn’t insinuate our voices into every single crack, didn’t object every single time, didn’t counter enough of that kind of hate and torture of kids with nowhere else to go and by not doing that we let it continue. We let people hound another trans kid to death.

Are you tired of this yet? Because I am. I’m sick and tired of seeing yet another headline for yet another person killed or tortured into killing themselves because of who they are. Yet another teenager.

Over at Derby Frontier, Nillin Dennison has put together a list of things that we can do as individuals and as leagues to welcome our trans teammates, officials and leaguemates.

How You Can Look Out For and Support Your Leaguemates Who Are Trans

1. Reach out to the nearest LGBTQI+ centre, or pride organization, to inquire about Safe Space training or general sexual and gender diversity training. Make it mandatory for all members of the league to participate in this training.

2. Call out ANY homophobic and/or transphobic insults or harassment that you see either on the track or off of the track, even if the people doing it “don’t mean it”. Do not stand idly by while this behavior happens. Reality is that there are likely MANY people who are trans in roller derby who are not out to their leagues for any number of reasons, possibly even because they do not feel safe being out in such a sex segregated sport such as roller derby. As such, allowing the use of anti-LGBT language is just going to further hurt those people who are trans and reduce the likelihood of them ever feeling comfortable with being out.

3. Many mental health service providers offer suicide awareness, prevention and intervention training as well. Consider seeking out this education by contacting your nearest Canadian Mental Health Association, or health care provider.

4. Always use the name and pronouns that a person who is trans provides you.

5. If a person who is trans comes out to you, recognize what an incredible gesture they are making having shared such a sensitive, personal thing about themselves. Never out them to others by introducing them as being trans. Furthermore, if you suspect that somebody is trans, never ask others what they think. That creates an environment of rumors. Instead, if you are unsure of a person’s gender identity, speak to them privately and ask what their pronouns are.

There’s a lot more good stuff at that post. I highly recommend reading the rest of it.

And maybe-just-maybe, right now is a time to look at our leagues as a whole. At our representative organisations. Do we have policies in place to protect our trans leaguemates and teammates? Are those policies really based on making our leagues a welcoming space for trans people, or are they just fancily dressed gatekeeping and cisnormativity? Because if it’s the latter, then it’s past time that we changed that. We pride ourselves in being models of inclusivity for sporting communities. Let’s put our money (er, time and committee hours) where our mouths are on this one. Let’s create spaces where trans people and identities are not just accepted, but actively valued on an equal basis with cis people and identities.

And if you’re not a derb- what circles do you live your life in? How do those circles value cis lives over trans? Not do they, but how do they, because I can guarantee you that they do. Where can you change this? What are you going to do?

This is literally a matter of life and death.

Rest in Power, Casper #57.

Amd the rest of you? Don’t let another kid die in vain. This has gone on too long.

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Another kid is dead. We need to stop this.

We Need To Be Better Than This: Roller Derby, Inclusiveness and Audism

Roller derby prides itself on its inclusiveness. We’re open to all body types, all orientations, and increasingly to all genders. We even have places for people who can’t stand the idea of putting on a pair of skates (NSOs rock my world).

When I joined derby I was struck by two things (three, if you count being literally struck on my target zones). One was the way that derby changed how I looked at my own body. My body was no longer something that was supposed to look a certain way that would always be found wanting. It became something that I could train to do more stuff, and instead of being always failing to reach a mark it was always learning and able to do more. That change was a revelation.

The other revelation- one I didn’t expect- was about my queerness. As a bi person, in public spaces my acceptance has always felt conditional. In gay spaces, I’d better be relatively quiet about my different-gendered attractions. In the rest of the world, the usual negotiations every queer person makes between outness and safety. That sense of always having to be careful of what I say, of feeling like the only spaces where I’m not an outsider are the ones I create myself, was something so ordinary as to be entirely unremarkable. Continue reading “We Need To Be Better Than This: Roller Derby, Inclusiveness and Audism”

We Need To Be Better Than This: Roller Derby, Inclusiveness and Audism

Derby: Violence and Aggression

CN: brief mention of relationship violence, and also for the entire post being about (consenting) physical aggression.

In roller derby, we talk a lot about hitting each other. I’ll be honest- we’re generally pretty gleeful about it. It’s not the only thing we do (god, not even a tenth) but there’s something deeply satisfying about landing a good hit. Some of my favourite memories are of taking down people twice my size, getting them in just the right spot to send ’em flying. And then there’s all the times I’ve been knocked over just to somersault back up again without missing a beat.. or the time someone sent me flying into some unsuspecting audience member’s full cup of coffee in a game. Good times, you guys. Damn good times.

Also, it turns out that hot coffee really does mask the stench of elbow pads pretty well, so there’s that.

We talk about hitting each other a lot, and we call it violence. But there’s a conversation I’ve had with a(n impressively insightful) friend of mine a few times about this, and I’m not sure that violence is the right word to use. This is gonna be a paraphrased version of their point and mine and the whole conversation. Continue reading “Derby: Violence and Aggression”

Derby: Violence and Aggression

Women Excel At Sport, Journalists Talk About Manicures

I play roller derby. Wait- let me say that properly: I skate motherfuckin’ ROLLER DERBY, beaaaatches. That’s more like it. Y’see, roller derby isn’t something I can talk about neutrally. This is a game where “derby saved my (metaphorical) soul” has gone from a common statement to a boring-ass cliché. Practically everyone I know who plays this game says it’s changed her life. It’s helped her find her confidence and her grit. It’s shown her how to love the body she has and appreciate it for what it can do, not how conventionally attractive it is. It’s given her a community, friends and role models. It’s taught her how to (literally) get beaten down and (literally) get back up again. In this game I’ve gotten bruises and sprains. I’ve seen people break bones more times than I care to remember. Far more important than that, though? They get those bones healed and put their skates back on. I see us getting knocked over and getting up again and knocked down again until our muscles will barely obey us when we stand again, and I see us doing it again and again until finally, somehow, we break through. And in between all of that, I see the hours we put in, every single week. Spending our evenings and weekends, every week, training in any hall that’ll take us. Spending their days off organising, promoting, planning, coaching and paperwork. And more training. Always, more training. And what do people say about us? Catfights and punches- both of which will, by the way, get you expelled, and have never happened at any game I’ve been to or played in. Booty shorts. Girls in fishnets hitting each other. Short skirts and tight tops.

But this isn’t about roller derby. This is about rugby.

Continue reading “Women Excel At Sport, Journalists Talk About Manicures”

Women Excel At Sport, Journalists Talk About Manicures

Roller Derby and the Case of the Shameless Request For Money

This post does exactly what it says on the tin. I’m gonna be talking about roller derby. And I’m gonna ask you for some of that sweet sweet cash.

What we’re doing

My derby team, the East Coast Cyclones, are doing something seriously awesome this month. We’re hosting our very first national derby tournament- which also just so happens to be the first of its kind in the country. The Queen Bee Tournament is Ireland’s first competition for establishing teams and B-teams.

I know. Kind of a big deal.

Why would you do that?

Why would we put ourselves through organising a tournament? Why an establishing/B-teams tournament?

You see, derby has kind-of exploded in Ireland in the last couple of years. While there are a few teams that have been around since as far back as 2008 (I’m lookin’ at you, Cork Firebirds and Dublin Roller Derby), most of us popped up in the past two years or so. Loads of us have just started playing actual games in the past year. And while we love watching the established A teams kick ass on the track (and oh gawd do they kick ass), we want in on the action too. The derby action.

So we’re hosting a tournament for the rest of us.

But, like, aren’t you guys like.. less good? Why would I support less-good?

It’s true. There are skaters in this country (especially on those A teams) who could destroy the likes of myself in a matter of nanoseconds. At least, there are right now. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t put on a good show and fight some hardass derby. We’ve all been training our butts off and, let me tell you, the standard of derby in the newer teams in Ireland has gone through the roof in the last few months. It’s going to be a hell of a show.

Also? There’s nothing like watching a tournament with teams that are pretty darn well matched to each other. The Queen Bee is up for grabs and I have no idea where it’s gonna go.

How awesome is that, like?

You mentioned a small matter of cash? Money, dollars, euros, pounds? That kind of thing?

Doing this kind of thing is expensive. Pricey. Not cheap. And a small-town derby team like the Cyclones? We’re not exactly rolling in cash. We’ve got halls to rent, tape to buy, mile-high stacks of sandwiches to make, and a million other tiny things that add up to a hefty chuck of currency to make this happen.

So we’re gonna do what we always do. We’re gonna skate.

Tomorrow evening, we’re taking to the Bray Promenade for a 10-mile sponsored skate to help fund the tournament. We’re gonna skate our bums off! And in return, all we’d like are your sweet, delicious donations.

Do us a favour? Click on the picture below and throw a coupla quid our way, won’t ya? And if you haven’t the cash (I know the feeling!), give us a share and get your loaded friends to support us. G’wan. Do it for the derby.


Roller Derby and the Case of the Shameless Request For Money

Women’s Sports are Boring

If I had 50c for every time I heard someone say that men’s sports are just more interesting that women’s? I’d have the world’s fanciest pair of custom skates, a wall of wheels for every occasion, and a whole new wardrobe full of that fancy workout gear made of space-age fabrics with go-faster stripes. And maybe even a pony.

Women’s sports aren’t interesting? Y’know, whenever I hear someone say that a sport is less interesting to watch when women play it, I mentally file them away as someone who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about athleticism, skill, teamwork or dedication and who’s just into sports as a way to… damn, now I’m trying to think of a non-ciscentric way to say “wave their dicks around” and I’ve got nothin. (Anyone wanna help me out there?)

Sports are interesting or they’re not, and different types of bodies playing the same sport makes it MORE interesting, not less. Because sports are all about the combination of skill, knowledge, aggression and physicality, and different kinds of bodies bring different approaches to doing just about anything on a field or a track or a rink or a pool or a slope or a pitch.

Women’s sports tend to be less well-funded than men’s. We tend to have a lower profile. We don’t get tens of thousands of people watching us play. We rarely get the fancy sponsorship. We rarely get to play as a profession- we fit our training around our day jobs instead.

And we play, even though we don’t get paid, and even though we don’t get acknowledged or taken seriously. When you watch women’s sports, you’re not watching people who are in it for the adulation and the glory. You’re watching people who live and breathe their game, who love it and dedicate themselves to it despite the fact that hardly anyone outside their circles gives a rat’s ass about what they’re doing.

But, y’know, if you’d rather watch a bunch of overpaid guys run around the place.. be my guest.

Oh, and if for a second you think that men’s sports have a monopoly on mindblowing feats of skill or flat-out aggression? Watch and weep:

Edges are Important and Hauss the Boss is EPIC: credit rdjunkies
Credit Masochistic Eventuality. THAT is Fuck You Get Past Me derby.women

But that’s just my favourite sport. What’s yours? Who’re the amazing women playing it? Who do you love watching play, and how does she blow your mind every time?

Women’s Sports are Boring


Are you living within striking distance of Bray? Have you ever found yourself curious about roller derby? Maybe you think it sounds fun but you’re a bit apprehensive? Or maybe you’ve been dying to strap on some skates and knock people over but never quite knew where to start?

LOOK NO FURTHER! My derby league, the East Coast Cyclones, are holding an open skate on February 24th for anyone interested in trying out our fresh meat training programme, or just curious to see what it’s like to get on eight wheels. There’s no pressure to sign up- although you’re of course welcome to!- and no skating experience is required. Just pop us an email with your shoe size so we can get you kitted up, and come have some wheely fun.

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook, while you’re at it, and spread the derby lurrrrve <3

We Want You

If you’ve any questions about derby, let me know in the comments and I’ll be only too happy to answer


First Derby-versary!

Today marks exactly one year since my first ever roller derby fresh meat training session. A whole year! Only a year? Derby feels like something I’ve been doing forever, and it feels like something I just started yesterday. It feels like it showed up, swept me off my feet (literally), and I’ve never been the same since. I’m a substantially more bruised and aching human being since a year and a day ago. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

I have derby training this evening. These days, I train three evenings a week with Bray’s own East Coast Cyclones, and normally spend another evening working on my skating skills to cheesy 90s music at the roller disco. That’s four days a week that I skate, and every single time I still have butterflies. Packing up my gear, making sure I have everything, and heading out the door to training may be something I do every second day- but every time, I walk out that door feeling that glorious mix of excitement and nerves. I never, ever know how it’s going to be. I know that it’s going to be tough, and it’s going to be intense, and I hope that there are going to be moments where it feels right and I know what I’m doing, and I know that there are going to be more when I feel exhausted and hurt like hell. And I know that it’s going to be worth it.

And that’s just the training sessions.

When I put it like that, I feel like I need to defend what I love so much about derby. It hurts, it’s hard, it’s exhausting, I’ve seen a lot of people injure themselves doing it. I mean, I like that I’ve gotten this far in life without ever having broken a bone. I’d rather like to be able to say that again this time next year, y’know? I can’t say I haven’t thought long and hard about whether this is worth it, and whether it’ll be worth it if I really manage to hurt myself doing it. Every single time, though, the answer is yes. Because in spite of- or maybe because of- how tough it is to play this game and the risks I take to do it, something about it just won’t let go.

Derby is fun in a way that nothing else I’ve ever done can match. I don’t think that means it has to be that way for everyone, by the way- I know people who find skating dull as dishwater who rhapsodise about things I shudder to imagine, like trapezes or running or climbing or sports in fields with balls in. Or people who’ve never found a sport they find joy in, who find their unmatched fun somewhere completely different.

It’s all good, but for me? There’s never been anything as fun as roller derby. From the first moment I put on a pair of skates in Spin roller disco almost two years ago and tottered around the floor, I know that I loved to skate. From the first derby bout I saw, a couple of weeks later, I wanted to give it a go. I never thought I actually would or could, though. To be honest with you, it wasn’t until about halfway through my first bout (last month!) that I realised that this is a thing that I really can do.

And that’s, I guess, why I love it. Derby, for me, is that mix of the most fun I’ve ever had in my life, the most physically tough things I’ve ever done, some of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met (and I get to be one of them! How flippin’ cool is that?!). It’s learning every day that I can do more than I thought I could. It’s clever, it’s strong, it’s sneaky. It’s hitting your friends for fun, and it’s so much more than that. It’s packing my skates and gear with me every time I go anywhere, popping an email over to the local team and rocking on over to their training. It’s carrying around with me every day that you never know what you can do until you give it a go.

And, yeah, it’s butterflies in my tummy three times a week, every week, and that’s one hell of a thing to be able to say about anything.

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First Derby-versary!

Happy 2014!

They say you should start as you mean to go on. If that’s the case, I mean to spend 2014 in my pyjamas, bundled up in bed with my laptop and a mug of really nice coffee, with a cat headbutting me for attention. I think I could deal with that, although to be honest it’d really eat into my derby training schedule.

You know what it’s like when you read over last year’s resolutions and wish like hell that you’d lived up to them? Last year I made some damn good resolutions. They were so good, in fact, that I’ve even kept one or two of them up through the entire year- and that without having actually remembered what they were, or even that I’d made them in the first place.

Y’know what’s interesting? In the areas where I kept up those New Year’s Resolutions, things have been getting better and better. And the areas where I didn’t? Those are the places in my life that are more likely to be running through my mind when I’m staring at the ceiling at 3am.

That’s not surprising, though. As I said in my New Year’s video last year, the resolutions weren’t about the things that grown-ups are supposed to do, or what we’re supposed to care about. They were about “the things that changed my life, in 2012, from being unbearable to being wonderful, reminding myself what those are, and doing more of that”.

Here is, by the way, what I resolved this time last year:
1. Write like a motherfucker
2. Blog: draw, film, interview, pictures! Because I like making stuff. And I (still) want to learn to draw.
3. Make all the lists.
4. Roller skate. To quote me last year: “Roller skating is like.. flying. Except I’m scared of heights, so it’s better than that”
5. Use my words, stay in the moment, be open to love and opportunity, be willing to say no, and always search for joy.

Where I’ve let those things go, so has that sense of joy. But where I’ve done them? Oh, those are the places where things have gotten better than I could ever have imagined.

This year has been a mixed one. I haven’t written as much as I’d like, but I am proud of some of the things I have written and I’m grateful for all of the people I’ve met and opportunities I’ve found through this little blog. Thank you for the recognition at last year’s GALAs. Thank you, my wonderful readers, for sending me off to a conference this summer- that was brilliant, even if I did, er, skip out on the last hour to go to training. Thank you for commenting and sharing. Thank you to every one of you who’s come up to me in person or reached out to get in touch. Seriously, you guys, you know I get such a kick out of that, right?

I still haven’t learned to draw- although in the past month I’ve recruited an artist friend to help me learn, and we have delightful drawing lessons over tea and Malteasers where I, at the very least, get better at the theory of the thing.

As for the fourth item.. I thought I loved wheelyboots, but I had no idea how much better that could get. Also, how much better I could get. How head-over-heels (sometimes literally) I would be a year on for skating derby. How derby would fill me, not with the sense that I was the best at anything, but with the quiet confidence that I am better than I was, that I will be better than I am, and that working every day is worth it. Also, that no matter how loud you think you’re shouting (or how low you think you are), you could probably do with giving it a bit more welly. And, of course, derby introduced me to a couple of hundred (at least!) people who I just can’t get enough of. Yer all bloody brilliant, and I’m still pinching myself that I get to hang out with you lot.

This year? I don’t have much to add to the list, aside from writing it down this time instead of leaving it on YouTube. Cheesy or not, I find lists work best when I stick ‘em to my wall. My bedroom wall. Right where I can see them all the time.

Here’s my (slightly edited) list this time ‘round:

  1. Write like a motherfucker.
    • is your friend. Use it daily.
    • Twice a month at least, put up something different: draw, film, photos, interviews, recipes.
  2. Roller skate.
    • Attend training, even when you feel godawful, unless you’re physically incapable. You have never regretted this.
    • Offskates training
    • One day off per week. Take it.
  3. Make lists.
    • On paper. Where I can see them.
    • With realistic dates and times.
  4. Go for what I want to do
    • It is not up to me to decide whether I’m good enough. What is up to me to decide is whether it’s something I want or not, and whether to give it my best shot.
  5. Answer my goddamn emails.
  6. Use my words, stay in the moment, be open to love and opportunity, be willing to say no, and always, always search for joy.

Mostly that last bit.

Whatever you love, whatever your life looks like right now and what you hope for next year, I wish you an abundance of joy in 2014.

Happy 2014!

Derby Names and Alter Egos

Remember how on Monday I said I would have really liked to waffle on about roller derby for a bit, but ended up dismantling some antichoice arguments instead? Today we’re going the other way ’round. Yeah, the government finally announced that we’re getting a referendum on marriage equality the year after next. I could talk about that, and I’m sure we’d have an interesting and productive discussion, at the end of which we all agree that equality is good, and waiting another year and a half isn’t. So let’s pretend that’s done, shall we, and talk about something fun?

Can’t we just skip all that? Can’t we just be talking about derby now?

Let’s talk Derby Names

I love derby names. I’d say that they were one of my favourite things about the sport, if I weren’t so head-over-heels with skating fast, hittin’ people, taking hits and staying up, damnit, those fleeting seconds when I’m on the track and I actually have the faintest idea what’s going on, that moment when I get my jammer through the pack, and- oh yes- that moment when I am the jammer that just got through the pack and I see the ref signalling lead right next to me. When that jammer is behind my butt and she isn’t going anywhere. Oh, and new wheels. And freshly-washed pads. And the four (hopefully!) women on the track who’ve got my back. And the five I’m pitting my nascent wits and my skills against. And how much I love becoming stronger, faster and smarter skater. And… let’s just say that there’s another post or six to be dedicated to things I love about derby.

If it weren’t for all of those things, derby names would be one of my favourite things about derby. Always clever and often nerdy, I never fail to get a kick out of reading through a team’s lineup. And they serve a practical purpose too- creating a division between the mundanities of our everyday lives and this sport where we can be strong and aggressive women who take what we want, never, ever ask permission, and (literally) knock over anyone who dares to get in our way or try to get past us. It’s all part of the ritual- strapping on your pads, tying your laces and checking your toe stops, you put away your responsibilities and let out (what you hope is!) a clean, focused predator. Fuck, yeah.

I love derby names. I love changing into my derby gear. I love crossing the boundaries between real life and track. I just wish that this wasn’t such a cliche.

Derby Skater In Shocking Having-A-Real-Life Revelation

I’ve seen a few derby documentaries. Scratch that- I’ve seen a lot of derby documentaries. I love ’em. Love seeing how much this sport means to the women who play it around the world. Love watching them train and play and hearing them talk about what their teams and bouts and training are like. What can I say? I’m kinda in love with this game, and any chance to get to add to my (long) list of derby crushes is a chance I’ll snap up in a heartbeat. And while I love a derby documentary, and I love learning more about the different lives of the women who skate, I’m not in love with how derby names are portrayed.

Tell me if you haven’t heard this one many times before. It goes like this: “By day, she’s a mother/student/doctor/accountant/engineer/programmer/PA/etcetcetc. But by night, this everyday lady becomes something extraordinary: InsertCleverDerbyNameHere from SkatingLeague”. And then it talks about her alternate lives as if they were totally different things. Sometimes they go further, with voiceovers asking things like “would you believe that BadassMcSkatesAlot is a regular person who does ordinary things in the daytime?”

Well, yes. Of course she is. How do you think she affords those skates? I’m sure she’d love to devote herself fulltime to skating, but, for the moment at least, nobody’s getting paid to play. It’s the opposite, in fact- we pay for the privilege. We buy all of our gear, pay our membership dues, and volunteer our time to keep our leagues going.

That’s not surprising. What is surprising is.. well, that anyone thinks that it is. Sure, I think that roller derby is the best damn sport on the planet. I’m sure that people devoted to a different sport- from football to hurling to tennis to synchronised swimming- feels the same way about what they do. And the vast majority of them have day jobs, too.

Why is it considered weird that BadassMcSkatesAlot does regular-person things? It is because derby is new and different? Or is it because full-contact women’s sports are rare, and it’s simply not expected that everyday women might want to let their hair down for a few hours a week and knock some people over? Is it, perhaps, that that is considered subversive in a way that a bunch of guys knockin’ each other over in a rugby game isn’t? It is related to the aesthetic of roller derby- which is all about celebrating and playing with the artifice and decoration that women are expected to engage in every day, and making it something powerful and ours? Is it just another rehashing of the tired old Strong Female Character cliche? Or is it just that some people who make documentaries and reports are a bit lazy and inclined to grab an easy take on something, run with it, and then call it a day before popping out for a couple of pints?

That’s not to say that the day/night trope is always a terrible thing, though. This London Roller Girls promo, which pretty much relies on that, is brilliant. It takes the day/night thing and turns it on its head- we start off at work. I also love that it shows Vagablonde actually checking her gear (although I’m a bit mystified as to why she puts on her skates and pads before her makeup..). Safety first, y’all! Either that, or it could just be that I love everything LRG do, ever.

Here’s why it bothers me so much, though: while derby is different from our day jobs, the things we learn from derby stay with us throughout our lives. Yeah, I put away my gear and go back to my everyday life after training. Of course I do. But- and yeah, this is gonna sound cheesy- I’m not the same person I was before I skated. Derby taught me that I’m stronger than I think I am. It taught me that asking permission is overrated and sometimes you’ve just gotta take what you want- and that about 7 or 8 seconds later, you’ve gotta do it again. Derby taught me to not be scared of screwing up or looking ridiculous- that you need to fall over a couple of hundred times before you learn a new skill, that there will be people watching you fall, that you won’t always fall small and gracefully, and that throwing yourself into it anyway is the only way to be amazing. Derby taught me to open my mouth, shout out when I need a hand, listen to the people around me, and if you fuck up? There’s another chance to do better speeding ’round the track to meet you in, oh, a couple of seconds- so hustle, damnit. And derby taught me to get up off my ass and do something now, even if it isn’t perfect, before I lose my chance. (I also, er, learn an awful lot on a regular basis about sitting in a box and keeping my mouth shut for two minutes that I’m pretty sure last several years but the less said about that the better, amirite?)

I love derby names. They’re funny, they’re clever, and there’s something delicious about calling your teammates by their favourite puns every day. I love how the simultaneously create a separate derby world where different rules apply, and give us something to live up to and carry around with us. And while they’re fun for spectators and fans too, at the end of the day, our derby names are ours.


Derby Names and Alter Egos