Marie posing as part of a positive body image campaign in 2015 Photo taken by Jodie Ponte
Everyone’s derby journey is different. Mine hasn’t quite ended up where I thought it would after a year and a half, but that’s what’s great about derby, you can do so many different things. I remember my first day as a freshie. I was nervous, as I hadn’t been on skates in at least 15 years. I was convinced (and so was my mom) that since I can barely walk without injuring myself, I was ultimately setting myself up for many visits to the hospital. My first practice involved a lot of me giving myself pep talks about not being scared – all while watching the rest of the MARD ladies skating and hitting and being generally awesome.
When we sat down to stretch at the end of the night, everyone went around and talked about what had brought them to derby. It was one of the first times in 29 years that I truly felt a connection to such a large group of people. Everyone was so positive and uplifting. By the end of the night, when I was walking out of the rink, I had forgotten all of my concerns about not being good enough and instead I replaced the negativity with all of the positive things people had said. After all, they had all been where I was at one point (though I’m still convinced that at least a handful of them skated out of the womb).
Once I finally leveled up to a 2 with my group of freshies, I was proud of myself. It hadn’t been easy after coming back from sickness and minor injuries, but everyone was once again encouraging and it helped silence the voice in my head that was saying, “I will never be able to do this.” During practices, or even open skates, every single league mate was willing to offer words of wisdom or to show me how to properly transition, hockey stop, etc. (even if it was the 79th time I asked). When the time came for assessments, the other skaters were there to help and make it as comfortable as a test can be. My major struggle, and the one thing I was determined to really nail, was jumping over the pad. It was something I was never able to do during practice, as I was constantly over-thinking it. I didn’t make the jump the first time around the track. Making my way back to the pad, I kept telling myself to just do it and to stop worrying. The second time around, I cleared the jump! I was so proud of myself that I actually yelled from excitement. The part that really got to me (and made me cry) was the fact that I wasn’t yelling on my own – the rest of the skaters on the track were yelling from excitement with me. Though I didn’t end up passing the assessment, I walked away feeling accomplished and supported.
Bootiful Banshee, Mutha Trucka, Havana Heartbreak, Marie, and XQZ Moi at the 2015 MARD photo shoot. Picture taken by Spanks Red Hot and Sue Doe Nymph
Due to injury, and life getting in the way, I have had to step away from the skating part of derby. I was voted to be on the 2015 Board of Directors, so I am still able to be a part of a league of people I have grown to love. The amount of respect, support, and encouragement that my fellow league mates give each other on a daily basis is something I hope to never lose in life. Despite not being a current skater, I have never doubted that they still have my back. So, even though my journey started off with me skating and I am currently on the BoD and no longer skating, my love and support for these people hasn’t faltered. I hope to be a part of derby and MARD for a long time to come. I’m excited and ready to see where my derby journey will take me.
Blog post by Marie Desrosiers