Last (Wo)man Standing
The date was January 3, 2006 when I fell in love. I attended my first practice with the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins. I had no skating experience. I couldn't cross over. I couldn't stop without running into the wall. It wasn't pretty. I'd played rugby in college, so the only thing I was any good at was hitting people. It didn't really matter though, since none of us really knew much about derby. WFTDA was still a baby organization and the rules were a loose guidebook at best. We knew we skated on an oval. We knew there were jammers and blockers and we could hit each other. We were just a bunch of girls who wanted to play derby...whatever it was.
Shortly thereafter, our mismatched group of 50-60 skaters was broken down into 4 teams. Coaches Sammie and Linda made lists and hung them on the wall like a high school team tryout. I think I was on "team 3." We met the next weekend at Tampa Bay Brewing Company. I brought a blue binder and took notes. I guess they thought I was organized and I got nominated for captain. We came to a consensus on the name, "The Black Widows," and were pretty annoyed that the Vicegrip Vixens claimed the color red, so we settled for Green and Black.
Our first bout was scheduled for May 2006 and bore the name "Project Mayhem" in the style of Fight Club. We were so excited. The, on one fateful practice night in April, I fell down and broke my ankle. I took my first intro lap in a wheelchair wearing my puke-green, hand-dyed Widows jersey, black and green knee socks, and an ankle boot. We took home the championship that season and is was a sweet, sweet victory.
Fast forward 8 years. I have changed my number twice (formerly IB6UB9 and E=mc2). I have skated for the Black Widows (season 1), Cigar City Mafia (seasons 2,3,5,6, and 7), and the Switchblade Sisters (seasons 4, 8, and 9). I captained the Tantrums from season 2-6 and finally retired from the travel team after season 7. I've traveled all over the country with the team that I love. I've experienced some of the most amazing moments both on and off the track and made connections and friendships that are incomparable to any other. My derby past is full of joy and tears, wins and losses, and I don't regret a second of it.
The number of original Darlins has dwindled over the years.... you might remember some of them... Joan of Ache, Tara Fire, Princess Golddigger, Wanda Whoop Ass, Bettie Kruger... Now it is just me. I may not be as fast or as fierce or as brutal as I used to be, but I'm still in love.
Leia Flat #80D