Derby Days

June is approachingly quickly and it is again time for me to decide the burning question.. Will I try out for the Savannah Derby Devils?  I believe I  possess the necessary skills required to be successful at the game.  I am fiercely competitive, comfortable on skates, I have plenty of attitude and the best rollergirl name ever thought of.  I will not mention the name here in case I end up using it one day.

Yesterday I was reminded of the decision I would need to make at the check out counter of Brighter Day.  I was trying to force myself to eat something before a medical procedure at my doctors office that would take place shortly after.  I was wearing a Debry Devils t-shirt because I wanted to invoke some girl power to give me courage.  I was wearing the shirt along with a piece of jewelry that I consider to be a protective talisman of sorts.  Yes, I know I’ve played too much Final Fantasy and read too many fantasy novels, but I was nervous.  Luckily I was also prescribed a single valium just in case the shirt and necklace didn’t work.

The girl at the counter started to ring up my turkey avocado sandwich.  “I like your shirt,” she said “Are you on the team?”  For a minute I forgot I was wearing the shirt but I quickly recovered. “I’m not on the team but I did go to their bootcamp last year. I was thinking of going this year and trying out at the end.”  I was very ashamed of myself for not even trying to get on the team last year.

“Oh, I wanted to go myself” said the waif in her tiny leggings.  “But I have too many friends that got seriously injured.”  She held up her stick  to illustrate how her friend had broken a leg.  All I could thing of was that if the friend had legs like hers no wonder they snapped.  I wanted to ask her if she needed a bite of my sandwich.  Or if she thought it was okay to act like leggings were pants just because she was as skinny as a starving African child in the bush?

“I didn’t actually play in a game,” I confessed.  “So I didn’t get injured aside from a tiny place on my ankle where several layers of skin was rubbed away by my skate.” I was damn proud of that little scar! One of the girls on the team told me that all of them had scars on their ankles.  I told the girl that she could at least try the bootcamp to give her an idea if she could handle it, but I knew by looking at her that she wouldn’t.  She didn’t have the right attitude.

The first time I went to a “bout” I could hardly stand to just sit there.  When the Derby Devils took the rink with the music blaring behind them I felt my excitement swell.  I wanted to be out there with them.  It had been so long since I’d skated but somehow I knew that the ability to play this game was inside me.  As I watched Fear Abbey dart in and out of other skaters to score points for her team I had an intense desire to be her.  I had never liked sports and I preferred to accomplish things on my own rather that relying on other to help me achieve a goal.  This time it was different.

It was around that time that someone came around with flyer about their bootcamp.  It turned out to be one of the coolest things I’d ever done.  I was very proud of not falling once during the practice (excluding the shopping cart exercise),  and that I was able to get through the two hours of drills.  I never thought my heard could beat so fast.  I was drenched in sweat by the end of each practice and went to bed every night sore and terribly satisfied with myself.

I wanted so badly to impress the girls on the team who were running the bootcamp.  I finally got to chance to shine when the instructor formed us into teams as if we were playing the game and I was chosen as Jammer.  I know that all positions are important but Jammer is the only one that can score, so it was the position I wanted. Beside me was an intense short girl who was just as competitive as me.  We looked at each other and I didn’t think her stumps could match my long legs made strong from jogging.  They blew the whistle and we went flying.

She was on the inside so when we got to the turn I had to go out further making the distance I covered much longer than hers.  We were going so fast the instructor yelled out a warning to us to slow down because we weren’t wearing headgear or anything.  Not that I planned on falling!  It was a short run and she won despite the fact that I nearly killed myself trying to close the distance. I was angry because it had been my first real opportunity to show the girls what an asset I would be to their team.

I think I did get their attention because at the end of the practice I was presented with a blue and white skull bandanna for showing so much “heart.”  In the end I didn’t try out for the team because someone told me that skates and equipment would cost me nearly $400 and then I had to buy rollergirl insurance although I had health coverage already.  In addition to that just playing the game was a huge time commitment of two hours at least three times per week.  Also you had to go to Garden City to practice and at the time my old 1997 Mazda Protege couldn’t have made those trips. I had been borrowing a car every day just to get to the bootcamp practices.

This year however, I just bought a new car and I’m in slightly better situation.  I will most likely attend bootcamp again and try out for the team.  I recommend that any girl who enjoys skating and blowing off some steam  try this at least once.  The bootcamp won’t be the same rush as an actual bout, but it is as close as you can get without making a real commitment.  I will give one warning, this sport is addictive. At what other time can you get away with wearing those old tights from ten years ago? In my case, blue snake skin tights that I couldn’t stand to throw away. And who wouldn’t want a chance to instantly make twenty new girlfriends?

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