I started this blog fall last year, cause the derby-ness was overwhelming me and so much was going on, I wanted to make sure I would make a documentation of what I was experiencing. And I am happy I did.
Because in this past year (and a few months-but let's not get into details now) I have gone from a girl knowing not much about roller derby, except for watching a bout in the US, to derby-crazed girl, having not only derby on the mind 24-7, but practicing it in every way too.
Being part of a group
My whole life I have been involved in groups in different social settings, like most people.
I have been a part of several groups of friends, from primary school to college, I've always had a group of friends I called 'mine'. As a kid I was a scout and participated in lots of group activities, like acting classes and such.
In the last ten years I walked around in the more cultural and political groups, like squatters, activists, musicians and punks.
But also in work, i've been part of teams, organizations and companies.
And to say so myself, I usually work pretty well in groups. I am a social being. So comes quite natural to me, I didn't become a social worker for nothing! ;)
But a sports team, is the one thing on my list of groups-i-participated-in, that I could not cross off.
Also because, as I have said before, I am not quite the athletic type, to say the least.
When I found roller derby in Amsterdam and became part of this great league, the Amsterdam Derby Dames, I found myself to fit in quite easily. I guess it's just
a) The ADD girls are awesome
And b) because being in a sports team is not much different then all the other groups I have participated in through out the years.
Except for of course for the part where we work our asses off and sweat like pigs!
But there is something a lot different about this group that unites because of Roller Derby, and not only because we sweat together.
This sport is athletic, we train a lot, so we see each other more then other (very important) people in our lives.
Roller Derby is a DIY sport. Everything (and I really mean every little thing) around this sport we need to organize ourselves and it's brand spanking new in the Netherlands, which together makes it a team effort to get this of the ground.
Roller derby might be new in the Netherlands, but there is a big community around Roller Derby, internationally and growing nationally as well.
And I think all those things combined, just makes Roller Derby in to a unique team/group/community/phenomenon.
*group picture of our last bootcamp*
I have always been the busy and enthusiastic type, so I guess I should have know, this new "hobby/sport" was going to take up allot more time and energy then one or two practices a week....
But seriously I don't know what happened, within a little over a year, my life has completely did a 180.
I work 36 hours a week as a social worker, and have three practices during the week, additional practices (at least) once a month in the weekend.
Then there a committee meetings, board meetings, bootcamps, bouts, scrimmages, parties,blogs, lots of phone calls and even more emails...
And when I am not doing any of that, I am still ready in a magazine about derby, watching derby online or communicating about derby online, and even when I am asleep derby haunts me in my dreams. :)
I have exchanged my life with friends and family for a new group of friends that almost feel like family sometimes.
And of course I still love all of my friends and relatives. But this just happened. I have read about this effect Roller Derby can have one ones life, but just didn't realize it would happen to me, cause I thought I was to busy for that. How wrong I was... :p
Derby girl, to be or not to be, is that even a question?
Like I tried to explain above was how much of a community roller derby really is. It's so much more then just a sport. Which I guess is probably the same for more sports. But the cool thing about the Roller Derby community is, that I like it! :p It fits me well and I love being part of it.
The thing that is strange, is that we've been working hard, around the clock, on our league and on training. But because we haven't played our first bout yet, we are still pretty much newbies in the sport! So even though I feel completely sucked into this world of roller derby, I am not really comfortable about labeling myself as a Roller Derby girl. Which i know, is kind of a weird discussion anyways. But I am new to this 'world of derby' and not sure what the guide lines are. I know I get annoyed by girls 'posing' as being derby chicks, even though they can hardly skate. Then again, compared to people who can actually skate, and have played for years, like Tara Armov, I cannot skate for shit...
So where to draw that line? To be or not to be? To be honest, I think it's a no brainer. There is no choice, when you get that bug, and you start seeing your derby team mates more then the people you live with, I think it's clear, you have become a derby girl! Label or no label, it's just the way it goes.
To be honest, I am fucking proud of being part of this all!! I have so much love for our league and love the sport and the community more every day.
Yes Roller Derby has completely taken over each asset of my life, but I am actually happier then ever, so I am ok with it!
As an end to this very extensive blog (sorry bout that..), I would like to shout out to all of my friends and family that I have been neglecting over the passed months/year. I hope you won't hate derby because it took over my life and I cannot stop talking about it. :p And I hope you'll all be sitting (and screaming) in the front row when we are playing our first bout. :)
Love you all!!
Ps: All pictures in this blog where made by Edmond van As. Thank you!!!