Derby Arrested Development

I live in a derby state of arrested development.  I am caught somewhere between old rules and new, between newbie and vet. I began playing for the Southern Illinois Roller Girls in October 2011 and moved away in July 2012, literally the day after I played my second ever game as a rostered skater. I found a team to play with in central Illinois but it wasn’t the same. Somehow as a skater who was relatively low in the ranks of her old team, I was suddenly near the top with my new team and wasn’t sure what to do. Slowly but surely I worked my way into the group (if you know me, you know it takes me a LOOOOOOOONG time to get comfortable with anyone/anywhere). I became a coach and eventually vice president of the league, but I was never happy.  I could never motivate my team, quite like my old coaches had motivated me, I wasn’t getting any better because most people I played with were on the same skill level as me or lower. I tried going to camps, practicing on my own, or you know when all else fails googling new drills to try on my own.  I also kept up with my other physical exploits sticking with running and biking taking up soccer. Unfortunately I ended up isolating myself and eventually left. I took a break for a few months started what was once described as a “rogue traveling” team with girls from all over central Illinois and Iowa. It was fun while it lasted, but the responsibility was a hard burden to bear on my own. So in October 2013 I headed to Bloomington with an old friend to play what I assumed would be my last derby game. It was an informal co-ed scrimmage. It was fun and I was done…or was I? As the derby fates would have it about six months later I got into graduate school at Southern Illinois University. I would be headed back to Carbondale land of my first derby love SIRG.  I was nervous, should I start playing again? Would my schedule let me? Would I even have the skills? I hadn’t practiced in almost a year! I hadn’t been taught or coached in almost two! The rules had changed since I left, the game was different, and all these thoughts overwhelmed me until I felt sick to my stomach (much like I feel on bout day up until my first jam), but I decided to give it a shot; and you know what the game is different and it is overwhelming. But I’m different too. I may not have the best set of skills, I may not always agree with the new rules or strategies, but I’m scrappy as hell and will get back up even if you knock me down over and over and over. So here I am, not old school, not new. Not fresh meat, not vet and I’m doing just fine a derby girl in arrested development.   


Zooey SlayChanel

Posted on November 13, 2014 .