When I chose Carnage Sandiego to be my derby name, I had no idea that I’d be living up to it. (For those who are younger, it’s a throwback to the character criminal Carmen Sandiego who was constantly moving throughout the world to deceive authorities whilst teaching kids geography.) Although my derby exploits have remained within the continental U.S., I’ve managed to play or practice with 5 teams in 4 states. Derby has accepted me in Illinois, Texas, California, and Nevada.
What was that like? Here are my observations thus far:
- Different leagues use different lingo. It makes warmups interesting, but it can get a little confusing trying to interpret names of maneuvers while on the track. I’ve heard the same stretch referred to as Bad Kitty, Hello Kitty, the Stripper Stretch, Saturday Night, and Come Get Some. (Please add your variation in the comment section as I bet there’s more…).
- Every league has a mom. In derby speak, the mom is generally the responsible person who makes sure that everyone’s okay. Like real mothers, the “duties” will vary from person to person and are self-designated. It’s super helpful when the “mom” identifies herself up front! Note: the role of mom is not gender specific nor does it require having bred children.
- Every league I’ve skated with has accepted me into their little group. Sometimes it takes longer to get comfortable than others, but that’s on me. When in doubt, I always skate by (heh heh- threw in a pun there) with “that’s what she said” jokes.
- All of the names!! Roller derby skaters respond to a multitude of names: their derby name, an abbreviated version of their derby name, their given name, and perhaps an additional nickname or two. For example, I’m Carnage Sandiego. I’m also Carnage, (insert my real name here), and now Nevada and sometimes New Girl. It gets tricky with Facebook as players may only choose one name to identify themselves. Luckily, we tend to have our derby names on the backs of our jerseys. Whew.
- Unicorns are awesome. ‘Nuff said.
Like having a new job or a new school, there’s always a breaking in period. Derby shortens the time of that awkward period. I already have common ground with my new team because we’ve put ourselves into this crazy situation that is derby. We’re in this together and we need each other. I look forward to the new friendships and stories to come and will always cherish the escapades I’ve undergone with previous teams. Until next time...
Carnage Sandiego, 117