Every entry in The Rollergirl Project is a small glimpse into the life of a derby girl. This entry is by Hurts Donut who skates for The Rollergirls of Southern Indiana. More pictures of her can be found at Cory's website.Katie. Baker. Donut. Jammer. Sister. Daughter. Derby Girl. Any and all encompass the things that make me.....me!
My sister Amanda and I have played lots of sports throughout the years. They offer just about anything as you wind through the public school system; We've done softball, soccer, track, cross country, swim, dodge ball, and bowling. Amanda's taller which made cross country easier for her while my small frame made swimming a pretty decent sport for me, but neither one of us we're really star athletes. But even if they're not the best parents tend to go all out in support of their offspring. My parents did a fair job cheering for me on the soccer sidelines or handing me towels coming out of the pool, and grabbing Amanda water after a race but they really got the bug for their kids playing roller derby. My derby mom could kick your soccer mom's ass in a cheering contest.
Now they weren't thrilled at the start. My sister Amanda played first. She came to family dinner one balmy summer Sunday evening and explain this sport called roller derby to our parents. You could tell by the look on their faces that neither one thought all that much of this strangely rough female sport. They were probably picturing staged punches being thrown at her and breaking her neck going over the rail of the classic roller derby of the 60's and 70's. And mom in particular wasn't too keen on her eldest daughter playing it. Then Amanda ran off and got me involved. Enter mom being even more apprehensive as both of her daughters are playing some rough and tumble sport that is sure to get us maimed. But our mom has always been a bit of a Tom-boy and our dad appreciates the odd, unpopular bits of society so after catching a couple games, figuring out what was happening, and seeing how much we really enjoyed the sport they came right around.
Of course it takes everyone at least one game to figure out what's going on and really get into the sport. Our parents came to the first game ROSI ever had in December of 2007 to see my sister play. They came away from that with sort of a "We'll that's not as bad as we thought" mindset. They still weren't thrilled though but, in support of their children, came to ROSI's first official home game to watch both of us in action. They sat in the floor seating, with dad scooting down to the suicide seats for a bit just to give it a try. I think seeing us working together and pushing ourselves, as well as walking out of our first game together unscathed, finally convinced them it wasn't so bad after all.
The more derby came into our lives the more it became a family affair. Mom has a blue, star covered vest she fills with the pins we sell of all the girls on our team. Not just her daughters; she's adopted every single skater as one of her derby kids. Dad has a bad back but he'll always sit in the suicide seats for at least a portion of every game he can. He's also the team chuffer for away games. If it's not too far he'll offer up the extra seats in our van to girls that need a ride, he's buys them lunch when we stop, and houses them in our hotel room. When games are further out he'll rent bigger cars so he can take more girls. After some car trouble on our way to a game in Ohio, he offered to rent the effected parties another car to get them to the game. He bought 3 extra hotel rooms on that same trip after girls who were going to camp got rained out and for the car that broke down and wasn't driving back that night. He also enjoys having a beer with girls post game. Either of our parents will travel anywhere and procure anything to help their girls, blood or adopted, do the best they can.
Ask anyone involved and they'll always mention how much you're derby team mates are like family. At least one of my team mates actually is my family. I love skating with my sister. We have very similar skating styles which makes it easy to maneuver around each other on the track. We don't have to communicate verbally to understand one another either. One game early on in our derby lives Amanda was jamming and , as a newbie, I was playing the inside line. She passed through the opposing skaters in the back of the pack, came to the inside line and tapped my hip. I instinctually got out off the line to let her through and stepped right back to the line as she passed. We did the same thing two more times in that same jam and she racked up nine points. She never had to throw me off the line or yell for me to move. She just tapped my hip. We enjoy similar types of humor and the same kinds of activities so at practice we can always make off-handed comments the other one understands even if no one else gets it. Especially when I started it was so much easier to be involved in the group by being able to acquaint myself with others by jumping into her conversations.
It's really a great feeling. As children grow up I know parents can fade from their lives a bit. Siblings drift when their lives go different directions. The older you get and the more of your own life you live the harder it is to keep those connections when you get busy and you're running ragged. But we always hold family dinner on Sunday nights so we can catch up and enjoy each other's company. And if I miss a dinner then I know I can see my sister at practice later that week and I'll get to see mom and dad at the next game. We'll get to catch up on the next road trip. I've got friends that don't see their parents much anymore and I always think how sad I would be if I didn't get to see my family regularly. Roller derby helps to keep that from happening. It's my family affair and I wouldn't have it any other way.