Every entry in The Rollergirl Project is a small glimpse into the life of a derby girl. This entry is by Magpie who skates for the Lake City Roller Dolls. More pictures of her can be found at Cory's websiteMy name is Megan Dinse and I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, and a friend. I love animals and kids and consider myself to be a compassionate human being. I also love to skate. I am a derby girl. You can call me Magpie.
Derby entered my life in February 2010, at just the right time. I had just found out that my husband of seven years wanted a divorce. My life as I knew it had dropped out from under me. I was in shock and I didn’t know how to move forward. And then roller derby knocked on my door… I’m talking with a friend when she tells me she’s going to watch a co-worker skate in a derby bout. My mind flashes back to sitting in the movie theater watching “Whip It” and thinking how bad-ass Ellen Paige’s character became. I tell my friend to send me the details of the bout as this is my chance to watch roller derby for real. She sent me something even better – a flyer she’d come across that said a roller derby team was starting up in my town. OMG…this was my chance to become like Ellen Paige!!! I honestly remember thinking about it and asking myself, “What have I got to lose?” I’ve never been athletic and have never played a sport in my life, but roller derby sounded exciting and daring and was definitely out of my comfort zone. I figured this sad, confused, crying-mess I’d turned in to could use a change of pace and the chance to get out some aggression.
So I went to the informational meeting. I looked around the table at the ten or so girls and saw that they weren’t all super tiny and athletic looking. I came right out and said I’d never played a sport before, unless you counted watching TV which I’d become quite good at. Some of them laughed but no one told me to get the hell out, so I figured that was a good sign. A few days later, I went to the local skating rink and put on my first pair of speed skates. I’d decided that if I fell flat on my face the first time around, perhaps this wouldn’t be the sport for me. I hugged the side of the wall and broke a sweat after only a few laps around – but I did not fall! A few days after that, I gathered up some friends and attended my first roller derby bout to watch the Fort Wayne Derby Girls. We sat down in what I have now come to know as suicide seats! I was in very close view of these chicks in their fishnets and booty shorts and I loved it. Looking around at the crowd, I saw parents and friends wearing shirts in support of their favorite derby girl. I was filled with immediate excitement at the thought of my friends and family cheering for me. I was already envisioning my mom with a shirt that said ‘Magpie’s mom’! Halfway into watching the bout, I turned to my friends and said, “I’m doing this thing.”
About a week later, I attended the first practice of what has now become the Lake City Roller Dolls. Within a few weeks, I was voted captain of the league. At 31 years of age, not only was I joining my first sport ever, but I was voted captain…of ROLLER DERBY! I was the kid in middle school who hated gym class and would stand in the outfield during softball and pray that no one hit the ball in my direction. I can say with certainty that this was not something I had ever envisioned for myself. But now I can’t imagine my life without it.
During the most difficult year of my life, roller derby has been a source of positivity in so many ways. First and foremost, I believe derby has helped me to find myself again and reconnect with who I truly am as a person. I think somewhere along the path of my past, I lost a little bit of who I was. But since joining derby, I feel like I am a better version of myself. Roller derby has also given me the opportunity to spend time with amazing women – ladies that I never would have met otherwise. My teammates have become my family and some of my best friends. I have a derby wife whom I love dearly. I will do anything I can to support these women and I believe they’d do the same for me. Roller derby has also given me other things – the chance to volunteer and help out in my community, the opportunity to step up as a leader and help build a team, and the chance to be an athlete and get in shape.
When people ask how I got into roller derby, I tell them it was as if it fell from the sky and landed in my life at the exact time I needed it. I don’t believe the timing was coincidence. At any other point in my life, I probably would not have attended that first meeting. But the opportunity arose just as I was opening the door to a new life. Derby is so much a part of my life now and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Roller derby helped me to save myself. For that I will always be grateful.