Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I don't think my legs have ever been this sore.

My first roller derby practice was two days ago. It was also the first time I'd been on skates in at least three years. The practice was -- to my out-of-shape body and scaredy-cat mind -- brutal. I learned the derby position (knees bent, butt out, elbows in, head up). It was fun when Bones, the tiny little derby chick who taught the beginner class, said to stick your butt out. Easy for you to say, I thought. If my butt were that tiny, I'd walk around sticking it out all day. :-)

Bones was awesome, as were all of the Sick Town Derby Dames. It was a sea of unfamiliar faces, most (but not all!) of which were a good 5-15 years younger than mine. (I checked -- I'm not the oldest. Not that it would matter.)

At first, I was pretty scared on the skates. I brought my own, a pair of four-wheelers (that's the old fashioned kind -- roller derby does not use inline skates) that I picked up for $25 at Wal-Mart several years ago. Apparently I got what I paid for: an hour and a half into the two-and-a-half-hour practice, I had to take off the skates because they were absolutely killing my feet.

Until then, I had been getting more comfortable on my wheels. When I was 11 years old, I was absolutely obsessed with rollerskating. My parents bought me a pair of skates for Christmas, and I was inseparable from them. (The following spring, they upgraded me to a supercool pair of Boston Avenue Street Skates -- with silver sneakers with rainbows, instead of boots -- as a reward for bringing up my grade in religion class from a C to an A. Or maybe it was for improving my behavior grade from "needs improvement" to "satisfactory." I don't remember now.)

Anyway, I skated all the time -- indoors, outdoors, wherever I could. My best friend and I would "practice" falling at the roller rink -- not that we ever fell. I wasn't some brilliant skater; it was just easy.

It's not easy now. Now, my calves are sore, and I forget to bend my knees, and the floor is slippery and I'm afraid I'm going to fall. I have to get past that, because let's face it: if I do roller derby (and I really want to), I'm going to fall.

This weekend, I'm going down to the skate shop in Eugene (run by a derby girl who calls herself Babe Malicious), and get some good skates and good knee pads. I'll be 40 in a month -- I'm not taking chances with my knees. Better to spend $58 (!!) for good-quality pads than god-only-knows-how-much for knee surgery.

Given how fricking sore they are now, I think I can safely say: if I stick with this derby thing, I'm going to have some strong damn legs.


  1. Good luck Miranda! I wish I had the guts to try this :-) I think u will rock. Oh n when do u get to pick a cool derby name for yourself?

  2. I will look forward to see how you progress. THe Boston Avenue Street Skates as I remember cost close to $100.!
    Love, Mom

  3. There's a national registry of derby names -- you have to register your name because there can only be one person with any given name. They recommend not submitting someone's name until they've been with the team for 3 months at least. :-)

  4. Kudos to you on your journey. I have finished reading you blog (backwards, of course).

    I, too, have recently begun roller derby. I'm 19, so I'm finally eligible to do so. But I totally rocked out skating when I was younger too. I lived walking distance to a rink and all the employees knew my best friend and I and they'd let us in when the rink was closed. But derby is still hard as shit.

    Congrats on all your progress, can't wait to hear more from you.