From the helmet of: Gravy
2014 was a whirlwind year. And a banner year. Just whirlwinds and banners everywhere, with me floating around somewhere in between. I was an academic. And a bum. I moved to the other side of the country. I lost myself. I found myself. I lost my mind. I found that, too. For now. I skated and skated and skated. I skated to forget. I skated to remember. I skated for the hell of it and I skated with a fiery purpose as if nothing else mattered.
In 2014, I gave my all. To everything. Mentally, physically, every part of me was used up and spit out. But it was replenished and replaced with strength, toughness, and voracity. Anyone that knows me for an extended amount of time knows that I’m very good at overwhelming myself. I want to do it all! right! now! So when I moved to Austin and the magical world of roller derby mecca opened up, I couldn’t handle it. There was SO MUCH to do and I wanted to do ALL OF IT. Scratch that, I was GOING to do all of it.
Two days after coming in, I skated. I wasn’t sure how to handle the heat and got heat exhaustion. Damn, Texas is hot. And damn, the Blood Shed is hotter. I started skating in the first level of rec league. I tested up to the second level. I started going to Austin Anarchy practices with my boyfriend, who skates for them. I joined Bat City Rebellion. I tested up in rec league again. I went to speed skate. I joined a co-ed team. I went to clinics. I went to Friday Night Lights when there were only 5 other people there. I went when there were 40. I officiated in bouts and scrimmages. I went to the gym. I PRd and PRd and I felt good and strong. I did hill sprints and I hated every single second of it. I bench-coached a few teams. I went to lessons. I tried out and made the top level of rec league. I skated 20 hours in one week, including 6 hours of clinic and a co-ed bout in one day. I tried out for TXRG. I made the New Girl program. I volunteered at Charleston playoffs. I learned the importance of off-skate warmups. I skated 6 days a week for 3 weeks. I did a million box jumps. I got drafted! I became a Hell Mary (Hell Yes!). This weekend we’re driving to Champs. And in December we’re volunteering at the World Cup.
I can definitely say that the last half of 2014 has been way better than the first. But the last few weeks specifically have been amazing. Being chosen as a New Girl and then having crazy intense practices 3-4 times a week was a dream, being taught by seasoned Texas Rollergirls and Texecutioners. I loved every minute of it. My body, not so much. She started wearing down in the third week, just because I wasn’t sleeping well and was having trouble eating enough (those things are important, guys!). But I made it through. And I know that nothing my body could’ve told me would’ve made me stop (again, bad, don’t do that), but luckily that was never an issue. And I’m so ready to give myself to my new league and to soak up as much as I possibly can.
It’s funny to think about where I started and where I am now. I bought a pair of skates before I had a place to skate. The guy said something about not dropping a lot of money on your first pair of skates because you might quit. And I was like, “OKAY WEIRDO.”
So then I found a league April of 2011 when I moved back to Huntington, WV – the Jewel City Rollergirls. Sometimes we’d have 5 people at practice. Our league never had more than 20. Everything was hard. Finding bouts without a home location to hold on. Getting people to come to practice. Doing business things. Branding ourselves. It was all a struggle. All of this while we were learning how to skate and be competitive. Learning how to be athletes for the first time, to work as a team. Trying to understand how a body could possibly hurt this bad. Am I dying?
And now, here I am a member of the Texas Rollergirls, lifting weights multiple times a week, and refusing to wear pants that don’t stretch. I look back at those fresh meat pictures and I’m grateful for everything that has happened to bring me to here. I’ve grown up a lot. I’ve made a lot of friends. I found my niche and found where I finally feel like I belong. It has been a crazy journey full of strange moments, bad moments, and life-changingly wonderful moments. The great thing about roller derby is that if you want something, the power to have it is in your own hands.
Tesla and Gravy
Just two rollergirls trying to share the rollerlove from Austin, TX to the world.