For the past 5+ years of playing derby, one thing has been abundantly clear in my mind. Derby is life. There is no need to fit derby in to my life, because frankly, derby is my life, and everything else will have to work around this. As a mom (single for the majority of that time), it’s not an easy task to build a life around derby. I would schedule all of my kids’ activities based on my derby schedule, and book family vacations around tournaments, and generally just make it work the best I could.
No, my kids didn’t suffer. They all got to do their sports and hang out with me, and did have a present mom. That said, they were also rink rats, and I brought them to most of my derby activities too. Basically, derby was just part of our life as a family, and they got to witness their mom being a strong, powerful, “I take no shit” woman. I think there is a valuable lesson in that.
My “derby is life” method of involvement worked really well for me for just over 5 years. It worked until real life happened and fucked all my shit up. My teenagers began getting in to a lot of trouble (like, A LOT), and my littles went to stay with their dad for 1 year. They have a new baby sister at his house, and felt the need to go live with her for a little bit. It’s complicated. But basically, our schedule completely changed, and it no longer could fit with my derby. I have my littles almost every weekend now, so practices, games and tournaments are challenging for me, particularly because my league at the time practiced every weekend. My teenagers needed to go in more activities, and I had to commit to taking them. This also interfered with my 2 weeknight practices. I thought I had to quit derby, but then I realized that was never going to be an option. So instead, I found a way to make derby fit in to my new version of life.
So now I skate with a new league every Tuesday night, and that is my one night that I get to have just for my derby. I go to Muay Thai with my oldest teen on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which is amazing, and I think it’s going to help my derby game immensely. I coach my step-daughter and her roller derby team on Thursday nights. And I also started skating at Lloyds Roller rink every (or maybe every second) Monday to get some private coaching to be a jammer. I’m calling it our Roll Bounce Gang, and basically we jam skate super fast and work on agility and confidence… all while roll bouncing of course. I am a lucky person to have someone mentor me in my quest to jam. And lastly, I am coaching my old team, the Cut-Throat Car Hops! This means that I will have another opportunity (even if it’s just once a month) to work on strategies, and put some rad drills to use.
Alright, here’s the point. Basically, I have found a way to make derby work for me, instead of the other way around. By pulling resources from 3 different leagues and working on physical strength etc., with my kids, derby can fit in my life. In fact, it is fitting in my life! I can still be just as intense, focused, and confident, even with all the added kid time and stress. And you know what? It feels good. I like this new version of derby. It’s going to be a good season.