Roller Derby Can Change The World– and WE Need a Change

skatesAnd by the world, I mean your world. That’s really what it’s all about, right? We can change the world one outlook at a time. Let me tell you how.

Anyone in the derby community knows that most people find roller derby when they crave something in their life whether it be a distraction, an affirmation, a challenge or a support group.

How can derby be those things? Roller derby isn’t just a bunch of women in fish nets knocking each other down. In fact, that’s actually not what it is at all. It is women with guts coming together to put it all on the line. It is bearing every insecurity to a group of people by whom you are surrounded for a large part of your waking (and sometimes sleeping) life. You get frustrated, you fall down, you clash with people, you are confronted with different people, ideas, opinions and personalities. You get hit. You get offended. You cheer. You cry. You make mistakes. You are victorious. You learn. You have a hard time learning. You feel unworthy.  You feel invincible.

Why go through those emotions? Behind every roller derby player is a team who has seen her cry, seen her fail, seen her storm off, seen her rise above and do what she never thought she could. Behind that skater is the biggest support system of her life. No matter who she is – gay or straight, short or tall, beginner or advanced and everything in between all.

Following the shooting in Orlando, it’s hard to ignore the fact that many people feel scared. You might not quite understand what it is like to feel that fear, but I think we have all been scared to bear a piece of ourselves in some way at some point.

Now, more than ever before, I am thankful for this derby family. I am thankful to have a place where I feel safe. I am happy to know that I have found people who back me up on and off the track. I found the best friends I’ve ever had in my life. Our successes are all of our successes. Our fears are met with a wall of badass women ready to take on whatever is on the other side of it.

If you have ever needed a safe place, then you know what it is like to need a place like the Pulse nightclub – a place where you can be yourself and not feel ashamed, or judged, or watched. Every person deserves that place and those feelings. Unfortunate doesn’t even begin to cover the feeling that the world as a whole isn’t a place where everyone can feel accepted, but at least there are clubs, support groups, communities and churches. At least there is roller derby.

We love you. We are sending you good vibes and prayers. We are behind you. The pack is here.