Wednesday, February 22, was a normal day of errands, picking up kids, eating on the edge of healthy, and generally striding through life in my mid 30's. The furthest thought from my mind was roller derby, but the KRD booth at the PX and smiling faces behind it called to me, even in my haste to run an errand.
It'd be fun to see when they play, I thought. I had a truly genuine interaction with the players behind the table, something that is often challenging to find when on a new base. I left feeling encouraged, with a card and a date to show up to try the sport. I buckled my youngest in the car and sat for a second in the parking lot, wonder and energy spinning in my head.
Was I crazy? I'm too old for this. I'm way too out of shape. I'm a mom of 3 for goodness sake. I have so many commitments right now. What would people think? Am I stealing time from my family? And I haven't really skated since junior high, minus that one random Girl Scout Skate night...
All of the reasons not to were mounting, but I simply couldn't shake that "what if" feeling.
I handed the card to my husband that evening and said, "I'm thinking of trying this." I braced myself for the teasing comments and laughter to follow. We work as a team, and my husband has always supported every single one of my crazy ideas, but was this one step too far? His answer surprised me. "100% yes. Seriously, I didn't even know I was dreaming of this day until this moment. Yes. Do it." He went on to explain that he had watched it on TV growing up and was surprised it took this long for us to find it. My soul felt warm and I fell asleep with roller derby names spinning in my head.
The next morning I greeted him with "I was serious about that derby thing."
He replied, "So was I."
I showed up earlier than I had planned my first day and ended up catching the end of another league's practice. Girls started coming in with huge smiles and rolling suitcases full of derby gear. They were all different sizes, but they were all athletes. No doubt about that. "Are you new? I'm a Baby Doll too. We are so glad you are here." My heart was pounding. Oh jeez, what if I make a total ass of myself. "Can you skate? Many of us can't skate when we start. I've been here for 6 months now." Phew. Huge relief. I wasn't going to be thrown out on a track to get hip checked without being ready. And once, long ago, I could skate.
Then the Athletic Director, Loveless, came in toting the loaner gear she had promised. She was confident and strong, yet approachable. She eased my nerves, answered my questions, told me to expect to fall, and set me up with skates, pads, and a helmet.
I tied the laces, looked out at the gym, and took a breath. Let's Roll, I told myself. And I did.