Hey, Dudes & Dudettes!
Four months ago after hearing a friend brag about roller derby, I decided to join! I was looking for a hobby where I could interact with other girls, make friends, and step out of my comfort zone. I was also dealing with a lot of medical issues and was later diagnosed with Lyme Disease, so it was important to my health that I try to stay active. I have always been that type of girl who has had the tendency of staying in their comfort zone. I guess you could say that I have been this way since I moved to California. Moving away from family and friends was very tough, and making new friends in a new state was even harder. I wanted to burst out of my bubble. I wanted to find myself again and become a better version of myself. I wanted to show this disease who was boss.
I still remember my first practice like it was yesterday, but before I joined I had to see if I could even stand on skates! A couple of friends and I hit up a local rink on a Friday and laced up our skates. When I first stood up I was very shaky and all over the place. All I could repeat over and over in my head was not to fall. Once I got out on the rink I had the time of my life. Skating made me feel happy, it made me feel like I was strong, physically and mentally. In that moment I felt so alive. I knew that although roller derby was going to be challenging it was going to be a lot of fun. I felt in my heart that I needed to join.
When I pulled up to Rinks for my first practice I had butterflies in my tummy and I legit felt like I was going to vomit. My anxiety was revved up, my palms were sweaty, but I sucked it up and went inside. The girls knew I was new right away and how could they not? I could barely stand on my skates! I even put my pads on the wrong way my first day. Despite being nervous as hell, everyone was so kind and welcoming. During practice, a lot of the girls gave me pointers and told me when I was doing a good job. It really helped to ease my nerves. I had so much fun! I was ready for more. I was officially addicted to this wonderful sport.
In all honesty there were days that I wanted to just quit and just give up. I had to miss many practices because of my disease and it made me feel hopeless. I remember one particular practice we did a lot of endurance. My chest and lungs were hurting so badly, I felt like I was going to black out, and I did, for a split second. I wanted to cry so badly because I was so frustrated. I fought back the tears and kept going because I was not going to let this disease control me. There were even times that I felt like I was last at everything. Left in the dust. A slow learner. Even though I complimented and cheered for my fellow leaguers, I was always comparing myself to others, and putting myself down. I had to learn to not be so hard on myself.
Now, after being a part of OCRD for the past 4 months I have stepped out of my comfort zone, made new friends, and I have even progressed. I ended up passing my phase 1-2 tests, and minimum skills. I still have a lot to learn but I am ready for the next step. Roller Derby has really been my guiding light. The members of this league are so motivating and empowering. They have inspired me to push myself further, to never give up, and to never compare myself to others. I still have days where my body hates me and I have to take it easy, but I’m not as hard on myself anymore. I am proud of how far I have come and that no matter how tough it got, I never gave up.
In December, I will finally have the privilege of playing my first game with some very talented ladies. I never in my life imagined getting to this point or how much Roller Derby or this league would change my life forever. Although it has been a challenge, this experience is well worth the blood, sweat, and tears. For freshies, phasers, and advanced skaters alike, I will leave you with a few things. This might be my story, but we all have a story. We all live different lives. We all face challenges. Every day you are on your skates you are getting better. You are stronger, talented, and you are capable of so much more than you think. Never doubt or be hard on yourself because I know you can do this. We are all in this to motivate, support, and to inspire one another. No matter what level you are, when we get out on that track WE are a team. WE are one.
Shreddie Crueger #313