They’re Watching You: Junior Roller Derby

You see derby girls on the track, skating at full speed, taking and dishing out hits. It’s easy to think they aren’t scared of anything.  But lots of things scare me: zombies, roaches, snakes, narrow bridges. Now I think I may have committed to the most terrifying thing of all: junior roller derby.

I’ll admit the zombie fear is a little weird coming from someone who played one.

This past Sunday there was a junior derby meet n’ greet. Around 10 girls showed up to skate, eat pizza, and listen to their parents ask boring but important questions about the league. I volunteered to help out, but Fear Abby seemed to have the majority of the organization in hand, so that left getting the girls geared up and on skates. I was very thankful that one of my old teammates, Sho Nuff McGruff, was there to help me with all that. Also thankfully, she has volunteered to coach them with me as her assistant coach. Don’t know what I would have done without her.

While we were skating around, one of the girls mentioned that she had seen me play before. This really shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did.  It was the bucket of cold water reminding me that I’m still a role model.

Two of my minions. Oh, yes. I have minions.

Being a role model isn’t a problem. I’ve been a role model since I was four and my parents told me my new baby sister would be watching everything I did. This was a big responsibility to me… then and now. It’s just that I forget their watching me specifically.

Derby girls as role models isn’t a new topic of conversation. My derby wife and I have had the same discussion many times. Before her knee injury, she often had little girls come up to her after bouts to tell her they want to be just like her. While flattering, this is also a pretty heavy thing to deal with. It means they’re watching… everything.

Volunteering to help with the junior derby league here in Savannah means I will really need to step up my A Game. When I’m in game mode, it’s easy for me to forget that there are fans watching me, let alone small fans. I try to play a clean game, but there’s added pressure now because I don’t want these girls coming to practice wondering why I’m teaching them not to go in for the revenge hit when they just saw me do the exact opposite during a bout. Yikes!

Good lord! What did I get myself into? Anyone else have some helpful advice?


First practice went great! There were a few moments of oh-my-god-what-do-we-do-now? But overall, it was a perfect first day.

The girls had a great attitude, even the girls who were unsteady. I’m so excited to see them progress over the summer.


6 thoughts on “They’re Watching You: Junior Roller Derby

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  1. You are doing great. I think it is amazing that you and a Sho Nuff take your personal time to teach these girls. The generosity of your time and spirit are great examples of what a role model is. The girls will hopefully mimic your selflessness as they grow into skaters and women.
    With young eyes watching it may cause you to step up your game. I think that they have been watching you because you do play with dignity and care for this sport. Keep being the amazing person you are and the rest will fall into place.

    Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for taking the time and honestly caring about the next generation of derby players.

  2. Yay for junior roller derby! And yay for junior roller derby coaches! As a proud mother of a junior derby skater (my 9yo skates with the Seattle Derby Brats and LOVES it), I’ve been so impressed that her (very competitive!) coaches are constantly stressing safety safety safety, and that they regularly check in with the girls that they’re having fun. Which, of course!, they always are… 🙂 Good luck with coaching!!

    1. Thank you so much. It helps having the support of the parents. These little girls are fantastic, and it feels good to help train the next batch of superheroes.

  3. Role model you are! You had Riche’ from day one! Not only is she a huge fan, she’s really looking forward to being a junior derby girl. Can’t wait until the next practice!

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