This is your safe place. No matter what happens at school or at home, remember that you always have Sunday here with girls who love and support you.
That’s what I told the Savannah Junior Derbytaunts at our last practice together. I’m very excited for all these little women. Over the summer, they’ve grown from shaky baby skates to tough junior derby girls. While it saddens me to leave them just as they are getting close to scrimmaging, I know the other coaches are capable of leading them to success because they see the same potential I see. I really wish I had had something like derby when I was there age.
When I was 13, my uncle died. He was like my second dad. I still remember my parents picking me up from a youth trip and telling me Uncle Joe had died in a plane crash. I remember the looks on their faces, and then all I remember is sobbing. You hear people talk about feeling their world fracture, but you never really understand it until it happens to you. My world cracked that day, and like a crack in a window, it slowly spread.
A few months after my uncle passed away, a cousin died in a car accident. The crack spread more. The next few years became a montage of death and divorce. The crack in my window spider webbed with each new event.
In high school, I discovered punk rock. It gave me something to hold onto. By that point, I was struggling with depression. Every morning was a fight to get out of bed, but I held on. I knew if I got out of bed and went to school, there was a punk show on the weekend. There, I could lose myself in music for a few hours. I could let go of all the pain and hurt for just a few hours.
The punk shows, like a pain reliever, helped but didn’t fix anything. I still had to go back home at the end of the night.
It wasn’t until 2006 that derby came into my life. My time with Panama City Roller Derby and Savannah Derby Devils has grounded my self confidence. I had self confidence before, but it was limited to situations. Now when I walk into new or uncertain situations I always think, “I’m Eenie Meanie. I’m a derby girl who takes on women larger than myself. And I have an entire league of equally scary women who support me. Whatever you’ve got, bring it!”
I hope every junior derby girl, as well as anyone else who plays or is involved with derby, has this same feeling. Derby is my safe place, my home away from home. It fixed my cracked window. No one can ruin that for me.