The only thing scarier than joining roller derby...

Julia Childless and I attempting scooter derby joining a new league.

I've always been pretty brave. Moving around a lot and being a youngest child does that to a person.

I've been playing since 2009 but roller derby happened to me long before that. I've always known about roller derby. My Oma was a fan in the 70's. I remember hearing about it occasionally when I was a kid. There was something truly wonderful about the mental images I had of my Oma watching roller derby while folding laundry on Saturdays. My roller derby history goes deep.

When I joined the Winnipeg Roller Derby League in June 2009 I did it because I seriously needed to play this sport. I needed to be one of the women I saw on A&E's Rollergirls. Fun fact: years after seeing Rollergirls for the first time and falling in love with the sport, the community and the everything that is roller derby I found myself sitting in a workshop with Smartypants...I believe that's what Oprah would call a full circle moment.

Yeah. Then we moved here.

I tried to rejoin the world of derby with the league in Zurich. But that became a bit of a logistical nightmare (two hours to get to and from waiting for various forms for public transportation) and we were trying to figure out how to live here which is NOT the time to join a derby league. So I gave up playing Derby for a while. I was content with having my life back (derby eats your life) and I was perfectly happy watching and being a super fan. My heart hurt a little when I would see my home team doing really well
The card from my send off still
hangs out in my gear bag
(UNDEFEATED SEASON!!!!) I missed my derby family. I missed them so much.

It all came to a head a few weeks ago when I told John was I feeling useless. I was feeling like a waste of space and that like I wasn't doing anything of any real importance. I didn't want to hear about how I make sure he gets to work in one piece and that when he travels I hold down the fort. I didn't want to hear about the freelance or the online classes I was taking. I was feel lost. So very very lost.

Then the Bonerbreakers Roller Derby of Bern happened to me.

Full disclosure for my derby family....Jambuster cried. Yup she did. Big fat tears of relief. Roller derby had found me again. It had turned on its flashlight and came looking for me again just like it did in 2009. I was invited to come to their practice that Sunday.

I was terrified. Even more terrified than going to the WRDL info night. Shaking and tears scared. When joining  new league there is always the worry of how you will be received by those who created the league.

There is also the fear of things being the same but different. It's roller derby but it's not my home league. I would walk into practice and not see certain faces. Not hear certain voices (although there are still hear certain voices in my head when I do certain things that make me smile.) Things would be different. But at the same time, that sound of skates on floor and clattering gear would be the same. Exactly the same. The sound of practice was the same and it calmed my terrified heart.

The Bonebreakers are very new. Super new. Months old. I was very aware I could come off as someone who is trying to take over due to my experience and easily be labeled a threat. But this amazing thing happened when I arrived. They welcomed me. Not just with open arms but with enthusiasm. They wanted me.

One of them even said, "Now that we have you, we'll be the best league in Switzerland." (if you say it out loud with a German accent it's super cute and kind of hilarious.)

These girls have been incredible to me. They've welcomed my knowledge. They've welcomed my husbands knowledge and track setting up skills. They've brought me into their fold and said, "teach us!" Which is so scary but in the best possible way! I'll be leading my third practice today and the fear is gone. It's nothing but excitement. They're learning and growing. I'm learning and growing. Hell I'm even practicing my German. Yes, we run practices in German, English and Swiss German.

Sweaty...but triumphant.
After I lead practice two weeks ago I had John take this picture for me. I was feeling triumphant. My socks were soaked with sweat and my pads were drenched. I had skated my first 25 in 5 in 2 years (yes I know it's 27 now...we're building up to that) and didn't die. Heck, I even managed 25.5 laps. We did suicides, jumping, endurance. I ran a friggin' practice!

The bonebreakers are small but mighty. Willing to try anything I throw at them. They said they loved me that night but would probably hate me the next morning. I have a feeling that might happen again tonight.

It's hard for me to explain what it's like to be back in the sport and community that I love. Simply put, it's what was missing I think

I've been found and it's glorious.


Unknown said…
I'm so happy you've found your passion again, Jam!
Anonymous said…
My goodness, this post gave me chills! SO HAPPY that Derby found you in Bern!!!!!!!!!!!