Five years ago I began to focus my life on trying bring the sport of roller derby to the mainstream. I saw a need for something that could teach ANYONE to gain skills and experience this sport.
I started OneWorld Roller Derby and grew that to having at one point 100 members, and three practice locations. I saw other OneWorld leagues forming in the USA and following the model. Then, after a full year of breast cancer and four surgeries right in the middle of all of it with long recovery times, I watched my dream fall apart and eventually fade away as I was forced to take time off. My investment was never going to come back.
As I watched membership and finances dwindle my heart broke more and more each day. It took me the entire year of 2014 to accept that OWRD was no more in Seattle. It took me until today to even be able to talk about it.
What it comes down to is this: I’m incredibly honored to have met SO MANY wonderful people. I’ve been lucky to have watched people get stronger, lose weight, gain confidence, quit smoking and find their way into derby. I got to marry Jerry Seltzer at Rollercon as my first and only derby wife.
I’m thrilled to see many of those people (some of who started as new skaters with me at OWRD) now skating on Rat City, Jet City and Tilted Thunder Rail Birds. I’m very proud of each one of them and so happy they’ve moved forward in the sport.
I was proud to be the president of OSDA and reach out to people across the US but stepped down the moment that USARS came out with their first set of beta test rules because I saw USARS as the ONLY vehicle to fulfill that vision.
So many times I begged people from other associations to come together.
Today (literally), I have people contacting me to do that very thing, players from USARS, MADE, OSDA, and WFTDA who are asking to be volunteers for USARS. It feels now like the vision that I had five years ago is finally going to become a reality.
I know that derby saves and that it saved me, more than once. I know it will be a mainstream sport in my lifetime.
I’m now having meetings with Citywide, who schedules all sports in the Seattle Parks department, volleyball, little league, soccer and NOW, ROLLER DERBY. We have a new program starting April 2015 in North Seattle, the best location that we could ever have. Now they will be pushing that boulder up the hill so I can do this reasonably. I’m much too tired to invest myself like I did before.
I’ve always heard that following your dreams is what you should do. Take risks, encompass yourself with something you are passionate about and it will pay off. When I was watching my world fall apart I started to believe that I was wrong in believing that.
But now I accept that it all happens exactly as it should and when it should. Letting go of agenda is something I have always preached and now this is just another time in my life that I need to do it again.
In April, I’m going to skate derby for fun and for exercise and to share what I’ve learned along the way. I’m not going to do it as if my life depends on it. If it grows I’ll be happy and if not, I’ll still be happy.
I have a job that I love, I take time to paint and enjoy family and regaining health and rediscovering balance is my goal.
The momentum in USARS is happening right now and I enjoy thinking that I had a little bitty piece of helping it along.
Derby Freakin’ Love