I am a desperate housewife. I wear my robe when I walk to the end of the driveway to pick up the paper each morning. I BBQ with my neighbors and I try to keep my suburban landscaping tidy. I have five children ranging from pre-school to high school. My husband and I have been happily married for seventeen years. At first, I chose not to share these defining details of my life with my derby girls. It was my dirty little housewife secret.
When I joined FoCo Girls Gone Derby, my youngest daughter was only a year old and I needed the FRICK out of the house! (My derby friends without children would substitute a more colorful word for ‘FRICK’). I wanted an interesting sport that was for women only because I just don’t have an inner need to compete against men. And I wanted something that gave me a sense of adventure. I needed some space to be someone other than ‘Mom’. My plan worked perfectly. I may be the oldest person on the team (I’m self conscious enough that I’m not fully investigating that possibility) and likely older than the average derby girl by, oh, more than a decade? This summer at New West Fest, a woman stopped at our booth and when I tried to recruit her, she claimed she was too old. When I told her my real age (camouflaged by a tu-tu and ponytails) she claimed that she thought I was in my twenties! I almost kissed her. As flattering as that was, I needed her to know that playing roller derby isn’t age-specific; it’s only heart-specific. When derby girls are on the floor in full gear -- sweating like beasts, learning to fall, hit, and skate -- age and background have absolutely nothing to do with it.
We are one. We are FoCo.
We sweat and bleed together. We laugh and cheer each other. We are the buoy for each others’ lives. Everyone has things going on that are heavy or stressful, and we need that time away. I would be a rich woman if I had a nickel for every time I heard a derby girl say, “Thank goodness for derby.” I know I’m lucky that I don’t have to juggle a work schedule to make practices, and that my husband will take over for me on the nights I’m away from home. I used to feel guilty as I handed him a sippy-cup and picked up my gear bag, but not any more. I enjoy derby too much for any guilt.
At a recent bout I was helping a girl who was having a minor wardrobe malfunction. A friend who attended the bout teased me by saying, “You’re such a mom.” That perfectly innocent comment, even taken as a compliment, irritated me. Not here, buddy. Not here.
I am a desperate housewife.
But you can call me Starrmageddon.