February 7, 2014

Roller Derby is (also) for Introverts!

I love people. I love watching them. I love listening to them (when they know I am listening and when they don't). I don't really love interacting with them though. As much I love being a part of social situations, I don't really want to be social in them. I am like a cat in that way. I want to be in the same room as something social, but it's sometimes really hard for me to be social, even with my close friends. I kinda just want to be in the same room and not have to talk. Sometimes. Not all the time. Sometimes, when I get enough booze and fried food in me, and I won't shut up.

Roller derby is perfect for me because we have a thing that we're doing. I don't have to ask people gently probing questions about their lives, their personal history, their families, their health, their happiness because we're doing something. We're derby-ing. I can tell them "Jammer standing!" and "watch the inside!" without hesitation but when you ask me about my day, I am flummoxed. I like to go to a place where I get to be with my friends, but I don't have to talk about my feelings in front of everyone. I make left turns, I skate it out, and I feel like I have done something. I saw some people today and it mattered that their faces were in front of mine. Roller derby is a fun, safe, place full of people I like and trust, who don't need to make me be things I am not. They only ask that I push myself harder, whatever that looks like for me.

I think introverts make awesome teammates because we are:
  • Very self-aware
  • Thoughtful
  • Enjoys understanding details
  • Interested in self-knowledge and self-understanding
  • Tends to keep emotions private
  • Quiet and reserved in large groups or around unfamiliar people
  • More sociable and gregarious around people they know well
  • Learns well through observation*
Don't get me wrong, I love my extroverted friends, colleagues, and teammates, but an introvert will wait and watch before they give feedback. We're thinking about what we're going to say before we say it. We do this on the track, in committee and board meetings, and in our relationships. We try and really understand a situation. 

I think the hardest thing for me is all the social opportunities surrounding derby. The after parties, the pre-game talks, the time when you're gearing up and down. Those things are like the first day of school for me STILL and I have been with my league for more than 2 years! There are new people, there are cliques, there are the "popular girls" and despite my best efforts, I know that I am not every one's cup of tea. And that's OK, it's just stressful sometimes. I get in my car and panic a little about who I am going to do endurance practice next to. Are they going to judge my squat-jumps and burpees? When I gear up, can they smell my wristgaurd stank like I can? OH GOD. Hopefully I am with someone in my inner circle, then I give no f**ks about those things.

Moral of the story, everyone has their hurdles, but being an introvert shouldn't stop you from PLAYING ALL THE DERBIES! because there are a lot of benefits of being an introverted type of person, on and off the track!

Derby Love,

Mollytov Maguire
*What is Introversion? By Kendra Cherry


  1. I can relate to so much of this as an introvert, and as someone who plays roller derby. I struggle with the unique challenges that being an introvert in derby entails, but this article sums up a lot of the good stuff. Thanks! - Gritty Cat (a.k.a. Marci from fuzzyundertones.com)

  2. This is exactly what I wanted to read right now. I love derby but I'm having trouble loving derby culture. I love the game but I have problems being around the derby girls ALL the time. I know that I'm very introverted but I've made lots of friends and lots of acquaintances; I'm not disliked, which makes it hard for me to admit that I don't want to see everyone as a group all the time. I need time to recharge but between work, derby, a husband, family, and non-derby friends, I'm finding that it's really difficult to find time to do that. But again, I love playing derby but I can't see myself doing it forever just because of the above reasons and it really bums me out.