February 24, 2015

Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight

So, let’s start at the beginning and how I found derby.  In October of 2013 I moved to this lovely little town in Northern Colorado, Fort Collins.  A large group of my family lived here, so I had visited frequently throughout my life.  My husband and I finally made the decision to move after we had gotten married back in May of 2013.

We have a young son, Cyrus, who is absolutely amazing.  We had spent the majority of our time just being a family after we had initially moved Fort Collins.  My husband, Ryan, was working a lot and I worked from home, so by the time he got home we just wanted to hang out and be together.

Although we all thoroughly enjoyed all the family time, we were both beginning to realize “Hey, making friends would be nice!” Ryan had it a little easier since he worked in an office full of people with similar interests.  However, with me working from home the only time I really had much adult, human interaction was when I would take Cyrus to the park or a local indoor play area here in town.

Around December of 2013 my cousin, Mollytov Maguire, planted the derby seed. I struggled with the idea of playing derby because I couldn’t imagine paying money to go get injured. I mean, who in their right mind wants to willingly join a group of people where the goal is to hit each other? No one, thats who! This idea of derby would change dramatically when I actually started.

I attended the New recruits meeting in January 2014, and thus my derby journey began. Now onto the good stuff!

My very first practice, literally within about 5 minutes, one of the ladies in my new recruits class fell and broke her back.  I not only felt horrible for that woman, but was also mentally preparing myself for me to be next.

That first practice was rough.  I had never really skated, and have not been known for my grace.  In fact, my family has an on going joke about the multiple injuries I have received doing what would seem simple for most.  I was driving home after the first practice almost in tears, and strongly considering if I would go back.

I went back (call me a glutton for punishment).  This practice was slightly different, as all the new recruits were also in the same area as the vets.  Watching them skate around like majestic roller skating beauties was so intimidating, but also became a source of something to strive for.  I now saw what all these hard times, and rough practices, and those feelings of being completely lost would amount to.

After several months of practices, a few injuries (nothing severe), and meeting my derby wife, Misfit Millie, I was still struggling with so much doubt about my abilities in this sport.  Most nights I left practice feeling defeated, and that I would never become a viable member of the league.  Those feelings began to eat away at me so much that I could barely make myself go to practice, and ultimately lead to me taking a 2 month hiatus from derby and telling everyone it just wasn’t for me.

And you know what, that is okay.  I mean, it was not okay for me not to listen to all of the amazingly supportive teammates who were telling me I was doing just fine, or that they had been there before, and had literally felt the same things.  It was not okay for me to feel that I had no one to really reach out to about these things, because I had so many amazing ladies I could have talked to before my internal struggle reached that point.  But it was okay for me to take a break.  This was my journey, and they were my feelings and I needed the time to process all of this.

During my break from derby I realized how much I really did love it, and how accomplished it had actually been making me feel.  All of those hard nights, and rough emotions were teaching me how to persevere and to remain determined even when I was not the best at everything.  It gave me time to realize that I had been focusing on the wrong feelings, and that I needed to shift my focus. I began to think of all the times that I felt so proud of myself.  That time I understood sculling so fast, and really seemed to have a knack for it. Oh, and that other time I helped keep all the other ladies in my new recruits class from feeling discouraged. Oh, and that other time I met one of my now best friends! These were all the things I needed to look at, because we make our own happiness.  We create our reality, and I was tired of living in a reality where I was so miserable.

I came back to derby in October of 2014.  I have since passed my 27 laps in 5 minutes (whilst conveying every human emotion possible in that time frame.) I have moved up to Monday practices with the league, I have even had 3 Thursday night scrimmages with the league. Sure, there have been some rough nights, but that is life, and that is not where I am going to shift my focus.

I may fall, but I have promised myself that I will always get back up, and will no longer allow myself to keep me down.  I have also promised myself that I will always try to think of the positives derby brings to my life.  I have made some friends, and get to hang out with some truly amazing women that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get to know otherwise.

I am so grateful for everything that roller derby had brought to my life, and how much more I know it will bring me.


February 13, 2015

She's Baaack!

At the stoniest of henges,
Wow, it's been a long time since I last poured my little derby heart out on the 'ole FoCo blog... I have missed it. Sort of. Its also been really nice to have a break from the pressure. Since my last post, a lot has changed. I took a break from derby, I stepped down as Head of PR, and I had some serious travel adventures. As of January 2015, I am back on skates, have completed the WFTDA testing once again (28 laps in 5 minutes, yeah buddy!), and I am getting ready to come back to scrimmage.

It's weird having been away from the league for so long. I was off skates from August 2014 to January 2015. I missed the workout, I missed my friends, I missed the derbs, but coming back, it's not the same. I don't know what I expected, but I feel like I don't fit in with the new recruits I have been skating with and the relationships I have with the veterans seem to feel different.

League Campout 2014 - My last derby
event before I left for 4 months
The logical part of my brain is like "But Molly, did you expect your team to stop growing and changing while you were gone?" and I guess, subconciously, I kinda did. I didn't expect to feel like such an outsider, I can tell you that. I feel like I am neither vet nor fresh meat. Not part of the league, but more than a fan. I feel like I have one skate in derby and one skate out.

Another weird thing about being away from derby for so long, was introducing myself with my derby name again. The first time I said "My name is Mollytov Maguire but you can call me Molly!" I stuttered over the "Molly" a little bit. Like it didn't want to come out of my mouth. There has been lots of stuttering, and not just over my name. Skating, aching, going to 9pm practices, being AMPED THE EFF UP after them until 2 am, and getting less than 3 hours of sleep after derby nights, feeling the hunger of having burned 1500 calories at practice the night before; all are things that I had sort of romanticized. "Ah, the good 'ole days, when my muscles hurt all the time and I was eating all the food and enjoying after derby beer club, and I was part of something bigger than me! Golly wasn't that the best?!" but I had forgotten what it was like to have to make those friends and be in better physical shape. To have the pre-practice derby anxiety, and to have my shins hurt SO BAD that I almost cry. These are the things that I am LIVING once again, and it's not as romantic as I had made it out to be while I was gone.

When I could backward skate...
My skills and endurance have seriously atrophied and that is a real blow to the ego. I feel a little like the classic "Facebook Derby Girl" right now. She's the girl who wants to do derby so she can post about it on Facebook, but where is she when practice time comes? In my case, she is dreading going back to a practice where she feels more alone than when she is alone. Where her expectations of her skills and the reality of her skills are no longer aligned.

What I am working on remembering is that these people, who I love, didn't just stop existing when I wasn't looking at them. They developed new relationships and inside jokes while I was away, and now it's me that has to adjust to being back, not the other way around. There is still a place for me in the league and it's up to me to find it. Just like it has always been up to me. Everything about my derby life has always been up to me.

Derby Love,

Mollytov Maguire

February 6, 2015

In Her Own Words: LA's Finest

 Hello. My name is Tess and I play the wonderful sport of roller derby with the FoCo Girls Gone Derby here in Fort Collins, CO. This league of amazing individuals has changed my life.

 I moved to Colorado six years ago with no direction or purpose. I was born and raised in Los Angeles California and decided that I didn't want to raise my son in a giant loud city.  My best friend and I decided one night we were going to take a chance and move to Fort Collins.  We packed whatever we could fit into a Toyota Corolla and started driving.  Not knowing anybody I settled in and got a job but, for me something was still missing. I'm not super outgoing so finding friends out of nowhere was pretty tough.

 One night I rented the roller derby movie "Whip It". I went to work the next day and was talking about the movie with a coworker.   We liked the movie and loved the idea of roller derby. One of us jokingly told the other, “I’ll try it if you do". We looked up local roller derby and promised each other to give it a shot and stick together. About a month later we were at our first new recruit practice together and fell IN LOVE with this sport but, learned very quickly it was nothing like the movie, "Whip It", but better!

 Time came to pick our derby names. It's a lot harder than you think picking a derby name.  Some of the good ones are taken!  For my derby name I stuck to my roots where I grew up, "LA's Finest".  My friend went with her favorite band (I am convinced she is their biggest fan) Miss Erie Business.  She's one of the best friends I have ever met in derby and the dedication she gives to this sport shows on the track.  Over five years later, Miz and I are still both skating for this league and even on the same team now!

 Speaking of love and derby...

 In my new recruit class I actually met the most amazing person in this world. No joke, she is now my wife.   We met in FoCo's new recruit class, became friends for about a year or so and started dating. We were just legally married in November and I owe it all to this amazing league for bringing us together. I went into derby wanting to try a new sport and meet some people with some similar interests. I have some of the best friends I could ever ask for and a spouse!  Derby has taught me so much about myself and has made me the person I am today. I would recommend anyone to try derby if it interests you at all. There's so much to get out of it. To be a part of this league and the community it comes with is something indescribable

 The friendships I have made in this league are hard to explain.  Every single person in this league, from the skaters to the refs and the non-skating officials, the coaches, captains, volunteers…the love surrounding  this sport is like nothing I have ever found. When I say roller derby changed my life... I mean it.

LA's Finest