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So there I was on the hunt for a rollergirl name when I came across this book!  Of course, I had to purchase it!!!!  In the mean time, I got to email back and forth with the author who encourages me to keep up with my goal of actually being part of the Treasure Valley Rollergirls League :).  Doesn’t get much better than that!

This was such a fun book to read.  I got to learn the history of Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby.  I got a front row seat into all the fabulous drama, fashions, play by play bouts, and all the glitz glamor and guts of roller derby!  I laughed.  I cried.  I cheered.  I was inspired.   Melicious has a fantastic voice when she rights; she truly has a way with words.  From page one, she had me reeled in! And I couldn’t put it down!

Just in case you don’t know what Roller derby is, here is a great quote from the Preface of this book:

“Hosted by sideshow barkers, it’s a sport of speed-skating pinup girls and brutal body checks, played out against a backdrop of head-banging rock.  the spectacle drives fans into a hormone-and-bear-induced frenzy.”

Here are some more great quotes from the book:

“Why stand around and relate, when you can shut up and skate?”

“It’s a complex love-hate relationship, and it colors just about everything in my  life.  Roller Derby was the first time ever that being referred to as a “big girl” was a compliment.”  (So very true!)

“Roller Derby has really increased my acceptance of my own body.  I can use my sie to my advantage in my position as a blocker and pivot-and I’m not longer worries about someone seeing up my skirt…althouth it does help to wear special underwear!” ~ Bad Sister Heide, Vaudeville Vixens/MadRollin’ Dolls  (I loved this!!!)

“Watching pinup girls fumble around on skates is wildly entertaining, and it was obvious that our fans loved it.  But I wanted to do more.  I wanted to be tough and proud.  An athlete.”  (This is so how I feel!)

“Worn by a skater or a fan, a bruise is a badge of honor.”  (I am currently sporting a couple of fabulous bruises on my elbows…and yes I wear elbow pads…and on my shoulders and somehow on the inside of my bicep)

“I like the light in little girls’ eyes when t hey muster up the courage to come and ask for an autograph.  I know that look, and I’m proud to be the source of it…that  mixture of awe and inspiration.” ~ Kim Sin, Furious truckstop Waitresses/Tucson Roller Derby  (I had something like this happen when I was just dressed up in my “boutfit” (roller derby outfit) at the skating rink.  It feels pretty darn good to have little girls look up to you like you are a heroine!)

“Each league and its members are unique, but we all share common goals: to have fun, to push our physical limits, and to challenge the way people view women.”  (Derby will certainly push your physical limits and its so empowering.  We get to look fabulous and sexy AND be powerful and brutal all at the same time! And ITS FUN!!!)

I also dog eared some pages on finding your rollergirl name.  You gotta check out that chapter!  It’s all about finding the right rollergirl persona…I think the name I have fits me perfectly.  My persona….a little of superheroine/sexy librarian/hottie homemaker all rolled into one with the name  Rev. Martha Smashington (real name + violence + formal salutation + celebrity/history) .  It combines my spiritual path (Reverend…I’m not..yet..but I will be..currently studying), my real name (Martha), Violence of (Smash), and celebrity/history (as in Martha Washington which I was always teased about as a kid).  It’s perfect!!!!  Now I just gotta register it!!  Check out this chapter of the book, and find your rollergirl name!  You will have so much fun  with it!

If you are a woman/girl or someone who knows one who loves to roller skate, then pick up this book!  Roller derby is an amazing sport that ANY woman/girl can play.  And there are even junior leagues that the kids can join!  It’s a great self-esteem boost for girls and women of all ages…a great way to accept your body type no matter what it looks like!  This book is a great story of finding you passion, following your dreams and starting something fabulous and turning it into something HUGE!  READ IT!!!!

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Rules to Achieve title of Lieutenant Badass (or as I would say…to live by):

1) Go Outside

2) Quite the Internet

3) Do Something That Scares You

4) Something New

5) Tell Your Parents the Truth

6) Fix Something You Did When You Were Being a Total Douche Bag

7)  Make A Decision

These are just a few of the jewels of wisdom you will find in this book!

So if you have been reading my blog at all, you might have read that I have started Fresh Meat practices for the Treasure Valley Rollergirls (Roller Derby).  This is something I have always wanted to do, and I’m loving it.  I even have a derby name now, thanks to my fellow rollergirls.  It’s  Martha Smashington, as in Martha Washington, only replace the “W” with “Sm”.   For short, everyone calls me Smashington…well okay, not everyone, but the other Fresh Meats and one of the Vets do :).  It will catch on.  *laugh*  Anyway, since starting Derby it has pretty much taken over my brain; I have learned from Vets (and in reading this most recent book) that Derby has a way of doing this to a girl.  So when I saw this book was about Roller Derby..or a girl who gets involved with Roller Derby, it became a MUST READ!

It’s about a woman with a broken heart who is trying to figure out what to do with her marriage, and her co-worker introduces her to Roller Derby.  She becomes Fresh Meat.  There is a lot of reading about relationships, both romantically and with friendships.  There is talk about following your dreams and doing what you love instead of “what brings the money in”.  But mostly its about being true to yourself and life lessons learned through Derby.

I have to be honest, when Roller Derby was first introduced in the book, I silently cheered:  “Yaaaay!!!!!”  I was so excited to finally get to the part I really wanted to read about.  *laugh*  What can I say; it gets in your blood!  Once it got into the Derby stuff, I immediately found a kinship with our Heroine.  I’m Fresh Meat; she’s Fresh Meat.  There is even a part where she breaks her tail bone and learns one very important rule when healing from a tailbone injury:  You must not sneeze!!!  Since I too have a tail bone injury (thanks to Derby) I laughed and totally empathized.  It’s allergy season here in Idaho, and I have been sneezing up a storm…..OUCH!!!!

So I loved what our heroine found out about the Derby and the way she thought about the women who played in it.  Here are some excerpts from this part of the story that I absolutely found true and love about the Derby from my own perspective:

“These women are all different shapes and sizes, and they move like they were born with roller skates attached to their feet.”  (I love that this is  sport for all shapes and sizes of women!  I also love the fact that you can get newbie skaters out on the track right along with women who seemingly were born with skates on their feet.  I have always felt like I was born with skates on my feet….its my endurance and strength that needs the work now.)

“They take off their helmets, and I’m taken aback by the long hair that flows from their heads.  After all that brutality, that aggression, their femininity makes them seem like superheroes.” (I think if Wonder Woman was going to  play a sport, it would be roller derby!!!!)

“But, if I have to be completely honest, it looks like a lot of fun.  Part of me wishes I were brave enough to try  something like that, to be the kind of woman who could just strap on some skates, climb onto the track, and take off.  It  must feel pretty great to be able to go that fast, to slam into someone and not worry about the consequences.  To be an athlete.  To be strong and confident and fit.  I get winded from climbing the stairs to my apartment.”  (I have sooooo been there!  I have found the courage to follow one of my childhood dreams and really LIVE life to its fullest!  I’m still learning to do the slamming part, but I have been learning some blocks.  I have to be honest, it does feel great!  It does feel great to be an athlete…even if I get seriously winded and noodle legged and can’t skate with the Vets yet.  The point is, I’m DOING IT!  What have you been waiting to do?  What have you been afraid of trying?  Get out there and do it now!)

LOL, here is another great quote that sums it up, “Come on, you know it’s fun,” she continues.  “You go fast, you hit hard, and you do something most people are way too chicken**** to do.”

I know you have probably heard all of the clichés about team work and how they apply to real life, but I wanted to share with you what our heroine learns:

“Partnering is key in roller derby.  If you try to play by yourself, you pretty much end up useless.  It’s something I’ve grown to really appreciate about the sport.  You always need someone, and someone always needs you.  Even the Jammer, who looks like she’s on her own, actually has an entire pack of girls who have her back. We are all in this together.”  (Does this sound like life to you?  Can you really go about life completely alone without the help of someone else?)

The very last page of the story ends on page 309, and the last 2 paragraphs sum it all up!  But if I shared them with you, there would be no point in reading the book.  It kills me to keep my favorite part from you!  You will just have to read it for yourself.

This is an awesome book about finding yourself, grabbing on to courage and living life!  It’s one of those Girl Power books that is going to take you on a fun journey (but remember her heart is broken..so there is gonna be some of that sappy sad stuff in there too…just like in life, you gotta put up with a little bit of rain before you can enjoy the rainbow!) For all of you Rollergirls and Rollergirl wannabes….pick up this book!  I guarantee you, that you will find something in this book you can relate to!

There is even a glossary of Roller Derby Terms!!!  I learned a lot of things about the actual sport while reading this book; so its educational too!  *laugh*

But for now, I wonder if maybe I need to create a Superhero boutfit (pick up the book and turn to the glossary to find out what that is 🙂 ).

Leave it to me to find a spiritual connection to Roller Derby.  *laugh*

Okay, Roller Derby itself may not have a spiritual connection but when I plug into and the circumstances surrounding me and the Derby are considered, then there is a spiritual connection.  And I just have to write about it!

Ever since I was a little girl living in a roller rink (a rink rat) doing figure skating, speed skating, and disco skating I knew I was meant to be on 8 wheels!  I watched the roller derby on TV and told my parents I wanted to do that.  Instead, I was put into soccer and softball.  Okay, I understand that there are no youth leagues for roller derby so joining at the age of 10 might have been a bit impossible.  It doesn’t change the fact that I don’t think my parents liked the idea.  Let’s face it, the outward appearance of a roller girl is a little rough around the edges and the sport itself (especially back in the 70’s) looked brutal!  What Southern Belle mom would want that for her little princess?

Fast forward a couple of decades..okay..almost 3 of them.  Boise started its own roller derby league, the Treasure Valley Rollergirls.  I remember when they started announcing this and looking for league members.  I thought, “Wow!  That sounds like fun!”  I’m pretty certain Tracy encouraged me to try out for it then.  But truthfully, I was scared.  Over weight….hadn’t been on skates in almost 10 years….and really knew nothing about it.  Then every year after that, when I heard they were training for a new season, I would say, “I really want to do that.  I have always wanted to do roller derby.!”  And every year Tracy would say, “You should do it.”  Scared.

Okay, so here is where the spiritual stuff comes in.  You know I have been reading tons of books, right?  I mean that is why this blog got started.  52 books in 52 weeks:  The God Project.   A blog about self-discovery and my spiritual path and finding my own answers for God in my life.  It was going to be about more than just the books; it was going to include my experiences too.  So I did a firewalk centered around breaking through fear; and my intention was about breaking through the fear of starting my own roller rink/community center for children. I read a couple of books and heard a couple of sermons/seminars about FEAR.  Fear is there to protect us, but it is also a false emotion.  It doesn’t just protect us it keeps us from taking risks that help us grow!    It keeps us from change.  “What if I fail?”  “What if I look like a fool?”  “What if I get physically hurt?”  “What if I die?”  Die?  Seriously?  I was once told by a teacher to first consider the worst (death) and then expect the best!  Deep down, our biggest fear is that whatever we are afraid to do is rooted in the fear of death.  I don’t think Death is high on the “injury lists” for roller derby!  I think my chances are death are higher just crossing the street!  So with the worst considered..its time to expect the best!  It’s time to face my fears and show them who is boss!

I went to my first “Fresh Meat” (that’s what they call newbies to roller derby) practice a week ago.  RaeZer (the coach) worked me hard.  She told me I would hate her at the end of practice. (I didn’t.)  She kept telling me that she was working me/us harder than she has all season, and for my first day I was doing really well.  I kept hearing from the other league members that were there hanging with the Fresh Meat that I was doing really well and I had natural skills that could be polished. (Boy am I glad I grew up on skates!)  It felt great.  Then at the end of practice I was told that I should be at 2 practices a week.  Fresh Meat practices are Wednesday 6:30-8:30 and Sundays 10:00-12:00.  Rut roh!!!  I can’t make Sundays; that is church day (and time).  RaeZer said, I could come to league practices on Tuesdays.  Great!  I will do that.  Then it dawned on me:  “I just signed up for my Science of Mind class at church and I am committed for the next 9 weeks!”  I was upset.  I just got my nerve up to do Roller Derby.  Mike bought all of my gear.  And now this…….

You know, life has a way of throwing curve balls at you.  When you are afraid of doing something, and you set out to do it, it doesn’t mean it’s going to come easy.  It doesn’t mean that all the obstacles will fall away.  However, if you follow your heart…if you listen to your intuition…and you do what is right and best for you, everything will fall into place.  The Universe does not give to you what you can not handle.  It will  not give you a challenge without an answer; you just have to be open to it and step out in faith!

I had this challenge in front of me. I had to make a decision.  My spiritual life is so important to me.  Obviously…look at my blog!  Yet at the same time, Roller Derby  has been my dream for my entire life!  There had to be a way!

So I made a decision.  I emailed the rollergirls and explained my situation.  I decided I would make every Wednesday practice and I would make every other Sunday.  I never did hear back from them.  So I went to practice last night.  RaeZer told me, “Church is very important.  I understand if you can’t make it.  Just show up when you can.”  I knew I had made the right decision, and by doing so, the Universe gave me the confirmation and life is great.  I can have my church and derby too!

Have you ever seen roller girls?  Alot of them are “thicker”, “stockier”, “bigger”, “solid” girls.  Yes, there are some thin and very fit girls, but I think this may be one of the only sports where a girl my size can play and even feel comfortable playing.  Last night as we practiced and I did my drills, I could hear the other girls in the line saying, “Look at Martha go!”  “She used to be a figure skater.”  I could hear them saying good things about me, and after one of the drills I got back in line to hear two of the league members trying to find a roller girl name for me.  I’m not gonna lie, that felt great.  AND…..I realize that I must not get cocky.  I do not say these things out of boastfulness, but out of a knowing that I found my spot in the sporting world.  It was just another confirmation that I am in the right place at the right time!  A girl can’t afford to get cocky in Derby, you will get your arse kicked…especially if you are Fresh Meat AND cocky!  Not a great combination.  A “tough humility” is a good thing :).

It feels amazing to be my size and living life to its fullest.  To find a sport that I love and seem to be a natural at.  I was never very good at soccer, softball, volleyball or even tae kwon do.  I’m not a great runner, even if I did finish a marathon (by walking of course).  But roller skating?? I am pretty sure I was born with 8 wheels on my feet!  So here I am 236 lbs and finding a sport accepts my size and doesn’t blink twice.  It encourages me to get out there regardless of my size or even skate ability.  They will train you.  They will get you in shape (not to get you in shape..but to help you become a better roller girl).  Losing weight, getting stronger, getting leaner will be a natural extension of a sport you love and practice.  This is the way life should be, in my opinion.  Instead of being called obese or fat, you care called “solid” and praised for having hips!  Jammers can’t knock you over or push you out of the way because you are “bigger” than they are.  I guess its kinda like the guys on the front line of a football line up…ya know those guys who want to be 300#….  No I am not looking to be 300# and I’m certainly not looking to stay my size, however, I am thrilled to death that there is a sport that I seem to be good at and I love…and I can do at my size!

Remember when I read the Geneen Roth book Women Food and God and there was another one that I can’t remember right now, and they talked about the “waiting game”.  I gotta lose weight before I can do that….and always putting your life off until “it” happened.  Well I am no longer waiting.  I don’t care how scared I am.  I don’t care how hard it may be to make those laps around the track.  I don’t care how silly I might look while trying to get my “derby legs” underneath me.  I am doing it NOW!!!!

I am taking the Science of Mind class, and we were just talking about Affirmations this week.  I was feeling a little down on myself about my fitness and health routine.  For whatever reason, I just have a hard time staying committed.  I went to therapy for this last year.  And here I am again.  I have gained alot of the weight I lost last year back.  This doesn’t make me happy. I am obviously missing something; I’m just not sure what it is.  So while we were working on affirmations Tuesday night, this was what I was working on.  Rev. Jackie said that everything we want has already been created and is already there, just waiting to be revealed to us.  My perfect health and perfect fitness are already there, I just have to first believe it and it will be revealed!  This I know to be true.  So I go forward with my derby practice and I hear them tell me how good I am.  More importantly, I FEEL how good it feels to be doing these things well.  The more physical things I do, and do well, the more I feel my body’s perfect health and fitness coming into being!  So my  new affirmation:  I am grateful, excited and KNOW that my perfect health and fitness already exists and are within me!

And how do I know this????  Because I am a roller girl!!!  I participate in a sport that uses and stretches my muscles and my stamina.  It uses and stretches my emotional well-being.  It uses and stretches my intellectual well-being.  It builds my self esteems and I KNOW I am in the right place!!!!

I love the fact that I can take seminary classes at church AND be a roller girl!!!!  My life is truly blessed!

On May 7th, 2010, I turned 41 years old!  It was a party; as a matter of fact, I partied for about 2 weeks!  I absolutely adore my life and celebrate it every day!  And this last year  has been one of the best years ever!

When I was approaching 40, I thought, “I’m gonna lose enough weight to jump out of a perfectly good airplane for my 40th birthday.”  It didn’t happen.  Instead I started my birthday out right with a birthday party filled with laughter.  I had a laughter fitness instructor deliver a laugh o gram, and my whole party joined in the laughter.  We wore silly hats and had a great time! My husband and my best friend bought me a ride in a Nascar Race Car on the Las Vegas Speedway.  I got in the car with a professional racer and went around the track at 245mph!  I was excited and scared all at the same time, and when the car started moving all of that fear went away.  It was fabulous!  I loved it!  And while we were in Vegas we saw Jimmy Buffett and partied all weekend.  It was awesome!  It was a great way to start off my year.

So between my 40th birthday and my 41st birthday, life has changed dramatically.  Until just before my 40th birthday, I hardly ever laughed.  Now I laugh all of the time.  I smile all of the time.  I actually feel JOYFUL 98% of the time!  I know this because in 3 weeks, in 3 different settings I have had people come up to me and tell me that I am radiating love or happiness.  The first time this happened was right after my husband and I joined our church.  One of the church members came up to me at the end, and said, ‘I just had to hug you because you radiated love from up there on the podium.”  Then the next week at a Tropical Cowboys show, the drummer came up to me to give me a hug and told me the same thing, “I see you all the way back here radiating love.”  Then just last weekend, on our way through the security line at the Boise airport (on our way to Vegas again) a TSA lady came up to us and stopped us.  “Where are you going? I just know it has to be some place fun, because I have never seen people rush up to the security line with such smiles on their faces!”  We told her we were going to Vegas.  And she said, “I have never seen 2 people so happy!”    Funny thing is, we weren’t near as excited and boisterous this year as we were last year heading to Vegas.  *laugh*  It’s just that I have changed so much!

So what happened????  To say I really don’t know would be a stretch I guess.  But I can’t tell you one specific thing that has changed.  It is just a matter of things accumulating I think.

1)  I learned to laugh and not take myself so seriously!

2) I found work that I take joy in (being an Independent Beachbody Coach)

3)  I work out alot more..almost every day

4) I have lost weight (not the amount I had always strived for) and I have gained some back, AND I am happy with who I am!!!  As long as I FEEL good that is all that matters!

5)  I take risks!!!!  If I am scared of something, I make myself do it! I don’t let fear keep me down!  I started living FEARLESSLY!

6) I KNOW & TRUST that my highest good is always being taken care of….worrying is wasted energy.

7) I am growing spiritually and intellectually through all of this reading I am doing.

8) I have learned to say “No” and “Yes” at the appropriate times!

9) I love freely and share that love with everyone I meet

10) This is  my favorite..jsut the other day, when one of my class mates was asked, “What part of God do you see in Martha?”  her response was “Authenticity”  When we moved to Idaho, it was my goal to live openly and be authentic with who I am….And her reply was exactly what I needed to hear to know that I am living my life the way I have always dreamed of living it!

Sure I have challenges.  Sure I would still love to be a lesser physical weight.  Sure I would love other things to change.  However, I LOVE MY LIFE NOW!  In this moment, right where I am, I LOVE IT!  I have one of the best marriages I have ever seen.  I have 3 beautiful loving strong children and one  just as beautiful loving and strong daughter in law!  I have volunteer work that fulfills me.  I have a job that keeps me active and encourages me to be better.  I belong to the perfect church for my life and it is filled with so  much love it is palpable!  I am making new friends who love me for me!  It’s perfect!

And for my 41st birthday, that same friend who helped with the race car ride, bought me my roller derby gear.  Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to be in the Roller Derby.  3 years ago when Boise got its Roller Derby League, I told my hubby that is what I wanted to do.  And every year since, when I start seeing their advertising, I say the same thing.  “I want to do that!”  Well, yesterday was my first practice as Fresh Meat for the Treasure Valley Roller Girls.  I was scared.  Here I am..41 years old, well over 200#…and just started roller skating again after not skating for over 10 years!  I put on my shiny new speed skates, and pads and got out on that track!  I was scared to fall; what if I looked stupid?  What if I couldn’t get up?  What if it was all too much for me?  What if I am too out of shape?  To heck with the “what ifs”  Just get out there!!!!  So I did.  When it came time for practicing our falls, my new friend Crash told me “you have great knee pads, just trust your gear and trust yourself.”  I did.  And guess what?  I didn’t get hurt!  When it came time for endurance practice, they cheered me on!  When it came time for weaving drills, they cheered me on!  I was told, “You have great skills to build on!”  “You are a natural”   “You must have been raised on skates.”  And when it came time for backwards skating, I blew them all away. Even the non-fresh meats.  I skated circles around them.  “Wow!  Look at Martha go!”  I’m not gonna lie, that felt damn good!   I was exactly where I needed to be.  It was the perfect fit for me.  The only sport I have ever felt comfortable in was a sport that included roller skates!

There are sooo many lessons to be gleaned from yesterday’s Fresh Meat practice.  Living fearlessly:  Fear is there to keep you safe, but if you are already safe, it is just a hinderance; it’s a lie!  Taking risks is how we grow!  It’s a must!  Learning to trust ourselves and trust “our gear”.  Let go and trust God.  We will never know how great we are at something unless we give it a try!  We will never know the joy of accomplishment if we don’t take that first step!

On mother’s day this year (which was 2 days after my birthday) my  kids gave me this huge card that had this granny woman doing the splits on the cement.  When you opened up it played one of my favorite disco songs.  (My kids know me so well.)  But what they wrote inside of it was so touching.  My 17-year-old son told me he was proud of everything I have accomplished this year and encouraged me to keep it up.  My 10-year-old daughter told me basically the same thing.  That is such an amazing feeling.  They see all the changes I have made in my life this year.  They recognize this brighter side of me.  I know I am setting a great example for them.  I know what I am doing is right!

If you are sitting back in that comfortable space of fear.  If you are afraid to take risks and would rather live a “safe” life, then I challenge you to make some changes.  Take a step outside of that box you have built for yourself.  Get out there and enjoy this life.  We are here to experience it and live it..not to watch it float on by us like a parade!  Get up and join the parade!  Dance with the clowns!  Play those blaring horns!  Maybe even do some juggling.  And remember, even in a parade, there are people who have to pick up the horse manure!  It’s not always going to be fun and games, but it is always worth the risk!!!!!

I’m in the front left hand row with the white shirt.  This is at my first Treasure Valley Roller Girls Fresh Meat Practice…learning to skate in a pack and listen for verbal ques and directions.  So  much fun!