Today is Thanksgiving day in the United States; a day to reflect upon the (hopefully) many things we are grateful for. Looking back at the post I made last year on Thanksgiving, I realize what a difference 12 months can make.
2013 was not a bad year, per se. It was almost the same as the year before, and the year before that. It was a normal year. I, however, seemed to have grown BORED with normal. Normal had become un-challenging and safe. My husband Brian and I had, before we even became “middle aged”, turned into old-fogies who rarely left the house except for work or family obligations.
I turned 40 years old in December 2013 and I did a little mental inventory or sorts (I’ve got inventory management in my background so I’m sticking with the metaphor) and realized that while I was content, I wasn’t really happy. I had a bit of a health scare too, which in combination with a milestone birthday, almost forced me to evaluate things. By the time New Years Day 2014 rolled around, I realized I needed to be a more active and social person, like I had been in my “youth”, and actually made it a new years resolution. (https://danireads.com/2014/01/01/a-look-ahead-and-a-glance-back/)
The first quarter of 2014 was a lot like 2013 though. The routine Brian and I had developed and honed to perfection was hard to break. The winter was cold and while we hadn’t exactly pushed our old friends away, the ties we had holding us together were frayed and not easily brought back together.
By the spring, I was almost resigned to breaking that resolution. I just could find a way back to my old “social Dani” self. Then I saw an advertisement for something that had always interested me. Something that I knew very little about, but wanted to more of. I saw that our local roller derby league, SIDR or Strong Island Derby Revolution (http://www.thederbyrevolution.com/) was playing in late April, not even 10 minutes from the safe haven of my home. Seeing that I had always wanted to see a bout, I took a deep breath and asked my oldest friend if she and her husband would be interested in going with us and she said sure, why not?! I hadn’t even asked Brian yet if he’d be interested, but I hoped he would be. Neither of us are “sporty” people, so it was not certain he would want to go. To my surprise, he also said yes!
We all had a great time at that bout, SIDR versus the Broome County Rollers. Watching the women skate around that track had lit a fire in me. While I had only the most basic understanding of what was happening, I was enthralled. So much so, that it barely registered that it had the same effect on Brian!
We learned at the bout that SIDR was having a recruitment event late the next month. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I had turned 40 in 2013. While 40 is certainly not old, it’s not exactly young. While there is no maximum age, the minimum age to join SIDR is 21, an age I hadn’t been in a long, long time. I was, however, in the best shape I’d been in in almost 10 years. So when Brian expressed interest in the refereeing side of roller derby, I realized that I wanted to play! It looked like a lot of fun, even if it did look like it could hurt.
We decided to try, so we bought some skates and some pads and found that tennis courts are great to roller skate on! By the time the recruitment event came around, we were confident enough that we were not going to kill ourselves on 8 wheels so we committed to go.
That was the beginning. The beginning of a journey so incredible I have been riding high for over 6 months.
Since joining roller derby, I feel like the girl I used to be. The outgoing people person that I had been was back from her exile. My body has become stronger, and so has my self-image. My marriage has never been better too, as doing this together has brought Brian and I even closer.
I am so incredibly grateful to each and every one of my incredible league mates. I am grateful to my family for the support they have given Brian and me – in watching our practices to helping at the bouts and even just listening to me ramble on and on extensively about this all-consuming sport. I am grateful to our incredible coaches who have taught me so much, and who still have more to teach! I am overwhelmed with gratitude to the women and men who have welcomed us so warmly and who have become like family.
Thank you, roller derby. Thank you SIDR. Thank you to my family and friends. I love you all.