The Sisterhood of the Traveling Skates

Welcome back to skates, scrimmages, bouts, and the Blue Ridge Blog! This season, the blog will feature pieces from new skaters, vets, and maybe even some coaches or refs. Our first blog is brought to us by Princess Suck It Up Buttercup, formerly known as Trikki Nikki. (Yeah, she is basically a rapper.) Buttercup tells us her story and how a teammate has helped her through the good, the bad, and the better. Enjoy!

Friendship in Derby

When I started derby four years ago, I was not sure my body would let me play. I had run track in high school, I have asthma, my pregnancies had caused sciatica and two c-sections, and two car accidents had injured my lower back. I had absolutely no core muscles. I felt like the walking wounded. But I always loved to skate, and my family pushed me to try out. However, I was not sure I would make it through one season with everything stacked against me. That first year I held on to one goal: to be a better skater than I was the day before.

Over the last four years, I have had a tremendous improvement in my health. The knees that have given out on me since high school are stronger–it only took four separate injuries to get there. I only occasionally use my inhaler when I am jamming, which I now do more often. I have become a better skater. Do I have room for improvement? Definitely. Am I still pushing myself? Yes. I now do weight training and have started coaching our junior team.

Along the way, I realized that I needed not only to expand my goal of being a better skater every day, but also to be a better teammate every day. Yes, I continue to strive to be better on the track for myself and my team, but I also try to be as supportive as possible. In doing this, I have adopted many as Derby Children–people I care about and take care of. I have rescued one child by giving her my AAA number when her car keys floated to the bottom of the French Broad. I also help another one of my daughters keep up with her blood sugar and eating habits. The number of derby children keep growing and even includes a couple skaters from other teams.

Roller derby is competitive, but does not mean that we are are not friends. We are a group of competitive woman who not only compete against other teams but also against each other for a spot on the roster. However, the worst thing we can do is become enemies with someone on the same team. Competing against each other can still cause hard feelings. Practice is not the safest place; we want to try new things, but at the same time, we don’t want mess up and lose our place on the roster.

However, my closest friendship in derby has come from this competition. There is one skater who is on the same level as I am, Rolli Cannoli. The past two years, we have been trying both move up on the roster, leapfrogging each other at every turn. Instead of becoming enemies, we have become closer friends. We support each other and push each other. She is the one whom I come to when I need help or when I am doubting myself. One of my “children” pointed out that she was her aunt, which must mean that we are “sisters.” I realized in that moment she is the sister I never had. She sees what others do not and will give me a hug when I am at my lowest, without me even saying a word.

It is hard for me to reveal myself and express my feelings; however, I feel safe with her. I feel safe working with her and talking to her about anything. At my worst or my best, she is there for me. She knows me and lifts me up at my darkest moments and celebrates my successes. She is there for me in every way. She pushes me and makes me better and I hope I do the same for her. I would not be the skater or teammate that I am without her.

There is a sisterhood in derby without which I do not believe I could have gotten this far. Thank you Rolli Cannoli and everyone else who has helped me along the way.ButtercupBlog

Okay, so there really weren’t any traveling skates, but skates are always traveling, right? Anyway, thanks for the poignant blog, Buttercup, and we will see you all at our April 11th bout! –Hammer