This past weekend the Motor City Disassembly Line and a few others all carpooled down to Bloomington, IN for the Bleeding Heartland Rollergirls 3rd Annual B-Cup Tournament. I had missed the deadline to officiate this tournament, but I was still itching to get out on the road and have a proper derby road trip. So I had to settle on volunteer/spectator, and I was ok with that!
Love for my derby family is nothing new, and I felt the love more than ever this weekend. Between the flood of hugs and hellos when I entered the arena on Saturday morning, to the acceptance and friends I made at the after party, and to the tears and sympathies shared amongst teammates as we visited our fallen skater in the hospital, love was a never ending emotion.
The weekend was a roller-coaster of ups and downs as to be expected with any roller derby tournament. Even if you are not working or skating, they can be exhausting. To start was the 6 hour drive that put us in the hotel room at 1am. Followed by the early morning rise and drive to the venue. But tired eyes were soon replaced by raspy yells and cheers as MCDL took a strong lead over the Fort Wayne S.W.A.T. team and started the weekend off strong with a 184-89 win.
With the morning excitement out of the way it was on to work. I had a pretty easy couple of shifts helping with housecleaning and admissions. In between I was able to hang out with NSO and Ref friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time, many of them since Brewhaha last June. Roller Derby has helped me make friends across the country, and seeing them always brings a smile to my face. We laugh, we take pictures, and we share stories of the crazy derby times we’ve had.
That afternoon, MCDL came back out on the track and had a rough bout against the Naptown Warning Belles (299-62). Blame it on the refs, the other team, or what ever you choose, but as long as you played hard, gave it your all, and learned from it, a loss is only a stepping stone to making you a better team/skater. And we officials know it and feel it too. We have good games and bad, and as long as we learn from our mistakes, miscommunications or miscalculations, we are only going to get better.
One thing about derby road trips that I secretly adore is sharing hotel rooms. I know, especially when you are rooming with 4 other people, rooms get messy, there are lines for the bathroom, people snore, all of those things happen, but sharing those moments with my derby friends is like being on vacation with family. It’s only a few days, and you’ll be back in your own bed in no time.
I was never on a team sport before this, so I don’t know if this is common, but I love after parties when all of the teams gather together to share beers, tell stories, and dance the night away. And even if you have a few tables of girls grouped together by team, they’ll all intermingle and everyone is equal at the after party. I made some new friends in Charm City (Baltimore) and Old Capitol City (Iowa City) that night. I might not remember their names, but their friendly spirit will remain with me.
Sunday was rough for more than one reason. While warming up for our last bout against the Arch Rival St. Lunachix, one of our newest teammates, Off-The-Hook took a nasty fall and had to be taken to the hospital with a broken leg. MCDL fought tough and played hard for Hook, but Arch Rival was having a much better morning, taking the win 276-71. After the bout, we all headed to the local hospital to visit with Hook and make sure she got on her way back home to Michigan. It was great to see everyone there, and no matter how well you knew her, we all chipped in to make her feel comfortable and do whatever it took to make sure we all got home.
It’s that team spirit, that derby family, that keeps me going to practice each week. It’s the joy of telling these stories, having our inside jokes, sharing a good meal or two with some of the best people I know, that makes this Valentine’s Day so special. And I can’t narrow it down to just one person. Detroit Derby Girls are my sweets this year, and if I could buy them all chocolates and roses I would. Hugs & Kisses!