Dads in Derby, part 2
Welcome back blogfans!
I remember standing on the beach looking out over the ocean where my brother had drowned a few years before, his daughter (my niece) standing next to me. My family and hers were there on that anniversary, my kids playing in the surf and the others milling about. “Did I tell you I want to play roller derby,” she said abruptly. Visions of a banked track, scantily clad demon women and fist fights came to mind. “Really?” I answered. Not that it came as much of a surprise, the Dilley family has been known to get involved in relatively odd pursuits from time to time. Soon she had joined the local Monterey team and I was attending my first game. “It’s called a bout,” she kept reminding me. My misunderstandings of the game melted immediately. Here was a woman's sport with skill, action, sportsmanship and best of all… plain fun. I was hooked immediately.
I continued to participate in this grass-roots sport by being a ‘watcher’, seeing my niece develop into a badass skater and feared blocker. I accepted my part as an onlooker from afar, attending bouts and scrims when I could, screaming at live streamed tournaments on my TV (scaring the crap out of my cats in the process), and re-watching the ones I had to see ‘just one more time’. I load up the 2014 RC vs Gotham bout as background noise quite often while I am configuring servers and networks at work. It is a sickness really, I can’t help it.
A couple years ago things changed when my wife announced, “I am going to join Derby Lite. It’s only one day a week, you can watch the kids right?” That is how it started… one day a week and only recreationally. Now she is three days a week and has already competed in her first weekend tournament. And I love it. The SVRG calls itself a family and you can not help but spend time with any of these ladies to know that they mean it.
Nowadays my wife and I pack up the two kids and attend practices regularly two times a week, while my wife attends a third for the competitive adults. My 9 year old skates with the juniors and even I have joined the recreational league, Circuit Jerks. It has been a blast blowing off the rust of my leet 80’s skating skills. I actually exclaimed aloud the first time I transitioned to skate backwards with long but not lost muscle memories without thinking about it. The experience of skating with the SVRG and their amazing acceptance of me into the family has truly touched me. Thanks to my niece’s interest in this wonderful sport we are now what can only be called a derby family. And the best thing is… we are not the only ones.