September 23, 2019 was a day that changed my life. That may sound dramatic, but it’s the truest statement possible! This was the day that I stumbled upon an article on Facebook about a new roller derby league forming in Augusta. I have admired the sport for years, dating back to when Maine Roller Derby was just gaining its footing. I thought someday, when my kids were grown, I’d give it a try! I knew it would be a significant time commitment, as MRD was over an hour away from me, and I just didn’t have time back then as a working mother. I’ve always been known for my toughness, so even though I lacked the skating experience, I felt in my bones that roller derby was a sport for me. Now that there was a league just 20 minutes away, and my kids were older and more self-sufficient, I HAD to get in on the fun!
My first session of Skate School started October 9th, and while I was nervous, I was more excited than anything. I was more confident than I ever had been. It was a strange feeling to have, as I am typically a chronic self-doubter. I knew the more I skated, and the more I tried, the better I would become. The warm, generous welcome and enthusiasm from the veteran skaters helped boost my confidence and kept nerves at bay. I knew I had found my people! It helped immensely to hear stories from the veterans about how they struggled when they were just getting started. I admired their grace and talent on the track, so knowing they had been in my shoes not long ago put my mind at ease.
That first day I’m certain I looked like Bambi on ice when I first took off on skates. Slowly but surely, I was skating and attempting all the drills. They had us to do single and double knee taps that first day. I recall saying, “Are you nuts?!” because there was no way my newbie self would be able to do it. Lo and behold, I was able to do the taps, albeit not gracefully, but I DID IT! As each week passed, I got better and better. I did sustain a nice tailbone injury that shook my confidence some, but I ultimately pushed through. When they tell you to get low, GET LOW, or end up on your rear-end like me!
As Skate School was nearing its end, and assessments were looming, I began thinking that I may actually have a chance to pass into Derby Basics after all, even though I had assumed all along I’d need another round or two of Skate School. Long story short, I ended up not passing by just 3 points. I was very disappointed in myself because I was SO close! If only I had mastered one or two more things, I could have moved on. In reality, I NEEDED a second round of Skate School to gain more confidence and perfect more skills so I could be a safe skater.
We kicked off Skate School Round 2 on January 8th and I felt amazing. What a perfect way to kick off the new year! We had a huge group and I enjoyed helping encourage the new skaters throughout the practice. Encouragement in itself goes a long way so I knew I could at least do that as I was attempting to master skills myself. Having just completed week 4, my confidence continues to soar, and I am excited for what’s to come with Kennebec Valley Roller Derby. I now have my eye on the prize: passing into Derby Basics!
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Kristina Roderick, aka Mae B. Krazy, is a self-employed graphic designer residing in Oakland, Maine with her husband, two human children, and three fur children. When her family and roller derby aren’t keeping her busy, she loves to paint, draw, play disc golf, and sample Maine’s many delicious craft beers.