Last night we got in from a roller derby road trip to Los Angeles, where my daughter Lil Aly Cat’s travel team California Mayhem Girls took on Angel City at Angel City’s Tinseltown Smackdown tournament (and WON!) It was just the latest in many amazing roller derby road trips we have taken in the six years my daughter has been playing junior roller derby.
Can you imagine it? Kids playing roller derby? It’s not anything I ever imagined for my daughters when I was thinking ahead about what life with kids would mean for us. It has become my single favorite extra-curricular activity they are involved in.
I love the game, which is fierce and unique and fun to watch. I love the people who make roller derby happen, they are open-minded, inclusive, intelligent, and creative. I love the events, which are always colorful, lively, and friendly. I love the schedule, which is year-round and usually only requires a couple practices a week.. so my academically-focused daughter can enjoy having the time she needs to keep up with her studies. I love the focus on community service, both teams my daughter is on are active in the area, always doing good and making important connections. I love derby moms (and dads). They are just so cool. They’ve become my family. I love the travel! We’ve been to so many places we never might have gone.
And it’s not just good fun and good people, it’s a legit sport these days. When we first started even the kids were wearing fishnets and booty shorts and bout make-up, which we still see sometimes (and enjoy- roller derby is the one sport that celebrates diversity and allows everyone to express themselves.) But in the last six years I’ve watched the sport go from a spectacle to a much more serious sport. Players train hard and show up to compete. They wear professional looking uniforms now, mostly. Coaches innovate. Games are sanctioned, we have rankings and nationals now. We have US teams who travel the globe. You even see roller derby references popping up more and more in commercials, tv shows, movies and some bouts are even televised by ESPN.
Our lives would be completely different without roller derby. We had such a blast traveling with our derby friends this weekend. We watched some of the best derby I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a LOT of derby in 6 years. We walked the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and visited Universal’s Citywalk. We met up with family in the area. We ate great food, we made new friends, and we came home spent and broke. So now I’m back to hustling, it’s certainly not easy to afford all of the gear and travel- and we’ll be in Utah in just three weeks! But it’s totally worth it for our family, and we can’t wait until the next roller derby road trip. 🙂