I'm Down To Derby: My Journey To Broken Bones And Best Friends

I, Krista Doyle, being of mostly sound mind and able-ish body, am about to embark upon one of the most important journeys in a young woman’s life: the journey to becoming a roller derby skater. More specifically, I want to become part of Los Angeles’ roller derby league, the LA Derby Dolls. The LA Derby Dolls is a league here in Los Angeles made up of four teams: Fight Crew, Tough Cookies, Sirens and Varsity Brawlers. You can read more about them here if you want.

When I moved to LA, one of the first things I could not wait to do was to go see the Dolls in action. I had never been to a derby bout before and when I finally got to go, I was hooked. Since then, the Doll Factory (where the bouts are held) has been one of my favorite places and I’ve even volunteered at events just because I wanted to be more involved, but was still too scared to actually start skating. Then, the last time I volunteered, I had a conversation with a skater that made me decide to get brave. She asked me if I skated, to which I responded, “Nah, I’m just a wannabe.” Then she laughed and replied, “You don’t have to be a wannabe, you know, you can just ‘be.’ Start classes. You won’t regret it.” So, here we are!

For those of you who know anything about me, you’re probably laughing at the idea of me putting on roller skates and playing anything that even resembles a contact sport (with good reason), and trust me, it won’t be an easy process. There are training classes on training classes, tryouts, more classes, more tryouts, not to mention volunteering requirements that must be met throughout the entire process.

These girls work hard, play hard, and unfortunately for my sake, hit hard. Even still, I plunge ahead willingly and enthusiastically toward the long hours and dark bruises. You may think that long hours and inevitable injuries are odd things for me to be excited about subjecting myself to, but here are just a few reasons why I can not wait to stumble my way around the world of roller derby:

1. I get to learn something new. Sure, I’m already pretty good at roller-skating. And by “pretty good,” I mean that I can stand in an upright position or move slowly in a circular motion without falling. But here’s my chance to actually learn how to play this game that I’ve been so infatuated with. To learn skating tricks and how to execute plays. To learn how to take a hit from a girl much stronger than me without vomiting all over the track. I CAN’T WAIT.

2. I get to get into shape. I am probably the unhealthiest person I know. I eat fast food almost every day, drink soda non-stop, and rarely take part in things that could ever be considered exercise. I lose my breath just riding the elevator. Training for derby will provide the excuse I need to finally take action and get a little healthier, which is great, because I would like to live past the age of 45.

3. I get to meet new people. This is probably what I’m most excited about. These girls are the coolest of the cool, the bad ass-iest of the bad ass, and they are all so different. Some are moms looking for a little release, some are college students who want to take on a new hobby, some are just really tough girls who can’t wait to kick my ass. The point is, the community within the league is so interesting and diverse. There is a place for every type of person, and I love that.

4. Whip It. Okay, I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, she’s one of ‘those’ people who is only interested in this because she saw some mainstream ‘movie’ about it.” First, calm down, maybe? Second, seriously though, how GREAT was that movie?! I am not ashamed to say that I saw it four times in theaters and still rock the soundtrack on a regular basis. And while I know that there is more to derby than what was portrayed in the movie, it is still what sparked my interest in the sport.

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