“Put on a pair of skates, be your own hero.” That line is, by far, my most favorite part of the movie Whip It. If you have not seen Whip It, the movie features the sport of roller derby. Drew Barrymore, Ellen Page, Kristen Wiig and Juliette Lewis star in the movie. Ok, so Hollywood glamorized the sport slightly (or a lot) but I still love the movie. The first time I saw a live roller derby bout, I knew I was hooked. I HAD to learn how to play the game. I tend to love the fast paced work outs so derby seemed to be right up my alley. Only problem? I had not been on a pair of skates since junior high.
My husband found a local fitness class called Derby Lite. According to their web site, Derby Lite provides “roller skating for fun and fitness.” I decided to give Derby Lite a whirl and I am still skating with them one year later. Most people that know me call me Missy but to 20+ women I meet at the rink weekly, I am called Dee Day. Yes, with roller derby come the fun names. Each Tuesday night, I don my fish nets, bootie shorts and fun socks and hit the rink with my skates, helmet and safety gear. Our work outs focus on agility and endurance drills. We do not play roller derby as a contact sport but we do learn the ins and outs of the game.
Shannimal and Dee Day, kicking butt and taking names
I LOVE this class! One of the things I love most about derby lite is that it brings me completely out of my comfort zone each week. Each time I attend class, I usually think to myself, “They want me to do WHAT on skates?! Are they crazy?” But guess what? I do it and it is FUN! Try doing burpees or tuck jumps ON SKATES! Thankfully, my athleticism gets me far in my derby class. However, I am far from being the strongest skater. I still have that uncertainty each time I put on my skates. I look up to the stronger skaters and the instructors. They encourage me to become a better skater. I have come to thrive on the challenge roller derby brings to me each time I go to class. I feel empowered when I do master a new skill. My obsession of the moment? Training my non-dominant leg to do cross overs! Ah, the day I master left cross overs, you will know. Any derby girls reading? Send me your tips on how to trick my brain! I can physically do it but I have the mental block.
Another aspect of Derby Lite that I love is the sense of community. You tend to get to know someone quickly when you do some of the drills we do each week! Derby girls often joke that they can easily recognize a team mate’s bootie before her face. It is totally true! I have come to know a lot of my classmates and am happy to call them friends. The support everyone receives during class is very encouraging and uplifting. Oh, and check out my buddy in the picture. Shannimal has lost over 30 pounds because of Derby Lite! Amazing!
I mentioned the bootie shorts earlier. My derby class is actually considered a women’s fitness class so we do not wear street clothes. We are asked to wear what is comfortable for a work out. A lot of girls wear what are called DerbySkinz. They are teeny tiny bootie shorts! I wore a pair of them for the first time last week and I will admit, I was a little hesitant. It is like wearing boy short undies or a swim suit bottom. I apologized to one of my classmates if she saw my bootie during class (because OF COURSE I picked a pattern that is basically see through- sigh). She laughed and said no one here cares. You know what? She is right! No one cares and almost everyone in the class wears skinz or something similar. Derby empowers women to feel comfortable in teeny tiny shorts and your size does not matter. We all praise girls with strong quads and big booties because they get the job done in derby.
While roller derby may not be your sport, find something that you love. Fitness is supposed to be fun. If you do not enjoy your work out, you may be tempted to quit. I would also encourage you to find a group of people that share a love for your choice of exercise. It helps to have a buddy to encourage you! Sure, exercise can be a challenge but I find the challenge to be the best part of fitness. So put on a pair of skates (or running shoes, cycle shoes, boxing gloves, etc) and be your own hero.
Go support your local roller derby!