Thursday, June 3, 2010

Roller Derby saved my life

I recently joined a breast cancer support group at the Mills Breast Cancer Institute called Write to Heal. We spend time writing about what we are feeling in relation to breast cancer and sometimes share those writings within the group. It is sponsored by Carle Foundation, so it is costing me nothing. They even supply the notebooks, pens and snacks! I am really enjoying it. Listening to the others makes me realize I am not alone as they share some of the same sentiments. It is easy to share those thoughts that others find too morbid. Someone mentioned tonight that you never know what gets people through their cancer and I exclaimed, "Roller Derby saved my life!" I had heard that exercise during chemo was recommended as it helps make chemo easier. Guess I took it to the extreme when I joined Roller Derby?! But I swear, it saved my life. I was feeling so bad all the time back then and was fairly sure I was dying. Getting up on wheels again and flying around the rink made me feel alive.
For the past few weeks I have been battling this respiratory infection and it has taken its toll. But, I have still managed to derby because without derby, why bother to live? I will admit to a few fleeting thoughts now and again that perhaps I should quit derby now that I have proved that I can do it. But then I have to slap myself and say, "What the hell? Short of them throwing your ass out of the league, you ain't quitting derby!" You see, it's in my blood and I couldn't leave all those crazy, dedicated, awesome women. The beloved sport from the 1970s is back. Roller Derby today, is bigger than ever. The past is a memory of people and games gone by the wayside and is replaced with a new fever and excitement of modernism. Roller Derby is lodged permanently in the hearts of players and spectators who embrace and assure success. America's fastest growing sport is not going anywhere but up. Roller Derby is back; it's future is boundless.
Concealed throughout our society, a group of us live double lives. By day, we work as bartenders, nurses, students, managers, teachers, or any other number of jobs. Unlike Clark Kent, however, we are far from mild-mannered. By night we break out mini skirts, fishnet stockings, elbow pads and mouth guards. Our skating attire expresses each woman’s personality in a manner somehow both burlesque and empowered at the same time. Short skirts, cool t-shirts, punk hair and knee socks are combined with a determined derby stance and padding thick enough to protect a football player. We take on new identities and become “glamazons” — the kind of women men might drool over from afar, but secretly fear they will meet in a dark alley. We scramble to push opposing players out of the way while staying within the strict boundaries of the flat-track course and helping our own players move forward. The result is all sorts of falls and bruises, which we display with pride. After watching our first bout, my daughter proudly declared me "CRAZY"! After all, we are the Twin City Derby Girls!


  1. AGREED!!! Roller derby is awesome and you are an inspiration to us all :)

  2. Hi Tami,
    I am so excited for you. You are such a resilient person, and I am very impressed with you. It is so important for us to do things that make a difference in our lives, it is so good for our physical and mental being. I'm happy that you have the energy and spirit needed to get out there and play with the big girls! You are really an inspiration to those who have the pleasure of knowing you. You are a special lady.
    I hope this email finds you,mom,Bert, Mike and Hannah-Boo all doing well. You go girl!!