Friday, September 3, 2010

A fond farewell to Ghirley

Last night we bid our good friend (and Vice President of the Twin City Derby Girls) Amber "Ghirley Manson" Carmer a fond farewell. Now that she's finished her Master's, she's leaving us to head back home. I don't think she knows exactly how much we will miss her. I will admit to shedding a few tears on the way home last night. But we sent her out in true derby girl fashion - alcohol, dancing & karaoke! For those of you who don't know, Amber worked for Rape Crisis Services when it was a program of A Woman's Fund. So, yes, I was her "boss". I think that's why she likes to pummel me on the track--it's payback! I've always recognized Amber's passion and drive but it was a real pleasure getting to know her in this capacity. It was her initiative that helped bring this league to fruition. I don't know if I have ever appropriately expressed her "awesomeness". You see, she's the reason I belong to TCDG.
I'm not sure she even remembers the conversation that evening in early February when I attended the Talk Derby To Me fundraiser at Boltini's. I was fascinated by roller derby but I attended the fundraiser thinking I'd become a volunteer. I was too old to skate and after all I was fighting an aggressive breast cancer. I was smack in the middle of chemo, feeling like death warmed over and complaining about my shitty life. Leave it to Amber to cut to the chase. She pretty much told me to put on my big girl panties and bring my bitchin' ass to Saturday's practice before deciding not to skate. She was so right. That turned out to be the kick in the ass I needed. She truly saved my life. That Saturday, although I was slightly off balance due to the missing breast, I skated and managed to keep up with the others. That was the day I decided that cancer didn't get to win. So many people thought I was crazy to join a roller derby league but my league mates didn't. They accepted me (minus 1 boob) and made me feel a part of them. I understand why it's so hard for her to leave us.
I can never truly express my gratitude to Amber for her work to make TCDG happen and for giving me that kick in the ass. Ghirley Manson will always be near and dear to my heart. So to Amber I say a million times, "Thank You". I love you, I'll miss you and always know that you have a home here with TCDG. Good luck to you in whatever you do. I know you'll be absolutely fabulous!

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