There I was standing in the blocker box at the San Diego Derby Dolls Jantastic event in January 2017 ready to take on our opposing team, the Wolfpack. My team, Southwest SmackDown, had just invited me to play with them this year and I was more than thrilled but I was also nervous, intimidated and ready to throw up at any moment. The referee blew the whistle and the jam began. The opposing jammer got through the pack pretty fast and for her second round on the banked track she was coming into the apex on turn two and I was going to get her. She was coming in on the low and I was able to drive her off the track, however she was faster than me and recovered and then hit me off the track. It was in that moment I felt a snap, crackle, pop in my right knee that I’d had reconstructive surgery on 20 years prior. I was immediately escorted off to my team’s box after hearing the referee’s call the jam due to injury.
This is the part of the story where I found out that being in Derby means that though you may not have family close to you in terms of miles, you have your derby family with you all the time. The EMTs rushed over and took amazing care of me and were able to escort me off the track after the end of quarter one. Sitting on the sidelines, all of my derby friends came over to see how I was doing and I instantly felt the love. After a few days I went and saw my medical doctor and the x-rays prove no broken bones but the MRIs showed a grade 2 sprain of my MCL plus damage to a few other ligaments along with a dislocated kneecap. You guessed it, next came Physical Therapy. I was lucky enough to not require surgery, but just knowing I would be out of derby for 10-16 weeks brought me to tears.
That night I showed up at The Dollhouse and my amazing derby family met me with hugs, love and support. I was telling them how hard this was going to be since I couldn’t drive and my poor girlfriend Nova was already doing everything for me. My Derby Wife, Fire N’ Spice, checked in on me daily and my derby family always made sure to keep a smile on my face. It was through this experience I realized that one of the most important families I have now was not one that I was born into, but the one that I created with Derby. I will forever feel a part of something and it will forever be a part of me.
I am now back to skating just the basics and I can’t begin to tell you how free I feel. Just slapping on those quad wheels and feeling the breeze against my face and the stench of derby gear on my skin makes me feel at home. Seeing the smiles of those how helped to take care of me makes it easier to push through the pain. Thank you derby family, I will forever call you mine.
Contributing Writers: Kelly Clocks’Em
Photo: Grant Palmer