Thursday, April 11, 2013

Northern Ohio wRECk Roller Derby

I got some really sad news this week. Northern Ohio wRECk Roller Derby (more commonly known as "wRECk") is holding its final practice on Wednesday, April 24th. Not only is this sad for Cleveland roller derby in general, but it's heartbreaking personally to see this.

wRECk is one of the first places where I made any friends after moving to Cleveland. I'd stopped at their table for information after going to a BRRG bout and been encouraged to come by Justice and Sadie. I scoffed at first. I'd never been on a pair of skates in my life (toddling around in a pair of Little Tyke plastic skates didn't count in my opinion), much less skated on a track attempting a full contact sport.

It was a couple weeks later when I went to my first practice. I was so awkward, quite literally toddling along in my rented roller skates and borrowed gear. I looked ridiculous and I was hooked. After that, roller derby became my outlet for a good six months (or was it a year?). The women of wRECk are some of the nicest and toughest people you will ever meet. They scare the shit out of you one second and help you with your crossovers the next.

One thing that made a HUGE difference at differentiating my wRECk experience from other sports is the fact that I felt accepted. I'm a big girl, a fat girl. I know this and generally it's considered by society (and myself as well) to be a hindrance to physical activity. My limited experience with sports up until that point had been getting picked last (if at all) for the rare informal team sport or watching from the sidelines wishing I could give it a try. People at wRECk? They didn't care. As long as I actually got out on the track and gave it a try, that is what counted in their opinion. It was liberating.

I had to stop going to wRECk too soon. First it was an injury, then it was bills, followed by lack of time. Even though I haven't been able to go in quite a while, every Wednesday I still always think "it's wRECk night" and I wish I could go.

wRECk gave me some great times and some fantastic friends. It also gave me the opportunity to learn to be more assertive and try new things. Without wRECk, I never would've been able to try roller derby in the first place. I never would've met one of my best friends. I never would've thought that I could participate in a sport (much less train for a half marathon!). I never would've had the great memories I do now.

wRECk, you will be sorely missed. Justice, Sadie, Tini, Angel, and Rich, thank you all for your time, passion, and dedication to a great sport and a great group of women. I wish this wasn't the end.

Me with friends and derby peeps: Me, Juju, Sarah, Batt, and  Izy.
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