Jan 2015 19

By Te Killher Shot

When I saw a flyer at work for Roller Derby in 2012, I thought – “how cool”. I want to learn to skate again, pick a rad derby name and purchase some fish net stockings (which I strangely don’t regret). I never thought that two years later I would be placed on a travel team going to Adelaide for The Great Southern Slam  and most recently to Newcastle for The Bont Invitational.

When I first joined the league, I was a nervous wreck.

I didn’t feel confident.

I felt as though I didn’t fit in.

I felt like I didn’t amount to these skaters.

It was like starting a new school where everyone was popular!

I thought to myself ‘yeah, I’ll just come here to skate and get fit’. Oh how wrong I was! NOPE. I now have a million friends, 100 kids and 600 puppies and kitties (may be a slight exaggeration). Finding the South Side Derby Dolls was like finding that long lost family you so longed for. Everybody thinks ‘Wow, a sport that is female dominated. Don’t you argue and get on each others nerves?’ The plain and simple answer – ‘No’.

After try outs (where projectile vomiting was imminent), I was lucky enough to be offered a place on The Empire.  I was amazed and so proud. From then, things started to escalate quite quickly. A few weeks had passed and I was offered a place on The Force. THE FORCE, PEOPLE! I assumed the spot was temporary to fill spaces needed for The Great Southern Slam but it didn’t bother me. I was going to get to skate with skaters I had admired from the sidelines. I had a slight Eminem moment (which may or may not have included excessive rapping) and off I was, to compete in this amazing sport with my league.

Unfortunately, my mentality pre-game is not a very positive one.

Te Killher Shot

Photo by DERBYdigital

I’ve diagnosed myself with ‘performance anxiety’ or ‘stage fright’ and I’ve been struggling with this since I was in primary school. Athletics was, and still is, my stage. I have a fear of not only disappointing my supporters but also embarrassing myself. It is a very real and crippling feeling. The same feeling is 10 times worse since playing derby and I believe it’s because I now have team mates, a coach, a benchie and a passionate league to represent. I am as yet to find a cure. However the adrenaline rush I get when on track, surpasses the negativity playing in my head pre-game.  My teammates now know I’m like this before games so while I was gearing up for our first challenge at TGSS, I found a little note in my skate bag telling me how great I will be and that I had this! It sounds silly but it made me feel so much better and was one of the best derby experiences of my life. I keep the note in my skate bag to remind me that I’m not alone on the track.

We play as a team, not individuals!

Recently, South Side attended The Bont Invitational. Another weekend with my league I am lucky enough to call my friends. The best thing about the weekend was not the win we had, it wasn’t the derby we watched, it wasn’t even the hot chips smothered in tomato sauce. It was the passion and determination our skaters and our supporters had. I was sitting on the bench for the next line up and not feeling good, mentally, and all I hear from the other side of our bench area is “Te! You look really pretty today.” My team mates then go to high fives and fist bumps to make sure our attitude, no matter the score, is positive.

You can go to tournaments and win all the games but what’s the point if there’s no one to celebrate it with? Or someone to cheer for you even if you’re getting slaughtered by the opposition’s wall of gigantic derby butts!? This simply does not happen with South Side. The Rebel Alliance may consist of 1 or 100 people at our games and they will always be the voices that are heard from the track.

South Side has already had an amazing start to 2015 and there is only more to come and I cannot wait!