A Love Letter to Roller Derby

Guest post by Kimmikaze, b.add captain, All Stars coach and all-round roller derby addict

Insecure, depressed, lonely, and stuck: ready for change. This was me about 2 and half years ago. I was done, with myself and my life. I was unhappy with who I was, how I looked and the life I lived. I wanted to be slimmer, fitter, stronger, happier, healthier and more outgoing. I wanted to be someone I didn’t dare be – no longer afraid to be noticed by others. So in August 2014, I joined Roller Derby in Amsterdam. The most logical step for someone like me, NOT!

Playing Twente with the B.ADD Girls as Captain 2017 © Branko Collin’s Derby Photos

With no skating experience, neither in teamwork nor with an athletic background, I was a lone wolf that was too insecure to make contact with other people, let alone strangers… look, let’s just say I felt I like the total opposite of a roller derby player.

So why go? Well, the internet told me amazing things about how inclusive the roller derby community is. Apparently in this sport it doesn’t matter what you look like, who you are, where you’re coming from or what you do in life – yeah, can you believe that!? There are people in this world that don’t care about any of that- they just care about you!

I remember that first day as if it were yesterday. I was so scared, no one could come with me, and normally I wouldn’t have gone solo. I didn’t do new things, scary things, let alone on my own. But something pushed me to go, and so, with trembling knees, a thumping heart, and seriously clammy palms, I built myself up outside in the parking lot and went in. Something in me knew that this was what I had to do, to make a change my life, and now? Zero regrets!

I’m not saying it’s been all sunshine and unicorns; like most of us I’ve had my ups and downs. I have cried many tears, had my fair share of frustrations and, let me tell you, transitions are still a mind-fuck for me. But looking back to where I started -to that insecure person that wasn’t able to get up from a chair when on skates- oh wow am I proud of where and who I am today!

Coaching the All Stars during their win at the National Champs 2016 © Patrick Spruytenburg

I’m proud to be a motivated, dedicated skater. I’m captain of our B team, and a very active member on different committees for the league. Last year I even started coaching our A team (damn was that a big challenge!). I’m taking initiatives to improve their training, standing in front of a group of (way) more experienced skaters and giving them feedback, while continuing to help the freshly cured meat who join our B team and seeing them grow into such strong skaters.

I’m proud of my individual growth, who as I was and am now; it’s like night and day. I found my confidence, my inner athlete, I’m more at peace with my body and mentally I have become so much stronger. I can enjoy the good things in life, I can learn from past challenges and those still to come. I know now that it’s more than okay to not meet society’s standards and day by day I care less about what others may think of me, they won’t hold me back.

I will keep pushing myself day after day, training after training, year after year for the rest of my life. I will learn, I will grow, I will teach, I will love and be loved. I’ve been accepted by an amazing group of people, and I’ve accepted myself. I can only wish the same for every other human being in this world. Roller derby is a great sport, but it is the people that make roller derby awesome!

Some of my crazy roller derby family © ARD

To all the people that helped me become the person that I am today, I give you my love. You don’t even know how much you mean to me,