So y’all know that I love roller derby. And when my local league offered a 2-month boot camp to train new recruits, I signed up and then bought myself a second hand shiny white pair of quad skates. I was excited to finally live my fantasy of being a derby queen; I’d even picked out a name for myself (Buns N’ Roses, #108). Even though I haven’t worn roller skates since I was 12 years old, I figured I’d be able to pick it up again.

But oh, dudes, it’s way harder than I remembered. My skating attempts were a disaster. I spent most of the time on my butt, with everyone skating around me. It brought up awful memories of being the slowest, worst player in high school PE class. I also realized that I’m afraid of injury: bruises, sprains, broken bones are all potential roller derby hazards.

I just have to be honest with myself that I am not an athlete. I have lower back problems, weak ankles, and I hate pain. If there’s anything that I’ve learned from yoga, it’s how to listen to my body and respect my limitations. Last weekend, in Kelly McGonigal’s yoga class at Being Yoga, I received a very clear message from my body: “I am a princess, not a tomboy. Cover me in glitter, not bruises. I am not designed for speed and smashing. Dress me in lingerie and dance.”

And so, I am not going back to the boot camp. It’s hard to admit, but I think rather than struggling to learn how to roller skate, I can direct my energy into other things in my life: being a kickass yoga teacher, writing awesome short stories, knitting baby blankets, mastering the French language. Since roller derby speaks to this streak of aggression that I have, I’m thinking about taking boxing lessons.

Feeling like a roller derby dropout failure has given me reason to make lists of the things that I’m good at: practicing inverted yoga postures (maybe I can’t stand up on 8 little wheels, but I can stand on my hands for 3 minutes!), riding my bike through Montréal traffic, making wheat-free/dairy-free muffins, loving my cats, intuiting things. And blogging! In midst of my self-pity, I received notification that It’s All Yoga, Baby made a list of 100 top yoga and meditation blogs. Yay!

It looks like this is the closest I’ll come to being a roller derby star:

Photo by Susan Moss.

Photo by Susan Moss (

Yeah dudes, that’s me and my underwear on the flat track, doing a little victory dance at a Filles du Roi vs La Racaille bout in July 2008. This outlandish exhibitionist stunt won me a copy of the awesome book that the announcer guy is holding in his hand. So I guess I have it in me… as long as I can keep my two feet on the ground.

Update: For a dose of roller derby inspiration, you have to check out this video. “As a 53-year-old librarian by day and roller derby player by night, Beth Hollis smashes stereotypes and opponents on and off the track.” []