My journey in roller derby is similar to many others. Through the seven years that I played, I challenged myself in ways that I never would have imagined. Physically, I pushed myself through grueling practices, back-to-back games, and recovery from major injuries. Emotionally, I grew tremendously; I learned how to take success and defeat gracefully. Professionally, I began to understand how to be a leader of fierce, independent women. Roller derby changed my life. It gave me the confidence to know that I could achieve anything I wanted.
I took this confidence into the next stage of my life: motherhood. In the fall and winter of 2013, I embarked on the adventure of becoming a mother. The majority of 2014 I spent pregnant; coaching and NSO’ing, not having any idea what I had gotten myself into.
Eight months in!
Although I was confident in my ability to succeed l on my own, it became readily apparent to the mothers in the league that I needed help when I posted my minimalist baby shower registry: a car seat, a pack-n-play and some diapers. After all, I could just get what I needed once the baby arrived, right? A Boppy Pillow? Sounds frivolous; I don’t need one. The self-proclaimed “ARG Mom Army” stepped in to advise. They set me straight: You need a Boppy Pillow. Really.
Baby shower onesies. Derby girls are great with puns!
The support wasn’t limited to other mothers; there are plenty of others who offered their advice, their time, and their professions. (Did you know that ARG has a therapist, a nurse, and a lactation consultant?) I remember sitting at my kitchen table after the last guest left from the baby shower. I was overwhelmed with love. All these people had come together to celebrate me and the life I was bring into this world. Everything was going to be ok.
For someone as headstrong as myself, it was both humbling and a relief to have people around to back me up. My league-mates knew me well enough to know that I wouldn’t ask for help, and I wouldn’t want help, but I would gratefully accept it. Plus, just try keeping a cute baby away from Queen Loseyateefa!
Fro, baby Oliver, and Queen.
Photo: Violent Beauregarde
I’m forever thankful that my journey in roller derby is supplementing my journey into motherhood. It takes a village. Or a derby league.
The ladies can’t resist this cutie. That’s why his derby name is Oliver Clothesoff.