Friday, December 17, 2010

Legendarily Notorious

At some point last year, the Derby Dolls decided to set up a category of long-time skaters who have been with the league for at least five years called, "Legends".  What's the advantage of being a Legend within the Dolls? So far, a still-skating Legend doesn't have to work the games (unless she's skating in said game, of course), and retired Legends get to come to any Dolls-hosted event for free. There's also talk of hanging all the Legends jerseys up in the flat track area.

On the surface, that doesn't sound like a lot to get out of it, but when you think about it, five years in a new sport is a LONG time. So many experiences and memories.

LADD's very own Vince (responsible for our RaD Dept. who does our amazing game intros, video, lighting, sound, etc.) decided to throw together the first L.A. Derby Dolls Legends Induction ceremony within a week's timeframe. Ridiculous. Email invites went out, requests for old fliers and photos quickly followed, and next thing I knew Ceremony Day was upon us.

Apparently I was scheduled to give a speech. Which I didn't know I was going to do until day of. I was told I didn't have to do it, buuuuuut, by the way, I'm last on the list.

That's a gauntlet being thrown at my feet, people.

I still hemmed and hawed as to whether I'd actually give a speech. I spent the day running errands and so I didn't have time to sit and ponder it. Then, finally, at 7pm I sat and scribbled something out just before hitting the nasty LA traffic to go to the ceremony. I still didn't know whether I'd give the speech until other Legends started giving their speeches. There were quite a few memorable moments brought up with quite a few laughs. After 31 other Legends were acknowledged, I, as number 32 got up, mumbled for a few seconds and said something along the lines of this:

Back in January 2004, I believed certain things about myself and my place in the world. I thought I was:

  • too old
  • too fat
  • too awkward
  • too shy
  • too ugly
  • too loud
  • too goofy
  • too geeky
  • too stubborn
  • too strict
  • not pretty enough
  • not artistic enough
  • not jock enough
  • not smart enough
  • not clever enough
  • not savvy enough
  • not diplomatic enough
  • and not funny enough for my little corner of the world.

Then I found the Derby Dolls.

And my world totally changed.

Well, it's not like the list I just rattled off stopped being true, because I know that everyone here would agree with something on that list.

BUT, I found a group of misfits and crazy people who made me feel I have a place and something positive to work towards, and I hadn't had that in a LONG time.

So, THANK YOU Derby Dolls, for allowing another freak onto your island of misfit toys. And especially to Demolicious and Thora Zeen--what you started has been AMAZING, and has made a difference to so many women. What we're doing is crazy, but as I keep saying, we're too dumb to know that this can't work. So keep working it, everyone!


I apparently made people cry with this quickly scribbled out missive. Without resorting to making them come to my Fresh Meat practices. I surprised everyone, including myself. Which is OK, because that's what derby has been...a long line of surprises.


Lulu Lockjaw said...

That made me tear up a litte too. That is exactly how I felt before derby, and yes, those thoughts still creep into my head, but I have an amazing place that I can retreat to called Derby!

Anonymous said...

I love you, Tara.

Dara said...

This is the best speech ever! After 4+ years of derby with the Sac City Rollers, I relocated to Texas. First thing I did was look up the leagues here,but unfortunately life had other plans. A job with hours that made derby impossible and then getting pregnant has kept me out of the derby life. After 8 months I'm still trying to adjust to the void it has left in my life. I hope to get back into it next year. I know that 4 years later I wouldn't have developed into the person I am without the girls, guys, teams and all things positive derby brings.

ifwecansparkle said...

Oh man, totally tearing up here, too! I <3 Roller Derby!

Infinite Pest said...

You made me cry last night. Not an easy thing to do....and I've been to MANY of your Fresh Meat Practices. Thanks for being awesome!

Fleur de Kille said...

I teared up. I could've written that list & I have a feeling a lot of other people sitting there were thinking the same thing.

Cagey said...

VOLUNTEERS also get to become Legends, btw. Next year: me.

When I heard your speech, I actually interpreted what you said after the list to mean that everyone in the room had felt one of those ways about her/himself, and that's why we all belong. I liked it.

Roxy Horror said...


Danger Kitty said...

I found myself totally crying after reading this (& before reading the comments left by others). You hit the nail on the head and I think many of us who found derby relate to every word in your speech. Thanks for sharing.