broken ankles, roller derby, and The Fear

The Fear. It’s not something you come across in roller derby until you break your ankle (or other body part). Then when you explain to people that when you watch a bout all you see is ANKLES EVERYWHERE they think you’ve gone bonkers. But The Fear is a real thing, and any broken – or fixed up – skater has felt it. I went to Oldham yesterday to watch five of our girls in the Northern Sur5al tournament.

broken ankles roller derby

Basically I spent the first few jams with my hands over my eyes going EEEEEEK every time someone fell. I wasn’t even sure I *liked* derby any more, let alone loved it. Why on earth would I want to be involved in a sport where mad people hurtle around knocking each over whilst wearing skates?

And then it started to happen. My teamies Badderbing (still in crutches but a couple of months ahead of me) and Aoife Epic (recovered from a really bad sprain last year and came back) both talked me down, reminding me that it was totally normal to see ankles everywhere. And then one of the skaters did an amazing apex jump and then our Tinkerhell was lead jammer and slicing through the pack like they were invisible and I was imagining myself on the track. And then I was talking with my matching smiley toe owner, Rachel, about how I really hoped my underpush would come back stronger because my dominant right leg being broken might give me a chance to work on my left and I was swooning over some gorgeous laterals and whoosh – back in love with derby. And The Fear was gone. I’m sure it’ll come and go over the next few months, but I think yesterday was a big step forward.

In the interval I met up with some of the girls from the Facebook group for broken derby skaters and it was SO lovely to have a hug and a chat (and to have loads of people from all over the room laughing at us for being the worst advert for derby ever). At 3am when we can’t sleep it’s so good to have somewhere to let off steam… and our grumbles almost always end up with us all laughing about something.

crutchlings gathering

I was warned by fellow limpy girl Dawn of the Dreads (pink crutches above!) that I’d be exhausted today after a long day watching the tournament and I am. Instead of staying home and resting though I got a bit over excited at having my new hired wheelchair and we went to the Southport food festival (yum) but now, having stubbornly insisted on wheeling myself around the park and then crutching around all over the festival field I’m now so sleepy I’m half-expecting to wake up with my face on the laptop keyboard.

Oh… and the results? We came a very close second to Rainy City, with only 3 points in it. Go Liverpool Roller Birds!