Featured writer: Marie Nicole
Before Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman warned us about dying without doing really cool stuff; I’d never heard of a bucket list. Oddly enough after seeing the movie, bucket lists started popping up everywhere. Maybe they already had been and I’d never noticed. It appeared as though it was suddenly the “it” thing as every blogger started publishing their own “before-I-die” list. Of course I clicked on every link I could find.
I wanted inspiration. I wanted ideas for what to put into MY list… Problem was that most of the things I found – I’d already done, been doing, was teaching others how to do or moved beyond towards new challenges. Other people’s bucket lists were my been-there-done-that list. That’s when it dawned on me that I was a firm believer in executing a live-it list. Do cool stuff daily rather than simply accomplish a few things before you die. My focus was on how I chose to live my life.
When I moved to San Diego after years of traveling and working on a race car team with my husband, I suddenly found myself isolated in a new town without friends, contacts or networks. And then one day a friend shared awesome pictures on her Facebook wall. Facebook: the source to all life changing moments. The pictures were of someone she knew who played derby. I stared and stared at them. To me – these women looked like superheroes. They were absolutely beautiful and they shined. They just glowed as if they knew a secret to which none of us had access. The bug bit me, I got the virus and I needed to find a league and join it. Immediately.
The funny thing about life changes is when you suddenly discover what you need/want/crave/desire to do, you MUST do it: pronto.
I googled San Diego roller derby. Ding-ding-ding-ding the links kept adding up and I felt like I’d won the jackpot! Lucky me the one I chose to click on was to the San Diego Derby Dolls. SD’s finest. Sadly they only took new recruits on the third Mondays of every month. I contacted them on the Tuesday following that Monday.
I needed to wait an excruciating month before their next orientation! It was a really long month! Finally the date came and I joined 40 other derbycurious women. Wow. The orientation was lead by two kick-ass derby chicks.
Their camaraderie and sisterhood was obvious. They finished each other’s sentence, they looked at one another when the other was speaking, they worked as one. Prior to joining derby – they had never even met each other. But from years of playing together they learned to mesh. True teamwork stretching beyond the rink.
I signed everything they handed me, and the very next night I strapped on a pair of quad skates, velcroed myself into knee-elbow-wrist-head protective gear and stood up. I looked around, breathed in the energy from all the athletes, bravery and an overwhelming amount of badassery surrounding me. Then I took my first step and fell flat on my face. Of course they laughed at me. “Don’t worry, it gets worst!” one yelled from behind as she gave me a helpful hand.
Every new challenge was met with an internal red light “Eeeek! Don’t try it! You’ll fall, fail, sprain your ankle or worse you’ll humiliate yourself again” my little she-devil would freak out from within. And then I’d try it. And succeed. T-stops, knee taps, snowplow stops (I totally saw a face plant coming with that one – and yet, I managed it!) and a never ending succession of skills that challenged me. When I failed, I’d hear “You almost got it! Keep trying!” but when I succeeded I was greeted with “YOU ROCK!”.
Not sure what hurt most: my butt cheeks from slamming down on them or my face cheeks from the non-stop smiling (or would it be my stomach from the post-practice-Taco-Tuesday fiestas?)
There’s a saying we often see on derby wear “Roller derby saved my soul.” Behind every single derby chick you will find a life changing story.
My derby name is Marr Bulls and I’m a +40 derby chick who started playing at 45. As a kid I was always beyond the last one picked. I’m small boned, scrawny and prone to accidents. If I can do it – you can do it too. And I’m sure you would totally kick my boney little ass.
p.s. here are bucket list items I checked off via derby:
- Do more volunteer work and help the community
- Get back into shape
- Make more friends
- Face my fears and conquer them
- Laugh and laugh and then laugh some more. Mainly AT myself.
Marie Nicole is an ex race car mechanic who now lives and travels on a boat with her best friend Leo. This quirky writer dreams of running away with the circus and has been writing about her vida loca since 2010 on my cyber house rules.