I get why women say that roller derby changed their life. I tried out for the Inner West Roller Derby League last year because I couldn’t bear the gym being my only physical activity. My desk is just eight steps from my bed, so I’m not even getting the ‘walk to the station’ exercise that comes from commuting. I’ve always been uninterested in sport (watching and playing), so joining a team was completely out of character.
I was expecting to get really good at skating, get some impressive bruises, and to wear hotpants. What I wasn’t expecting was to be instantly welcomed into a family of fabulous people with excellent hair, gorgeous tattoos, and great names.
Before I started playing, life had become pretty blah. It wasn’t particularly bad, it just was. I’d been sick for a while, and there was a sameness to each day. But the energy and laughter from playing derby spread to the rest of my life. I started wearing more colours. I met a bunch of awesome women I admired on twitter. I started hosting a writers’ night (next one in April, by the way). Derby marked the point where I got my mojo back. So yeah, when women say that roller derby changed their life, I totally get that.
But – and this is the point of this post, I was just giving you that feel-good stuff to hook you in – we don’t just smash each other on the track and then go for beers afterwards. We’re also trying to do some good shit for other people. Which is why we’re holding a charity screening of I am a girl on Thursday 27th February:
The film follows six young women from Cambodia, PNG, Cameroon, Afghanistan, USA and Australia. It explores what it means to be born a girl in the 21st century.
There’ll be a Q&A session with the award-winning filmmaker Rebecca Barry, and because it’s a derby event, there’ll also be delicious cakes.
The money raised is going to Twenty10, an organisation that supports young people of diverse genders, sexes and sexualities.
Come along, say hi, get to know your local derby team, and watch a great film. We’re doing freshmeat soon so perhaps you’ll join us on the track. It might just change your life.