A while ago I had an interesting conversation with another derby player.

He was saying that he wished that blokes that he known in the past could come and see him now. Come and see him play roller derby. Come and give it a go. Not just give it a go, but understand the players.

By people from his past he meant those that he’d played other team sports with; team members. He mentioned football and rugby specifically. He explained that, when he was part of those teams, that the members, himself included, had a strong opinion of what was “normal”. If you weren’t “normal” then you didn’t fit in. You weren’t part of the team. He actually said that looking back he realises that he was a dick. And so too where the other players. He wanted them here now so that they could see that in themselves and change.

On appearance alone I would judge him as fitting in to a “traditional” sports team as a “proper bloke” in a way that I never have done. At school I avoided rugby, electing to play fives, badminton or go cross-country running instead.

I started at roller derby when a friend invited me to give it a go. I’d long enjoyed skating and it seemed an ideal opportunity to spend more time with wheels on my feet. I never stopped to consider if I’d be any good at it or if I was too old, it just seemed like a fun thing to do.

As I settled in it soon became apparent that this is a diverse and welcoming community – one where “normal” is just to be yourself. Well done derby community, keep up the good work :-)