Me losing a race on Saturday night to Scarlet O'Hurtya.
When I first joined the CT Roller Girls I was a far better and faster skater then any of them. No surprise since I've ice and roller skated for 30 years and had been practicing with the intimidating Providence derby league. In CT I was the big star.
Now, 4 months later, they can keep up with me, and some are faster yet. I don't win the races anymore. Loosing my star status might be upsetting, except that I take a lot of pride in being part of their progress, which is far more gratifying then being the fastest was.
I started derby as I start every new undertaking-- running away from previous undertakings which have become problematic. It was meant to be a distraction, but it turned into a difficult, epic adventure, and I decided early on if I was going to jump in all the way I'd only stay for as long as I was needed. Now that my prodigies have matched me, I wonder a lot lately if it's time to go. Especially when I'm lying on the rink after being punched in the chest, unable to breathe, as happened last week. I thought between wheezes: maybe, if there is not a rib puncturing my lung, it's time to go back to ice dancing.
But every time I think so, derby miraculously returns me to my roots, and strengthens them. When I started skating in Warwick RI, I had no idea I'd joined up with a bunch of other RISD grads, who have become friends. I've met new puppeteers, firespinners and artists via rollergirl connections. Derby PR events have provided me with some performance opportunities I've always wished for. And I never expected that a reporter doing a story on derby would end up in my studio interviewing me about my books for a teachers magazine. (Hello, Jessica!)
It's all fantastic, but even so sometimes I get a little antsy. I wish I could find a place to go from time to time where I truly was another person with no connection to Linda Wingerter whatsoever. But karma goes in circles and no matter how fast you are you can't outrun it. Especially when you're on the right path.