Saturday the first of the Derby Girls Leagues to visit me showed up in Sonoma about 3 PM.
I was expecting the Milpitas Maulers, but was informed when they arrived they were now the Golden State Roller Girls.
Jennifer Banks, who started the league, told me that when they had made arrangements at the venue at which they were planning to train, that at the last minute some extra factors were thrown into the negotiation that were unacceptable, so now they were skating out of a sport center in Alameda and a Roller Rink in Redwood City…….a certain irony here as about 50 or so years ago I had sold Roller Derby roller skates to that rink.
Jennifer, who like so many it seems in the leagues, has faced personal tragedy in the last year and although she never had managed a Derby league before, she persevered and has so much support from the other women that it is now happening,
She had contacted me during the fall, and as I don’t know that much about the details, I suggested she contact the Silicon Valley Roller Girls League, and of course Pia Mess and Postal have been a huge help….”they answer every email, test and phone call. I have questions on a daily basis, and they are always kind to us. I have been calling them our mentors.” Hey, is there some kind of connection – sisterhood thing among all 30,000 of these women?
So 14 wonderful women (and 1 man, of course) came miles through the rain, bringing food, dessert, and their wonderful personalities. Judi, who was so well-trained by her mother and her natural instincts, showed up to bring other foods, wine, a ham, potato salad, cheesecake and some of her beautiful footwear (see photo below) as gifts for all of them. Then, after giving her two hours, left to help prepare a dinner for 150 special people for the Holiday. Judi’s good work brought her to the slipper business; she originally created them for her Hospice clients, but again, I digress.
So we served wine, got to know each other, and they had the sock exchange, with additional ones for the homeless. Jennifer has been blessed with great assists from the other women who have joined with her in forming the league.
Shannon who works in a church daycare and has a beautiful little boy did research to find the location in Alameda. Thu has kept track of attendance and helped with the handbook and some of the politics that come with derby (who would have thought that?). She teaches at Milpitas High.
Sonya has just joined; she is learning how to skate but has helped with web design. She is also working on the logo. She is transgender, has been a woman for 6 years and writes a blog about her personal life.
Destyn is another amazing woman. A mother of one who owns 15 horses and trains others all the way down to the Monterey Peninsula. She sponsors girls who don’t have the money and goes out of her way for advice and help with the league.
And Kathleen was there; I don’t know what she does for Derby, but she owns a baking business and brought some very cool goods! Thank God there were leftovers today.
Then there is Cheree who is a little dynamo, Janyne, Jen K, Katie, Leanne, Liz, Meagan, Melanie, Shannon, SheHey, Sholley, and Cortney.
It was one of the best days and evenings I remember…..Jennifer greeted me with a huge hug, though we had never met except on Facebook, and I immediately had a bunch of new friends. When they all left, in spite of my entreaties to stay, we know that we will be in touch.
This to me was a microcosm of all the women (and men) who are getting together to skate the game that had died. They are all unique individuals who have found some connection with each other even if they have never met before. And regardless of what they do for a living or what their personal life is, they are so committed to the game it is hard to believe.
I know there are at least 30,000 stories around the world that tie us all together.
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