Roller Derby changes lives. I don’t mean to sound overdramatic about it, I’m just stating what has been proven to be true for so many people that I’ve encountered through this sport…and for myself.

You see, I entered the roller derby community during a crossroads in my life. I was engaged to a nice man, spending almost all of my spare time at home, and was on my way to what some people might describe as the “perfect cookie-cutter life”. Little did I know how much my life was about to change, and change forever.

Long story short, roller derby, and the empowered women within it, opened my eyes to a new reality: I can do what truly makes ME happy and there’s nothing wrong with that. I had a long history of doing what would make others happy, what I would probably be content with, and going down what would be the easier or more “normal” road. Roller derby helped me admit to myself that while making others happy is a good thing, I deserve to be a lot more than just content with my life. It also showed me that there really is no “normal” when it comes to someone’s path to happiness.

Roller derby helped me grow into a more independent, open-minded, and complete individual. It made me stronger as an athlete, and as a person. It helped me realize that I could choose a different path than the one that I was on. I don’t spend all of my time at home anymore. I volunteer, get involved in the community and participate in more physical activities. Roller derby introduced me to my fiancé and teammate, Arielle. I have reached a level of happiness that I never thought possible.

I’m not saying that the physical act of participating in roller derby did all of this though. I believe that being involved in a sport dominated by women from all walks of life is what did it. I was surrounded by women who worked in hospitals, law offices, were artists, writers, students and stay at home moms. While they were teaching me to skate faster, hit harder and play smarter they were teaching me life lessons too. The courage, independence, and motivation to be who I really was deep inside is what this team of amazing women has given me the strength to do.

I walked into tryouts being the person that I thought I was supposed to be, I now skate off of that track as a different person…the person I really am.