With all my posts I have a tendency to try and draw conclusions, to attempt to wrap things up in neat little packages.

This post won’t have a conclusion. In school we’re taught that stories should have a beginning, a middle and an end — but this is my story. It’s ongoing and more of a cathartic outpouring than a self-help book with top-tips and takeaways.

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In the bleak midwinter

I’ve been struggling with derby recently. Going to training has been feeling more and more like a chore, I rarely want to go. …

I’m writing this because recently I’ve come to the realisation that maybe I don’t know when to stop.

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Photo by Shirlaine Forrest

As mentioned before, I’m a ruminator and an obsessive one at that. I chew over situations and interactions that have affected me in a negative way but rarely come to a helpful conclusion. It’s a problem. Often the closest I get to closure is allowing the emotion to fizzle out, sometimes with a bit of rationalisation helping the process along.

Roller derby is a strange sport. It feels as though there’s some unspoken rule that if you tap out for whatever reason…

Thursday night’s session was most definitely an up.

It’s ups and downs, ups and downs, ups and downs

It was Mick Swagger’s last session with Rainy City’s All Stars following a two-week run, which was especially poignant given this month’s announcement of her retirement from competitive roller derby.

Mick is a true presence in the roller derby world. She’s lifted the Hydra five times during her tenure with Gotham Girls Roller Derby. She skated with Team USA in 2014 and won the world cup. She’s an incredible defensive player and absolutely terrifying as offense. …

I’m on the tram on the way home from a tough training session.

It wasn’t physically demanding — I barely built up a sweat. It was tough mentally.

I like to conduct myself with decorum in training, not wearing my heart on my sleeve and certainly not prone to fits of rage or passion. Probably because I care a bit too much about what people think and I want to come across at all times like I can handle myself. Controlled. Measured. Not a loose cannon. Dependable. The kind of person you want on your team. Roller derby is a mentally taxing sport, you cant be wasting energy on emotional whims.

Today was…

It consists of variations on a theme, but there's always guaranteed to be some sort of tower - sometimes made of bricks, sometimes out of metal.

The tower in these dreams is incredibly unstable - it wobbles and bends with the slightest movement. The brick version is like Rapunzel’s tower, but the bricks are all loose and wobbly and the whole structure undulates like one of those inflatable men at used car dealerships.

The metallic structures might as well be made of aluminium - somehow magically strong enough to hold my weight but not steady enough to allow for much movement.

I wouldn’t describe myself as someone with a fear of heights. …

Whenever I experience a setback in roller derby I go through a distilled version of the grieving process.

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Photo by Roller Derby on Film

Training for over 10 hours every week is a big chunk of time to invest for anyone, but it’s not so bad if you feel rewarded for that investment.

This post is about the times when those rewards seem in short supply. It also covers the stages I go through when it appears as though all that effort has been somewhat overlooked.

Denial is probably the shortest lived of them — we’re talking around a five-minute timeframe tops. I consider myself a realist so generally like to just get on with it, but there is a part of me that…

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I’ve taken the decision to start regularly writing about roller derby, because…

  • Roller derby is hard and as much as I love it, sometimes I need a little reminder as to why.
  • I am a serial ruminator. If I’ve balls’ed something up I’ll go over and over it in my head, unless I get it out. And even then.
  • I’d like to at least try to help anyone else who finds themselves striving for something that seems so far away.

My skate name is Kate Push and roller derby has been my life for the last seven years. My team mates call me Push.

To avoid covering old ground, you can read…

Steph O'Connor

I write honestly about my experiences playing for Rainy City Roller Derby in Manchester, UK.

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