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League Job: Finance Director, Merchandise Manager, EMT Liason
Years of Service: 2004-2008
It was Memorial Day weekend 2004, and the Carolina Rollergirls were just beginning to come together. I had been involved with the nascent league for a few months, and it would be several more before we would have our first expo bout, much less our first real competition. A group of us decided to fly down to Austin, TX to learn all we could from the creators of the modern version of the sport. Austin boasts the original flat-track and banked-track leagues, and we coordinated with both groups to learn as much as possible about skating skills, derby strategy and league organizing during our three-day visit. Our visit also coincided with a bout of the flat-track league.
One of the activities of our adventure included practicing with the banked-track girls on Saturday afternoon. I had several years of ice skating experience behind me, so I was actually a pretty fast and fearless skater. Even though I had never been on a banked track I did a pretty good job of keeping up with the Texas girls during the various drills. Near the end of the practice, Chola called for a “snake drill” in which each girl takes a turn sprinting around the track and then weaving through the pack. When my turn came I took off and even received a whip from one of the Texas girls along the way. As I approached the pack, I knew I was going too fast to make the turns, so I dragged a skate T-stop style to slow down a bit. Still, I swung too wide and my right wheels scraped the boards. But my left skate kept going, twisting my body; my left arm went over my head as I went down. Apparently the humeral head of my shoulder (the ball part of the joint) was crushed between my helmet and the floor upon impact. At first we didn’t know if it was broken or merely dislocated. Cha-cha kept shouting that we should “just pop it back in!” Eventually we agreed that they should make me a sling and take me to the hospital.
At the hospital they determined that it was indeed fractured and so they put me under general anesthesia overnight just to stabilize it. I was released the next afternoon with the understanding that I would convalesce quietly until my flight home. Instead, my derby sisters took me straight to the tattoo parlor where they were getting tattoos to commemorate the trip (I was high on painkillers, but still not deranged enough to get a tattoo!). From there we were off to the bout, then the afterparty, then an all-night diner. I got a few hours of sleep at Hydra’s before I had to catch my flight home as scheduled. The next day I consulted with a surgeon; the following day I got a cobalt chrome shoulder. Rehab took about 6 months and though the shoulder is functional for daily tasks it will never be quite like a natural shoulder. The only sad part is that it is too susceptible to open fractures to allow me to return to skating. Nonetheless, I continue to be very involved with the Carolina Rollergirls. I am so proud to watch the girls improve their skills and to help the organization flourish; the people involved in the league constantly amaze and inspire me. I have no regrets.