When one first starts roller derby, many different noises are made as someone’s butt slams onto the rink. You get a screeching of skates, the skid of the pads, and sometimes the utter disgust of letting yourself down. The last sound you can feel in your heart and stays with you long after the wheels are off.
I remember the first time I fell in love with someone that didn’t love me back. It was in high school. There were infatuations and flirtations before, but nothing like this. Sometimes, I still remember the ache. Months are spent thinking about this person. "I wonder where he is, what he's thinking of, is he thinking of me? And if he'll ever return some day."1 Can you image the exhaustion of that? Of course you can. We’ve all been there. The unrequited love that takes all of your time and energy away from living your actual life. Because, maybe it wasn’t about the person. Maybe it was about avoiding your actual life.
The most important thing to learn about both derby and love is that falling is good. Falling is how we learn. People often forget that when we fall in derby, that’s an amazing opportunity to practice popping back up again and speeding forward as quickly and as balanced as we can. And, you learn over time that you can get up faster, that the fall doesn’t hurt as much, and maybe it’ll even make you smile because you had fun and they’ll be a new opportunity right around the corner.