The First Practice…Attempt

Sometimes I get these grand ideas to try new things, then it suddenly hits me, that it would require me to do things outside of my comfort zone. Old me would pitch an internal fit (current me is still a nervous human, but far less dramatic). That’s when the anxiety and self doubt would usually kick in. So many thoughts would pump through my brain, and most of them would be negative. The same was true when I decided to try roller derby. The internal war I went through, might as well have been a reenactment of WWII. The mind is a tricky thing.

The Monday after I saw my first bout, I worked up the courage to go to a practice. I am very skilled at getting lost, so I left my apartment early. However, this was one of those rare occasions when I didn’t get lost, so I arrived at the practice venue with plenty of time to spare. I strongly dislike arriving first at events. It gives me time to over think some more, and potentially bail out. I sat in my car, listening to the radio to calm my mind. One by one, derby women parked, grabbed their gear, and walked inside. I sat in my car like a creeper, and watched them mosey on in. I sat in my car, till five minutes after the practice start time, and decided it was time to walk in. I counted to three, with three being my cue to open my car door, and sat there frozen.

For me, counting to three doesn’t always work on the first try. In this moment, it took three rounds of counting, to finally open my car door and step out. I timidly made my way inside where derby ladies were strewn about the floor putting on their gear. I awkwardly hovered partway between the entrance and the group of women.

Finally, after what seemed like years, someone walked up to me. “Hey there! Can I help you?” Flight mode was activated, with what courage I could muster up I held my place and answered, “Hi…yea…I saw you guys skate on Saturday…and…umm…heard the announcer say to show up at a practice…to join.” The skater smiled, “I’m so happy you came! Well hey, we’re actually doing a bout review today, so it will be kind of boring, with not much skating. But how about you come back Wednesday. It will be a full practice on skates. Do you own skates?” Once again my awkward response, “Oh, okay…ummm…no…I…I don’t have skates.” The skater smiled, I think she sensed my nervousness, “Okay, don’t worry about it, we’re at a skating rink, so you can use a pair of the rentals, for free. We also have a bag of funky gear you can borrow from. I see you have a mouth guard, so you’re all set.” I smiled, fumbled around with my mouth guard, “okay, sounds good. I’ll come back Wednesday.” I scurried out of the venue. I made it outside and took a deep breath. Hard part done, right?

No, not even. It was almost soul crushing, that I had showed up on a non skating day. Waiting another 48hrs, gave me more time to decide it was a dumb idea. They didn’t know my phone number, or know my name, and they probably wouldn’t even remember I stopped by. Therefore, I could slip back into my comfort zone, without anyone knowing, right?

How many of you think I went back on Wednesday?? I’ll save that answer for another post. Right now, I want to talk about having a league plan (a plan for what?). A plan for, what to do when a roller derby wanna be stumbles into the door. Do you turn them away? Do you get their name and phone number, then hit them up when a fresh meat program starts? Do you stare at them awkwardly and wait for them to melt away? There’s no right answer. There’s just, what works for your league.

Some leagues have open recruitment throughout the year, so when a stray walks in, you can get them set up and ready, right away. If your league is hurting to recruit bodies, then you best have a plan to trap that nervous little newbie before they run away. Other leagues can’t really afford to train a new kid at a random practice during the week, and that’s fine too. However, if that’s the case, maybe get their name and contact info, then turn them into an NSO, until the next fresh meat session. It’s also, a good idea to plaster your social media sites with future skater recruitment dates. Most importantly, you just need to have a plan that works for your league. Make sure everyone knows what the plan is, or perhaps take it a step further, and have a few skaters who know the plan really well. Then make sure they are the ones who scoop up random folk, who walk in interested. Just some food for thought.

I’d like to hear what works for your league. What kind of plan do you all have in place? Leave a comment below to give other leagues some fresh ideas. Thanks for reading! – Jukes

This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine…

Please note, that my opinions, within this blog post and all future blog posts, are just that, my opinions. If you disagree with anything I say, please feel free to engage in respectful dialogue in the comment section below. I can also be reached at Thanks for joining me on my blog-venture!!

I want to, but… A letter to future roller derby peeps

Dear Potential Skater,

Life is full of choices. Perhaps too many choices. Some are filled with the potential to be life changing, while others are small and perhaps mundane. For me, Roller Derby was a significant life choice. Before my first practice, I sat in my car for a half hour outside the venue, until I finally convinced myself to walk in and introduce myself. I’m so happy I did. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it sent me on a life path that I didn’t know was possible. And now, I am here to encourage anyone, who is on the fence about joining the sport, to go for it.

It hurts my heart when I hear someone express interest in Roller Derby, then sell themselves short. Common responses are:

  • I’m too old
  • I’m too small
  • I’ll break something
  • I can’t skate
  • I’m not coordinated enough
  • I’m too busy
  • I’m not cool enough

It’s easy to validate any excuse in our heads. However, if we can convince ourselves we aren’t meant to play Roller Derby, what else in life have we convinced ourselves that we can’t do? We have so much potential as humans. We are walking meat bags waiting to accomplish something great. We just need to allow ourselves the chance to succeed. If we don’t try things, we get to avoid failure, but it also means we don’t get to experience success.

I tend to make my choices with the mantra, “no regrets” in mind. I even have it tattooed on my wrist (spelled correctly of course) as a constant reminder to make the choices that I find to be most fulfilling. Sometimes those choices are ridiculously scary; however, it is usually the scariest choices, that are the most rewarding. Let us not shy away from the things we want to do, simply because we fear we aren’t capable. Let us not allow fear to make us regret the things we did not do. And let us always remember, we are all wonderful walking meat bags full of potential.

Stay derby weird,

This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine…

Please note, that my opinions, within this blog post and all future blog posts, are just that, my opinions. If you disagree with anything I say, please feel free to engage in respectful dialogue in the comment section below. I can also be reached at Thanks for joining me on my blog-venture!!

How I Found, Roller Derby…

Have you ever hated yourself because you couldn’t fit inside societies little box? I have always been different and, for a while, I had this strong desire to just, fit in. Everyone finds Roller Derby at a different point in their lives. Some people, will honestly say they were saved by the sport. I found roller derby at a time in my life when I was frustrated with who I was. I wasn’t even comfortable in my own skin, and I felt like I didn’t have a place in the world. As a result, I was just kind of existing, but not living.

I moved a lot as a kid. From kindergarten to sixth grade, I attended six different elementary schools. I was also, very shy and quiet. Sports were how my parents got me out of the house. I was always good at sports, so long as the sport interested me. From first grade through college, I was always playing in some sort of club or team sport. At various points in my life, I participated in: soccer, tee ball, tennis, track, fencing, lacrosse, and team handball. Fencing and team handball were my collegiate level sports. I began to find more unique sports as a got older. For some reason, the less common or main stream the sport was, in the United States, the more passionate I was. So I guess, it was only a matter of time before I found roller derby.

As I mentioned in my, about me post, I didn’t see my first roller derby game till May of 2012. Leading up to that day, a lot had changed in my life, in a short period of time. I graduated college in May of 2011, moved to Missouri for a few months of job training, then immediately moved to Washington state to start my new job. Even though I was used to moving my whole life, I was not prepared for how drastic of a difference it would be to move without my family. I was suddenly on the West Coast for the first time in my life, while my parents and siblings were across the United States in New Jersey. The only person I knew, in Washington, was my roommate. Thankfully, he was a friend from college, was from Washington, and had family in the area. He kept me from drowning alone in my shyness. I say shyness, but lets be real, it was straight up anxiety towards social settings.

“Some people, will honestly say they were saved by the sport.”

On top of being on a new coast and far away from family, I was also in a weird place in life, in terms of understanding who I was. To be cryptically frank, I was one foot out of the closet and contemplating diving right back in. So while feeling a little lonely, a little unhappy, and a whole lot lost, an unexpected opportunity popped up. My roommates brother started dating a gal, who played roller derby, and wanted to get a group together to go see her next bout. My roommate extended the invite to me, and I was all for it, mostly because he was going, and I knew I could rely on him to make me feel less awkward in a social setting.

It was the day before the bout and suddenly everyone began to cancel their plans to go, including my roommate. The only two people available to attend were me, and my roommates brother. I didn’t know him too well, and everything in me wanted to also cancel. However, I really wanted to see roller derby! I was torn. In the end I stuck it out, and I’m so glad I did. Neither one of us knew what was going on, but we watched and I had a blast. I was fascinated by the names and the hard hits. It was like seeing Whip It in real life, and it made me so happy. The announcer mentioned that one of the teams was recruiting and right then and there I looked them up. The bug was planted. I wanted to join roller derby…

Tune in next time to hear how long it took me to follow through with that idea. I would like to hear what your first derby watching experience was like! Did you join first then watch a bout, or vice versa? Did it leave a lasting impression? Share your story in a comment below 🙂 Thanks for reading! -Jukes

This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine…

PS: Please note, that my opinions held here, within this blog post and all future blog posts, are just that, my opinions. If you disagree with anything I say, please feel free to engage in respectful dialogue in the comment section below. I can also be reached at Thanks for joining me on my blog-venture!!

Welcome to the Blog Party!

This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine…

Hey everyone, it’s Jukes. I just want to welcome you all to the blog party. I’ve wanted to start a blog for a while now. However, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to write about, or if I had anything worthwhile to share. All I really knew, was that I enjoyed writing. I would never classify myself as a writer; I would say that I’m the kind of person who often ends up sharing advise and making people laugh via email or text. Ultimately, I always knew I wanted to write about something positive, and wanted to share that positivity with other people.

I see starting a blog as an opportunity for personal growth. It’s a chance to hear from people with similar or differing opinions, to either solidify or broaden my way of thinking. This is also an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, and try something new. Lastly, writing is a necessary skill to have, and a great way to get better at it, is to do it often.

Along with that, this is a chance for me to see if blogging is even my jam. I’ve never been able to maintain a journal as a kid or even as an adult. And blogging is like a public version of that (so what in the world am I doing??). Right now I’ve scheduled myself to post every two weeks. Figured, I would start out slow and see how it feels. Every two weeks sounds doable, right? Well, we’re about to find out together.

In the end, my goal with this blog is to spread the love of roller derby. As well as, help connect the derby community. Richard Hurton, has put together a really neat site, and I hope this blog will help bring more attention to it. Honestly, this database is the bees knees, and it really excites me to help it grow. I truly love this sport. It has helped shape me into the person I am today, and I’m pretty darn happy with the human I am now. I hope you find my random derby musings entertaining, and at times informative. Stay derby weird, friends. -Jukes

PS: Please note, that my opinions held here, within this blog post and all future blog posts, are just that, my opinions. If you disagree with anything I say, please feel free to engage in respectful dialogue in the comment section below. I can also be reached at Thanks for joining me on my blog-venture!!

We Got Goals Y’all

Hello everyone, It’s Jukes and Richard again. As promised, at the end of Jukes’ About Me post, we’re back to give you all the low down on what some of our goals are at DerbyListing. First off, it is important for you all to know what the purpose is at

DerbyListing is dedicated to providing skaters with an up to date list of all of the roller derby teams in the world. We strive to be a resource that skaters can use for their own analytical curiosities and research purposes. By doing so, we hope to foster a more connected roller derby community. 

A few goals that fall in line with this purpose are:

  • Maintain our list of derby teams (adding/retiring teams as needed)

  • Provide an easy to use interface

  • Promote our resource to the derby community

So we have listed our purpose and our goals, but now you probably want to know how we intend to live up to these standards. We’ve worked on getting ourselves organized and back on track over the last few weeks. We finally found time to power through a list of 129 possible new teams to add to the website, and will begin to add them to The List. As far as retiring teams, it’s a little overwhelming to think about scrubbing a list of 1,900+ teams every month. As a result, we are breaking The List down into bite size chunks and will conduct monthly scrubs on a smaller scale. As we scrub sections of the list we will announce updates/changes.

We are currently looking into ways to enhance the website’s visual appeal, and are always looking for ways to improve the general users experience. We ran a few tests for some of our ideas, but have not found what will work best for our site just yet. We will continue to research and will certainly share it, with you all, once we find the right fit for us.

Like with any good product, it’s of no use to anyone, if no one knows it exists. For this reason, we are trying to increase our social media presence. To help, we are going to announce all website updates on our Facebook page. To diversify, we started an Instagram page, where roller derby teams have a strong presence. We are also going to add a blog to our website. These steps will allow us to connect with the derby community on a greater scale and hopefully increase visitor feedback on The List. Visitor feedback on the status of teams is massively helpful and appreciated!

We hope this post was informative, and gave you all a better idea of what we are working towards here, at

With Derby Love,
Team DerbyListing