An Essay on Aging in Roller Derby

Posted on: July 17th 2014

photo by Nic Charest of www.rollergirl.ca

When we saw this post go up nearly two years ago on Player 1’s facebook page, it was clear that it had struck a chord. Roller Derby is not a sport for the faint of heart, but it doesn’t *have* to be a sport only for the young.

Photo by Nicolas Charest, courtesy of my favourite skate shop, www.rollergirl.ca !

There’s no way I could have stated these points more thoroughly or eloquently than P1, so she’s graciously allowed me to re-post here in its entirety!  Enter Player 1, aka Germaine Koh…  

Thoughts on aging

I turn 45 tomorrow. I’m the oldest player in my roller derby league, and twice as old as some of my league-mates. I’m by no means the oldest person in the sport, but I’m definitely on the far right-hand side of the sport’s bell curve.

I’m an Olympics junkie, and it was tough for me to listen to the recent London commentators discuss how improbable it would be for this or that mid-30s athlete to medal, how they should be content just to have a respectable showing. I thought: that’s what those athletes’ years and years of training comes to, is it?

A lifelong jock, I do know what it’s like to do awesome and extreme things with my body, and it hurts my pride each time I encounter something I can no longer excel at — but those moments are happening more and more often, so I need to come to terms with them.

Roller derby is my first contact sport, and I took it up at age 41, three years after blowing out my ACL and a year after rupturing my Achilles tendon. Those were my first major injuries, and despite diligent physio- and other therapy, it’s been a challenge to return to top form. Instead, as the derby-related injuries accumulate, I’m starting to realize that I may need to learn to compromise and adjust.

I play with a great bunch of women, most of them ten or fifteen or more years younger than me, and I marvel at some of their skills improving literally by leaps and bounds. I doubt many of them dwell on it, but I am acutely aware of my age, especially at those practices when, against my own best advice, I skate hurt. I recognize that it’s pointless and counter-productive, but I swallow my pride and grit through the pain of lap after lap. For someone with competitive habits, the fear of falling behind is more compelling than almost anything.

It’s not for lack of training or effort, but I’m struggling to match my own personal bests. My league knows me as a champion of fitness and a student of training methods who leads by example. Although I can still out-pushup most of them, I’m starting to accept that there are real processes of decline that come with age. I’m not under-training, I start to realize; I’m … just … old.

Still, although my abilities are waning on some fronts, I do recognize that maturity gives me an advantage on others. Here’s what I’ve figured out so far about being an aging athlete — though some of these insights really aren’t age-specific.

Train smarter, not harder
The small traumas produced by training take longer to clear as you get older, and it’s silly to deny that fact by punishing the same muscles day after day. When it comes to repetitive practice, everyone has a point of diminishing return, and I reach mine sooner than I did when I was younger. Taking rest days, or alternating your focus, is just smart. And training while injured is just plain dumb.

Cross-train
Overuse injuries are a real concern in roller derby, especially if you don’t have the resiliency of young tissue. It has become clear to me that I’m much better off doing yoga or going for a run — anything, really, that uses my whole body in a balanced way — than attending a third day of practice in a row.

Balance
Not only do overused muscles ache to be balanced by cross-training, you’re more useful on the track if you have personal balance. Unlike some of my most eager league-mates, I don’t mind admitting that derby is not my entire life. Instead, on non-practice days, I decompress, I have a life, I cross-train, and I honestly think I’m a more focused and productive player because of it.

Be realistic, be informed
There are real physiological changes associated with age: the fast-twitch muscles that give speed and power decline significantly, plus there’s “declining VO2 max, reduced strength, increased body fat, reduced lactic acid clearance, declining bone density and more” (Richard A. Lovett, “The Science of Aging and Running,” Running Times, November 2009. http://runningtimes.com/Print.aspx?articleID=17947). But in my case, with age also comes enough wisdom to research the facts and modify my training in a practical way.

Self-knowledge
I’ve always been focused on becoming Faster, Higher, Stronger, etc. However, as I’ve begun to accept that I may not be as naturally fast as I once was, I have to assess pragmatically what I should focus on. I now think strategically about optimizing my particular strengths and developing new ones, doing what I can to minimize weaknesses, and recognizing the difference between productive aches and injuring myself. Visualization can be a great tool for athletes, but my problem lately has been that I keep imagining myself doing things that my aging body contradicts. I’m still working out how to reconcile the optimism of visualization with the reality of corporeal limits, but I think the answer may lie in self-awareness.

Evolving strengths
Okay, so my fast-twitch muscles are disappearing. Other strengths have emerged that I never had before: endurance, for one. I used to be a sprinter, with all power and no stamina, but somewhere along the line I developed a capacity and a taste for the long haul. My viewpoint has also emerged from a tunnel to encompass much more, and I’m more self-directed because I’m taking responsibility for finding the right way for me to train. There’s value in these skills; they’re just different.

Find the right role for you
When I started derby, I assumed I’d be a jammer. My mental self-image was still of a fast, agile, and offensive-minded athlete. But something hadn’t yet sunk in: I’m getting old. I still jam when needed, but I’m learning to love the craft of defense and the synergy of teamwork, and I’ve become a strategy nerd. I crunch numbers as well as abs. I’m seeing patterns and potential plays on the track (the bigger picture?) that I was totally unaware of when I wore the jammer blinders. Over this past year, my team has really been learning to work together, and I’ve contributed to that. I’m not in this sport for the glory, so I’m okay with being the kind of player that most fans won’t notice. My coaches and teammates know — and the statistics bear out — that there is a unique role for me, even if it’s beneath the radar.

Trust your experience
I’ve played sports all my life, some quite competitively. Sometimes I feel a kind of instinctive knowledge, accumulated through years of being in competitive situations, kick in. My body knows how to bear down in a crunch, remembers how to find my reserves. I think practice and experience not only build muscle memory, they must also build strategic instincts and a kind of mental strength.

Patience and maturity
— Two more characteristics I didn’t have before. I’m not sure where they came from, but one day I realized that I was a de facto leader on my team, one of the people others looked to for constancy and stability. I may not be the fastest, but my team knows that I’ll be there for them. And realistically, as much as I agonize over my performance, I do know that I’m doing pretty okay for an Ancient One. I may be better at rational self-assessment than I ever was.

Grace and humility
I realize I am not aging easily, but I am trying to find new ways for me to be an athlete. Yes, I wish I could be young again. I wish this amazing sport had existed in my physical prime. I realize that I’m not on the path to the Olympics. Still, I am going to forgive myself for having limits.

Carpe diem, but have an exit plan
I love roller derby, but this is probably my last year playing. Fate willing, I hope this time next year to be part of my league’s first team to go to regional playoffs. This sport, which is on an accelerated evolutionary path that has barely even started recruiting hockey players or training youth, is going to pass me by before long. So I’ve already started looking around for my next sport, to soften my eventual retirement from this one. I’m not just going to let that river of time take me where it will. If you know of a sport that welcomes wily old folk who can throw a hipcheck, hit me up.

PLAYER 1
Terminal City Rollergirls All-Stars (now retired)

43 thoughts on “An Essay on Aging in Roller Derby

  1. Thank you for your honesty! I started this great sport at the age of 52 and this past April called it quits. I will be 54 tomorrow. I had hoped to “bout B4 54” but it just wasn’t in the cards. Not sure I “excited gracefully” but I am so grateful for the friendships and memories the short time I was involved in roller derby. Thanks again!

  2. I am 43 years old and started Derby at 41. I am feeling fine with it all but if I have to Jam, wow that takes it all out of your even for that 1-2 minutes trying to get through a tight pack. After the jam, trying to get your breath back and thinking NO PLEASE DON’T VOMIT lol but lucky it does not happen. Sometimes I join the freshmeat for a half hour training before we start and after doing what we used to do at training 2 years ago, knee falls, positioning falls etc, the next day I can hardly walk lol.
    I LOVE ROLLER DERBY

    1. I LOVE ROLLER DERBY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. A great piece, I am so glad to hear you say skate smarter, that’s what it’s about to stay in the sport. Derby enhances every thing else I do.

  4. I took this sport up just a few months ago..I am learning I skate way better in my mind than I really do..I suck..I hurt at every practice and am debating giving it up..I have given up running and curves for it and I dont feel any better..I thought I was over doing things at first..Now I think Ill go back to my other forms of exercise and give up derby.Im 51 and feel my age hugely since I started this.

  5. There need to be seniors leagues/teams. Given the youth of the sport, the first set of getting-a-bit-old players are just coming of age.

  6. Thank you for posting this. I’ve been playing for 5 seasons now & will be 44 in December. I feel my age but combat it with crossfit, eating healthy & getting rest when I need it. I want to play as long as I can!
    Wendy Belltolls 40oz
    Bellingham Roller Betties

  7. This was a fantastic read and I feel privileged to have had a chance to be trackside at Player 1’s last bout. Last year’s playoffs in Richmond were special for many reasons, but having the opportunity to coach opposite Terminal City (and share a hell of a post-bout celebration in our joint locker room) was a perfect end to a great weekend. I know that the skaters of New Hampshire Roller Derby feel the same way.

    I still have pictures of those moments on my phone and those memories in my head to call on from time to time. I hope Player 1 knows the impact she had on the sport and on me specifically with her gracious and heartfelt departure from active skating.

    Johnny Cash Machine

    1. Hey Coach! Thanks for your nice words. Have a great playoffs this weekend!

  8. Or, perhaps take a different perspective. Do you love playing/skating? I never did anything athletic. I weighed 400 lbds by age 30. Long journey, but took up Derby at 200 lbds and age 45. My entire life I’ve been the absolute bottom of the sports/athletic pursuit barrel. Competition in sports? WTF, it’s skating in circles fyi. There is no big picture meaning nor significance. It in no way has to be a sad thing. As the sport grows both in the competitive arena, it will grow in the recreational arena. If you can’t enjoy doing something unless you are winning, then you probably are not enjoying it. This isn’t a person you have to divorce or quit. Only feel like half a practice? What world will stop spinning if you bow out? Only want to practice 2X a week? Drop down till you find a place where that works. Love the friends/social things and like the fluffy chit chat at pace line? This does not make you less. You can carve out the spot that suits you. I’m not even on the C team, but I’m part of the league and skate in a way that works for my wrecked old body and serves my enlightened spirit. I think the idea that you have to “quit” derby is overly dramatic. You really don’t. . .the “sport” is growing and with all the interest there is just going to be more and more options. Also, fyi serious athletes who compete in Derby – the rest of the league paying the dues support that. There is a place for all. That is the beauty of derby.

    1. Thank you for writing this: “Only feel like half a practice? What world will stop spinning if you bow out? Only want to practice 2X a week? Drop down till you find a place where that works. Love the friends/social things and like the fluffy chit chat at pace line? This does not make you less. You can carve out the spot that suits you.”

      I needed to see this in writing. I currently play on an “A” team with my league, turned 40 this year and seem to have a recurrent injury that I continue to practice and play through. I just don’t recover like I used to. I am not having fun like I used to. I feel beat and battered and …old. I feel like they all expect me to stay at the calibre that I was at 6 months ago and I recently started thinking that I just want to drop down a level and get that “joy factor” back that seems to have gone away. I have been sitting on the fence about this decision. Time to get down off that fence.

    2. I love your perspective, I am not only older than most on my team, but all my life I was the kid who hated sport and got picked lasted than last for every team. On top of that I have a demanding job where I do round the clock shift work and oh, so often I can’t get to practice. I have a wonderful league – they know where I’m at and they know that I often can’t ever get to practice once a week let alone more often. None of them care and they treat me like a loved member of the team very time I do manage to make it. I know I’m not in the running to ever be a star player but I don’t care – never before have I felt anything whatsoever for a sport let alone the love I feel for his one and I’ll keep rolling up as long as they let me in the door! So,sties sport is about so much more than winning…..

  9. I started this sport at 44…I’m 46 now. I routinely consider giving up, then I have a night like last night where I have a good practice and feel pretty good about things. I love derby and my goal is to still be able to bout when I’m 50.

    Thanks for sharing this article!

  10. I’m 48. I often wonder what my goal is, with having just recently graduated from the San Diego Derby Dolls bootcamp to becoming a league subpooler where will this take me? I mean, it’s not like as a player I will revolutionize the sport or anything. How many years do I have to play? I love it to death, but I need to be realistic…

    I enjoyed reading this, age is such a huge preoccupation of mine!

  11. I tried out for derby at 56 and, to my surprise, made the team 6 months ago. Now 57, I’m having a great time. My skills have improved considerably, though my knowledge and ability to learn the strategy of the game is taking more time. I love the physicality of the sport; it’s the best, most exhilarating workout I’ve ever had! It’s fantastic to be surrounded by so many motivated, interesting and self-reliant women. Derby has given me a way to relieve my stress, feel good about getting stronger and learn what the team experience is all about. I love just being part of it!

    1. Hey, Suz the Bruise…you are an inspiration to me. I am 52 yrs old who took up roller skating 2 & 1/2 yrs ago and got addicted to it. I got so good at it & lately joined roller derby. I enjoy the challenges and learning new things. Good to know that there are other older roller derby girls out there my age.

      1. Hi Verls (and every other “seasoned” player..lol),

        There is an AMAZING Facebook group called Derby Over 40. It’s a place to talk with peeps our own age (and older) about everything derby.
        Whether it’s about injuries, milestones, doubts, worries, overcoming issues, and/or even just for friendly banter…there are over FIVE THOUSAND of us there from all over the world to be your sounding boards, listeners, cheerleaders, support and whatever else you need.
        We have members Over 50, and even Over 60 who still enjoy playing! I started in 2010 at 40, and had three major injuries in three years that I had to keep coming back from..each one worse than the last, ending with a badly broken tib/fib break.
        Now, at 46, yes, it’s harder, and yes, there are days I just want to (and sometimes do) curl up and stay the hell home, but both for my own mental well-being, and the support of my league, I do my best to just keep skating. (yes, I do sing that to myself, instead of “just keep swimming”, just keep skating skating, just keep skating ..lol)

        It’s a private group, so you’ll have to ask to be invited, and also be able to prove you’re indeed over 40 so none of the whippersnappers can get in..lol. Jerry “The Commish” Seltzer is a regular there, and I really just can’t say enough about how greatly it helps to have like minded peeps to talk to. We even had a Derby Over 40 meet and greet at RollerCon! Please check it out, and say hi when you get there! :) Smiles, Deb Owchery #1314 Sin City Roller Girls.

  12. I am 54, have been a competitive distance runner for 30 years, and just finished my 1st 12-week session of beginning rec league. I don’t know if I will ever pass the assessments to play, but am putting no pressure on myself to get there. I continue to run, and skate 2-3 X’s a week. The challenge is great and the parts (namely knees, ankles, and hips) that were starting to fail are now getting stronger. I try not to think about the age thing and only listen to my body

  13. I’m glad this two-year-old post is continuing to give people something to talk around when thinking about aging and roller derby. In this sport, not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to choose when her playing career will end, so I was happy to call it quits after my hoped-for exit plan was realized. But I did have a retirement plan: since last year, I’ve been coaching one of the Terminal City house teams (Booty’s team, the Riot Girls) — to two league championships! My body does thank me for not training at the intensity I was. Unlike some of the others who’ve posted above, I don’t care to keep playing at a more recreational level — but to each her own; there’s room for everyone. For myself, I’m still looking for a new sport, other than the running and biking and hiking and bouldering and yoga and weights and paddling that I’m doing for recreation and fitness in the mean time.

    1. Thank YOU, Player 1 for providing such great food for thought. You’ve obviously struck a chord.

  14. I am so glad I checked this article out! I started derby at 41. NEVER played sports in my life! I have several problem medical conditions, but derby actually made me feel great. I lost a lot of weight, & was in the best physical shape I’ve ever been in!! Now, at 43 & a couple of injuries later, I am really feeling so so old…. I have been in a couple of bouts this season, finally!, but I’m having a hard time reconciling my mental competitiveness with parts that don’t work so good anymore. I have been skating in pain the last year. What used to be exhilarating is not so anymore. My heart doesn’t want to give it up now that I’ve finally made it here. I guess I just need to “skate smarter”. I’m not ready to quit!! So glad I’m not alone… Thanks for everyone’s posts!

  15. I just started my own team at my local rink and I’ve never derbied before and I’m 45. I figured if I didn’t do it now, I never would. When I recruit, I get “I’m too old.” I then ask their age, and I usually have them beat by 10 years. I just have to wonder if it’s a mindset, but my aching body reminds me every morning and it’s worth it. I’m so glad I bit the bullet and did this. No regrets!

  16. As far as I’m concerned, age is only a number. Whether you’re 20, 40, or 80, you need to take of yourself by eating right, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising. I’m about to turn 42 and last summer, I skated 35 in 5 while wearing 88s (although 32 is typical for me). I cross train 4-5x week in addition to going to practice, which includes a lot of weight lifting and jogging. To be honest, my body doesn’t feel any different than it did when I was running cross country at 16 years old, although because I wasn’t lifting then, I know I am much stronger now. I have no way of knowing how I would’ve skated had I been playing derby in my 20s or 30s, but I honestly doubt that the extra years have hurt me much if any. It makes me sad and frustrated when women even in their mid-30s talk about being too old. I truly believe that if someone is committed to fitness and a healthy lifestyle that their age isn’t going to be a problem unless they tell themselves it’s a problem. I’m actually excited about how I’ll be playing in 5-10 years given I’ll have even more experience.

  17. So glad I found this article in my email history. I started at 40 – now 43 and beating my self up about my fitness – these comments put it into perspective – in three years I have become fitter but also older so can not carry on beating my PB as I used to – I jam for the B team and for a while as a cross over for the A team – but have come to a point where I want to focus on blocking – I am so glad to have had the opportunity to do the Jammer thing and will keep it going until I am no longer effective – blocking is awesome fun too. Thanks Derby Community

  18. An interesting read…

    I started derby at 47. Oh how I wish this had been around 25 years ago. But it wasn’t. When I started I was also very over weight, very unfit and had never done any kind of sport before. As a result I can never be as bad as I was a couple of years ago. I am fitter, faster and lighter. It is taking me longer to get where I need to be than the younger skaters but I am getting there. I play in a recreation league attached to a top 100 WFTDA league. Towards the end of last year I realised I may never actually play competitively however that doesn’t stop me playing. Nor does it prevent me from playing in challenge teams. Here in the UK we have “Age against the machine”, specifically a challenge team for 40 and over skaters. I’m also learning to ref after being an NSO for a couple of years. Whilst I continue to lose weight, get fitter, get faster, there’s a place for derby in my life and hopefully me in derby.

    I love this sport.

    1. What a great note! Thanks Cyber Spice! I love the idea of an Age Against the Machine team! :)

      1. Me too!!!

      2. So two years on it has been highs and lows. I moved leagues. I passed my mins. I got rostered. I’ve played a year and a half on the team. There’s a game on Saturday and I am not rostered. I missed the cut. I am doing weight training and have a personal trainer in order to be the best *I* can be. But its getting harder. Not being rostered hurt. But I’ve never been sporty until now. I don’t see myself retiring just yet…

  19. I just started, at age 50. That’s the number I find when I do the math from my birth certificate, but it does not feel like who I am in my skin. I’m tentative but thrilled. Loving the training, loving the team, the idea of the bout. And so inspired by the older women bouting. Hope an over 40 team can get started here in Maine. I would feel a little less freaked out about moving toward that goal!

  20. i just read this article again, as there is not a lot published about aging skaters playing roller derby. My post from 2-years ago…wow. i’m still here. Have passed assessments, am learning the game. It took me 2 years to feel like I can skate. It’s worth the effort. Stick with it. Try not to get in over your head. Play to your skill level and enjoy the progress you make.

    1. So glad you’re still here and still enjoying progress and the game, Trisha!

  21. I appreciate this article and the comments. It’s the injury recovery that gets me frustrated. Being a mom of three and 45 this year; it does bounce around in my head: “what are you doing???” I love it so much though. When I’ve been injured and able, I’ve helped with fresh meat. If I feel like I can’t take the bumps and bruises anymore? Reffing maybe? But I love how this pushes me to be strong in so many levels of my being. And…bouting is just so much fun!

    Wisdom and experience; listening to my body; finding a spot for myself: great things to keep in mind.

    I started at 40 and am so much healthier and stronger since this journey started, and I took a long road to finally getting to play (43).

  22. Glad I checked out this article. I started derby at 49, hadn’t skated in around 30 years. Cracked my tailbone and separated the illiosacral joint on my right the first night I skated. I was determined to give this a chance so I got a pair of bum savers and started fresh meat class as soon as I could skate without to much pain. I wasn’t athletic in high school- I was a band jock. Weight gain in college brought me to sports and through the years I always had something I was doing but nothing of a team sport nature. This has been so very different, challenging, and rewarding. But, being the oldest in my league I do see differences between my progress and ability and that of my younger teammates. I don’t feel old, in fact I still feel 25- maybe because even though I’m now 51 I don’t know how to be 51. I do see where my body and mind don’t react like I’m 25 no matter how much I ignore that fact. It takes longer to learn skills and to learn strategy. Injuries heal slower. My knees sound like I’m balling up a sheet of paper when I crouch. My goals? To compete another few years and then transition to referee. I love this sport and I am so glad I walked through the doors of the rink and strapped on those skates! Thank you for this article as it proves I’m not alone trying to balance my mind and what it wants me to do and my body and what it can do.

  23. I just finished my first boot camp – at 61. I am having a blast. I may never pass the time trial but I’m going to keep trying until they drag me away!

  24. Thank you so much for this article. At 47, and not sporty, I jumped into this, and by my fourth practice, questioned the wisdom of treating my body like this. But I love it! Your words – Train Smarter, had a huge impact, and will enable me to rethink How I train, and move forward!

  25. I love this article. I’m only 34, but have seen the 19 year olds start at the same time as me and overtake me with their fearlessness. This puts my minor struggles right into perspective!
    Amazing work by the later starters, you’ve given me a boost – I’m out for 9 months or so with an ACL tear and was worried about making it to a bout eventually.

  26. I am 59, and am thinking about taking a Derby 101 class. There is one starting soon, but I will be biking in Vietnam, so am looking at the summer schedule. I skated as a kid (we all did) and aside from bike touring, I have never been “athletic”. I am really looking to learn how to fall down safely, improve my balance and stay in shape. Am I crazy?
    I have roller blades that I haven’t used in 10 years and I lift weights a couple times a week in addition to biking. Any and all comments welcome. thanks!

    1. Hey Skipper! Your biking trip sounds like a great adventure. Read all the comments in this thread – tons of people starting in their late 40s and 50s, so you’re not alone! If you’re already biking and lifting, you’re probably well-prepared for derby, even if getting on rollerskates again after a long time off will probably feel pretty tiring at first. I say give it a whirl!

  27. I’m turning 52 this year on June and are in a Fresh Meat program now. I am the oldest on the team and proud of it!! my daughter and I are on the same team and that makes it more special. I hope to be able to bout till I’m 60….but if that isn’t in the cards I’m ok with it….I just proved that age is just a number.

  28. I took up Derby 2 months shy of 61 after being off skates for 35 years. Slow going? Yup! But I’ll get there! Will I ever skate on a team? Probably not but that’s not my goal. I’m working to get fit, have fun, and become a ref. In the mean time, I contribute by learning all the NSO jobs as quick as I can, volunteering as much as I can and offering “well aged wisdom” when asked. I have a “few” life experiences after all!

    Derby is life! Along with lots of other things!

  29. I started fresh meat at 39, after a 28 year break from skating! I used to go to roller discos and did a bit of artistic skating when i was 10, 11years old and you never really lose that, even if yoyr body doesn’t do what it used to.

    The league where i did my mins are a good quality team but it was too competitive for me, i knew i couldn’t devote enough time to it to make the cut on the roster.

    As a working mum of 3, there just isn’t enough hours in the day to fit in the cross training and extra skating i would need to do to reach that level, amongst a league full of younger, fitter, stronger women.

    So i transferred to another league, closer to home, smaller, and less competitive. I’m now on the senior management of this league and have been a regular on the roster since joining.

    At 43, i used to be proud to be the oldest member of the league, but we now have a couple of skaters older than me!
    I joke regularly about retiring, but to be honest i am going to keep going as long as i can. #agelessonskates

  30. What an excellent read! I started at 49 and just retired 6 weeks ago at 53 (I’ll be 54 next week). It seemed to me that since menopause my reflexes and quickness were diminished! And then I got injured in October! My recovery was slow and when Iwent back, I knew my time was up. I wasn’t finished mentally, but I didn’t want to hurt myself really bad and regret it. Roller Derby was in my life at the perfect time and for the perfect amount of time. I am forever grateful for the journey and heck! I’m still on one!! Thanks to programs that Booty Quake puts on, I’m still staying fit and very active!! Bravo!

  31. My kids are older and now I have an opportunity to finally challenge myself. I’ve skated all my life and have always wanted to try roller derby since I was a kid. Now just turned 49, I had made the decision a few months ago to join a roller derby league. I’m not as spry compare to my younger years, and I have a bit of weight. But my body is relatively healthy. At first the roller derby classes tired my body out especially the warm ups we did at the beginning of class. I was very unfit. After the first day of training, I thought I was crazy, because what followed after
    was a month long of healing from tremendous muscles aches and pains. I began to think maybe my age was a factor and that I should quit. But im no quiter! Im still persevering thru the fresh meat classes. I began to realize these aches were due to my years of inactivity and not using muscles I haven’t used in years! Also, I discovered that, yes, age does play a role as far as recovery time from intense work outs my body isn’t used to. However, as I continue thru my roller derby journey I noticed the muscle aches and pains are diminishing. My endurance and body health has increased. Roller derby has been a positive influence in my life. Not only am I having fun while becoming physically fit again, it’s helping me think quicker while on my skates, helping me to harden my core and bettering my balance & focus. Im getting better at what I’m learning. The plus side of it all is that I made new friends. I get so much support from all the derby girls. I believe roller derby is a sport that doesn’t judge you for your age. There is no ageism here. If you are determined to work hard and your body is able, you will make it on a team. If not, but you enjoy derby so much there’s always practices and just being involved with the sport if you want to make a difference. The league I’m with does charities and benefits that helps my community. This is definitely a positive place for me where I feel accepted. Just my thoughts I wanted to share!

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