The 2014 season will be my last with KDG, and as the days fly by leading up to our fifth anniversary game, I can’t help but reflect on my time with this league, which has been such an integral part of me for so long. As I look back, I am filled with so much gratitude for all those who have made the past five years some of the best of my life, and I hope you’ll bear with me while I take a moment to appreciate those people.
Thank you first and foremost to my kids, who have involuntarily lent me out to this sport and this league for a staggering portion of 2009 through 2014. I don’t know that my youngest son even remembers a me without derby, but I do know that they have remained my staunchest supporters, through rushed dinners, ad-hoc babysitting arrangements, whirlwind trips to away games, “just one more email”s too many to count, fetching me things and learning to slow down when I broke my leg, and cheering me on when I put my skates back on following my injury. They’re sad to see me leave the league, but as my eldest enters his teenage years, I see how the years, months, days, and moments fly by and I want to enjoy the time I have with these two wonderful humans to the fullest.
Thank you to my mother, who has been to every game she could possibly attend, listened to countless hours of derby discussion, talked up our league and our sport everywhere she goes, and supported me in every single way she could (and there have been many) over the past five years.
Thank you more times than I can say to Kristi, my favourite skater in the universe, my partner on and off the track, who has talked me through a gazillion derby decisions and ideas, waited patiently while I waded through hundreds of emails post-meeting and pre-game, brought me ice packs, checked my pupils, fed me pizza, and loved and cared for me perfectly all around.
Thanks to my incredibly passionate, committed, and talented co-founder and dear friend, LaVallee of the Dolls. This league would not exist without her, and she made the past five years possible: both on the track and off. At my most exhausted, discouraged and burnt-out times, she was always the one to look me in the eye and say, “Pull it together. Your league needs you. You got this.” She has been my derby rock since long before Day One.
Thank you to the 66 brave and trusting women who lined up at our first registration and showed us in no uncertain terms that Kingston was ready for roller derby. This league has accomplished amazing things every single year, but I know everyone who was there will agree that 2010 was something magical and I am so grateful that every single one of those 66 women was part of it.
Thank you to the directors who have sat on our board through league structure changes, shifts in direction, conflict, celebration, new teams, new leagues, transitions in skaters, coaches, volunteers… we weathered a lot of storms and I have such respect for every person who has accepted a nomination, and for those who have sat on the board to ensure that the big picture and long-term survival of the league is always at top of mind.
Thank you to the coaches and team-mates who showed me – a total rookie to any sport, let alone a team sport – how to train my body to do things I never thought it could do, how to accept feedback and learn from it, how to trust and depend on other people, how to put my team first while constantly pushing myself to be the best I can be. You’ve all taught me so much about teamwork, strength, and persistence – skills that are transferable to every aspect of life.
Thank you to all the skaters who taught me so much about group dynamics, running a non-profit sports league, how to keep going with this dream of a Kingston derby league even when things were really hard, both in and outside of derby.
Thank you to the intrepid PMS (Promotions, Media, Sponsorship) Committee who entrusted me for several years with the role of head of Media, which forced (I mean, allowed) me to get over my terror of speaking in public or on the record… Turns out when you have something you love and believe in more than anything it’s not so hard to talk about it to any sized group of people.
Thank you to every skater who has come up to me and told me your story of what derby has meant to you and how it has changed your life. Everyone’s story is different, and the same, and every single one moves me to tears. Every time. I know this sport has changed my life for the better and I am always so happy to hear others say the same. It makes my heart swell.
Thank you to our tireless volunteers: coaches, NSOs, refs, who do all the work without the glory of getting to play in the games – KDG would not be turning five without your selfless devotion. Thank you. And thank you again.
Thank you to our annual batch of freshies, who bring a much-appreciated injection of enthusiasm and excitement to our league every year. It was a privilege to be part of the fresh meat coaching team for a couple of years – you all re-ignited my love for derby with every single practice.
Thank you to all of my “civilian” friends who have stuck with me while I pursued this time- and mind-consuming passion – I can’t wait to see more of each and every one of you once my schedule returns to a normal pace.
Thank you to the Kingston community for helping to make my dream come true and coming out and supporting us at game after game – it is the biggest reward of all to see people filling the stands and getting to know and love the sport like we all do.
A huge thank you to all those skaters who will be back next year and continuing to make sure this league is a going concern in another five years. I have all the faith in the world that KDG will thrive in your committed, skilled, and powerful hands.
Thank you to each and every one of you for sharing your time, your skill, your passion, and your commitment with this league. I am honoured to have been part of it and I can’t wait to cheer myself hoarse from the suicide seats next year and beyond.
All sentimental reflection aside now – I’d better see you all September 6th for our fifth annual Back to Cruel – it’s gonna be a good one.
Skate at Home Mom