How Chi-Tara Found Roller Derby (And The Outfit)

Chi-Tara (pictured kneeling) listening intently to coaches during Bootcamps this past fall. Photo credit: Fronzarelli/Braise Seitan. 

Chi-Tara (pictured kneeling) listening intently to coaches during Bootcamps this past fall. Photo credit: Fronzarelli/Braise Seitan. 

In order for me to explain how derby came into my life, I will have to whisk you back to about a year ago. (Insert magical fairy dust sound here).

A year ago my life was at a crossroads. My world changed very quickly and I was dealing with quite a bit of life weight. To lighten the load one night, I decided to grab my old skates out of the closet. I searched for a roller rink because I knew that Mainstreet USA had closed down. I chose to head to Lombard. Once I had my skates on and I was on the floor, it was just as it was in my younger years. With the music blaring and my feet moving, I had never felt more free from the weight of my life. Looking back from today to that moment I could never have imagined what door I walked through that night and the wonderful world that I would eventually find myself in.

Now, fast forward about seven months. I eventually made my way back to my old rink, Fleetwood; the one that I grew up in. The ole stopping grounds. Shifts in my work schedule placed me in the rink on Wednesday night open skate. On my very first night there, I met Zombie and Satanik. It did not take long for all of us to become friends, which involved a lot of derby talk. At the end of every session I would see all of the Outfit skaters coming in and prepping for practice. This is where the seed was planted. One night, Zombie and Satanik seemed to have conspired to convince me that I needed to play derby one way or another. As we skated, I admired their enthusiasm so much that I did not have the heart to tell them that I had all but decided to play in some fashion. I had just not figured out how or where just yet. Soon after, at the end of the session one night, Pitbull came over and introduced herself. I was rather nervous, because well, I get nervous. She handed me the flyer for boot camp. I could not have been happier. It read “Join your local girl gang”. I had been trying to do this very thing my entire life. 

At the start of boot camp, I had committed to derby. I, however, had not yet committed to the Outfit. I do not think I had made it an hour into that first day of boot camp before I felt in my heart that this is where I belong. I live off of the flow of energy and how things vibe. The structure, knowledge, and patience of the vets was overwhelmingly amazing. 

How nostalgic that after all these years, I felt openly free in a huge way in a place that has been such a large part of my life with awesome humans. 

It's amazing how we get fixed on the big things in life when it truly is the small things that are most important. A simple decision all those months ago to dust off my skates brought an entirely new world to my life’s front porch and I am humbly grateful.

I wonder what my blog a year from now will say. Stay tuned! 

Chi-Tara #12