Yoga in the Park with Girls in the Game

by Suzie Crotchrot Earlier last week, some members of the Chicago Outfit teamed up with our yoga sponsor, Indigo Studios, and joined Girls in the Game for some afternoon yoga in the park. photo 1

Established in 1995, Girls in the Game is a nonprofit youth organization that provides and promotes sports and fitness opportunities, nutrition and health education, and leadership development to enhance the overall health and well-being of young women.  The Chicago Outfit supports Girls in the Game as one of our chosen bout charities, to whom a portion of our proceeds from a home bout is donated. This is our second season working with Girls in the Game.

We arrived to a picture perfect day at Union Park, where the sun and wind were in balanced harmony, setting an appropriate tone for our exercise.  After introducing ourselves, we all sat and began our session.  I was pleasantly surprised by how attentive and polite all of the participants were, because I have personally found that trying to lead a group of teens is comparable to herding kittens in a yarn factory.  Not the case here -- everyone happily participated and challenged themselves with no complaints, getting the most out of our workout. photo 2-2After we all completed our session, Outfit members sat in front and started to talk about roller derby.  Knowing that these young women knew little about our sport, we started off light, talking about our own experiences (or no experience) playing other sports which eventually led into why we play roller derby.  There was an eclectic group of skaters there -- Kim Mortal, Mimi Furst, Undead Miss Red and myself -- ranging in age and lifestyle, so we were each able to provide a different background story and reason for playing.  Some play for the camaraderie, some for the exercise...some for the violence in a controlled environment.  No matter what our reasons for playing or joining, we all came back to a similar conclusion: we love the sport, for what it does for us mentally and physically, for bringing us together with a goal in mind no matter our lifestyle.

The question of injuries and size of players also came up.  While I told them that various parts of my knees are held together by rubber bands and black magic, I got some worried looks.  We then went on to explain that we are taught how to take hits and fall correctly, and that derby players will INDEED fall a lot.  After the girls understood that this is just a way of life and how we don't even notice after a while, their looks softened and became more intrigued. Then came the "what about small/bigger girls question", which is my favorite, because we could surely provide some fine examples of small women that play like bulls and bigger women that move like gazelles.  There is something for everyone of every size!

We all had a wonderful time hanging out and hope to have more opportunities with Girls in the Game. I personally really enjoyed it because this photo 3was something that I wish had been around when I was an awkward teen, figuring out awkward life.  I mean, seriously, what if a group of women came up to me and told me they got together four times a week to kick each others’ butts for free for a few hours? Wait, no one had hard feelings about it after? No assault charges?! What?! DONE!

For more info on Girls In the Game, visit www.girlsinthegame.org

Check out The Chicago Outfit's yoga sponsor, Indigo Studios at www.theindigostudio.com