Metal Madness with Ronnie Maims Dio
Hello - My name is Ronnie Maims Dio, and I’m a jammer for the Chicago Outfit Shakedown. I joined the league at the very end of 2015 after going through boot camp and tryouts, but I skated with Derby Lite for two years prior to that. I was cleared for scrimmage - meaning I had met basic requirements for contact, like giving and taking hits while on skates - in March. By April, I was eligible to play in my FIRST roller derby bout. Ever. I was rostered to play on April 16th at Coachlite Roller Rink against the DuPage Derby Dames.
Our opponent, the DuPage Derby Dames, are an awesome team that has a whole bunch of ladies that we know personally and are friends with! Several skaters are friends of mine from Derby Lite, so it was really nice to have these ladies be there for my first bouting experience.
I found out several days prior to the bout that I was scheduled to be part of the jammer rotation. This was an awesome honor and privilege, but it made me even more nervous because I knew that there would be many eyes on me! I had family and friends who would be coming to see me too.
The morning of the bout, I was able to pick up personalized merch I had ordered for my whole family: my husband and son had Outfit shirts made with their names on the back, and I had a special one made for my mom that said "Mommie Maims Dio."
I was so nervous that day, I think I cried (literally) three different times before it was time to leave for the rink. And I ate like two bananas for lunch. I was kind of a mess. I tried so hard to stay calm and to center myself, with varying results… I wondered how I had gotten myself into this mess.
At one point in the morning, I even sat down next to my 4-year-old son, Iggy, and told him that I was nervous and scared. He looked me in the eye, put his hand on my shoulder, and said “Mom, you just have to TRY.”
I cried again.
He was right. There was no way around it, I just had to go out there and do it. And just as everyone who has gone through this before has told me, once the game started and I got out there, it ALL goes away. In the middle of playing, you seriously forget that there are people out there watching. You just play. That's good.
To my surprise, I had a really good game. We all did! All four of us jammers did a great job, and our blockers were (in my opinion) even more awesome! It was like we could read each other's minds - everyone was in the right places at the right times. I had the best time ever!
Perhaps the best moment of the night happened early on while jamming. And my husband even caught it on video! I was jamming and the opposing team’s brace left a large gap between blockers, so I just ducked under their arms and kept going, like a limbo! I even surprised myself with that move! The crowd went nuts! I gotta admit, it was an amazing feeling.
Ok, so I know that I said that the best part of the night was the whole duck-under the blockers thing, but there was another best part of the night - My team captain, Dallas, won MVP blocker for my team, and I was voted MVP Jammer for my team! At my first bout ever! I seriously did NOT expect it and I'm pretty sure I ended my experience just like it began that morning... with crying! ...But this time for very different reasons.
Having family and friends there to see it all go down was an incredible experience. Not only my immediate family and my Outfit family, but my Derby Lite family too, including my instructors! It was crazy energizing and motivating to hear all of their cheers and encouragement. I was so excited to see everyone in attendance to support me and my team! This was seriously one of the best nights of my life, right up there with getting married and having my son. If I could go back and re-live it over and over again, I would.
In the days following a bout, there is still more to look forward to, like awesome pics from a professional photographer that documented it all! Steve Jurkovic Photography, one of the sponsors for our team, takes incredible action shots! It was so cool to have these memories preserved and to be able to see what it all looked like from a spectator’s perspective.
I think I really genuinely surprised myself on this day with what I could do, and what I was capable of as a person and as an athlete. It went against everything that I had been told about myself as a kid.
In the wise words of 4-year-old Iggy, sometimes all you have to do is try.