Finding my feet on 8 wheels… a roller derby story by Cherry Revenge

The last five years of my life have been up and down; I’ve successfully seen my way through university and my PGCE and found a teaching job, got engaged and invited my pet bunny, Biscuit, into the family. For a while though there were more ‘downs’ than ‘ups’.

Four years ago, at the age of 20, I lost my father to cancer. I can’t really describe how it feels to lose a parent, especially at such a young age. It’s something you can’t prepare for, even when you are told its going to happen. During those last few weeks of my Dad’s life, after they’d told him there wasn’t anything more they could do for him, it didn’t feel real anymore.

A year and a half later my mum was also told she had cancer; It just felt like it was starting all over again, I don’t really remember that day; it’s a bit of a blur. Thankfully she is doing well and in remission, we’ve recently had the all clear for her 2 year review.

During this time, by circumstance, not choice, I became a bit of a hermit. After a full day at university and long visits to the hospital I was just too tired to do anything else.

I had lost my motivation, to do a hobby, to do something I enjoyed; and I had lost quite a few of my ‘friendships’. I’d focused on my education; I’d tried to look after myself. Everything else was a struggle.

I wanted to break the habit I had allowed myself to slip into, I wanted a hobby, something to enjoy, I wanted to meet new people and have fun.

The change I was looking for came when one of my friends said

“I’ve got this fundraiser happening soon; it’s with Nottingham Roller Girls – sounds exactly like something you’d love.”

And that was it; a reason to get out of the house. A reason to push myself. A social activity; something to enjoy. New friends.

I have never looked back (unless it’s back around the track keeping an eye out for the opposing team’s jammer!)

I’ve met people who have been through the same experiences as me, with loss and recovery. I’ve met people from all over the country and the world!

Roller derby is a diverse sport, and attracts a huge range of individuals. I’ve met so many new people – so many new friends – on my roller derby journey, how could I possibly look back?

I consider roller derby the friendliest sport, certainly that I’ve ever been a part of. It’s a team sport; before a bout during the skate out the teams high five, and no matter what happens on the track, everyone partakes in the ‘sweaty hugs’ at the end. It’s the reason I love roller derby so much, I feel that I am part of a huge community of people, from different ages and backgrounds, and everyone is here because they love the sport. Sitting in the suicide seats next to a complete stranger who is cheering for the opposite team, you can still laugh together, or discuss your excitement with them.

I miss my dad every day, and think about him in every decision I make. I think he’d love the fact I’m part of the team, he’d probably try to get involved somehow and he’d love to have something else to be proud of me for.

I love roller derby.

I love my team.

I especially love all my friends at NRG.

I bleed green.

Cherry Revenge