A Roller Derby Widow’s Guide to the Grief Process
So, fellas, and some lucky ladies, your partner has joined the derby. You thought it would be fun for your woman to pick up a new sport, and now you sit in a house full of sexy hosiery wondering when you will see your partner again. This is a challenging time fraught with confusion and loneliness. Know that you are not alone. The mourning process is real. Every widow’s experience is unique, but you may recognise the following:
Denial – Many of us are ashamed to admit that early in the derby widow experience, it is actually exciting. Suddenly, it’s ok to watch a mass of women in short skirts plow into each other without turning off the internet browser filter. Your home is often filled with your wife’s hot, hilarious teammates. Your lover’s fitness is advancing at an astonishing rate, she’s taken over changing tyres, and she seems to have found an inexplicable comfort with firearms. When she drags you to the local all-night roller disco, you beam with pride at her skating skills.
Anger- It’s 9:30 p.m. and you haven’t seen Madamoiselle de Derby since yesterday. The house is littered with skates or wristguards that smell like week-old roadkill that previously subsisted on a diet of limburger. She’s spending all her time doing ‘tracking stats’, writing ‘line-ups’ or glued to some message board discussing the merits of taping make-up sponges to her blisters. Then, when you slump off to the pub to drown your sorrows with your mates, she rolls in two hours after you, red-faced and laughing about the ‘after party’.
Bargaining – You are a product of the modern age, no? You can handle this if she’ll just give in a bit. But your attempts to keep Wednesdays for ‘us’ time and coax her to take the summer hols somewhere where she can’t visit a local league just aren’t making it go away.
Sadness - You miss her. It’s common to experience ‘What if’ questions at this stage, like ‘What if I had just encouraged her to join something more delicate, like street fighting or kendo instead?’
Acceptance – Hard as it may be to understand this, you will eventually learn to embrace your roller derby girl. You may start to realise that your mates crowd around with anticipation to hear about the latest pile-up at practice, that when you finally watch a bout it feels like your first rock concert, or that you’ve tried on the referee stripes and have developed a taste of your own for the track. The women of the roller derby are a rare breed who will find the derby with or without you. All you can do is thank the derby goddesses above, and start on that sign for the next bout.
For more to soothe your soul, visit Birmingham’s own original roller derby league at www.blitzdames.com. Better yet, come to our next bout on the 25th October against London Rollergirls at Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre, Kings Heath and see what the obsession is about. Doors open at 3p.m and the action starts at 4pm. Tickets soon to be available online.
Written by “Helen Fury”, #10 Birmingham Blitz Derby Dames, and approved by my own dear derby widow.