Bat-ass, Pippi Skullknockings, Ho J Simpson, Assaultin’ Pepa, Queen Elizabitch. These are the kinds of words I throw around my house on a regular basis. My kids sometimes repeat these names to their friends, teachers and adults they know.
“Where’s Bat-ass? What happened to Queen Elizabitch? Did she break her ankle? Who’s coming over? Ho J?” And that’s just a few of the monikers of the 100 or so roller derby skaters that have surrounded my kids since they were toddlers.
My name is Meghan Dougherty, but I’m known as Undertaker’s Daughter, # DOA, with Rocky Mountain Rollergirls in the roller derby community.
Speed bump was the name my daughter was given when she ran onto the track to be nearly skated over when she was 2. Now 10, and my son 12, my kids have grown up around a roller derby culture. That means as a mom you have to accept that your kids will not only repeat the names of skaters as part of roller derby life, but more. More cussing, a lot of sweat stank, booty shorts and jog bras. They’ve seen bones get broken, noses get bloodied, and heads get concussed.
But they’ve gotten so much more.
For my daughter, she sees strong, fierce, and fearless women skating fast, hitting hard and acting confident and independent. That’s women of all sizes and all ages, from 18 to 49, who want to be strong, not skinny. These strong women, from 4 feet to 6 feet tall, spend up to 15 hours or more a week skating, planking, squatting, sit-upping, smashing, and supporting each other.
They’ve found a healthy way to get their aggressions out, while getting to roller skate and compete in one of the few full contact sports available for women.
My daughter gets to see that her Mom, who is more than 30 years older than the youngest skaters, as competitive, hard-hitting and hard-working. And for my 10-year old son, he gets to experience the same thing and sees his Dad coming to every bout at the Fillmore Auditorium, cheering on his Mom, as she knocks down skaters, and eats the floor…on occasion.
It’s not easy being a mom who plays roller derby. I’m not always there at every event. I skate two to four days a week for two to three hours at a stretch. When I can. Not all moms might think that’s so great. But, it’s harder being a mom than playing roller derby sometimes. I think it’s better to teach balance to your kids. That it’s okay to be a Mom or Dad, but also be you have a separate identity.
That’s roller derby.
Meghan Dougherty is a mom, roller derby skater and marketing communications executive in Denver. She is also the co-author of a book series for tweens called “Dorothy’s Derby Chronicles,” with co-author/illustrator Alece Birnbach. They will be hosting a book signing for their second book “Woe of Jade Doe” at Boulder Book Store, Thursday, October 1, at 6:30 pm and at the Tattered Cover on Colfax Ave. on Saturday, October 3, at 2 pm.