I never had a healthy relationship with sports growing up. In T-Ball I spent most of my time in the outfield sitting in the grass and picking flowers. Next came soccer, but you can only get kicked in the face with a ball so many times before you call it quits. I briefly tried Tae Kwon Do but couldn't see the merit in it. By the time I entered middle school I not only hated sports, I hated people who played sports. “Jocks” weren't exactly fond of me either. But as an adult, I find myself in a completely different place. Not only do I welcome athletic classes, I actively sign up for it every semester. I've taken Karate, Weight Training, Aerobics, Kickboxing and Self-Defense with no end in sight. My boyfriend is a coach and former competitive athlete. And twice a week I practice for a full-contact team sport. I'm a Derby Girl.
I love roller derby. There's just no other sport like it. When I pull on my leggings, pads, helmet and skates I feel like I'm suiting up for combat. I love the rush of wind in my face as I race around the track. The adrenaline as we crash into each other is intoxicating. I love the training, the feeling of improving with every practice. But it's not just the game itself I love, it's the other girls. If you saw a derby girl on the street, you'd never know she has an alter ego with a name like Luna Tick Tick Boom or Stone Cold Jane Austen. You'd never know she spends nights bonding, crashing, shoving, and racing other girls. You'd never know she shows off bruises and injuries like badges of honor. You'd never know she wears fishnets and skimpy outfits in front of screaming fans. We're clerks, nurses, teachers and housewives, but with a unique twist. We're in touch with our aggression and thus don't get along with most other girls. We've been considered “weird” for most of our lives. Most of us were nerds growing up and still are today. We all have crazy life stories once you get to know us.
Of course, I've been reluctant to share the full extent of my crazy life story with my teammates. It's not that I'm ashamed of my past. And the WFTDA allows transwomen to participate without discrimination so long as our hormones fall into the “average female range”. But I don't want to be known as the transgirl on my team. I want to be known as an aggressive jammer and a good blocker. A tough girl who knows how to throw a good hip check. But I may not have that option for very long.
One of my teammates has friended my private (and nearly impossible to find) Facebook account. So I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. Either I let her see my account and discover my birth status or I block her and let her think I'm a bitch. Normally I wouldn't care, but I've developed a relationship with these girls I'm not used to, I've never been a real teammate before. I recognize all the familiar worries that usually accompany the “coming out” debate. I'm afraid of being distanced and shunned and “othered”, but I also wonder how long I can keep bending the truth. I trust these girls, but do I trust them enough not to treat me differently?
Perhaps the best option is a “best of both worlds” solution. I can come out to a select few, including my coaches, my closest friends and other members of “The Family”. I know eventually I need to come out once I'm drafted to a full-time team anyway. I'd hate for my status to come up and be contested after a win and cause my teammates grief. I'll do it, but it will be a delicate and deliberate operation.