Just over five years ago I made a wonderful life decision. In a blizzard on January 2, 2010 I moved from my longtime home of Grand Rapids, Michigan to Chicago.
I had always loved Chicago, and along with an exciting new job opportunity that popped up, roller derby was a large part of my decision. I had seen the Windy City Rollers since their beginning, they were by far my favorite league, including their fans. So I packed my house to be left behind in storage, loaded up my Subaru and drove 35mph in a near white out on I-94 to move to the City of Big Shoulders.
Over the next few years I’d bring what I learned playing roller derby and my experience in growing my first league, Grand Raggidy to Chicago. That said, as a member of The Fury and the Windy City All-Stars travel team, I was (like anyone) eager to step up my game, learn new things, and become a better teammate.
As a member of a Windy City home team, The Fury, I got to play with a number of great jammers and blockers, seeing many of them go on to play at the highest levels internationally. They quickly became an inspiration and example, my family. And with The Fury I got to participate in winning a few league championships, TFFY TFFL. As a part of the All-Stars, I got the chance to travel internationally to play derby and fulfill my own dream of playing in the WFTDA Championships.
In the mix I made some of the dearest friends I have ever had, both on skates and off. And I am grateful for everyone that has helped me become a better skater, teammate and coach, while also making the sport that I love so much a fun experience every day. Extra props to the ones ridiculous enough to also tattoo these moments with me.
Over the past few months I have been thinking about the years to come and my place in roller derby. Moreover, for as much as I love Chicago I have thought about other cities I love and even the prospect of change, year round warmth and a fresh checklist of restaurants.
Knowing that a move to another city and state was very likely, I notified the Windy City Rollers that I would retire from skating as an active member with intent to transfer. I have of course still been coaching The Fury, league practices and emailing every committee message group that still has me on it!
As much as I’d miss my friends and derby family in Chicago –not to mention the architectural boat tour (I’m a frequent flier here), Lake Michigan, On Your Mark, Pequod’s and Big Star – I took some time to travel, see friends in different cities, and consider my next life adventure.
Shortly after the World Cup, a bit of travel and the holidays with family in Michigan, I considered moves to Portland, Los Angeles and flat-track roller derby’s ground zero, Austin. I have good, supportive friends in each of these cities that I love, as well as fellow teammates from Team USA and the World Cup.
After overthinking everything – potential job opportunities, weather, friends, proximity to family in Michigan, cost of living, quality of life, and (of course) roller derby—I had to make a choice…
I’m happy to say that I am moving to the 11th fittest city, 200+ coffee shops and taco locales of Austin, Texas! I have notified the Texas Rollergirls I intend to try out for their league. My aim is to continue to play competitive derby, with the hope of making their all-star travel team, and hopefully help the Texecutioners once again bring home the Hydra.
I’d like to thank Grand Raggidy, the Windy City Rollers, Team USA, women and the entire derby community for all their love and support over the years.
See you on the flat track.