By K.P. NICHOLS
Surprisingly, I played golf in high school.
I wasn’t really into the hardcore athletics. When I was ten, I got hit in the nose by a softball and at that point swore off team sports. But then I turned 30 and turning 30 makes you think.
Before my thirtieth birthday, I made it a goal to run a marathon. I finished the Missoula Marathon one month and 13 days before the big 3-0. That accomplishment left me feeling empowered. I no longer felt like that scared ten-year-old so I went in search for bigger challenge.
Three months later, I was encouraged by a friend to join her at a roller derby practice. The Inferno, a.k.a. the warehouse on Toole Avenue where the Hellgate Rollergirls practice in Missoula, was extremely intimidating especially when you can barely stand on wheels let alone skate around a track.
Luckily, I had my friend, Jeneral Hellhouse for support and the fresh meat (a derby term for new recruits) coaches Psycho Bows and P.O.’d Box who taught me all the basics and continued to push me to get better.
It took me nearly ten months to test up to the competitive team level. For some girls, it takes longer and others it’s a quicker, more natural progression. Either way, it is physically and mentally challenging.
I had a wakeup call half way through the process. If I wanted to be a rollergirl, I’d have to commit myself 100%.
Hellgate Rollergirls (HGRG) is a non-profit organization, which means we all have a part in making the league succeed. Showing my commitment didn’t mean just show up and skate.
We all put in a lot of extra hours outside of the track: Coaching, building a junior league, fundraising, throwing events, scheduling teams to play away and at home, public relations, hours on the road away from our families, accounting, bout production, marketing, and asking refs, N.S.O.s (non-skating officials), and volunteers to donate their time.
For me the added commitment, the feeling of ownership, the camaraderie, and competition are all what drives me as a skater. The fact that I leave a lot of sweat on the track and off is why I love being a part of the Hellgate Rollergirls.
It’s a privilege to be a rollergirl and I’m lucky to have discovered the true meaning of being a team player even as a thirty something.
Photos courtesy of Athena Photography.
HGRG is excited to announce their upcoming all-stars home bouts! We will be bouting next Friday, Sept. 14 at the Adams Center against the Spokannibals from Spokane Valley. We then take on the Taco Kicker Rollergirls from Everett, WA on Friday, Oct. 19 and the Snake Pit Derby Dames from Coeur d’Alene on Friday, Nov. 9. We hope to see you there!
K.P. Nichols, a.k.a. Kill Pill, has been a member of the Hellgate Rollergirls since November 2010. She co-heads Bout Production with Tushie Galore, which means they are busy working on the upcoming bout at the Adams Center on Friday, September 14th. Bout starts at 7 pm and tickets are $12 with kids 10 and under free.
HGRG is always in need of volunteers for its bouts, which means you’d get into the bout for free. If you’re interested, email us at email@example.com.