Pregnant and transferring roller derby leagues – what a big time for change!
Back in early 2019, I had to decide what I wanted to do about Roller Derby. I had lost my focus, my drive and became frustrated.
Did I want to retire, was I ready for that?
Did I want to change leagues, and see if this could relight my derby fire?
I didn’t want to leave my already short league even shorter, so I decided to see the season out at minimum. A few months later, having spoken to some other friends and my derby wife, I realised I wasn’t ready to retire. This left me with only one option – to explore the nearby leagues and work out where I want to go.
Hello knee injury, my old friend
Through this process, I was still playing in British Roller Derby Championships. Not only was I having to deal with the emotional highs and lows of each game, between our last two I found out I was about 6 weeks pregnant.
It was time for my old knee injury to flare up for a few months.
Whilst we had been trying, it was still a bit of a shock. It made me question whether it was right for me to transfer leagues, if I would still fit in and be accepted and how I would feel not being able to skate and really bond with my new league.
Needless to say, I didn’t have to worry about any of the above.
Transferring to roller derby team the ‘Dollies’
I decided to continue with my original plan and transfer to the Leicestershire Dolly Rockit Rollers (Dollies). I figured that I can find other ways to help the league and can still begin to form friendships. I had skated with a few of the dollies before, and at mixed scrims so not everyone was a total stranger.
The Dollies all accepted me with open arms, made me feel like a part of the team (even though I wasn’t skating) and allowed me to be involved on and off skates at every opportunity.
Whilst I was still comfortable skating, I participated in some skills work, helped with some refereeing and observed drills. Once I was off skates, I continued to do this and was asked if I could help the team and LUM at Humber Struck tournament – this really made me feel valued as a league member.
Running a league is hard work, and if lots of people help it becomes a lot easier.
Being present at sessions and observing allowed me to build friendships, understand the strategies and gameplay, as well as feel accepted.
Opportunities if you’re off skates
There are many things you can do off skates to help whilst your pregnant – organise events, help run events, NSO or learn some new things about refereeing. I would encourage all of these, and to continue attending practise sessions. It really helps to keep you feeling involved and wanting to return.
I’m a little nervous about returning to skating, and seeing how hard my teammates hit makes me dread the bruises – but I know that they will all support me on my journey back to competitive skating and encourage me to take it at my own pace.
Roller Derby Name: Vegas
Real Name: Caroline Worsell
Member of LDRR Advanced Team