​On the Solomon McCown & Company Facebook page, we've started a feature called 5 for Friday. Every week, one member of our staff presents a list of anything that strikes his or her fancy — a fun way to start off the weekend. In this week’s 5 for Friday, Administrative Assistant Melissa Martin shares five ways roller derby changed her life:

  1. Physical Strength – Endurance and strength play a HUGE part in being successful in the sport of roller derby. Any derby girl worth her salt spends just as much time doing off-skates cross-training as she does skating with her team. It’s what you do on your own, off the track that gives you the edge to keep getting up when you get knocked down, to keep pushing your hardest until that final whistle. It’s easy to fall into a routine that doesn’t include regular exercise as an adult. With derby, that’s just not possible.
  2. The Bonds – I’ve found a whole new family in derby. It’s a special world we derby girls live in. We’re building a new sport, carrying on what those before us started, and we’re all in it together. I could move to a new city tomorrow, join the local derby league, and gain a group of instant friends to help me settle in. It’s comforting.
  3. DYI Mentality – Roller derby is a grassroots movement. Each league is owned and operated by the skaters and volunteers. Most leagues are non-profit organizations, hoping to make enough money at each bout to pay for the next one. Everyone plays a role in running the organization, from holding a spot on the governing body, to being responsible for training the skaters, and especially to fundraising, sponsorship and funding pursuits. It’s all for the good of the league.
  4. Communication – Trying to get 40+ people on the same page can be challenging! We are all working full-time jobs, managing our families, and living our lives in general. Most of us spend more than 10 hours a week on derby business (outside of the 6-9 hours of skating we do a week). You have to learn to communicate effectively to accomplish things in that type of environment.
  5. Mental Toughness – This is the biggest one. All aspects of being involved in derby have combined to make me more mentally tough than I’ve ever felt in my life. Knowing that your team – your whole league – is supporting you and cheering for you, is like no other feeling in the world. I’m not afraid to face any challenge, having that kind of support behind me. Having tried, failed, tried again and succeeded so many different times in so many different circumstances since I began derby makes me feel invincible. Once you get over your fear of failing, you’ll never be afraid to try anything again.

If you want to see what I’m talking about, you can check out my league at www.nhrollerderby.com. See you on the track! Photo via Slam I Am Club Facebook page