Thursday, September 5, 2013

What’s In a Name?

Roller Derby is a high impact, full contact sport that requires an amazing level of athleticism, dedication, and training. But that doesn’t mean that Derby Girls don’t have a good time. One of the most fun parts of joining a Roller Derby team is picking out your Derby Name.

Since the Great Derby Revival, circa 2000 AD, derby names have been a part of the game. It is a rite of passage to select your name. Your Derby Name represents your alter ego, the kind of Derby Girl you want to be. It is also unique within the Roller Derby community. When you narrow down your potential names, you have to check each name against the International Rollergirls’ Master Roster. You need to verify that no one else is skating under that name (or one very close to that name). Look at the registry for yourself. It’s pretty damn cool.

As an aside, if you want a fascinating read, the following article discusses a paper written by law student David Fagundes. His paper explores how the social norms of the Derby self-regulate intellectual property—that is, Derby Names—without the need for trademarks, government oversight, or lawsuits.

Anyway, I think I have landed on a name and a number.  I have not had such a struggle since I had to name my kid 10 years ago.

Here are the thoughts swimming in my head: Am I jumping the gun? Have I earned my name? I think that I have. I think that, although I am nowhere near passing the minimum requirements I need to participate in a scrimmage, I’ve worked my ass off and greatly improved my skating. I am not nearly as good of a skater as my other Fresh Meat peers are. I am still trying to figure out the crossover.

But let me tell you what I can do. I can quickly get up from a two knee fall. I can skate in Derby stance. I can propel myself forward while keeping all 8 wheels on the track (we call those eggshells, by the way).

And I can call myself a Derby Girl. I’m Velma Rinkley, #38.

Sister MSW came up with the name. It could not be a better fit. Not only do I resemble the Scooby Doo smart chick with the glasses, freckles, and red hair, I’m always reading something and occasionally solving a mystery.

Velma Dinkley was never the girl that was worshipped by the guys. They all liked Daphne. Bullies at school used to call me Velma, as if that was the worst thing you could be. Guess what? I’d rather be the nerdy smart chick any day of the week. I’m happy to take back that name.  I know full well that, even at my current skill level, I could take down any one of those junior high assholes with one hip check.

So there you have it. My perfect Derby name. In the immortal works of Ms. Dinkley: Jinkies!

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