We bond. Our stories come out. We learn a new kind of respect for each other. But what's funny is, instead of going easy on each other, knowing who we really are only makes us tougher teammates. Now when someone falls, when someone's on the ground doubting herself, there's no apologies, no excuses. We look at her and say: "Get up. I know you've been through worse."
How amazing is it to have someone who knows you well enough that they can see the level of strength you have inside? To give you that kind of credit, to believe in you more than you were willing to believe in yourself? In roller derby, if you give your team everything you have, they just might give you your life back.
We skate together not as what we were labeled out there, but by the names we've chosen in here. And just like a team of superheroes, we know each other's secret identities.
We are mothers, sisters, daughters, teachers. Scientists, widows, military officers. Divorcées, recovering addicts, Wiccans. Gay, straight, undecided. Shy girls, fat girls, overachievers. Loudmouths, morticians, Mormons.
We fight together as a league of extraordinary women, ready to hit back and win.
And when you're out in the "normal world" knowing somewhere a gang of badasses absolutely has your back? Nobody can knock you down.
Pamela Ribon is a television writer, novelist and a pioneer in the blogging world. Her newest novel, Going in Circles, is about a heartbroken newlywed finding salvation through roller derby. She affectionately refers to her book as Eat, Cry, Shove. She is currently on the injured roster and a book tour. You can follow her on Twitter @pamelaribon.