Player Perspective: Matty “Irn Bru’ises”

My First Year With Liverpool Roller Birds

So I was asked a while back to write a blog about my first year in derby. Anyone who has spent a year in derby knows that there are enough highs and lows, new skills and new friends, bouts and after-parties, tears and laughs, and downright craziness to fill a whole book.

I really struggled to approach how to condense it into something that was not only short enough to read, but also wasn’t too “dear diary” (may have failed at that last one!).

So I decided to approach it the way I approach problems on track: throw some fun at it!

This is the result…


Now this a story all about how,
My life got flip turned upside down.
And I’d like to take a second,
Just sit right there.
I’ll tell you how I became a derby bird,
And the journey I took to get there.

In Liverpool city I moved for a job,
But I had no friends, no life, was a slob!
I watched the film ‘Whip It’ and what do ya know?
But there’s a derby team down the road and they’re looking to grow.

I joined the fresh meat and could barely stand up,
But the coaches and my peeps refused to let me give up.
“you can do it”, “jump higher”, “derby stance”, “get low”,
My skating and confidence and friendships started to grow.

It came to the day of minimum skills,
And we passed and we cheered and we joined the big girls.
If anything I could say this day tasted bittersweet,
But I thought “nah forget it, so long to fresh meat”!

I pulled up to team practice about 7 or 8,
And stumbled beside goddesses; my god could they skate!
But I threw myself in,
I was finally there.
Stumbling around,
In the LRB lair!

So I’m gonna be honest, my first scrim: “What the hell?!”
I quickly lost count of how many times that I fell.
But each week I went back and I learned and I grew,
And I got myself a space in the B teamie crew!

Now I’d like to take a second to bring it down a peg or two,
Because with the highs there were lows and of those we had a few.
To my derby sisters who broke, what can I say to you?
Except each one of you is my hero, through and through!
The bravery you show when you must just want to scream,
Yet you show up and help out and support the LRB team.
And it’s this family ethos that brings us all back for more,
The many hands that are there to pick you up off the floor.

When you all came to support me on my very first bout,
And during skate out I was defended by yours screams and your shouts.
I loved every minute, couldn’t stop smiling with glee,
As I walled up with my team and they walled up with me.

So I bring you to now, we’re a year down the line,
And I look back in reflection over my time.
And the way derby affects your life in more ways than one,
Gives you more confidence, a family, and my God is it fun.
But it also takes work, and strength of body and mind,
Those positives each week get harder to find.
But it’s important to find them and to keep setting aims,
To be kind to yourself, to push through the pain.
For no derby girl that I’ve ever met,
Even London and Gotham I’m willing to bet.
Think they’re “there” they’re “ready” think they’re finally “done”,
To sit on the throne as the ultimate number one!

–Matty “Irn Brui’ses”

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