Since I was a youngin’, I’ve never had visible bruises.
Oh believe me, they would be there in all of their painful glory, but would my skin turn purple or brown? Nah. I’m probably one of the only people in Winnipeg that’s upset by the fact that I don’t get visible bruises.
Why is this such a disappointment for me? Bruises are a badge of honour. In the world of roller derby, bruises are something a lot of the women take pride in. It’s like saying, “look how hard I got hit and I’m still kicking ass!”
There’s a tumlr blog devoted to derby bruises and the hashtags on Instagram #derbybruise or #derbybruises. Even if you just search #rollerderby, chances are decently high you’ll find pictures of derby bruises.
Roller derby is the only place I’ve seen women pull down the side of shorts to show off that impressive hip bruise they got at the game that past weekend. Usually, women are supposed to be clean and proper, and bruises are sometimes, unfortunately, signs of abuse.
According to an article on derbylife, getting a bruise in roller derby adds to the idea that roller derby makes a woman stronger, both physically and mentally.
“Derby damage is a signature of perseverance, inner strength, and defiance… roller derby teaches us that everyone falls – it’s those who get back up quickly, regardless of discomfort, that come out ahead in the end. ” - derbylife
I first noticed this bruise-embracing behaviour during Fresh Meat two years ago when we first learned how to hip check each other. The week after practicing smacking each other in the hips for two hours, some of the girls were comparing their badges of honour. I had nothing to show, though.
My pointy hips sure gave bruises, apparently. One girl skated up to me saying something like, “YOU! Look what you did! You gave me my first derby bruise!”
Throughout my (so far) two-year roller derby career, I have yet to have a bruise worthy enough of being my own badge of honour.
Did I bruise at all throughout Fresh Meat? Nope.
During the insane 16-hour 2-day boot camp? Nah.
How about that time I got hit out so hard I went sliding into the stands — right where my family was watching? Of course not.
Two months ago, I even got smacked right at the top of my nose between my eyes with someone’s helmet. A few players came over to make sure I was okay, and they told me: “Oh, that will definitely bruise.”
It didn’t, and I really had my hopes up for that little guy.
In the meantime, I will continue to look in awe at all of the impressive derby bruises that my teammates bring up.
Although, if any of you decide to try and show off your broken finger, like what happened to a poor teammate this summer, I’ll probably run away about to puke.
Maybe one day I’ll get my own badge of honour. Someday…