This past weekend we had our first Geeks Night Out with Horrible Night. We went skating, since it was also the night of the Race City Rebels fundraiser. And the strangest thing happened. I was surrounded by derby people, and they were calling me by my real name.
Now, for those of you outside of derby culture, let me explain to you a little bit about derby names. It’s not just a nickname. It becomes your identity. No one calls you by your real name at practice. And when you enter the derbyverse, it becomes your life. So you’re not just being called by your derby name at practice, but at parties. At events. Going to the movies with your teammates. I almost introduced myself to someone as Destroy in a non-derby setting because in my head that’s who I was. Derby names are a big deal.
Up until this point, even though I no longer skate, almost everyone on my old team had called me by my derby name. Granted, the Rebels haven’t called me Destroy for a while (and when I go to team meetings I’m listed on paperwork as Nicole), but now it’s moved to my former teammates. I’m sure this blog has a big part of it. They see my real name far more often anymore.
I thought I’d be upset when this happened. Sure, Claire and I started calling each other by our real names forever ago. But that happened organically because we referred to each other as such in our posts. Heck, that happened before we were officially retired. But I was expecting a sense of loss when people no longer knew me as Destroy. And instead…there was nothing. It was no big deal. If anything, it was kind of awesome. Here are these people who knew me as one thing. And even though I’m not that one thing any more, they still want to spend time together. I take back what I said before. It is awesome.
Hello, my name is Nicole.