• Shawna Kratochwill

{Roller Derby} I'M IN the Draft Pool!


I can't stop smiling! Last night I tried out for the Madison Roller Derby (MRD) draft pool. And I’M IN! I nailed it! I am so proud of my body and what it can do! I have never been happier or healthier.


Source: Pinterest. Creator unknown, please claim if yours.


MRD has four hometown teams: Quad Squad, Reservoir Dolls, Unholy Rollers, and Vaudeville Vixens. Elite players from these teams combine to make Dairyland Dolls, Wisconsin’s WFTDA internationally competitive team. As a member of the draft pool, I will train with these teams for the next month. Surely one of the four teams will draft me! I will find out at Draft Night on October 11th.


You’re probably wondering how in the heck I got into this! I began my #rollerderby adventure in January 2018. I was an obese, tired, and depressed #nurse. I felt like garbage with constant pain, a bad back, and brain fog. 5 years of overnight nursing shifts had taken their toll on my health. Something had to change. I searched for an exercise outlet that would actually keep my attention. I’ve started many things, but always got bored.


One morning, I was inspired by my husband as he arrived home from his daily basketball game. He was drenched with sweat, grinning ear to ear, and said “I love playing basketball.” I wanted that feeling. I said “Aww, I’m so glad for you, honey. I wish I had a team sport to love. What do I love? #Rollerskating. I wish there was a rollerskating team.” That was my lightbulb moment, because you know what? There IS a rollerskating team! Here in little Richland Center, WI there is a roller derby team!


I connected me with the team and that was it. I started derby in January 2018, at 39 years old! Everything I have done since then has been to progress as a roller derby athlete. My first several practices were brutal because I was so overweight and in such poor condition. I could hardly move for days after. But I have been skating my whole life so had a solid set of skills to build on. I have continued to get stronger, faster, and more agile.


A huge piece of my success was switching jobs in May 2018. I took an evening position at Pine Valley Community Village and was soon on day shift. Night shift works well for some nurses, but not me! Working at Pine Valley has been such a blessing and my teammates have supported my derby adventure. They may think I am nuts, but they always cheer me on.


I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say roller derby saved my life. No, my life wasn’t in imminent danger. But I was barreling down a dangerous path of progressive obesity and its associated risks. I was starting to have symptoms of pre-diabetes. My sleep apnea and depression were getting worse. My already high cancer risk increased with my weight. I reversed all of that thanks to roller derby.


Shout-out to my family and friends who kept me going. I sprained my knee in early 2018 and decided I should probably quit. I was obviously not athlete material. But they encouraged me relentlessly. They believed in me when I didn’t. You know who you are and you know that I love you.


Shout-out to the Missfit Dolls, past and present! They taught me how to fall and how to get back up. They taught me how to hit and take a hit. They gave me a solid foundation to build upon. They pushed me physically and never let me give up. Thank you.


Shout-out to Madison Wreckers and their amazing training team. This is where humans go to become derby players. I learn so much every time I skate with them.




I am still in shock that this 41 year old body is doing this crazy thing! Maybe someday it will be NBD. But right now I have ZERO CHILL. Last night, I skating with a bunch of my MRD derby idols. I blocked them and jammed against them and high-fived them and they told I’m good. This community is A+! I never could have predicted this. It has been the most rewarding surprise. I am here for every twist and turn of this derby adventure.


If you are intrigued, Wreckers has two Sampler Skates coming up on September 18th and September 21st. Let's roll out!


For more derby content follow me, Code Bruise, on Insta.

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