Pay attention to the cracked floor and the broken bones. Some call it slums; some call it nice. I wanna take you to a skate land I’d like to call my home. Welcome to paradise!
Now that we are past the mandatory Green Day introduction, how did I end up here? It all began on a sunny, fall afternoon….
I moved to Knoxville May, 2016. I had no job, no friends, nothing much here. I just was so tired of MS and love the mountains, so here I landed. Then, sometime in October, I was bored and came across the Punk Rock Flea Market at Purple Heart Tattoo, and that is where I met Kitty Twister and Black Stabbath. Stabby said, “Come join derby: it is great for stress.” Kitty said, “You get instant, pre-packaged friends.”
They were both so very right! HKRG are the best friends anyone could ask for. I feel, for the first time in a long time, that I am surrounded by a group of people who are truly interested in the betterment of me in a non-selfish way. They want me to succeed at my goals because I want to succeed at my goals: not because it will better them. They are nonjudgmental, patient, and kindhearted. I found a family when I found Hard Knox.
When I began rolling on this adventure, I had zero experience. I had only been on skates for elementary school birthday parties (the kind where you hugged the wall for an hour, and then ate some cake). I had never been to a bout or watched one on TV. I knew little to nothing about the sport other than every time it was mentioned in pop culture, it looked full of people I would like. Derby looked like something I would like, but I am clumsy and never imagined attempting to find out how to begin to pursue it.
“So what have I learned from these past 6 months on 8 wheels?” one might ask. That I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down. When tired, and over the laps, just keep swimming. When going backwards, you gotta wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, yeah. And the most important lesson: She hit the floor, Next thing you know, [Chris gonna say] get low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low.
Other important lessons: Cute socks are a must. Little wheels are fun. Pedicures now are painful. I will never smell the same again. Epsom salt, peppermint and lavender oils, and a hot tub are my new best friends. There are so many more muscles in the human body than previously covered in science class. It’s okay not to understand something because one day you will wake up, still not understand how to do it, but your body will have figured it out all on its own.
 Based on “Welcome to Paradise” by Green Day
 “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba
 “Just Keep Swimming,” Dory from Finding Nemo
 “Sexy and I Know It” by LMAFO
 Paraphrased “Low” by Flo Rida
So. Much. Fun.