You know that famous medical dictate, “First, do no harm”? Yeah, that doesn’t apply to the Bleeding Heartland Roller Girl of the Week, Dr. Elliot Bleed (nicknamed “Doc”). Even her tag line, “Hold still. This will only hurt a little.” isn’t entirely true. She’s beautiful and slender, but she can knock a wench down. She’s sparkly and girly, but dangerous and strong. Even her derby name came about from a seemingly contradictory mesh of silly and serious.
According to Doc, “Scrubs is my favorite show. I’ve always identified with the character Elliot. She’s a little goofy and a lot neurotic, but she’s got a competitive streak. I liked the idea of using this underdog as my butt-kicking derby alter-ego. As for my nickname, my little brother was in Afghanistan on deployment when I joined the league. He’s a Navy medic, and the Marines he looks after call him Doc. It felt fitting to have people call me Doc too.”
Where did this force of nature come from? Doc shares, “Two years ago, I had but one friend left in this town. Her name is Scarlet Witch, and she’s the reason I’m here. I came to watch her play and I decided right away that I needed to do it too. Now, I have more friends than I can Facebook in a day. They are some of the most hilarious, caring, fun, supportive people on the planet. Having the chance to skate, sweat, play, commiserate, drink, eat, and live with them is definitely one of the greatest things about this game. I can’t speak for all of derby, but I know that my league has a sense of camaraderie that makes all the bruises worth it.”
Doc specializes in making people laugh. In fact, she was part of an improv comedy group with that lasted a few years. But getting to the point of being a great roller derby blocker isn’t all fun and games.
“Starting a brand new sport is a unique challenge,” says Doc. “I had to learn how to stand on my own two feet before anything else and it was extremely frustrating. I just wanted to start hitting the first day I walked in here. But I had to be patient and just keep getting up and trying again. It was humbling. And hard. And it still is.”
But, according to Doc, “There is nothing that builds confidence like seeing actual, measurable improvement. Two years ago, I couldn’t stop. At all. Recently, I learned to do a 180-degree jump and land on my toe stops. I am realizing that any seemingly impossible feat can be accomplished with enough time and dogged persistence. That sounds cheesier than a Kraft factory, but it’s true.”
If you are new to derby, Doc has prepared a prescription for you, so take note. “Derby is an awesome sport, but it’s an awesome culture too! Where else can you watch your favorite athlete play, then go tell her she did great over a beer? So, while you study the rules and ask those sitting around you what the heck is going on, take time to enjoy the atmosphere. Have a PBR, meet some people, listen to the band at halftime, and start picking your favorite players, so you know who to find at the after party!”
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