Author: Derby Frontier

So Long, all. It’s Time to Call It Off.

While I had originally planned to write a few more posts, going so far as drafting a handful of wrap up pieces to tie up loose ends, I honestly just couldn’t bring myself to finish them.

So, rather than prolong the process, putting on a big show or searching for excuses to hang onto something that I am no longer passionate about, I feel like it’s just time to simply say goodbye. I mean, if you’re not interested in, or excited about, what you’re writing… then what’s the point?

No need for a fanfare.

No need for any any huge, long-winded, multi-part memoir pieces.

I found derby on a whim, covering a Lil’ Chicago Roller Derby recruitment night in my hometown of Moose Jaw for the local paper. Then quickly fell head over heels in love with it which led to a crazy odyssey of meeting thousands of people, refereeing the RDAC Canadian nationals, taking part in some pretty huge regional tournaments, starting an award winning blog that has seen over 300,000 visitors, officiating over a hundred bouts, coaching a team for half a season, coming out of the closet as pansexual & trans, and meeting the love of my life, who I have been happily married to for nearly a year.

My 3-years in derby provided me with amazing memories that will certainly remain with me for the rest of my life.

If you would like to keep up with some of my writing, I can be found writing the occasional piece over at Planet Transgender. Other than that, I honestly just plan to float around contributing some writing to a variety of sites and blogs. I’m currently eyeing up Autostraddle and Everyday Feminism, if they’ll have me that is. Anything I end up doing will be shared on my personal Facebook page and Twitter page as they come along. If you’re in Saskatchewan, you may also see me out at political events or pride celebrations across the province as I’m heavily involved in trans activism and I’m currently serving as the Gender Diversity Representative of Moose Jaw Pride. And feel free to toss me an email at nillinnow@gmail.com if you ever want to say hi and/or chat!

Finally, as an FYI, several of the menu and static pages that are no longer relevant have been deleted while al of the important and/or most popular posts will remain untouched.  I also plan to purge some old, irrelevant blog posts as well and I will be closing commenting on all posts within the next couple of weeks. Additionally, the Derby Frontier Facebook page and Twitter account will both be deleted at some random point in the next bit. The blog itself will no longer be generating any new content and will now serve solely as an archive.

Thank you to all those who spoke with me for posts and to all of the photographers who allowed me to include their work in pieces (specifically, to Rob Vida Photography and MJS Photographics, who shared more than their fair share of pictures). Also, a HUGE thank you to my partner, Falon ‘EZ Bruiser’ Dennison, and my best friend, Hannah ‘Willkillsome’ Wilkinson, for being there right by my side through the years and for all of the help with blog maintenance.

Additionally, thank you to Lil Chicago Roller Derby for being the league that introduced me to the sport and was home for the vast majority of my time in derby, to Redneck Betties for being the first league I ever officiated for (as well as having me back so many times afterward), and to Pile O’Bones Derby Club for introducing me to so many great friends.

Finally, thank you to everyone who stuck it out and continued to read my ramblings; as well as to all of you who I have met, skated with, officiated with, partied with, traveled with, and grew with throughout the past few years. You were all a part of my journey in one way or another. I hope you are all doing well and taking care. Perhaps we shall meet again in a different place, at a different time.

This is Nillin Dennison, aka Kevlar, aka Kevy Petting, calling it off for the final time. Take care, all.

Deaf and HoH Roller Derby Skaters Worldwide Seeks To Interview Trans Person for Spotlight Feature

Are you an individual involved with roller derby who identifies as trans, genderqueer, non-binary, or gender nonconforming, as well as D/deaf or hard-of-hearing (HoH)? Well, Deaf and HoH Roller Derby Skaters Worldwide is looking for you!

I am very excited to announced that the online community has asked me to guest write a piece for them on intersectional issues pertaining to gender identity and the D/deaf and HoH, as framed by the sport of roller derby.

If this sounds like a good fit for you, please contact the community ASAP by messaging their Facebook page! The chosen interviewee will be featured in an exclusive article written by yours truly, and will receive an awesome shirt as thanks.

So, get your voice heard, help inform the greater derby community of intersectional issues faced by athletes/officials/coaches, and scoop up a sweet shirt while you’re at it!

Breaking Up With Roller Derby Is Hard to Do

Why do we stubbornly hold on to things that no longer serve us? Why do we keep lugging around emotional baggage and deny ourselves healthy closure? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure and that is exactly why I’ve started posting again. Though I really should have shut all of this down over a year ago.

Sure, I’ve made a few posts over the last several months that turned out half decent. However, reality is that I fell out of love with roller derby in June of 2014 because [insert personal emotional baggage and other self-righteous explanations here]- actually, it doesn’t matter.

What DOES matter is that it’s a year later and I’m still quite hung up on roller derby.

Some of that hang up is on nostalgia. Fond memories of after parties with the Pile O’ Bones Derby Club upstairs at the Callie Curling Center in Regina, my first time EVER refereeing an actual bout in front of a jam packed venue at the Credit Union iPlex in Swift Current, road tripping with great officiating peers to ref Flat Track Fever 2013, waking up one spring morning to an email from Dev Null congratulating me on being accepted as an official for the Roller Derby Association of Canada (RDAC) National Tournament in Edmonton, and more. There were a lot of great moments. It was also through derby that I met my wife, made some truly great friends, and finally decided to come out and accept myself as trans and pansexual.

But some of the hang up is also bitterness and bruised ego. I’ve poured a lot of heart and soul into this blog over the past 3 years, put myself out there, and I’ve had trouble letting that go. Maybe it’s pride, maybe it’s spite for all the naysayers throughout the years. It’s probably both. I’ve also hung onto all variety of resentment not only toward specific sources, but also to the sport as a whole; which I have personally felt increasingly disappointed by even as a spectator.

Yet I’ve kept a grip on to the blog and all of this baggage left over long past when I decided to stop doing ANYTHING hands on in the sport last summer.

It was an article from Eve Inbetta, on leaving the sport in a positive way, that finally helped bring me clarity. I mean, I never formerly broke up with roller derby and that has led to some pretty unhealthy post-derby behaviors. I’ve been that stubborn ex who sticks around after the relationship has ended and insists on forcing a strained, disgruntled, superficial “friendship”. I’m that Facebook creeping spurned lover who peers in on roller derby, grumbling about its successes and sneering at its failures. I’ve continued to engage with the sport and occasionally write about it, sometimes even when I didn’t really want to.

That ain’t healthy. However, I don’t want this blog to end off on frustrated posts, unfinished plans, or by silently fading away into resigned, sour inactivity. I feel it is time to unpack and deal with all my emotional baggage and tie up loose ends. Then to formally say goodbye to both Derby Frontier and the sport in a positive, reflective way.

On September 1st, 2015, I’m going to be doing just that. In the meantime, I hope the coming self-reflective pieces and final thought posts may be useful to anyone else who finds themselves in some form of post derby limbo.

All I’ll say now is that breaking up with roller derby is hard to do.