Fear, Self Loathing, and Las Vegas (OR Reflections on RollerCon 2018)

2018 was my second attempt at a fun and carefree RollerCon.

I often think of RollerCon as an event that is outside of regular time and space. Where the roller derby community can come together and celebrate all the things that make it thoroughly unique among amateur sports. Where we can all learn from each other and push to grow our sport in new, progressive, and inclusive ways.

And RollerCon is definitely ALL OF THOSE THINGS.

But it’s also just a big event where you have to put on skates and play in front of strangers and people you look up to. Where you have to evaluate yourself against some standard to see where you fit in. Where you may not feel like you fit in at all.

With those things in mind, I decided to do a different sort of RollerCon recap this year.

Instead of telling you all the classes* I taught or all the people I met, I want to talk about how RollerCon is just another place for your brain to get in the way.

And most importantly, I want you to know that you’re not alone.


On the day I flew into Las Vegas, I posted this image on Instagram:

Mostly I posted this because I was thinking a lot about what I noticed LAST YEAR when I was at RollerCon. The incredibly prevalent fear that skaters hadn’t picked the right skating level or couldn’t decide if they were good enough to take that class.

But I also posted it because I had something VERY BIG fall into my lap and I was feeling…scared.

It was accompanied by this caption:

I had someone that I’ve looked up to for years slide into my DMs yesterday and offer me an opportunity that I honestly *still* think is too good to be true.

I literally had to tell them that I needed some time to “freak out” about it and then I’d get back to them.

Because I did. I do.

I sat all day yesterday (and some this morning) mired in imposter syndrome. Why me? This is such an amazing opportunity. Why me? There are a ton of other folks out there doing the same thing. Why me? I’m not really that great.

And then my accountabilibuddy flipped it around for me: WHY NOT YOU?

It was funny timing because I had been thinking a lot about heading to RollerCon. And one of the biggest struggles I see people having there: SHRINKING AROUND.

👉 Not signing up for the class they want.
👉 Not jumping in line at that open scrimmage.
👉 Not getting the selfie with the skater they look up to.

It often feels like we don’t belong. Like it shouldn’t be us. Like it can’t be us.


Roll into this week with some swagger in your step. Stop shrinking and start taking up space.

Because even if you’re afraid, why not you?

Why not any of us?

It turns out I didn’t really follow my own advice that well which leads to the next thing…


As most of you know, I’m not a huge fan of crowds or events or people in general. I prefer the safety and comfort of my room. So it might seem like the hardest part of RollerCon for me was just the whole thing. That’s what I thought, too, until I sat down on Thursday night to watch the #derbylacroix challenge bout.

The #derbylacroix challenge bout was the culmination of nearly a years worth of grassroots effort to get LaCroix sparkling water to sponsor roller derby. Somewhere. (Anywhere!)

It started on #derbytwitter and quickly grew into a kind of an in-joke for those of us that use the pure goodness of derby Twitter as a palate cleanse to some of the more trash fire derby forums that exist out there.

Anyway, someone (I can’t remember who, sadly) decided that it should be a challenge bout at RollerCon. Team Pamplemousse versus Team Key Lime. Most of #derbytwitter LEAPT at the chance to join the roster.

Heck, even Frogmouth was into it! They designed and delivered amazing LaCroix can-esque uniform tops, armbands, and helmet covers for the game. (Inside LaCroix boxes, I might add.)

It was derby for the sake of cementing online friendships and celebrating a drink that’s almost water, but not quite.

I didn’t sign up for a roster.

I sat watching the bout, excited to see everyone I knew from Twitter be actual physical humans on a roller derby track. And realized that this would be the thing I most regretted from RollerCon 2018.

I didn’t sign up for a roster.

One of my teammates sitting next to me asked, “Why aren’t YOU on this roster?”

Fair question considering that I dragged her kicking and screaming onto derby twitter a few months back.

So I told her the truth:

I was afraid to play with these skaters. They are all so amazing. Some of them are skaters that I’ve looked up to in some form or another for a few years. They’re on D1 teams. They’re on their state teams. They’ve won trophies and medals.

The truth was that I let my fear of looking stupid or getting beat on the outside line by Midge Wilhelm or Gravy Baby convince me that I shouldn’t do this thing that I really wanted to do.

I was afraid to do it and my biggest regret is that I let my fear win.

There’s not a really a lesson in this. Other than “fear sucks,” I guess. But also that you’re not alone when you feel that way. I STILL work on imposter syndrome and fear-based self-sabotage nearly every day.

I forgot the entire point of RollerCon in that moment. And maybe the point of #derbytwitter. Certainly the point of what the #derbylacroix game was supposed to be.

Because I would have had fun regardless of whether I was successful or not.

But I didn’t give myself the chance.

And I deeply regret it.


Las Vegas is hot as hell. I should have gotten that Chicks in Bowls shirt while I was there.


If you’re interested in more exclusive content, access to my FREE resource library, and the slightly weird workings of my inner mind, you can sign up for the Iron Octopus Fitness email list HERE. Wherein I harass you weekly with all things intelligent cross training, mindset, and…other.

*You can also access the notes for any of my classes at RollerCon 2018 by visiting this website and entering the password Tea4Two


About IronOctopusFitness

Online athletic training and nutrition coach, full-time mom, okay skater, and connoisseur of all things tea, chocolate, and roller derby. I'll help you unleash your inner athlete by building a strong, capable body that can withstand whatever life throws at you.

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