Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, which means tomorrow is the St. Patrick’s Day parade! This will be my second year skating in it with the Red Rockettes and I am beyond excited.
Last year’s parade was actually quite monumental for me. It was an amazing bonding experience with my teammates and it more or less marked my public debut as a derby girl. That alone would have made it incredible, but it’s also the day I chose my derby name, Disco Pony.
That’s right, it is my nameiversary.
It may not be to the day, because the parade wasn’t actually on St. Patrick’s Day last year, but I will always associate the parade with the day I became Disco Pony.
You may or may not remember that I was originally Dread Riding Hood. I had gone through about 97 thousand names, and they were all either already registered by another skater or they just didn’t feel right. Then, I was standing in my basement on day, wearing glitter tights and a giant pony necklace. “Disco Pony,” I thought to myself, and secretly loved it, “but it doesn’t MEAN anything,” I would say. And so I picked Dread Riding Hood. It was everything a derby name should be: cute, tough, a pun on something well-known. I had found my name! I started making big plans to buy all the Red Riding Hood paraphernalia I could find and to take pictures in my roller skates and a red cape.
In the meantime, I had still been bouncing Disco Pony off people, because I think I knew deep down that it’s what I really wanted. No one ever seemed as excited about it as me (really, they’d all just giggle and not know what to say), and for some reason I thought I needed everyone else’s approval, so I stuck with Dread Riding Hood in spite of that little voice in my head saying “Disco…Pony.”
Then it happened; probably one of the best things that ever happened to me. Dread Riding Hood was suddenly unavailable; registered by another skater. I was back to square one.
I started bouncing new name ideas off of Mannarama (poor Manna was probably getting super annoyed), my family, and pretty much anyone else who I could make listen to me. Most of them were still some sort of variation on Red Riding Hood.
I still hadn’t settled on anything that I liked, so of course I was still flipping through all the possibilities the morning of the parade.
“Manna, Manna, what about this one?”
I swear, she should have just slapped me and told me to shut up and pick a name already. But no, she was patient and told me they were all great. Then, when we were finally starting to move a little bit, I skated up next to her and said, “so, I’m kind of thinking about Disco Pony.”
And that was it. Manna loved it (she even said my eyes lit up a little when I said it). I just needed that one person to validate my secret name desires. And who better than one of my teammates? Who better than the teammate who got me started in derby in the first place?
And that brings me to this point in my post where I talk about how important a derby name is. Guys, it’s really, really important. When you find the right name, you KNOW it’s the right name for you. Some people say it’s their alter-ego, but for me, Disco Pony isn’t an alter-ego at all. It’s me, and it gives me a free ticket to be myself and do whatever I want (leotards and glitter tights included). I don’t have to play a persona. I guess that’s what picking the right name means. I’m just as much Disco Pony as I am Andrea. From the very beginning, it didn’t sound weird or feel strange to hear people calling me Disco. I even remember England asking me what took me so long.
So as I’m celebrating St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow morning, skating through the wind and (hopefully not) rain, with my amazing teammates, I’ll also celebrate being a derby girl, being Disco Pony.