Derby girl shows who’s boss
South Waikato’s born and bred Marcia Taylor overcame a lifetime of challenges to achieve her dream. Caitlin Wallace reports.
It is hard to believe that tough roller derby athlete Marcia Taylor ever struggled with anything.
When you look at the 38-year old New Zealand Roller Derby star, there is no way to tell what challenges she has faced.
Rest assured the Arapuni-born athlete has certainly had her fair share.
At just 12-years old, already struggling with dyslexia, Taylor developed Meniere’s disease.
What began as a painful ringing in her ears eventually developed into an 80 per cent hearing loss.
And as if those struggles weren’t enough, Taylor said the real problems came when the bullying began.
‘‘It was not fun but I don’t even know if I blame my ears,’’ she said.
An obvious monobrow and a stocky build made her an ‘‘ easy target’’.
‘‘It did affect me but I just threw myself into sport, that was my saving grace,’’ she said.
She tried everything from the ‘‘ horrid’’ game of netball to athletics.
Playing sport became second nature to Taylor but it took years before she found the one that clicked – it was only four years ago when she put on the skate for the first time for Tauranga’s Mount Militia team.
At first Taylor joined to slim down her then almost 100-kilogram figure.
‘‘I went to university and I got fat, it was a fun way and I hate the gym,’’ she said.
But when she strapped on those skates she immediately fell in love with the sport.
Today Taylor is fundraising $10,000 for a New Zealand roller derby trip to Texas.
Though the selection is yet to be made she said she is confident about her chances.
The Wellington- based community support worker plays for New Zealand as well as Wellington Richter City. Nicknamed the ‘‘ Meat Train’’ by teammates, Taylor said she never realised how much fun the sport would be.
‘‘I’m a jock so I like sports and I like the gear and how roller derby is about thinking,’’ she said.
Despite facing a ‘‘rapid decline’’ in hearing Taylor knows she will always have her derby girls to get her through.
Some of her fellow team members have even learnt simple signs to re-iterate referee calls.
‘‘It’s really cool, it’s just shows you how supportive they are,’’ she said.
Having others to lean on is great but Taylor said life has taught her one important lesson.
‘‘I am good enough, I am the one who determines my future,’’ she said.
Her mother Theresa Large always knew she was a fighter.
‘‘ Even before being deaf she said ‘I don’t care, I’m going to do this anyway’.’’
The Putaruru resident has seen her daughter through the highs and lows and is proud of how she handled it.
‘‘She associated with positive people, I think it makes a huge difference,’’ Large said.
Rolling strong: Marcia Taylor faces a constant battle with her hearing but that does not stop her from the things she loves.