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.

South Waikato News - - NEWS / HE PURONGORONGO -

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.

Photo: SANDY CARTER PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

Rolling strong: Marcia Tay­lor faces a con­stant bat­tle with her hear­ing but that does not stop her from the things she loves.

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