Almost a year ago, my wife Melissa started training for the Dallas Derby Devils flat track roller derby league. The try-outs were going on, and this was something she really wanted to do. After months of practicing every single day, she and her friend Aimee were picked to join the Death Row Rumblers.

By the way, that's Melissa's official derby photo. Derby name: Blue Monday. Doesn't she look awesome? (photo by Carley Blackman)

Melissa's been supporting my work as a comic book writer, but she's never had much opportunity to pursue her own interests and goals. And it gets even more difficult when you become a mother and everyone expects you to live the next 18+ years vicariously through the accomplishments of your child. (Regrettably, an obligation they don't seem to place on fathers. I get a pat on the back for simply being here.) With derby, I'm happy to cheer her on. To hold up the sign, and be Melissa's fan and supporter. I'd rather be married to someone who is their own person, than be with someone solely defined by her role to other's. I count myself fortunate: It's hard to find women more fiercely independent than rollergirls.

I'm proud of Melissa. She's worked harder than most to get where she is. At 5 feet tall, she's not physically imposing, which may be to her benefit. Deceptively tough and persistent. During her first bout in November, Melissa was stuck behind a wall of three large blockers from the opposing team. No teammates to help her. With a burst of clever manuveuring, she passed them -- sending those blockers to the ground. I jumped out of my seat, along with everyone else there.

SIDE NOTE: The league, her team, and individual players (such as Blue Monday) are always looking for sponsors and fundraising events. Record stores, tattoo parlors, comic book retailers, bars, clubs, restaurants, and clothing stores are all welcome. The Derby Devils will take good care of you.

The 2007 season starts in March. I'll be at every bout. And for all our friends who said they'd be there? I'm expecting you to be there.