NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y.- Every time you fall down, you learn something.
But, there's more to roller derby than meets the eye.
"Usually most of the stories go, by day she's a teacher, but by night, she punches people in the face," says derby girl Marilea Mirek.
"It's a little eccentric. It's a little out there. But, it's not your grandma's roller derby."
Queen City Roller Girls is Buffalo's only roller derby league. Since it began in 2006, the league offers women of all ages a chance to add some color to their lives.
"Definitely meeting a whole group of people that I never would have met had I not joined," says derby girl Heather Lippard.
One of those people is Mirek.
"I wanted to shake up my life a little bit."
Mirek joined the derby league in 2012 and like any newcomer to the sport, it doesn't come easy. However, every lap, has a lesson.
"Every time you fall down you learn something," explains Mirek.
Every time you fall down, you learn something.
A proverbial way to turn a negative into a positive. But, the roller derby rhetoric goes beyond the rink.
In 2004, Mirek's life took a tumble in a way she never saw coming.
"I went to a normal, routine physical and I was asked about uterine fibroids. 'Do I know about ovarian cancer?' And I said no, I have no idea. And within two weeks they sent me to Roswell [Park Cancer Institute], and it was the beginnings of stage 3 ovarian cancer."
Three weeks later, Mirek had surgery. She survived. And, the cancer went into remission.
"It's offered me a whole new lease on life."
With that new lease, Mirek found a new home in the roller rink.
"That's one thing that made me take this risk. You never know what kind of time you have."
These days, Mirek spends her time as a teacher, as a wife and as a determined derby girl.
"Every time I push through something, it's just another reason to push myself again."
Because every time you fall down, you learn something.