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Diary of a Roller Derby Freshie - Day 1

Saturday 6th September 2014

Today was the first day of fresh meat. It was SO SUPER SCARY, but so worth it! I had to hide behind my Mum on the way in. She collected all the forms for me, I filled them in and then got her to hand them back for me.

What was I afraid of? I’d like to say that everyone was really big and scary and fierce, but that wasn’t the case. Everyone was so nice that I was almost afraid they wouldn’t like me, not something that really ever bothered me before, but I’d been waiting to skate for so long, I couldn’t let myself muck this day up.

I was shaking so much as I kitted up, from both nerves and excitement! I looked to be the youngest there and had no clue who any of the other freshies were. I knew of a lot of the advanced skaters as I’d seen them bouting before, but it was almost like being in a room with people off the telly. I was surrounded by people who looked just as nervous as I did, alongside people I admired who were now trying to talk to me! Argh! Quick, hide!

I believe this was the point at which I stuck my thumb in my mouth...

Ok, that sounds weird, but yeh, that’s me. In the real world, when I get nervous or uncomfortable, I hide behind my hair or a hood. Yes, I am aware that a thin veil of my own hair or the material from a hoodie are not the most ideal shields from the scariness the world has to offer, but it’s a comfort thing and helps me to relax. The problem with skating is that your hair is stuck under your helmet, away from your face so you can see where you’re going (helpful) and obviously I was no longer wearing my hoodie. Therefore, I resorted to my third and final comforter, sucking my thumb like a baby!! Now it’s not the actual sucking of the thumb which I find comforting, just the fact that I now have one hand covering my face so I can hide behind it. Think what you like, but it’s a habit and I’m often completely unaware that I’m actually doing it and on this occasion, I’m allowed to be a baby! I’m in a room full of grown up people who are all bigger than me and I’m trying not to look like a complete idiot in front of some of my skating idols whilst on wheels!!

Before you underestimate the scariness of this situation, I am NOT a skater! My previous skating experience consists of a friend’s birthday party when I was under 10 (I think I let go of the walls at one point) and just about standing up on my new skates about a week before fresh meat started. I’m allowed to be scared!

I totally didn’t need to be scared. The skaters were all really nice and looked after us. They taught us to do all sorts, from sticky skating to plow stops and even knee drops which were really useful as I was immediately less worried about falling. Having not really skated before, this was a huge relief and of course I ended up wobbling and falling over a lot. Then we did some planks and squats as well as stretches before moving onto games like stuck in the mud and 'Bolty Says' (the same as Simon says, but Insane Bolt was issuing the commands). I really liked 'Bolty Says', as although the skills were new to all of us freshies, the advanced skaters found it hard not to do the actions when they weren’t supposed to!

After a demonstration of what roller derby actually is, (luckily, I’d already been watching derby for a while, so had a slight advantage over some of the other freshies) we then played sock derby!! This is the same as roller derby, but without skates on (and obviously not hitting as hard). I found this really really fun and managed to stop some people who were a lot bigger and stronger than me! Ok, everyone was bigger and stronger than me, but that is not the point! (I’m fairly small and feeble)

I’ve come home buzzing! I have no idea how I’m going to sleep tonight and cannot wait for next week when I’ll get to do it all again!!

On another note...

If you have recently started as Fresh Meat with your local team or are struggling with the skills mentioned above, here are a few short videos to help!

Sticky Skating

Plow Stops

Knee Taps

That's all for this week. See you next Tuesday, same time, same place.


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