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Diary of a Roller Derby Freshie - Day 3

Saturday 20th September 2014

The last two sessions had been induction sessions, but today we officially started the 16 week fresh meat program. (Eeeek!!)

We recapped knee taps, sticky skating and T stops. I finally felt I was getting somewhere with the T stops (whoop whoop!) and we were told to practice them on both sides. Being ambidextrous, I didn’t seem to have a bad side as such, which advanced skater Pimm’s O’Block didn’t seem to think was fair. I did however point out that I didn’t have a good side either. I could just do it badly on both sides.

For the sticky skating, we were now told to cross our legs over when bringing our skates back in (no more lemons) which was slightly harder. It felt really weird crossing my feet, especially with knee pads on, but a lot of the skills seem to feel weird in derby! I did however find it easier when I got a little lower (the answer to everything).

Next we moved onto balancing on one foot, but this time we did it whilst stationary. This was harder than doing the one foot glide around the track. It was almost like learning to ride a bike; It’s not too hard to balance whilst moving, but becomes really difficult when stationary. Luckily, after last week’s wobbly attempts at the one foot glide, I had spent a lot of time at home balancing on one skate, so although it was harder stationary, it wasn’t impossible.

Once we’d practiced these skills, we did a little relay race between us freshies in which we had to sticky skate (LEMONS!), plow stop, one foot glide, knee tap (each knee), T stop and then finish with more stickies. This was super fun and my team had one skater less so I was told I had to go twice... Yes, that meant an advanced skater (Flash Bo Dash) looked directly at me and said, “I’d like you to go twice to balance out the numbers...” and I just nodded and tried to hide from her behind my hand which was currently covering half of my face as I sucked my thumb. I wasn’t even at the front of the line or anything, so wondered what I’d done to be picked, but yeh, everyone looked at me. It was embarrassing, but as Insane Bolt says, we like to take people out of their comfort zones in derby. (What even is a comfort zone??!)

I seemed to be able to do the skills fairly well under race conditions, which surprised me a little, but was mainly due to the fact that most of the course was made up of sticky skating (which is currently my favourite skill). On returning to my team for the last time, one of the other freshies said that my legs were so thin and moved really quickly when I did stickies so I looked a little like Bambi! She then called me Bambi for the rest of the session!!

Once we’d finished our freshie race, the advanced skaters rejoined us and we played two more relay games. The first was a simple relay race where a skater from each team had to race around the track with the jammer panty on, before passing the panty to the next member of the team until everyone had gone.

The second relay race was harder as each team had to form a line and the person at the back would push their team for a lap before dropping off. This was a lot more difficult and both teams had crashes and cheated!!

Once this had finished, we took our skates, pads and helmets off and all helped by being NSOs (Non Skating Officials) whilst the advanced skaters scrimmaged. It was really cool watching the advanced skaters playing derby and they didn’t seem to have too many penalties (which was good as I was penalty timing, but with an empty bench, got to watch more derby!!)

All too soon, the advanced skaters finished, so we all packed up and went home. In the car, I was excitedly thinking about the session and my favourite parts. I’d been told I looked like Bambi and had used the fact that I was ambidextrous to my advantage with the T stops... (Can you guess where I’m going with this??) Playing with words on the way home, the name Bambi Dextrous popped into my head, but I'm not sure I like it. I'll probably choose something else! (how wrong was I?!)

A little extra information

No new skills = No new Videos

Don’t let this upset you!! Instead of videos, I thought I’d talk a little more in detail about roller derby rules and NSOing...

I could not recommend NSOing enough! It’s a brilliant way to learn the rules and help out your local team and other leagues. Obviously there are other ways to learn the rules such as watching all of the games!! All of them!! (Ok, just some of them)

Watching games helps you understand the rules almost as well as NSOing. Lots of game footage can be found here;

Or if you want to read the rules, they can be viewed here;

Then there is roller derby test o’matic. This little app tests you on the rules and it’s all multiple choice. If you get an answer wrong, it’ll show you the rule so you can learn the rules one step at a time. You can also play it online here;

Well that's all for today! Keep skating and don't be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone!


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