Roller derby is something I’ve always been aware of. It is something that in the back of my mind, I’ve always thought, “Someday, I’d love to try that.” Still, I never did. I have friends who skate in other states, and I’ve seen how it creeps into their blood and becomes this living entity they can’t get enough of; still I didn’t do it. I’ve stalked Roller Derby websites and seen fresh meat announcements…still I never had the courage to get over myself and try this thing that I had wanted to try for so long. I’m introverted and shy, and quite honestly, I think that is where most of the hesitation came from. Luckily, I have very outgoing, and engaging friends. One of them ran into an NRD skater, and as soon as she mentioned derby, and fresh meat, my friend was on my butt to do it. Enough so, that she even came to booty camp with me, even though she had no intention of going further, just to make sure I tried it out. I cannot tell you how happy I am that she made me go.
My biggest obstacle is always my introverted tendencies. Things always sound great until I actually have to go and do the things with…ugh, the people. These people however, are so welcoming, and so full of life and joy with this sport, you can’t help but get caught up in it. The fresh meat group I skated with became a little safe haven of comfort and sisterhood. The vet skaters want nothing more than to see you become the best skater you can be, and they have all offered advice, encouragement, and support in every scenario. There is a sense of family in derby. Even with skaters I don’t know well yet, there is this thing…this common bond we share that not many people can relate to.
I’m also a mom to two amazing young girls. As mother’s, we rarely take time for ourselves, or do anything for ourselves really. Derby provides me an outlet that is just for me. Taking that time for derby betters me. It makes me happier, and it makes me stronger. Skating in derby requires strength, both physical and mental, and I can’t wait for my daughters to see that strength and learn to be strong themselves. The confidence I’ve gained from derby can only help me to raise strong women.
From the moment, I took my first fresh meat class, I was hooked. I’ve watched derby creep into my own blood and become that living entity I now cannot get enough of; despite how hard it is. And derby is hard. It is a very physically demanding sport; much more than I ever realized, but it is so worth it! Watching the vets skate, run practices, and teach new skills inspires me every week to try harder, and get better. I want to be that good! I still have a long way to go to become half the skater I want to be, but I’m so looking forward to every bruise, and every single sweat soaked second of it!
Come see Red Menace and the Metro Misfits play the Beltway Betties on Saturday in the Home Team PreSeason Opener at the Michael & Sons Sportsplex in Sterling. Doors open at 3:30pm, and first whistle is at 4:00pm, and admission is free.
Historically, new recruits to roller derby were often referred to as “Fresh Meat.” The Meat Locker series will include personal stories from our latest class of graduates from boot camp who just played in their first bout and drafted to home teams last weekend. Please check back for the next edition, and if you’re interested in trying roller derby, we have a 3-hour skating session session coming up on 7/24 and will also have some gear to lend out, so that you can try it before full commitment. This event allows you to strap on some skates and learn the basics of roller derby in a low-pressure and fun environment. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: ©2017 Jack Tomlinson