Everything you need to know if you want to join roller derby:
1) You’re going to fall.
I often hear people say “I could never do that, I’m way too clumsy!” and it’s just not true. We all fall, from fresh meat to advance skaters- it’s a sign that you’re trying and taking risks. Falling, once you get the hang of it, means improvement. Maybe you fall to stop or fall the first time you try to jump the apex, the thrill of taking that leap and the fun of derby is worth each time you have to get back up.
2) You will meet so many different types of people.
Derby is a community filled with all sorts! From all different job descriptions to all different genders, there is a place here for everyone. Everyone is welcomed here with open arms, encouraged to grow as a teammate and also as an athlete. Being part of roller derby means something different to everybody, and everybody brings something special to each practice.
3) You will need special gear! And there are different places to get it!
Safety is important, especially in a sport where you are strapped to eight wheels and throwing the occasional hit at each other. Aside from the obvious helmet and skates; you will need elbow pads, wrist guards, knee pads and a mouth guard! Aside from the mouthguard, you can find many of these second hand through facebook-new-and-used-roller-derby-gear-groups if you want to save some money, or buy your dream skates brand spankin’ new just for you, the choice is yours.
4) It will be tough, but sooooooooo worth it.
Skating is both physically and emotionally rewarding. It has the ability to change bad days for better, to push you to challenge yourself, and to show you sides of yourself you may not have known existed. Every skater gets something different from their practices or fresh meat season, every skater beats different goals. You will find mystery bruises and form callouses, but you will also find yourself pushing through no matter how tough it gets.
5) You will learn so much.
Being involved with roller derby will teach you to skate, but you will also learn things about yourself. When I started my fresh meat season I was quiet, had no confidence, had never played a sport; now I am a leader, I have a voice, and I love being active. No matter what is bringing you to try roller derby, just do it, it is so unbelievably worth it.
If you weren’t already convinced to try roller derby, here’s some of what some of this past season’s skaters have learnt from derby:
Kid Vicious: “I think it’s encouraging today that we’ve all been at square one before and improvement comes in all different ways and speeds”
Hula Gwyn: “Yea. Just know that life happens. Good and bad. And you can’t compare yourself to other people. Because they are also going through stuff. Just focus on you. You got this.”
Madi Long Legs: “You’re going to fall. Just laugh and get back up. Don’t ever give up!”
Ernie: “Take it at your own pace, everyone learns muscle memory at different rates. The more comfortable you feel on your skates, the faster you’ll improve.”
Kid Vicious: “Everyone’s got to fall on their tailbone hard once and think they peed themselves. Brings us closer together.”
In the end, if you think you can’t do this; just try. You will fall, but once you know what it feels like to get back up, you won’t regret ever strapping on your first pair of quad-skates and stepping up and into the world of roller derby.