I had been hearing about this ‘roller derby’ thing for a while. I saw ‘Whip It’ when it first came out, had read a bit about it online, and had been asked by numerous people over the years if I was ‘into roller derby’, because I ‘look like the type’ (whatever that means). But I am also the type of person who is stupid busy all the time and so between full-time uni, 2 jobs, volunteer work and another full-time hobby I just never actually did anything about my curiosity. Until about 2 months ago, when I finally attended my first bout and I was instantly hooked. A little supportive pushing from my husband and a few weeks later I was wobbling around a local carpark on shiny new quad skates.
While I had dabbled in iceskating and had a pair of rollerblades gathering dust in the spare room, I hadn’t truly skated for 20+ years. Not since I received purple figure skates for my 7th birthday and didn’t take them off for 3 days, and the next town over had a roller rink where every kid I know had at least one birthday party before it shut down in my teens. Remarkably, my body seems to have remembered mostly how it goes. My balance needs improvement (being over 6′ and clumsy, the ground is very far away at times), and my endurance is crap, but that’s what practice is for.
So for the last week, I have dipped my toe into derby. These days I’m based in Canberra, Australia, which has two local leagues: Canberra Roller Derby League (CRDL), and Varsity Derby League (VDL). From my digging around online, CRDL is the more established league, with 4 home teams and a longer history. VDL was started in 2011 because there were more potential skaters than CRDL could cope with, it has 2 home teams and from what I can tell this year’s Fresh Meat intake has almost doubled their membership. CRDL only has one intake a year, this year it was in February, I found out about it only the day before registration and instantly went ‘I can’t afford it/ I don’t have enough time/ I don’t even own skates!’, but since then a lot of thinking has ensued. While CRDL is the more established league (including being a current WFTDA Apprentice), and training is closer to my house (always an important consideration I know), I decided I didn’t want to wait another 6 months before I would even be able to check it out (and CRDL demands dues paid upfront before you walk in the door). Last week, VDL has its third and final Fresh Meat intake which included 3 ‘freebie’ sessions where we got to learn stops and run a few drills and meet some of the skaters. I definitely approve of ‘try before you buy’, however I’m also hooked. Freshie Bootcamp starts on Friday and I am so excited.
So the purpose of this blog is for me to write about my adventures as I hopefully progress from ‘Fresh Meat’ into a lean, mean skating machine.