By Domina Morphine…
I’d had butterflies all week leading up to my first training session. I imagined pro-skaters, with muscular bodies clad in sparkly, spandex shorts and fishnet stockings; wondering what an uncoordinated, non-sparkly, non-athletic person like me was doing on the track. I’d had zero experience being on wheels. Unless you count wearing my skates like an excited teenager while watching roller derby videos in anticipation of beginning Fresh Meat.
Our first session made me question why I was ever nervous in the first place. There were skaters from all walks of life, of all skating abilities, body types and levels of sparkliness. But the best part of all was that everyone was so stoked to be there, and they were stoked that you were there, too.
Once I decided to invest in my own gear, I walked into what is now Lucky Skates and said “I am the freshest of meats! What do I need?” They sorted me out with everything from skates to a mouth-guard, and even taught me how change my wheels!
I started off with one training session per week. But the more I fell in love with the sport and the more determined I became, I tried to attend both training sessions and added some personal skating time when possible. As I became more confident, I was given new skills to challenge myself, but in a way that made me trust in my abilities more with every training session that passed. Some of the best advice I received was:
If you don’t fall over during a training session, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.
Let’s just say I can fall like a pro, now. *wink wink*
I attended fresh meat as a skater for almost three years. Life asks many things of us, and there were times when derby couldn’t be my priority. But once I put on my game face and decided becoming a Level 2 was something I really wanted, I passed on my second attempt. The assessment wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. That’s always the way with derby – most of what’s holding you back is in your head. Working through that and refusing to give up on something I love has been one of the most soul-nourishing things I have done. Roller derby is a continuous opportunity to take pride in myself.
Oh, and every day that the little voice in my head says “I’m not a roller derby girl”, I kick it to the side with the words that got me through assessments: “It is not who you are that is holding you back; it is who you think you are not”.