By Missy Demeanor…
Walking into Rolloways O’Connor again after 20 years of not skating was weird. Not only was I trying to smile so no one would see my fear, I was amazed that it still looked and smelled the same. I looked around at all the other scared looking freshies and realised we were all different people with different dreams coming together to try something new… and it was awesome.
I left my first session on top of the world and woke the next day wondering if any muscle on my body didn’t hurt. The next week was easier and the week after that easier still but, you know how sometimes you can be stubborn and think all will be good? Well, this was me. I had come into derby with an injury that I thought I could push through and by the end of week 3 I just couldn’t keep pushing. I was out for the rest of the cycle, I was crushed.
But the wonderful thing about derby is it doesn’t end at skating. I put my hand up to NSO (non-skating official) and volunteer as often as I could and learned so much more about roller derby. I also learned that little feet meant there wasn’t many options in derby skates so I Googled my brains out and ended up in buying most of my gear online (and saved a decent amount of money – winning).
When I was finally cleared to get back on the track again, I was ready to take everything head on and do all the derbies! Did I fall? You bet!! Did it hurt? Sometimes, but each time I got back up and refused to give up! Assessment for me was a complete head game more so than skills. My wonderful coaches and fellow freshies had every faith in me but I didn’t. In my head I thought what I had learned up to that point was a fluke and I wasn’t ready yet, but I was. If I could go back and tell myself one thing as a freshie it would be:
Do all the derbies with your heart and soul and your mind will follow.
A few things I would like to pass on to future freshies is that age, build, or level of fitness shouldn’t stop you joining derby and giving it your all. Heck, I’m a pint sized 36 year old Mum of three who joined up when I was incredibly unfit and almost threw up on my first attempt at speed skating!! But I kept going and as you progress, stuff just starts to make sense. Also, your derby journey is yours! Just because someone else is picking up skills faster doesn’t mean you aren’t good (because you are), it just means your paths are different. Oh and get lower