Roller Derby: I Passed!

So it appears in my last post that I was wrong. I said that I did not expect to pass the Fresh Meat course as I was having trouble getting the basics down. I’ve discussed over the last few weeks how I’ve struggled with crossovers and said that the requirement to do 17 laps in five minutes is one of the hardest physical challenges I have ever done. Well, I somehow did them all to a required level and passed Fresh Meat!

On that lovely sunny Sunday, six of us turned up to be assessed. We were lucky in that six of the experienced girls turned up to assess us, so we got one-on-one critiques from them. We went through all the skills we had learned over the previous six weeks: striding, crossovers, falls, turning front to back and the dreaded laps. I’m pretty sure I passed by the skin of my teeth on most things (except for right leg T-stops which I appear to have mastered!) but I passed them all. I did nearly 18 laps in five minutes, collapsing into a screaming heap at the end. But do you know what? Everyone clapped for me at the end. It was so lovely. I think they recognised that I had tried my best and succeeded. It was such an awesome feeling. I went home, sticky and sweaty and said to Mr. Cesy, “I passed!” His response was a very quizzical, “Really?” which hardly surprised me since I had sworn black and blue that I was going to have to re-do Fresh Meat again. In celebration we went and had afternoon tea with my friend Chaos, the derby girl who originally signed me up for it. She’s English, so we celebrated my success with a cup of tea and date loaf while watching some Thomas the Tank Engine with her kids!

Woman resting on arms and toes in plank position
Now try doing this in roller skating gear. You too will soon swear at the woman with the stopwatch

So now I’m the next level up. I’m in a ten week course working towards passing the WFTDA skills test. In Fresh Meat we learned the basics of skating derby style, we are now learning how to play roller derby. Practices have gone from one hour once a week to two and a half hours twice a week. We’re learning about pack work, making walls, happy feet and learning how to jump. We are also doing a lot of planks. Oh the planks. One thing about derby is having a strong core is essential. I do not yet have abs of steel but the training sessions are certainly helping! If you don’t have a strong core, you find your lower back aches. I’ve already had to bail out of some drills due to intense pain in my lower back and stretch it out. So if you’re intending to join roller derby, I’d definitely recommend doing some core work beforehand to prevent any issues!

Pair of legs with black and white kneepads
These are lovely to fall on. Definitely recommend good protection gear, particularly knee and wrist protection.

I also have my own gear now! I’m skating on Sure-Grip Rebels with Fugitive wheels. I really like them, but they’re already beaten up from my falls, so I recommend toe guards that totally cover the toe! I’m going to bulk my toe guard up with some tape like the other girls do. My knee, elbow and wrist guards are all 187s. My kneepads are 187 Pros which are incredibly padded, you don’t feel a thing when you fall! Some people do say that because of the padding, they are a little bulky which can impair skating. Since I’m still learning to skate, I can’t really comment yet but I’ll see how I go with them. I think I’ve got enough excuses about why I still can’t do crossovers other than my kneepads!

So that’s where I’m at now. The goal is to get fitter and improve my skills so I can do as many laps as possible in five minutes and to minimise the amount of time I spend lying on the floor panting! Will let you know how I get on.

By Cesy

Cesy grew up in a sheep farm in New Zealand. Accordingly some of her views are a bit strange.

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