Advice for Fresh Meat

August 21st, 2013 | 0 comments
Nacho Baby

Nacho Baby takes the track by storm in a challenge bout at this year’s Virginia is for Shovers tournament

Throughout life, one consistently faces decisions.  These decisions range from not-so-important (tea, or coffee?), to momentous (a career change, moving to a new city, getting married, etc.).  A momentous decision made in my  life is the palm-sweating, heart-thumping moment in mid-2010  when I decided to try out for roller derby.  A nervous, tingle of anticipation coursed through me for a torturous 6 weeks (during which I mostly spent brainstorming derby names), until open enrollment for the Charlottesville Derby Dames arrived .  Since joining in 2010, I have become a Level 2 skater, competed in numerous bouts, been a Committee Chair (Community Relations), and a Fresh Meat trainer.  From my personal experiences, I have composed the following advice for anyone facing the decision to try out for roller derby:

  • Pay attention to the trainers regarding proper form.  Maybe you skated a lot when you were a kid, and feel as confident as seasoned circus bear riding a bicycle.  That’s awesome!  Just remember that you don’t have to impress anyone by going “all out” the first time.  Personal lesson learned: the human body is not invincible, and laws of physics do, indeed, apply.

  • Skates and protective gear are provided, but know this: there’s a 99.99% chance that the borrowed skates are working against you, not with you.  In short, don’t take it personally if you’re struggling.  If you decide to stick with it and buy your own gear, you’ll most likely notice an improvement right away.

  • Wear sneakers.  Practice starts with an off-skates warm-up, typically consisting of jumping jacks, lunges, etc.

  • Wear leggings or tights under those short-shorts.  Skin against hardwood floor hurts!

  • Bring water!! You will sweat, and you will be thirsty.

  • Be in the moment.  Roller derby is one of the most zen-like activities (almost akin to meditation) that I have experienced.  The moment you are not in the moment, it’s likely you’ll be reminded you are wearing skates when you fall flat on your booty.

  • Don’t pick a derby name right away.  I changed my mind 3 times until one day it came out of thin air.  Wait for the “lightbulb moment.”  You’ll know when it’s right.

Belmont Bruisers

Nacho Baby (bottom row, second from the left) takes a moment to pose with the Belmont Bruisers at this season’s first game, an away bout vs. Southern Delaware (Photo credit: Dan “Jugglenaut” Purdy)

Joining a roller derby team is an investment of time, money, and body.  It’s a decision not to be made lightly, but should choose to join, you will gain a derby family and have experiences that will enrich your life in ways that you cannot imagine.


Post by: Nacho Baby

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