If you hadn’t guessed by the photos, this blog is going to be about roller derby! So, three and a half months ago, I went to see the Norfolk Brawds play an open bout at the UEA Sportspark in Norwich, despite having a terrible hangover it was one of the coolest things I’ve seen, and then and there I said I was going to go to their ‘fresh meat’ training. I had told myself before that I couldn’t do roller derby because I didn’t have a job, and wasn’t confident or fit, but I decided that I’d had enough of excuses, I was going to actually go and have a try.
So I did. And it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. Since then I’ve got a job, made heaps of new friends (more about that later!) and got fitter in the process. Last week was sign offs, where we get tested on all the skills we’ve learnt in level one. I went along thinking I couldn’t do jumps, so wouldn’t pass level one, but was determined to have a good go all the same. Plus I didn’t want to miss out on a chance to get my skates on, (seriously, once you start you can’t stop!) I went and tried my hardest, but when it came to jumping over that 3 inch high stick, I tried, fell over and my toestop came off. I spent so long getting it back on (a small part of the plate had snapped off, but that was no big deal) that I missed out on my other two tries. I finished the rest of the sign offs, unsure of how well I’d done. Then, at the end of the session I was given another two tries at jumping it, the first time I fell over, but the second time I managed to jump and land without falling over! It was such a good feeling, in that moment I didn’t even care whether I’d passed level one, but it came to know the results and … “62, you’ve passed level 1”. I was buzzing for the rest of the week.
However, that’s not quite the best thing about derby, the best thing is the people! All my fellow fresh meat skaters have become like a little family, we’ve all struggled through learning t-stops and plough stops and many yells of ‘get lower!!!!’ together. But so much of roller derby also happens off the track, we’ve all volunteered to help out the Brawds in one way or another, spending our weekends supporting the team by being a Non Skating Official or representing the Brawds at events going on in Norwich. And, I have to say, I wouldn’t want to spend my time with any other people, all the fresh meat and bouting Brawds are so lovely and friendly! If you want more to read the wonderful Wild Honey has a dedicated derby blog Diary of a Roller Derby Rookie and one of my fresh meat family is the lovely Gemma of Retro Chick, so check them out! Plus you should definitely support the Brawds or local roller derby wherever you are.
(Photo by Wild Honey)
P.S. Yes, I did put my kneepads and wrist guards on just to take photos in my garden, it felt silly, but not as silly as it would have been to explain if I had fallen over without them!