Fresh Meat

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Fresh Meat 2014. That was me. I was all in for 12 weeks of learning to skate, stop and everything else you need to be able to learn to play Roller Derby. Me along with 30+ others showed up every Sunday morning at 10am to be taught by people who it seemed had been born with skates on their feet.
Each week we worked on new skills and then we would all scramble together on a Friday night at the open skate to try and perfect what we had been taught without freaking out about all the amazing skaters around us. I learned quite quickly why I had paid so much for a pair of knee pads – all of the falling!!! Just as a side note Roller Derby is not the cheapest sport. You can buy second hand kit but good knee pads are a must, seriously!
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Bout Day fun
The one thing I didnt expect when joining was the amazing derby family I would gain. Your FM class become your go-to for everything on and off the track. I believe our group chat had over 25000 messages by the time we graduated. Gaining so many wonderful new friends finally opened up my social life in London – I genuinely believe had I not joined LRR then I would have headed back to Yorkshire after a year. Post training drinks grew into trips to the Roller Disco and copious house parties. We all got together to go and watch Bouts, attend bootcamps, skate outside and discuss wheels and lacing techniques – gripping conversation I assure you! I also recall there being a lot of Karaoke and glitter during my time in FM, most of it is a little foggy :/
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Roller Disco
Well 12 weeks came and went and I still didn’t feel like a Derby girl, but I knew I had made so much progress and was proud of that. On the day of assessments I recall one of my friends running in late still drunk, she doesn’t remember the assessment but she passed! We all did. We were finished with 10am starts and skating across the hall. It was time to strap on our big girl pants and join wreck league.
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FM 2014

In the beginning…

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Hello hello. If you have stumbled along this blog looking for wit and wonder its probably not the place to be! This is the ramblings of a wannabe Derby girl living in London just trying to stay upright on skates.

A little bit about me is probably in order. I am a 27 year old nanny from Yorkshire (although not really – Army brat = Nomad). I collect copies of the Charlotte Bronte novel Jane Eyre, I daydream way to much and have an unhealthy love of tea! I fell in love with Roller Derby way back when Whip it! the movies was released. Its lame but its the truth. I went to watch my first Bout in Sheffield in 2013 and fell instantly in love. Watching women of all ages, shapes and backgrounds come together to play this fast paced, thrilling contact sport was mesmerising and left a huge mark on me. I couldn’t stop watching Youtube videos and reading everything available about this wonderful and empowering sport. It was then I decided that I wanted to give Roller Derby a go.

Knowing I would be moving to London for work I looked into teams that offered a Fresh Meat programme that I could go along to. There are two main London teams and I knew very little about either to help make my decision. Thankfully it was all out of my hands as I had missed the tryouts date for one team and so I signed up to the London Rockin Rollers FM Programme in the Spring of 2014. BEST DECISION EVER!!!!!

To play Roller Derby you need a lot of kit and its not something you can just pick up in Toys R Us with the Rollerblades. I went to Skate Attack, a shop in North London run by LRR’s very own Von Bitch. The name may sound scary but she is one of the nicest people I have ever met and is always willing to help out with anything you may need. I had no idea what I wanted or needed but with VB’s help within 45 minutes I was walking out with a giant bag of protective gear and shiny new skates!

So its Sunday 22nd June 2014 around 8:30 in the morning and I am lugging a bag of skate kit up to North London to find a leisure centre. I am bricking it. I am not an athletic person, I have never played a team sport, honestly I had never played any sport. But I knew that I needed to do this, to prove to myself that I could.

Well, I couldn’t!!!!

I was awful. I couldn’t stand up on my skates and when I could get going I couldn’t stop! I wanted to cry the whole time. If it hadn’t been for the kind words of encouragement from the wonderful Beat Girl I would have just given up and gone home. After a swift interview from some of the other skaters I packed up my bag and left feeling a little deflated. I resigned myself to the fact that I had seen what I would need to work on to be able to join FM and would try to get some open skates and practise before the next try outs. When I received an email three days later I burst into tears – I was in!!!!