My experience, like most, starts a little before my first practice. It was mid-July, and my friend Sandra (A.K.A Energetic) was visiting me from the Netherlands. Sandra plays for the Amsterdam Derby Dames. We were just catching up on things, and she told me I would be good at roller derby. I told her I was not sure, but the whole time she was in town it went from “You would be good at roller derby,” to “You should try roller derby,” to “Anne, you better try roller derby!” Sandra can be kind of pushy! So after a two of weeks of that I was like “I’m gonna go out for the Killamazoo Derby Darlins.”
I knew my friends Cheri and Tom at work, went to a lot of Killamazoo games. I started talking to Cheri about me trying out and she told me Tom knew when they practiced, she told me to just contact the Derby Darlings through Facebook. So I did! In the meantime I was going to open skate every Saturday, trying to remember how to skate again. When I was a kid, my best friend and I were at the rink every Friday or Saturday. But I hadn’t gone skating since I was 13, so I had a long ways to go.
This was the night… I was invited to come out to a Tuesday night Fresh Meat Practice. It was 8:15, and I was sitting in my car with so many butterflies in my stomach I was not sure if I would even be able to walk into RollerWorld! I had read a bunch of things online from other freshies saying that the team was very accepting and encouraging, and that is what I kept telling myself. I got out of my car, thinking “This is it… What’s the worst thing that could happen?” I stood at the counter and told the lady “I’m here for the Fresh Meat practice.” She looked at me like I was a little crazy! At the same time a voice from behind me chimed in: “You must be Anne!” I turned around and met Crash! She got me geared up and took me out on the floor off to the side to see what I could do. She showed me how to plow stop, and I tried to do that. Then she showed me a T-stop and I was like, “Yeah, right! I’ll never be able to do that!” But Crash kept encouraging me, and breaking down the steps of how to do it — by the end of the night, I lost count on how many times I fell, but I could sort of do a plow stop and kind of cross over. At the end of my practice that first night as I was watching the other freshies do their 27 laps in 5 minutes, I knew this was for me!
So I started going to practices on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and each week I grew in a new way! First I was able to get down the plow stop, then T-stops, then went from 19 laps in 5 minutes to 23 in 5 — and currently I’m at 26 in 5! I’ve learned how to skate backwards, and I’m working on transitions and tomahawks! And I can’t believe how far I’ve come in only 3-4 months! All the things I thought I would never learn, I am learning! I can’t wait till the day comes where I pass my Evals and I can play! But I will miss Fresh Meat practices.
My advice to new Freshies and ladies thinking about joining, Just do it, you’ll probably like it! Worry about getting good pads before new skates! Talk to every one about what skate brands they like, don’t just go with what one person tells you to get. But most of all, the team is full of wonderful ladies willing to teach you what it takes to be on the KDD! Take their advice and have lots of FUN!!!!!
Read more stories from KDD Fresh Meat!