Not to date myself, but the first time I really got interested in roller derby was way back in the day, when I attended a fund raiser at the now defunct Tortilla Flats for the “Kalamazoo Kamikazes.” A few years later, I worked with a friend whom was on the team, and even had a couple of the girls come promote the team on my (also now defunct) radio show, Grrliville.
When I finally started building up enough courage to think about joining, I found out I was pregnant with my son. Life got very busy very quickly, as it tends to do, but when my mother passed away last year, I realized that I needed to spend more time taking care of myself. I became more active, and lost some weight, but as the weather turned cold again, I was having a difficult time staying motivated. I knew that the only way to keep pushing myself was to find a new goal. I decided that I was going to get in shape to finally have a chance at playing roller derby! I e-mailed the team about how to do that, and to my surprise I ended up attending a Fresh Meat practice very soon thereafter.
I was terrified because of how out of shape I was, but I figured that roller skating was probably like riding a bike, and that I could pick up where I left off. When I got all geared up and out on the rink, I was surprised to learn that was completely false! I didn’t really realize quite how much having a kid threw my body off- but I certainly couldn’t find my center of gravity where I left it!
During that first practice I fell about a million times, but no one laughed–instead they cheered me when I got up. I’m still learning for sure, but seeing slow and steady progress, and setting new goals for myself every practice, has breathed new life into me. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, I know that I can get there, because I’m getting stronger mentally and physically. One of the best parts is going to open skates with my husband and son (now 5 years old). While I’m learning, he’s learning, and it’s awesome to watch him gain confidence and have fun along with me!
I’ve always loved the culture of this newer wave of roller derby, with its DIY ethic, grassroots organizing, focus on female empowerment and strength, and a little bit of classic campy fun. However, I appreciate it so much more now, knowing how hard each and every one of these ladies (and men and juniors!) has worked to do what they love!
If you’re thinking about joining our Fresh Meat program, don’t hesitate to contact our Fresh Meat coordinator, Bicked Witch. She can answer whatever questions you have and let you know our practice schedules. You can also check out our new information section, read our FAQ, and read more stories from Fresh Meat skaters past and present.