Monday 4 April 2011

Roller derby love

Ahh, roller derby. How I love you so.

I'd been planning to write a intro to roller derby, but saw that my lovely friend (and fellow roller girl) Stitches had pipped me to the post & written a lovely, eloquent description, complete with video tutorial. Amazing. I highly recommend you check it out here - Stitches blog - otherwise, you might not have a clue what I'm talking about.

Roller derby is by FAR the hardest thing that I've ever done. Not only is it physically tough (& it is. It apparently burns over 2000 calories in a two hour session?!) but it requires so much mental strength to pick yourself up, brush yourself down and keep going.

I started WAY back in April 2010, going to a fresh meat session with the Auld Reekie Roller Girls after watching them bout on Valentine's day (this was after a drunken afternoon picnic, which probably explains why I felt brave enough to sign up!). At fresh meat, all strapped up (into safety gear) and ready to go, I found that I couldn't even stand up on skates. Even a few weeks later when I had my own I was extremely wobbly and nervous for the first 20 minutes of each session. But something kept making me come back, getting up early (by my standards, hah!) on a Sunday to trek to Niddry for practice, and fall over for two hours.

Not long after I started skating I also took part in the Moonwalk, and strained a tendon in my foot which meant I couldn't walk without a limp for two months (never mind skate), so when I returned I was back to the beginning, with a new group of people that I didn't know. A month after that, it was the Edinburgh Festival & life/work/friends took over my derby time. I went back in September, and was horrendously unfit, but made new friends, tried my minimums for the first time, failed, but kept going back. I had the worst attendance record ever, but I was still hooked.

Then, at the end of last year, Craig & I went on a mammoth four-week trip to New Zealand, so I missed even more practice & then when I was finally back in the UK in December, I lost my nerve. I dressed it up as being too busy over Christmas/being busy with my new job, but realistically I was scared. It had been too long since I had been skating, so I was remembering the scary bits & the tough bits, and not paying any attention to the parts that made it worthwhile - the lovely, lovely people & the wonderful feeling of getting a hit right, or increasing your speed - just skating.

So, with the help of my derby friends (who I'd been ignoring due to derby guilt/jealousy), I came back. And it was SO SCARY. But I remembered how to do everything. I was slower at first and not as strong, but I'm getting better. & yesterday I took part in my second set of minimums.. I don't know how I did yet, but it felt good. I am making progress.

It's hard keeping myself motivated sometimes, when I feel like I've been a fresh meat forever. But that's okay. Even if I don't pass this time, I will soon. I'm pushing myself more than I have before. That's good enough for me.

NOW. As you have read my gushing love for ARRG, you should probably come see them. Yes? It's on April 16th, at Meadowbank. You can buy tickets here.


  1. Totally with you on this one :-) People find it weird when I'm like oh, kind of sore from skating and ask why I keep going back. They don't seem to understand it at all.

    I'm sure you did better than you think on Sunday.

  2. Thanks Kirds! Only got laps still to do... x

  3. I totally agree with you. A scraped knee or a bruise now and then won't stop me from returning to the rink for another round!


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