All I Want For Christmas Is To Be a Glittertastic, Hip Checkerama Derby Girl!
It was mid March 2012 and I’d finally got my skates on for a recreational skate with The South West Angels Of Terror. None of the girls had been terrors to me (that comes later!) in fact the whole experience was amazing and great fun. The fantastic thing was, to be in a room with people who loved skating as much as me, who clearly had a massive passion for it too. I thought I was the only mad one, but it seemed there were more of me!
Over the next few days I did however make my first journey to my Doctors. At the skate I experienced my first Derby Ding.
Derby Dictionary Alert
DERBY DING-To get dinged in Roller Derby by falling onto the floor, into a wall or into another player resulting in an injury. (Doctors get to know when you’re coming and plan a space for you in the car park around training days!) ;P
DD’s can quite often be wheel shape!
I was in quite a lot of pain from my fall (from Blog no.5) so I decided to get my ribs checked out.Â I had worried I may have cracked a rib but found, if your ribs spring when you press them inwards from the sides without a sharp pain or snicking sound, you’re OK. It just takes 4-6 weeks to heal. Phew! I thought. Didn’t want to be stopped before I had even started!
The next piece of luck that drew me into the light of Derby was just magic. S.W.A.T were holding their next Fresh Meat intake in less than a Month! This was fantastic news as some who discover Derby, have to wait ages for the next intake. I had discovered the girls just at the right time. (I was starting to think I had my own Angel looking out for me somewhat!)
So, what’s Fresh Meat?…..Fresh Meat for those of you that don’t know is what they call new rookie skaters who want to learn how to skate with a view to playing Roller Derby. All going well, you then progress to become a fully fledged Glittertastic, Hip Checkerama Derby Girl.
The S.W.A.T course had 2 induction days and overall consisted of a twelve-week training program that ended in an assessment to pass your ‘Minimum Skills’. These are the skills you need to pass to be able to skate with a team, to ensure you are safe and ready to learn how to Bout (the official term used for a game) These skills include falling (essential in Derby!) stopping (pretty important too!) jumping, whips and hitting (I will reveal more later in my blogs)
My next big hurdle was to convince Dad to let me go! Sounds stupid being 36, running my own business and a big girl (most of the time!) but it’s not as stupid as it sounds. Since November when Mum had her operation I had been drafted in by the family as his Saturday backup helping in their business. I would now have to start leaving half way through the day. I had to think carefully how I was going to achieve this but I thought a big pack of pencils might work! (Always worked when I was small!)
As it happens, I needn’t have worried. Dad was always into his extreme sports in the 60s regularly diving, jumping out of planes and rock climbing (if you know the Chudleigh climbs, Devon, he cleared the rocks and opened up some climbs with his friends where they claimed the first ascents. Black Death, Drip Dry and Obstreperous were two of his, Obstreperous being named by my Mum (they had to give her something to do so she didn’t get too bored just reading her book at the bottom!) http://javu.co.uk/Climbing/Guides/Chudleigh/index.shtml
Dad, it seemed, had got quite into this Roller Derby thing that I had been banging on about (and he promised it wasn’t because of the hotpants! Uggghhhhh the thought) It became a regular occurrence when I visited them to be bombarded with â€œhave you seen this on you tube, this American team is ace, you seen this photographer taking shots of this team etc etc and on and on! Surprisingly I was allowed to go and chase my dream without any hurdles! Thanks Dad.
No hurdles, except maybe needing a new pair of skates.
I had no intention of buying a pair of Derby skates right away until I had at least completed a few Fresh Meat sessions but again patience wasn’t my best quality and I was convinced I needed to start with the proper kit. There must be a reason the skates are different to high top outdoor skates like the ones I had? I didn’t want to start learning and switch half way through, so although impulsive, there was method in my madness.
I traveled to my local skate shop, The Boarding House, in Exeter, to see what they had in stock. They had two types to choose from. As I didn’t want to order online (I know its best to try on skates) I went with a pair of Anarchy Havocs. These, I was advised, were a good beginners skate for Derby and I was happy with that as that’s exactly what I was. The name had also been bandied around by some of the Angels when I asked about good beginners skates. Always best to ask around before you buy. I also purchased a matt black Protech helmet with a yellow strap as I thought it matched my hair! I nearly drove the guy crazy trying on every colour but he was very patient while I came out with comments like does my head look big in this? He said he knew not to get involved in such matters! Must be great training from his wife!
Next I needed to get padded up. I knew from watching the girls that their pads were a lot larger than my small white and pink SFR ones. Mine almost looked like toy ones in comparison! Smiths Scabs were worn by most of the advanced skaters and through research I knew that they were a good pad but being a beginner I didn’t really want to spend too much at the start. Vampira, my personal Derby info guide, advised that she had the TSG elbow pads and although had upgraded to Smiths, her TSG kneepads did her well at the beginning. That was good enough for me but the thing that really swung it for me was the fact that they had pink stars on! Always one for a bit of pink staridge me!
I’ll never forget running in and out of the hospital sorting my pads out on the phone with Billy’s Skate Shop when Mum was having chemo! Even ordering pads took my head away from the situ and eased what we were going through. I have since found that ordering stuff for Derby is a lot of fun and it’s all too easy to click the buy button! Makes me smile every time though and there is always something else you need yes need, not want! as Derby girls ‘need’ a lot of stuff! Mostly fabulous hotpants,crazy leggings or tights and most important a cool bag to carry all your cool kit in!
So now I was ready to go! Had my skates, had my pads Now I just needed Fresh Meat day to arrive! I was like a kid waiting for Christmas day! Seemed to take forever to come around but when it did, just like Christmas day, I couldn’t sleep all night and jumped out of bed faster than the speed of light. It was here I was going to become a Derby Girl today! I hoped!!!
Chat Next Friday….
Flash Bo-Dash xxx