It wasn’t all that long ago that I was so-called “Fresh Meat” myself. Red Rock N Roller Derby is preparing for the newest Learn to Skate posse and it had me reflecting on some of my pressing concerns in those early days.
What will everyone be wearing?
This is my favorite part about derby. It doesn’t matter!!! I stressed over this forever, until I got there and realized that no one is looking. Yeah that chick has some kind of amazing shorts that make her as$ look like it is a duo of planets from the galaxy Amaze-balls, but nobody cares if you’re wearing the sweats you wore at exam time in college or your figure skating outfit circa 1993, or just your bra and panties. Having been blessed with child-bearing hips, and thunderous thighs, I resisted high-cut bathing suits, let alone booty shorts, but give me two months immersed in derby and I don’t think twice about marching into Sobeys after practice in panties-over-pantyhose and knee highs. I don’t look any different, but don’t tell my ego. Actually, my ego already knows and doesn’t give a sh!t, because I am amazing and it shows. On my arse.
Will I fall?
Will it hurt?
Yes. But it will pass and you will get up and be better for it. Much better for it. In fact, I couldn’t scrimmage very well until I had at least one good fall under me at every practice. Once I got that silly old fall out of the way, I was 100x better. That said, pay attention to those learning to fall drills. They will save your shoulders/knees/hips/back/all body parts.
What if I don’t ‘pass’ Fresh Meat?
Well, since there isn’t a pass or fail, that’s pretty much impossible. True, there are those Minimum Skills that you will achieve, but you’ve got lots of time to do that. It’s more important to nail those solidly than to move onto the next big thing. Which, in RRnRD’s case is being drafted to a (house and/or travel) team or joining the Zebra Huddle as a referee (and don’t underestimate the fun those zebras have). Most importantly, fresh meat is only the beginning, hence “LEARN to skate”, so enjoy taking it all in and be ready to practice with the rest of the league when you feel ready. Once you complete your minimums you can join in the scrimmage and start making contact baby!!!
Will I pee my pants?
This is perhaps a more personal question than a universal one, but there are a lot of women out there whose pelvic floors just ain’t what they used to be. Again, who cares. It’s derby! The sport for women, made by women and you’re never the only one! So slap on an extra panty liner and hit those jumping jacks like a boss!
This is also my opportunity to mention that nobody cares how old, young, big, small, athletic or otherwise you are. This sport has a built-in all-loving, inclusivity clause that finds your strengths and fits them into the sport as if derby has been waiting just for you and your stellar hips all its life.
Will I have to fundraise? And ‘get involved’?
Yep. And here’s the shocker: You’ll love it. I know, I know, I hate selling tickets and I hate soliciting friends and family and I hate looking like a fool in public in exchange for some loonies in a bucket…but damn I love it when it’s derby! Don’t ask me what it is, I still look like a fool (albeit with a hot arse in booty shorts!) and I sometimes buy all my tickets myself, but I don’t care. This sport is like my little sibling and I want it to grow and flourish and become the best example of collaboration, empowerment and success that it can be. If that means bagging groceries or washing windows, or spending my Friday night making pins, writing minutes or laying down tape, count me in because it turns out all of those things are as fun as a wine-soaked hotel hottub, under the right circumstance. And derby is my favorite circumstance of all.