What’s it like to be a Fresh Meat skater?

Guest post by Insanely Dark explaining her experience as an ARD Freshie.

Almost a year ago I decided that I wanted to try something new. I wanted to meet new people and I wanted to start exercising. Every sport that has a ball in it didn’t seem like a good idea, because even though I’m 20 I’m still afraid of the ball sometimes. But then I found derby, this cool and kind of mysterious sport. I knew I saw it in a movie once, but did I know what it really was? No. But I liked inline skating as a kid so why shouldn’t I give it a try? Oh, and there weren’t any balls in it.

Well hell yeah that was a great decision! After my very first training I was over the moon. Wow, I had finally found a sport I really liked. Well the roller-skating part at least, I still had no idea what roller derby was. And it didn’t stop being great. We learned new stuff every week. In the beginning, the day after training I proudly explained to my friends what I had learned. However when the more difficult skills came along I’d tell them how though skating actually was and I wasn’t all that excited anymore. Transitions are hard! And it sucked not being able to do those.

Fresh Meat ready to take on the world
They are a little bit mad :: Insanely Dark & Fresh Meat ready to take on the world!

Nevertheless a little while after the ‘oh god this is too difficult’ phase I went to my friends and could again proudly say ‘hell yeah derby was so much fun last night I finally did a transition!’. Just like this everybody has their ups and downs in learning skills, some come easily and some don’t. I also learned that in derby you fall and stand up again, you simply have to fall to learn this. Sometimes when we fall the trainers yell ‘YES, that’s good! I want to see you fall!’ Not the first thing you want to hear after falling at your butt.

I have to be honest, at first I was a little bit afraid to attend the Monday trainings. I mean skating with all those girls who are really good at derby while I was barely able to do a proper stop? But once I got over this silly fear I realised that league trainings are really cool! We see stuff that they don’t show us in Fresh Meat. We learn from other skaters other than our trainers. We get extra time on skates to get better and to practice our skills. But most off all I feel more like I am a part of this community.

Last week there was a first, and we were all very excited. We finally were able to hit each other!!! We had to hit each other gently, which is nice when being hit, but I can’t wait till we are able to hit each other with our full forces. Unfortunately that comes together with bruises and being in the paceline while flexing my core insanely and hoping that I’m not going to be hit to the ground. It’s funny that when we hit each other really well, resulting in our teammate hitting the ground, the hitter feels sorry and apologises. A natural reaction I guess. While most of the time the person on the ground will be like ‘woah you did great!’. Our trainers always say ‘there is no sorry in derby!’ and I think as freshies we just have to accept that and keep on hitting each other with full force, yay!

Listening up to our coaches! Oh so much to learn before the minimum skills test

Another thing that keeps me and the other freshies busy is choosing a derby name. We have had tons of conversations about which name to choose. More and more freshies are choosing their names but we keep calling them by their real names. That’s something that we slowly have to change. I think I now have found a name for myself so next training when there is a round of names I might have to say ‘hi, I’m Insanely Dark’.

Much #derbylove Insanely Dark

Want to try Roller Derby for yourself? Our next Fresh Meat intake starts on Tuesday 21 February

Our brilliant Fresh Meat Tristan, Rogermore O’Less & Insanely Dark