It all began on the 29th July 2017 – the Durham Roller Derby’s British Championships home game at Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre.
I went along to the game having no real idea what roller derby involved – never imagining that one day I’d be playing, and that the skaters on track were soon to be my teammates! For the duration of the game, I was mainly trying to get to grips with what on earth was going on, and what ‘the star’ was doing – I loved it none the less. Robinson #85 came off track after the game, and said “so do you want to play!?” I said yes, at the same time wondering what I was getting myself into!
Not long after, I attended my first taster session, at what would soon become known as free skate! I was wobbly, and couldn’t understand why I needed a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads on – I soon found out!
I entered the session feeling so nervous and unsure. By the end of the session, I felt like I had achieved so much – I could now skate forwards, stop, do a knee tap on both legs – and I couldn’t wait for my next time on skates! This is one of the things I love about skating, it’s a great mix of quick achievements, such as ticking off individual skills, and long term goals like increasing your laps and passing minimum skills.
It soon rolled around to intake day, we played games to introduce us to everyone in the team and spent time working on skills. Before long, Sunday skating also became part of my routine. I now can’t imagine my week without skating. Before Roller Derby, there wasn’t a chance I would leave the house before 9am on a Sunday morning, or drag myself off the couch on a night after work, but now I do it willingly!
Another thing which I love about Roller Derby is being part of a team. If someone had asked me 6 months ago if I was a team player, or if I wanted to spend 6+ hours a week with the same group of people – no way!
Now, I look forward to seeing everyone, having a catch up and working on our skills together. I have a social circle five times larger than I have ever had, an incredible, strong and diverse group of people who I would have never have had the privilege to call my friends. What I love about DRD is that everyone wants everyone to do well, no one is trying to be the best, because we are at our best when we are together. We have social events, usually orientating around food or watching derby, I especially enjoyed our recent team dog walk!
I’ve been skating for 6 months now and have no intention at all of stopping. I’ve never stuck at anything for so long before, or with so much drive and determination. I think the only way to know if Roller Derby is for you, is to just give it a go!
I have never been a ‘sporty person’ but I now train four times a week, and I’m part of an actual sports team! Roller derby has created so many opportunities for me, even off skates I have been involved in helping to officiate at games and have an active role in our merchandise committee – there really is a place for everyone!
When I’m with the team, I’ve always been encouraged so much; I really believe that together, we can do anything.
#togetherwearestronger #teamworkmakesthedreamwork #yougotthis