Author: Mystic Sun
It's hard to write about your roller derby journey so far without it being an epic 'cool story bro' yawnfest, which no one cares about except you (and probably your mum). Whilst I was pondering how to make my story a bit more interesting a song got completely stuck in my head and wouldn't leave. Therefore, I present to you… my roller derby career via the medium of Michael Jackson song lyrics.
"She Said I Am The One… Who Will Dance… On The Floor… In The Round"
I remember the first time I came to watch BRDG train on "Fresh Meat Open Day" after we'd been accepted onto the Fresh Meat course. It was a horrible autumn evening, raining outside and somehow I managed to arrive late and walk a trail of wet leaves across the sports hall floor. (Crap on the floor = massive derby no no). We all sat on benches at the side of the hall and watched as the people with the magic feet danced around the hall doing seemingly impossible things. One day, I hoped that would be me.
"You try to scream but terror takes the sound before you make it"
I turned up to my first Fresh Meat session with my brand new skates and scabs knee pads and felt like the person with all the gear and no idea. The nice thing that I found out later was that everyone felt like that to some extent – even the people who I thought looked super confident and about to crush my puny skull at any given opportunity. I was hoping to bluff it through the first bit of Fresh Meat and not give away that I had not skated since I wore size 5 pink roller boots. Sadly having fallen on my ass twice within the first half an hour (and been complimented by the coach for 'picking a cheek' to fall on) and then doing an epic banana skin style slip up on track right next to the captain that plan wasn't really working out so well for me ;)
"So, Annie, are you OK? Are you OK Annie?"
The Fresh Meat course was amazing! For the first few weeks you go from knowing nothing to being able to do some of the basic moves and you feel… EPIC! And then you take your first big fall. My "smooth criminal" was the ultra slippy floor we train on – we were just stepping from side to side and one minute I was standing up and the next I was on my back on the floor. (Side note: I have to say that I did wonder for the first few weeks of Fresh Meat why Thorne Supremacy kept suddenly appearing whenever I fell over – maybe she took some hyena-like interest in downed fresh meat? – until I realised she was the first aider *facepalm*.) So after this I felt very wibbly and my confidence took a huge knock for quite a few weeks, but I kept going and made more and more progress.
"You Know I'm Bad, I'm Bad, You Know It (Bad Bad-Really, Really Bad)"
So we all graduated from Fresh Meat and joined the 'big girls' for training on a regular basis. The day of our first league training I was absolutely beyond terrified, but everyone was really kind and friendly towards the rookies. The thing I'm struggling with the most at the moment is that I'm really, really bad at roller derby, and it's almost impossible not to compare yourself with everyone else. Probably the hardest bit to process is when you feel you're trying REALLY HARD but you're still sucking – I think that some of the better skaters have forgotten (or perhaps never knew because they learnt as kids) what it's like to be bad but want so hard to be good. It's also slightly more pressuring once FM has finished because you're in a weird 'no man's land' between being a meatie and being min skills passed.
"Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, No One Wants To Be Defeated"
So every time I feel like crying because I've spent 45 mins trying and still can't transition or because someone overtook me and tripped me up for the 10th time this practice, I take a deep breath and keep going. One of the really nice things is that although I'm probably one of the worst people at any given derby practice, when I go to the roller disco I feel like the queen of awesome! And if I keep trying, one day I'll be able to do what the team people can do… hopefully.
All the historic goings on of Bath Roller Derby!