Something a bit different for today's guest post. I'm a derby girl in training and so I thought I'd get the lovely Juliet to explain the game to you all. Try and find out if there are any local teams near you, and if not - start one yourself! It's a wonderful sport and a great chance to make friends. And believe me, I am NOT a sporty person and I love it - Roller Derby for everyone! - Claire xo
Hi! My name is Juliet and I blog over at Ever So Juliet. Claire asked me to write an introduction to roller derby, and I was more than happy to oblige!
Roller derby is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. I absolutely hated sports at school, and went out of my way to avoid them, but one day in 2010 my lovely boyfriend bought us tickets to go to a local bout for our Valentine's date. Not sure what to expect I went along and was blown away by a group of passionate, fast skating, hard hitting women (and only a tiny part of that enthusiasm was fuelled by the drunken picnic we'd had earlier!). I signed up to the fresh meat programme the next day.
If you've never heard of derby, let me explain. Roller derby is an all-female, full contact sport played on quad skates. Players skate anti-clockwise around a track in a pack, where they try to get their Jammer (point scorer) past the opposing team's Blockers whilst also blocking the opposing Jammer. Phew. It's fast paced and very tactical with many rules to make sure the game is played safely and fairly.
This video sums up the basic concept very well!
I've been training with the Auld Reekie Roller Girls for over a year now and every practice is a challenge. When I first strapped on skates (plus obligatory knee and elbow pads, wrist guard, helmet and mouthguard!) I couldn't even stand up, and spent much of the two hours wobbling and falling over. Even after a month I was still looking like bambi on ice. But something kept making me come back to practice, pushing myself to hit a little harder and to get that little bit faster. It's been a challenge – I've strained muscles in my feet (meaning I had a limp for two months), missed many practices due to work or holidays, and had to keep my confidence up when newer skaters progressed at an incredible rate and made the team in no time.
It's scary and it's tough and it requires so much effort to keep on going. But you know what? It's absolutely worth it. My league are now expanding to include a rec team for people who love to skate but can't commit as much time as competitive skaters, which fits me perfectly.
Roller derby teams are cropping up all over the country – find one near you and go to watch a bout. Teams are run for the skaters, by the skaters, and are made up of every type of girl (and guy) you can imagine. When you first skate you'll hurt, and you'll ache. A lot. But it gets better - it'll stop hurting so much, you'll get stronger, and it feels amazing when things start to make sense. You'll also meet wonderful, crazy people and only refer to each other by derby nick names (I'm Miss Chief by the way. I think nothing of calling my friends "Moo”, "Stitches" or "Slam" in public).
It's fast. It's scary. It's exhilarating. It's basically bloody brilliant.
(Oh, and if you've seen the film Whip It, let me just say in “real” derby you aren't allowed to punch anyone in the face!)