So you’ve seen the posters, maybe you’ve been to a game, you’ve bought some excellent Glasgow Roller Derby merch and you’ve had a good blether to some of our skaters. You’re really sure now, roller derby is COOL. You know that we run a ‘fresh meat’ programme to train the next generation of derby superstars and you’ve priced up the rookie kit packages at our local skate shop 5Th Blocker Skates. You’re seriously thinking of coming along to the next Glasgow Roller Recruits intake session on Sunday 24th April, but you’re a wee bit nervous.
DON’T PANIC! We know it can be nerve wracking to come along to your first session, especially if you’re one of those people who hasn’t been on skates since you were a tot in Fisher Price strap-on wheels. In order to give you some great reasons to be your own hero we’ve spoken to two of our current Roller Recruits to get the lowdown on what GRR is really like. Here are five top tips from skater Charlotte AKA Tesla Recoil and trainee referee Sean, AKA Rolla Fett.
1. You don’t need to know loads about derby before you start!
Tesla - To be completely honest I hadn’t been aware of roller derby prior to signing up! My friend was wanting to join the new intake and I was looking for an activity that would make me fitter. I have never played any sort of sport and derby seemed like something different that would be challenging and fun. A year and a half later, it still is!
2. Nobody will tell you off for doing it ‘wrong’.
Rolla - The first training session I had was great, the coaches were really friendly and very clear in how to do everything safely. It was mostly time spent skating rather than just spending half the time listening to someone drone on about how to do it right.
3. We take your safety very seriously!
Tesla - I’d never been on skates before so I was very nervous about getting started. I didn’t even know which way round all the pads went! However, once we got into the hall I was concentrating too hard to be scared. We started with important things like learning how to fall properly (something I have had oodles of practice at since) and how to stand up safely; we did all this before even putting the wheels on our feet. Then it was on to rolling and stopping. Some of the more experienced skaters were separated off to push them a bit harder so you never really felt like you were holding others back. I finished the session exhausted and elated!
4. Derby is an incredibly inclusive sport. There’s a place for everyone here – this means YOU!
Rolla - I started having known a fair bit about derby as a sport as I’ve known various people in the past who have played, but my favourite experience has been how inclusive and friendly the league is. Everything and everyone seem quite relaxed but there has also been a great focus of everyone wanting to better themselves on and off track, but also to support each other. As a guy it might be seen to be unusual to pick a women’s team to skate/officiate with but the atmosphere when I got there made it a simple decision. GRD is made up of great high level teams and players so I thought that was the best place to learn and push myself.
5. Derby will change your life.
Tesla - I am my own worst and most damning critic. I have had to learn to stop berating myself for not getting something first time round and to overcome my gut reaction to quit every time something went wrong. Everyone progresses at different rates, everyone learns differently; that has never been so clear to me as it has been at derby. The best part of this is that I am also starting to see this in non-derby parts of my life too so it’s a complete change of mindset for me. Whilst it is the most difficult part it’s probably also one of the most rewarding!
Finally, we asked Tesla and Rolla what they’d say to anyone considering joining up to become the next generation of GRR skaters:
Rolla - To anyone considering coming along for the first time, DO IT. If you don't mind falling over occasionally… everyone falls but you get taught to do it safely!
Tesla - Please just give it a go! You might find a new family, a new state of mind, an unusual pride in bruises…If nothing else you have a brilliant conversation starter at parties and work functions. They go something like:
Person: “So what do you do when you’re not working?”
Me: “I play roller derby”
Person: “What’s roller derby?”
Me: “Well, it’s a full contact sport on roller skates. A bit like rugby, on skates, without the ball. And completely different. And brilliant. You should join!”
So there you have it, straight from the baby zebra’s mouth. If you’ve got any questions about joining our next intake you can visit the Glasgow Roller Recruits Facebook page, the New Intake events page, or you can contact us for more information. We hope to see you there!