A Day in the life of Freshmeat: In it for the long haul
I discovered the wonderful work of roller derby over a year ago, ironically it wasn’t via the usual path of watching Whip it, instead it was an episode of American Dad.
I had decided to change my sport, my horse was not coping with the area he was living in, health wise, so he went to live with another woman and has thrived. So, after gaining some weight I had tried other things but they never stuck, I figured having a team sport would do the trick. So I googled Roller Derby and came across the Portsmouth Roller Wenches. I decided I wanted to join and signed up for Freshmeat. In the meantime, I went down to the Solent Arena, sadly it has now closed, to see if I remembered how to skate, after all the last time I skated I was a child!
Well the experience was…. interesting. I recall stumbling around and falling over. Then I glancing over to the entrance where I saw a Derby Girl, I assumed this by her clothing. A nice gentleman approached me and asked why I was here, I explained and he pointed at the woman I had seen, so I gingerly approached her and immediately fell at her feet. Looking up at her from my downed positon I stated ‘I want to be a Derby Girl’ after introductions were exchanged this woman turned out to be Rosie Rocket Pants, not only was she the woman my emails went to but she was to be one of my trainers.
I was so excited after meeting a derby girl, I sold my bike, and spent the money on my Freshmeat kit. After the first session I was hooked!! The wenches were an amazing group of people, our main coach was Hurricane Hayles. Hayles had a lot of experience and skated with many teams around the world. I stared to dedicate myself to the team and regularly helped as an NSO. The end of the course approached and I was going into testing. I had not mastered crossovers and was not very confident in transitions. I was not surprised that the result was a fail. So, I went to the second course, my crossovers still not quite there and transitions non-existent. Suddenly one day my crossovers appeared and stuck I was so happy!! However, the test day loomed and once again the result was as expected, this time however we were introduced to Derby 101. This was an extension of the course and focused on game play as well as skills. I was putting in extra training with the help of the Dogs, Simon was helping me with transitions. The day of testing once again loomed. I started to worry, I kept trying to supress the emotion, this didn’t work! Suddenly I could feel it bubbling over and then within 2 minutes on the track my brain and heart couldn’t take it and I broke down in tears. The pressure I had put on myself mentally had just blown its top. I was very lucky to have good friends, Em Fatal, Sindoll and Polly, as well as a very supportive team. Rosie and Berry were there by my side whilst I did my one-legged stand, as I faced the wall I could not see that everyone else had done 30 seconds and I had done over a minute! That at least put a smile on my face. Despite the support, I felt like a fool and in style failed that day. My friends all passed and moved on to be Rookie Wenches. I was sad to see them go but I was so pleased for them, we had our little team, we still do, and always support our ups and we are there for each other during the downs.
After that horrendous session, I put it to the back of my mind, I focused on my training and got elected into two committees for the league, PR and Bout production, I was so flattered as roles were usually given out once you had passed. Again, Hayles was there and said I had shown my dedication, and that they wanted to encourage more Freshmeat involvement. After that I decided to go with a ‘go with the flow attitude’, my transitions arrived and got perfected throughout the course. New arrivals commented on how well I executed the skills and thought I knew what I was doing, I was incredibly flattered. I made new friends and we supported each other. Courtney came to know me so well she knew when to yell and what to yell in 27/5 and I nailed it. Then came the test day, deep breath, slowly exhale, you have got this. On 10th February I earned my derby name…I was a Wench!! I could not believe it had finally happened. I was surprised, shocked and elated. I could not thank our trainer and all the Wenches and Dogs that supported me. The feeling of finally getting over the hill was amazing. I have met some amazing people and can’t wait to grow as a player. If you are prepared to work at it and battle though it is the most worthwhile thing you can ever do. I recommend Roller Derby for everyone, it doesn’t matter how tall, short, thick or thin the is a place for everyone.
‘Be your own hero’ – Whip It 2009
Cherry Bomb’er x