Open day stories #2 – Amy’s story

KRG are holding our next open day evening on September 3rd at our home track, the Bay Arena in Herne Bay. To celebrate we’ve asked previous open day attendees to tell us their stories…

Amy’s story:

“After being with Kent Roller Girls Rec League for the best part of 8 months now, I have confidently come to the conclusion that Roller Derby makes EVERYTHING hurt! So “why join?” you ask? Well, for whatever reason I had decided to watch “Whip It!” with my husband one evening and whilst watching it I decided “yeah, I could have a go at that!”. The reasons in my head being: I can hit hard I reckon. I’d ridiculously forgotten about strapping 8 wheels to my feet and trying to maintain some centre of gravity!
So with that, I then searched Google (other search engines are available) to see if there was a roller derby league near me. There was! KRG. I was really bloody nervous about the open day. I even put off asking about it for maybe two weeks. I’m not fit, I’m a rather large human, a bit rotund I suppose, I get nervous around new people and do an internal fear vomit. But I needed this. I needed something for me. I messaged and do you know what, I’ve never had someone put my fears to bed so quickly. I felt wanted, I felt needed and I didn’t feel ashamed.

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Amy at the open day

Leading up to the open day I was so nervous. I bought myself a cheap mouth guard and was ready to go. It was here, 23rd October 2016. I picked up my buddy and off we went, we both got there, crapping our pants in all honesty. I looked at the windows by the reception for The Bay and there were 3 faces looking out, smiling and genuinely pleased to see us. They came and met us at the door, introduced themselves, said hello and guided us to the sort of “check in” point to sign waivers and kit up.

Kitting up, well…. not being small, I already began to get nervous, count myself out. I remember saying that I could just watch but inside I was dying. But they didn’t give up. They didn’t let me sit out. They told me they needed me. This meant the entire world and after searching and trying on several pads and being disheartened, they found me some that fitted. I didn’t have to sit out, I wasn’t counted out. They’d already won me over.
We went into the hall, there were probably about 15 of us for the open day I attended. We did some warm up stuff, jogging on the spot, stretches, you get the idea. Then we did some off skates skills like how to fall safely with one knee, two knees, falling small. (things like that will make more sense when you come along.) Truth be told, I was already knackered. Things (I cant call them muscles at this point) were burning, I was sweating out. Then came the skates. Everyone else put them on fine, stood up, sure a few people fell or wobbled….ME? I couldn’t even get off the floor. I simply wasn’t fit or strong enough. I was crawling around the floor like an adult baby in all honesty. I could not get up. I was struggling. I was doubting. I was beginning to quit. “I cant do this, maybe I shouldn’t try, why did I come here?” All those feelings of being the fat kid at school who was picked last for P.E were coming back.

Then came Helen. She gave me a pep talk, looked after me, held my hand, literally. She was as determined to get me off the floor as I was.

After many “I can’t do this”-es I was up. I was standing!! (note: don’t get over excited as you will fall on your bloody bum!) I was back on the floor. I was flipping tired. I’d used muscles i didn’t even know I had and they were burning. I got up maybe a couple of more times but I had to admit defeat. However, I felt like I’d had a small victory. Getting up was a massive deal for me.

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Getting ready for a hit

It was time for cake, you will learn, derby = cake. There was all sorts, vegan, non vegan, gluten free, sprinkles! All were made but the existing league members for all us coming along to the open day. There was black and gold bunting, some merch.. I was completely overwhelmed but in the best way. Then us newbies all sat down and they went round and we all introduced ourselves to each other. I felt accepted as I was and completely welcomed.
Scrim time!! WE GOT TO WATCH A SCRIM! This was all very exciting, we got a brief introduction to the rules and who’s who etc. It was great to watch. The gang at KRG are so fierce. So hard working and completely determined. It was inspiring to watch.
I went home, sunk into my sofa already wishing it was next sunday…30 minutes later I went to get up… EVERYTHING HURT! I had butt ache?!! I didn’t even know that was a thing, I had aches on aches on aches. I made weird noises when I sat down, i couldn’t get up… This went on for 3 days so take this as a warning! However when Sunday came around, I wasn’t nervous anymore, I was so excited. We got there, we were remembered, kitted up and put into groups depending on level so no-one is asked to do anything out of their level…
Now remember I said I couldn’t get off the floor? Well, inevitably I fell, managing to stay upright for 30 seconds was brilliant but now I was down, I needed to get back up! You know what!? I only went and did it! I got off the bloody floor!!

 

With the support and guidance of all the coaches, main leaguers, other reccies and my new little family, I am actually half way through my level 2 minimum skills.

 

There are 3 tiers of skill levels you need to pass before you can try out for the team. I never even thought I’d make it through level 1!

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A well deserved award for Amy

If you’re looking for something that will test you, emotionally and physically, because doing things out of your comfort level is hard. If you’re looking to make new friends who will have your back, push you, look after you when you’re having a bad day. If you’re looking for something to do whenever you can fit it in or want something to completely commit to. Roller Derby is definitely for you. It is one of the best things I have ever, ever done and it’s changed so much about me for the positive. Not just my mind or my attitude, but most brilliantly of all: It gives you a cracking bum! Come along and try it out!”

 

If you’d like to come along to our next open day, check out the Facebook event or send us an email at recruitment@kentrollergirls.com

Open day stories #1 – Rachel’s story

KRG are holding our next open day evening on September 3rd at our home track, the Bay Arena in Herne Bay. To celebrate we’ve asked previous open day attendees to tell us their stories…

Rachel’s story:

“I’d been aware of roller derby as a concept for a while, but had assumed it was largely an American sport and dismissed it as a possibility. After seeing an advert for another UK team in the programme at an NFL game in London, my interest was piqued, and following a bit of internet searching, I came across Kent Roller Girls. They had an open day coming up, so I decided I’d go along. I’d done a lot of sport growing up, and did fencing whilst at University, but since moving down to Kent for work five years ago I had become quite sedentary.

I went to the open day alone, and was quite nervous. I’m not the fittest, or most athletically built, and was worried that I wouldn’t fit in, or would be judged for my appearance and ability. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

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Rachel (in the green helmet) at the open day

From the moment I stepped into the gym, I was greeted by friendly faces, everyone seemed welcoming and genuinely wanted to help and share their sport with all the newbies. After getting kitted up, we started off by learning how to fall safely, then progressed to basic skating skills. It struck me how varied all the other skaters were, and also how they all seemed to be smiling and encouraging one another. No one was left behind, and everyone was encouraged to participate as fully as they felt they could. After skating, we had a discussion about roller derby, and everyone introduced themselves.

There was then a chance to watch the main league skaters scrimmage, which gave us our first taste of Roller Derby action. I was hooked.

 

Fast forward four months, and I can’t believe how much skating has changed my life. I’m still not the most athletic, but I have a stronger core, better muscles, and I feel much more confident about my appearance than I have done in years. I’m signing off skills regularly, am half a lap short of my ‘27 in 5’, and am looking forward to working more on hits and blocking skills.

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Lacing up the skates for the first time

I’m improving my stamina by skating as much as I can in my spare time, which is improving my fitness in other areas too. I’d like to progress to main league, and get involved in the B team as soon as possible.

I’d like to become a bit of a double threat, as both a blocker and a jammer.

 

I’ve met so many like-minded people since joining KRG, and made many lifelong friends. I’m getting involved in the social aspects too, attending events, promoting the league, and supporting our team at games whenever I can.

I’m also learning to NSO, which is helping me learn the rules of derby. I’ve also picked my derby name. I’m Grazed Anatomy #133, after the TV show, but apt because in ‘real life’ I’m a veterinary surgeon (I also fall over a lot, so the ‘grazed’ applies more than it should!). My number is a tribute to my Mum, who was always my biggest supporter.

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Loving a bit of sock derby during a Recreational League training session

The thing I think has struck me most about KRG though, is the sense of camaraderie between the members. Everyone supports one another, and we all celebrate each other’s successes. After every training session, people thank the coaches, and congratulate other skaters on their achievements. No one is too busy to offer pointers, or lend a hand if needed. The league motto ‘Hustle, Unite, Commit’ definitely applies.”

If you’d like to come along to our next open day, check out the Facebook event or send us an email at recruitment@kentrollergirls.com