Category Archives: open day

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

KRG Open Day with Kent Sport

Here’s a shocking fact  – two million fewer 14-40 year-old women than men play sport regularly. TWO MILLION!

However, over 20 of those women, shook off any fear of judgement that might have held them back from participating in sport and came along to the Kent Roller Girls open day last week to try the extreme sport of Roller Derby for the first time.

Often, time and cost can be barriers to participation in sport (recreational league is £5 a session on a pay as you go basis), but with loan skates and protective gear available the only restrictions were those people placed on themselves about whether they wanted to give it a go or not!  The THIS GIRL CAN campaign is being run by Sport England and funded by the National Lottery has local partners to help promote uptake of exercise in women and as a result Kent Sport came to vist the team to see what they were all about and hear their stories.

One participant, Abi Oborne said, ” I bought my daughter some rollerskates and thought, actually, I quite fancy giving that a go…so I looked around and found out about Kent Roller Girls.”

The team runs itself, with the more experienced members, giving up their time to coach the beginners from scratch. “We teach people how to fall safely to start so that takes the fear out of it.  Then we put the skates on them, end encourage them to get rolling, which is when the fun really begins!

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“Recreational League Derby gives women a chance to have some time for themselves to see how well they can learn and adapt to a new set of skills, whilst having fun and being supported in a friendly environment,” said member Serena Gilbert, 39 ” We have women from a size 6 to 22, from under 5ft tall to nearly 6ft, it’s about whether you can give it your all, rather than how big or small you are.”

This sport is also about what you can do to be useful to the team, both on and off track, as everyone also helps by doing what they can to promote the teams games, act as officials, design tshirts and posters or write funding bids for support to buy new uniforms. Committee member Danielle said “Everyone has another non-derby life and some of those skills can come in handy when setting up a league – which could be anything from the person who organises the insurance and the rate of the hall bookings to someone who arranges to send a teammate a signed birthday card.

“It was great to have Kent Sport visit us and help raise the profile of what we are trying to do as a team – to be empowered and to empower others”, said team founder Demi. “I’m sure we found some future superstars at our Open Day, whether they go on to play in the team or not I hope that everyone found a bit of superhero in themselves – just by being brave enough to start something new.”

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KRG Open Day – March 12th 2017

We will be hosting our first open day of 2017 on March 12th, 4:30-8pm at our home rink, the Bay Arena in Herne Bay.

Ever thought about getting involved with Kent Roller Girls? Well this is your opportunity! At our open day you will get a chance to have a go on skates (18+ only, no experience necessary), learn what roller derby is all about and experience some real life gameplay from our main league. League members will be on hand to chat to you about their experiences and to help put any  nerves you may have to bed. We can lend you almost all of the kit you need to participate, we just ask that you bring along a mouthguard, as no-one wants to borrow those! Plus, there’ll be free cake and snacks for all, and you’ll be able to get your hands on some KRG merchandise at fancy discount prices. Oh, and did we mention, it’s all absolutely free!

So come along, meet some new people and get hooked on the craziness of roller derby! And remember, we aren’t just looking for skaters, we need referees and officials too, so there’s something for everyone 🙂

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for event information, or email recruitment@kentrollergirls.com.

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Kent Roller Girls take on Tier Two

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The British Roller Derby Championships gets underway on 11th Feb with Kent Roller Girls taking on Windsor. The game will be part of a double header event in Tottenham, the home ground of London Rockin Rollers who will match up against Swansea City. See Facebook for event details.

Kent topped the table in tier three last year, beating Plymouth, Bath, Cornwall, Plymouth and Surrey, along the way. At playoffs, the only team in their way to promotion was Norfolk Roller Derby who lead from the start but Kent managed to swing the match round in a nail biting game to take the win with the final score of 154-138.

KRG advanced but lost to Swansea, the overall winners of the playoff games,and were pipped to a third place by 47 points in a game against the hard-hitting lasses from the Wirral.

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Tier two will be a step up for Kent, as many of the teams have international players, London Rockin Rollers have world cup veterans Jack Attack and Rammit, and Team Wales and Swansea’s #7 The Mortician is a force to be reckoned with. Furthermore, Windsor have a seasoned squad who have played in the USA and Scandinavia, and the Angels of Terror and Big Bucks High Rollers round out the rest of the bracket.

If you want to support the team on their journey into Tier Two the next home game of the season will be at the Bay Arena, Herne Bay on 4th March; tickets are available here.

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If you are a woman over 18 and fancy giving roller derby a go, email recruitment@kentrollergirls.com to join them at their Open Day on 12th March. The team are also always on the look out for Referees and officials (both on and off skates) and can teach you all you need to know.

 

KRG OPEN DAY AUTUMN 2016

Last Sunday saw us welcome some fresh meat to KRG central in Herne Bay, at our last open day of the year.

Open Days are our way of giving folks a chance to come along to our venue, meet the team, have a go at some basic skate skills and get an introduction to the game of roller derby by watching our main league scrimmage. Oh, and there’s cake too. Lots of cake.

Thanks to everyone that came along on the day, we all really enjoyed it and it was great to meet you all. It’s always so impressive seeing new skaters throw themselves in to the action, some without any previous experience on 8 wheels! And for anyone that missed out on this one, we’ll be holding another open day at the end of January 2017; keep the look out for details on our Facebook page!

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Thanks to Michael East for coming along to take some snaps of the action on the day – check out his page for lots of awesome derby pics 🙂