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Open Day Stories #4 – Rebecca’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…

What (if any) other sports do you play?: Currently none, I used to play Airsoft regularly with my team but haven’t been able too since moving to Canterbury. I do pole fitness and like going to the gym but never got into any other team sports.

How did you find out about KRG?: I saw an advert on Facebook for a home game in Herne Bay, it was the week before the open day so I figured I would go along and check it out.

Rebecca at our last open day (she’s wearing the black helmet in the centre of the frame )

How long did it take you to figure out how the game works?: I would like to say I know how it works after watching a few games and practise runs in training, but I am sure I have lots more rules to learn.

Do you want to be a blocker or a jammer?: Being a blocker seems to be more fun, but I can still barely stop myself, let alone anyone else! I do however like skating at speed, or at least the idea of being able to skate at speed! So I feel I may end up aiming for Jammer.

Is there a story behind your derby name/number?: I wanted to be a Palaeontologist since before I can remember, unfortunately life took a different route but my dinosaur obsession remains. I figured the T-Rex would be the most intimidating dinosaur to use and Beckysaurus Rex sprang to mind, to be shortened to B-Rex. Someone at work suggested the Wrex to be more “intimidating!”.

Learning how to fall

Toughest skill you’ve learned/trying to master?: My original skating experience comes from skateboarding, so to have wheels on separately feet was a new experience as they don’t like to work as a team. More recently I have been trying to get skating backwards but my legs just refuse and I am currently relying on gravity!

Were you nervous coming to the open day?: Yes. My anxiety had me sitting in the car for a good few minutes before excitement took over and I decided to go for it. The second I walked through to the changing room I forgot all about my nervousness, and dove in. Loved it ever since, even on wobbly days!

First impressions of KRG?: I honestly wouldn’t be able to pin it down, other than the fact they are patient and full of encouragement. KRG is made up of so many different people, with different skills, abilities and backgrounds.

Learning from our A team skaters

What skates/pads do you have/like?: I currently have some second hand Riedells which are great, but I could do with some wider skates so will be looking to upgrade to a wider brand soon.

Any tips for newbies starting their roller derby journey?: Have patience! In yourself, in your kit and in your fellow newbies. You may take to derby straight away, you may not find your inner skater until you have the perfect skates and wheels. Stick with it though, as the simplest changes can make the biggest difference!


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 #3 – Sam’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…

Sam’s story:

Hi, I’m Sam and I discovered KRG about a month before I finally plucked up the courage to give it a try myself. I got handed a KRG leaflet during the Fresher’s Fair at the Uni I work for and was instantly intrigued. I googled Roller Derby and ‘bam’ that was it – I knew I wanted to do that too. Trouble was I hadn’t actually skated in years and didn’t know anyone else that wanted to come with me, so, I spent many days and nights hovering over the button on their Facebook event to say I was actually going…

Sunday 23rd October 2016 came around and it was finally the KRG open day – eeekk! My nerves were all over the place and I was so incredibly nervous but filled with so much excitement at the same time. I sat in the car park for a while to pull myself together and then I headed inside. As soon as I walked in I felt the excitement take over and my nerves were pushed to one side. There were skates and cakes everywhere, and lots of chatter among the regular skaters going on, and it was really great to be part of the buzz. I signed in and then sat down with some other newbies waiting for our turn to get ‘kitted up’ and go into the hall.

The other skaters were whizzing around doing lots of cool stuff and I thought to myself – yes! I definitely want to do that, let’s do this!


Us newbies were in our own little area of the hall and we started off skates learning how to fall properly – yes, I said falling. This is a really vital basic skill to get right so that’s why it’s the first thing to learn, I fell a lot to start with but that’s the learning process and you have the protective gear on anyway, so I just got back up and tried again. We had a go on the skates too and I didn’t want the session end, it was over way to quickly!


Sam (front, right) taking her place in the wall

I have now been a reccie skater for 9 months (wow time really flies!) and can 100% say that KRG is the most amazing place to be and they are like family. The encouragement, support, laughter, friendships, and team spirit is just wonderful. I come away each Sunday night with a real buzz. I even have my own snazzy skater name and number, yes that’s a thing you get to do and when others skaters use your name you do feel pretty badass. Mine is Glitch #8 (as in Vanellope von Schweetz from Wreck it Ralph).

Each week you practice loads of different skills and sometimes you get to play sock derby. That is the coolest game as you get to play out a mock bout off skates and get to try some jamming and blocking skills in a game scenario, it’s awesome. I have a few more skills to nail and then need to get those laps to reach tryouts. Passing your minimum skills – which includes a rules test and laps, means you can graduate from rec league and enter main league and can go compete in rookie bouts – I know how cool right! I really can’t wait!

A rabble of reccies!

I am also part of Team NSO. These are the people who help officiate the bouts – non skating officials. We do things like penalty box timing, line up tracking, score keeping and jam timing. A scrim can’t happen without NSO’s and Ref’s so learning to be an official is also a really cool skill to do while in rec league. Plus it really helps with rules test stuff and you get front row seats to the action on track!

I have had the most amazing past 9 months with my new teammates. I’ve travelled to Birmingham for a minimum skills bootcamp with them as well as taking part in a charity event called Walking out of Darkness in London.

“Skating out of Darkness” in London

Seeing where I am now from those first few training sessions is something I am really proud of.


Why not come and join us in KRG and start your amazing skate journey too – it’ll be one of the best decisions you ever make trust me!

Glitch out –xx-


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 #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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

Kent Roller Girls; seven years old and still going strong.

Ever wanted to know how to set up a roller derby league that will still be going from strength to strength seven years later? Well, I did, so I spoke to Demi Lition, the founding member of the Kent Roller Girls as they celebrate the league’s 7th Birthday this weekend.

So, can you tell me a bit about the story of how Kent Roller Girls came to be? What made you decide to go for it in the first place and how many people turned up for the first practice? 

I started skating in summer 2008 with Leeds Roller Dolls and moved back down south in late 2009. Stubbornness / stupidity meant that I refused to leave LRD and continued travelling back up every Sunday for a 2 hour practice so I could stay with my team! I managed around 6 months of the 500 mile round trip before I realised that I was just spending way too much time and money when I could just transfer to a closer league. Initially, I was going to transfer to London Rollergirls and started attending their sessions but realised quite quickly that I wouldn’t be able to make enough sessions to ever be able to skate for them, so starting a team in Kent was the only way to carry on playing.

Demi jamming for KRG in the 2017 British Championships.

In May 2010 I set up a Facebook group thinking that maybe within 6 months I would have enough interest to start looking at halls and I’d have a load of time to start figuring out how the hell you start a roller derby league! A couple of people had attempted starting leagues in Kent before but had never got past the “setting up a Facebook page” stage. Within 24 hours I had 400 likes and 30 people message me and it all became a little more urgent! Luckily the guys at The Pier Sports Centre in Herne Bay were on board with me hiring their hall for this crazy sport they’d never heard of and we managed to set a start date! The sports centre hosted a lot of skating events already and had their own skate shop along with tonnes of hire skates so we ended up in the best place possible!

The first session we had 17 people, possibly only 2 of which had been able to skate already. No one really had any idea of what roller derby was and I’d never done any sort of coaching before (or really spoken in front of groups of people before) but we all muddled along and people got hooked!

One of the Kent Roller Girls first training sessions back in 2010

Obviously there’s not much in terms of money and funding out there for roller derby, so what do you think has enabled the league to keep going for the last seven years?

In the early days a lot of the hall hire came out of my own pocket (and the pockets of other people in the league) as our numbers were never consistent and we couldn’t always cover the cost of training. We held a lot of fundraisers in the early days to make sure that wasn’t a problem for too long (and to pay everyone back!) and that really helped us to keep going. These days its mostly monthly dues that are covering all costs and helping us grow the league. Continual recruitment and regular open days have really helped keep those numbers up!

We always have plans to grow the league though so we’re always looking to raise more through home games, merch sales, fundraisers and sponsorships. It’s a never-ending quest!

How important has it been for KRG to set up a rec league?

The formation of the Rec League has been crucial in keeping KRG running and bringing up new skaters into the main team. We used to have a fresh meat programme which put a very limited time period on when you had to pass your skills by and if you didn’t, you had to wait until the beginning of the next one. The Rec League lets everyone progress at their own pace and its less pressure then having to pass within a certain time. And if you have no interest in playing full roller derby and just fancy learning skating skills every so often, its there for you too!

The Kent Roller Girls Rec League teaches the basics of skating and roller derby and is open to complete beginners.

Our Rec guys are the most enthusiastic, supportive group of people I have ever met and I love seeing their progress each week. They cheer on each other’s achievements, pick each other up when they’re down and are the best support system for each of our members. They’re all awesome!

What are you most proud of looking back over the last seven years of KRG?

This is always a difficult question, because there is just so much that we’ve achieved. Being promoted to Tier 2 in British Champs last year was amazing, and there have been a lot of games we have surprised people on. I do always look back at our first game and am amazed that we actually got to a place where we looked like we knew what we were doing! We were out there and we were playing roller derby!

Mostly I’m proud of the fact that we have managed to get 100s of people on skates! People who may not have ever thought about playing a team sport and who may not have exercised in years are taking this sport seriously and looking to be the best they can. And they’re doing a bloody ace job of it!

How do you think roller derby has changed in the years since KRG first began?

Ha! So much has changed! Roller derby is being considered as way more of a sport these days, less about the spectacle of girls in fishnets beating the crap out of each other. These skaters are athletes. They train harder than ever before and the level of derby and athleticism these days is incredible!

The rules have obviously changed a huge amount – no more minors, knee starts, poodling, two whistles (and trying to drag out that 2nd whistle) – and we all learned how to actually slow the game down instead of just whizzing around hoping to hit someone!

What would you like to see for the league in the next seven years?

Apart from world domination, that answer will always involve the word “Warehouse”! I would love for the league to have their own home. Somewhere we can base everything and skate whenever we like! I think it’s achievable within that time, but it’s just going to take a lot of hard graft!

Having our own home would mean we get to run a lot more beginners skate sessions and introduce so many more people to a life on 8 wheels!

If you would like to join Kent Roller Girls or possibly even buy us a warehouse then do drop us an email at recruitment@kentrollergirls.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, just click here to get through to our page and give us a ‘like’ to stay updated or follow us on Instagram.

Do you just want your body back?

Kent Roller Girls rec league member, Abi, talks about what roller derby has done for her and the healthy, positive effect it’s had on her body image. The original post for this can be found on her blog here:  http://www.likereallifeblog.com/2017/06/01/do-you-just-want-your-body-back/



“January was six months ago, so it’s kind of weird to talk about New Year’s resolutions, but this year mine was quite simple really. I just wanted to be happier, so one of the first things I did was that I quit my gym membership.

If you enjoy going to the gym then I am genuinely very happy for you. Some people really do, but for me I just felt it was something I was doing for some kind of end result rather than because I actually liked it in any way.

Also, it was just a waste of money because with two young children I hardly had anytime to actually go. I joined thinking I could do crazy things like getting up super-duper early and going before the school run, but that never really worked out because my husband can’t do any morning school runs. I went a few times in the morning before work or on my way home if I’d done an early shift, but I was just totally exhausting myself. Squeezing a knackering workout into the edges of my day was not making me feel good and I think mainly because I was not having fun, at all, in any way while I was there.

I even tried a session with a personal trainer to try and help motivate me a bit more. It was slightly humiliating at the initial assessment. We went to a little corner of the gym where there were some scales and a battered looking desk in an alcove. On the wall of the alcove were several motivational posters with pictures of muscly looking men on them, jogging next to flaky looking women wearing full make up and a push-up sports bra.

She weighed me and I winced at the number. I was at least two stone heavier than before I started having children.

I think she may have measured me a bit around the belly and the thighs as well and also we had to go through this massive form together about what I eat, how much alcohol I drink and how active I am during the day. She asked me if I already did any other sports.

‘No,’ was the answer.

‘I mean, I used to go running quite a bit,’ I said. ‘I wanted to try rugby a while ago but I was always pregnant or breastfeeding so I thought it might be a bit dangerous for me and I used to do long distance running, but I don’t really have the time now and it’s just difficult fitting it in around the kids and stuff so . . .’

I looked at the picture of the wall of the woman jogging. She didn’t look like she made any excuses about not fitting runs in.

She also looked like a total knob.

‘And what are your aims?’ The personal trainer asked me. ‘What do you really want to get out of coming to the gym?’

‘Mmmm . . . well . . . I just want to feel like . . . sort of . . .  I just want to feel a bit better I suppose. I want to feel stronger and just like I am moving around a bit more. I dunno.’

I stared off into the middle distance. I couldn’t quite say what it was that I wanted to achieve.

‘Do you just want to get your body back?’ She asked me.

I looked at her.

She was so young and slim and beautiful and her eyes held the brightness of the kind of human being who gets at least seven to eight hours unbroken sleep a night on a consistent basis.

‘My body back?’

‘Yes, you know?’ She sort of motioned towards the extra weight I was carrying around my middle. ‘Do you just really want to get your body back? Like . . . erm . . . do you just want to look like you did before you had kids?’

‘Erm, I dunno. I don’t think I can really do that and also, I just . . .  I just want to be stronger and just feel better, you know? Like, when I am running. It’s just . . . I just feel happier.’

‘So you don’t really want to work on your problem areas?’ She asked as if I was completely insane.

I thought about my ‘problem areas’ and what they had been through over the last few years of pregnancy and miscarriage and childbirth and breastfeeding. I thought about my body and what it has done in the last six years of my life, how it has grown and birthed and fed and held and washed and dressed and chased and tickled and played with two new human beings who have come into the world and have been sustained in this world through my body. My body which has swelled and shrunk and contracted and drooped and got up again and again and again

and again in the night to the sound of crying.

I looked at the personal trainer and realised that the gym just totally, absolutely sucked.

‘Okay, I said. Let’s work on my problem areas.’

A few weeks later I stopped going to the gym. It was boring and knackering and the music was the worst and most annoying music you have ever heard in your life. I just couldn’t fit it in around the kids and eventually it became a real waste of £25 a month.

So for my new year’s resolution I did something that I had been meaning to do for ages. I phoned up and quit. It felt great.

So, what if I told you that now, six months down the line, that I am more into sport than I have been in years? That actually now, some of the best hours of my week are when I am exercising and that those are the days I look forward to the most in the week?

We got my daughter some roller skates for Christmas this year. She didn’t ask for them, she just wanted surprises, but I remembered a few times when we had been to jumble sales and she had seen sets of second hand roller skates she could have bought with her pocket money but they had never been the right size for her.

I also remembered how one night when we had been on our summer holiday, this kid whizzed past us on a skateboard with light-up wheels and it just totally blew her tiny mind.

I kind of knew that she was going to love the skates we had got her, even though she hadn’t asked for them. I shopped around and found some good quality ones, the best that we could afford, with light up wheels which flashed different colours when you rolled on them. I found a kid’s skating class I could start taking her too and watched you tube videos about how to roller skate.

When she opened them on Christmas day she was over the moon. She put them on and immediately fell over and cried.

But we went out to the local parks on dry days and to some local kids skating lessons and slowly but surely she found her balance and picked it up. Soon I was jogging to keep up with her and realised I’d probably have to get my own skates too.

When I say have to, the truth is that helping her learn to skate had really made me want to put skates on my feet again too. I hadn’t been on roller skates since I was about seven but it just looked like so much fun.

I started looking around for some kind of adult skating lessons to go to or something so that I could learn how to roller skate without holding hands with (and possibly taking down) a five-year-old at the same time. In my googling, I found out about a local women’s roller derby team; the Kent Roller Girls. I had no idea what roller derby actually was, but I was vaguely aware that there was a film about it with Ellen Page in and that it was mainly a female dominated sport. From what I could gather looking online, it seemed to be a cross between a race and a rugby scrum but on skates.

Yes, I thought.

This is something I am going to try.

I went along to a recreation league session on my own. I had emailed ahead and found that it was ok to turn up to this as a total beginner. At the recreational league they teach you all the minimum skating skills that you need to be able to play roller derby. Once you have passed these you can try out for a team. I didn’t know anyone there and none of my friends wanted to come with me.

I’ve got to be honest and admit that I felt like a bit of an idiot. Just before I went into the leisure centre I thought,

‘What the fuck am I actually doing? I am an overweight mum in my thirties in a pair of leggings that have holes in and one of my husband’s old t-shirts and I am about to go and learn a sport which looks a lot like knocking people over whilst on roller skates. It is obviously going to be only for 19-year-old sports science students with a background in speed skating or something.’

Also, I remembered this time when one of my husband’s friends found out about parkour and decided he wanted to give it a try and so found out about a local group on the internet, but when he actually turned up to do parkour with them they were literally all twelve-year-old boys who wanted to leapfrog over concrete bollards and stuff.

I was a bit worried I was going to look like a twat.

Luckily for me, I don’t find looking like a twat to be that devastating though. I mean, just in this last week I have ended up accidently going out for the morning in my husbands slippers and turning up for the school run one afternoon with a piece of human poo smeared across my knees (it wasn’t mine btw) so it’s become a sort of default for me.

Anyway, I went in and people were really friendly and said hi and they were not all fifteen years younger than me. Someone got me kitted out with some skates, a helmet and various pads. I had to sign a waiver, put in my gumshield and then I could get started.

Within the first five minutes I was having a lot more fun than I had ever experienced at the gym. The first thing they taught me and the few other newbies who were starting that day was how to fall over. We didn’t even have our skates on yet we just had to run and then kind of knee slide across the floor on our pads. It was awesome.

We did some fitness stuff and got our skates on and then by the end of the first session we had learnt how to (kind of) stay balanced skating forwards and how to stop a little bit. We had also laughed a lot and fallen on our arses loads. I’d had a really good time. I enjoyed myself which is kind of weird considering I had been exercising.

I’ve met some of the loveliest people at roller derby. We all love knocking each other to the ground so much. That’s me bottom left with the red top and the black gum shield.

The thing is, how often is exercise just sold to women as something they need to do in order to look a certain way or lose a certain amount of pounds. How often is it just a punishment rather than a pleasure?

Often, what’s sold to women is a way of exercising that has nothing to do with sport and everything to do with making women feel like shit about themselves.

Roller derby to me is the opposite of that. It’s about being a strong and powerful team of women working together and even in the recreational league that I go to, people are always so encouraging to each other and willing each other to do well and to progress.

I felt hooked from my first session of roller derby. As an adult who rarely gets a chance to switch off, messing about on roller skates feels just as much fun as it did when I was seven and me and my friend would skate up and down the pavement outside her house. It has given me a reason to spend some time away from my house and partner and children for a couple of hours each week. It has been awesome to try something totally new and to learn to do something as a total beginner.

I couldn’t quite get out what I wanted to say to that personal trainer all those months ago but I think I am starting to get it now. She asked me if I wanted my body back and I guess that I did, just not quite in the way that she meant.

She wanted to know if I wanted my body back looking like it used to but I just wanted my body back to feeling good again, feeling strong and well and doing stuff.

I don’t really want to work on my problem areas or lose weight. God knows, it’d be great if someone could wave a magic wand and make me look 21 again as opposed to a knackered and overweight mum of two in her thirties, but the thing is, I am a knackered and overweight mum of two in my thirties and if my ‘problem areas’ aren’t that much of a problem for me than they’re not really problem areas anymore are they? They are just ‘areas.’

It was bewildering to the personal trainer to encounter a woman who was not at the gym with the main intention of altering her appearance, of slimming down and smoothing over the ‘problem’ parts of her body.

At roller derby I don’t feel like my body is a problem, not at all. In fact, I’ve been amazed at what my body can actually do when I give it the chance and at what it can learn even though I am not in my teens or my twenties anymore.

Me being a blur.

Sport doesn’t have to be about changing your body or looking a certain way, but unfortunately this is the way that it is so often packaged up and sold to women. Perhaps that’s the way a lot of people enjoy exercising, I dunno. All I know is that it got to the point for me where looking different was not important. I wanted to enjoy myself. I wanted to have fun. I wanted more happiness in my life, not more self-punishment or guilt.

And physically, I wanted to be stronger, faster, and more able to chase my two-year-old around the park. After years of hardly any sleep and sitting down for hours feeding babies I wanted to feel less like a sack of aches and pains at the start of each day and less out of breath when I go up the stairs fifty million times a morning looking for stuff my daughter needs to put in her book bag for school.

I’m sure there is a place for the kind of approach of the personal trainer that I had a session with, you know, starting off with what you want to change about your appearance and then exercising accordingly, but can you imagine how much more fun it would be to play an actual sport instead? What about a dance class? What about hockey or football or netball or rugby? What about roller skating or rock climbing or basketball or anything really that is actually about enjoying what you are doing and champions what you are able to do as opposed to just trying to be slimmer?

Anyway, if you can relate to what I’m saying then I’d encourage you to try something new like I did. You always feel like a knob turning up to something for the first time but it can be so good to have a crack at something new. Trying roller derby has been just what I needed and I have met an amazing group of women too. Women of all ages, shapes and stages of life.

I thought I’d be the only Mum there when I first turned up. I thought I’d definitely be the only person over 30 and overweight. I thought that since I couldn’t even roller skate at all I would be laughed at and people would wonder why I was even there. Walking through the door for the first time was hard, but now I wouldn’t miss a week’s training.

And I was wrong about who else would be there. I wasn’t unwelcome or out of place. It’s such an inclusive sport. From what I have seen so far, there’s a space for every type of body shape on a roller derby team.

Anyway, I could go on about roller derby for ages and I’m not even going to attempt to explain the rules of the game or the fact that there isn’t even a ball. You should watch this video instead about women in sport. It’s got roller derby in it and an awesome poem by Maya Angelou.”


Name: Trauma Trevor

Number: 29

Story behind the name & number: Name- I was struggling to find a name for a long time! A couple of the girls from the team and I went out for a drink to watch the World Cup. During our night out, someone took what I can only describe as an awful picture. I told her to delete it as it made me look manly. She laughed and called me Trevor. Several weeks later I was still being referred to as ‘Trev’ on the track and I knew I’d never shake it (thanks Killa Knightly).The ‘Trauma’ part related to my line of work (A&E nurse at the time).
Number: the number for me held a lot more significance than any name. Just 2 months before I began learning to play roller derby, my Father was murdered. I wanted somewhere to channel my anger and frustration. Instead, I found a second family. Dad died on the 29th November 2013 and that’s the day that changed my life. Without it though, I would never have found Kent Roller Girls. Without them, I might have been in a worse off place. 💛🐎

Jammer or Blocker?: Blocker but always happy to try a jam or two 🙂

Favourite derby move: Chasing the jammer and Hooking them!

Derby role model: Demi Lition. I don’t even need to say why. None of us would be here without her.

Why roller derby?: wrong question, we should be asking why not? It includes everyone. Do you like Star Wars? Or punk rock? Or are you a bit short? Do you think you are overweight? Who cares? Roller derby certainly doesn’t.

How did you get involved with KRG?: after the loss of my Dad, two of my friends (Sammy and Amber) encouraged me to give it a try. I’m very glad I went.

What goes through your mind before a game?: a bag full of nerves!

Your favourite derby moment so far?: Winning at the Championship Playoffs and moving up to tier 2!

Your favourite WFTDA team to watch?: Gotham or London

What’s your day job?: Nurse

What do you like to do off the track?: Martial Arts, long dog walks, I also like studying mother subjects like psychology.

How has roller derby impacted your life?: I could have spent a life time in bitterness and anger after having such a massive part of my life taken from me. Instead, I found an amazing bunch of people who held me up when I was down and celebrated with me in my successes. Nothing can replace what I lost, but Kent Roller Girls have filled a pretty big gap. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who has held my hand in my journey and I love each and everyone of those Crazy Horses.