Keep rollin’ with roller derby!By Sj.Cliff
- Banner by Craig Richmond
In the quest to get healthy, it can be difficult to find a way to have fun when exercising. We all know that working out in a group motivates you to work harder so, logic leads you to playing a team sport… but with so many on offer, which one do you choose?
Here at The Student Guide, we like to try things that are a little different. So when we heard about the growing groups of roller derby girls across the UK we decided to send Sam down to give it a go!
Roller Derby is a fast, full-contact sport, with two teams of five skaters battling in an explosive Jam. One skater in each team is the Jammer and has a star on her helmet. She gets points for each member of the opposition that she passes. The rest of their team are Blockers who help their Jammer by shoving the other team and clearing a path. After an explosive two minutes, the line-up of skater’s changes and it all starts again!
The Birmingham Blitz Dames, as they are affectionately called, are a very successful team with six international players for Ireland, Wales, and The West Indies, based in Birmingham.
After having a bit of a read up about the sport, I won’t lie, I was a little scared. I’ve done contact sports (14 years of karate) and I’ve skated before (if in-lines in my back garden when I was 6 counts?) but the thought of combining the two was a little intimidating. However the excitement got the better of me and with the help of skaters I’d met for around 3 seconds, I was kitted up faster than you could say “roller girl”!
The thing that hits you the most when you first arrive (and I’ve asked the other newbies about this as well – they all agreed) is how amazingly tightknit and friendly it is. Despite knowing nobody there, I’d spoken to around half the ladies by the time we started warming up. You’d have never guessed they were so cuddly if you’d seen them play properly!
As this was an introduction day, the first aspect of the game covered was safety. Being on wheels, it made sense that the first thing you are trained in is stance and falling safely.
Pretending to ‘shit in the woods’ (figuratively guys! It’s just squatting on skates!) was a little surreal, but definitly the easiest way to skate. I honestly had no idea there were so many ways to fall! Admittedly, you look like a bit of a tit skating and curling up into a little ball on the floor but the fact that other newbies (that’s the training day girls) were doing the same made it a great way to bond.
That combined with the support of both A and B team members really upped everyone’s confidence.
On top of that were a few basic skills, like skating properly and (thank goodness) stopping!
Training sessions last around 2 hours – it may sound like a long time but it literally flies by. Unlike a lot of sports I’ve tried, even after that amount of time I was dying to play more! A great laugh and a tonne of new friends later, I’m definitly coming back!