I enrolled in the Fresh Meat course for the Brighton Rockers roller derby team 12 weeks ago. For those of you who are unfamiliar with roller derby, unless you’ve seen the (cheesy but fun) film Whip It, the best way to describe it is like rugby on rollerskates. Scary, hard work, but so much fun!
Photo courtesy of Terrence McNally via flickr
I decided to bite the bullet and registered my interest last autumn and in February joined Fresh Meat, a 12-week course that teaches you to be at the minimum level of skating you’ll need as well as beginner roller derby skills.
On Sunday I had my minimum skills test.
I was nervous despite being reassured by the coaches that it’s not a ‘test’ per se but just an opportunity for them to assess which parts we can do and which bits need some work. I suppose I just wanted to do as well as I could do. And I think I’m come so far! When I signed up for Fresh Meat I went to a couple of local roller discos so that I felt steadier on my feet, but before that I hadn’t skated since I was about 10 years old. I couldn’t even stand still on skates so I’m so proud of myself!
The minimum skills test included demonstrating the following:
- Strong skating posture and stability
- Confident, fluid strides
- Crossovers on track turns
- Stops – T-stops, plow stops, four point falls
- Knee taps
- Balancing on one foot
- Stepping forwards and backwards; and from side to side
- Hopping and jumping over objects
- Weaving around cones
- Weaving in a pace line – staying at arm’s length from other skaters without falling or tripping
- Pack skating
- 180 degree transitions
- Backwards skating
- Giving and receiving arm whips
- Giving and receiving pushes
I think the only bits we have left to do are:
- Taking hits
- Blocking other skaters
- Hip and body checks (hitting an opponent with your hip or side of your body)
- ’27 in 5’ (skating round a regulation size track 27 times in five minutes)
I can’t wait to find out how I’ve done!