Mary Lee's Fresh Meat Journey, Pt. 3: Boot Camp Begins

This is part of a series by Fresh Meat skater Mary Lee, who is documenting her evolution from derby dreamer to derby athlete, continuing here in the A2D2 blog.

Each week we have two practices, and I’ll put them in one post and separate the lessons by practice. 

March 1, 2015 -- This week we’re moving along quickly, well quickly to a fresh meat skater like me.  You know the phrase fake it till you make it? Well you can’t do that with derby.  We all showed up dressed for the part but there is no way to fake roller derby. 

One of the things we learned was stopping, and I could kind of stop.  Going forward was fine but stopping will need more work, maybe that’s not a good combination.  Falling came more naturally.  The other thing that really made an impact was our first endurance test of skating as many laps as possible in 5 minutes.  This is one of the activities on the skill test and we have to be able to do 27 laps in 5 minutes.  When this was announced I literally said, “Whaaaaaaaaat?” (like a Despicable me minion).  In the end I did 18 laps, fell twice, and got more great advice from a vet…….derby stance lower, much much lower. 

There were a quite a few vets at practice, and I knew from the raw meat session that my skills were not where I wanted them to be.  The lesson I learned this time from vets is that they are not judging us, but they are there to help us.  In fact, the best bit of advice I got this week from a vet was that if you are not falling then you are not learning.  You are going to fall and you are going to fall hard but that doesn’t mean you are terrible it means you are trying something new and challenging.  


March 4, 2015 -- Reviewing what we learned at the first practice was so much easier.  Did I just say that?  Yes, practicing really works.  Maybe I’m on a one-practice delay; the first day I try it’s a struggle and awkward, then the second time it seems to come a bit more naturally.  Still not perfect at plow stops but it’s getting better, also skating backwards is a challenge.  Skating butt first is not intuitive; it feels like I will instantly fall backwards. 

I fell numerous times today and the falls were ALL on the right butt cheek.  I’m not sure how it happened, but it did.  I ended up icing it when I got home, super sore but no bruise yet.  I think this would be my first derby injury!?!

The other activity we did this practice was to play games, another “whaaaaat?” moment.  We used our skills to play a few games, and I could tell that our group is starting to feel more like a team, a big supportive team. 

I’m enjoying the supportive, encouraging, and constructiveness of this group of skaters.  We are all going through this immensely challenging experience together and I’m happy to be on the journey with them.  From what I’ve heard from others, we have a lot of hard training ahead of us. 

I'm Mary Lee. I'm an aspiring Derby girl (currently a fresh meat skater), a scientist, a runner, a reader, and a dog snuggler. I like Harry Potter, A Song of Ice and Fire, a good BBC mystery show, and Oxford commas.

Posted on March 24, 2015 .