Mary Lee's Fresh Meat Journey, Pt. 5: Boot Camp, Weeks Three & Four

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.

March 15, 2015 -- By far, today was the most mentally challenging day. My coordination did not show up with me at practice this morning. I got to practice a bit early to practice skating the diamond, which is a way to skate faster. Because the track is an oval, instead of skating the oval you make a diamond and skate more efficiently. Check out Roller Derby Athletics; it’s been a great resource for training tips and how to strengthen those muscles I need for roller derby.  

Anyway, I’m just not picking this up as well as I would like to. I totally took a spill onto my booty while just tooling around by myself on the track, and my coordination was off the whole practice. We practiced some fun skills including some barrel rolls and I totally went the wrong way, my brain and body were not communicating. I had to keep reminding myself that it’s just one day, and I won’t feel this way every time I strap on my skates.  

I shook off today by going home and having a big lunch and napping with my pup for a while.  

March 18, 2015 -- If today were a FRIENDS episode, it would be titled “The one where someone breaks their leg.” We were practicing the scariest skill we’ve learned yet, bunny hops. First of all, I like my skates being on the ground; it means I’m not falling. Second, how am I really supposed to jump with wheels on my feet? Well, as scared as I was, I did it. Huge accomplishment and felt proud. Then, one of our group members fell and broke her leg, three places, and everything got real, really quickly. It was evident that it freaked everyone out, especially because it didn’t look like she really did anything weird when she fell to cause a break. It looked like a run of the mill fall. The vets talked to us, and let us know that it’s part of roller derby, injuries that is. That we are doing a sport on wheels and accidents happen, but that shouldn’t deter us from going out there and trying again. I hope this doesn’t affect our group’s confidence and willingness to try new things going forward.  


Week of March 22, 2015 -- Jumped right back into every skill we’ve learned before including the dreaded and scary bunny hopping. We all faced our fears head on and conquered it. I was admittedly hesitant to do the first bunny hop. I’ve learned that you can’t think about what you are going to do next on your skates, just do it. I need to remind myself of this EVERYTIME I put my skates on.  

This week we also started incorporating practical uses of our skills. For example, loads of obstacles are on the track and we have to dodge them. Some of these obstacles (vets) are moving. We also used these skills when we skated as a pack and had to skate closely and dodge people when they were instructed to take a knee.  

I’m really enjoying the challenge and team aspects of derby so far. I can say that my husband and friends are noticing as well. Basically, I’ve been annoying people by talking about derby a lot and all the cool accessories for my skates I want to buy. (I bought outside wheels since the weather is nice and new laces!)

I’ve been writing two grants and this week they were both due along with the mountain of paperworkthat goes along with them. Derby practices have helped get me moving and tuning my brain into something other than writing and thinking about basic science, a must needed respite.

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 April 16, 2015 .