A letter from one Newbie to another…
I first discovered roller derby through tattoo conventions & it combined my two favourite things; intense physical activity, and fishnets & glitter. However, it took me a year of daydreaming ‘someday…’ & slight internet stalking to get the guts up, bite the bullet & attend a newbie intake with the fabulous Slayers. A month in, and I’m still kicking myself for faffing around and waiting so long.
The thought of entering a close-knit team environment, all on my own, with view to play a sport I knew very little about and had zero skills for? Daunting. But from the get-go those fears were unfounded. The girls are full of passion, and tirelessly aid & encourage us stumbling newbies. You never feel expected, or pressured to take on more than you can manage but at the same time, you’re given every opportunity to surprise yourself, & the support to achieve things you didn’t think you had the nerve for 30 mins prior. Most of the team attend newbie nights, so you feel ‘included’ from day one and can pick as many brains as you like to find the tips that work for you. It’s insane how much your confidence boosts running through drills with a group of experienced skaters. Then in between practices, they’re just a message away from crucial advice on gear, exercise suggestions etc, and happy to arrange meets at local roller discos etc.
I can’t get over how fortunate I am to have found not only a challenging and rewarding sport, but also such an awesome group of people to indulge in it with. Get on it!!
Katie Miller – Jan 2012 Newbie Intake
Stories & Testimonals
When I first found out about roller derby as a sport I thought it sounded amazing! I looked for my local team and found the Slayers. Looking through the website etc. I was worried that I might not fit in, i don’t have tattoos, piercings and am definitely not very rock and roll! I’m a stay at home mum edging ever closer to 30 – and i was happy to find I wasn’t the only one… several of the girls are of a similar age with small kids which makes it really nice at bouts & social events when we all get together and also means everybody is very understanding when you have to miss practice cos you have sicky kids!
I e-mailed Carole aka Minx Pie for some info and she told me they were having a newbie intake a few weeks later and encouraged me to come. As scared as I was I thought it seemed too good to not even give it a try so I turned up all alone to find that most of the other newbies did the same. Honestly was the best decision I ever made, everyone is so nice and supportive and it really doesn’t matter what your background is or what you’re into, they really do make everyone feel welcome!
Skid Vicious – Jan 2012 Newbie Intake
“Had fab time last night guys!!! Oooh my god loved the pack work, still grinning!!!… Just wanna say a big thanks to all you Slayers, you’ve the patience of a saint!! Love my newbie team mates too………. looking forward to next training sesh with you all! xxx”
– When I first joined I was nervous & apprehensive about going on my own to the first lesson, I felt a little out of place but Minx & the girls made me feel very welcome & were very supportive, made me feel like I actually belonged somewhere for the first time in my life. I’d always been a loner, never done any teamwork before so was very apprehensive about blending with others… but it didn’t take long before I started to settle in, make new friends… and as a bonus getting fit & having fun!! Doesn’t get any better than that !
Rue Hopper – May 2012 Newbie Intake
As someone who’s never been very athletic (I think I ran for a train once), but who felt plenty enthusiastic about starting roller derby, I wasn’t sure what to expect on our first team practise. I was really nervous and had horrible visions of humiliating myself in front of a bunch of unfriendly roller-girls!
It couldn’t have been more different! Right from arriving at the sports hall everyone went out of their way to be friendly and include us all.
I’d never really skated before, not since being in primary school, so even standing up was a bit of a struggle (a lot of a struggle). But it really helped that all of the girls told us about their experiences with starting as newbies and how they’d been in exactly our positions. None of them ever mind being dragged to one side so I can talk out when I don’t understand, or ask for extra advice, which happens a lot.
We all feel really strong as a team, and all have different strengths individually. I feel like I’ve made an amazing new group of friends in all the girls, from Kettering and Northampton, and look forward to improving my skills with their help!
Betty Deathtrap – August 2012 Kettering Newbie Intake
When I first started, I couldn’t even stand up on skates, and had no skill whatsoever. You don’t need to know anything about skating or Roller Derby, the lovely ladies will teach you everything you need to know. I’m now doing techniques I never thought I could!
Roller Derby has also helped me progress out of my depression. I’ve learnt to not be so critical of myself, it’s ok to fall over (physically and emotionally) and have challenged myself and pushed myself to do things when I thought I’d fail; learning that if you try you surprise yourself of what your capable of. The women that make up the team have been an ENORMOUS support; I’ve never known such supportive, yet fierce women in all of my life. They rallied me on when I thought I couldn’t, and hugged me tight when I cried. They’ve helped me more than they’ll ever know; they inspire me to be a better, bolder version of myself every time I practice with them.
Broocke Ross – April 2013 Newbie Intake
It was soooooo good to meet you guys, you were ALL GREAT! :o)…….. I REALLY enjoyed the session, I was really enthused, had a great time, and felt great when I left the Newbie Try Out day on Sunday 8th……… you all really are a credit to the sport.
Dannie McDonald – Roller Derby Taster Session – Sept 2013
I joined Northamptonshire Roller Derby League in Feb 2014. After years of wanting to play but with moving to a new area and being pregnant, then a new mum to a baby that didn’t embrace sleep, I had to be patient. Finally all was in my favour to join and I went along to a newbie session at the end of Feb. I was lent a set of kit with the promise that I could continue to do so until I was ready to get my own so the initial costs were incredibly low and meant I could buy my own kit bit by bit as I had the money and knew enough to know what I needed.
I had no experience of skating other than a totter about on a friend’s pair of inline skates 10 years earlier and I’m fairly sure that doesn’t count! However this didn’t matter as I was taught how to skate and the support from the experienced skaters has been immense. Any problem I’ve encountered has been overcome by others so I wasn’t short of friendly and apt advice. I had pretty much one to one help in those early weeks and any time I look a bit lost or unsure someone appears to help and encourage.
I’ve really come on a long way in a short time and although I am still way off passing my minimum skills I am loving the journey. The ladies I skate with are an absolute inspiration. They come from all walks of life, an impressive range of ages and this really is the one sport where every different shape has a perfect niche. It has given me back my prematernity confidence, I’m getting there with my fitness and my legs are stronger than they’ve ever been!
Come along, the worst thing is that you might find it isn’t for you after all and the best thing is that you find a new passion that you wish you’d discovered years ago.
Su Fradley – Feb 2014 Newbie Intake