Becoming a Roller Derby addict

This post was going to be about my 2013 however really all it can be is about one thing that started in 2013 and seems to have taken over my life. I never have been a sporty person and I have been over weight for a lot of my life. I have, however, always loved skating. I used to skate as a kid and as a teenager. I’ve roller skated, ice skated and skateboarded however I haven’t done any of them for a long while. In September I started skating again and a month later joined Leeds Roller Dolls. Now I’m completely addicted and working really hard to lose weight, get fit, and become the best skater I can be at my age.

What is Roller Derby you say. Here are the rules!

I’ve always been a skater although taken long rests. I learnt to roller skate as a child, then ice skated, then as a teenager went to roller discos and skate boarded, then at University went to the ice rink to skate, but as an adult I skated infrequently. The a few years ago I heard about Leeds Roller Dolls (“LRD”) and joined their Rag Dolls which was their Freshmeat class. The idea was that it was a crash course teaching you the basics before you join the main league. The problem was I was too fat and too unfit to keep up. I became despondent and gave up.

Then last year I decided to try again. I started walking to get a bit fitter. Also I searched online for somewhere I could skate without pressure and I found that LRD had an open skate night, “Wednesday Skate”, which anyone could go to and do as little or much skating as required. I was dreadful when I first went and could just about manage 3 laps before needing a rest. But gradually I remembered what I’d forgotten. After a month I was encouraged to join Wrecking Brawls.

Wrecking Brawls is LRDs recreational league. Since my last attempt at Roller Derby LRD had become a member league of WFTDA, the World Flat Track Derby Association. Basically they are the association that manages flat track Roller Derby and defines the rules. Part of their requirements is that you cannot play or scrimmage until you have passed a set of minimum basic skills (“mins”). Over the years these have got harder and the Rag Dolls concept just doesn’t work any more. So the recreational league allows skaters to learn the skills at their own rate without pressure and women can either stay with that league or once they become sufficiently skilled try out for the main league and potentially join the travel teams.

Wrecking Brawls are a great bunch of girls. The following photo was taken to show our support of diversity in sport!

Wrecking Brawls

LRD follows the tradition of “By the skater, for the skater”. The skaters run the league. Bouts do not happen without the referees, the non skating officials and other helpers all of whom are volunteers and many are members of the league themselves. So in addition to the skating I am now on a couple of committees and I am an NSO. This takes more time up. Some weeks I can be doing Derby related activity four days a week. My poor partner is becoming a Derby Widow although I am trying to manage that.

But Roller Derby is an addiction. I do want to become a good skater. This means I need to lose a lot weight. I need to get fitter. And I need to learn my skills. Just skating isn’t good enough you have to cross train. So I’m trying to learn to run. I also spend some Saturdays training in the mud in a local park. I lay in the mud. I squat in the mud. I burpee in the mud. I get tired. I hurt. And I get muddy!

I have set myself the following goals for this year:

  • Lose 4 stone (56lbs / 25kg)
  • Run 5Km in under 50 mins by June 30
  • Run 10Km (in any time) by Dec 31
  • Pass minimum skills

Whether I achieve them we shall see. I will blog my progress here.

Finally I will leave you with my league’s promotional video for 2014. I think its awesome!

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