Freshmeat Files: Intake Day

By granitecityrollerderby, Apr 30 2015 08:14AM

As one of 40 or so people waiting nervously around the edge of the sports hall, I could tell I was in the right place - I was standing in line to become fresh meat…

What this involved exactly was about to unveil itself during the next two hours of the Granite City Roller Girls intake day, a free session held by the group as a taster to the fast-paced sport of roller derby. Having only come across the event the night before, I had barely slept a wink from the anticipation of taking part – and now there was no going back!

As the team began matching our ‘fresh meat’ feet to skates, heads to helmets and vulnerable body parts to protective pads, us newbies read over the important health and safety information of the sport, exchanging eyebrow-raising glances as to what we were letting ourselves in for.

Amongst the first half of participants to be kitted out, I eagerly carried my skates to the centre of the hall to meet the mentors-to-be. With a short introduction, a few practice falls to initiate the trusting relationship with our knee pads plus some casual derby stance squatting, the group was soon tying the laces of some rather cool looking 4 wheeled boots. I wriggled my toes in excitement - it was time to test these skates out on track!

The next hour became all about finding your feet, avoiding others and remaining upright – oh, and stopping! I was grateful to have had some skating experience behind me having heard a few others on track becoming acquainted with their protective gear - although I learned later that, for some, this was their first time on wheels ever! Everyone, however, soon settled into the friendly and supportive ‘give-it-a-go’ atmosphere created by the derby-pros and you felt the confidence to glide along – or attempt to glide – without a care in the world too!

The second half of the intake day gave the GCRG coaches a chance to explain all there is to know about roller derby: the game’s history, the rules, the funny stories, the derby names and….the fresh meat course. They provided a great overview of the sport and answered a variety of newbie questions, no matter how small. Their enthusiasm soon rubbed off on us and left the group chattering away with an excited buzz in the air!

Leaving with an invitation to the upcoming derby match, I was delighted to have come across such a friendly and supportive group who were full of laughs and outrageous stories. The people I met during the event, both Granite City Roller Girls and fellow fresh meat girls, really put me at ease and helped me to feel like I could actually be part of this.

So, being fresh meat no longer seems that bad; let’s just see how session 1 of roller derby goes...

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