roller derby

Baptism Of Fire: Derby Girl Style


I think I was born with a leaning for violence. Seriously. When I was a crawling baby, I apparently took great pleasure in locking horns (read that as headbutting) with my Dad. My Dad thought it was awesome. He’d call me his ‘little slit eyed bully’ (political correctness wasn’t around then) and he’d lightly headbutt me back. Maybe this explains why I tolerate Slaveboy shoving me like a rhino in heat, I actually associate it with affection.
NB: Headbutting as a display of affection is understandable if you accept that Slaveboy without fail will always lick fruit-scented soapbars just to make sure that they are indeed not edible.

This is going to be a sort of a mish mash type of post. I have a few things I want to share with you and I sort of want to introduce you to the Wenches and share the photos taken by Roller Wench Lisa Harvey at the Croydon bout a few weekends ago.

As some of you might know, I started roller derby training around mid April this year. Around the time my sproglettes discovered the film, Whip It, I alluded to Slaveboy that I used to roller-skate A LOT as a child. The passion for rollerskating carried on into my early teens even after I outgrew my skates and it never crossed my mind to ask for them to be replaced because we had moved to somewhere where skating was not possible. I had this huge sports manual which I bought with my own pocket money and in my spare time (I found a lot of this in my teens) I would pore over each page until I discovered the page on roller derby. I’d never heard about it before, never seen it in action but I was drawn to three elements- it was all girls, on skates, hitting each other. Absolute perfection. Why wouldn’t anyway want to play that????

My initiation into roller derby has been an exhilaratingly painful one. All beginners are called freshmeat, a term that I find hilarious although I appreciate that some find it off-putting. Ten years of sedentary living, seven children, carrying the extra 50lbs+ in weight and a prolonged healing period following an abdominal surgery complicated by Strep A infection meant that the first ever roller session I attended was an absolute killer. I ached all over in the manner I’ve never experienced and that is coming from someone who was the only girl in an aikido class ran by the meanest sensei around.

I remember crawling up to my bed after my first freshmeat session, and spending the next five days feeling like roadkill (I only smelled like it on day One). I was a definite fight or flight decision, to let it go and accept that such pain was not tolerable or suck it and see. I decided on the latter, turned up or subsequent sessions, bar a few when I had a tooth extraction and my Mum from Malaysia visiting.

Before too long, it became apparent how all inclusive, all embracing and life consuming derby life was going to be. There were bouts to attend, a rules manual to read and remember, strategies to understand, non-skating officiating which is essential experience or freshmeat and of course, the all important task of just keeping up with the other skaters on the track.

It wasn’t too long after starting roller derby that I realised that I needed to up my fitness level. The last two and half months saw me signing up for weight-training at the gym three times a week (I can now deep squat 40kg for 2 sets of 15), weekly pilates (for core stability) and dropping 16lbs in weight and 5 inches off my waist.
Here’s Lucy, our line manager and my coach, The Duchess of Crutches. She’s hardcore and she makes my proverbial balls ache. She’s made me realise that negative reinforcement is only a dirty word in attachment parenting.

The expectation for team work is humongous, I’ve never played team sport in my life, having avoided it throughout my school life for fear of not being selected, or letting the team down or simply not being good enough.

But the thing is, you’re never going to be good enough if you don’t join in, are you? You can sit there and analyse all you want the misfortunes and tragedies of your childhood and school years but I sort of arrived to the this is where you are at today, so what are you going to do with it? moment.

And as my fellow Roller Wench said once,

There is no I in TEAM, but there is an I in WIN.

With everything else in life, you get what you put into the roller derby training.

And you will soon realise that heroes come in all shapes and sizes.

And as hard as it might be to do, I’ve just got to not take it too much to heart when the shouting starts. If there is one thing that I find harder to deal with above the physical demands of derby, it’s the absolutely bewildering effect having various team members and coaches shout instructions while I’m just struggling to keep breathing as I skate.

But I can’t downplay how life changing this roller derby journey has been. It’s changed the way I look at my body. no more am I obsessed about how much, or how little I ought to eat and how near to social expectations my body appears to be. I don’t suffer from the intermittent guilt of being seen eating a cream cake, for fear that others might attribute my large stature to some excessive eating trait. I now eat what I want ( and seemingly less but without noticing it) and I now obsess about its functions – getting faster and stronger.

And here’s a random photo of one of the referees. Suffice to says several derby girls swept him off his feet at the Croydon bout. Literally.

Check out my Wenches here. Consider supporting us by volunteering to be a non-skating official, or if you are keen on a little bit of bashy bashy, our next Freshmeat taster session will be held on 20th September.

And if you think I am the ONLY crazy home edding mother who is a derby girl, then you are mistaken. Go here.

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4 thoughts on “Baptism Of Fire: Derby Girl Style

  1. Aida, what a great post, you are too super cool! I am still too scared to try roller derby. I can’t believe that even adominal surgery didn’t put you off the idea! Are you an official Roller Wench now?

    And hey, Sensei is not mean! 😉 But he is a bad-ass

    Hungry Jenny x

    • Ok, ok, he’s badass. You’re right. But he hurts soooo much 😉

      I am now in with the advanced training, which makes me a Wench. I now need to pass my minimum skills so I can bout. I’m setting myself an eight week target to up my stamina and see where I am b Christmas.

  2. So, I had a bunch of pithy things to say about your post and blog but I thought instead of boring you with all of that I would boil it down to the basic message: Your proverbial balls make you a great writer and will also one day make you a serious force on the track. In derby you not only have to chase down what and who you admire but also hit the snot out of her. Oh, and also derby never get easier but what is tripping you up will change over time. Keep going at it balls out. I’m looking forward to hearing how it all goes.

    • I am so chuffed that you came over to have a gander at my blog. My friend, Spiker, directed me to your blog which she stumbled upon (literally rather than the Stumble option) purely because she was trawling the net for home edding blogs. She sent me a message something along the lines of, “Bloody hell, there is ANOTHER home edding mum who does derby too!”.
      Thanks for the great words, I am definitely gonna carry on blogging about it, along with my baking escapades and home edding adventures.

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