No really. It could have been this big, scary moment to come in and immediately start doing something new and terrifying that you may or may not kill yourself trying for the first time...but that's not how it works.
With today's safety concerns and regulations, there is usually a very strict and structured process for introducing freshmeat to Derby. At POD, we had to fill out waiver forms and contact info sheets first thing. Then before even going near the skating floor, we had to get outfitted with safety gear. The dreaded freshmeat gear. I say "dreaded" because this is the (very nicely) donated old gear from all the skaters on the team. It's sort of stinky and ill-fitting, BUT, it does the job until you can get your own personal gear.
|Some of our team's freshmeat gear.|
Well, aside from quad skates, every skater is required to wear these items every time they are on skates:
Without these things, you are not allowed to skate and believe me, they check. They check before practice, during practice, and before and during every scrimmage and game. It took some getting used to and it still takes me about twice as long to gear up as the veteran skaters, but I'm glad to know that I HAVE to be safe when I skate.
Once we'd officially geared up, we got to go out onto the track. First we covered why we have to wear all our safety gear then we skated a few tentative laps. I seriously had not been on skates in years...so I sort of felt like Bambi wobbling around out there. I'm sure it was actually pretty hilarious to watch.
I'm the skater in the striped helmet...
relearning what it feels like to be on wheels.
Most of that first night after gearing up was sort of a forgettable whirlwind. We got papers that told us about the team and papers that told us what skills we'd be learning to pass our Level One test. The only other truly vivid memory I have is learning the all important DERBY STANCE. This is a skill that you build upon with everything else that you do in Derby.
|My post-practice shaky legged derby stance.|
I can hear Coach now, "Get Lower!" ;)
When you're stationary, it's easy, but once you start moving it's pretty easy to forget and start to stand up straight while you're skating. I know that I still work to maintain a good Derby Stance when I'm skating and I strive every practice to learn to get lower. If you watch really great Derby skaters, they all stay amazingly low and it really does help in their speed, their turns, even their blocking and hitting. It's a great skill to constantly work to improve.
Until next time...
NIKKI TESLA #134