My months of hard work finally paid off and I recently popped my roller derby cherry and played my first game over at Cambridge hosted by the lovely Rollerbillies.
Guardians of the Jammer gameday saw Team Rocket face off against Team Groot. All the blood, sweat and tears of which there have been an abundance in the last year and half (well not blood but sweat and tears a plenty!) that went into my derby journey have culminated in this one event that I began to obsess over.
It took me just over a year to pass the minimum skills necessary for playing, going from Bambi on ice barely able to stand, let alone lift a foot off the floor, to (mostly) holding my own in scrim time.
At first it didn’t seem real that I would actually be playing and then the nerves started to creep in a little.
“What if I fall?” turned into “What if I accidentally total the penalty box?” and then “What if I foul out?” followed by the more ridiculous “What if my legs fall off?!” (I know, I know, nerves got the better of me there…).
But you know what, on the actual day it was fine. Sure I had a mini freak out at breakfast, then I was a bit jittery on the train but once I was there I felt fine. We kitted up, donned our team t-shirts and tested the floor (which was like ice! Super slippery but kind of fun after a while).
Before I knew it we were warming up and it was time for the first jam! It was all a blur. I volunteered to go on in the first line up, I remember being slightly shocked that my hand was in the air at the time. We lined up, I completely forgot about the crowd, any nerves were gone and my brain just went “Cool, derby time. Stop that jammer!”
The entire first half was a blur, the line-ups were all mixed, we were making plans, trying some things and doing the best we could considering most of us had never met. I spent most of the bout bracing the wall, which I loved, but somehow found myself offering to jam at one point.
I was shocked that I managed to get lead jammer status, and then got knocked down on my next pass and didn’t manage to call off the jam before the other jammer scored, but hey you learn from these experiences!
Half time quickly arrived and we realised we were winning, amazing! We all disappeared to go sweat on our family and friends in the crowd before returning back.
After a mini pep talk we were underway again. Everyone’s nerves had mostly disappeared and we started getting really into it (sorry for our over enthusiasm lovely Line Up Manager and Bench Coach)! They did a fantastic job of keeping us under control and getting us to plan what we were doing.
Suddenly the final whistle went and it was all over! We skated round and thanked all our officials, hugged the other team and then remembered we had to go do high fives!
We had an absolute blast and it was made all the better with a win for Team Rocket! I then had so much energy and adrenaline I couldn’t sit still throughout the next bout. I even booked my next rookie bout there and then!
A note for those of you who are looking forward to playing your first game. If you’re ever nervous, remember derby is fun, you play and work hard for this. Most people have spent months or even years working towards playing in their first bout, so go and have a great time!
Bull DozeHer x