I've been involved with SRD since 2013. It's been a rewarding and confidence-building experience, and I have gained a whole new family of sisters and brothers that I now can't imagine living without. After some time away last year to finish up my Master's degree, I recently returned to the fold on a full-time basis.
I was trying to figure out what my place might be in this league. I don't see myself competing in bouts due to chronic back problems (hell, I'm at the chiropractor regularly even when I am not skating!), but I do want to be involved and I do want to keep skating. I finally found my niche when, at a couple of early-season practices, I was helping the trainers with the latest batch of Fresh Meat (the derby term for brand-new skaters). In the space of just a few hours, I watched – and helped - this small group of women progress from barely being able to move forward on skates to performing 3 types of stops, one-foot glides, walking on their toe-stops, and working on good form. It was amazing to see how quickly they were catching on, and how well they responded to me. It was very exciting, and I realized that my own experiences could help them, and maybe, just maybe, this is where I fit.
After my second night with them, I immediately contacted the training committee and offered up my services full-time for the season. It's important for a Fresh Meat program to have a structured program, with consistency and a degree of comfort in training that one person can offer. Sure, there will be times that I will ask a better, more experienced skater to help me teach or demo a particular skill, but I know they'll be there for me to call on. That's what we do.
Being a dedicated trainer, I can monitor their progress and work with them on their individual strengths and weaknesses. And they will see mine, and perhaps even make me better in return. I can reinforce techniques and encourage them, and help build that spirit of sisterhood that exists in derby. I've challenged them and will continue to do so, with the hopes that I will see some of them pass assessments and be in bout-ready shape by season's end.
Here's to SRD's 2015 Fresh Meat!