Thoughts From a Newbie

By Hebrew-Ham Lincoln ("Hammy")

I am new to roller derby. More than that, I am new to skates. As a child I was pretty active, I figure skated when I was 10 or so, played football and danced all through middle school, and in high school stopped all forms of physical exercise to focus on my now unused opera skills. So yeah. I am out of shape, overweight and have no idea what I am doing. So why roller derby? It could be the pant size I have lost in my 6 weeks skating at SFV. It could be how excited I get after finally “getting” a new skill, but honestly?  I love roller derby because of the community.

Prior to my first practice, I had met Roswell Crash who recommended I show up at SFV Roller Derby. Ok. Yes. This sounds awesome, and geographically desirable!! I can walk to some practices! After my first email to Tiggz, I thought to myself, “She seems nice. Maybe I can do this”. I show up on a Monday night at Skateland in Northridge and am petrified. I don’t know a soul. I couldn’t coerce my friends to join me (though I’m never one to wait for a partner). After standing around fiddling my thumbs, unsure of who anyone is, a friendly face greets me “You seem lost, I’m Deny-ya. Is it your first day?” After introducing myself, Deny-ya tells me where to go, who to talk to, and even lets me borrow duct tape so my black toe stops don’t wreck Skateland’s floor. Ok, I CAN do this.

That first practice was physically, at this point, my second hardest day of derby. The first hardest was my failed WFTDA try-outs one month after starting. That is a story for another day. I couldn’t sit for three days and had to use heating pads to get to sleep. If that isn’t a wake-up call to take better care of your body I don’t know what is. Yet, after all that, I keep coming back.

It may have only been 6 weeks but I already feel like I have found my “place”. I have spent a lifetime looking for a community of like-minded girls and boys and I know I found it.

For girls thinking about starting derby as a new skater (or a new exerciser like myself): don’t hesitate. Just show up, be ready to fall, and from my new girl file to yours here are the words that I repeat in my brain over and over again:

1. Get Low-Tiggz
2. No really, you need to be lower. Get LOWER.-Malice
3. Look up to get up-Dethblock
4. Fall small-Killo

This week I am working on crossovers (I will OWN them! You hear that crossovers? You are mine!!!). My proudest achievement over last few weeks is my newfound ability to transition (slowly) and skate backwards (again, slowly). (Thank you for that Calix!)

So ladies, thank you. Thank you for throwing me in head first, making me work for my improvement, but having a steady hand in training my body to be derby ready. I have so much to learn and I can’t wait until next practice.