Fresh Meat? No, Fresh Start!

Welcome to the brand new MARD Fresh Meat Blog! We have several of our current fresh meats (new, not yet scrimmage-eligible skaters) writing about their derby experience. Enjoy!

By XQZ Moi

XQZ Moi at practice in 2011  Photo by Ian Ameche

XQZ Moi at practice in 2011
Photo by Ian Ameche

After only one season, I left derby. I had my reasons and at the time I felt they were valid. Looking back I realize part of it was me getting in my own way. With a lot of thought and encouragement from both league mates I stayed in contact with, and a few special non-derby people in my life, I decided to give it another try. I loved derby the first time around and didn’t want to give up on something I love!

            Coming back to MARD after a three year hiatus, it feels like a COMPLETELY different experience. A lot has changed in my time away, with the game and the league, all for the better. I was a little nervous to come back but…the warm welcome I received the night of fresh meat orientation let me know I had made the right decision. In a world where everyone is trying to “find” themselves, the moment I walked through those familiar rink doors, I knew I was back where I belonged! And so my derby journey begins…again.

 

XQZ Moi bouting in 2011! Photo by Ian Ameche

XQZ Moi bouting in 2011!
Photo by Ian Ameche

Joining the fresh meat class, I did have an advantage. I have skated and bouted previously. I knew what to expect. If you’re like me, coming in to a new experience can be intimidating, especially derby! Not knowing anyone, not knowing where to go, what to do. You know, like wondering why your jaw hurts during and for three days after practice, only to find out, if you had just read the directions that came with your mouth guard, you would have known you needed to mold it to actually fit your mouth! Or not knowing you put your helmet on backwards. Having some of these experiences makes me remember what it’s like to be new. I enjoy being with these women and sharing in their new journey. I DON’T think I’m better than them. I think about ENCOURAGING them! Passing along little tips that helped me, like making sure to loosen your trucks if you want to be able to slalom or have an easier time with plow stops. Also, if you want to get the most out of your wheels, make sure to rotate them!

Starting fresh I know there are skills I didn’t learn the first time around. My advice to any one coming in to derby for the first time:

1. Don’t be in a rush to level up. Yeah, there may be skaters that move on before you. So what? Take this time to really master the basics! They will only make you a better skater later on.

2. You can always get lower. We all know derby stance is a b*tch! Back aching, quads burning…Squat down another inch.

3. No one is ever going to judge you as harshly as you judge yourself! Derby is a “judgment free zone”. We build each other up. Not knock each other down…eh…well unless you’re on the track, LOL. Which brings me to…

4. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to fall! We all fall down, it’s part of derby. The most important part is that you don’t give up but get back up! My favorite quote comes from a poem about life. But I think it relates to derby as well:

“…Life will hit you…HARD…in the face…wait for you to get back up, just so it can kick you in the stomach. But…getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs just how much they like the taste of air…” – Sara Kay

PLEASE don’t give up! You have an entire league of amazing women behind you, who have all been where you are. Every one of them is cheering you on!

5. Spend time with your league mates off the track. Derby is an amazing family. You will create some really strong bonds that will last a lifetime. Not to mention they’re probably the only ones who won’t get sick of talking about derby with you! And who knows…you may just find yourself a derby wife or two!

So….here is to our derby journey! Let’s Roll!

Hits & Bruises,

*XQZ MOI