Last October I joined my best friend for an afternoon adventure to one of our usual haunts, The Pour Farm Tavern, in downtown New Bedford. It was due to be an excellent afternoon as the local Beard and Mustache Guild teamed up with the Pour Farm for the “Great Pumpkin Beer’d Fest” a celebration of beards and beer, both things I particularly enjoyed.
What I didn’t realize when I walked into the courtyard adjacent to the bar was that I was about to be handed a flyer that would change the course of the next year of my life.
My friend Jess and I wandered the courtyard, chatting with acquaintances, drinking pumpkin beers, and occasionally shuffling through a crowd of people to watch a local band play. It was in this mass of music fans that I bumped into a woman holding a stack of flyers. The woman turned to me, and over the course of a short conversation between handed me a flyer from her stack and said, “You look like you should play roller derby.”
For the next few weeks I thought about that conversation, and about roller derby. All I knew about the sport was from the movie Whip It and my own vague preconceptions about women beating each other up on skates. However, I was longing for something to fill the void created by graduating out of all of my college athletic and social groups and it looked like roller derby might just be the right thing for the job.
I’ve always loved a challenge and starting out with MARD’s fresh meat program certainly was one. I’d never really roller skated and through the course of the first few practices had to learn how to skate, fall, and generally not hurt myself. It was frustrating, unnerving, but through it all it was fun. The coaches and the veteran skaters were always supportive and they really helped me and my fresh meat class thrive. We gradually got better and better and by the time the summer of 2015 hit I was feeling confident and energized about skating. I wanted to level up (we have a three level system, level 1 being fresh meat, level 2 being what you can think of as the intermediate skaters, and level three being the named skaters) and I wanted to show the league that gifted me with dozens of new friends what I was made of!
Thanks to the coaches, and all my new friends I was able to push myself and move up to level 2, where I am today. Level 2 has created several new challenges for me but I know I will conquer them all and in time become a named skater!
Blog Post by Fox in Docs