Skate Skills 101 – Stepping in from the Cold

Stepping in from the Cold by Life Saber  

Since coming to Scotland from sunny Spain over nine years ago I thought I was fully used to the Scottish weather. However, there I was once again on the sofa playing videogames under my blanket. Another dark winter coming… And the low mood continued over the summer and then over autumn and back in winter again: work, sofa, work, sofa, work, sofa…

I kept thinking of getting fit again and improving my social life so I would break this bad cycle. I kept thinking of joining the Auld Reekie Roller Girls, the crazy Roller Derby girls which would inject my life with energy and an active lifestyle again. This thought was liberating. However, at first I was working different shifts so I could not commit to enough training sessions, then time passed and I was getting more and more unfit and my mind kept telling me I was crazy to even think I could attempt to stand on skates.

Then four years later, a week before my birthday, I saw an open taster day advertised again for skating near my house, this was a sign! No more excuses I thought. I have regular shifts now and free time and the training sessions are not too far. I immediately started overthinking, yes again… remembering that I had not skated since I was a child and that I had put on considerable amounts of weight since then! This time, I did not listen to any of that, not even the voice telling me I had the same agility as Pinocchio and would look like Bambi on ice. This time I just got myself to the first taster day and had no clue what I would find there.

What did I find? Well, above all I found my new passion. Many people there were experienced and very passionate about the sport. Others, like myself, were just looking down at their skates and trying to stay up. During the session I laughed, I felt frustrated, I fell various times but also learnt that falling means you are trying new things and pushing yourself. By the end of the session all I could see were smiles and I was committed to push myself and turn my body and mind into something powerful and to be proud of.

I explored a bit further and joined ARRG for their Skate Skills 101 programme to train weekly. That was not enough you see? I also read every single review on the Internet about wheels, skates, skate bags, knee pads etc until I found my first Fresh Meat kit. Nope, I did not stop there either, I booked myself in all social skate sessions and discos coming up and joined various social media pages with info and tips. And my favourite….. stickers, stickers, stickers! Yes, I became addicted.

The training sessions are great! The support we receive from the returning skaters and also the trainers is outstanding and the comradery and banter makes the training more enjoyable. I still remember the first time they lined up some cones and helmets in front of us and just like that, it was time to learn to jump! That was petrifying at first but I will never forget the sense of achievement I felt and the big cheer I got when I jumped those helmets! And when I nailed my first crossover and when I was able to skate one more lap!

Some days if I feel down I remember what I felt when I went to my first Roller Derby match. The teams were so strong, agile and they were having so much fun. The atmosphere was fantastic and very infectious. I enjoyed it so much I am now volunteering for future events and getting involved in as many things as I can. My friends now keep mentioning how I use Roller Derby vocabulary more and more in every conversation!

I find Roller Derby suits me since I have always had a competitive mind and it gives me focus and determination. It is also very convenient because we train indoors so winter cannot get to me there! I had not done any regular exercise for over five years and since joining ARRG in September I can feel I am progressing and my body is changing every day. My friends tell me I look different, more positive and radiant. I do feel different, more empowered and determined. I now have a weekly routine where it is not just training but also a way to feel empowered, strong and have fun.

Inspired by Life’s story? Tempted to give roller derby a go? Do it! Email for details on our next new intake.