Though she be but little she is fierce

ARRG were recently nominated for a National Lottery Good Causes Award to allow us to buy more free kit for participants of our new skaters programme “Skate Skills 101”. We asked Leah from our current skate skills 101 programme what it means to be learning to skate. We love it! Have a read and please vote for us by CLICKING HERE.

“Though she be but little she is fierce” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A friend recently bought me a mug with that quote on it.  I love it.  I use it every day wanting it to be true.  I am little, but am I all that fierce?

I’m 5 ft tall and I’m not terribly strong.  I’m far from athletic.  I need an inhaler if I run for a bus.  I’m self-conscious and not very confident.  I am pretty sociable but new situations make me nervous, people scare me.  Oh, and I know NOTHING about skating.

I’d heard about ARRG’s Taster Days and went along for the afternoon.  I decided it would be an easy opportunity to find out more about Roller Derby without having to commit to anything too scary.  At the start of the day the coach asked us what attracted us to Roller Derby, why did we sign up for the taster?

We went around the room and introduced ourselves.  It was a room full of diverse women, of different shapes, sizes, ages, personalities and backgrounds.  Everyone there had their own reasons.  ‘Meet people’, ‘Exercise’, ‘Just loved the film Whip it’.  It came round to me and I was terrified to speak in a room full of strangers.  That was my reason.  I needed to push myself out of my comfort zone.  I wanted to break my weekly routine of Work… Netflix… Pub… Work… Netflix… Pub…  I wanted to be active.  I wanted to learn a skill and to have an interesting hobby.  I didn’t want to be scared to try.

I was provided with skates and kit thanks to The National Lottery Awards for All and ARRG’s Loaner Scheme.  It meant I was able to give Roller Derby a shot without having to worry about the cost of equipment.  After a great taster day, and without any financial hurdle, I signed up to Skate Skills 101.

With a new-found determination and unwittingly wearing my new helmet backwards I took my first wobbly strides.  Although it was tricky and awkward I quickly realized that I needn’t be scared at all.  The people I have met at ARRG have been amazing.  The coaches are dedicated and skilled.  The other beginners are full of support and enthusiasm.  The encouragement on and off the track has been absolutely incredible.  We all try our hardest, we all help each other to learn and to improve.  And we’re all loving being on wheels!

Do I fall?  Yes, loads.  But I always get back up.

Do my muscles ache the next day?  Yes, every time.  But I smile because I know how hard I worked.

Do I feel hot as hell in my shiny new skates?  Yes, unbelievably so!

So when my photo is put up next to this, I won’t use the pre-practice one.  The one with my make-up still intact and my t-shirt sweat free.  I’ll use the one from the end of the day.  The one taken when I’ve fallen over but I’ve scrambled back up, taken when I’m exhausted but exhilarated.  Because that’s the moment in my week when I feel most proud of my accomplishments, when I feel confident in what I have and what I will achieve.  That’s when I’m grateful for the motivation and friendship from an amazing group of women.

That’s when I am fierce.