What’s It Like to Become a Roller Girl?
The New Recruit Experience as told by Red White N Brooze #1776.
I made the decision to try out for the Cape Fear Roller Girls as a girl-power infused New Year’s resolution. I missed the contact and sisterhood of the team sports I played growing up, plus who doesn’t want to have a ton of tough, badass chicks have your back?
First Step – make the decision
I messaged the Cape Fear Roller Girls Facebook page for the tryouts date and then went and purchased some of the cheapest quad skates I could find on Amazon and attempted to skate in my neighborhood about 3 times before tryouts. I watched Youtube videos on basic derby skills with words like “T Stops” and “Transitions” and “Plows” and started to question what I was getting myself into.
Getting the guts up to walk into tryouts was nervewracking
At tryouts, I was surprised by how friendly the girls were and how much they were willing to help and explain things. It was almost as if they knew they were teaching us things we’d never done before and expected us to be lost and confused. It was incredibly refreshing. Although I was incredibly unsteady, I completed the drills and tasks they asked us to do and before I knew it the night was over. They told us we would be notified shortly if we passed the test. 48 hours later, I got the email – I had passed tryouts and was officially a “CFRG New Recruit!”
You passed – Now the fun begins!
New Recruit practices began the next Wednesday and we were given a packet of information and introduced to several other girls who I had never seen before- other New Recruits. Some were brand new like myself and others had been through the program before. I instantly felt welcomed and part of a “team” already. Throughout the New Recruit process, we complete all of your requirements together. Each week we practice various skills like stops, skating as a group, turning quickly, cross overs and improving endurance, and slowly work up to adding in Derby specific skills like blocking, forming walls, falling safely and even jumping until it’s time for our final assessments.
This is what we’ve been working towards. There is a huge amount of nerves, anxiety and excitement as you perform all the minimum skills drills – culminating in your attempt to hit 27 las in 5 minutes at the end. At the end of assessments you bond with your girls in the shared experience and you wait for the results to come back.
If you pass- you’re officially a Cape Fear Roller Girl and you begin your journey as “Fresh Meat”, practicing with assessed skaters until the coaches feel you are ready to play in your first bout.
If you don’t pass on the first time around? Well, to be honest that’s pretty normal. Many of our top skaters didn’t pass the first time – or even the second! You keep working through the New Recruit Process and camp until final assessments are passed whether that takes one round or five. The whole time you get stronger, faster, more agile and hey- you’re on roller skates!!
No matter what your derby journey entails, your fellow new recruits will become your derby sisters and the bonds will last even after New Recruits and Fresh Meat labels are memories long past.
Is it hard? Yes. Can you do it? Yes. Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY. Ask any of us, and then get to tryouts!!