I'd heard about Derby through someone at work but didn't really know what it was, I'd been in a roller hockey team as a teenager and used to love my roller blades! As a young person going to the local roller disco got me through the week and Sunday nights were all I looked forward to. As a teenager, skating got me through tough times so when I heard about this new skating activity I thought it would be chance to re-live my youth and do something cool.
By absolute chance I made the last taster session in 2013 and had no idea what I was putting myself forward for. I'd not skated for around 16 years, and never been able to skate on quads. I bought myself a £50 pair of skates from the local skate shop and headed off to the session. Everyone looked cool and everyone had kit so I felt a bit of an amateur having to borrow stuff and having my roller disco boots. Everyone made me feel welcome.
Abnorman (Head Coach) put us through our paces and I thought I was going to pass out with all the drills. I've never felt so unfit but something about it was amazing and I came back for the next session to join fresh meat whole heartedly.
The training was tough and at times I felt that I was never going to be good enough, and at other times I realised that there were some things I was really skilled at. And that's one of the reasons I love derby. Because we play as a team, we're all responsible for the outcome of a bout and that means we can all offer our individual skills. It's ok to not be brilliant at everything because you're not alone and together we make a completely amazing and capable team.
The training gave me, and still does, the opportunity to identify goals and reach them meaning I always progress. Meeting the minimum skills was my first opportunity to reach assessed goals and during fresh meat I made 8 laps in five minutes. Yesterday I made 29 in five forwards and almost 10 in two going backwards. 32 in five is my next goal.
It was probably a couple of months before I understood what derby was as a sport and it was my first bout which taught me just what is involved. PCRG has taught me what it means to be in a team and has given confidence and motivation. When I play I do so for all the great things I get like the buzz, the fun and the thrill. But more than that, I do it for my team.
Derby is the coolest sport and I love playing. I love the support I get and I love that what ever goes on in my life, derby is constantly growing, developing and is always exciting. Just like when I was a teenager, I get the same things from skating and I look forward to it every week. I even bought a Skunk Anansie album yesterday just like I did all those years ago.
Derby is fun, but it's also hard work. It offers huge potential and there's always something to aim for. Derby has taken me all around the country and in to Europe. I've met amazing people and made great friends.
If I had any advice for new players it would be:
- Work hard
- Set yourself goals
- Don't take yourself too seriously
- Value yourself, value your team mates
- Be proud of yourself
Good luck with your training, I look forward to seeing you in PCRG.
B Team Captain
Ps I've got new skates now.