The Burning River Roller Girls is a diverse group of women who love roller derby. We are composed of a variety of ages (current ages range from early 20s to 50s and 60s!), incomes, and family backgrounds. Some of us are stay-at-home-moms, working full-time jobs, two jobs, or attending school full time.
Some of us have been roller skating all our lives, while others only knew the basics before they began training. Some have always been involved in team sports, while for others, this was their first foray into athletics.
Here are a few insights from some of our first-year skaters who have been through our bootcamps, just like the one we are hosting this Sunday, April 22. We encourage anyone who fits our basic requirements to join us and begin the groundwork for preparing to tryout for the Burning River Roller Girls. Click here for all the details on this and future bootcamps, leading up to tryouts this summer.
And as always, if you are interested in ever becoming a Burning River Roller Girl now or down the line, you need to get on our recruiting email list for the latest updates and tips: firstname.lastname@example.org
Personal life: Married, one child age 13
Works full time with some overtime, about 45 hours per week and considering adding more
Do you have an athletic background? I have always played some type of sport: basketball, fast-pitch softball.
Why did you join roller derby? Buddha [Buddhalicious formerly of the Cleveland Steamers] handed me a bout card. I went and volunteered during the 2010 season and was hooked after that. I did wRECk [a recreational roller derby organization] in June of 2010 for a full year. I was still in school at the time and couldn’t have handled the committment [of joining the league at the time].
Were you nervous about the bootcamps? Yes. I’m still nervous every time I go to practice. 🙂
Any other advice? Just don’t be scared of the committment. It’s no different than going to the gym a few nights a week. Practices are often at night after the kids are in bed.
It gives you an outlet … a release.
Cat-A-Bolt also spoke about the support the league gives you to help you improve your skills: We want to see you succeed. Don’t sell yourself short … anyone can do this.
Derby has changed my life for the better.
Action Jackson (right) with her teammate, Your Royal Majesty.
Personal life: Married, four kids all teenagers 19,18,16,14
Works full time during the week, sometimes 10- to 12-hour days.
What made you join derby? I love to roller skate and I needed a sport that would allow me to let some aggression out.
Were you scared about the bootcamps?Yes. I didn’t know what I was getting into as far as how advanced some skaters would be in skills and how I would compare.
Did the bootcamps make you feel prepared for tryouts? Definitely. The bootcamps cover all the skills you will need.
What did you do on your own to prepare? P90X three times a week, bumped up the cardio and even then I wasn’t prepared as to how strenuous this sport is on your body.
How do you balance a family/work life and derby life schedule? It’s a struggle sometimes. You have to be able to commit two to three evenings a week to this sport. If you have children you need to have a strong support system to help manage home responsibilities. One of my biggest struggles is my job, my job responsibilities don’t always end on time and I often have to rush to practice or miss and then have to make it up on another date.
Anything else you want to share to encourage our Potential Fresh Meat [nickname for our new recruits]? Do it, try hard, don’t give up and make sure you are having fun with the sport!
Personal life: Works full time, about 40 hours a week
What made you join derby? I was taken to my first bout March of 2011 and thought to myself, “Hey, I can do that.” I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to, but still wanted to check it out.
I attended one of the recruiting events where you are able to watch and got my name on the email list. I continued to question if I could do it and stay committed.
More and more emails from the recruiting director, Soul Eater, came in to my inbox. To be honest preparing for derby seemed like a lot, especially since I hadn’t participated in a sport in 10 years.
One day it clicked; I decided I wanted to skate. I went out bought skates and told myself if I’m going to do this I’m going to do it right.
What did you do on your own to prepare? I had about five months until tryouts. Soul Eater provided many helpful tools to prepare for tryouts in the fall. Potential Fresh Meat were provided with links to articles about derby, links to the rules, notifications about derby bouts to watch, workout ideas, contact information for Potential Fresh Meat and vets willing to meet up, information on the wRECk league and details on the multiple bootcamps that were set up.
In my situation I currently work a 40-hour week, and at the time of my decision to tryout out for derby, I was smoking a pack a day and eating fast food multiple times a week.
If I was going to do this it was time to change.
I took the initiative to take everything provided to me and make it work for me. I used the contact information to set up meetings for myself and other PFMs to meet up with vets on the league. I attended as many open skates as I could and joined the wRECk league. I began studying the rules of derby and watching as much as I could. I then set up to meet with Soul Eater to ask questions about the rules, strategy and working out.
Were you scared about the bootcamps? I was slightly nervous about bootcamps, but I was also excited to learn from the individuals I was watching compete throughout the season. I was ready to take in everything that I could. It took a lot of hard work.
We were asked to do things that were outside of our skating comfort zones, but one of the best things is that everyone was very supportive. These are ladies that love the sport and want to be part of an ever-growing league.
Even though these ladies are supportive, they will not spoon feed you information nor make you a great skater. Only you can determine your fate as a skater on the league.
You need to make the initiative. You need to put in the hard work. You get what you put into it.