New skaters are split into three categories based on their skating abilities: beginner (Oh-my-gosh-I-don’t-even-know-how-to-skate!), intermediate (I’ve skated before but it’s been a while), and advanced (I can skate circles around people but I know nothing of derby). All skaters start off with the same training. Intermediate and advanced have an opportunity to test out at six weeks and become part of the league. Skaters are not eligible to join the league without passing all of the skills that are required. Non-contact skaters are also welcome. They are able to participate in the training and become part of the league for fitness skating. They may enjoy the other aspects of our derby league such as volunteering at derby fundraisers and bouts. They are valuable members of our derby family and are a tremendous help.
When I began participating in the Fresh Meat program, I was able to experience the different levels of skaters. I remember the first day of training I had to hold one of the girls up as she skated around the track so she wouldn’t tumble to the ground. This particular skater is now able to skate on her own and I was able to witness her confidence soar through the derby roof!!
Fresh Meat is a great way for people who want to stay active in a fun way and have the opportunity to get or stay in shape. The friends you make will extend beyond the track. The league has a family feel and is very accepting of people with different personalities and backgrounds. I was lucky enough to watch the prospective skaters in last year’s boot camp integrate into the league and make their own places amongst the league.
At times the training can be difficult and frustrating for new skaters. But coaches and fellow skaters are there to push the girls along by being supportive and teaching them tricks to be better skaters. Many times I saw Fresh Meat skaters attempting laps or some other skill, while the whole league cheered them on. After it was finished these skaters were bombarded with hugs and smiles whether they passed or not. The league has quality coaches to help the girls along the way to becoming skaters in the league. They are helpful, informative and never afraid to get out there and demonstrate a T-stop or transition.
I value the experiences and relationships I’ve formed in this league and look forward to future Fresh Meat Boot Camps. Seeing the girls leave Fresh Meat and become derby skaters is a great feeling. Watching them skate with the league and thinking, “Hey, I helped her get there’ is a very rewarding feeling!! Viva La Derby!!
Fresh Meat Coach