Despite the dangerously icy conditions and a power outage at the Mansion, we had an amazing turnout for our Fresh Meat registration by candlelight last night. We got lots of questions, and one of the questions people are asking that is harder to answer is “What is Fresh Meat Camp really like?” Here are some thoughts on that subject, originally published last April. It’s not too late to sign up! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the info.
The answer to that is different for everyone, but the bottom line is that FM camp is a huge challenge, and hugely rewarding. Doing something new is not easy for anyone, and roller derby is almost certainly unlike anything you’ve ever done before. Fresh Meat camp is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard to keep going, to push your limits, to learn skills you never even knew existed. We asked some former Fresh Meat, now bona fide KDG team members, for some words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking about doing Fresh Meat. Here’s some of what they had to say.
“Fresh meat changed my life. I’m not exaggerating! To learn from the best how to play a physically challenging, full contact sport on rollerskates, is unlike anything I had ever done. It was hard work and it took me some time to get the hang of it (really, I could barely stand on my skates) but it was TOTALLY WORTH IT! Derby is so much fun!”
- Dandylion (Rogue Warriors), Fresh Meat 2011
“Derby gave me an outlet, something to work towards. It became a diversion and a distraction and a challenge. I loved the workout. My legs were getting toned, my cardio was improving with each set of 25 laps I did. I wanted to know how it felt to be in a bout. I was determined to keep going. Roller derby is a gruelling sport. It’s rough, it’s intense, it’s fast. But it’s also empowering. It’s bonding with women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and stories. It’s pushing yourself past limits you thought you couldn’t go past; it’s liberating. For some, it’s a healing sport. Although the bruises and broken bones might suggest otherwise, it has saved many a soul. And it certainly helped me get mine back.”
- Kinder SurpriseYa! (The Skateful Dead), Fresh Meat 2011
“When I attend derby bouts and practices, everything else goes out the window — all my stress melts away and it’s like a different world, even if only a for few hours. It’s a positive escape from the daily.”
- Little Tank (Rogue Warriors), original skater
“I am so glad that I’ve found derby; it’s changed my life! I was never one for team sports (or even going to the gym, really), but I’ve really taken a shine to derby. It has improved my fitness immensely, and has also been an incredible boost to my self-esteem. In addition to feeling great physically and mentally, you will also find an amazing community in roller derby. If you ever run into any kind of trouble (derby-related or not), you can be sure your teammates will be there to help you out in any way they can. Amazing!”
- Newey and Improved (The Skateful Dead), Fresh Meat 2010 and 2012 (she had a baby in between)
“I didn’t know if I had time in my life for derby. I have a stressful career, a husband, two little boys, and aging parents. But to take care of all of them, I need to take care of myself, which includes getting regular exercise. Derby is like every workout all mixed into one — cardio, yoga, interval training…it’s the most effective use of my time I can think of!”
- WD Forte (The Skateful Dead), Fresh Meat 2012
“I hadn’t worn rollerskates since I was twelve when I came to that first sign-up session. I could never have imagined that I would fall in love with a sport, work harder physically than I ever had before, and — especially — that I would meet such a remarkable group of people. I found my limits and, with the help of those remarkable people, I chucked them out the window.”
- Cat O’Clysm (Rogue Warriors), original skater
“I came into derby having never done any roller sports in my life: no roller skates, roller blades, skateboards, NOTHING. I hadn’t participated in many team sports before, and although I was trying to keep in good shape, I wasn’t particularly fit either. I have no idea why I thought that joining derby would be a good idea, but oh man, was it ever. Although the first year was incredibly tough, painful, and frustrating, I kept pushing myself, and in return found an incredible community of the most awesome people I’ve ever hung out with, a passion for this awesome sport, and an amazing world of awesome stuff that I never had any idea my body was capable of. Now I’m one of the skaters teaching our new fresh meat, and having come from being probably the least experienced skater at our league’s first ever practice, I can absolutely understand how scary it is and how frustrating it can be to keep trying to push yourself to learn these things that it seems are so natural to so many people around you, but I also know that if you just keep at it, little by little YOU WILL get there! And gain a whole new respect for yourself in the process! YAAAAY DERBY!!!!”
- Banger Management (Disloyalists), original skater and Fresh Meat camp instructor