WoRD’s new fresh meat class starts on June 6 and we’ve been getting a lot of questions about what to expect so we’ve decided to freshen up one of our old posts for your perusal.
1. Do a lot of people get hurt? Roller derby is a contact sport. People do get hurt, yes. We get bumps, bruises, sprains, and sometimes we get broken.
2. Do I need to know how to skate already? No! We’ll teach you what you need to know. BUT, the more you practice the better you get. So even if you can barely stand, you’re going to have to get out to some roller rinks to practice.
3. Can I help out without having to skate? Please do! You help out at bouts and events and make sure things run smoothly. You can be what’s called an NSO (non-skating official) where you keep score or track player penalties. There really is a place for everyone.
4. Do I need skates to start? We have a limited amount of skates that we can loan you. If you’re unsure whether you’re going to like skating at all but want to try, you should definitely contact us to see if we have your size. You can get cheapo skates at your local sporting goods store, and those can take you through at least the fresh meat program. If you really love it, you’re going to want to head up to Bruised Boutique and get yourself a pair of derby skates.
5. Where do I get equipment? We highly recommend Bruised Boutique. The women who work there are very knowledgeable and can really walk you through what the best gear is for your level of skating. Here’s what you’re going to need:
a mouth guard.
6. What is the schedule? Fresh meat will have practice on Wednesday 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. and on Sunday 5:00 to 8:00.
7. What is the time commitment? In addition the the practice schedule, we require you to volunteer 5 hours a month. WoRD is a non-profit, volunteer-run league and we can only survive if we all help out! You are also going to want to practice at other times at local rinks, too.
8. What if i don’t like it? That’s simply not possible.
9. What are the rules? Because I learn things a lot better by watching them, I also suck at explaining. This is my favorite video describing the very basics of roller derby. From that video you can get pulled into a YouTube vortex of all things roller derby. That’s actually kind of fun and hopefully will get you even more excited about joining us.
10. Where do we practice? WoRD has its own practice space at 34 Suffolk Street in Worcester.
11. Are there men practicing too? WoRD is a women’s only league. We probably will have some guest coaches that will be men, though!
12. What are the ages required? You must be 21 to actually play roller derby, but you can ref at 18.
13. What are the roller derby girls like? Awesome, funny, quirky, intense, artistic… well, I could keep going about how wonderful we are, but read on!
14. Do we have a chance to meet you first and come watch a practice? Yes! Mark your calendars. We are having a meet and greet on May 17 and May 20th. We want you to come and get to know us!
15. How long do people skate before they understand the game? One of the best ways to understand the game is to watch the game. As fresh meat you will be helping with WoRD scrimmages. This will familiarize you with the rules. You can also catch games on line at Derby News Network. And you should definitely go to other games in the area. WoRD will be having field trips to those games because we have friends that play for other leagues and we want to watch them!
16. What is the fresh meat program like? You will learn the various skills needed to be able to play the game. We will teach you to skate, fall safely, take and give hits, whips, assists… okay, see? I’m getting ahead of myself. We start slow and build upon your skills as we go. The program will be 14 weeks and will bring you up to a scrimmaging level.
17. Is this staged or a real sport? It’s very real. Some of the videos that you have seen from the 1960s and 1970s were most likely staged, so take them all with a grain of salt. We are not like the WWF. We don’t punch people or trip them or grab their hair.
So that’s what I got! And if you have more questions you can either save them up for the meet-and-greet or follow us on Facebook or check out our website.
Oh, and regarding question 8. If you don’t like it we’re certainly not going to force you to play! But if you love being around us you are welcome to stay as either an NSO or a ref.
Can’t wait to meet you!