Only the freshest meat will do.

In just over 2 weeks time, my league are starting a new fresh meat programme.

I have never personally/officially undertaken a fresh meat experience. I guess part of me feels a bit like I missed out, and why I’m so excited about being about to teach our new fresh meat with my derby wife. In our last wave of fresh meat – Autumn/Winter 2013, I caught some of their practice time and got to know them later than most of the team due to the committments of a house renovation (still a while to go).

Thankfully our FM are all lovely ladies (and Ben) and have been more than willingly to get to know us all and learn what they can as well as bond with current team skaters. They have become part of the fold and it seems crazy to think that not so long ago we sat them in a hall with daunted looks on their faces as we introduced ourselves and they had their first moment on skates.

Because I missed out on this experience, I put the idea out to some of our fresh meat to see if anyone would be interested in sharing their stories so far. Luckily they were fantastic and put together some pieces on their derby experience to date. Reading through their stories before posting these has made me so proud of them and I feel so happy to be able to share these with you – I have seen them really come into their own and I think the next few months will see them become quite a force on track!

So now for some of our last FM ladies to pull up a seat and tell you about their journeys!

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Gemma AKA Bette Grinch #84
My Fresh Meat Experience Dec 2013

For a year or so, I had been looking for something, some kind of hobby to suit “me”. Me being “me”, it had to be something slightly crazy!

I’d heard friends mention roller derby, so I curiously looked up the Mansfield team, who coincidentally were having a fresh meat intake. With no hesitation whatsoever, I was there! I used to love skating when I was a kid so how hard could this be? I’ll just put the skates on, wobble, and off I go… Right? WRONG!!! It was tough, learning to skate your knees bent is painful. The fresh meat program is intense, crippling, exhausting but sooooo good. I feel I’ve made great progress thanks to our super coaches and teammates.

Teammates are a huge help and support and definitely inspiring. The team spirit is admirable and a true sisterhood that even the boys are in on.
So now I’m facing our first bout in less than 2 months. I have no doubt that with my sheer determination and team help, I’ll be on the track kicking ass with the other Misfits. Bring it on!!

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Clare AKA Stormy C #L13
“Fresh Meat – OMG what’s that” asks my colleague at work “that sounds horrible!”

Ola, I’m Stormy C, I’m 45 and I’ve just completed my 12 week Fresh Meat programme. I came to Roller Derby through another colleague at work who’d mentioned Roller Derby on her Facebook page. I remembered seeing “Whip It”, I don’t remember how long ago and thinking “Yey I’ll give that a go” although must admit being a bit freaked out by the angle of the track. I’d missed the first ‘meat’ and introductions but contacted Little Miss Chief via the Misfits Facebook page as I was concerned I was too old… she said no worries, just to come along, they’d find me some skates, helmet etc. and I could see how I went. You are only as old as you feel. Well I don’t feel old so……..

I arrived at 5:45 and was sorted out by Gore G’eous, skates, knee-pads etc. and ready to go…. But imagine my surprise it’s not quite “Whip It” it’s Flat Track Roller Derby so not quite so freaked out as I had been. We did an off skate warm-up first as Dorny Darko said warm-up was really important. Then down to the main stuff get kitted up and on track….. Well that was a barrel of laughs… I’ve not skated since being about 14 so there were a few wobbles as you can imagine. I’d missed the skating basics in the introduction session so “falling small” was a ‘you want me to do what’, and “sticky skates”… ‘say again???’ All phrases you will learn and pick up.

Our FM sessions were on Sundays from 6-8. We did six sessions learning all kinds of stuff, like moving on wheels to begin with (sticky skating and crossovers – I remembered those from ice-
skating), different ways to stop, blocking, skating in a pack, how to fall safe and the holy grail – the “27 in 5”…. I’ll explain later. Then we had a mid-term assessment to clear us for ‘contact’ which I think we all passed. We then went onto “contact” – how to block, how to give a hit and take one, learning how to give and take a “Whip”. After so many weeks attendance we were allowed to join the Misfits properly, which meant we could finally chose a Derby name and we could attend Thursday sessions too along with the “Real Misfits” to get more experience on wheels and join in with the scrimming….

In terms of our FM batch, we’ve got girlies like Bette Grinch who is totally “mad for it”, Hawkeye who has been skating with a busted wrist for weeks and didn’t tell anyone (pain, what pain!), NikaBlocker Gory who whizzes round the track like you wouldn’t believe, along with our Emma whose just got new wheels and was flying round the track last night, don’t be put off my her slender frame she hits hard and Fire Lily who puts my plough stops to shame!

Right then “27 in 5” – basically gives you shaky legs…… The aim is to “skate the diamond” round the track and do 27 laps of the track in 5 minutes. Nikablocker is nearly there, she’s got the fastest feet I think and the rest of us aren’t too far behind. Apart from crossovers all the way, you just need to remember to breathe….lol. Get the oxygen into your muscles and “push them legs”.

We’re all different personalities, we all have other hobbies outside of Derby but with us FM and the original girls we make up THE TEAM. Why not come and join us, you may get a few bruises but you’ll have a ball.

We’re Lean, Mean… Purple and Green… Go Misfits!

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Nik AKA NikaBlocker Gory #1710
“Mommy! You are on a big team photo!”

One Sunday night, just four months ago, I found myself in a car full of friends heading out for a new adventure. We were going for a trial session with Mansfield Misfits. Until that night I hadn’t given roller skating in any form a second thought having never skated in my life. I just have a really bad habit of agreeing to most social invitations. This one was a bit different!

Arriving in the hall was exciting, daunting and a big challenge. I knew we were going to be supported as non-skaters but I couldn’t fathom how I was going to be close to getting around the track at any rate that would benefit a team!

Oh yes – the team bit! I have NEVER, never, ever played a team sport, never done a contact sport and never really publically exercised. I ride a bike, swim, jog, go to the gym – all very solitary hobbies. This will explain my Californian husband’s surprise when I told him of this new venture. That and I didn’t have time to YouTube Roller Derby beforehand as he suggested. My bad!

Sounds disastrous? Well, we can now fast forward 4 months and here I am juggling my thoughts between the design of my next two tattoos and my Roller Derby experience so far. It has been a Roller Coaster (there’s a pun there!) and my stomach doesn’t churn as much at the prospect of training anymore! That is because I am surrounded, literally, by some really good friends! The Misfits are tight but they let you in their pack, share their group hugs and kick your ass without the usual judgements or reservations a room full of girls might bring.

This is a whole new lifestyle for me. My family are adjusting to me changing family routines so that I get to practice on time. They are getting more used to me walking round in small shorts all of a sudden (because that is how we roll) and we are making plans for a family outing to enjoy the Misfits first bout. I want my kids to meet my new mates! And tonight, I showed my family some photos of a recent session (the first time I have seen myself as a Derby girl) and my daughter exclaimed with pride “Mommy! You are on a big team photo!”. So I am

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