It’s going to be hard to write about my experience as a rookie in only 200-300 words, because joining the skate community has had more of a 10,000 word impact on me.
I started skating about 1 year ago with zero skate experience. I was scared to join GMRD because I lacked skills, confidence, and I struggle with social anxiety. Lucky for me, GMRD looked past my inexperience and nerves, and instead celebrated how hard it can be to join a new sport. Every week I felt excited to show up and learn a little more, get a little better. Never before in my life have I heard someone earnestly yell “Nice fall!”, and be honoring the ability to get back up again.
Rookies practice is a great place to make connections with fiercely genuine women and learn a sport that encourages women of all shapes and sizes to take up space and be aggressive and not apologize for it. It has done more for my self-esteem than I could ever type in a blog post. I am grateful for all the late nights in which I pushed myself to go to practice despite feeling tired after work or drained from my personal life. Rookies practice was a place where I could get space from my daily routine and inner struggles, and instead make memories of feeling proud and supported. Like in Ratatouille (one of my all-time favorite movies), Remy’s chef idol Gousteau says “anyone can cook”; similarly, a good roller derby player can come from anywhere and with any background (i.e. no experience), and I would encourage anyone who has an inkling of interest in the sport to try it out and surprise themselves.