Roller Derby: Fresh Meat, week 2

I learned a few things after Sundays practice. I really thought I had been working my core at the gym but obviously not enough. I hurt across my lower stomach and lower back. I have tried to rearrange my gym time to focus more on my core and legs. I am still lifting weights, even thought I know that this wont help me with Roller Derby. I still want nice arms and big shoulders. But that is a post for a different day.

I visited Turn Left Roller Derby shop on Thursday to get some information about protection. When I had first decided to start Roller Derby my husband and I found a “fresh meat package” online for 170 Euros. It included skates, knee pads, elbow guards, writs guards and a helmet. Knowing nothing about Roller Derby or what I would need this sounded reasonable and about what I budgeted to get started. Around 200 Euros for all my gear.

Man was I wrong.

I borrowed protection gear last week and I was able to see first hand how important safety gear is. We practiced falling and we were told to fall on our knees and lean back (like a rockstar sliding across stage). Makes sense because we don’t have protection on our backsides but our knee pads are huge. You lean back because if you fall forward and your hands hit the floor your fingers could get rolled over and you could get really injured.

After seeing the importance of the safety gear and how robust the stuff I borrowed was, I really researched the cheap “Fresh Meat package” we had seen online. I couldn’t find any real information about the brand and the knee pads looked really small. The prices for everything seemed really standard at all the online skate shops and there was no way everything should cost under 200 Euros with skates. I decided to visit the local skate shop and have a look around.

I was helped by one of the owners, a really nice British lady named Emma. She was really helpful and I didn’t feel pushed or pressured into buying anything. She said that the big tickets safety items were the knee pads and the helmet. I asked her about the pads included in the cheap package and she called them “an injury waiting to happen”. She said that people who buy those pads end up with an injury before Fresh Meat was even over and they leave Roller Derby because of it. They didn’t sell any of the cheap brands in the shop because they have a commitment to safety. I’m glad she was so nice, this felt more like an honest conversation than a sales pitch. I could tell that she really loves the sport and has a very real interest in helping women enjoy it as much as she does. All this was done with my 2 1/2 year old “big helper” touching things and making messes.

I decided to buy all my safety gear there at Turn Left Roller Derby Shop. Their prices seemed in line with what I had seen online so I knew that I wouldn’t be saving a significant amount of money by shopping online and I wouldn’t have my gear in time for Sundays practice anyway.  Emma had me try on a ton of different knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards. I am so glad I didn’t try to buy them online. The sizing is completely different that I would have thought. I would have gotten the wrong things for sure but since I didn’t have any idea how everything was supposed to fit I probably wouldn’t have realized that nothing fit properly until it was to late to return it (because it was worn and scratched up). There really isn’t anything better than one on one help from a knowledgeable person. Plus I was supporting a local business and the Eindhoven team sponsor and those are good things. In reality I saved a ton of money by shopping there because I wont have to replace things that certainly would have had to otherwise.

This is a link to their website: Turn Left Roller Derby Shop

So what did I buy and what did it cost?

Helmet: 49.50 Euros

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Mouth Guard: 22.50

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Elbow Pads: 31.50

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Wrist guards: 27.00

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Knee Pads: 80.10

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Total Spent on pads and protection gear: 210. 60 Euros. * Note: People participating in Fresh Meat get 10% discount at this shop because they sponsor the team. The prices I listed are what I paid with this discount.

Yikes, right? Believe me I know.

I still have to buy my skates and I was told I would need to budget between 200 -250 Euros. Those will have to wait a few months. I just can’t afford to spend any more right now. I have my basic roller skates that I got used and those will work for a while longer. I have a birthday coming up (hint, hint, hubby!)

I knew that there would be start up costs because you need gear in any sport but I had no idea. It’s probably a really good thing that I didn’t know until after I had made the commitment because I would have talked myself out of it for sure. I have it now, though and I as long as nothing horrible happens I wont need anything else for years. Also I see this as incredible motivation to love Roller Derby and do well!

Practice Week 2:

This was one of the hardest workouts of my life. It’s a lot of the same things I do at the gym but add in skates and a higher intensity. Lunges? Skate and drop down touching a knee to the ground and then get up again without stopping or falling over. Pretty much a lunge on crack. Squat? Hold a “derby pose” which is basically a deep squat for 5 minutes while being held at the hip and pushed around the track then switch. Oh, and in order to get you hands on the person in front of you, you pretty much have to be in a squat yourself. 5 minutes. Each Time!  I didn’t make it. More of the same. A basic gym workout but taken to a crazy Roller Derby level. And then we also had a basic gym workout, but on skates. Push ups, planking (regular and side) sit ups, leg lifts ……  If you aren’t hella strong at the beginning of this you will be by the end!!

Then there is the skating lessons. And the falling lessons, I have a particularly hard time with these for some reason.

And did I mention at any point that the track is outdoors? It’s hovering just above freezing here. My toes went completely numb and my fingers turned an interesting shade of red.

I loved it. Every crazy minute of it.

It felt more fun this week than last week. I chatted with the others (there are about 9 of us). We laughed and lightheartedly complained about how we were going to be sore. It was fun. At the end we played a Dutch game that is kinda like “red light green light”.

I can’t wait for next week.

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