GRRD Basic Training: Week 1

GRRD Rookie, HookHer

GRRD Rookie, HookHer

Meet HookHer. As a GRRD rookie, she had absolutely no idea what she was getting herself into when she joined Grand Raggidy in January 2019. She thought maybe she’s not alone in that and wanted to share her experiences about roller derby and what basic training with GRRD is really like. Roller derby is great - and even though we all have varying lives, we want to share with you just how possible it is that derby can become your life, too!

Week 1: What Did I Just Sign Up For?

So you’ve signed up to play roller derby, eh? I bet you’re thinking “my friends will think I’m a total  badass” or “I’m going to have the coolest derby name”... and maybe so. But, before you jump onto the track thinking you’re going to look all hot and sexy like Ellen Page in Whip It, you might want to just grab a piece of paper, your favorite writing utensil, and have a seat on the bench. You’re in Basic Training, Rookie!

Alright, I’ll be honest. I totally signed up for roller derby with Grand Raggidy because I love inline skating and wanted something to do for myself. Special note: inline skating is nothing like quad skating. However, any skating experience is good experience. I really wasn’t even looking to play roller derby, and was just looking for a league schedule to attend a game. But, when I saw Grand Raggidy’s little “Join Us” tab, I accepted the challenge. “Hell yeah I’ll join. Why not?”

I was a bit nervous about going to my first Basic Training practice. I mean let’s be real; this was my first time playing a sport where I knew absolutely no one. Thankfully, when I signed up, Grand Raggidy sent me a confirmation email and told me what to expect - class. Yup. I was nervous and I wasn’t even going to be on skates yet. Cool.

GRRD Basic Training Class January 2019

GRRD Basic Training Class January 2019

My BT class consisted of about twelve ladies. However, what I learned in that first day was that being a Grand Raggidy Roller Derby player is HARD. ASS. WORK. Those twelve ladies quickly dwindled down to three - one of which being a returning player who just had to re-pass her skills test and be in good standing. 

Speaking of skills test, that’s another thing I realized. Roller derby wasn’t just going to be a fun little thing. I was being asked to make this part of my lifestyle by finding time in my busy life and schedule to fit in practice and league jobs. If I didn’t make practices, I would never be able to play in games.

I can hear you now, and I hear you making all sorts of excuses as to why you’re thinking playing with Grand Raggidy just won’t work for you - but you’re SO wrong! Clearly you were called and interested in the sport for a reason. Don’t turn away from that. You think you’re the only parent with a full time job; or the only college student working and completing an internship; or perhaps you think you’re the only cardiologist who has on-call on occasion… well. Shocker. You’re wrong! 

Alright, so you’re still with me… following along, right? Great! So here’s what to really expect that first week of Basic Training:

  • Basic rules, moves, maneuvers, game info. 

  • League information, jobs, team placement.

  • New friends (yeah, I’m pretty sure I had my first friend’s request before even leaving the parking lot! GRRD ladies are pretty welcoming).

  • Gear. 

  • Practice expectations.

In all reality, roller derby is such an amazing sport for women… and YOU have just completed the first step toward earning your place on the team. You’ve signed up for basic training and are a Grand Raggidy Rookie. And I don’t care what your friends say, you ARE a badass! 


Tracey Nowinski