This is usually the first thing I get asked when I tell people I play roller derby. Until quite recently (maybe within the last couple of years?), it’s fair to say that Roller Derby was a relatively unknown sport in the UK until the film Whip It hit our cinema screens. Despite this, it’s popularity is now huge and continues to grow – for anyone who is part of the sport, this is very exciting! So with that in mind, you may be wondering how I got into Roller Derby and join Scotland’s 6th team. Or maybe not, but I’m going to tell you anyway!

I’d always enjoyed roller skating and ice skating when I was wee, and on the lead up to every birthday, my poor parents had to put up with “Please can I have a roller disco party? Please!”. As I got a bit older, my skates were shelfed alongside my swimming goggles, bike, gymnastics leotard, running shoes and ballerina tutu (it was a pretty big shelf!) and were replaced with ‘hanging out’ and studying. By the time I left high school and went on to uni in Dundee, my skates had long since disappeared, or more likely, donated to a car boot sale.

Fast forward to last year on a cold wintery afternoon when my wee pal Erin (Ro-whip-nol) told me about an upcoming roller derby bout in Dundee between Dundee Roller Girls and Manchester Roller Girls. With very little convincing, I went along to watch the Spring Fight; the enthusiasm from the whole crowd and both teams made me realise that I was missing out on something huge, and I was… After the bout, my feelings about derby were mixed: it looked so much fun, I really wanted to be involved, but was I tough enough?! Well, we’ll soon find out.

I did consider joining the Dundee Roller Girls but realised the 2-hour round trip from Tullibody (a lovely wee town in Clackmannanshire…) to Dundee may be a tad excessive. But when I found out that a new team had setup in Forth Valley, I jumped at the chance to attend Fierce Valley Roller Girls first official Fresh Meat day in May 2011!

I’m so glad I got over the initial nerves of joining the team, but I’m not gonna lie, each session is still a bit scary… in a good way though. You know when you’re terrified to go on that big rollercoaster but when you get off it you can’t wait to get on it again? Yeah, I find derby is a lot like that. It’s totally worth it though: each week I’m learning new skills and meeting lots of ‘fierce’ people – it’s great to see and hear how everyone is progressing each week!

I’ve recently sat some of my Minimum Skills Requirements and have 2 still to pass before I’m allowed to be a proper grown up Roller Girl… and I can’t bloody wait! 😀