Kicking off our new “Meet the Skaters” series is Cleo. Cleo is part of our fabulous Fundamentals programme.
How did you first hear about roller derby? (and London Rollergirls!)
I think this may be the most common answer, I found derby through the film ‘Whip It’ starring Ellen Page. I got super obsessed with it and watched it over and over. That year, I asked for skates for my birthday but was always far too nervous to put them on, so they were untouched in the box for a little while!
I first saw the London Rollergirls at Pride! I can’t quite remember the year but they were skating in the parade through the city. I checked them out later that evening and was so surprised to find out they had home games in my area, I went to my first bout not long after that.
What made you want to try it?
It just looked so cool and tough, it’s the perfect mixture of all things that I like.
Did you have any skating experience before you started Fundamentals? Have you played any other sports before?
I had gone around my local park a few times, but it always felt too daunting. Once I had signed up for Fundamentals, I found that having a start date gave me a kick in the butt to get my skates on and work on being able to move forwards before my first session. I started going to some beginner skating lessons and had a few visits to the roller disco. In the past I have tried many different types of dance and did aerial hoop off and on for a year, despite all of this I’ve never found my ‘thing’. Until derby, I’m hooked.
What is your favourite thing you have learned in training so far? What has been the most challenging thing?
Last practice we did jumps for the first time! I can’t believe that after 6 weeks, I am able to jump over cones and a cardboard box. The most challenging thing thus far is transitions, it’s going to be something I have to drill over and over.
What’s the best thing about learning to play roller derby?
I love watching home games or games on youtube, it’s so motivating to see high levels of skating. I can’t wait until I can get to that level, and be able to make contact.
Have you thought about a derby name yet? If so what is it?
I am so indecisive, I have a whole list of it on my phone. I’m leaning toward Virus, but Toxin is close by.
Do you have any other hobbies? (besides derby!) What do you like to get up to when you’re not skating?
I really enjoy aerial hoop but I’ve kind of deserted it for skating, I can’t lie!
What advice would you give someone thinking about trying roller derby?
Go for it! Everyone in derby is so welcoming and supportive. After only a few sessions you will have made so much progress. I recommend skating a little bit before going to your first practice, just to get the initial nerves of being on
wheels out of the way. I highly recommend Skate Tone, they have awesome beginner skating classes all over London. If you sign up for fundamentals do not try to shape your mouth guard a few hours before your first practice, I have never felt so much panic and regret!
If you want to learn about our Fundamentals Programme you can find all the information here!