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You must be female, at least 19 years old and have BC Medical coverage (a Care Card) to play rollerderby. Men and women 19 and over can join as referees, announcers, coaches, stagehands or general help. Anyone of any age can help support TCRG through promoting, fundraising, sponsoring, and attending events and bouts. Check out the referee and volunteer pages for more info on non-skating positions.
Let’s not kid around here: roller derby is a huge time commitment! There are usually 2-3 league practices (up to 3 hours long) each week during the season, and 1-2 in the off-season. Individual teams hold separate practices. This may sound intimidating but you'll quickly realize how much fun skating is and you’ll want to skate as often as possible! Girls who wish to skate in bouts or take part in public events must attend at least 60% of practices to be eligible.
Being a derby girl isn’t just skating. This league is skater owned and operated. That means that the members run the league - no one runs it for us. If you want to be considered a Terminal City Rollergirl, you must not only attend practices, but you must take part in the events, volunteer work and organization of the league as a whole. Please be prepared to dedicate several hours a week to TCRG beyond practice times. If you have recurring health problems or a really busy schedule (work, school, kids, whatever) and you don’t think you can commit this much time, please don’t consider joining. We don’t want to depend on someone who’s not going to be able to show up, nor do we want it to interfere with the rest of your life. Yes, derby is bloody hard work, but it’s also a hell of a lot of fun. We’d be surprised if you don’t become addicted.
Start training now. Get some skates, strap on your gear and GO SKATE. Parking lots, tennis courts, the Seawall, community centres, basketball courts, dry hockey rinks - you name it, you can skate on it. The sooner you start rollerskating, the better chance you’ll have in making Team Fresh Meat. If you’re really serious, try to get in touch with other potential Fresh Meat and start practicing together. Raw Meat Vancouver is a good place to start.
We hold general tryouts once a year, in the autumn, right after our home season ends. This is to ensure a full Fresh Meat training season before the beginning of our home season in the spring. At tryouts, potential Fresh Meat are run through a series of basic skating drills to asses their skills. The coach running the tryouts then teaches a series of more advanced drills so we can asses your teachability, adaptability and fitness levels. The judges at tryouts are the current team captains and coaches.
If you make tryouts, you become a member of Team Fresh Meat. You will be expected to practice skating drills at your first practice, so please come prepared with ALL of your equipment. Also, bring a positive attitude, a buttload of enthusiasm, and leave your shyness at the door. All of the TCRG chicks are fantastic, and they’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you have during practice. The more questions you ask, the faster you will learn! If you’re having trouble catching on, the Fresh Meat coaches will be at practices to give you tips. Fresh Meat practice for about three months together as a team, and are tested several times on:
If a Fresh Meat player passes their tests and maintains a 60% attendance average, they are eligible to be drafted onto one of our four house teams.
You will not have much say in drafting decisions, but if you have a favorite team and you’re smart, you can nudge things in the right direction. Watch the way the teams play, check out their uniforms, themes, and names. Sit and have a beer with the girls after practice and get to know them. The best derby teams have compatible personalities and approaches to training.
Contrary to what you may have heard, our roller derby is a real sport with no choreography or fake fights. Yes, we play to the fans, but we also play to win! It's not a matter of IF you get hurt; it's WHEN you get hurt. Pulled muscles, sprains, strains, bruises, and even broken bones can and will happen in roller derby. It is a full contact sport. This is why protective gear and medical coverage are required. We also train, stretch and practice falling to help reduce the frequency and severity of injuries. Off-skate strength and fitness training are also strongly encouraged. The higher your fitness level, the lower your risk of getting seriously hurt!
The biggest initial expense will be your equipment. A full set of protective gear will cost about $100, and decent derby skates will probably cost around $250. If you’re low on cash and you want to start rolling, a pair of used skates can often be found, but you will eventually have to upgrade anyway.
There are monthly league dues for all members of the TCRG, including Fresh Meat. Some teams also have separate dues for things like uniforms and travel expenses.
Skates are your most important piece of equipment - without good skates, nothing else will help you out on the track. There are many good roller skate shops online, just Google “roller skate sales.” You can find used roller skates at places like Sports Junkies or Play It Again Sports, eBay or craigslist.org. Thrift stores sometimes even have them. These are fine at first, but you’ll find that older skates will slow you down. When you’re ready to commit, you'll want to invest in a brand new pair of roller derby skates. Vancouver's best resource is RollerGirl Rollerskates, owned and operated TCRG's very own RollerGirl.
Once you find the right skates, you'll need all the required protective gear: a helmet, wrist guards, elbow pads, knee pads and a mouthguard are required for practice and bout skating. You will not be allowed to skate at practice without ALL of this gear. You can find good pads at any skateboard shop. Knee pads are especially important because that’s where you’ll be doing most of your falling, so get them as big and hard and you can as long as they're comfortable. Your dentist can fit you for a good, tight custom mouthguard. Cheaper ones are also available at sports stores, but they are usually big and uncomfortable, and make it difficult to talk.
Once you’ve joined TCRG, you are going to need a derby name. As you know, part of the fun of playing roller derby is having an alter ego. Once you find the perfect name, it will be registered with the official North American rollergirl name roster. You can find it at http://www.twoevils.org/rollergirls/. Before you do ANYTHING, please read the rules. Then you must go through the entire roster with a fine-toothed comb to make sure no other girl has your name or something similar. Make sure you search "Check a new name for uniqueness.” Please do not submit your name on your own. Once you join the league and decide on your name, it will be submitted for you.
Before you choose a name, really consider it. Do not submit your name after one practice. Try it on for size; sleep on it, live with it for a while. Once your name has been officially submitted, it’s basically written in stone, so it has to fit you really well, and you have to be totally sure you are committed to playing roller derby. If you take a name, then drop out, that name won’t be readily available for another girl who may LOVE it and want to join a year from now. Please wait a couple of months before you submit your name.
Learn about it from some actual TCRG Fresh Meat: read the Fresh Meat Diaries.
All contents are copyright ©2011 Terminal City Roller Girls, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.
Promotional photography courtesy of Nicolas Charest for Rollergirl Roller Skates and Bob Ayers, unless otherwise noted.