The Nashville Junior Roller Derby (NJRD) held a boot camp and scrimmage on July 12, 2014 at the Nashville Fairgrounds. It is not just about pushing your way to the front for scoring points with this sport and this team. There is far more to being on this team.
Erika Young (AKA Tenacious Diesel) is one of the trainers who spoke to the NJRD players, all aged 10 to 17. Here are just a few of the points she drove home:
- Your bodies are already amazing and beautiful and strong.
- The tiny models in the magazines would not be nearly strong enough to play your sport.
- Self-sabotage is more damaging than any opponent.
- Your self-worth is not determined by your performance.
The mission of the NJRD is "to nurture self-confidence in young women by developing team work and athletic ability while encouraging individuality within a culture of disciple, sisterhood, and stewardship through the competitive sport of roller derby." Parents of the players do the "behind the scenes" work: sell T-shirts, provide drinks and food for players during games and practices, lay down the tape for the rink, and, judging by the scrimmage, yell for all of the players, not just their own child. While the sport is fun to watch and more fun to cheer on, it is nice to see young women gain confidence, social skills, sportsmanship, and more from positive role models.
"It's not like in the movies (i.e. "Whip It" starring Ellen Page)," says one parent. "There's no punching, kicking, wrestling." The skaters learn "how to fall safely, how to get through a group (called a "jammer"). Newbies will learn the very basics before even going on the rink. But do not be fooled; this is a physical sport that can wear out those of us who have not exercised in a long time, just by watching.
Size does not matter, either. One little girl, whose knee pad is bigger around than her waist, zooms through and around the opposing team to score a point as easy as girls three times her size. What obviously matters is having fun, following the rules, and learning teamwork.
You roll, girls.
My website, including photo credit HERE