Ready to roll with the punches, attendees don donated shoes and lots of padding to tryout for the the “fresh meat” division of the Gainesville Roller Rebels, in which they will learn the do’s and don’ts that go into roller derby.
Students, nurses and women of many professional backgrounds gathered for the Gainesville Roller Rebels’ Recruitment Day on Saturday at the Alachua County Fairgrounds.
Ready to roll with the punches, attendees used shoes donated by previous Roller Rebels, and everyone had a chance to try out for the “fresh meat” division of the Roller Rebels in which they will learn the do’s and don’ts that go into roller derby.
The tryouts began with the attendees gearing up from head to toe and getting ready for an experience they weren’t ready for.
“Everything is really padded, we make sure to give them all a safety 101,” said Roller Rebels member Madam Secrescary. “It’s a big turnout, a lot of the people trying out today have never been on skates, so It’s always fun to see everyone try their best.”
Many attendees were inspired to try out for the team after seeing the Roller Rebels in a bout.
Caroline Porras, 26, thought it was fate for her.
“I found roller skates on the side of the street, they happened to be my size,” she said.
Others like Rain Cump, 22, tried out to find a community to be a part of.
“I like it a lot. This gives me a sense of community, because I don’t normally leave my house,” Cump said.
Recruitment day had strangers become like family in a few hours. Icebreaker games allowed attendees to put all egos aside, and find trust among each other.
The Roller Rebel vets played a game similar to musical chairs. They had the women gather in a tight circle and one would start with a fun fact about herself. Those who had the same thing in common, had to find a new place to stand before they would be left out in the middle.
“We accept those who are interested and want to be part of the team,” Secrescary said. “Every few months, our fresh meat moves up and can eventually compete alongside the vets.”
The Gainesville Roller Rebels have inspired those who have been a part of it in more ways than just being part of a community.
“I came there to lose weight, but now that I have been a part of the team, I’m not too worried about it,” Kat, a vet of the Roller Rebels said. “I have more confidence and know my assets. I have been part of the team since May and I love it.”