No 'fresh meat' here. Just Family.

There comes a moment in every new Outfit skater's career when she looks back at the line-up for a scrimmage jam, maybe her blocking line is a skater or two down because of penalties, and she sees Suzie Crotchrot behind her, ready to blow open a hole for a jammer like the Joan Ranger. And in this moment, a new skater may or may not start to mutter, 'Son of a ...' But she is cut off by the whistle to start the jam. And then she skates her butt off for the next two minutes.

This is not a small moment. Nor is it an unusual one. And I won't lie -- it's a bit nervous-making. The Chicago Outfit requires all new recruits to pass the WFTDA minimum skating skills requirements, as well as a test of WFTDA rules, before scrimmaging at practices. But beyond that, we're all one team. We divide up fairly randomly and in different combinations each time we scrimmage each other, and new skaters line up alongside our strongest and most experienced skaters from the first time we're out there. And the first time a Syndicate skater checks you? You feel it. And you learn from it. That's the whole point.

Nobody is referred to as 'fresh meat.' No disrespect to the leagues who use that term, and others like it in tone and intention; it just doesn't fit the Outfit ethos. Our newest skaters, myself included, are challenged at every practice to keep up with the women who've been playing competitive derby for years. And those same skaters take the time and put in the work to help each of us get better and stronger every step of the way.

That's how Family does things.

By Undead Miss Red