Breaking down bootcamps: Scarlett Bruiser

The Outfit is holding our training bootcamps at Fleetwood Roller Rink every Monday from November 10th through December 8th with tryouts shortly after. No experience necessary! (Need the full details? They're on our Facebook page.) Not sure you're ready? We're interviewing skaters who came in through our bootcamps to get their take on the process.

Scarlett Bruiser joined the Outfit just last year. During the season she played in multiple Shakedown games as both a blocker and a jammer. If you think she came in as a derby pro, her interview might surprise you!

Scarlett Bruiser

When did you go through the Outfit's bootcamps? Just last year.

What kind of skating experience did you have before you went to the bootcamps? I skated for one summer between 1st and 2nd grade, as I lived so far into rural Wisconsin I didn't even know such thing as a roller rink existed. The Rainbow Brite skates gifted to me only fit for one outdoor season and I never received another pair, so that was that.

In September, last year, a voice in my head suggested Googling "roller derby" when I was desperately seeking anger management. I didn't know if it actually still existed. Derby Lite popped up, so I signed up for the classes conveniently starting the following week. They taught me all the basics of skating and derby as well as lighting my desire to learn more about the sport. One of my favorite instructors, Mimi Furst, suggested to a few of us that we should attend the upcoming Outfit bootcamp to further our skills and see if we liked the idea of joining a professional league. Taking her up on that was the best decision I've made for my mental, physical, and emotional self, by far.

Where did you get all of your gear? Derby Lite provided a suggested beginners package to purchase, which was a great start. Soon after I made the team, however, I began upgrading the fit, quality, and safety of my equipment through Steve, at Lombard Roller Rink. His knowledge and dedication to skaters and their well being is impossible to replicate with online sites and "reviews." As a beginner, he educated me about my needs and what were good equipment choices for my budget.

What was the first thing you were asked to do while you were on skates? Wow, I really don't remember. The adrenaline was rushing so fast through my body it dulled a lot of the boot camp details! I was so excited and nervous to perform my best I was on auto pilot, often. That survival mode also gave me the ability to stay present and really absorb all the new skills being thrown my way- and they were ALL new things to me!

Did you go every week or did you miss some weeks? Oh, I went every week. There was no way I was going to miss out on the grueling exercise for cheap and I was quickly getting addicted. The coaches who lead the practices were amazing and inspired me to do the best I could...I couldn't wait for the next boot camp practice each week.

Approximately how many times did you fall? Countless! At first it was embarrassing because I tend to be a perfectionist but soon it was clear that was the only way to discover my abilities and weaknesses. Falling is a necessary leap of faith and sign of commitment to bettering ones skating form, I learned.

Was there any skill you that was particularly hard for you / you thought you'd never pass? Did you get any kind of extra help with this skill? How did you manage to pass it? Yes, a couple skills come to mind. Stopping and pacing myself. I LOVE to go fast! But breaking by slamming into a wall wasn't an option, anymore, and 27 laps in 5 minutes meant I needed to find a speedy rhythm- not just try to fly like a bat out of hell only to burn out half way through. Coaching was great with teaching me stop techniques and how to visualize my goals. I went to open skates with friends before tryouts to work on pacing and endurance which was a major factor in passing that portion of the test (thank you Scoots and Postal!!)

Any words of encouragement to those who might be on the fence? I genuinely learned everything on the fly! At all times I felt safe, encouraged, excited, scared, proud, and thirsty for more. There really is nothing to lose and the upside is huge...Bragging rights to having learned skate skillz from Chicago Outfit legends at least, and at best the opportunity to play and practice side by side with the same, calling them your teammates! Hell, to me they're now family.

Scar Jamming