Breaking down bootcamps: The Apostrofiend

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.

The Apostrofiend has been part of the family since 2010. She played in many games until an ankle injury kept her to bench coaching in 2013. She came back to referee in 2014 and we're excited to have her back as a skater in 2015! She's still in the midst of an illustrious derby career but she didn't come in off the street with all her skills.

Fiend - Chicago Outfit Roller Derby

When did you go through the Outfit's bootcamps? I joined up during recruitment in November of 2010.

What kind of skating experience did you have before you went to the bootcamps? I took some ice skating lessons as a kid, but never made it past 'intermediate' and stopped skating regularly around age 10-11. So I started derby over 12 years after stopping being a mediocre-at-best ice skater.

Where did you get all of your gear? I bought my first pair of skates online, which I definitely don't recommend because they did *not* fit well at all! Fit is the most important part of buying the right skates. I didn't know about resources like Steve at Lombard at the time. I bought most of my protective gear from Uprise, which is a skateboarding shop in the city. I believe they are still around! And I bought my mouthguard at Sports Authority, which was also a terrible idea. That thing was awful! Get a Sisu; you will not regret it.

What was the first thing you were asked to do while you were on skates? Hmmmm! I think they had us new skaters roll around at first to watch our strides and offer pointers on crossovers, etc. It was a long time ago. I know basic stops were one of the first things we learned, too. You've got to learn how to stop before you can learn how to go.

Did you go every week or did you miss some weeks?  I went every week.

Approximately how many times did you fall? I fell a lot. Approximately ten million times.

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? I was terrible at jumping! I think I psyched myself out over it, which is why it took me so long to be able to jump consistently. Derby is all mental. Once I realized this, and figured out how to balance myself so that I'd land mid-foot instead of falling on my bum each time, I worked on it by myself as much as I could (this was probably about nine million of my aforementioned ten million falls).

Any words of encouragement to those who might be on the fence? Be ready for how much it will take over your life. You'll be at practice 3-4 nights a week, and you'll need to do offskates cross-training, and you'll need to put in work hours towards running the league. And once you start bouting, since we're a travel league, you'll be out of town a lot on the weekends, too. We're a skater-run organization, and it takes a *lot* of work! But it's so rewarding, and so much fun, and one of the best things I've ever done for myself. If you're on the fence, just TRY IT! What's the harm in trying?

Photo courtesy of Steve Jurkovic Photography