Tips for Transfers: Starting Fresh (Part 2)

So you’ve transferred to a new roller derby team.  Congratulations!  Now what? For starters you’re probably going to be expected to skate. And while it’s never easy being the new girl, it doesn’t have to be as hard you might think.  If you keep your wits about you and follow these few simple steps, you should find that transition from transfer skater to team member isn’t nearly as intimidating as it may seem.

  • Flexibility is Key

Try to build yourself some cash reserves early on in the transfer process.  While there are certain anticipated costs associated with switching teams, new uniforms or new skater’s fees, other incidentals have a way of adding up.  Expenses including higher dues, more frequent travel, or babysitting fees can quickly become a drain on your resources if you’re not careful.  Pay special attention if your new team’s schedule is going to force you to cut hours or move around shifts at work – no one like to be unpleasantly surprised by their check come payday. 

Apply that same level of flexibility to your time.  Realize that you may have farther to travel to reach a practice site or that your new team may have different attendance and board participation requirements then you are used to.  Embrace the fact that your calendar might be a little cluttered early on and give yourself the necessary leeway to work out the kinks and adjust your schedule accordingly.  

  • Ask Questions

Did you go to your first practice and feel like everyone was speaking a different language?  

That’s totally normal.

In a sport as young as derby, athletic vocabulary tends to vary wildly from team to team.  Skills you might recognize upon demonstration are referred to as something radically different than on your former team.  If you’re confused by a particular turn of phrase, don’t just stand there bewildered.  The best thing you can do is ask for clarification.  Don’t worry – no one’s going to judge you for it.  

  • Network

You can’t read a business article today that doesn’t stress the importance of networking, but a lot of skaters fail to realize just how important networking can be for their derby careers as well.   You never know when you’re going to need advice on gear, contact information for potential sponsors, foster skaters for a bout, or a whole host of other things.  Don’t cut your former teammates out of your life because you’ve joined another league.  

While strategy and confidential team information should always be kept on the hush-hush, you should make an effort to maintain the relationships you established prior to your transfer.  You never know when those connections will come in handy.

  • Be Kind to Yourself

Look, major life changes are fraught with awkwardness and derby is no different.  You’re going to get lost going to your new rink, or you’re going to forget the names of everyone you met the first few practices.  You’re going to fall down spectacularly doing something simple and feel wildly embarrassed.  You’re going to forget your password for the league website three times and have to keep pestering the team technical wizard to help you reset it. The reason I know all this is because it happened to me.  The most pointed piece of advice I can offer you is not to feel embarrassed, and certainly don’t let these growing pains drive you away from a sport that you love.  You’re not the new girl forever and eventually you’ll get your feet back under you (literally and figuratively).  But until then, cut yourself some slack.