Read all about the journey of our very own Roxie Dart, rising from beginner skater in our Zero to Hero course to passing her minimum skills and becoming a fully fledged member of our Furies!
How did you found out about the Manchester Roller Derby’s Zero to Hero Programme?
I found out about Z2H through the MRD website. I started learning to play with a roller derby team elsewhere during uni, but didn’t live near any teams for a few years afterwards. When I moved to Manchester, I looked up the leagues nearby and liked MRD’s inclusive ethos, and weekend sessions which fit in with my weird work hours.
When did you start on your Zero to Hero Journey?
How have you found your introduction to the world of Roller Derby?
Fantastic! Z2H is a structured programme and you have access to a live log of your skills which makes it easy to set targets and stay motivated. Everyone in the league is super friendly, so if I ever wanted a skill demonstrated again or a rule clarified, someone was always willing to help. Above and beyond the training sessions, we were also given so many opportunities to learn more about gameplay through rules sessions, Heroes scrims, NSOing at league scrims and games, etc. By the time I passed minimum skills, I felt well prepared for the step up to training with the wonderful Furies.
How hard was it to pick your Roller Derby name and where does it come from?
Soo hard! I went through loads of options before settling on Roxie Dart, an amalgamation of Roxie Hart, the devious jazz superstar of Chicago (I research the 1920s so it seemed fitting!), and ‘dart’ because I wanted to channel something fast, sharp, and precise. It’s a name to grow into, haha!
How have you personally found your time at Zero to Hero?
I can’t tell you how wonderful. The coaches, mentors, and fellow Heroes were a constant source of support and encouragement. Another Hero and I made a pact in January 2018 that, by the end of the year, we’d have passed our mins and made it into Furies. By summer, we’d already done both – a testament to MRD’s awesome training!
One of the really special things about Z2H is that the coaches and mentors took the time to get to know my personal abilities and challenges, and tailored their approaches accordingly. I’ve got a pretty active internal critic, and felt like that was noticed when I was receiving feedback – similarly, I’ve seen the coaches pushing more outgoing skaters to try skill variations so they keep developing; allowing nervous skaters try skills without an audience; cheering words of encouragement to those who just need a push to get an extra lap. Without wanting to sound too cheesy, Z2H is bound to bring laughter and tears, but the coaches and mentors have got your back through it all.
What has been your favourite moment so far being a part of Manchester Roller Derby and Heroes?
In Zero to Hero, my favourite moment was probably when I FINALLY passed laterals! In MRD, playing for the Furies against Liverpool Roller Birds C and being one small part of our team’s first win in an open game in 3 years was an amazing feeling. We were so well matched which meant the game was really exciting to play and (I’m told!) to watch!
How has Heroes and Roller Derby helped you in your personal life?
There are so many ways! I’ve been amazed at how my attitude to what I am physically capable of doing has changed – I’m much more willing to take on physical challenges since starting roller derby, and took part in my first 2 long-distance races last year. It’s also given me a totally new outlook on failure – there is nothing in roller derby that you can get first time, but seeing every skill develop has made me so much more willing to put myself out there at work too. As a researcher, to be comfortable sharing the dreaded ‘unfinished’ or ‘not perfect’ piece of writing was once a nightmare, but now I see it as an opportunity to improve. Most importantly, through MRD I’ve made a ton of new friends!
If you could explain your experiences in Zero to Hero in 5 words, what would they be?
Challenge. Support. Community. Fun. Achievement.
Would you recommend Manchester Roller Derby’s Zero to Hero programme to your friends and family, and why?
I would and I have!