So you want to be a star
So many skaters came to the Roller Derby to enjoy the excitement it could bring them.
Even in the 1950’s when I began to skate, skaters wanted to join the Derby because they SAW a chance for adventure, travel, and the chance to leave home and be on their own. Money? Who said you’re going to make any?
When I went home to tell my parents, “I’m joining the Roller Derby”, my pay was $50 every three weeks including my room and board and travel. A saying I’ll never forget from my dad was, “you will get paid peanuts and eat the glory.” Traveling was my excitement, but leaving home at almost 17, I needed my parent’s permission.
My coach at that time, Silver Rich, told my mother, “if we can’t make a skater out of your daughter, she will be back at your doorstep.”
Well, you know I never wanted to go back home.
Many had high hopes of maybe one day being a star and making lots of money, while doing something they fully enjoyed. Well, at least there was always the excitement. Skaters from all walks of life came to try out for this new venture, with hopes they had something that would attract the trainers. Some had colorful ways of skating, their facial expressions, their body movements, their speed, or there was something that looked like they would make a team player.
When Roller Derby came into a new town, there were notices put out for tryouts to join this sport.
At times, the trainers were also the coaches, and they were looking to add new skaters on their team.
A skater could move on the track in certain ways that made the audience actually sit up, stand and cheer. When you sell something, you are communicating to the audience and to television. You know you’re selling when the fans become aroused with the excitement you’re creating. Even if you’re just a pack skater, there was excitement in the action of the pack.
When a new skater was put on the team, my advice was to watch how the other skaters move on the track and then stay in the back of the pack until the jam has started. Then move to the front of the pack, learn to control the pace of the pack and stay out of everyone’s way. If you had the guts to try and take on a more powerful jam on your first try out, I’m sure your teammates would be there to help you. And that’s what skating was about, being a team.
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