Diary of a Derby Girl.. Part Three

Part Three of Arcadia Roller Derby’s Diary of a Derby girl.



I first properly heard about roller derby maybe 2 months ago. I was in the pub and one of the girls I was with mentioned that she did it, so I was like tell me more! After trying to explain it to me with the aid of napkins covered in drawings of tracks, and after a bit of good humoured verbal abuse for asking if it was like Whip It, she decided to show me. Which is why I got blocked for the first time in the pub, not even on skates.

It seemed like the kind of sport I could get into so I googled the teams in Manchester. I had a look at all of them but in the end the Arcadia drew me in with their charm and rough round the edges approach to derby… the whole feel of the site was really team based and welcoming. Having not worn skates in about a decade, I went to public skating first where I quickly realised I was about as co-ordinated as a beetle stuck on its back. But never one to be easily discouraged, I bowled on down to my first Monday skills session.

I was pretty nervous and more than a little jealous when I saw everyone there skating like a pro (I still kind of am) but there were others like me who were there for the first time. With a bit of expert coaching we were moving around, balancing on one leg and stopping in no time. It’s craaazy frustrating trying to make your feet do what you want at first. I felt like I was born to instantly skate backwards… several bruises proved me wrong. But you really do feel yourself getting better the more you practice, so the first time I managed to go backwards and stay upright it was the most rewarding feeling, just like every time you start to get the hang of something new.

Also credit where credit is due, everyone at the Arcadia has been amazing. Since that first session through to now I can’t believe how much everyone has helped me improve my skating and made me feel like part of the team (thanks everyone if you read this). Major example has got to be my second week, when I went just to cheer on the team in a scrimmage against Wirral Whipiteres and found myself boiling a mouth guard and putting on knee pads, getting ready to skate. I was nervous as hell and slightly confused about the rules, but the advice and support everyone gave me was incredible and I had one of the best (albeit unexpected) experiences ever. I also learned not to skate in skinny jeans.

Now I’ve been skating for about 5 weeks and feel like I’ve made a ton of progress. I’ve finally taken what I now know to be leg-saving advice from Alex and invested in some knee pads, and I’m saving up for my own skates. Roller Derby is hands down the most addictive and immersive sport I’ve ever done and I’d recommend it to anyone. I fell in love with it, ‘fell’ probably being the operative word. I would advise thinking of a derby name before you show up though, or you might not get much of a say in it.


Trust me.

Big Willy Style (formerly known as Alex)

ARD_vs_WWRD0413 61


Thanks Big Willy Style (on the right) for writing for us, more on diary of a Derby Girl next week :)

Roller Disco time at the Arcadia!

After the success of our 80s themed Roller Disco we’re holding our next event on Saturday the 11th of May

Thanks to everyone who attended our last Roller Disco it was great to see so many new faces! and from your suggestions we’ve decided to go for a 90s theme this time around – so whether you loved the Spice Girls, grunge, or raving until the early hours we want to see you in your best 90s attire.

£3 entry (including skate hire) 8-10pm, and bring your own booze!

So save the date! and we hope to see you all there :)

Kinders x

Diary of a Derby girl…..

Hi, I’m Alex. For those who don’t know me, I started skating about seven months ago. And I was crap….like, really crap! I was like a lot of girls who got into derby; I’d heard people talk about it, and I’d seen the cult classic film “Whip It”, and heard people say how fierce it was. So I thought hey, why not give it a go! I rocked up to my first derby session on a hot summers day, and dragged some friends along for moral support. Once I’d borrowed some skates and figured out my elbow pads from my knee pads, I was ready to kick some ass, derby style! Or so I thought….I looked a little like this:

my first derby day...

Yeah, I was super cool! :) But it didn’t really matter, cos other people there were just like me: wanting to try something new and were willing to give it a go. Within the session most of us were able to skate a few laps, mostly not fall over,and even do some T-stops! I was really chuffed…and also slightly addicted.

I started going religiously to training, and even to public skating sessions for some extra practice. Over the next few weeks and months, I slowly started to improve. My balance got better and my coordination looked less like drunken chimp on wheels! I even took up roller hockey lessons, just so I could spend some more time on my skates and learn new skills.

I started picking things up slowly, like doing turns, skating backwards, even skating sideways…I also picked up a lot of crap off the floor from all the times I’ve fallen over (and still do fall!) but that’s part of the fun of learning. You’re never gonna get it perfect first time, and a lot of the time you fall on your bum (or face if you’re me), but once you get it right, it’s so worthwhile! It was also amazing skating as part of a team, and learning and working together. We started out as just a few girls getting together each week and trying to get better, and now we’ve grown in numbers and skills, and work with each other to grow and develop as a team.

For me, roller derby is about more than just being a good skater, or what kind of fishnets you wear, it’s about teamwork and friendship too. We’ve got our first derby scrimmage coming up this weekend, and it’s exciting to be going out there as part of a team and see what we can acheive. What started out as a crazy dream thought up from an Ellen Page movie is now becoming a reality. It’s like Maggie Mayhem says, “Be your own hero” :) x

Arcadia Roller Derby Photo’s


This gallery contains 32 photos.

New photo Gallery of Arcadia Roller derby grrrls, more photo’s to follow soon from recent scrimmage with our friends the cheshire hellcats!

Why not try Roller Skating this weekend?

its the middle of july and you want to do something different and fun with your saturday or sunday afternoon. We have just the thing.


For £3 each, with free skate hire come along to one of our sessions. This weekend we have:

  • Public Roller Skating – Saturday 2-4pm
  • Junior Hockey Training – Sunday 11am-12pm
  • Public Roller Skating – Sunday 2-4pm
  • Grown up games on wheels – Sunday 6-7pm
  • Roller Derby – Sunday 7-8pm

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain at the Arcadia Sports Centre, Levenshulme, M19 3PH

Manchester Roller Skating – Lessons and Casual Sessions

At the Arcadia Sports Centre we offer roller skating sessions just for fun, or for those a little more competitive we offer sessions and lessons for both Roller Hockey and for Roller Derby.

If you can already skate, jump straight in with Sunday night senior team training sessions, if youre rusty or youve never skated before, come along to one of our Sunday afternoon public skate sessions and chat with Mooks or Aiden about the availability of lessons and classes to improve your skills.

All sessions are just £3 per skater with free skate hire. Roller Skating in Manchester has never been so accessible :)


Manchester Skating is alive and well!

Hello to all the people we met today along the A6 for the olympic torch relay, it was wonderful to chat with you and hear all your tales about your times at the Arcadia.

I have been personally using the Arcadia since 1992, i have many fond and beautiful memories of my times there and it was wonderful to hear your tales of skating and arcadia goodness spanning back decades.

The Arcadia has been the home of roller skating in levenshulme for just over 100 years. The building itself is steeped in history and packed full of memories. Our doors are always open to locals, old and new, to come inside and get involved.

We hope to see many of the faces we met today come along to one of our Roller Disco’s our Public Skating sessions, come watch our Roller Hockey, or get involved or even have a go at our Ultimate Roller Sports Challenge.

Today was a beautiful day, despite the weather to remind us all that we are a community. Love the Arcadia, Love Levenshulme, Love Manchester <3