Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about Raw Meat, roller skating and more.
About Raw Meat Vancouver Roller Skating
How did Raw Meat start?
In June, 2010, some derby-driven girls thought it might be fun to pool their money to book some rink time. The weather had been bad in Vancouver and these girls wanted to get some more practice time in before Fresh Meat try-outs. A call went out to see who would be interested. And boy, were people interested… Over 20 girls showed up for the first rink booking and it was clear this was going to get much much bigger.
The passion of the girls quickly formed the Raw Meat group we know today. Attendance that summer ranged from 20-55 skaters at each skate night and as experience grew the skate nights became more formal and structured practices. Strong friendships were built and the group really focused on helping new girls who were interested in roller derby and roller skating skills.
Who runs Raw Meat?
Raw Meat is run by volunteers, because we love getting together and skating. We are always looking for help. Watch this site for volunteer postings, or just talk to us at our skates, and let us know you can help out.
What are the rules of Raw Meat?
Raw Meat has two rules:
1. Don’t be an ass-hat.
2. Be safe.
Hopefully, these are pretty self-explanatory. If you need more detail, here it goes:
1. Don’t be an ass-hat.
Don’t be mean to anyone. Everyone is equal at Raw Meat skates. From the best derby champions to the girl on skates for the first time ever, everyone at a Raw Meat skate is on the same team.
If you are an expert skater, don’t scare the new skaters, don’t showboat, and don’t be snooty. You were new once too. If you are a new skater, be aware of your surroundings. Don’t block traffic. Stay to the outside of the track, and skate within your abilities. If you fall, fall small, and try to get up quickly. Never, ever grab another skater if you feel unsteady.
Pay attention to the coaches. Raw Meat is fun, and social, but people do come to skate. Let’s hang out and chat after the session, ok?
2. Be safe
Always wear safety gear. You will not be allowed to skate without it. No racing, hitting, showing off, or goofing around. Pay attention at all times.
Part of being safe is taking responsibility for your own well-being. Skate at your pace, and be aware of your own limits. If you need to sit down, slow down, or watch a drill, go ahead. Ask for help if you don’t understand. Challenge yourself, but don’t push past your own body’s limits. Roller skating can be dangerous, and we want everyone to have fun and take care of themselves.
We have a zero-tolerance policy for breaking the rules. Anyone engaging in ass-hatery or unsafe behaviour will be asked to leave.
Who can come to Raw Meat?
Any woman who wants to learn roller skating, and roller-derby-style skating drills is welcome. Whether you are an absolute beginner or an expert skaters, a derby girl or a retired derby girls, come skate with us! Drills will be offered with variations, for different skill levels.
Can guys come to Raw Meat?
Raw Meat is a women’s group. Men will be at Raw Meat practices as coaches and assistants. Men are allowed to skate with Raw Meat at the discretion of the group. If you are a guy, and you would like to skate with us, please contact us to discuss it. We reserve the right to limit the number of men at any Raw Meat session, and men may be asked to leave at any time. If you are man interested in roller derby, check out Vancouver Murder, Vancouver’s own male roller-derby league.
Will Raw Meat teach me to play derby?
Raw Meat focuses on general skating skills, and the derby-specific skating skills you will need to try out for Fresh Meat training. (Fresh Meat is a several-month training period the TCRG and other leagues put skaters through before they can join a team.)
Raw Meat is non-contact. We do not teach any hitting. Many Raw Meat skaters will be focused on joining a roller derby league one day, and we will help you learn the technical skating skills you need to rock at try-outs, as well as lots of derby drills that will give you a great sense of the game, whether you want to play it one day, or just be a super fan. Raw Meat also offers a great place for skaters who are currently injured, retired, have joint problems, or just don’t like contact sports. Come to Raw Meat to skate as a group and learn (or practice) many of the skills needed to play derby, without as much risk of injury. Keep in mind, roller skating is still dangerous even without contact, and you are skating with Raw Meat at your own risk.
About Roller Skating
Where do I get roller skates?
You can look for used skates on Craigslist, or in used sports stores, but for new skates, check out rollergirl.ca. Rollergirl is a derby-owned Vancouver shop with the best customer service you will find anywhere. If you aren’t in Vancouver, go ahead and order online. Rollergirl will take great care of you.
What kind of skates should I get?
If you are serious about roller derby, make sure you get low boots (either speed-skater style or sneaker style). Skates with high boots (like figure skates) are not flexible enough at the ankle for derby-style skating. However, if you already have high boot skates, you can certain come to Raw Meat with them; you will just run into some limits with your form as you progress. For more information about styles of skates and what is best suited for your particular needs, talk to the lovely people of Rollergirl.ca.
What equipment do I need to skate with Raw Meat?
Raw Meat requires full, derby-style safety gear. You will need roller skates (quad skates), knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and a helmet. You will need a mouth guard for some drills. If you want to play roller derby one day, you will need this same equipment. For a full explanation of what gear you need, and what to look for when shopping, see Rollergirl.ca’s “Fresh Meat File”.
If you are serious about joining a roller derby league in the near future and you are shopping for helmets, we recommend you look for a hockey helmet. Hockey helmets offer the best protection against concussions. Some leagues are considering making hockey helmets mandatory, and also–IT’S ABOUT PROTECTING YOUR BRAIN–so please consider a hockey helmet right from the start.
For sessions at Thunderbird Community Centre (fall and winter venue):
No black toe stoppers are allowed at Raw Meat sessions at Thunderbird Community Centre. You must use white or light-coloured toe stoppers. Also, if your knee pads are black, please cover them with white or light tape. This is to protect the floors at Thunderbird from scuffs.
For sessions at Royal City Curling Club (summer venue):
You do not need to tape your equipment for RCCC, and in fact, we recommend that you take the tape off of your knee pads before you come, to better enjoy the super-slidy beautiful floor. However, we return to Thunderbird in the fall, so if you are shopping for toe stops, we still recommend you get light ones.
Do I need to wear itty-bitty shorts?
Well, we’ll never say no to booty shorts, but no, they aren’t required. You will want to wear shorts or pants that let you move through a full range of motion, and are close fitting so the fabric doesn’t trip you up. If you do wear booty shorts, you may want to wear them with tights, since you will hit the floor, and sweaty skin and concrete don’t mix well.
Raw Meat sessions will make you sweat. Wear workout gear you can move in, and that will breathe. You will fall, and the floor can be dirty, so be aware that your clothing could be damaged.
How do I get started with roller skating?
Join Raw Meat, of course! If you are wondering how to get started, drop by a Raw Meat session, observe, and chat with us. We would be happy to help you out. Check out our Events page for the details of the next session.
Central City Arena in Surrey has public skate sessions on Saturdays from 8 to 10 PM, and they offer roller skate rentals. Central City is a great place to start skating.
The best way to start? Just do it! Get a pair of roller skates and safety gear (you will fall! Always wear knee, wrist, and elbow pads, plus a helmet!), and give it a try.
Check out Youtube for instructional videos on rollerskating. Rat City Roller Girl Rachel Cook has a series of how-to-skate videos that are very helpful. For information on derby skating, Expert Village has a Youtube series on roller derby skating. You will see many of these drills at Raw Meat skates.
Where can I skate in Vancouver?
You are always welcome to skate with Raw Meat, of course! Plus, Central City Arena, near Surrey Central Skytrain station, has indoor public skates (complete with flashing lights and music) every Saturday from 8 to 10 PM. Central City offers roller skate rentals, and it is a great place to try roller skating.
You will often see Raw Meat skaters at the Central City public skate. Look for anyone in full safety gear, with a Raw Meat sticker on their helmet, and say hi!
There are many great places to skate outside, in Vancouver. Vancouver parks often have lacrosse boxes, which are good for skating. At Queen Elizabeth Park, there is a huge outdoor court area that is perfect for skating. The Stanley Park Seawall offers great skating, but it does have some hills. If you are new to skating, please use extreme caution! There is a large, paved track at North Burnaby High School that offers a beautiful, smooth surface to skate on. Check out places to skate for more details.
Raw Meat skaters share many good skating spots on our Facebook group, and also arrange skating meet-ups. Check it out to find someone to skate with, or post your own favourite spot.
If you are heading down to Seattle, check out PFM Practice Squad. They run regular skate session for women planning to join roller derby one day, or who just want the exercise and camaraderie.
About Roller Derby
What is Roller Derby?
Roller derby is a contact sport played on roller skates. Check out the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association or the Roller Derby Association of Canada for all the rules, regulations, and links to leagues.
Where can I play roller derby?
If you are in Vancouver, check out the Terminal City Roller Girls, or the Mainland Misfits. For a full list of Canadian roller derby leagues, visit the Roller Derby Association of Canada. They also tell you how to start a league, if there isn’t one near you!
Each league will have its own tryout schedule and entrance requirements. Check out each league’s website for more information.
Is Raw Meat a roller derby league?
Raw Meat is not a roller derby league, and it is not affiliated with any roller derby league. Raw Meat is a place for people to learn roller skating skills, and roller derby skills, in a safe, non-contact atmosphere, with no attendance or league requirements. Many Raw Meat skaters will have the goal of joining a roller derby league at some point. Raw Meat sessions will cover the skating skills that leagues look for.