LANSING, Mi — Have you ever wanted to learn about roller derby, join a team or just see where your skating skills are at?
Well, you’re in luck. Two roller derby teams in mid-Michigan have boot camps you can check out.
And, if roller derby isn’t for you, you can test out your skating skills at a roller skating rink in Holt.
Lansing Derby Vixens
Calling all skaters. Strap up your roller skates because the Lansing Derby Vixens are inviting the community to come out and roll with them.
They just kicked off their adult eight-week Roller Skating 101 boot camp. The boot camp is free and takes place Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the rear parking lot behind Motor Wheel Lofts and Shared Office Space.
“It’s for anyone who has never roller skated, used to skate when they were little, is a little bit fearful. It starts out at the very, very basics of learning how to roller skate, putting them on, finding your balance, learning how to move,” said Meredeth Crane, vice president of Lansing Derby Vixens.
Once you get comfortable on the skates, you tackle more aggressive moves.
“How to move laterally, how to stop like six different ways. And then one day we start teaching you how to give and receive contact in order to play the game,” Crane said.
They also teach you the rules of derby. Which isn’t as aggressive as it was back in the 1970s and 1980s.
“There are no elbows to the face. There’s no tripping. There are no clotheslines, no shoving and no pulling hair. We’re much more civilized now. But it’s a heck of a lot of fun and a high-intensity sport,” Crane said.
The boot camp is free and you’re not obligated to join the team. Crane says they do offer loaner gear like helmets, pads and skates for those who are interested but you would need to be in attendance for practice on Aug. 24.
Those who wish to attend should reach out to the Lansing Derby Vixens on FB, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. They also suggest keeping an eye on their Facebook page because there is a chance they will have to pause activities based on COVID conditions.
The Lansing Derby Vixens also offer free community workouts off-skates every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. It includes 45 minutes of stretching and basic exercise.
Those interested in working out should wear comfortable athletic shoes, bring water and a towel or yoga mat because workouts are held in an asphalt lot.
The boot camp is $80 dollars and it will start on Aug. 29 at Court One Training Center in Haslett.
“They will learn how to skate properly, how to fall, which seems silly, but it is part of the safety part that we teach. So how to fall, how to skate and how to stay in what we call derby stance,” said Ali Jahr, president of East Lansing Roller Derby.
From there, skaters move on to agility and endurance skills and footwork, and, eventually, how to hit each other depending on COVID and regulations.
“If you like to work out, you’d like to challenge yourself, you want to try something new, you want to meet new people, this is definitely the place for that,” Jahr said. “Coming out of this pandemic, it’s important to prioritize our mental health and our physical health and connection. And this is a great way to do that.”
They also provide loaner gear at no cost. All you would need is your own mouthguard.
“Even though we are a woman’s roller derby organization, men, women, trans folk, anyone can join,” Jahr said. “We teach skating for people who might learn to play the sport, but then also for referees.”
After boot camp, those who want to participate in a scrimmage would need to pass a basic skills test.
If you’re interested in signing up for the boot camp you can click here.
And finally, if you’re looking to bounce, roll, rock and skate to some tunes then the Edru Roller Skating Rink in Holt is for you.
“This is a place where friends family, everybody can gather. They would have fun. It would be an amazing getaway, an amazing little day for a little family time or friend time,” said manager Haylee Dexter.
The roller rink has been open since 1956 and has a staff that’s dedicated to helping everyone on and off skates.
“We have the best ice cream around, we have amazing laser tag, and we host the best birthday parties,” Dexter said.
They also have arcade games and opportunities to learn how to skate from instructors.
They also have rollers and strollers, which is designed for parents and kids 7 and younger.
You can rent skates or bring your own, but they would have to be checked at the door.
For prices and hours click here.