Photo © Patrice Iacovoni

Photo ©
Patrice Iacovoni

“You know a lot of people.” A skater recently pointed out to me during a mixed scrimmage. For someone who doesn’t like to do much outside of practice and netflix binges at home… I do know a lot of people in the local derby community.

I sign up for almost every mixed scrimmage I can find. When I began it was because my team at the time didn’t have a lot of scheduled games. Then, even when we did have a lot of scheduled games, I kept signing up for them.

I know people who have never done mixed scrimmages. I also know people who just recently starting skating in mixers, despite playing roller derby for years. I’m here to shed some light on why you should totally sign up and skate!

  1. You make new friends.
    The same thing that makes mixed scrimmages scary also makes them fun. You aren’t skating with your usual team (or at least not all of them! Sometimes your teammates will sign up to do the same scrim as you). This forces you out of your comfort zone and you will meet new friends from different leagues. Maybe even leagues you’ve never seen skate before! This is great for the derby community and for you as a human being.
  2. You skate with friends from different teams.
    It’s not often you get the opportunity to skate with someone from a different team or league. Mixed scrims give the opportunity for you to do just that. Sometimes you find that people that you work great with even though you’ve never skated together before! ​

    Like Graced Lightning (of Flint Roller Derby) and I!

  3. You learn new things.
    You are going to meet skaters who have vastly different skill sets. Soak up their knowledge like a sponge. We can always, always, always use new tools in our tool belt! The game is constantly changing and each league approaches strategy in their own way. Having a big mix of skaters from all over working together turn into this wonderful melting pot of skills.
  4. You can try new things!
    This season I transitioned into a pivot role. I don’t think it would have been as seamless as it (kind of) has been if I didn’t dedicate time outside of my own league’s practices. I was able to grow in mixed scrimmages by working on building my potential as a blocker. We tend to fall into a rhythm at our own team’s practices and we can break out of that when we play in a mixer. You might find out you are a great brace and you don’t do that much at home. Maybe you’re real good at communicating, but your line already has someone loud enough. Hidden talents await!
  5.  There is little to no pressure.
    The reason you can try new things at mixed scrimmages is because everyone is there to have fun! Yes, winning is fun, and it’s the goal most of the time… but that doesn’t mean you can’t polish new or old skills. No one is going to lose their mind, their ranking positioning, or their spot on the roster if Team Cats beats Team Dogs.

So, give it a try. You might like it.