Flying Solo at DerbyFest (or how to make the most of attending alone!)
Travelling to any event or activity alone can be a little daunting: what do you do in the downtime, who do you talk to, how do you avoid looking very lost and confused? All of these are very real concerns, but as someone who has attended DerbyFest with both a large group and by myself, flying solo certainly has its benefits, and just because your league mates aren’t going, doesn’t mean you can’t.
The best tip to enjoying yourself alone at DerbyFest is being organised but remaining adaptable.
DO bring a list of the classes you want to attend.
DO connect to other attendees on social media.
DO find out where others are staying.
DO sign up to challenge bouts
But, remember that things don’t always go to schedule, and some of the best experiences are unplanned ones.
DON’T be afraid to mix up your schedule to attend a class or activity with a new friend.
DON’T worry that you’re not good enough or constantly compare yourself to those around you.
DON’T be alarmed if you end up having a better time than ever before.
While roller derby is a team sport, it can also be about your individual goals. Attending with a group of friends or league mates doesn’t mean that you all want to achieve the same things. You might be a jammer that wants to work on your blocking skills for next season, while your friend might want to focus on agility and footwork. Attending by yourself, or being willing to branch off by yourself will allow you to get the most out of your time at DerbyFest.
Last year, my goal was to look at my skating life beyond derby and I skated only ramp and jam classes over the whole three days. I also did a bunch of slip and sliding, tie dying and yoga, and had the best time getting to know other derby skaters from all over the country.
I am not the most extroverted person, but the open and friendly environment at the event as well as the structure of the classes and activities, gave me a good way to talk to others who were at a similar place with their skating, exchange stories, and make connections that have been lasting. In the challenge bouts I met a few first time attendees, some who were even playing in their first game.
Regardless of your level of experience or how many people you know, if you are thinking about attending DerbyFest, then you’re already thinking about where skating will take you in 2018, so take the plunge and see where the journey takes you!
Photo ©Richard Tompsett