Gemma Marriage

 

“Growing up I always loved being out on my roller skates, sometimes whilst my brothers pulled me along from their BMX bikes! I basically wanted to be in Starlight Express! In school I hated PE, I wasn’t popular and didn’t enjoy any of the activities offered, so I didn’t really get involved in sport.

Fast forward to 2012, I moved to Suffolk to support my husband who unfortunately lost his life to cancer. Finding myself far away from friends and family but needing a support network I reminisced about my childhood roller skates and decided to try out for the local roller derby team.

I was instantly hooked! It’s a full contact team sport, and I love that I can take out all my stress by hitting other people on skates, but it’s also very tactical, so every training session I can lose myself thinking about strategy and gameplay, giving me a chance to switch off from real life.

Eight years on, I still skate at least once a week. We are not able to play competitively at the moment due to coronavirus, so I’m going back to my roots and taking my wheels outside. Right now I’m taking part in a virtual roller marathon, raising funds for a community skating project.

In 2019 I gave birth to my son, and now I’m finding toddler friendly ways that I can skate. Skating was great exercise physically through pregnancy and brilliant for my mental health during the post-natal period. Through derby I have many new friends for life, skating has had a massive positive boost for both my mind and body!”

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