31/01/2012

The fantastic (and unexpected) world of Roller Derby.



In our pursuit of the fantastic and the unexpected, we don't only sit behind our computers orshield ourselves with our books, but we go for it and take it. That's why I practice Roller Derby, almost a year now, a fantastic (and unexpected) sport, if possible. And last Saturday, I attended my first bout, at Sheffield City, right here, round the corner.

Hereby given, my impressions on the matter...


For an early start, gates opened at 1, so, as we live 2 hours away from the place, and my coach was playing in one of the teams, we set off at 9 in the morning. Temperature: 1 degree. So I grabbed whatever warm cloth I had and there I went, with other 3 girls from my team, to defy the road... half asleep in the back seat.


I was really surprised by the venue where the bout was taking place. To be honest, I thought it was going to be some sort of big depot, or football club, with high metal ceiling (and almost frozen, to speak the truth). But oh noes, an amazing sport centre, with everything and heating!!! (which I thanked for the whole day, believe me). The theme of the day was "Murder in the flat track express". Everything in some sort of 1940's England environment, with jazz music, people dressed in the fashion of the era, Poirot picture included. Awesome!!!


And this is what I like the most in roller derby: the people. Let's say that the sport itself is not the most tender and sweet of sports, more exactly, some sort of mosh on wheels, where the objective is to throw the opposite team into the deepest abyss of hell, by hip checking them. Nevertheless, the contenders, the audience and collaborators they all embrace in some sort of "derbyan" family (if the neologism is permitted). Everybody helps everybody, there are smooches and hugs, smiles and the odd joke about their favourite teams, but all of that in the best of vibes. The famous derby love. In every training session, scrimmage, bout, we break our noses and rip our thighs, yeah, but after 15 minutes we are all together eating cake. The whole day was like that.


The first bout, where my coach was playing, was real tense and warlike. In fact, it ended 109 - 110 to Tyne and Fear, and me eating my nails and so shaky I couldn't even make an update in our team's group. All of this, from our "suicide seats", just next to the line that separates the track area from the rest of the venue, so it's very possible to have a skater flying right to you face. in any moment of the bout. But, hey! THAT adds up in adrenaline. I got my first derby crush on Jammie Dodger, the jammer for The Inhuman League (where Benni Lugosi, our team's coach was playing), a cute and deadly little man who passed everyone like a lighting and left every blocker wondering what happened. That, and the fact that Benni stepped in our shoes (sorry, skates), going out there on track and living it, not just coaching from the outside, was outstanding to my eyes. Our team lost (and I mean "our" because we were there cheering for him), but just for one point. And we won a competing coach.

The girls bout, Sheffield Steel Roller Girls vs Big Buck High Rollers, wasn't as tense as the other but very entertaining, with good moves and tactics. The BBHR won 144 - 113. I had the chance to learn a lot, observing both teams, strategies, communication, situations, everything.

It was a real long day, but an awesome one. The second bout ended, and some voting was in order, for the best players. Then raffles, derby love, coffee and cake, more derby love, a Lego bout, even more derby love, farewells and goodbyes, and as such said Mickey Mouse, everybody to their house..


I hope to write soon, about how a bout is from the inside, I mean competing.


As it is said here, Loves and Shoves.




La Vikinga, writing today as Stomp Trooper #777 of H.A.R.D. (Hulls Angels Roller Dames)


Links to the teams:
H.A.R.D. Hulls Angels Roller Dames
Sheffield Steel Roller Girls
The Inhuman League
Tyne and Fear
Big Buck High Rollers

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