2015 sees my Roller Derby league, The Norfolk Brawds, celebrating their fifth birthday.
I’ve been with the league for 18 months, but long before I’d even heard of Roller Derby a bunch of girls with skates were getting together in a church hall to teach themselves the basics of Roller Derby.
To celebrate this milestone anniversary we threw an Eastern Sur5al tournament. Sur5al tournaments are a slightly different format to a regular game, created, I believe (which means I’m too lazy to go check), by Windsor Roller Girls the format sees small teams of 5 (or one line up) face up against a number of other teams who all play each other for one full 2 minute jam. 5 points are awarded for a win, 2 for a draw and 0 for a loss, plus a bonus point for getting lead jammer in the jam, and at the end of the day the team with the most points is the winner.
Art work by Teki Bomb
As it’s our birthday the theme was “Skate with a Brawd” and each of our 20 rostered All Stars A Team skaters would Captain and Vice Captain a team, with the other 3 skaters made up of applicants from across the country. As a B Team skater for our league I thought it seemed like a jolly good idea back at the beginning of the year to apply for one of the other spots.
A week ago I was feeling a little less sure of myself. I’m still pretty inexperienced as a player and had no idea what to expect from others on my team, or the other teams, and I was pretty anxious about letting them down and being totally out of my depth.
Still, on Saturday I rocked up for the Yellow Shove Marines and tried not to spend all my time wittering about how terrible I was. I don’t actually think I did very well at that part of my plan.
With fellow B Team fools who signed up, Becka Blocker Gorey and Jenny Wreck playing for Whip Tease in pink and The Red Kennedys in, er, red.
I’m lucky enough that my ridiculous nerves and self doubt tend to confine themselves to the run up to games, once I’m on track and on the bench I’m fine. Sometimes my adrenaline gets a bit high, and I need to stay calm, but as long as I don’t focus too much on the score I can keep pretty focused.
I have to say that I had a totally amazing day. My yellow team mates were all great and I felt we worked pretty well together on track considering we’d mostly never met before! I didn’t feel like a spare part or out of my depth, and if anyone felt that I was they kindly kept it to themselves (and long may it stay that way!)
This photo is blatantly stolen from Nitro Noush! Also featuring Teki Bomb, Miss Justice & Barbarolla
The eventual winners were the epically awesome BrawdyBillies, playing in white, who won all of their jams. Initially we were awarded the second place certificate, till they figured out they’d mucked up the points and we actually came third behind the Nutter Butt Squashes, but still, third place out of 10 teams is pretty darn exciting and I’d had no expectations of there being certificates in my future that day!
I didn’t indulge in much drinking at the after party, just a sneaky pint and a glass of wine, because I had an early start for the Trowse 10k the next day, but I don’t think it made any difference. I was so totally hyperactive that for once in my life alcohol might have actually served to calm me down a bit!
Photo by Sugar Shark
With Roller Derby, like with a lot of things in life, you never learn or grow if you don’t push yourself outside your comfort zone a little. Signing up for Eastern Sur5al was scary. I had no idea if I was up to it. No one told me I was or asked me to take part and I very nearly didn’t fill in the form at all. In the end I met some amazing people and really enjoyed playing Roller Derby against some really great players and learnt a lot. And I got a certificate, and I like nothing better than a certificate!
Photo by Near the Coast
As an added bonus, the Norfolk Brawds are now fundraising with the hope of being able to get our own venue. If you want to find out more about how you can help then take a look at our Fundraising page!