Last Weekend saw the end of my first competitive season playing Roller Derby.
My team The Norfolk Brawds played in Tier 4 of the Roller Derby British Championships, and in October we finished undefeated in our division, earning a place at the Play Offs to fight for promotion to Tier 3 next season.
Which is how I found myself on a Saturday night in a hotel in Luton, preparing for our most important game of the year. (We’re in red by the way, and I’m the blonde in war paint!)
There were 2 games to play on Sunday, the first game, and the game I was rostered for, was against Surrey Roller Girls. A vital game as winning would mean automatic promotion to Tier 3.
For those of you that don’t know, Roller Derby is a contact sport played on Roller Skates on an oval track. 2 teams of 14 play against each other, but only 5 players from each team are on track at any one time. 4 of those players are blockers, and the fifth wear a Star on their helmet and is the one who scores points for the team, the Jammer. The Jammer scores by passing the other teams players, so the blockers job is to stop that Jammer getting past and and scoring points. Seriously, look it up, it’s great fun to watch!
I’m not going to go into all the ins and outs of the game. It was tense at times, but we took the win 305-84, meaning we were going to Tier 3!
Our second game was against KillaHurtz Roller Girls, a team we beat narrowly in the final jam last June and was for bragging rights to being first place in Tier 4 South this season. After a tense start the Brawds pulled ahead and maintained their lead finally winning the game 173-125. I wasn’t rostered for this game, and it was sad to watch the team play without me, but also my first chance this season to watch from the outside and see just how kick ass we’ve become!
I haven’t written about every game I’ve played this season, as without posting a blow by blow account it’s hard to know what to say, but I couldn’t let my first competitive season, and my first season playing for the A team pass without a mention!
In May 2013 a friend encouraged me to go and see my first ever Roller Derby game for my birthday. In June 2013 I strapped a pair of rental skates to my feet at the Fresh Meat training session, and a year later in 2014 I finally passed my Minimum Skills, before immediately ending up off skates for nearly 3 months with a bad ankle sprain.
In May 2015, 2 years after I first strapped on some skates, I tried out for the Norfolk Brawds A Team and was selected for the squad as crossover player, meaning I could play with our B team as well. I wasn’t expecting to play many games, but a selection of circumstances meant that I ended up rostered for almost all the competitive games this season and I loved every second of it. As a competitive person these games were the reason I started playing Roller Derby in the first place, and I’ve grown so much in experience, fitness and mental toughness in just a few short months.
Try outs for next years A team are coming up, and I don’t know what will happen. I’m hoping to make the squad again as I can’t wait to up our game to take on a tougher challenge in Tier 3.
Roller Derby isn’t cheap, and requires a lot of personal commitment, but if you’ve ever considered giving it a try then I advise you get out there, find a local league and give it a try!
Norfolk Based folk can come along to see the Norfolk Brawds Intraleague game on December 19th. 2 games for £5, what a bargain!
Thanks to Gary Croft (aka DaddyHell Fire) for the photos in this post, take a peek at the rest on Flickr!