Bath’s venue is, like their uniforms, very yellow. I wonder which came first; did they base their uniform colour choice on the lighting quality of their home venue? Choose their venue to compliment the hue of their uniforms? Neither of the above? Once our eyes had adjusted to the tone, we sought out our fellow BRDers and congregated in the suicide seating of the traditionally laid out sports hall. After quickly establishing that there was no position you can sit in on a sports hall floor that is comfortable for more than 30 seconds, we claimed our territory.
The Bath A versus Swansea B game was a relatively evenly matched affair. Interest was added by the fact Bristol’s A team was due to play Swansea’s A team in a closed game the following day, and by the appearance of our former teammate Wrecks on the Bath roster. We cheered loudly for Wrecks, warming up our vocal chords for the main event. Bath’s A team took the win, 180 to 115.
After the obligatory visit to the cake stall (I opted for a cupcake topped with a mini malteaser bunny despite the fact that I had 4 full size bunnies in my bag courtesy of Delta Strike who is an addiction enabler), Bristol’s B team took to the track for their skate out. It was an understated single-lap, pairs formation affair that I am totally stealing for the A team. The Bristol B team functions as a pool of skaters, and a spot is open to all of our female skaters not on the A team charter. If you think that this set-up makes the team transitionary or casual in any way then you would be wrong. The Bees, headed up by their fearless Captain Rip Tease and the deceptively sweet-mannered Vice Bear Thrylls, are a cohesive, driven unit, perhaps more so than other B teams who aren’t fighting it out for a roster space in such a large group. Combined with the established and experienced husband and wife bench team of HTM Hell and Thundercat Ho!, they are a force to be reckoned with.
Release the Bees is a publication made by B Team skater Jennything Goes as part of her Illustration degree coursework. The booklet was made for her first game as a Bee where they took on the Bath Roller Derby Girls and won 127 – 341. Each of her team mates manifest as an illustration along with quotes and some explanation of roller derby!
I feel stupid for volunteering to NSO for Vice Quad versus Hades. I had a vested interest in not volunteering as this was the first time I was going to a merby (men’s roller derby) game, as well the first time I would get to see Vice Quad play – once I get good I’m hoping to play for them. But volunteer I had, which meant no shouting, biased facial expressions or whoops, combined with having to concentrate on my role in the penalty box. I’d also asked Wolverine Bruise and Quay Figs of Vice Quad to show me how to lay the track, which involves a lot more equipment and elbow grease than I’d imagined, so I was kinda relieved when play was starting.
The two teams playing today had already met some of each other’s players on Vice Quad’s tour in the mystical Scotchland (I may have that wrong), and both teams were running short rosters with 8 skaters apiece, so fatigue was likely to be an issue for both teams with some difficult decisions to be made about rotation. Hades had left Glasgow that morning and picked up players on route for the game so were a bit of an unknown force.
Minimum skills are tricky: as well as trying to pass some tough skills, you also very quickly learn a lot more about yourself as a human being. Long before my derby days began, I was a competitive figure skater, so not only was I massively competitive (and still am), I also thought that my years of training would help me breeze through my minimum skills. However, this was far from the journey I ended up on.
Shortly after starting my minimum skills tests, I injured my knee and I was not allowed to skate for three months. As many people will know, it is demoralising and extremely frustrating to watch other people start to pass more skills than you, whether it is due to injury or just to them picking up skills more quickly than you. You feel like you are being left behind, and gradually more and more like a failure. If I am honest, this three month period landed me in a pretty dark place where I felt useless and often like giving up. But it was also during this time that I started to realise that the minimum skills process was teaching me a lot about my approach to setbacks and my reaction to failure.
On Saturday morning, the Bristol Roller Derby A Team got on the bus at 8am to head from West to East to play Brighton Rockers Roller Derby in their second game of the British Championships.
On arriving at the venue, the team were shown to their changing room whilst other league members went to set up the merch stand or found their seats in the stands. We have to give a shout out to one of our skaters, Tooms, who came all the way from Bristol, on the train, lugging her cast. That’s dedication – props to you!
The Bristol v Brighton game was the second game of the day, so there was a tense wait to endure. Most of the players took the chance to watch our hosts, the Seaside Sirens, take on Royal Windsor Roller Girls. Delta Strike headed over to the merch stand to get her hair done. This is not on our usual list of services offered, but we’re pretty dedicated to fundraising!
You might already know that the Bristol v Brighton game was nail-bitingly close, to the point where passing out was the only way to cope with such a tension overload.
Bristol Roller Derby B team (affectionately known as the “Bees”) recently had the pleasure of playing in an away closed-door game against Surrey Roller Girls. We had the most amazing day there with a really lovely group of skaters, refs and NSOs, and Surrey have even produced this nifty little video of the day! Thanks to Anne Grenade’s dad, Phil Kemp, for making this…
BRD has been lucky to have a large influx of new skaters via our Drop In Derby sessions in recent months, so much so that the Beehive is now groaning under the weight of all this amazing, new, hymenopteran talent! Getting to play together in closed friendlies like this is vitally important for us to get to know each other better, give the new skaters some game time against unknown opponents, try out new tactics and line-up pairings and, most importantly, to have all the fnu! (BRD’s version of fun: it’s like fun, only fun-er!).
Because it was a closed game we can’t publish the score, but let’s just say it was a hotly fought game of two halves. Surrey really pushed us (and I hope we pushed them too), and we came out of the game a wiser and more cohesive team. My proudest moment as captain so far was when during the sweaty, joy-filled, post-game hugs, one of the Surrey girls said “Wow, you guys really play like a team”. Thank you Surrey for having us, and for this awesome video! We really hope to see you on the track again soon.
Each month we are going to share with you the Bristol Roller Derby Skater of the Month. The Skater of the Month is decided on by the coaching team and awarded to a skater they feel deserves recognition for their dedication at training.
We a bit late to it this time, but we are pleased to announce that for February, Skater of the Month was awarded to Gremilyn, #M32. Grem, as she’s affectionately known, has been awarded it for “huge strides in understanding the game strategically and consistent good performance and positivity in training and competitive games”.
If you want to meet Grem then head down to Drop-In Derby which she coordinates to get new skaters into the league. Or, why not watch her in action with Bristol Roller Derby A Team at this weekend’s British Champs game against Brighton Rockers?
There was a lot of excitement about this game throughout the league, as it was the first time our A-team had played in a tournament. We filled up a big fun-bus to London with the team, subs, bench crew and about 15 supporters, who were bolstered on our arrival in London by ex-BRD, now LRG skater Tess Robinson.
Our game was the second in a double header, so the Bristol players were able to watch some of the Brighton/Seaside bout before disappearing for warm-ups and secret preparations (apparently involving dragons) at half time. We had been warned that the floor of the venue, a painted concrete surface, was currently particularly slippery: it was evident when watching the start of the Brighton/Seaside game that some players were having trouble adapting to the floor.
It’s the end of term for BRD. The Christmas holidays were looming so we spent the weekend celebrating the start of the festive season the way we know best – playing derby!
ADHD took on Daughters of Anarchy in a battle that went down to the last 20secs of the last jam of the game – absolute nail biter! Congrats to DOA – it really could have gone either way!
And the girls of BRD took on the boys of Bristol Vice Quad. The boys may have had size and strength on their side, but it didn’t stop the girls putting up a good fight! Well done do the boys!!!
At the end of the day, it was time to party. And boy do BRD know how to party. Afte
r an amazing buffet, end of year awards, secret santa, epic dancing (Saturday Night anyone?), and german leg wrestling tournament, we all decided we loved each other more than anything and got a bit soppy.
Here’s to 2015!! Lots of exciting things to come for BRD including our involvement in the British Championships which looks set to be amazing. Keep checking back here for all your BRD news in the new year!