13:45 – And we’re off! All packed and ready to go to Hannover for my first game as Bristol Roller Derby B(ee) Team Captain! We’re dragging some of the BRD men with us too, so there’s gonna be 23 BRDers invading Germany!!
14.10 – … Ok, now we’re off. I’m not sure my fellow car passengers share my opinion about leaving as much contingency time as possible when travelling to the airport. But the delightful POW, injured B-teamer and step-in Line-Up Manager, is a calming influence and despite the traffic we make it to Birmingham airport in plenty of time.
17.00 – BRD storm the airport pub. It’s Monkey Boy’s birthday and he is surprised with a birthday cake and a chorus of “Happy Birthday To You”. Monkey Boy denies it’s his birthday.
18.30 – Our flight was slightly delayed but we’re finally on the plane. And it’s a teeny tiny propeller plane! Despite the nickname, a few of the Bees have a fear of flying and so may have got a tiny bit drunk to calm the nerves….
18.43 – Practising our German – turns out it’s quite poor. Although Bear can sing the Haribo song in fluent German and Jennything can say “What a w**ker” (or at least that’s what she thinks). I’m sure if we pool our knowledge we’ll be fine! Or maybe we should rely on our two resident Germans, Frau POW and Power Kraut.
19.41 – Monkey gets a shout-out from the pilot – cheers through the plane! It’s suddenly quite clear we make up ~40% of the passengers. The pilot then shouts out to “British Roller Derby”….a slight pause before we all start pretending we’re on Team England…
22.40 – I’m staying with Rip Tease for the weekend so we head off to central Hannover to meet our host AnnEmy. And what a babe she is! Everyone is boasting on What’sApp about who has the best host, but I think we seriously won. We head home for a chat and a drink before getting an early pre-derby bedtime!
8.30 – Struggling to get out of bed. Nerves have started to kick in and Rip and I discuss our derby anxiety dreams (everyone gets them right?!). But Anne has put on a fantastic continental breakfast, and she even has Earl Grey!! Full of bread, cheese and meat, we head on down to the venue. As with all derby days, when you have to spend the daylight hours in the grim orange-glow of a sports hall, it’s a beautiful sunny day. As we drive to the venue we find out that Hannover is full of trees and its greenness rivals Bristol’s!
10.00 – We arrive at the venue to the news that unfortunately one of DDD’s skaters can’t play because she damaged her shoulder when she got her arm stuck up a horse’s bottom this week (…she’s a vet). BRD’s boys are also suffering with injuries, with Monkey Boy and JP out. Today there will be two games: German men’s team De Ronny’s vs BRD Men (plus a couple of extra Ronnys to make up numbers), and BRD B Team vs Hannover’s Demolition Derby Dolls. DDD are excellent derby hosts – they have put on a fantastic spread of food for us to dig into over the course of the day (so I stuff myself with more bread, cheese and meat -mmmmm).
12.00 – Rip and I are the bench team for the boys today. I have the job of LUM, which is rather straightforward as I only have eight skaters to deal with! De Ronny’s make up the majority of Team Germany so our boys know they have a fight on their hands. And fight they certainly did! It took a while to learn how to skate together as a team but by half time the score differential was pretty good! Unfortunately, tiredness took hold in the second half (I’m sorry Grizzly, I think I must have kept you on for 90% of jams…) but our boys smashed the 100 mark and the score ended (329:109). Thanks so much to the Ronny’s that fought so hard with us!
14.00 – It’s the girls’ turn! I have a stomach full of butterflies, and I’m particularly nervous as I’ve had to borrow Bear’s wheels as the floor is slippier than expected. I’m not a fan of skating on unknown wheels, but it’s better than slipping out on the corners when jamming! We complete our skate-out wearing our finest union-jack bikinis (these infamous BRD-bikinis have toured Europe with us!), and the game starts.
Sharpe, Jenny and I are doing the majority of the jamming today and it turns out to be a lovely floor to jam on – smooth and fast, my fave. We start off the game strong, but a flurry of penalties means we frequently have a depleted blocker line-up. Our blockers are strong though and we still keep the score to a small differential after the first half. In the second half we fight to get back level, but unfortunately more penalties and a flurry of foul-outs from our most experienced blockers means that we can’t quite hold on.
DDD prove themselves to be the better team today, but we couldn’t have been beaten by a nicer team – final score 240:209. Two of our skaters – Luna Shovegood and Barbaric Acid – played their first game for the Bees today and did an awesome job; expect to see more of them on the track next season!!
15.45 – DDD deliver beer and Prosecco to the changing rooms!!! Well this totally makes up for the loss. Spirits are high and we enjoy the last of the sunshine. DDD have also made us little ‘thank-you’ packs of tea and biscuits – so goddam cute! Time to go home, shower, stuff our faces and win the after party.
18.00 – Rip and I have dinner and wine with our fantastic hosts, Anne and Claas. As I’m writing the blog post I want to say a mahoosive thank you for looking after us. And also thank you to all the other hosts. We were fed and watered to perfection and we cannot wait to host you in Bristol – we’re already plotting and planning how we can make the trip as good.
20.00 – After-party time. I’m not really sure how much I should write here. Let’s just say we all had a very very very good night. There were some bizarre Bloody Mary-like shots (I’m told they’re called Mexicanas), pole dancing, table football, classic German leg wrestling, lots of glitter, and I may have buggered my shoulder attempting to get into a rugby ruck in the street. I’m not entirely sure what happened at the end of the night – let’s just leave it like that……
11.00 – Wake up to find crumbs in the bed. Remember that Rip and I had a massive crisp feast when we returned home last night. We’re sad that it’s our last day in Germany but there’s still lots to look forward to. First stop, the most important meal of the day – it’s brunch time! DDD have cooked us breakfast at their clubhouse (does anyone else in the UK have one of these? How can we get ourselves one?!), and it is well needed as there are quite a few people looking sorry for themselves. Special props go to Barbaric Acid, who woke up feeling a little hungover and decided to drink beer for breakfast… And to our dear bench manager JP who was either spectacularly drunk or spectacularly hungover for the whole weekend (I think we broke him).
14.30 – No one wants to move particularly fast today. Lots of chatting about the previous day’s (and night’s) events. We head over to Oktoberfest and have a wander. Sharpe and I make everyone wait whilst we go on the rickety roller coaster, pretzels are scoffed and (somehow) more alcohol is consumed.
17.30 – It’s home time. What a fantastic weekend. We cannot wait to have our new friends visit us back in Bristol. We’ll have to do something special to beat the hospitality they showed us in Germany. Feeling super lucky to be involved in a sport that can bring people together all over the world!
– Scar Faith