Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The joys of being on my way to play Roller Derby

Roller Derby has a tendency of taking over your life. All of us, who are either on our way to play or all ready playing, know this, but for all of you who haven't experienced this, it might be hard to understand. It is just like I have said before, Roller Derby is a sport that we need to organize ourselves, and that takes hard work!

But to all the hard work (and frustrations) it takes to get to play Roller Derby and to start and run a Roller Derby league, there are luckily enough also a lot of joys!

Me and Hunter S. Toss 'em

First of all, we have had so many great visiting skaters and refs, that have all in one way or another thought us valuable lessons, they taught us new skills and drills, but also that Roller Derby leagues all over the world deal with issues just like ours. Which is great to hear, because Roller Derby being a new sport in Holland and all, it sometimes feels like we are figuring out everything by ourselves. You know not having to inventing the wheel again and such. But luckily the struggles we have are not just unique to our league, all leagues have struggles and issues, and that is great to hear and learn from.

Roller Derby as a sport is growing like crazy in Europe. Which means that lucky for us, there are more and more events and such that we can go to. Like actual live bouts, parties, scrimmages, friends and family days and more.
We have been to a few exciting things over the past months. And the joy of derby I experience at those events makes all the hard work worth it.
A little over a month ago we had our very first international scrimmage against the One Love Roller Dolls. It was super exciting and playing with a couple of our girls that just passed their WFTDA test. But we didn't care about winning or losing. We wanted to learn as much as we possibly could and we did!!
Group pic by Robin Minter
 Oh my, we learned so much. OLRD showed us some great team work and strategy which we took home with us.
I personally took a lot from that scrimmage for my own progression and that of our league. I found that I really liking the role of Pivot, but I didn't really know what to do all the time.
As for our league, we had our brand new member Hurricane Hayles bench coaching us, which was amazing. It just really felt like we all grew closer together that day!

Not just playing gives us joy, but also making money for our league gives us lot's of JOY! And when you life in Holland, there is no better time to raise money then Queens day!
And so we did, a bunch of our girls got together and started baking and cleaning out there attics and garages to find stuff to sell on queens day, all in order to make us some money.
Pic by Mad Gent

One of the other joys I had this past month, was being able to share my joy for Roller Derby with my friends and family. We had our own ADD Friends and Family day.
With miniature scrimmages, of course more cup cakes and some beers :)
It was a great day. My biggest fan even came out to see me, and had a surprise for me.... With t-shirts saying "go Furrrocious go" and an awesome banner, it was the best to see my little sis standing on the side line, supporting me!
8 wheels, 2 skates, 1 bad attitude! Love that banner!!
It was a weird day, great, but weird. Cause we were so busy with the organizational part of things (pr and stuff like that), I didn't actually have to much time to talk to the friends and family that came to support me. But that was the one real downside of the day.
The Furrrocious fan club! :p
Because except for that, we had a great time! I even had to to a dance of shame, cause I ended up in the penalty box :p
Just for those who haven't seen a Roller Derby bout or scrimmage before, normally there is no "dance of shame". But we did it for the fun of it! ;)

We also got some great publicity from this F&F day. We had a big article in a Dutch (well read) new paper, and a film crew from a national Dutch television came by.
You can see the video here. It is in Dutch, but you'll get the idea. :)
It was so much fun to finally be able to share this (now very) important part of my life with all the friends and family that came out. I hope we as a league will do this more often.

Officials team Block 'n' Roll - pic by Val Killer

As happy as we are with all our visiting skaters and refs, we also love to go places for Roller Derby! Especially me and my wifey Lola Rock 'n' Rolla. We sure love us some road trippin'!!
This past saturday we went to Essen, where the Devil Dolls where having their first home bout against Barock city. Block 'n' Roll!!
It was great seeing all our German friends again, Major Madness, ChefX, Gina Gasolina, DI Die, Psycho Annie, Big Red, and so many more that I can possibly name all at the same time. :)

My wifey Lola was announcing the bout together with Johnny Bash and I bet they did a great job... I say I bet, because I don't understand a word of German! LOL
She made sure of one thing though, that you did not need to know any language for: she looked smashing!!

I was an NSO. Penalty box Jammer timer. It was lot's of fun, screaming at girls when to stand and when they were done. There where enough penalties to keep us busy too....
You learn so much as a player when you NSO. As it was my first time working the penalty box I learned a lot about that part of the game. First of all, stay out of the penalty box, it's a waste of time to be in there! And more importantly, get there as fast as possible and sit down right away! The clock doesn't start ticking until your butt is on that chair!

Two of my favorite Germans on this planet!! 
Our Essen friends made sure all 7 (6 working and one awesome visiting ref that we took with us - Rave N Busther from San Diego) of us had a place to crash, for the next day we were off to Antwerp for the OLRD friends and family day scrimmage.
Because we were able to sleep over, we were also able to hang out with our friends at the after party! And we ADD girls sure like our after party! :)
Wise as I was I of course didn't drink at the after party and went home early..........oh no, that wasn't me! I stayed way to late and drank a little to much and had an AMAZING time!!! And I would do it over again and again (even though skating with only 4 hours of sleep isn't exactly ideal either.... :p)

It's a strange sensation, the 'family' feeling Derby brings with it. You make great friends all over the world because of Derby. Without even having to know people very long. We have one and the same passion that we share and it's a brother/sisterhood you are immediately a part of. And you know what? I love it! Every minute of it. 

Before I could get even more fuzzy and huggy with all our German friends we packed up and went to Antwerp the next day. Making sure we took one of our favorites, Major Madness, with us, so he could ref the scrimmages the next day!
The One Love Roller Dolls organized their Friends and Family day in a very special way. They invited all the Dutch leagues to come and scrimmage. And so they did! Not just ADD was present, but 6 out of the 7 Dutch Leagues were there. Eastside Rock n Rollers (Enschede), Rock city Rollers (Eindhoven), Dom City Dolls (Utrecht), Deathrow Honeys (Rotterdam) and the Fallen Angles (Arnhem).
Belgium and Holland group picture - pic by Ian Rwb
And the coolest thing was, we were all playing together!! For the first time.
There was a beginner/intermediate scrimmage between two Dutch teams, made up out of all 6 leagues, they played each other. And as my wifey and other league mates were in both teams, I literally screamed my longs out... the roller derby hooligan showed her self... :)
It was amazing seeing so many of Holland and Belgium's players on one single track in one day!!

I was in the 'advanced' scrimmage later that afternoon. 5 of the dutch leagues came to together to form one team and played against the OLRD team. It was a great scrimmage.
'Bloody oranges' waiting on the Bench -pic by Ian Rwb
I don't even know where to start.... I wasn't really nervous before we began, that might have been because of serious lack of sleep... But when we had our teams intro song, and my name was called, and I heard applause and people screaming my name, my adrenaline started running, and basically didn't stop until a couple of hours AFTER the scrimmage! :)
The reason I had the best time ever, was mainly because I have made a huge leap in my own development. I understood what was going on (most of the time), I tried new strategies and was able to test them and repeat them, and I had NO PAIN in my ankles! Which was awesome!!
It felt so good to be on the track an actually playing! I know it's a scrimmage and not an official bout, but this is the closest I got to playing 'for real'. And it was the absolute best feeling in the world. I fell in love with Roller Derby AGAIN during the scrimmage. I was all ready absolutely in love with this sport, and I didn't think my love for it could grow any bigger, but this last Sunday it did!! :)

After the scrimmage I looked around at our girls and could do nothing but smile! I am so incredibly proud of where we are right now in our league. We are getting there, slowly but surely, and it makes all our sweat, blood and tears worth it!!

- Furrrocious