Men's Roller Derby

The first time I ever got in touch with men playing derby was at RollerCon july 2011. I mean, I saw it before online, but never actually saw it live. When I was at RollerCon I got into a challenge bout, actually the very first challenge bout on the first day of RC. It was also my very first 'bout', as with ADD we didn't play our first bout until later that summer. This challenge bout was Women vs Men. It was the most awkward experience, standing at the pivot line (yes we still did that then!) and I looked to my left and there was a dude smiling back at me. It was very weird at first. But as soon as the first whistle went, all the gender "issues" were gone, we were playing derby. And thats what it was all about for me. It is all about derby.
The rest of my time at RollerCon I saw a lot of Co-Ed bouts (men and women mixed). And I loved it all.

Picture by Ian Roofthooft
When I went to Derby Revolution in Ghent in 2012 I was lucky enough to get to play with and against some very experienced guys (Ballistic Whistle, Quadzilla and Short Bus). Again I loved every minute of it.
There is a lot of discussion about Men's derby. And honestly I don't get it. To me it is ALL Roller Derby. And RD is the best fucking sport in the world. And I wouldn't want to exclude anybody in it. And just because Women started it doesn't mean that guys can't enjoy playing too.

In July 2012 I went to Birmingham, UK to NSO at the very first European Mens Roller Derby Championship.It was an crazy weekend, with a crazy amount of bouts between Mens teams mostly from the UK. Ending the weekend in an epic battle between Southern Discomfort (UK) and the Quadguards (FR).
Of course I was impartial and not cheering for any of the teams, but I did appreciate seeing that much Men's derby.

In January 2012 one of our lovely Dutch refs, Pixie Spankelot (Facebook), organized her birthday party with several scrimmages, including a men's scrimmage. A lot of guys came over to try out men's derby. There were guys from Holland, Belgium and Germany.
This first scrimmage was a lot like watching a rookie scrimmage, but with a lot more energy (and testosterone) flying around. It was still fun to watch, but  I couldn't wait till Men's derby would get more advanced (read: controlled). Soon after the successful scrimmage at Pixies B-day, she decided to organize Battle of the Beasts, a little tournament between three men's teams, from The Netherlands, Belgium and

I was asked by the Dutch guys to be one of their coaches, together with General Teresa.
The guys got them selves organized and came up with a mix of guys from the only men's team in the Netherlands: Roaring Thunder Men's Derby and different guys the are normally refs with different leagues in the Netherlands. We only were able to have two practices, but in April they got ready to play two bouts at BotB.

Check out the Dutch team here.

At the Battle of the Beasts I was the teams line up manager, and with not a lot of guys in our team (11) and a few injuries and foul outs (..), I can say it was a pretty though two bouts to work on the bench.
The second one especially, because it was an absolute nail biter. The winner being decided in the last few jams. It was nerve wrecking and awesome. In the end the Dutch team lost their first bout ever against Belgium and won their second bout against Germany.
After this weekend I fell in love with men's derby even more. And I cannot wait to go to Birmingham again this summer for another European Men's derby champs (Facebook).

I hope I will be able to contribute to the growth of Men's Derby in the Netherlands (and Europe) over the next few years.

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