The Auld Reekie Roller Girls much anticipated all new Home Season kicks off on the 21st of January with a bout between the Leithal Weapons and the Cherry Bombers. The bout takes place at Meadowbank Sports Centre,doors open at 2pm and entry is £7 on the day,or £6 in advance,you can also get a further price reduction if you buy a season ticket which gets you into all four of ARRG's Home Season bouts for the princely sum of £20,more details here.
Image courtesy of Glasgow Roller Girls
Glasgow Roller Girls proudly present a WFTDA Officiating Clinic on the 4th and 5th of February 2012 at The Arc,Cowcaddens Road,Glasgow. The Clinic is open to Referees and NSO's and will feature training on a range of topics,such as skating,rules,communication and a great deal more.See the WFTDA site for details on how to register , view the welcome pack,feast your eyes on the list of instructors who will be taking part and find some more general information here. This clinic is one of only three to be held outside of the US and is the only one of those in Europe,so there is bound to be considerable interest from around the UK and beyond.
Last December, Blood and Thunder Magazine hosted the first-ever Roller Derby World Cup, in conjunction with Toronto Roller Derby at The Bunker in Toronto, Canada.
The tournament had several exciting moments, from the overall dominance by USA, to host country Canada playing to a silver medal. The event also featured a bout where 500 points was scored by one team and the rare appearance of a “ghost jam,” which occurred during the Ireland/Finland bout.
Team Scotland added some astounding moments of their own into the mix, having played one of the hardest hitting bouts of the weekend against New Zealand, adding their rendition of “Flower of Scotland” to the opening ceremony and scoring a thirty point jam of their own, courtesy of jammer Marshall Lawless.
However, what could arguably have been the most exciting moment of the tournament came upon its conclusion. A most valuable player award was handed out to one member of each team for their outstanding performance over the course of the weekend.
An impressive list of skaters from around the world such as Iron Wench for Canada, Francey Pants for France, Swede Hurt for Sweden, Shortstop for Australia and Joy Collision for USA earned the honour for their teams.
When Lisa Donati a.k.a Marla Mayhem, a member of Team Scotland who also plays for Glasgow Roller Girls, was announced as the MVP for her nation she had a look of wonder on her face when she ran up to accept her award and pose with the other MVP’s for the press photos.
Perhaps Marla was surprised by the announcement, but with the kind of tournament she had against some of the top skaters in the world, the award should have been expected.
Marla showed no fear from the jammer position as she fought through tough packs and took bodily damage over the course of the three days. She scored a large majority of her team’s points along with fellow jammers Lawless, Blazin Phoenix and Clinically Wasted and the tournament decided that her effort and “never say die” attitude was worthy of the MVP honour.
After getting back from the World Cup, getting over the loss of her voice, working through a mountain of work from her two businesses and spending time with her two pre-schoolers she managed to answer some questions for Scottish Roller Derby.
Bryan Mcwilliam: How did it feel playing in the first ever World Cup?
Marla Mayhem: A great honour and amazing experience. I feel hugely inspired to do better having skated with the world’s greatest skaters, especially so many in a short space of time.
BM: Did you enjoy Toronto? How do you think Blood and Thunder and Toronto Roller Derby did hosting the event?
MM: Toronto was great. I’m a fan of cities built on a grid system; it’s clean and from what I experienced, most efficient. Fortunately, I managed to squeeze in some sights too, once I recovered from our post cup celebrations.
Blood and Thunder have got off to a great start laying the foundations for future World Cup events. The tournament ran to schedule, B&T were great hosts, always available, & willing to help. Having the opportunity to get injuries dealt with on site with Dr Rick was a godsend and definitely a requisite for all future tournaments. I met some amazing people and hope I have the opportunity and good health to be up for more.
BM: What were some of your personal in-game highlights?
MM: Well, skating with athletes at the top of their game wasn’t too shabby. New Zealand was tight and that’s my kind of game. USA was crazy and brilliant together, it’s the only footage I’ve seen and I had to watch myself through my cringing fingers – those women really are something. Each game had its own merits and delivered its own highlights for different reasons, but when Team Scotland delivered what we were aspiring to, it couldn’t get any better.
BM: Did you think you would win the MVP for Team Scotland? Why do you think you were chosen?
MM: Not at all, especially as our first day was so challenging. It’s difficult to comprehend that you’re doing okay when you’re taking such a battering and defeat.
BM: If you could give your MVP award to any one of your team-mates who would it be?
MM: I think I’d need to share it with Wild Oates, Marshall Lawless & Mistress Malicious. Malicious knows tactics and play like no-one else. I love watching her thought process filter from brain to skate – as ever, it was in top form in Toronto. Oates and Lawless have been training like devils and it really shows; every time I see them they get fitter, stronger and up the challenge for the opposition.
BM: What does the future hold for Marla Mayhem in life, in derby and in any other interesting aspects?
MM: Ah, life. I’m shifting the whole focus of my life, work and derby this year. I am intending to make 3 training sessions this year, 2011 I was lucky to make 1 or 2. We have a great season lined up - Berlin, Paris, Malmo, and Rainy City - and I’d like to bring my best to the Glasgow Roller Girls’ Irn Bruisers. I have 2 young daughters whom I’ll be mainly hanging out with until August when they start nursery and primary school, a bit of skating with them hopefully. I have 2 businesses, one of which I will be stepping back from, the second of which, I launched last year ,Psycho Pants, and will be putting my energies into progressing that to the next phase.
Off-skates training I try to build into normal life, for example cycling with the girls in a trailer in the back, running to the shops, squats in the garden, etc. I loathe wasteful time, like sitting on a bus or in the car when I could cycle, walk, do something rather than nothing. Other than that, random things I’d like to do is explore the old, disused underground network in Glasgow, it’ll be freaking scary, but good scary. I’d also like to try trapeze and to design a font.
The future seems bright and busy for Marla Mayhem as she looks to bring her success from the World Cup to her home team in Glasgow. If she keeps up the type of play she did in December she will definitely be a skater to watch for as the Glasgow Roller Girls season begins in 2012
Many thanks to Bryan for this interview and to Dave McAleavy for kindly supplying the photo of Marla Mayhem.
The skaters always seem to be the stars of the Roller Derby show, but realistically, a live bout would dissolve into chaos if we didn't have Team Line Up Managers, Bench Managers and Non-Skating Officials (NSOs).
Tarce, a skater with Glasgow Roller Girls, unexpectedly found herself positioned as Line-Up Manager for Team Scotland only a few weeks before the World Cup kicked off! The person in this role is a vital part of any team as they take the time to understand each skater's strengths and weaknesses, and can make clear decisions on which skaters will play together per jam, and how to recover when players are sent to the penalty box.
We catch up with Tarce to hear how she found the World Cup experience and just what the job entails.
How did you become involved with Roller Derby?
It was back in February 2010 when I got a message about the Glasgow Film Festival on Facebook. The message also contained a part about a roller derby bout that Saturday between Glasgow Roller Girls and London Rockin' Rollers. Now I’d never heard of roller derby before but something about women on skates possibly hitting each other somehow drew my interest! I decided to go along by myself to check it out and as soon as I entered the room I knew I was in the right place for me! So this was where the cool people hung out!
I went along to the after party too and got talking to one of the refs (who I’d met before through our mutual tattooist) and him and his lovely wife talked me into coming along to the next newbie intake, which just happened to be that same Tuesday! I also remember talking to a rather drunk Marla Mayhem of GRG and the Fabulous Mighty Mighty Bash of LRR and thinking these were women I could definitely get along with.
I plucked up the courage to go along to newbies that very Tuesday and managed not to break anything or embarrass myself too much .. and I’ve been hooked ever since!
How did you get involved in Line-Up in general, and what made you sign-up for the World Cup?
Haha now here comes the funny part! When I did the line up managing for Team Scotland’s first game against New Zealand at the World Cup, that only the second time I had ever done it! To say I was slightly nervous would be a small understatement; I’d much rather have been skating at that point that much I knew!
Back in February last year, Viper, our head of league training at GRG at the time, was in the first stages of trying to organise a national team for Scotland and she was desperate for people to help out. To play to my strengths, I volunteered to administer the Team Scotland forum as I sit in front of a computer all day at work and I’d done that sort of thing before anyway.
To cut a long story short, before I knew it I was Chairperson of Team Scotland and I was off to Toronto in a few weeks! It was at that late stage that the person we had in the role told us that due to family commitments she would be unable to attend theWorld Cup. My one previous time doing line-ups (TS vs Northern Allstars) had filled the captains with enough confidence that they asked me to do it again for Team Scotland – the crazy fools! Well, I was going to be there anyway and I knew all the skaters, whats the worst that could happen?!
What makes a good Line-Up Manager?
Well you definitely need to remain calm and focussed in the eye of the storm! Exuding an air of confidence and that you know what you’re doing are very important too (even if you are actually bricking it inside!). You have to make instant decisions and stick to them. Stay focussed on whats happening on track and in the penalty bin and listen to what the bench manager is shouting at you too. You have to be able to be firm with the skaters as well as they will either be giving you puppy dog eyes to go on next, moaning that they want to go on with their best buddy or crying cos they ain't getting played enough! It’s a tough job! You’ve also got to keep an eye on them, especially the jammers, to see how tired they are and if they maybe need to sit off for a couple to get their breath back. Its definitely not a job to take on if you want to get a good view of the bout, that’s for sure!
How did you prepare for the World Cup?
When I realised that I was going to be the one doing the job, I made sure I went along to all the training sessions and watched and got to know all the skaters that weren’t from my own league. I needed to familiarise myself with the roles they played when skating; who only blocked, who would jam and block, who was confident pivoting, etc. I’d have liked to have been able to perform the role at more bouts or even scrimmage sessions but unfortunately there just wasn’t the time.
I also spoke to Knuckles, our bench manager and got as much information and tips from him as possible. He does an amazing job and it was great working with him.
Has the experience changed how you would manage Line-Up in future?
I don’t want to do it ever again! Haha. Seriously though, I did gain a lot of confidence in the role by being thrown in at the deep end; it is full on and it is stressful but at the end of the day as long as you get enough skaters on track you’ve done your job! Lol. If I do it again in future I wont worry so much about trying to stick to the written line-ups provided by the captains; after that first person goes to the penalty bin you can basically throw them out the window. Just stick to the general ethos in your head of what they want and just go with what feels and looks right to you at the time. I think trying to work to that bit of paper definitely made things more stressful. So I guess the lesson to learn is: know your skaters well, know their strengths and weaknesses and know the tactics that the captains are playing to.
What do you think the World Cup has done for Roller Derby in Scotland?
It's really given skaters new enthusiasm and motivation! Something new to aim for; who wouldn’t want to make it on to their country’s national team! We showed this year that Scotland is definitely a force to be reckoned with and basically anything is possible for us. Roller derby is going to keep on growing exponentially from here, its going to be huge and Scotland has a chance to be a big name in the sport. We have some amazing new skaters coming through who have a real hunger to do well. I see great things ahead for us! This first World Cup for a bit of an experiment really but it totally worked! I cannot wait to see what the next one will look like... it's going to be immense! Watch out USA, Scotland is coming for you!
Do you have any advice for anyone considering becoming a Line-Up Manager for their local league?
All those non-skating roles are vitally important to the sport as a whole; if we didn’t have people to fill bench and NSO roles then we couldn’t play, simple as! All leagues need those people that are dedicated to the sport and want to do their bit even if it doesn’t involve skating. And the skaters are hugely thankful that they come along and do what they do.
Come along as often as you can for scrimmage sessions especially. Get to know everyone and feel part of the team. Know the rules inside and out and watch as much roller derby as you can – just like being a skater really! Practice makes perfect, the more you do it the more confident you will get. I don’t think there are any big secrets to it, it's just about being level headed, sensible and logical really. And if the skaters know they can rely on you they will love you forever!
In another World Cup interview,we talk to Ballistic Whistle,Head Coach of Team England
Photo of Ballistic Whistle by Dave McAleavy
At the World Cup,Team England placed a well deserved third,how does it feel to have represented your country and managed a squad of skaters to such an amazing achievment?
Well, technically I haven't represented my country....being Australian and all. I did take a sick joy from writing myself into what my countrymen would consider the wrong side of that classic sporting rivalry though. However, I do feel that English derby is truly where my heart lies. Having invested so much time and effort into the sport in this country it was emotional to have the opportunity to lead a team of excellent skaters at an event which saw sickening amounts of national pride.
From the streamed footage everything seemed to run very well,what were your impressions of the World Cup?
I thought it was really well produced for a first event of its kind. Obviously there were some elements that I would've preferred were different - for example the pillars in the middle of the track - but given the scale of the event I thought Black Dahlia did an amazing job of pulling together something that no-one, up until now, had decided to brave attempting.
What are your World Cup highlights? Both personally and for the Team
My actual highlight from the world cup can't go in print so I'll just say that I loved the New Zealand Haka as well as watching the USA v USA bout. The thing that really sticks with me was just seeing so many different countries representing their brand of derby. It was great to watch. That, and being able to coach some fantastic skaters that I don't normally get the opportunity to.
Team England drew a varied group with Ireland and Argentina,interestingly, Team Ireland featured some skaters from The London Roller Girls,given that those skaters are well versed in the way you work,how did that affect your tactics for that bout?
Well, for whatever reason Team Ireland chose not to play those skaters in our game against them. We had the luxury of being able to observe the Ireland team before we played them so had an idea of how they were going to set themselves out. Having said that, they certainly played a style we weren't expecting and made our opening game really tough which, given points differential was vital to the knockout phases, put a little extra pressure on us for the remaining group game.
A sizeable chunk of the Team England squad had played in the Eastern Region Playoffs as part of the London Roller Girls team where you were also Coach,how much of an edge do you think that experience gave you over most of the other teams in the World Cup?
Getting better by playing better teams is one of the hard and fast derby truths that LRG swears by, so having the opportunity to go to Regionals just made those participating players stronger, both physically and mentally. I can imagine that a lot of the players at the cup would never have felt the experience of being involved in such a large-scale, high-profile event such as that, so having players who were able to put all that to one side and focus on the job at hand was quite advantageous to us
Argentina were one of the unknowns in the competition,how impressed were you with them and the newer,less established teams?
It was almost impossible for us to do research on many of the unknown teams. Footage doesn't exist and you only really find some snippets of the one or two "stars" playing with their own league. Argentina and Brazil were especially exciting to watch during the cup as they were essentially representing the newest frontier of derby (out of the teams at the cup anyway). I was incredibly impressed with how well Finland did and am just sad that I didn't have more free time to catch more of their games.
Looking back at England's World Cup bout scores,it seems that you sailed through almost every match,however,scores rarely reflect how hard fought a bout was,who among your opponents gave you the hardest bouts?
The Canada game was the toughest by far. We never really got into the game and were working hard just to stay within touching distance. We got off to a terrible start against Australia, but just needed to take a breath, have a chat, and we were able to regain control of that one. For me, the most unexpectedly tough game we played was against Ireland. Not because it was our first bout of the tournament, not because it was played at 9:30am on a Friday, but because Ireland played a really strong, disciplined game. They gave us a fight right from the start and pretty much made us re-evaluate our tournament game plan.
What do you think of the European Cup that has recently been announced?,can we expect to see Team England there?,or do you have any other international bout plans?
I love the idea of a Euro Cup. I think whoever takes responsibility for organising it is going to have to deal with headaches Blood & Thunder avoided, now that the teams are established and have a voice. Something that Dahlia started catching more and more as the prep for the World Cup went on. I would hate for a Euro Cup to happen without Team England there. The team took the festive season off, but we're going to be discussing how we want to move the forward in 2012. Obviously a lot of the players have hectic derby schedules already, so working out how we can fit it in is going to be somewhat tricky. As for other international bouts, there are some things that are being discussed, but I can't divulge anything at this stage.
2012 will be an exciting time for Roller Derby here.There are new full WFTDA and apprentice leagues all over Europe and the Track Queens competition coming up for them later in the year,plus the European Cup.All of which can only improve the standard of the sport right across the board.How do you see the future of Derby in Europe?
I have fingers crossed that WFTDA will consider formalising the European Region in terms of the existing Big5 tournaments. It's going to be tough to work out how a Region with such a small number of teams and such a diverse ability level will fit into their tournament structure though. That's a task I don't envy. I'm hoping that the Euro Cup will give an opportunity to some other European Countries to establish their national teams as well. The Track Queens tournament is really exciting as well. I realise there have been localised tournaments such as Tattoo Freeze and Highland Fling, but I'm hoping this can be the spiritual continuation of Roll Brittania wihich is now so long overdue. 2011 saw me witness European teams playing strategies that were less than 3 months old at the time. That many of the established teams have reached that point means their progress should accelerate even more rapidly in 2012. Exciting stuff.
Many thanks to Ballistic Whistle for taking the time to do this interview
Kick start your New Year fitness resolution by trying a different sport; Dundee Roller Girls are recruiting new skaters to join our ever growing league. Roller Derby is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK and with the first ever World Cup just passed, we want to open the opportunity up to more people!
Whether you are competitive, looking for fun or just want to try something new, roller derby has something for everyone! We will provide you skates and safety equipment, all we ask is that you come along and have some fun!
We have 3 taster sessions available for you to come along to - Wednesday 18th January, Wednesday 25th January and Wednesday 1st February, 7-8pm at the DISC, Mains Loan, Dundee
Do you live in the Forth Valley area and fancy playing Roller Derby? Well now is your chance! Fierce Valley Roller Girls invite you to their next Fresh Meat intake on Sunday 19th February at 11am in Bo’ness Recreation Center. Skating experience isn't necessary; you just need to be over 18, willing to learn and have fun!
During the Fresh Meat session you will be buddied up with an experienced skater to learn from them and to share their skates and safety equipment. Please bring your own mouthguard (for safety and hygiene!) – Sports Direct offer a selection for under £5. If you are interested in coming along, please fill out the registration form on their website - http://www.fvrg.co.uk/fresh-meat.php
This years Tattoo Freeze event will be held on the 15th of January in The International Centre,Telford. Primarily a showcase for some of the best Tattoo artists from around Europe,Tattoo Freeze is also host to a Roller Derby tournament featuring some of the most famous names in UK Derby. The schedule for the competition is as follows...
FIRST ROUND Bout 1 - 10:00 Auld Reekie Roller Girls plays Dolly Rockit Rollers Bout 2 - 11:00 London Rockin Rollers plays Lincolnshire Bombers Roller Girls Bout 3 - 12:00 Central City Rollergirls plays Birmingham Blitz Dames Bout 4 - 13:00 Glasgow Roller Girls plays London Roller Girls
SEMI-FINALS Bout 5 - 14:00 Winner Bout 1 plays Winner Bout 2 Bout 6 - 15:00 Winner Bout 3 plays Winner Bout 4 PLAY OFF FOR 3RD PLACE Bout 7 - 16:00 Loser Bout 5 plays Loser Bout 6
FINAL Bout 8 - 17:00 Winner Bout 5 plays Winner Bout 6
If you are interested in attending,you can find all the details on the Tattoo Freeze website,entry is £15 in advance,or £20 on the day,under 18's go free. Alongside Roller Derby and tattoo's,there is also a tattoo themed photography competition,a graffiti workshop,some big names in skateboarding and bmx doing a showcase,henna/body painting,an ice carving display and live music all on offer.
What first attracted you to Roller Derby?
Um.............Skating & Violence of course.
Derby names are an important aspect of the sport, especially when you're starting out. How did you choose your name, and how does it reflect your personality on track?
Choosing my name was real easy for me coz Black is my surname & I love Death Metal......Simples.
What was your biggest initial difficulty?
Lots of roller girls find it hard not to spread the word about their new sport. How have you been spreading the word?
I wear the NNRG badge with pride and talk about the sport to whoever will listen.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt/done this month?
I've learnt that Smoking, Drinking & too much Partying does affect your stamina.
What were the most difficult and best things you’ve done?
Difficult: Doing this daft move our coach calls the 'Duck-Walk', it's like a jump start move which I can do but if i think about it too much i'm screwed.
Best Things: The best thing without a doubt is joining NNRG & meeting all the girls in the team. We all have such different lives and probably wouldn't have met if it wasn't for the great sport of roller derby!
And, finally: what’s new in NNRG?
Well, we've got a lot of new girls starting in the team all with keen interest. We also have an interview & photo shoot coming out in the Inverness Courier. But my favourite thing is that we are just about to decide on what uniforms the team will wear. Woohoo. x
Just in case you haven't quite had your fill of World Cup pictures,here is a round up of some of the best.
Kicking off with the official Team Scotland photographer,Dave McAleavy As you might expect,lots of shots of Team Scotland in action and all of the superb quality that marks all Dave's work.
Sean Murphy is head photographer for the Renegade Derby Dames,Alliston,Ontario and has an impressive array of galleries,covering not only the World Cup,but also a range of bouts that feature some of the top names in American and Canadian Roller Derby.It's a superb site and he has a great beard!
Jason Ruffell has some excellent World Cup work on show,including some of Team Scotland and Team England.Plus an archive of top English bouts that goes back to 2009.
Greg Russell has some amazing work,split into days rather than bouts.
Colorado based Wicked Shamrock Photography has a lot of quality work covering Team Ireland,click,'Roller Derby' then 'Special Events'
Team Finland photographer Marko Niemelä has an excellent gallery on his national team.
Please note:All images on these sites are the property of their respective photographers,permission must be obtained before reproducing these images.