What can we say about the first Men’s Roller Derby World Cup? That it’s going to be a showdown of epic proportions between nations that have never met on the flat track before. That we’re equally excited to see the derby legends as we are the total unknowns who will become our new idols over the course of three days. That there better be at least one man-sweat track mopper-upper and someone to wring out the panties between bouts. Or that there will be at least one man sporting a pair of shorts so short they rival Gerard Butler’s budgie-smugglers in 300.
So we decided to let those with the most to say do the talking.
In an undisclosed training venue, at the heart of Scotland, where boys become men, and derby dreams are made, Fun Ghoul met with Power of Scotland’s Co-captains Dafty and Judder Jam, and Assistant Coach and Line-up Manager, Ginge, to talk training, tactics, and Team Japan.
According to the MRDWC countdown-clock it’s one week, five days, and twenty hours until the tournament kicks-off. What is the vibe like in the Power of Scotland camp?
Dafty: It’s very good at the minute. We had a good game against New Wheeled Order last weekend and we’ve got a pre-tournament bout against Team Australia coming up on Tuesday. So I think that’s going to be a massive start for us; we get to play four or five teams in the World Cup instead of just the three that we might do from the group stages. Ginge: Everyone’s really excited as well. It feels like it’s come in really, really quickly, all of a sudden it’s a week to go and it’s like ‘eeeeee’; so we’re trying to like fit in as much as we can in the next week or so before we go. But everyone’s really excited. Judder: Confident. In our own team anyway, as we all seem to be gelling together. Ginge: We’ve put a lot of work in – Judder: Looking forward to getting stuck in. Ginge: - it’ll be good to see it all come out at the World Cup.
Most of the team have been playing derby for around one to two years: what have you been doing to prepare them for going up against some much more experienced players?
Ginge: We’ve been working a lot on our teamwork and staying together, especially with the skaters that were at a lower level when we started, but they’ve come on really, really, really quickly, they’ve surprised everyone. When we did the team selections we did choose a couple of skaters who hadn’t been skating as long as everyone else, but they showed so much potential and so much desire for it that they were worthwhile putting into the squad: so I’ve been really pleased with how quickly they’ve come on. So, [we’ve been] working on teamwork, working on game play, and just being able to adapt to a change in situation on track very quickly. Rather than trying to get any kind of fancy stuff drilled into them in the short period of time we’ve got, we’ve gone for practical, strong walls, little bit of offense. Dafty: Although a lot of us have been skating 2-3 years, the majority of us haven’t skated against that much foreign opposition. We’ve skated against as few of the French teams, but I don’t think anyone has skated against any Belgian or Norwegian or even American or Canadians apart from those who were in the Men’s Europeans (skating as part of the mixed team Expendables 2). Everyone is really looking forward to going in on the same level, because everyone has played against New Wheeled Order and the Inhuman League , even the newer players, so in terms of experience the players are all probably about the same.
Do you think that living in a small country and being able to training together regularly will benefit you against teams from much larger countries where this hasn’t been the case?
Judder: I think it’s important that because we’re so close together, and we are training quite regularly, we know what everyone is going to do on track, we know where everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are, which is going to be a disadvantage for teams that are quite spread out that can’t train as often [together]. Maybe they will be quite strong skaters, but if they don’t know what the team is like then that could be a weakness. Ginge: I think we’ll have more of a unit than other teams; they will have strong skaters, but a lot of individuals rather than a group of skaters that are together as a team, so I’m hoping that that will definitely be an advantage for us.
Have the players who took part in MERDC last year been passing on any tournament advice and how have you been preparing for tournament play rather than individual bouts?
Dafty: I think we’ve all been trying to share little bits with everybody, not necessarily [just] tournament advice. We’ve been making sure that our sessions aren’t just two hours; we’ve been having longer sessions to get the overall endurance that you need to play a tournament and we’ve been doing various things, like scrimming at the very beginning, then training, then scrimming at the end, so you have to go back into scrimming and playing mode, to get that length of play that’s required. Judder: It’s shorter games on the first day as it’s only 30 minutes [bouts], so we’re trying to change [the skaters] so they can perform their best in the first 30 minutes – as well as the second half – but obviously the first 30 minutes is going to count the best as we only get 30 minutes to win the game before we move on, so it’s a case of getting them to limit their penalties as well as play their best and score the most amount of points. Ginge: And less penalties as well, as it’s only four penalties in a 30 minute game, so we’re trying to keep an eye on the penalties. Most teams play their best half in the second half and use the first half to settle in, so we’re scrimming as soon as we get in the hall, as they’re not going to have that time to settle in at the tournament: we’ve been putting a lot of work into that.
You’ve already played three bouts together as a team: what have you taken away from these both as positives and training to build on?
Dafty: The positives have been the progression from each of the games, getting feedback from players: we have two [PoS players] that have played in two of the bouts in the opposing team so we’ve been using them and getting their feedback as to how the team played. The progression that we’ve had in the three games, we’ve been pleased with; definitely the second half of the New Wheeled Order game, we were very pleased with how that worked. Ginge: The bouts have been really useful to pinpoint certain areas where we needed to strengthen to how other teams were playing. The Dave bout particularly flagged up to us that we had a lot of work to do on offense, because we could do offense off the line, but not necessarily mid-jam or going back to get our jammer out and minimise the damage the other jammer could do. So we’ve done a lot of work of that and we used it a lot more in the most recent New Wheeled Order bout; we were going back to get our jammer out. So it’s definitely been flagging up little areas where we need to come to the party a bit more! It’s been really helpful.
You are in the Orange Group (with Japan, Belgium, and Canada) for the group stage – who are you most looking forward to playing?
Judder: Team Japan for me, as it’s such a wild-card team, no one really knows how they’re going to play as they’re quite new to derby, but they’ve been playing Roller Game for years, so it depends if they’re all players from that area or not, as no one’s seen a men’s team from that far out come into this. Ginge: They’re a total mystery team. We don’t even know what they look like! Not all of them anyway. It looks like they’ll have a lot of skilful skaters, but I’m not sure how they’ll play the actual derby game, so it’s quite exciting. Judder: It’s more how they’re going to play that I’m looking forward to seeing, as they’re quite into all their leg-whips and stuff in Roller Game, but I don’t know if that will translate over to roller derby. Belgium is also rated at about the same level as us, so that might be a tough game. And I don’t know what’s going to happened against Team Canada – Ginge: We’ll learn a lot no matter from all three of them.
And out of the other groups, who will you be watching?
Judder: Team USA for me. Ginge: Probably not politically correct, but I want to see Team England play as well, flying the flag for the UK, and there’s some excellent skaters on their team and some surprises that made the roster and I’m really excited to see how they’ve come on from having the England training. Dafty: The British teams as well as Team USA: it’ll be good to see how Wales do and England gets on. Wales have got a good chance of progressing into the second round, and then if England wins their group who do they get to play – Ginge: It could be England/USA which would be ace, such a good final if that’s what it comes down to. But, I really hope there’s some surprise in there, I really want to see a team that no one’s even talked about and they blast through – Judder: Like Team Argentina – Ginge: Like Karate Kid! The underdogs.
You have a lot of support travelling down from Scotland – are you looking forward to getting on track with that crowd behind you?
Dafty: Cant’ wait. I think we’ll probably have the loudest supporters around, definitely the most songs from looking at the Facebook group anyway. Judder: Lots of flags. Ginge: I think it’s going to be really good. It’s always nice to have support there. We really appreciate them coming down as we know ourselves that the hotels aren’t the cheapest. Dafty: I think it shows the overall commitment to roller derby in Britain. American and Argentina and such, won’t have as much support, but if we can have lots of supporters from the ‘local’ teams, like the British, French, and Belgian teams, then that will say how big a thing this actually is. Ginge: I think it’ll be great, and we’ve always had a reputation for being really friendly: most of the teams that played the Jakeys (Bites) at the Euros said that we were one of the nicest teams they played on the day and that our supporters are really good, so I think our supporters will do Scotland proud.
And finally, what does it mean to be part of the first ever Men’s Roller Derby World Cup?
Judder: It’s going to be exciting to play both the first World Cup and playing for your country as well. You won’t be able to go any higher than the World Cup, so it’s going to be really great to play for your country in the very first one; to play, do everyone proud, and maybe win something – Dafty: Just to be in the first one is amazing. It’s this game that everyone came into that was a bit strange in the beginning, and wasn’t even in Scotland [for men] until about two years ago, and just trying to push it in Scotland and the way it’s grown in Scotland as well; and a lot of the founders for [men’s] derby in Scotland are playing in the World Cup – so it’s going to be huge. Ginge: I’m super excited, and so happy that I get the chance to go with them, and a lot of the guys that I know from the Jakeys, I’ve been skating with them for a year-and-a-half now, and I’ve put quite a lot into it over the past year, so I’m so proud to go with them and see how they do and help them get there. I think it’s really nice that men’s derby is starting to get a bit of momentum in Scotland, it’s great, because for so long women’s derby has dominated in Scotland – which is amazing because they are the founders – but it’s nice that men’s derby is getting a chance to represent in the World Cup and I’m really excited to go with them.
The Men’s Roller Derby World Cup takes place at the Fustal in Birmingham 14th – 16th March 2014. For more information and live streaming of the event visit MRDWC.com
Absolutely no skating experience is necessary as the CCRD coaches will teach you basic safety and skating skills. Skating equipment will be provided for on the night, but participants are asked to buy and bring along their own mouth guard.
So if you want to get involved in one of the world's fastest growing sports and have a good time while you're at it contact, please contact email@example.com to reserve your place at this Fresh Meat event.
Further information can be found on CCRD's Facebook Event.
Absolutely no skating experience is necessary as the CCRD coaches will teach you basic safety and skating skills. Skating equipment will be provided for on the night, but participants are asked to buy and bring along their own mouth guard.
So if you want to get involved in one of the world's fastest growing sports and have a good time while you're at it contact, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place at this Fresh Meat event.
Further information can be found on CCRD's Facebook Event.
The two teams last met in February 2013 at The Peak in Stirling. Although Fierce Valley took the win in 'Love Hurts', it was a tough bout and came right down to the last jam. Both teams have come up against some stiff opposition over the past year - with both celebrating wins and losses - and they'll be bringing all of that experience onto the track with them in April. It's all to play for in this year's 'Block Stock and Two Smokin' Jammers'!
Preston Roller Girls will be hosting the bout in Preston College Sports Hall. Doors open at 2:45pm for 3:30pm start. There will be home-baking and team merchandise for sale.
Advanced tickets will be available shortly via Big Cartel. Join the Facebook Event for full details.
Latest in a series of year review interviews, we catch up with Crash Overload, Vice Chair and Head Coach of the Fierce Valley Roller Cubs.
It's been a busy year for the Fierce Valley Roller Cubs,from raising awareness and funds with events to running your first trial sessions. What have been the highs, and lows, of the past year?
These last six months have definitely been a rollercoaster. The highs include seeing the interest in roller derby from local children and watching them progress from their fresh meat taster session in September to taking on their Level 1 training and for many of them passing this assessment and progressing on to the next level of training. The cubs are so enthusiastic and its fantastic to see them coming along to bouts to support their local roller derby teams as well as fully taking on the challenges that roller derby brings. We have since taken in another new batch of skaters in January and we are all enjoying watching our league expand and grow.
To be honest, we haven't seen many lows this year and the cubs committee and coaches all work hard to communicate and take the league forward with the interests of the skaters in mind.
The idea to run a Junior League goes back a little further than the past year, first considered in 2011, it's fair to say it's taken longer than you might have liked to get to where you are now. What does it mean to to have The Cubs up and running for those who have been part of that long process?
It's true that it's taken a long time to get the Cubs off the ground, the idea was first born in 2011 as a committee of FVRG, but due to a number of factors - mainly money - we couldn't get past the idea stage for a while. When things really started to happen, around summer 2013, everything happened really quickly and it's not an exaggeration to say that we haven't stopped since then. For those that have been involved from the start, it's still hard to believe how far we've come in a short period of time. Looking at our current groups of skaters and seeing the interest in the Cubs continue to grow, it's more than we ever hoped for. Delighted is probably the word to use, not to mention proud!
The Fierce Valley Roller Cubs are currently the only Junior league in Scotland, and one of a handful in the UK, have you had any help and advice from the other Junior Leagues in the country?
We have taken advice from the JRDA website on training and assessments and are part of a page on Facebook for junior derby coaches to chat and swap advice and ideas. Our coaches all have differing levels of experience of coaching adults and children and with the combined experience we have, we are moving steadily forward. We have been making contact with other junior leagues in the hope that when our league are ready - we will have teams to play against.
There are some differences between the Junior Roller Derby ruleset and it's WFTDA parent, which must influence training and teaching methods. What challenges did you face in adapting an adult Fresh Meat session to work with younger skaters?
To be honest, in building the teaching plans, we looked at the skillset required and started creating plans designed for children of varying ages - our league starts at age 5 - and abilities. The skillset required is almost the same as the WFTDA skillset so the basics are the same, its just the methods of teaching that differ. We spend time talking through things with the cubs, explaining in language they will understand and try to make each drill fun but at the same time encourage practise and repetition in order to get better at the skill in order to move on.
We play games and run team building events to allow the cubs to talk and get to know each other, as there is not much time for that during a training session. We also encourage the cubs to attend roller derby bouts run by local adult leagues to allow their understanding of the game and the rules to develop. We have run a demo scrim for the Level 1 skaters using local adult skaters and refs to show penalties, walls, blocking and jamming skills which all helps to develop the cubs enthusiasm and confidence in the sport.
The first sessions were held at the beginning of September 2013 and proved very successful, were you surprised at how readily the Cubs soaked up information and skills?
I think all of the coaches have been amazed at how quickly the cubs pick up skills and how determined they are - when they fall they just bounce back up and get on with it! They ask great questions and the rapport between the cubs themselves and between the cubs and the coaches is building and we can see the start of a strong league developing. The cubs are already talking about being jammers and pivots, getting excited at the prospect of one day starting to bout as a team and its very encouraging for us to see and hear this.
We're all familiar with the Roller Derby saved my soul story and how the sport has positively affected many of it's participants. How do you think Derby will impact on these young skaters?
We have already seen the impact on some of the cubs, going from being shy and quiet to more confident young individuals. They are increasing their strength and stamina and are overall positive in their outlook and in their perception of the sport. They are all developing strong friendships with each other and have found role models in some of the adult skaters and coaches.
When the cubs come along to a bout, we encourage them to come and speak to the skaters and you can see the excitement and awe in their faces. Some of our older cubs come along to the junior sessions and take the role of mentors for the younger cubs and we encourage them to develop their coaching and mentoring skills which in turn helps with their confidence and increases their commitment to the league.
And its not just the children who are impacted by roller derby, many of the adults who have not been involved in the sport before are now attending bouts, not to mention the parents who have signed up for taster sessions themselves as they are keen to try it. We also have family groups who are now buying skates and spending time as a family skating outdoors or at roller discos so its fantastic to see how the sport can have an effect on an entire family!
Lastly,can you tell us what your plans are for The Cubs in the coming year?
Well right now we are about to move in to another round of assessments and judging by recent training sessions, many of the cubs are looking good to get through this challenge. JRDA have three skill levels for juniors and by the summer we are hoping to have skaters who will have passed all three levels and can move into advanced training and start working seriously on drills and look towards creating a bouting team. We have another fresh meat session planned for a new intake of skaters at Easter too. We are increasing the number of training sessions to accommodate the number of skaters at the different levels and because we also have an age split - 5 to 10 and 11 to 17 - this means double the amount of sessions required at each level.
We are also looking to run another fundraising event in the very near future and hope to host a junior roller derby summer school for skaters of all levels. So all in all, its been a busy but awesome year so far and all I can say is - onwards and upwards.
Luv n shoves Crash Overload
When writing an overview of the Scottish Men's Leagues last year, we spoke to Tequila Jammer from Edinburgh's Capital City Roller Derby to hear all about the league's formation and their plans for their first year. A lot has happened at CCRD since then; Sassenick has done us the honour of sharing their adventures with us.
1. When we spoke in February 2013, you were planning your first Fresh Meat taster for April, and then another took place in September. How have you found the recruitment process? Can you introduce us to the new skaters at Capital City who joined in 2013?
Recruitment has been a bit hit and miss. Each time we've advertised a new Fresh Meat session, we've initially received plenty of interest, but getting people to actually turn up, and more importantly, come back for a second and a third time, has been tough.
The April Fresh Meat was a bit of a false start due to low numbers, but the September program has been very successful, with a number of the newer skaters now very close to passing their Minimum Skills.
I think our biggest success story is HaJuken, who’s gone from absolute beginner back in February to skating in public bouts and, most impressively, helping his team into joint 3rd place in the Jakey Sur5al in December.
2. How are you finding the balance between training skaters at a beginner level, and also those at a more advanced level?
It is very difficult to find the right balance of training for newer skaters, intermediates and advanced skaters, especially when we currently only have one training session a week. At the outset of 2013 this wasn't so much of an issue, but as the year progressed, and more inexperienced skaters joined the league, we found ourselves with a wide range of skating skills and levels to cater for.
We knew that this is an issue that all new leagues face sooner or later, so we assessed all of our skaters and created a training plan that would cater for everyone’s needs. We now split our training session into two halves: the first half covering skating skills that are needed for Mins, which our intermediate and advance skaters join in to help our newer skater’s progress. The second is focused on the skills we all need for playing derby. It has worked out really well and all the boys here at CCRD really put everything into each session, so much so that you can visibly see them advancing every week.
3. Your range of merchandise is very impressive! Capital City stalls are regularly spotted at Auld Reekie Roller Girls bouts, and at many local men's bouts. How important is it for you to attend these events and chat to the spectators?
Everyone loves a unicorn! We try to get a presence at as many bouts in and around Edinburgh as we can. It helps us to not only to promote ourselves, but also men’s derby in general. There are plenty of guys who attend women’s bouts who know very little or nothing at all about the men’s game and leagues. We aim to inform them and hopefully recruit them. A few of our current skaters were recruited at bouts in this way and at the time didn't even know there were any men’s teams in Scotland. That said, it’s important to find a balance when we’re setting up shop at other teams bouts, because until we’re actually giving something back in the form of, you know, actually playing Roller Derby in public, we run the risk of looking more like a clothing brand than a team.
As an aside, because I’ll never stop getting excited by this fact, every so often people submit picture to our Facebook Page of themselves wearing our merch. Last September an ARRG skater (shout out to Terrifying Tink!) posted a pic, taken on a visit to Five Stride Skate Shop in New York, of her wearing Capital City t-shirt while standing next to Bonnie Thunders & OMGWTF of Gotham Girls Roller Derby! How cool is that!?
4. All of the Scottish Men's Teams have certainly put their stamp on the roller derby scene and are no longer seen as the 'newbies' trying to catch up with the women's teams. Starting a roller derby league is a big enough challenge - never mind introducing another culture at the same time! Can you tell us about the challenges you faced along the way, and how you overcame them to rise to the position you are in now?
We were lucky here at CCRD that we were started by a group of Jakey Bites skaters. They saw a gap for an Edinburgh-based team when other regional men’s teams were starting to appear, and so CCRD was born. This gave us a solid foundation and a wealth of experience to draw on, not only from their experiences with the Jakeys, but also with Women's leagues as well as some of them were previously (some of them still are) referees.
Even with this we have ran into our fair share of challenges. Recruitment is always the big one, as are hall costs. Unfortunately these go hand in hand, as without skating members we can't pay for hall time. Hall costs are always a big hurdle for new leagues and we’re no exception. It seems everywhere we look is expensive! This has led us to make sure to maximise our time we have on track each week, which in turn has helped to focus all our skaters at training. We are planning more Fresh Meat intakes throughout 2014 to hopefully add to our ranks, whilst still looking at alternative training venues to help us reduce hall costs.
On a more positive note, I think the biggest obstacle that 2013 raised for was the need to actually become a team, rather than just a group of guys that skated together. Strangely enough, I think that happened pretty soon after we decided on our logo. It’s surprising how readily grown men will rally around a unicorn without a hint of irony, but it’s definitely become ingrained in our culture now.
5. It was very exciting to see the establishment of the Men's National Team - The Power of Scotland - last year. Are many Capital City skaters on The Power of Scotland roster? What opportunities do you think a Men's National Team will bring to the sport?
We were all very excited about the establishment of Power of Scotland as a bouting team. There’s 4 skaters representing CCRD skating with Power of Scotland, two of which were voted in as the captain and vice-captain for POS. There is Dafty, Tequila Jammer, Judderjam and WKDeid (aka V for Vieneta); names I am sure followers of Men's Roller Derby will recognise from the Jakey Bites bouts. Also Ginge, their line-up, has also been on the side-lines of CCRD since the beginning, so we’ve definitely got a lot of representation in the national team.
It’s hard to say what sort of effect a national team will have in Scotland though. We’re in the fairly unique situation of already having an all-star team with the Jakey Bites, so the benefits of a supra-league team have always in a way been visible within CCRD. That said, our coaches are already bringing back new tactics and ideas from Power of Scotland which are definitely having a positive effect on our team and our game.
On top of that, with not only the Men’s World Cup in March, but the Women's in December, hopefully there will be more exposure of the sport in general here in Scotland and throughout the UK. It would be really good if the attention the sport is getting on a national level could feed back to help leagues, not only in terms of promotion and recruitment, but also in bringing in new sponsors and representation in the national media.
6. What would you consider as Capital City's biggest achievement in 2013? Are there any highlights that stand out from a very busy year?
2013 was a very busy year for us, but we don’t have much in the way of visible achievements. Behind the scenes, our biggest achievement of 2013 has been the successful changing of the way we run our training to best help and suit every one’s needs. This has helped build a drive and determination at CCRD to get us ready and in shape for bouting in 2014. Everyone has put in so much hard work and has a fantastic focus of getting us bouting in 2014, to make 2014 the year of the unicorn.
We had our first Fresh Meat pass their Mins which I think is a big sign of success for the league as a whole, but most of the things that I think reflect well on us, can be seen in the successes of our members.
There have been a few more highlights through the year such as a few new skaters playing in their first bout, CCRD being represented at the co-ed charity bouts last year and CCRD being represented in the POS line up to name a few.
7. What would you consider as your personal biggest achievement with Capital City in 2013?
That’s a surprisingly tough question, because everything feels like a big achievement when I first master it, but after a few weeks it becomes just another skill. I think the best feeling though was when I managed to skate 28 laps in 5 minutes. My previous PB was 22, I was on new skates, only two weeks back after a two month absence, and the previous week I’d skated headfirst into a wall in the attempt! To actually get the laps I needed after that was such an amazing feeling, even if I had to sit down for the next half hour to avoid passing out!
8. And finally, what are Capital City's plans for 2014?
Bouting! We’ve already got a couple of dates pencilled in for scrimmages with other leagues, and we’re definitely on track to have a public bout by the end of the year. Recruitment is also going to continue to be a big focus, and the big aim there is to have enough numbers so that we can have additional training sessions to better accommodate a range of abilities. On top of that? We’re just going to keep having fun!
Livingston's finest Roller Derby league are recruiting!. On Sunday the 2nd of March New Town Roller Girls will host their first Fresh Meat session at the Craigswood Sports Centre, Livingston. NTRG are looking for skaters aged 18 and over who are dedicated, enthusiastic and want to be part of their awesome team. You can register your interest and have your questions answered at the Facebook event page. See you on track!
A slightly unusual Review entry this time: not a league, but a collection of Derby Happenings all tied together by one common feature: Falkirk's own skate and roller derby store, Into The Nitemare. We thought that, what with having their own exhibition team, founding two others during the year and putting on a national tournament, they probably deserved an article to themselves...
This has been an eventful year for Into The Nitemare's derby involvement, with Team Nitemare holding their first exhibition bouts, the formation of Hades Roller Boys and Voodoo Roller Dollies, and the successful hosting of Scotland's second ever national tournament, Battle of Britain. What has been the standout experience for the two of you?
We’ve had an amazing year derby wise, and there are far too many highlights to name just one. Team Nitemare was just amazing, I remember welling up at the skateout. Just so proud to see two amazing groups of such talent under one roof. The Jakey Tayzers proved to be a force to be reckoned with and as it turns out, many of them have found themselves on their gender's National Team Scotland. That was also the day of the Hades debut, which was one of the most exciting bouts I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing…I got so wrapped up in the game I have since been sacked as Line Up…by my own husband no less, hehe. I am so not cut out for that position. The Hades boys put together a charity bout in November, just the week before BoB, which got people coming from all over the UK, and we were chuffed to bits that all these people made such an effort to come, from Manchester Roller Derby, Blackpool Roller Derby League and Belfast Men's Roller Derby, not to mention representation from leagues all over Scotland. It was an amazing day. Then we get to BoB…well that was a year in the making and we’d again like to pass along our thanks to all that made it possible. We had representation from wider Europe and even the good ole USofA. The only drawback of the day was not skating in it! As for the Voodoo Roller Dollies, well you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming news but needless to say we’re training hard in preparation for an incredible first year.
Coming back to the events in sequence, last time we spoke, we talked about your plans for coed exhibition team, Team Nitemare. This year, they managed to bout for the first time, taking on the Jakey Tayzers for a narrow 174:215 loss and then travelling to play Middlesborough Milk Rollers' Milk Invaders away to a resounding 278:168 win! How was the experience of building to those two bouts?
The beauty of Team Nitemare is that we have built on it throughout the year and we have expanded our ranks. There were a few hiccups in the the run up to the Jakey Tayzer bout, but in true roller derby fashion, it pulled together and ran smoothly on the day. The Tayzers were a formidable force and showed how well a co-ed team can work together. All of the lead up to the Milk Invaders (Middlesborough Milk Rollers and Teeside Skate Invaders Mash up) was all down to the lovely Terri Sudron and we the team. It was intense in the run up though, especially the first one, it was almost like Christmas, so much tension for an hour or so of watching it all come together.
Team Nitemare's debut was also Hades Roller Boys', the second bout pitting them against Ireland's Men Behaving Derby, for a narrow win. Hades later played Wirral's men's team away in December. This is a bit of a reversal for the two of you, with Raven getting to cheer on Titan[Cronos?] for the first time! Tell us a bit about the experience…
I have to admit here, I was a very bad wife and abandoned Titan to go and have fun at Team Scotland Try-outs… The debut is the only bout I’ve seen of Hades, as their next one was over in Montpellier against the Kamiquads. Although I will be at their next game, most definitely!
A little after Hades was founded, the Falkirk area also gained its third women's team in Voodoo Roller Dollies. With Fierce Valley and Bairn City already in the region, how are Voodoo planning on distinguishing themselves?
We set ourselves apart from the two other big teams in the area by being small. We are not looking at expanding to league proportions but our initial aim is to gain a roster of 20. I’ve been a part of a big and fast growing league and found that it wasn’t for me. I like feeling that I know all of my team mates and we speak every day. We aim to conduct the team with as little of the traditional structure as is expected. So if you’re looking to become a new blood at Voodoo, you can expect to have fun , just skate and be a valued member of VRD.
Capping off the year for Into The Nitemare was the 6-way Battle of Britain tournament, pitting teams from across the UK (with a few last minute substitutions from the original lineup) against each other. With three teams in the event, Scotland did creditably, with Dundee finishing a strong second after Newcastle's Whippin Hinnies' first place. How was the experience of running your first big event? Anything you'd do differently next time [will there be a next time]?
BoB as it was fondly known was a great day. We were so proud to see Scotland do so well, with Dundee rampaging home in silver position, Lothian Representing extremely well on the day despite injury and some brand new skaters and the Belters getting their first win. Newcastle, having stepped in at the last minute, were valiant in their win, Belfast showing some massive hits and the Reapers playing their first open bouts and getting that first public win under their belts too. The day was fantastic and without the help of Teams, Refs, NSOs, Photographers, Announcers and event staff it would not have been possible. As I said before the nature of derby is to throw a spanner in the works and there were more than a few in the final weeks of preparation with two teams pulling out, venue issues and then on the day a minor mishap with a team bus..but it all came together in the end. Special mention has to go to Head Ref: Ella Bella Bang Bang (ARRG) and our Head NSO [Crashing] Wookiee [Broken Zebra] (GCRG) without whom, I would have been pretty much a wreck. Will we do another tournament? Maybe, you’ll just have to wait and see.
With all that happening in 2013, Into The Nitemare must have plans for 2014. Is there anything you can reveal now, or is it all secret?
It’s not secret, but it hasn’t been announced yet. We have a busy year ahead in all aspects, Hades, Voodoo and Team Nitemare , so you’ll just have to watch on the facebooks and twitters to keep abreast of all our happenings!
There's a tendency, especially outside the USA, to use "roller derby" as a shorthand for "WFTDA-rules roller derby". However, not only has roller derby existed long before WFTDA, or the 2001 revival that lead to its formation in 2005-2006, but it has had, and continues to have, multiple representations.
Apart from banked-track derby (which differs from WFTDA in more than just the banked track itself), and RollerGame Japan (a highly kinetic, Japanese interpretation of roller derby which has been intermittently popular there since the early 90s), there are two significant flat-track derby interpretations beyond the WFTDA rules that dominate the sport currently.
One of them, USARS, is the ruleset sponsored by the USA's Roller Sports body. It has just released its 2014 rules revision, and down in Birmingham the Crash Test Brummies have tested it out in the first ever USARS scrim in Europe.
The other is the Modern Athletic Derby Endeavour (MADE) rules set. MADE is a project started by skaters who wanted to play a version of derby closer to the 60s/70s derby of Jerry Seltzer's era than the WFTDA rules at the time (2008 to 2009). MADE has rules for both banked and flat-track derby and the MADE organisation allows male, female and co-ed registrations. As USARS is also consciously influenced by earlier versions of derby, this means that MADE, USARS and 70s derby have quite a lot in common.
In particular, the role of Pivot, and the definition of Lead Jammer, are more dynamic in the three rulesets mentioned, compared to WFTDA rules. Once the opposing team has Lead Jammer, the Pivot is eligible to break out to become Active Scorer, replacing the Jammer for that jam; this also limits early power jams, as the Pivot can replace their Jammer as Scorer at any time before that Jammer scores their first point. In addition, "Lead Jammer" status is owned by the Jammer currently in the Lead, not the first Jammer to break through the pack; catching up with and passing the first jammer out to immediately call the jam is a viable tactic (even returning from a power jam).
This, and other rules differences across the set, make MADE (and USARS) a faster-paced game than WFTDA skaters might be used to. (Of course, pace is not everything in a game by any means, but MADE aficionados in the USA are certainly vocal about their versions' spectator-friendly thrills.) The MADE and USARS rules are also considerably shorter than the point-by-point accuracy of the WFTDA ruleset - MADE2014 comes to 6, and USARS2014 to 14 pages (including ref signals), compared to the 50-60 page lengths of recent WFTDA rules.
The Scottish connection comes into this via Bairn City Rollers' Liz Thrilla, who experienced MADE firsthand on her return to Kansas at the tail end of 2013. Enthused by the pacier feel of MADE derby, she decided to give Scotland a taste of the rules, in the interest of promoting a different side to the sport. The MADE In Scotland group is the result of her efforts, and is hoped to result not just in an all-Scottish coed exhibition bout at the end of the year, but also an International bout in 2015.
These things start smaller, however, so MADE In Scotland has arranged a series of taster/training sessions to allow the WFTDA-rules community to experience the different ruleset and form their own opinions.
Unavoidable clashes with Fierce Valley Roller Girls scrims and Power of Scotland training limited attendance to the first session, held in the Mariners' Centre, Camelon on Saturday 8th. Nevertheless, enough interested parties attended to allow demonstration pack work and drills within the MADE ruleset.
With the slightly larger MADE track, and the faster pace of the game, all of the skating attendees found the experience more tiring than they were used to, however they also uniformly seemed enthused by the experience. Raven, of Into The Nitemare, was enthused enough to promise to bring the entire Voodoo Roller Dollies to the next session, and the the doodle poll to arrange the date for that has been filled in by several people who did not attend the first session. (At the time of writing, the most popular date seems likely to be the 1st of March).
This correspondent certainly found the pace of the demonstration to be notably higher than that in most WFTDA bouts; however, it should be borne in mind that this was not a full scrim. The full test of how the rules play out will come with a higher turn-out, allowing a fuller experience of a game. That said, I can certainly understand why MADE-fans love their version of the game as much as they appear to. Of course, we will continue to follow and report on this exciting project as it progresses.
2013 saw lots of action from all of the Men's Roller Derby teams in Scotland, who represent the main regional areas of the country. And in June 2013, our National Team - The Power of Scotland - was formed. But the team who brought Men's Derby to Scotland have also had a busy year: The Jakey Bites have continued to bout all over the UK.
WK Deid summarises The Jakey Bites past year by telling us, "The first half of the 2013 saw some new faces in our team line-up, and some old ones disappear. The second half of the year brought with it our first victory in an open bout (against Team Steve), in July. Our first win was closely followed by two more against Super Smash Brollers and Barrow Infernos later in the year. We took part in the second ever Men’s European Roller Derby Championships (we were the only Scottish team in the tournament!), and we closed the year by hosting our own SUR5AL tournament in December".
WK Deid shares the highlights from their very busy 2013, and how the team have grown.
1. The Jakey Bites have seen a lot of changes to their roster over the last year. Can you introduce us to the new skaters that joined The Jakeys in 2013?
There have been a few new faces in our line ups this year, and unfortunately some people have left our ranks as well. The new names people will have seen on the track last year were rEd Barron, iHorror, Allota Blacken Blue and Deathworm Jim. We also drafted in The Real Scrim Shady to fill a last minute gap in line ups when we had our co-ed bout with FVRG.
2. When we spoke to Duff in last year's interview, the regional mens' teams had only just appeared on the scene. What is the relationship like between The Jakey's and these teams? How has their appearance impacted what you do?
When The Jakeys started, one of our original goals was to bring the men in Scotland who were interested in playing derby together - and then increase the numbers interested - so Scottish Men's Derby could start to build up from there. As for our relationship with the leagues, all of the current Jakeys (and some former Jakeys) skate with, or are associated with, one of the regional men's leagues. This helps bring the regional leagues a bit closer together.
The appearance of the regional leagues has meant more training and more derby for us all, which is a great. We also get to skate with different and new people at our respective regional leagues and help to train them up. There hasn't been much of an impact on what we do so far, but once all the regional league’s start bouting more I think thats when we will see it happen.
3. In 2013, an official National Team - The Power of Scotland - was established. Are you concerned that you may not get as many bouting opportunites now, as the 'unofficial' national team? Are many of The Jakey's on the Power of Scotland roster?
Believe it or not, all of the current Jakeys who were eligible to try-out for Power of Scotland were lucky enough to make the team! This obviously means that we will all be continuing to bout together, which is great, but there is that possibility that there will be less bouting opportunities as The Jakeys for a while. Hopefully in the long run this won't be a problem and we can continue on. You never know, perhaps we may even see some of the other POS skaters joining The Jakeys ranks.
4. What would you consider as The Jakeys biggest achievement in 2013?
It’s really is hard to pick just one thing from 2013 that stands out for us as there were so many things. There was hosting Scotland's first all Men's Headline Bout, and also holding Scotland's first Men’s vs Women's bout (The Jakey Bites vs. Team Steve).
We won our first bout (and went on to win 2 more by the end of the year). We also travelled down to Birmingham to compete in the Men’s European Roller Derby Championships and made it through to a semi-final!
I think though a lot of The Jakeys would pick our last bout of 2013 against Barrow Infernos as a high point of the year as it was our first full length bout win against a mens team. It was a hard fought game from beginning to end in which we only played with 10 skaters the whole time.
06/04/2013: The Jakey Bites (126) vs. South Wales Silures (300)
This was The Silures first public bout, although they had played in many scrims and some of their players were in The Expendables at last years MERDC. Although The Jakey's took the lead in the first few jams, The Silures fought hard and swung the lead round in their favour. The Silures took full advantage of The Jakeys' trips to the penalty box and racked up the points. In the end, they took the victory of the first Men's Roller Derby headline bout in Scotland.
06/07/2013: The Jakey Bites (177) vs. Team Steve (92)
For those of you who haven't heard of Team Steve before (where have you been hiding?), they are an exhibition team made up of skaters who didn't make it into the final cut of Team Scotland for the World Cup in 2011. Co-ed roller derby had been played before in Scotland, but this was the first time that an all-boys team faced off against an all-girls team.
From the first whistle, the girls didn't hold back and neither did we. We took a small lead which we maintained the first half. During the second half, we pulled out a bigger gap, but in the last quarter of the bout, Team Steve took advantage of our tiring team and started to close the gap. On the final whistle we took the victory - which was not only our first win - but the first win for any Scottish Men's team.
13/07/2013: Of Fights and Men (115) vs. The Jakey Tayzers (185)
Granite City Roller Girls approached us to play in a Co Ed bout, so we fielded some of our own skaters to join GCRG and lined them up against our Jakey/ Dundee Roller Girls team - The Jakey Tayzers.
We saw this bout was as an opportunity to help us prepare for MERDC - and also to be a bit of fun - but neither side wanted to lose. The first half, and much of the second, saw a few lead changes, but The Jakey Tayzers managed to take advantage of a couple of power jams, letting them pull out in front and win the game.
20/07/2013: MERDC (Men’s European Roller Derby Championships)
Last year we had wanted to play at MERDC, but unfortunately we were unable to get a team together in time. In 2013, we made it or goal to play at MERDC if our application was accepted. It was - and we made it onto the list of the 16 teams who would compete in the tournament. The majority of the teams were from England, with three from France, one from Wales, and ourselves from Scotland.
We had prepared hard for the tournament with scrims and bouts every on the run up. We knew we were in for a very tough first game since the organisers announced who everyones first opponents were a few weeks before the tournament.
MERDC BOUT 1: New Wheeled Order (151) vs. The Jakey Bites (40)
Winning against NWO was always going to be a tall order but we believed that we had a chance and put together a plan. Unfortunately, as hard as we tried and played, NWO were just too strong and their walls were so solid that our jammers struggled to make it through them. We did try to fight back near the end but the damage was done and NWO took the win.
MERDC BOUT 2: The Jakey Bites (105) vs. Super Smash Brollers (63)
This was the game that we secretly hoped we would get to play when we saw the sneak preview of the tournament's opening games. The reason being that a former Jakey - Danimal - had moved down south and joined Super Smash Brollers! But playing this game meant we would have lost our first bout.
We went into this game knowing we had a good chance of taking the win, but from the first whistle, the Brollers put up a very fierce fight. For a while it looked like it was anyone's game to take until the Brollers racked up the fouls. With so many bin trips, we took advantage of the extra skaters on track and started to put in the points to take the win - our first against a men's team!
MERDC BOUT 3: Panam Squad (114) vs. The Jakey Bites (25)
Both ourselves and Panam didn't know much if anything about each other before this game but spirits were high with both teams chatting, laughing, and wishing each other luck before the first whistle.
We managed to take an early lead, even though Panam were playing hard. But soon after Panam found their rhythm and really dug in giving us all manor of problems. They soon took the lead and after a couple of power jams later they were comfortable in control. The final whistle ended our time at MERDC, but both teams who had beaten us that day (NWO & Panam) each went on to pick up trophies: Panam won the Plate Final in their next match, and NWO won the Bowl in theirs.
10/08/2013: The Violent Jakeys (147) vs. The Parma Bites (277)
After the success of our team up with DRG last year and then GCRG last month it was the turn of FVRG to get into some Co-Ed action. The first half of this bout was a very close, with nothing in it between the two teams. At half time the scores sat at 83 - 109 to the Parma Bites, with it anyone's game to win.
The second half started with The Violent Jakeys taking advantage of the first few jams and the game really heated up. It wasn't until the last 10/15 minutes of the game and with some power jams that the Parma Bites managed to build up a big points gap over the Violent Jakeys. At the final whistle the score stood at 147 - 277 to the Parma Bites.
02/11/2013: The Jakey Bites (199) vs. Barrow Infernos (121)
This was our last bout of 2013 and one we really wanted to win to finish the year on a high. Unfortunately for us, we had a few injuries on the run up to this (WKDeid, Duff and iHorror), but Duff and WK Deid managed to get back on skates the week before and got back to training.
Our roster on the day only had 10 skaters to Barrows 14 and we knew from their bout against Mean City the previous month that they had progressed a lot since playing against The Skelpies earlier in the year. They were big guys and heavy hitters but we believed that even with less numbers we could fight for the win.
It was a hard fought game from the start, with both sides skating very fast and hitting hard. We pulled together and worked as a team each jam, keeping our heads clear and concentrating on the job in hand. Which helped us lead the score the whole of the first half apart from a couple of jams half way through. The second half swung more our way with a few more power jams that helped us build up more of a lead. but throughout we stood firm worked together and played as a team to take the victory, which was our and Scotland's first Men's Derby Home win against a men's team, at long last.
SUR5AL 2013 Tournament
Last year we held a SUR5AL tournament to say thank you to all the leagues that had helped us during our first year. We asked for 8 teams of 3 girls to sign up and each were given 2 Jakeys chosen at random. This year we wanted to host another one and make it a bit bigger. We asked for 20 teams to sign up, made up of a combination of 3 females and 2 males.
On the run up to the event we had some teams pull out and we were left with just 16 so we changed the format of the event. It was organised into 4 group stages, with 4 teams in each group. The team with the most wins at the end of the group would go through to the semi final.
We had teams not only from Scotland but a couple from England came up to take part as well. Unlike last time we also opened up the event to the public to come and watch, with all door takings going to the winning teams charity of choice. At the end of the day team Lamb 2.0 who emerged victorious but more than that everyone had a great day and there was a great atmosphere throughout the whole event as skaters from all over Scotland had travelled to take part.