By now, those of you reading this are probably aware that Derby News Network is no more.
In what appears to be a final update (posted on the 9th of September, after the completion of their coverage of WFTDA D1 Playoffs), the DNN team announced that "As of today, Derby News Network is retired."
For seven years, Derby News Network worked to provide third-party coverage of roller derby, first in the USA, and then increasingly worldwide. They brought, usually free, streamed video from bouts as they happened. They provided bout recaps for the most important bouts (without DNN, the coverage of the first ever Women's Roller Derby World Cup, an internationally important event, would have been almost non-existent), with impressively rapid turn-around, licensed for free use and reproduction by the entire community. They provided scores and rankings and news about all of the derby that they could know about (not just limited to nations or rulesets or teams). And, most importantly, they provided a hub and a space for people to comment on and discuss these things, that was not beholden to any of the "official" entities of the derby world.
Before many of the official channels had properly noticed derby outside the USA, DNN had been providing a portal for news and engagement with the community across the world. Many leagues across Europe, Australasia and beyond owed their discovery of derby to DNN's coverage, and were kept engaged with the "core" news and developments by the tireless work of those behind the site. (It's notable that many of the leagues expressing public dismay at the death of DNN are in Europe.)
Reading some of the personal accounts of the DNN team members (they have been careful to keep their corporate message free of any recriminations, noting only that keeping DNN going had "also taken a terrible toll on the principals who built it and held it together"), we can see that the stress of having to deal with those who did not appreciate a third-party performing this role within the derby community, some of whom possess significant power, finally reached a tipping point. Speaking personally, and not on behalf of the blog, as someone who has written bout reports, provided photography and videography, and attempted to perform some useful journalism about the sport I love and do not play, I do empathise with their plight. I personally have experienced some (minority) of dismissive responses from individuals, especially when I was starting out, and seen as "unaligned", perhaps, and not part of the community. We are lucky on the blog that 90% of our interactions with Scottish leagues, and those leagues outside of Scotland, are positive and effective. In our case, perhaps, this is helped by our policy on the Blog of recruiting "league reps" to provide information and positions from the skating community. DNN was too big and too widespread for this to be possible, and also too big to not be seen, perhaps, as a threat to the agendas of others who wished to control the nature of the community.
By driving out the hard workers behind Derby News Network (and it is hard work to provide as good as service as they have done for the past 7 years), the community has been diminished as a result. Their magazine format website spinoff, derbylife, survives them, luckily, but the core edifice of DNN is no more. In many ways, they represented the "true" spirit of roller derby, in their provision of content and resources openly and without restriction for the benefit of the community as a whole. "For the community, by the community", you might say.
We at the Scottish Roller Derby Blog will of course continue to work to provide coverage of our own small area of the derby scene, but we really do not see that there is anything to replace the hole left by DNN at this point.
We hope that the impact on the derby community can be spun to positively improve the way we work as a community, and to, perhaps, appreciate what we have lost and how we can act to make derby more open and supportive of third-party media coverage, and all of the other "non-skater", "non-official" activities that enrich roller derby as a whole.
And we, on the Blog, would like to thank our own community for being as supportive as they are of us, and to assure them that we plan to be here for some time to come.
On Sunday, 1st September 2013, a little bit of Scottish roller derby history was made, when the first Fierce Valley Roller Cubs, and first junior derby, training session took place. A year has passed, and many more firsts have been achieved.
Although the official start date was September 2013, the history of the Cubs actually stretches back much further, to around November 2011. A number of obstacles, not least funding, had to be overcome before getting our first intake of kids on skates, but when it finally happened, we were overwhelmed by the level of interest and support that we attracted. Our first two taster sessions were very well attended and a large number of those first Cubs are still with us today. It was as steep a learning curve for the coaches as for the Cubs themselves, working towards JRDA skills and assessments and figuring out how to adapt training plans to suit juniors. As word spread and interest grew, and many of our first batch of recruits passed their level one assessments, we were able to hold another taste session before Christmas and start a new intake in January.
As the Cubs kept progressing, passing their level two assessments, it became clear that the four training sessions every Sunday wouldn’t be enough for our growing numbers and increasing skill levels, so a third session, on Friday evenings, was introduced for level three skaters. This session focuses on learning derby as opposed to skating skills, and has proven very popular. More recently, we've stopped splitting level one and two into juniors and seniors so all of our skaters, regardless of age, train together from the beginning.
As well as increasing numbers of kids taking part - we had further intakes at Easter and in the summer, we also have a dedicated parents' committee who organise fundraising and social events for the Cubs, the first of which was a successful Easter family fun day. It's great to know that we have a reliable group of supportive parents who are willing to help out in lots of different ways.
One of the highlights of the first year was being asked to take part in a demonstration scrimmage at half time at an ARRG bout in May. It was a fantastic experience for those who took part to skate at Meadowbank in front of a crowd, and also to meet the skaters afterwards. We're grateful to everyone involved for letting the Cubs be part of the day.
The biggest event in the past year has been, without a doubt, their first public game, which was also the first ever public junior roller derby game played in Scotland. We held a four day summer school in the run up to the game, to finalise those skills and tactics, with guest coaches from FVRG and PoS. We had a great turnout for the day itself and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves, showing what they can do. It was fantastic to see the support from the wider derby community and a proud moment for the coaches to see everything coming together on track.
Looking back, it's hard to believe that a year has passed since the first Cubs session, but at the same time, it's difficult to remember a time that the Cubs didn't exist! The past year hasn't been without its challenges but the overwhelming success of the Cubs makes it worthwhile. As coaches, we have learned so much, and we are very lucky to have such a fantastic group of kids to work with. We currently have over forty skaters over three different levels , and each one of them impresses us with their hard work, determination and enthusiasm every time they put on their skaters.
So what's next for Fierce Valley Roller Cubs? We're planning another intake before the end of the year, and - exclusive - their second game. We can't wait to see where the next year will take us!
Photos courtesy of Claire Brunton of Zenspirations Photography.
After taking to the track for the first time in a thrilling closely fought co-ed bout against Bairn City Rollers back in July. Capital City are taking things a step further this time, hosting their first home bout and Edinburgh’s first ever men’s headline bout on the 29th of November. Their opponents the Vice Quads from Bristol will be making it another first with their trip over the border into Scotland, with what should be a great hard fought game from both sides. If this was not enough, the event is also going to be a double header.
Capital City have teamed up with Auld Reekie Roller Girls to bring you an epic opening game. Capital City are proud to welcome Malmö’s Crime City Roller's B Team all the way from Sweden who will take on ARRG’s Cannon Belle’s.
The event will take place on the 29th of November at Meadowbank Stadium, for more information check out the event page on facebook
On Saturday 6th September, FVRG's Parma Violents will take on DRG's Silvery Tayzers in Grangemouth Sports Complex. Doors open at 3:30pm, with the game starting at 4pm.
The two teams first met in February 2012 in the Parma Violents first public game. Although the Silvery Tayzers took home the victory, the Parma Violents jumped at the chance for a rematch in November 2013, and again for the chance to play them again next month.
Tickets are available online from Brown Paper Tickets for £5 (+ admin fee), or £7 on the door. Under 14s go free with a paying adult. Join FVRG's Facebook Event for more information - and details on their ticket give-away competition!
Granite City Roller Girls and Granite City Brawlermen are recruiting!
Saturday 6th September is an exciting day for Roller Derby Recruitment in Aberdeen with not one but two intakes!
First up, Granite City Roller Girls are holding their intake day at Aberdeen Lads Club (Dill Road) from 11:00-13:00. Then from 13.30 to 15.30 the Brawlermen will be welcoming new recruits as well!
Both GCRG and GCB have experienced coaches who can teach people of all levels so no skating experience is necessary and we can provide equipment - please drop us a message on Facebook to let us know what shoe size you take so we can make sure we have skates for you on the day!
GCRG are also on the lookout for referees so any ladies or gents who would like to get involved with this aspect of the sport should pop along too!
Roller Derby is a brilliant way to get fit and meet new people! All we ask is that you’re over 18 years old, wear non restrictive clothing and bring plenty of water.
Put on some skates, be your own hero!
For more information please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find our Facebook events at www.facebook.com/events/711800382227020/
A little part of Dundee Roller Girls history will be made with the conclusion of their first Home Season this weekend. Taking their cues from the history of the City, DRG named their Home Teams after three of the most iconic Dundee exports, jute, jam and journalism. The Jutes of Hazzard, Jammin' Dodgers and Press Gangsters battled it out over the last few months, in a series of fairly balanced games, each team taking a win. The season kicked off back in May, the Press Gangsters won in a hard fought game, in which they gradually asserted their authority, particularly so in the second half, over the Jutes Of Hazzard, final score 198-126. The debut of the Jammin' Dodgers in game 2 saw them lose in the biggest point differential of the season, with the Jutes Of Hazzard making up for their loss in their first outing with a final score of 234-134. The last game came right down to the wire in the last jam, but the Jammin' Dodgers edged the Press Gangsters by a single point, 148-147. The final will be a double header, with the first bout featuring the third place Jammin' Dodgers against an exhibition team comprised of skaters from Auld Reekie Roller Girls, Bairn City Rollers, Glasgow Roller Derby, Granite City Roller Girls and New Town Roller Girls. The second bout, the first ever Dundee Roller Girls Home Season final, will see the Jutes of Hazzard take on the Press Gangsters. More information on the Facebook event page.
On the 6th of September New Town Roller Girls play host to blood curdling display of roller derby as they put on showing of 'Murderdrome'. An Australian slasher film with strong roots in roller derby and horror film culture that was released in Britain earlier in the year.
New Town Roller Girls were very lucky to have a member with a keen eye on Facebook who caught a post from 'Murderdrome' saying they were looking for leagues to show their film for fundraising events within their own leagues. The event is also going to be held at Livingston's key theatre Howden Park Centre who are very supportive of local groups.
The doors open at 7:45pm with the film starting at 8. Tickets will be £5 on the door and the event will be 18+ only and attendees will be provided with a NTRG wrist band.
The event also boasts a rich display of raffle prizes from roller derby paraphernalia to special deals with local restaurants.
To check out the event, the film and New Town Roller Girls head on over to; NTRG present MURDERDROME
It's that time again when the Dolls open their house for some tender new meat. Lothian Derby Dolls are holding a taster session for new skaters who are interested in seeing what the sport can do for them, what they can achieve in the training programme and give you some experiences you won't forget. This intake session is not just limited to those who want to play on the track as roller derby skater. We are hoping any budding Non Skating Officials or Referees to come along and take part in our training programme. If you live in the Lothian area and want to give the taster session a go or know someone who does get in touch. Sunday 24th August at Musselburgh Leisure Centre from 1pm - 3pm.
Please get in touch prior for more details and confirmation of your place for this taster session. A new skaters training programme will start shortly after at the start of September following the taster session.
Contact us at email@example.com
Or through our Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lothianderby
Doonhame Derby Dolls present Dollfest, a series of events over the weekend of 15/16/17 August. For DDD members there are open forum discussions and a boot-camp featuring guest coaches from Royal Windsor Rollergirls. For non members, a chance to meet the guest coaches, and find out about volunteering with the Doonhame Derby Dolls in a more social setting, with live music and dj's. Contact the Dolls for more information.
After their defeat of the EuroStars back in July, Team Scotland are moving on to newer challengers. This Saturday sees them face off against the mysterious HOT or WOT, a team of hand-picked skaters collected by Hot Wheels Roller Derby specially for this bout.
Hot Wheels' Shell Yeah! explains:
Hot Wheel Roller Derby were approached by Team Scotland offering us a bout opportunity in August. Although we couldn't field a full A Team due to sunny holidays and prior commitments, we realised this was an opportunity that we couldn't miss out on. After some quick discussions and whispering between ourselves, we decided to ask some of the favourite players from the teams we've played previously to make up our ultimate Dream Team! Cue some more quick emailing and Facebook messages flying backwards and forwards like paper aeroplanes and we'd got ourselves a team. The players we chose fit certain criteria; they had made a strong impression on track against us, understood the Hot Wheel way of playing and they amongst the best skaters in the UK. We're excited to be playing against Team Scotland but more than that we're looking forward to being on track with each other, playing together, watching each other's backs, and combining our forces as players from the best teams in the country to try and take down the mega force that is Team Scotland. Oh, and wearing the brightest, flashiest uniform we could muster ;)
Rainy City have also had a pretty good year to date, with only two upsets (against Paris and Dublin) marring a solid performance, ranking wise. You were also return participants in A Skate Odyssey in Belgium. What's been the highlight of 2014 for you so far, within Rainy City itself?
Missy Rascal: Gent was definitely a focus for us at the beginning of the year. Our first game against Paris didn’t go to plan, with Paris playing smart and outplaying us. We really had to turn on the mental focus to come back from that loss the next day. I’m really proud of us for turning it around and putting on two strong performances over the rest of the tournament. It was also my personal highlight of 2014 so far as I was awarded Jammer MVP for the tournament.
Fay Roberts: I actually have two highlights of the year for Rainy City itself! Firstly after a long time out of action, we finally moved back into our home, The Thunderdome in February this year and shortly after we had our new SkateCourt floor fitted. This was a MASSIVE deal for us and it was so exciting to see it get laid and finally skate on it. The second highlight was that after a really long process we became full WFTDA members and our Travel Team were finally ranked. This was one of our goals and it was nice to achieve it after a bit of an uphill battle!
Both of you made Team England's 2014 training roster (and Missy Rascal made the 2011 roster and Vice Captain). How does it feel to be on the national team (and for the second time, in Missy's case)?
MR: I believe that in any sport, it will always be an honour to be selected for your national squad. The training sessions really push me and I come away from each one with a new set of personal goals to work on before the next one. Each skater on the squad has put a lot of dedication and hard work to get to where they are in derby and that in itself is an inspiring environment to be in.
FR: Well... It feels amazing! I have worked really really hard this year and last, so it's really nice to see that all the hard work paid off. I feel privileged to be on the team and skate with all those amazing skaters and am really looking forward to Dallas!
Missy, you've seen the 2011 Team Scotland in action during that World Cup (although England never got to play against Scotland themselves). Around 40% of the 2011 Team Scotland is returning in the 2014 roster - how did you think the 2011 team played, and will this influence any preparation to play the new roster?
MR: I am a big fan of Team Scotland. They took such a great attitude to the 2011 World Cup, putting on a solid performance and the crowds loved them. They have a very positive approach to their training and coupled with the fact that they are in fairly close proximity to each other, they have been able to train a lot more together than most of the other teams. I’m sure this will set them up well for the 2014 World Cup.
Team England have already had 3 public bouts, against France, Canada and Sweden, of which the big surprise, perhaps, was the comprehensive win over Canada. I believe that Fay was on the roster v Sweden, and Missy took on France and Canada. What have you learned from the experience so far, and what will you be bringing to the track on the 16th against Team Scotland?
MR: The experience in Nantes was great. France have been able to spend a lot of time training together with some very talented skaters on their roster so it was a really strong team. Canada was a big game for England as the last time we met was the 2011 semi-final when they took the win. To take the win this time was a great start to the England 2014 journey. The experience taught me a lot about my own blocking strengths and weaknesses, which I have been able to work on since then.
FR: I have learnt a hell of a lot from playing with Team England so far. We have only had a few training sessions but they have been very valuable. Mainly because it is an opportunity for me to skate with and against the best skaters in the country. I'm really looking forward to the game on the 16th as I love skating with new and experienced skaters, getting to know how others function on track, and it's always a rewarding challenge to see how quickly you can adapt to one another and gel together.
The Roster for HOT or WOT seems to be something of a secret, although we know some of the teams involved. Can you give us any hints about what to expect from the lineup?
MR: Everyone on the lineup is excited to play this game so I am sure that it will be fun. There are a lot of experienced skaters playing who will all bring their own skill from their home team. It is always harder to skate with a mixed team rather than your home team, but I’m pretty sure with decent communication we’ll be able to bring out a strong line up for the Scottish team.
FR: Well actually it was produced after Hot Wheel were asked if they wanted to play the game. They decided to ask a few guest skaters to join the roster and it grew from there. So I think just under half the team are Hot Wheel skaters. Hence the name 'HOT or WOT'.
Have you had any time to bring together HOT or WOT to practice as a team? If not, how are you planning on gelling quickly together in the time you have?
MR: We have been able to arrange one practice where almost all of the team can train together. This will make things slightly easier than all meeting up on the day.
FR: We are all planning on heading over to Hotties practice one time before the game. I'm pretty close with the Hot Wheel girls and Jerry, their coach anyway so gelling with them won't be a problem. I also skate with Terri, Ella, Trisha and of course my Team mate Missy at our Team England sessions do I'm used to skating with them too.
And finally, what are your aims for the 16th, as a team?
MR: We haven’t discussed these in any great detail so I’m gonna say that if we keep up good communication we should be able to adapt to the fact we are a mixed team. Also, the goal is always to win, right? ;-)
FR: To BRING IT.
Team Scotland v HOT or WOT can be found at the Team Scotland Facebook Page, here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1442529002679101/?ref=5 Tickets are available via Brown Paper Tickets at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/798980