ARRG's Cannon Belles v Hamburg's Harbor Girls

On Saturday 27th September, Auld Reekie Roller Girls' Cannon Belles will welcome Harbor Girls from Hamburg at Meadowbank Sports Centre, Edinburgh.

Already this year the Cannon Belles have played against Newcastle's Whippin' Hinnies; Dirty River Roller Grrrls from Turku, Finland; and Birmingham Blitz Dames. The Belles have been growing from strength-to-strength, so this is a game not to be missed!

Doors open at 2pm, with the skate outs starting at 2:30pm. Tickets can be bought online from Brown Paper Tickets for £7, or can be bought on the door if you prefer.

The 'vendor village' will be open for business before the game and at half-time, selling a wide range of ARRG merchandise - including new Limited Edition lines - and of course, cake!

Please join ARRG's Facebook Event for more details on the event and how you can show your support.

ARRG V HAMBURG Image courtesy of Auld Reekie Roller Girls

World Cup Interview: Team Spain

As we mentioned yesterday, this week's B&T Roller Derby World Cup coverage is focussing on Europe, specifically Southern Europe.

We start today with new team to the cup, Team Spain.

This interview was conducted in July. Since the interview, Team Spain competed in the European Championship Tournament, placing 2nd-from-bottom (defeating Team Portugal, who we will cover tomorrow).

Violent Femme was happy to answer our questions in a face to face interview in Barcelona. This article is edited from the conversation we had. [This article has been edited on the 24th of October to include Team Spain's fundraising site: ]


Team Spain logo - Team Spain Logo: Alicia Reyes Schwartz


So, Team Spain has quite an international line-up, how are you handling the travel and the language issues?

We have people from London, from Tenerife, Barcelona, Lisbon, Madrid, Cáceres... One of our players lives in Manchester, some are in the US and Canada…  Right now it’s quite even.

[As to the language barrier] It’s derby, so it’s quite an international language. Even in Spanish derby’s early stages it was never a huge problem to have English in the middle – we had to read the rule set in English anyway, and most derby stuff on the Internet is in English.

[On travel] it’s tricky. But actually, you know, our country’s geographical spread is not that good anyway – Tenerife is down by the coast of Africa, and it’s super expensive for us to fly there and for them to come here [Barcelona]. So, I think that’s our biggest handicap – if most of the girls were from Madrid, or Valencia, I guess it would be more manageable.

Right now, what we’ve had is two practices together – one in Barcelona, one in Tenerife – basically because it’s where the most skaters are.

All the flying between Barcelona and Tenerife must place a significant cost on your training, compared to most of the other national teams?

OMG, it’s so expensive. And we’re all so broke. Yeah, there are planes involved [for Team Spain] every single time. It’s just really, really tricky. Because even Lisbon is closer – if we had to travel to Portugal!  So, you know, having players from the UK and US and Canada, like we have and had, didn’t pose much of an additional problem.

So, what are your aims coming in to the World Cup?

That’s a good question.  We’re aiming to perform to the best of our ability. We’re well aware that we don’t have that much experience, both within the World Cup –we’re new to that—, but also as players. I mean, Tenerife is a really good league, they’re such an amazing set of skaters. However, I think they’ve existed for about four years and their ability to play bouts is really limited due to their geographical location.

Then Barcelona – we have less problems to have bouts, but I wouldn’t say that we’re all that experienced whatsoever. Also, Barcelona is a city where, you know, people come and go.

So, you’ve had a lot of turn over?

Yeah.  Most of the selected players from Barcelona have been there pretty much from the get-go.

I do think that we have a chance against the smaller, newer, teams. But I don’t even want to jinx it – ask me again after the European Tournament in September, and I’ll have a better gauge. Hopefully, September will give us a bit of an idea of where we’re standing, what we need to work on.

And any teams you’re particularly looking forward to skating against at the Cup itself?

My personal feeling is that I’d love to play New Zealand. Like, love, love. And [playing] England  would be so awesome. I mean, I’m sure that after that, they’d have to put us all out of commission, but it would be so amazing.

I love when you go against a much stronger team, it’s kind of like you see that there is no roof to what you’re doing, so it doesn’t matter how good your team is. When you play against England, or Germany, or France, and you just see them work like that, it’s just so inspiring.

It just shows that you have to keep going.  That there’s no comfortable spot, you know? No-one should ever get comfortable, and that’s the fun of it. So, it can inspire people who might be a little shy, or those who have lots of potential but might not display it just out of fear: “I don’t want to hit as hard as I can” – No, you should! You should and you can! And, look, nothing happens, no-one gets hurt… or some people get hurt, but rarely.

So I’m looking forward to a big challenge. As well, I would really love to win some bouts with Team Spain. That would be amazing. I don’t want to name names, but I think we have some chances – we’re probably not going to place, but we will win something. Maybe some afterparties or something! But in all seriousness, we’re looking forward to it, it’s going to be such an incredible experience. And I’m looking forward to seeing my friends, you know, some friends in Team Scotland, some friends in Team Sweden, some friends in Team England, some friends in Team Portugal, as well.

Given your increased costs especially, how are you raising money for the trip? Crowdfunding seems to be popular now…

Yeah, we’ve just started a crowdfunding page; we’ve been studying different options. But the thing is that it is a little difficult because Spain right now is not in its best moment, economically; people don’t donate. So we’ve been focusing on merch, that’s been probably our biggest funds income.

Well, in my experience, merchandise is always the bigger source of actual funds for most leagues in any case.

Yeah, I mean, I guess it happens with everything. We’re thinking of different options and there are things happening that I don’t want to jinx. But there’s options, like maybe some sponsorship, not that we’ll  be getting monetary rewards from it, but we’re working on having this Spanish company pay for our uniforms, for example.

One of the first questions that was asked to us, when we tried out, before we even made any ‘Team Spain’, or anything was: “Could you afford it?” In case there’s no funds. So, that’s one of the things that everyone understood from the beginning. That we might each have to pay for our own ticket.

We also had an open scrimmage in Tenerife, there was some money from that. We’re going to do the same now in Barcelona, so, I mean, maybe you don’t make a lot of money, but you make some.

Finally, several of the national teams seem to have decided to skate under their legal names, rather than their derby names. Others are keeping their skate names. Do you (or Team Spain) have feelings on this?

I think it’s a tendency that’s happening more and more. To give derby some legitimacy, to make the sport more of a sport. I don’t know. I don’t really have thoughts on that. Some days I’m like, “No, I want to be Violent Femme forever!”, and other days I’m like, “I could just be Mia, and just own it”. I’m not a persona, it’s just fun.  But I can see why people go under their legal names. Also, I think one of the things that use to make roller derby special is that it was this small gang of ladies with cool nicknames, but when everyone has a cool nickname, then it’s not cool anymore! I do like derby names though, because usually you speak about someone, you know it’s just that one player. I don’t know how true this is anymore, because I think there’s like four or five ‘Violent Femme’s out there.

But, you said that “legal names give some legitimacy” – the counter argument is that this is a kind of retreat from the position that derby is already legitimate, even with skate names.

I think everyone knows [that roller derby is legitimate], though. I guess it’s like one of these tendencies… like everyone started off skating wearing fishnets, and then they realized that sports clothing is a lot more comfortable. I don’t know, this is my personal opinion, but there’s also been a trendification of the sports clothes, if that makes any sense? So there are all these leggings with cool patterns, and there’re sporty but super-fashionable.

And it’s awesome, by all means – I’m a legging-loving lady!—, but the leggings are kind of the new fishnets;  and after the leggings it’ll be something more serious and more sporty. With derby there’s always these two currents that kind of criss-cross, between “we’re a serious sport”, and “but we’re so punk!”

Team Spain’s roster is:

11 Rakel Mesa

111 Esther Arocha

12 Mercedes

17 Pólvora

19 Lola Vulkano

22 Sherry Bomb

23 Maggie Love

25 Malicia

247 Violent Femme

301 MiniRoss

314 Stacy Malibú

4 Angry Kris

72 Cookie Monster

77 Teremoto

78 Hija de Odín

8 Dadá

83 La Mano

World Cup 2014: Africa and Asia-Pacific Round-up

We're one week into our series of National Teams interviews, covering all of the teams entering the Blood & Thunder 2014 Roller Derby World Cup.

Last week, we covered the "Africa and Asia-Pacific" set of nations. If you missed the Interviews, you can read them here:

Team Japan

Team South Africa

Team West Indies

Team Australia

Team New Zealand

This week, we start our coverage of the European Teams, beginning tomorrow.

World Cup Interview: Team New Zealand

Our last team for this week, and the last team in our Africa and Asia-Pacific group, in our World Cup coverage is the second veteran team from 2011 - Team New Zealand!

Team New Zealand shared the same initial group as Team Scotland in 2011, and despite the unfortunate effects of both having to play Team USA in their placement bouts, eventually fought their way all the way to 8th place. They're returning to the World Cup this time around with a definite intent to improve on that!

Team New Zealand Coach Pieces of Hate took the time to answer our questions, around a month ago. (We've added updates as always to cover changes since the interview took place).

Team New Zealand logo. Team New Zealand logo. (Also by Pieces of Hate!)

On the topic of team selection - Team NZ is strongly predominantly composed of skaters from NZ leagues (with only a few from USA,Canada,Australia). I believe that was also the case in 2011. Can you tell me a bit about how your team selection process worked (including getting Coach positions etc)? New Zealand has formed an association to govern the sport here and set some standards. It was also formed to take complete control of the World Cup Team and the selection process. So we had an AGM and defined the positions needed to put the team together and its requirements and that went to vote. After the AGM a job description was set out to all leagues that joined the NZRDA (New Zealand Roller Derby Association) advertising for the position of Head Coach, Team Manager and Two Selectors. Once people applied for these roles, they were then voted in by member leagues. The Selectors (Head Coach being one of them), traveled to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and held try outs over 1 full day at each venue. We also had criteria for overseas based players to send video unedited, complete a skills test and fitness test, pass a written test and strategy test put together by the Head Coach. Each person had to become a member of NZRDA and if not through their own league then as an associate member for a cost of $50, and we charged everyone $50 to try-out for Team NZ too. This covered the cost of flights for the coaches and selectors, Stadium hire and admin fees.

Some of the things the selectors looked for were: effective in the game, fitness, stamina, knowledge of the game and rules. Penalties were noted and getting on with people they didn't know. Seeing who worked well with others. We also filmed every bit of warm-up and looked really hard at skating skills. (Some people are incredibly fit and fast off skates, but on skates, they are a lot less effective.)
Also each person trying out had to sign a contract saying they would be able to afford to attend even if the price they paid was going to be around $5,000.00 NZD each.
I guess that having most of the skaters be NZ-based helps with team training sessions. How are your training sessions going?
I think for the most part, our training sessions have been going well. We repeat a lot of drills and mix up the skaters a lot each time. We don't want to just do things ok this time round, we want to make sure that the stuff we are doing is at a world-class level. We have some of our best players currently based in Australia and USA and they don't get home for any trainings. They do however help the team with feedback, watching scrimmage footage and they send us drills. They are people most of the team know well and have seen them skate at a very high level. We stay in touch via Skype a lot and send each other short videos of what we're doing. I also send the whole training plan I create each month for training, attached to that are very clear strategy diagrams and a clear language that we are using so every member of the team is on the same page. It's taken a while but I have noticed it just starting to work quite well and the NZ based girls are working really well together.
Compared to some of the other nations which competed in the 2011 World Cup, I think Team NZ has relatively few skaters returning from the 2011 Team this time (5, not including you as Coach). Does that reflect any turnover in NZ derby in general, an influx of new exciting skaters, or just that many of the 2011 Team decided for individual reasons not to try out?
Oh firstly, you have to understand that we have been playing derby in NZ for 9 years, so obviously some of the girls who played at the last World Cup have gotten a lot older and some were just hanging on for that last chance. We had good skaters who should have been in the team last time, not make themselves available, but this year, we got everyone we wanted. Back then, we also only had one league that had played interleague, so the dynamic of Derby is NZ is more spread out now with talent. We probably had a few skaters that were in the team last time that tried out and didn't make it. Going through the motions of derby is not good enough for us, we were looking for people who had more drive and wanted it really badly. The sport has really grown here and I'm excited by all the new talent and the few remaining from last time.
A lot of the European national teams are involved in various planned tournaments or match ups pre-World Cup, which gives them a chance to both play teams at national level and also raise awareness and funds. Being geographically where you are, what are Team NZ's plans for bouts and training pre-World Cup?
This is the only thing that sucks about living on the pimple of the Earth's backside, we can't even afford to travel to Aussie and play them for a warm-up. Some of the team got to play at TGSS [The Great Southern Slam, held annually in Adelaide, Australia], and the only games we are getting are against ourselves at training. As selectors, we chose a training squad of 30, so we could bout each other at every training. The games are the hardest they are going to get here because the talent drops off too much outside the squad. We have been offered a game with our Men's team, that's still in the pipeline, but right now, the best challenge we have is playing against each other. I make it hard, we play two full games in one afternoon, sometimes we only have 10 aside. And both teams know each other's strategy, so it's been really challenging and its the best we can afford to do :(
In 2011, both Team NZ and Team Australia came into the competition as somewhat unknowns to the majority of competitors - the European teams all knew something about each other, and of course Teams USA and Canada were pretty well understood phenomena. NZ and Australia's performance was really very impressive - now as you return in 2014, having performed as you did last time, what are your goals for the World Cup?
Well to be honest, I really believed we could have done a lot better in 2011, we hoped to get into the top 4, but playing USA twice kinda stopped that, then we thought we had the skill to get in the top 5. We played Germany, then USA, then Sweden, in one day.
We lost to Sweden in the stupidest game we played. Our captain got concussed at the end of the USA game and refused to sit out the Sweden game, that turned into a disaster for us and a massive learning curve. We only could afford to send 18 players to the World Cup, so we have 12 people pretty much playing every game, we also played Sweden, we they had played only one game that day and we have already played two hard games.
So we felt like we could've done a lot better. But it taught me the hard way about communication on the track. We had none, and Sweden deserved to win, but I still think in the back of my mind we had a better team. (I know we do now, and we got the communication well sorted, but Sweden would have a lot more experience playing other countries than us now too!). We were bummed about getting 8th, we had been playing derby a lot longer than all the European leagues and I had a real problem losing to players that had only been around a few years. I've been telling everyone to go overseas and skate in America, because the game is so different and until you do, you will never understand what I'm talking about when I say things need urgency... Some of the team were happy about being the smallest nation there and still getting 8th, but not me personally.

Flying to the USA from anywhere is expensive as a team (as are travel costs just for the training etc). How have you been fundraising and achieving sponsorship? OMG, we are so far behind on fundraising this time round, just mostly because crowd-funding is so saturated, leagues aren't making money like they used to at games, so we're not getting donations, we have a squad of 30 and some feel like not helping unless they know they're going to make the final 20, so it's been really hard. We have done an limited edition merch sale that made around $6K for the team, we've had a couple of donations and we have most members of the league out there figuring out some fundraising ideas that are going to happen in the next few months. We need to raise around $115,000.00 NZD to get there. We may have found someone to make our shirts for free, so that's a bit off the price. And we have a secret squirrel idea smouldering away behind the scenes that could be an international viral success (That will be something people can purchase and is going to be pretty fucken rad) . It's also something that none of the team know about, just me and my assistant! But all will be revealed in the next month or so... [This may be the Roll With Us "personalise our shirts with your messages" initiative Edited to add: no, it's not! According to Hate, it's something that is still secret even now!].

We also have people applying for sport funding, which is hard to get in NZ: unless you can finish in the Top 4 in the world or play an Olympic sport, they're not too interested. Pub charities and sponsorships are what we're hitting up in the next month. I just think this is going to cost each member traveling a lot of money this time round... it's been really hard getting money from people.

Thank you very much for your time!

Have a great day and good luck to Scotland and all the prep the team is doing to get to Dallas.

Since this interview took place, Team NZ have held a Team New Zealand v Team New Zealand public scrimmage, with added training bootcamp. They are sponsored by, amongst others, Atom Wheels.

The Team New Zealand gofundme is still running. Their facebook page is continuously updated.

The Team New Zealand roster is:

Elicia Nisbet-Smith, Rose City Rollers (Portland, USA) Hannah Jennings, Rose City Rollers (Portland, USA) Perky Nah Nah, Victorian Roller Derby League (Melbourne, Australia) Tank-U, Paradise City Roller Derby (Australia) Ivy K’nivey, Victoria Roller Derby League (Melbourne, Australia) OrKazzMic, Dunedin Derby (NZ) Serious Crash Unit, Otautahi (Christchurch, NZ) Diva DemolisHer, Dunedin Derby (NZ) Nicki Noxious, Rogue Rollers, (Dunedin, NZ) Evil KNeevil, Dead End Derby (Christchurch, NZ) Jem Molition, Richter City Roller Derby (Wellington, NZ) Skanda Lass, Richter City Roller Derby (Wellington, NZ) Justass, Swamp City Roller Rats (Palmerston North, NZ) Blue Blaze, Swamp City Roller Rats (Palmerston North, NZ) Anna Pave-U’Ova, Richter City Roller Derby (Wellington, NZ) Beatrix Skiddo, Richter City Roller Derby (Wellington, NZ) Hellvetica, Mount Militia Derby Crew (Mt Maunganui, NZ) Princess Slayer, Richter City Roller Derby (Wellington, NZ) Meat Train, Richter City Roller Derby (Wellington, NZ) Mel-icious Mayhem, River City Rollers (Wanganui, NZ) Lady Trample, Pirate City Rollers (Auckland, NZ) Fia Fasi Oe?, K-Town Derby Dolls (Kawerau, NZ) Miss Metal Militia, Hellmilton Roller Ghouls (Hamilton, NZ) Miss Crunchbull, Hellmilton Roller Ghouls (Hamilton, NZ) Haki Pao Pao, K-Town Derby Dolls (Kawerau, NZ) WhakinTawh, Taranaki Roller Corps (New Plymouth, NZ) Roni Diamond, Mount Militia Derby Crew (Mt Maunganui, NZ) Skate The Muss, Pirate City Rollers (Auckland, NZ) Terror Satana, Pirate City Rollers (Auckland, NZ) Coup D’eTalia, Pirate City Rollers (Auckland, NZ) *Skaters who played at the 2011 World Cup.

Pieces Of Hate* Head Coach, Team NZ

Danger Spouse, Richter City Roller Derby (Wellington, NZ) Manager, Team NZ

Fia Fasi Oe? Pirate City Rollers (Auckland, NZ)* Selector, Team NZ Zephyr, Mount Militia Derby Crew (Mt Maunganui, NZ) Selector, Team NZ

World Cup Interview: Team Australia

The second last World Cup post of the week, this time its the day for Team Australia, the first team we've covered who are doing this Cup for the second time around.

Team Australia were something of a dark horse coming into the 2011 World Cup, duking it out against England and Canada for the 2,3,4th places (and taking a strong 4th place in the end).

G-Banger took the time to answer some questions we had about the Team's return to the World Cup for another run at the title...

Team Australia logo (Ghost Points) Team Australia logo (Ghost Points)

On the topic of team selection - Team Australia is strongly predominantly composed of skaters from Australian leagues (with only a single skater from the USA). I believe that was also the case in 2011. Can you tell me a bit about how your team selection process worked (including getting Coach positions etc)?
We advertised the bench coach, bench manager and tour manager positions first. They were then selected by a committee made up of previous Team Australia skaters. Skaters were then asked to submit applications. The new bench and the old committee then invited a group of skaters from the written applications to try outs. Two sets of try outs were held. one in Canberra and the other in Brisbane. If unable to attend these try outs skaters were asked to submit a video application. After these visual try outs a group of 30 skaters were picked as the Team Australia training squad from which a roster will be chosen from in September.
I guess that having most of the skaters be Australia-based helps with team training sessions. How are your training sessions going?
Australia is a very big place! We have had a few training sessions and also made the most of national derby events to meet up and train. It is still very costly for skaters to fly interstate for these practices. The idea was to have a few at the biggining of the year and then a lot more in the lead up to the Cup.
How many of your skaters are returning from the 2011 roster? (Is their experience directly relevant to improving the 2014 team, or has derby changed enough in the meantime that just their additional skating experience in general is more useful?)
I think there are a few familiar faces. I really think derby has developed a huge amount since the last World Cup. Skaters and the sport have become a lot more serious. I feel lucky having played so many international games and tournaments with the VRDL All Stars, we can give a bit of advice in what to expect on the weekend and ideas on the sort of preparation we do as a team.
A lot of the European national teams are involved in various planned tournaments or match ups pre-World Cup, which gives them a chance to both play teams at national level and also raise awareness and funds. Being geographically where you are, what are Team Australia's plans for bouts and training pre-World Cup?
We are just too isolated… we are going to play against each other at some point soon for fundraising. Team Aus vs Team Aus. There will also be opportunities for us to scrimmage against non Team Aus skaters in the cities the training sessions are being held.
In 2011, both Team NZ and Team Australia came into the competition as dark horses. NZ and Australia's performance was really extremely impressive - now as you return in 2014, having performed as you did last time, what are your goals for the World Cup?
We have been working hard creating a tight unit of the best Australia has to offer. We are coming in strong,  trained and prepared and our goal is to go as far as we can.

Team Australia will be holding a "Team Gold v Team Green" bout on the 27th of this month, to promote the team and show everyone how good they are. They are sponsored by many derby-friendly businesses, including Sassfit Australia and Real Athletic Derby. Their gofundme is still running.

The Team Australia training roster is:

Blue Wrenegade 2880 ADRD Colonel KAOS! 601 ADRD Kit Cat Krunch 9 Lives ADRD Chop Chop 117 BCR Susy Pow TOP5 Charm City Bambi von Smash'er 411 CRDL Shaggle Frock 77 CRDL ShortStop 6 CRDL Annabelle Lecter 8 NBR Beth Adder 20 NBR Brutal Deluxe 76 NBR Lil Gee Unit 41 NBR Christy Demons 14 PCRD Freyda Cox 50X SRDL Blockodile Dundee 411 SSRG Cookie Cutter 45 SSRG Dodge&Bolt 58 SSRG Lady Killer 11 SSRG Muzzarati 28 SSRG Polly Crackers 8 SSRG Rose Ruin 12 SSRG Bicepsual 10 VRDL Calamity Maim 4 VRDL G-Banger 10 VRDL Mad Mel Arena 505 VRDL Tiger 782 VRDL Tui Lyon 88 VRDL

Flamin' Galah Bench Coach VRDL Slawta Dawta Bench Manager SSRG Cherry Axe-Wound Tour Manager CRDL

Capital City are on the look out for new blood

It's time once again at Capital City for another fresh meat intake and they are looking for male skaters that are 18 years old or above, that are looking to try out derby. This is their third fresh meat intake and as previously they will be running two fresh meat taster sessions on consecutive weeks at their training venue in Edinburgh. One on Sunday the 28th of September the other on Sunday the 5th of October.

These session's will last for an hour and there is no need for you to have your own equipment as they can provide you with some for the taster session. They will have coaches and advanced skaters on hand to help you out and give you as much advice as you need.


So if you are interested or know anyone who would be interested then send them over to the Facebook event pages below to find out more information.

Sunday 28th of September

Sunday 5th October

World Cup Interview: Team West Indies

Continuing our sweep across the Asia-Pacific and Africa group for the Blood & Thunder World Cup, we come to one of the more unique teams, Team West Indies.

We talked to London Rockin Rollers and Team West Indies skater DisorderLee about her team a few weeks ago via the medium of the Internet. This article is slightly edited from the freeform conversation we had.

Team West Indies Logo

So, getting straight to the most unusual thing about Team West Indies - you appear to be the only national team based in a region with no local leagues?

Technically, to answer your question, Puerto Rico is part of the West Indies and there is roller derby there. [Since this interview, we have heard news of a Team Barbados starting up as well.]
It's a little bit splitting hairs since most people think of it as Latin America, I guess, but we wanted really to represent the islands of our heritage where derby may not have a foothold yet.
We have a born and bred Trinidadian on the team in Mah-Ko so maybe slowly the word will get back and we end up starting something that can be carried on by others.
So this is an impetus to build more derby in the West Indies as well as a National Team?
If that comes out of it than so much the good - I don't think I want to say we are taking it to them when we are, for the most part, based here [in the UK]. If there are a couple of people who play and/or a league starting up and they see us and want to take over, that's great!
Given your unusual origins compared to most of the National Teams, how did recruitment + selection happen?
We cast around for people we knew of that might be eligible - we put out a call on facebook.
I ended speaking to people about it at the Men's World Cup as well, as we were selling shirts and badges there.
The MWC was a good recruitment drive actually - I mean, who wouldn't want to be part of something like that if they could?
Everyone is very enthusiastic about you as a team...
 That's probably cos we're a bit of an unknown quantity.
People don't really know what to expect from us (well, some of the Irish do cos they've played us now) but we are hoping to improve on our last performance.
With, say, England, you can guess at performance from LRG and so on. With you guys...
Exactly - and factor in the Middleborough girls who are super awesome!
There are tons of great skaters from other leagues in there!
So, with the sign up process, did you have to turn people away / have selection rounds?
No, actually because there just aren't that many of us: some people expressed interest but dropped out because they didn't think they could get the relevant paperwork or couldn't commit time-/money-wise.
So there weren't try-outs per se, the first step was immediately, how do we work it so we can skate together and get to know each other's styles - that kind of thing. And, the main problem for leagues, never mind national teams, is halls: finding them, keeping them, paying for them.
We are all in very active leagues it seems, all working hard,  so it's google docs and trying to find that time and scrimmaging against people where we can.
Aye, getting enough practice time is important.
How's your schedule for that working? I know you played Ireland at their bootcamp..  and will be at the Scotland/Wales/Ireland/West Indies tournament [Road to Dallas, hosted by Team Wales on October 18th]
Ireland was our first open door event, we'd had a few training sessions and will get another few in before the welsh tourney.
For myself, I choked a bit - didn't do things I knew I could, did do things that I don't usually. My teammates coped admirably, but we're looking to improve, we're not complacent and it wasn't an easy bout.
How do you feel about the team now, then, in terms of aims at Dallas?
I'm really really optimistic about Dallas and I am really positive about the team - we are, individually, great skaters and we are prepared to put the work we need in to make a good showing.
Aims I am sure for everyone are the same - go there, score some points, play as hard as we can.
For myself, I like to come away from a game knowing I did the best I could: I'm looking for that because I didn't get that at Dublin.
I think you'll probably be one of the Fan favourites too.
Ha, the world loves an underdog.
I NSO'ed the Men's World Cup and saw how the crowds reacted to Argentina and Japan.
No one is going to underestimate the Argentinian men next time!
So, funds are the other big problem for everyone. I know you have a million crowdfunding things running + merch...
Yep, refs have personal pages for their Dallas trips and the team are looking for flights and that's without uni[forms], practice halls, all the rest of it..
We've got some amazing sponsors but a lot of it is down to us - we've approached business within the black community but we might be at a disadvantage there as you know, most of them will never have heard of roller derby and won't realise that audience that it reaches...
How is the funding + awareness going? I am guessing merch is doing best?
 Yep, Zed, who is one of our skaters, she designed the shirts and badges and that has been the thing helping us the most.
We've had some personal donations that we're very grateful for, league mates and family members are very behind us.
And the sponsors are probably most kit sponsors?
 People already within or with knowledge of the derby community: Atom Wheels, Bridgend skate shop, Queens Of the Sin Bin, Armourflex... Roller Derby City did our scrim stuff. They do what they do very well and they also made our shirts so that was a pretty logical step.
On a slightly different topic: London Rockin Rollers seem to have skaters in a Lot of National teams this time around - West Indies, Italy, Greece...?
6 in total:
Ireland (training squad - Lady Lazarus doesn't like to tempt fate), Wales (Blaze of Gory)
Dire Ria - Team Greece
Me, Rammit, cookie and Zed on Team WI, Betty on team England and Robscene and Sikki Sixx for Team Italy
I think this might make you the most geographically distributed team nationally!
Is it a point of pride or just a reflection of London's mix of nationalities?
That's London though, hahaha!
It's a little of both I think. We are a league that reflects our town - it's diverse, people come here for many reasons, or grew up here and derby has either found us or we've found it
Blitz Dames is very well represented in Team WI and that's another league that reflects the make-up of their city, despite the fact that there are not a lot of ethnic minorities in roller derby over-all.
I should also mention that one of our 'indiginous West Indians, She-Rarr, from Sheffield Steel Rollergirls is white;
I think people don't know that there are white people in the West Indies.
But, it is a fact that Derby is still quite a White Anglo-Saxon sport...
Yeah, I think it's by example - I didn't see players like Mercy or White Flight when I started, I discovered them afterwards, but I think girls coming into derby now have amazing role models in them: in Fright Train, in Mick Swagger, a lot of amazing minority players proving that it's not just 'the sport those crazy white girls play'.
...and my favorite UK jammer/blocker Mighty Mighty Bash!
I am super lucky to have had her as a coach of mine, and my intraleague captain,and her mum Black Panther came and played in the first LRR Vs SDRD game! Bash was the first person my mum [saw] playing derby that she was like "who is that?" That was last World Cup.
Being into rock music and metal, I think my mum just thought it was just another thing I'd gotten myself into where there were no other black people...
and then you founded the West Indies National Team!
Ha, yeah she's a bit bemused by it all - she gave her Trinidad citizenship years ago. I think she's wondering why this outbreak of pride. It's been a way of connecting us with our heritage and our roots, it's been more emotional than I ever thought it would be.
I think it's partly a generational thing, reclaiming the roots of parents/grandparents.
Yep, definitely: we're different but the same.
And for Mah-ko it's representing, and for [She-]RARR.
Since this interview, Team West Indies have also joined the Mars Milk Fund competition for this month to gain additional funding. You can vote to help them get a chance at up to £1000 towards their costs.
The Team West Indies Roster is:
Head Coach - Jack Attack - London Rockin' Rollers Asst Coach - Piston Broke London Rockin' Rollers/Southern Discomfort

Captain - Rammit - London Rockin' Rollers

VC Violet Attack - Birmingham Blitz Dames

Toni Smaxton - Coventry City Derby Dolls Cookie D'oh - London Rockin' Rollers DisorderLee - London Rockin' Rollers Zed.Z.Sputnik - London Rockin' Rollers Kylie Volatile - Birmingham Blitz Dames Sammi L.Smacks'Em - Birmingham Blitz Dames Suzette la Flamme - Birmingham Blitz Dames ENEMY - Bridgend Ida Bomb - Borderland Brawlers Mah-Ko - Chicago Outfit Polly Filla - Croydon She-RARR - Sheffield Steel Victory - Swansea City

World Cup Interview: Team South Africa

Next on our series of World Cup interviews is another team new to the World Cup this time around.
Team South Africa is the only African team participating in the World Cup this time around (next time, we could hope for an Egyptian entry...), and could be one of the big disruptions in the tournament.
We interviewed Szerdi Nagy (who skates as Julia Sieze-Her) on behalf of the team.
Team ZA logo
Team ZA logo: Ilana van Lingen
So, firstly, Team selection.
It looks to me like all of the SA team are selected from SA-local teams. Did you choose the selection and eligibility criteria to encourage this, or was this just a natural consequence of the process and who submitted applications?
When we initially put out the application it was open to any South African skaters the world over and we had applicants from the Texas Roller Girls, the Royal Windsor Roller Girls and the London Roller Girls as well as from the South African leagues of C-Max, Durban Derby and the Cape Town Roller Girls. For the first round of trials we accepted video submissions, but for the final round of trials we required skaters to attend a bootcamp in South Africa which logistically was a bit tricky for some of our foreign skaters. Despite this, we have skaters from both the Texas Roller Girls and the Royal Windsor Roller Girls who made it into our squad of 18.
Can you give me a brief background for how long derby's been going in SA, and what the scene is like? (Last World Cup, Australia and NZ were the big unknowns, with an active derby scene that just hadn't been visible outside of Oceania; I get the feeling SA is a bit like that?)
That is exactly how it is! Derby came to South Africa in 2010, the first league was based in Johannesburg (C-max) and was started by Melinda Lotz and Candice van Niekerk, the following year a league was started in Cape town and in 2012 a league in Durban. (Since then we have leagues in various stage of development in Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Grahamstown and Nelspruit). Within the last two years there has been a significant jump in the level of derby being played in South Africa and this year saw our first inter-league skating. So while derby is pretty active within South Africa, internationally we are virtually unknown and one of only 2 leagues in Africa (the caiRollers in Egypt being the other league). Getting an opportunity to skate internationally at the end of the year we think is going to be eye opening not only for ourselves and our skaters, but for the rest of the world as well!
I see you've already got equipment and training sponsorship from some big names. How else are you raising money and awareness for the big travel and training expenses of getting to the World Cup in Dallas?
I think like in many parts of the world, derby is still a relatively unknown sport so attracting sponsors can be a bit tricky on the home front.  We have had an incredible amount of support from the international derby community who are keen to get us over to Texas! We have a gofundme campaign which is bringing in a bit of money ( and our skaters and leagues are really being super proactive in trying to raise money to send our our girls over. We have skaters doing ultra trail runs to raise money, bout fundraisers, band festival fundraisers and the list goes on. Unfortunately though with our currency being so weak to the US Dollar, it is likely our girls will have to partially fund their trips. We are lucky enough to have received some publicity from various online magazines and even an article in one of our national airlines in flight magazines. One of our main goals in going to the World Cup is to raise derby awareness in South Africa generally.
As a relative unknown (from the perspective of the European/American focus of a lot of derby reporting), what are your aims coming into the World Cup?
South African roller derby is still in its early learning phases, our goal at the world cup is to learn as much as we can to bring back to our home leagues to improve South African derby as a whole and to improve the awareness of our sport. We are hoping that competing in international derby of this level will help legitimise our sport in the future and enable us to seek sponsorship to help some of our teams to be able to travel and skate internationally in the future.

Since this interview, Team South Africa have received sponsorship from Nistevo USA , and have a huge range of merchandise available from their website.

The Team ZA roster is:

MICHELLE DOSSON, Booty Queen 000 PHILIPPA VAN WELIE, Pippa 575 ROZANNE DU PREEZ, Betty Bone Crusher ak47 TERI ROBERTS, Gazelle 8 AIMEE PLANK, The Iron Tyrant 917 SAMANTHA SCHOLTZ, Slam-U-Well Jackson 25 JEANETTE VENSKE, Sugarfists 89 EMILIA DOMAGALA, Bug Off 001 CLAIRE HAYWARD, Miss C Malice 22 CANDICE VAN NIEKERK, Ling Vom Bot 33 SZERDI NAGY, Julia Seize-Her 11 LAURIE BAUER, Sookie Smackhouse 7 KELLY WOOLDRIDGE, Electri-Kell 900w LAUREN BARKUME, Pit Bullet 50mm

Reserves: ZANI FOURIE, Red Mist 1981 JOLIZE JACOBS, G.I. JoJo 03 CHRISTL BOUWER, Ming Die-Nasty 888 ASHLEIGH PIENAAR, Ashtrix 225


World Cup Interview: Team Japan [ローラーデービーのワールドカップ:日本のチーム]

Like most of the Roller Derby community, we at the Scottish Roller Derby blog are increasingly excited by the prospect of seeing a whole 30 nations competing at the Blood and Thunder World Cup in December. In fact, we're so excited, we've been following up with all of those national teams to learn a little about their plans and progression towards that important meet up in Dallas.

Because there are so many teams, we've grouped them together into regions, roughly geographically, which we'll be devoting a week each to. We're starting with the "Africa and Asia-Pacific" region, and with one of the new entrants to the World Cup - Team Japan!

The excellent Team Japan logo. The excellent Team Japan logo.

(This interview is in both Japanese and English. I apologise to Japanese readers for my poor Japanese. 「私の日本語が下手です。すみません。」The interview was conducted about a month ago, and I've inserted some updates accordingly.)

Team Captain Hiroe Somekawa 「染川 ヒロエ」(who skates as Thunder BELL) was kind enough to answer our questions.

1) On your website, I see that you have really started in June! How are things progressing?

日本代表チームの ウェブサイトは  6月から 始めた と言う. ドのように進んでいます?

はい、私達は今年の6月に日本チームを結成したばかりです。 きっと参加国の中で一番最後に結成されたチームですね。 日本人選手はまだ非常に人数が少ないので、私達は8月31日まで選手の募集をしています。 そして日本の男性選手(Ninjapanの選手達)が協力をしてくれて、現在は男女混合で練習を行っています。

Yes, we just formed a team for Japan in June of this year. We think team Japan is probably the last team that was formed out of the participating countries. Japan has fewer number of female derby players, so we are recruiting Team Japan members until August 31. And we are getting a lot of cooperation from male players of Japan (Ninjapan players) and practicing in mixed-gender with them now.

2) There are many teams in Japan, but they seem to have many Americans in them (Kokeshi Roller Dolls, and the others from Okinawa, for example). How are you recruiting skaters for Team Japan? Will you be requiring Japanese nationals?

 日本に多くのチームでますでも多くのアメリカの スケーターデスやら。  など オ機縄のKokeshi Roller Dolls).ドのように 日本代表チームの スケーターを募集している。  日本人要求したいるか.

確かに日本には多くのチームがありますが、その99%はアメリカ人の選手です。 現在、日本人選手はTokyo Roller Girlsリーグにだけ在籍します。 初心者を合わせても、全員で15人程度です。 私達はインターネーット等で日本国外に住んでいる日本人選手を探して連絡を取り、 4名のアメリカ在住者が日本チームに参加する事になりました。

Exactly, there are a lot of teams in Japan. But 99% of players are Americans. Actually, Japanese Nationals players are in only Tokyo Roller Girls league now. There are about 15 people in all Japanese Nationals including fresh meat. We were looking for Japanese players who live outside of Japan in Internet and referral from derby sisters, and made contact with them. And Team Japan has four players who live outside of Japan now. [These skaters are from El Paso Roller Derby, San Diego Derby Dolls and Green Mountain Derby Dames.] 3) Most of Roller Derby is conducted in English. Does language cause problems for Roller Derby in Japan?

 ローラーダービー イギリスごで 実施すっている は 問題ですか.

日本に居るほとんどのスケーターはアメリカ人なので、通常は特に問題なく試合が行われていますが、 私達日本人スケーターにとって、英語で行われている状況は非常に厳しいものです。 しかし、Tokyo Roller Girlsリーグの全てのアメリカ人選手達は、英語が理解出来ない私達日本人選手に ジェスチャーを使いながらとても親切にローラーダービーのルールや作戦を教えてくれています。 私達は彼女達に本当に感謝しています。しかし、やはり実際はまだ、日本人がローラーダービーをやりたくても 英語を理解出来ないとローラーダービーをする事が難しいです。 特にルールブックは、内容がとても複雑なので、私達はそれを理解するのがとても大変です。 日本語のルールブックが発表されたら、日本人選手も増えると思います。

Usually the game has been held without any particular problem because most derby players who live in Japan are Americans. But for Japanese skaters like us, the situation that derby is carried out in English is really hard. However, the American players of all of Tokyo Roller Girls league are very kindly telling us the strategy and rules of roller derby while using gestures for us who doesn't understand English. We are really grateful to them. Actually, even if some Japanese girl want to play roller derby, they can't do it without understanding English. The rule book has such very complex contents in particular, it's really hard to understand it for us. We think that Japanese players will be increased if an official Japanese rule book was announced.

4) How are you raising money and finding sponsors?

 ドのように金銭をやスポンサーを 募集している?

寄付金については、私達はGofundmeで世界中からの寄付を集めようとしましたが、 日本のPaypalでは寄付を受け取る事が出来ないそうです。 なので現在、違う方法を考えています。現在の日本では、 シンプルに日本チームのオリジナル商品を販売し、それを資金にする方法しか無さそうです。 これから商品作りを始めてオンラインショップを立ち上げる予定です。

スポンサーについては、ローラーコンで私達のスポンサーになってくれるメーカーと出会う事が出来ました。 あとは日本国内の企業に資料を持って周る活動をこれからしていきます。

About donations, we tried to collect donations from all over the world in Gofundme. But we could not receive a donation via Paypal in Japan by Japanese law. So now, I am thinking a different way. We can have only simple way for gather money. That is selling team Japan merchandise. We are planning to launch an online shop for the first time, and are creating products now. About sponsors, I was able to meet with manufacturers who will become our sponsor at RollerCon. We will visit to companies to found our sponsors in Japan. 5) As a relatively unknown team, what are your aims going into the World Cup?

 チーム 若い ですは 私の目的が 何 World Cupに します?

私達のワールドカップでの最大の目標は 今後日本中にスポーツとしてのローラーダービー、 更にその背景にある文化(カルチャー)としてのローラーダービーを広める為に 世界に認識されるチームへの成長を遂げることです。 そして....トーナメントで3回くらいは勝ちたいな、とも思っています。笑

Our biggest goal at the World Cup is that team Japan grow to be gained world recognition for roller derby. If we can do it, we can spread Roller Derby in Japan. We would like to spread Roller Derby as a sport, and the great culture also. And... we wish that we get at least three wins at the World Cup tournament if possible(!)

Since our interview, Team Japan has gained a sponsor in Atom Wheels, and begun regular practices.

Team Japan can be followed at their facebook page and the Women's Roller Derby Japan website. Merchandise will be available soon!

Team Japan's Roster is:

Slamurai #7 HELL OH KITTY #13 AYAMI #17 NOBUE #30 Chee Fighter #31 YUMI #52 AYA #54 Axel Managarmr #75 Ninja Plz #143 Secret Asian Slam #303 MARK #229 MIHO #555 chikai #719 Oscar Little Wild #831 Thunder BELL #950 Vagichael Jakson # 5umo Mocha Panic # pa29

Their gofundme (running since the last week in September) is:

Exciting bouts ahead for Glasgow Roller Derby

The next couple of weeks are an exciting time for fans of Glasgow Roller Derby, with all three travel teams set to bout in the next month!

Tomorrow, GRD's A-team, the Irn Bruisers, will take on Middlesbrough Milk Rollers in what is sure to be an exciting bout (the Maidens and MMR have are closely in UKRDA's UK rankings, but Flat Track Stats predicts a GRD home win).

GRD B v MMR bout poster

Then, only two weeks later (leaving a gap for Team Scotland's Bootcamp on the 20th), Glasgow B, the Maiden Grrders, will take on London Rollergirls' imposing C team, Batter C Power.

While this fixture is not yet listed on Flat Track Stats, their predictor expects a very close bout, with only a 10% score difference between win and loss. Tickets will be only £5 online, so it's definitely worth buying ahead of time!

Finally, on the 4th of October, we are informed that Glasgow C-team, the Canny Gingers, will be taking part in a double-header with Mean City Roller Derby.  Their opponents will be Bairn City Rollers' Central Belters.  It is probably true to say that the Gingers would like very much to take home a win from this match up, but the Central Belters will not go easy on them. (FTS gives the home team the advantage, based on stats, but since both teams will probably have an altered composition, there's still all to play for.)

All of these bouts are, of course, listed on our Scottish Bouts page here on the blog.