Power of Scotland ready to get a moo-ve on!

Posted: by muir74
Tags:  annoucements men's roller derby power of scotland

Scotland's top skaters and their tartan army will really be getting a moo-ve on at the Men's Roller Derby World Cup in Canada – thanks to an amazing new logo.

Power of Scotland - the men’s national roller derby team – has a stunning new look featuring a Caledonian icon.

A plethora of prospective logos were submitted for the contest to help brand Power of Scotland’s push towards the World Cup in Calgary next summer.

The logos were put to the vote and the top two sent into the orbit of professional designer Admiral Attackbar - of Interplanetary Print Syndicate.PoS

The winning logo can now be revealed and the Power of Scotland team can’t wait to rock (and roll) it with pride.

Manager Nikki Morris said: “We’re delighted to finally be able to show the world the amazing new Power of Scotland logo.

“We hope everyone loves it as much as we do. The new logo is the perfect expression of the Scots’ legendary spirit, strength, style and attitude.

“We can’t wait to hear what people think of the latest addition to the Scottish team – which is the culmination of months of hard work and difficult decisions.

“We received dozens of excellent designs initially and the feedback from skaters and fans was incredible. The vote was very close between the top two so we asked Admiral Attackbar to help us finalise the new logo.

“She did a fabulous job. We want to thank her and everyone who took the time to contribute their ideas – especially the winner, Andy Morris - and to vote for their favourite.

“The passion and creativity shown by all the people involved with Power of Scotland is a genuine thrill.”

A new range of merchandise – featuring the new logo – will be on sale soon, with t-shirts, hats and more going up for sale.

Meanwhile, the PoS training squad is working hard in preparation for Canada, with Head Coach Hannah Grant (aka Ginge) pleased by the inspiration and perspiration on show.

She said: “The attitude, energy and effort from the selected skaters has been excellent, with many travelling long distances to be put through their paces in drills and scrims.

“Everyone is giving everything they have in pursuit of their Power of Scotland dream – from the coaches to the skaters to the fundraisers to the fans.

“As well as working with their own leagues, our skaters are training and scrimming together once a month. I think we’re seeing the start of something very special.”

The selection committee will come together on Hallowe’en to watch a Scotland vs Scotland game made up of the training squad.

From there the 20-man squad for Calgary will be selected and will go on to train till the World Cup.

Visit www.facebook.com/PowerOfScotland for more information on how you can help the team on its journey to the World Cup.

East Fortune Roller Marathon 2015

Posted: by aoanla
Tags:  fundraiser event fundraising events


EDIT - Sadly, due to low turnout and other reasons, the East Fortune Roller Marathon has been cancelled this year.-EDIT

For the third year in a row, the East Fortune Race Track will be hosting a charity Roller Marathon. In previous years, the event has been very popular with the Scottish roller derby community, and we anticipate that it will be just as popular this year.

As always, the event is open to any non-powered small-wheeled transport, so quad skaters will find themselves against not just inliners but also potentially skateboarders and scooters!

In a change to the charity from last year, the event will be raising funds for the Soi Dog Foundation, which works to help homeless, neglected and abused dogs and cats in Thailand, including working to end the dog meat trade and contributing to response to animal welfare emergencies.

Marathon sponsors, Kaos Skate Shop have also donated prize vouchers for the three fastest competitors, to the total of £225 (£100 for 1st place).

Sign up is possible via the Facebook Page, or payment to eastfortunerollermarathon@yahoo.co.uk . The entry fees vary from £5 for a single lap of the track, through to a bargain £15 for the whole marathon.

The Event will take place on 3 October 2015.

Final Champs game for DRG

Dundee Roller Girls Silvery Tayzers will travel to Sheffield this Saturday (8th August) to compete in the final triple header of the British Championships T3 Regional North. After securing victory against Sheffield Steel Roller Girls in July, Dundee have left themselves in a great position to secure a play-off spot. Victory against Furness Firecrackers will see Dundee progress but with three teams still in with a chance (Furness Firecrackers, Liverpool Roller Birds and Dundee), it’s all to play for. Last time the teams met, Dundee emerged victorious and will be looking for a similar outcome this time round. In the days other games, GCRG take on Halifax Bruising Banditas and hosts Sheffield take on Liverpool.


Come down and join the fun! Concord Sports Centre, Shiregreen Lane, Sheffield.

Doors 9.30am.

Fierce Valley Roller Cubs New Skater Intake

Posted: by camelondiaz
Tags:  fierce valley roller cubs fresh meat fvrc junior roller derby

Fierce Valley Roller Cubs are recruiting! The next new skater intake will be held on Sunday 2nd August at the Mariner Centre, Falkirk. The Cubs welcome boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 17 to be part of one of the fastest growing sports in the world. No skating experience is necessary, and kit can be borrowed for the the first session. Email freshmeat@fiercevalleyrollercubs.co.uk to register your interest.


Fierce Valley Roller Cubs is the only junior roller derby league in Scotland and one of only a handful in the UK. From the first training session in September 2013, the league has grown to over 30 skaters over four levels, and has recently played a third public game.

Helgin Roller Derby: Scotland's Northernmost League!

New Roller Derby leagues are still popping up over Scotland, as we saw recently in our interview with Wee County. Now we're catching up with a new league in another part of the country entirely, Elgin's Helgin Roller Derby!

Helgin Roller Derby logo by Brett Tucker Helgin Roller Derby logo by Brett Tucker

Helgin Roller Derby is now the northernmost mainland Scottish league, thanks to the curve of the coast near Lossiemouth. Can you tell us a little about who you are, and why you decided to found a new league?

Helgin Roller Derby was started by our chairperson, Angela Ellis, in February 2014. She had relocated to Elgin from Dingwall and was looking for a way to meet new people and have fun whilst doing it. Having always been a fan of Roller Derby, starting her own team in Elgin seemed like the best way to do this. Angela used social media to garner interest and by November 2014 Helgin Roller Derby was finally a reality when 5 girls got together and started skating.

Like Wee County, who we spoke to recently, Helgin is a co-ed league from the start. Do you think Co-ed derby is the future of the sport, and if so, why?

Like Wee County, we are also based in a somewhat wee county – Moray has a population of only 93,295, spread across a huge area stretching 2,238 km2 from Cairngorm National Park to the Moray Firth. We think it’s important in areas such as these to be as inclusive as you can. We didn’t want to be turning away members because of their gender. We didn’t even turn away someone because of her age and we now allow people aged 16+ to train with the adult team. In Scottish Law, the age of majority is 16, and if you can get married at that age, why shouldn’t you be allowed to play derby?

We think that co-ed is a good starting point, and hope that in the future, we’ll attract enough members to have a co-ed roster, a female roster, a male roster, and a junior roster, giving everyone in Moray the opportunity to play derby… but that will be a few years down the line.

Helgin at practice! Helgin at practice!

You’ve already held a few fundraisers and promotional events, including a pub quiz with some impressive prizes. How has your awareness and recruitment been like in the area?

It’s been brilliant! We’ve got 283 likes on Facebook, and have attracted 15 regular skating members to the team already – not bad for a team that’s been going less than a year! Each Fresh Meat session we hold attracts more people each time, and we’re looking forward to hosting another in September. Everyone on the team is really proud to be part of it and are fantastic promoters of the team, telling everyone they know how great derby is and how much fun they have taking part.

Our Pub Quiz was great fun, and we’re extremely grateful to all the local businesses for their support. Our top prize was a tour and tasting at local craft brewery, Windswept, and we also had fantastic raffle prizes from Ben Romach whisky, local pizza restaurant Scribbles, and Walkers Shortbread. We’ll definitely be holding more social events in the future, as they are not only good for raising funds, but also for raising awareness of the club.

Helgin Roller Derby’s logo is a rather strikingly blue Nordic lady with a big axe. What inspired your choice of logo, and was it produced by members of the league, or outside talent?

It is said that the town of Elgin was founded by the Norse General, Helgin in the 10th Century when Vikings invaded Scotland. We thought that ‘Helgin’ had a nice ring to it, invoking the idea of Hell and fitting well with the punk aesthetic generally associated with Roller Derby, so this became the team’s name. It seemed only appropriate that our logo reflect the name’s true Viking origins, and our current logo was designed by a supporter of the club, who is an artist for a games design company.

We see that Inverness City Roller Derby and Granite City Roller Girls have both provided assistance to Helgin in starting up. What’s your relationship been like with the Scottish Derby community so far?

We’re extremely grateful to the support we’ve received from Inverness City Roller Derby and Granite City Roller Girls. We try and train with ICRD at least once a month, as Natorious Red is a fantastic coach and really gives us a good workout, improving our skills. She also helps inspire us to improve our own coaching for those who have joined us after a Fresh Meat, and we take away a number of great drills.

Granite City Roller Girls support us through all of our Fresh Meat sessions, providing all the kit we require and two great coaches in Krusty Thud and Frost Damage. They coach the GCRG newbies, so they really know how to enthuse people about Derby, and make them fall in love with the sport!

Other than that, we’ve received great feedback and advice from most of the bouting leagues across Scotland, and we’re really excited to be part of such a fantastic community.

Starting out, many leagues seem to find practice space the most difficult thing to find. You’ve already had one move of location, I believe - but you seem to have plenty of suitable locations to fall back on. What’s been your experience of this?

Like most leagues, we have struggled to find a space big enough to fit a full-size roller derby track, and it looks unlikely that we will be able to host a bout anywhere in the whole of Moray in the near future. We’ve bounced around between four halls, but finally have two spaces large enough to lay out a full-size track, in the games halls in Elgin Community Centre and Milne’s High School in Fochabers, where we train on Saturdays and Tuesdays, respectively. There is also positive discussion in Elgin about a new sports facility being built, which we hope will have a space large enough for the full track, the required safety zones and room for spectators, allowing Helgin Roller Derby to host bouts in the future.

Finally, what are your plans for the rest of the year?

We’ve got another Fresh Meat planned for September, and will have at least one more social fundraiser towards the end of the year.

We’re finishing up our business plan and sorting out a team bank account, so will also be applying for funding in the near future, and hope to be able to buy more of our own kit, so we’re not as dependent on GCRG’s kit for Fresh Meat sessions, and so we have more kit to hire to people who are waiting for theirs to arrive after Fresh Meats.

We’re hoping to be able to move into doing on-skates contact training soon, and will hopefully have some skaters minimum skills passed by early 2016.

An Interview With: The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Roller Derby Skaters Worldwide Community Group

While Roller Derby tries its hardest to be an accepting place, it is sometimes hard for a majority population to understand the needs of a minority, and the actions of individuals can always fall below the standards the community may aspire to. This was highlighted last year, when Meat Train was not placed in the New Zealand National Women's Derby squad, apparently due to concerns that as a hard of hearing individual, it would be too hard to accommodate her into the training routine.

One of the consequences of the outcry over this was the foundation of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Roller Derby Skaters Worldwide Facebook group, in order to promote and support deaf and Hard of Hearing skaters in roller derby. (At this point, a brief aside is necessary on terminology: when used with a capital D, "Deaf" is used to identify as a member of the Deaf community; as opposed to "deaf", which refers to the medical state. A HoH (Hard of Hearing) person may also identify as Deaf if they are part of the community, despite not being "medically deaf". )

The community recently got some wider attention in the UK when UK rep (and Doonhame Derby Dolls skater) Firefoxx was filmed by BBC SeeHear when attending a bout down in Bristol.

We took the opportunity to ask some questions of the current team behind the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Roller Derby Worldwide Facebook group. Our interviewees are: Meat Train (also known as Marcia), her (Hearing) partner Lex, referee Davie Darko and Firefoxx. Meat Train skates for Whenua Fatales Roller Derby/ Hutt Valley Vanguard Roller Derby, New Zealand and is HoH going deaf, Davie Darko referees for Roc City Roller Derby and is HoH, and Firefoxx skates for Scotland's own Doonhame Derby Dolls and identifies as Deaf. Firefoxx is sponsored by Skates.co.uk.

Meat Train Meat Train (photo by Emear O'Connell) 0 Lex
DD Davie Darko (by ?) FF Firefoxx (by Graeme Willets)

I believe that the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Derby Skaters Worldwide FB group and community was founded after the incident in during New Zealand's National Team selection involving discrimination against Meat Train for being Deaf. Were you as skaters surprised by this event?

MT: I was very surprised that my hearing loss was taken into consideration and plastered on social media. I was deaf at the start of the year when I got picked for the top 30 and everyone knew that. I feel that with the mindset that enabled this to happen I never had a hope of making the final team.  This is not ok for New Zealand Roller Derby and this is not ok when picking a national sports team.

L: I felt ill…and then furious. I knew that it was not okay. It has been a very intense 9 months since then and it has been gut-wrenching to see how it has affected Marcia. There has been so much support for her worldwide and our decision to start this page has helped so much with turning this whole thing into something positive.  We have worked tirelessly on the Deaf and HoH Roller Derby Skaters Worldwide page, all with the aim of making sure that this does not happen again to anyone.

What has the community been doing to make things better for D/HoH skaters in the months since it was founded?

L: There are so many things! From derby promo videos in sign language to how much love we see coming to each and every person we profile on the page from their teammates… We have had MANY people contact us saying “we have a Deaf or HoH person in our League – how can we support them?” – it’s wonderful

The impetus for this interview was the discovery that Doonhame's Firefoxx was representing Scotland and the Deaf community in Bristol, to be filmed by See Hear. Can you talk a little about how you got involved in this, and what the experience was like?

MT: Firefoxx was one of the 1st skaters profiled on our page. When we were contacted by the BBC looking for a Deaf/ HoH skater in the UK we put them in contact with her as her profile had been very popular and she was one of the only UK-based derby people we knew at the time.

L:  As Marcia said, the BBC got in contact with us and we pointed them in Firefoxx’s direction  It was very exciting in the few days leading up to the filming as we decided to pull together a ‘good luck video’ for her and her teammates (as it was their cherry popper!) from derby people from all around the world! We spent a crazy few days calling in favours, filming our own message, editing and getting the vid to the BBC in time to surprise the Doonhame Derby Dolls before the bout. It was bloody intense but so worth it!

There are, of course, many sign languages, which are very different in vocabulary and grammar. Do any of you know more than one Sign Language, and if so, are any better suited to derby than others? 

MT:New Zealand Sign Language is very similar to British Sign Language. I find NZSL easy to use on the track as we’re not signing whole sentences, just signs for different plays.

L: No, only basic New Zealand Sign Language but we really need to learn some American Sign Language to be better able to Skype call with the ASL users we meet through our page!!!!!

D: Unfortunately I don't know any sign language, but I'm seriously considering ASL, given my deteriorating hearing and of course where I live.

FF: [I'm] currently learning [British] sign language and enrolling in advanced classes soon.

As with any language which the majority do not speak, are there advantages to having a Sign Language as a language (and teaching your teammates it)?

MT: I’m still learning sign as I’m going deaf and it is now my second language. Using sign is an advantage as the other team have no clue what you’re about to do. It helps make sure everyone knows what play we are about roll out, without telling the opposition. And at a derby game it’s so loud who can hear much anyway? New Zealand Sign Language is very similar to British Sign Language. I find NZSL easy to use on the track as we’re not signing whole sentences, just signs for different plays.

L: Absolutely. Sign Language can be seen from a distance so you can communicate across a track, even in the middle of a drill or from the bench. As someone in the audience I often get signed at from the bench (can you fill my water bottle/ I’ve hurt my _________ or what was that penalty for? LOL)

There's a lot of advice on the FB page for skaters and officials concerning support of Deaf and Hard of Hearing skaters, including the provision of signing translators for bench teams, and dealing with insubordination calls. What've been the most common issues, and the best responses to the issues that you face as D/HoH skaters?

MT:  There are Leagues around the world trying to understand, trying to help and holding events that are inclusive but like anything it takes time and a willingness to try.

D: In my experience as an official (and from that point of view), the most common issues I've seen are skaters knowing when they are receiving a penalty or penalty warning from a referee, or receiving instructions from penalty box staff. However, these are well-known issues, and for teams that have a Deaf or HoH skater, they usually already know how to handle it. It is brought up early before the game starts, and procedures are put in place to better enable communication between skaters and officials.

FF: The biggest barrier I've faced is the communication between myself and officials. Being on track, not being able to hear what is happening around you and having that inner panic incase you miss a ref call or something is a really isolating feeling. It's literally like skating around in your own little bubble. I rely heavily on the officials to immerse me fully into the game. The biggest challenge we face is educating all the officials out there on how to communicate effectively with the deaf and HOH.

Is it easier, do you think, to be HoH or deaf when playing derby, and are there more similarities than differences?

MT: I think so, yes, but then I don’t have anything to compare it to. It’s what I know, my way of being in the world… I don’t get distracted by other stuff like the crowd, people talking smack talk, the commentary. On the other hand if there is music when I’m jamming it puts me at a disadvantage as I can’t hear the whistles and end up starting later than the other Jammer (I always have to watch the hand signal of the Jam Timer). The music is what I hate the most. 

L: I can’t speak FOR the Deaf or HoH people involved in derby as I am not one of them.  I can say that one of the most common things that comes through the page is that people who are hard of hearing are often struggling with where they fit in derby.  We have seen some amazing improvements in people’s confidence to ‘come out’ to their Leagues and speak up for what they need. This doesn’t always happen though and we have seen some people walk away from derby because it’s just too hard to keep asking for a few accommodations that would make all the difference. That always breaks our hearts and this is one of the main reasons why we created our resources (for skaters, for officials, for leagues and for fans).

D: I can't speak to what is easier or harder, but as a HoH official, I can certainly attest to the challenges that are faced. For us, audible signals are a must for certain things. For example, as a Jammer Referee, there are decisions you have to make that depend upon the state of the pack and where the Engagement Zone is, and if you have trouble hearing the pack definition or in/out of play status from the Inside Pack Referees, you could be missing critical information and make the wrong call. Luckily my hearing aid has helped me in this regard.

FF: I honestly completely underestimated how hard this game would be as a deaf skater. Not only do we have to use our individual talent on talent and perform exceptional teamwork - we have to essentially find a way to bring that all together; but without any hearing. I think if people could truly understand how it feels to be a deaf person in a hearing sport; they'd quickly change the way of the game. It's hard, but my love for the sport makes it worth it.

If you could pick one thing which is the most important aspect to do right to support D/HoH skaters in derby, what would it be?

MT: Facing the Deaf/ HoH person when you are talking to them. The hardest part of derby is the training, not so much the games. It’s in training that coaches roll around to talk so you can’t always see their face and what they’re saying. At the same time other skaters are often fixing their gear up (velcro, stomping their skates) or talking over top of the coach or just chatting to their friends and that makes it hard (or impossible) to hear what the coach is saying. Facing us means we have a much better (but not 100%!) chance of lip-reading or hearing what you are saying! Also, it’s nice to know you’re not alone when you feel like you don’t fit.

L: Be welcoming to them. Don’t make them feel like a burden or too-hard to deal with. You could be missing out on your next star Jammer or Blocker/ an amazing new friend xx

D: Derby is the people. As such, I think the most important thing is to learn how we can best understand and support each other through inclusivity and open, honest, and patient communication.

FF: Be patient. We're trying really hard to keep up with you. If you give us a little time, we'll be a true asset to your team. We may not be able to hear you but we'll make up for it with our incredible determination.

ARRG newbies hit the Fringe

Posted: by jennifergelignite
Tags:  arrg articles auld reekie roller girls upcoming bouts


A RED-HOT new roller derby team will assemble for Auld Reekie Roller Girls’ first Edinburgh Festival Fringe game of 2015.

Sparks are sure to fly as Edinburgh’s All Star Reserves play Glasgow Roller Derby's Maiden Grrders.

Team captain Mallory Powers said the new skaters will raise temperatures with the fastest crossovers, big hits and speedy whips.

She said: “We have a brand new team and are really looking forward to bringing everyone together and building on the excitement and atmosphere of the two recent All Star derby derbies!

“This will be the first time the Auld Reekie and Glasgow Roller Derby B teams have played each other in a while and the teams are very different now, so no-one really knows what to expect.

“The focus will be on developing our newer skaters and working as a team to achieve our goals - but we'll bring the same level of gritty determination, cheery competitiveness and fun as our wonderful All Stars.”

Vice-captain Lady Scrapnell said she was looking forward to the new skaters playing their first festival game.

She said: “It's always exciting when new people skate on a team for the first time, and this time around we are lucky to have five new Reserves.

“We've all been working really hard in the All Star Reserves off-season, helping the All Stars train for their high level games, so lots of skaters have developed really quickly and we'll be really proud to be skating out with them at Meadowbank.

“Between us all we'll bring enthusiasm, athleticism and attitude, and will help to create one hell of a crowd atmosphere.”

Families are welcome to watch this test of strength, speed and agility as skaters battle through their rivals’ team using only the power of their bodies.

The show rolls into town on Saturday, August 8, at Meadowbank Sports Stadium on London Road from 2pm.

4 Years of Scottish Roller Derby Blog!

Posted: by aoanla
Tags:  annoucements birthday

According to our calculations, yesterday marked 4 years of this blog.

Since last year, we've covered more new leagues, increased our coverage of the growing men's derby and junior derby community in Scotland, covered another World Cup (including interviews with all participating teams), started some analysis of roller derby stats, moved into some coverage of exciting Roller Derby development across the World, covered UKRDA's bigger actions, and saluted the end of DNN. We also finally reached 1000 likes on our Facebook page!

Obviously, we're most proud of the last item, but it's been an exciting year for all these reasons, and we hope to make it to many more. If you'd like us to increase our coverage of anything in particular, do comment on this post and we'll see what we can do...

The Future of Derby: China

Roller derby (and especially WFTDA-rules flat track derby) has been spreading across the world in recent years, as we’ve documented on this blog, via both analytics, and our Future Derby series.

One area that we have yet to cover is the substantially unrepresented region of Asia. While Japan has several active roller derby leagues, and their own umbrella organisation, this is thanks substantially to the presence of American Forces Overseas, who form the nucleus of those leagues, importing Roller Derby directly from the USA. As active service people tend to stay in their placement for some time, leagues like Kokeshi Roller Dolls and Devil Dog Derby Dames have a somewhat reliable core of skaters who can develop and pass on skills, despite the only slowly increasing fraction of native Japanese skaters involved. In Japan, the existence of the local RollerGame spin-off of Roller Derby also helps awareness, especially for Tokyo.

In other regions of Asia, the presence of Roller Derby is much sparser - there's no evidence of roller derby in India, or the south-Asian countries, and the Republic of Korea Roller Derby league seems to have vanished from the internet. In the most populous nation on Earth, however, Chinese Roller Derby is slowly starting to build up. We talked to the three extant Roller Derby leagues in China - Shanghai Roller Derby's Shang-High Rollers (Founders Afronaut and Koko Kabama), the first league in China from 2012; Beijing Roller Derby (Founders Hootin' Annie and Jay, Coach and long-standing member Courtney, who left BRD very recently, and PR head Izzy Pop) and Hong Kong Roller Derby (League founder and President Alison "Six" Gentry); both founded in 2013.

BRDLogo Beijing Roller Derby Logo (by Riley Clay and Nara Yu)

Shang-High Rollers Logo (by Ian Mintz) Shang-High Rollers Logo (by Ian Mintz)

Hong Kong Roller Derby Logo (by ) Hong Kong Roller Derby Logo (by Pei-Jeane Chen)

At present, all three leagues are mostly composed of American and European expats (Beijing even have a Scottish derby connection, via ex-Granite City skater Belledefluff). Such a high expat ration causes problems with turnover, as expats are also often highly mobile. BRD's Hootin' Annie told us that the "challenge is retention. We are mainly made up of expats and just about the time a skater is trained enough to be able to bout, it’s time for them to move. We have become a sort of farm team. We train ‘em up and send them all over the world to join other leagues."

Shanghai’s Afronaut agrees: "Shanghai life is crazy! You don't come here to do normal life things usually, you come here to work  a lot or you come here to party a lot. Most foreigners here don't stay long in the city (average 1 year) so we teach them to skate and then they're gone. The upside to that is we have ex-SHR in quite a few teams around the world. BAD girls (USA), Guadalajara (Mexico), as well as all over Europe. It's amazing!" And Six expressed the same problem from Hong Kong, "It's been a struggle to say the least, as life in HK is busy, and a lot of people are coming and going. Most of the girls we get are expats, so they might stay for a year or two, and then head back home, but we do have a stable group of girls who've been showing up since the beginning".

BRDBout Beijing Roller Derby demonstration bout! (Credit: NetEase)

While all recognise the importance of recruiting a more stable base of Chinese skaters into their leagues, it's hard to promote the sport in a culture where roller derby isn't really known, as Izzy Pop notes. You can literally translate 'roller derby' as '轮滑德比[lúnhuá débĭ]', but that doesn't really mean much in Chinese, and "轮滑阻拦赛[lúnhuá zŭlánsài], which is more descriptive of the sport, meaning literally 'roller skating blocking competition'. The problem is that people don't know what roller derby is, so if you say either term, they still don't really know what you're talking about." HKRD's Six agrees "when recruiting, we usually say [that derby] is along the lines of rugby on wheels", a description that is familiar from European roller derby recruiting 5 years ago.

Without even a shared writing system (any European can at least read the words "Roller Derby", even if they don't speak English), it is that much harder to train and advertise the sport to Chinese nationals. Even the social networks are different to those in the West and need special attention: Beijing Roller Derby are "us[ing social networks] Douban, Weixin [Latin-script branded WeChat] and Weibo to help us spread the word. We also have begun work on translating our league documents into Chinese. Next up will be translating our website and other roller derby resources." This includes translating the widespread derby-specific language ("arm whip", "booty block") into natural Chinese equivalents, and even working on a translation project for the WFTDA rules themselves!

The Chinese approach to outside internet resources also causes issues - this article itself suffered some delays due to blocking of Gmail and Facebook during the communication process with the teams - which also makes viewing derby streams difficult.

As well as the language barrier, there are also cultural issues, as Shanghai’s koko kabama noted "The expectations of women, made by their peers and themselves are vastly different- to be single beyond your mid 20s means you are on the shelf, the traditional way means women are desperate for security and a steady, life. They certainly don't strap on skates and play a full contact sport."

Roller Derby has made progress in other places where the culture is not aligned with it - see the progress of the Middle-Eastern leagues - but it does make the process of recruitment also a process of cultural outreach.

This is also not to say that Roller sports in general are unknown in China, but they tend towards less aggressive expression. Shanghai Rollers’ have been "skat[ing] at the local skate places like skate parks and open areas. That way we meet the Chinese national skaters and we have quite a few friends who are on national teams like slalom and figure skating. Those artistic individual skating sports are the only ones that are big here." While some of the great American and European skaters currently come from established speed skating backgrounds, it's potentially the case that the artistic skating background of Chinese skating could bring entirely new expression to a native roller derby.

Despite the existence of a Roller Sports community in China, kit is hard to acquire in brick-and-mortar shops. Shanghai Rollers advise newbie skaters to look on Taobao, the Chinese eBay equivalent, and Hong Kong Roller Derby told us that the need to buy online "can discourage a lot of interested skaters as they want to try skates/gear on before buying it." This is perhaps a problem which has existed in most regions where Roller Derby is not established; most of the European skate stores were founded by Skaters who also had this problem, and wanted to solve it directly.

Despite these difficulties, all three leagues are growing and promoting, with Beijing and Hong Kong particularly active on Facebook at the moment. It will be difficult, perhaps, for derby to grow fast enough in China for a National Team (of Chinese nationals) to exist by the time of the next Roller Derby World Cups [2016 for Men, 2017? for Women], but that doesn’t mean that Chinese Roller Derby isn’t making moves to enter the international stage. At the time of writing, Beijing is listed as a tentative attendee at the first ever Asia-Pacific Derby Tournament, the Japan Open Roller Derby Tournament in 2016. However, the recurring issues with expat skater retention have caused them to have to pull out of the competition at this time. A selection of Beijing Roller Derby's skaters will still be attending in a spectating capacity, and we can hope that their attendance helps to raise the consciousness of roller derby in Asia as a whole.

Capital City travel South of the border for the first time

Capital City will once again be taking to the flat track for the second time this year and for the first ever, they will travel south of the border. On the 11th of July they will make their way down south to Manchester and will take on the Chaos Engine. Along with them they will be taking a few of our Scottish Officials to help officiate at the double header.

Chaos Engine are the B team to New Wheeled Order who some of you may remember them from their trip up to Scotland recently to play Mean City. That game went right down to the last jam and ended in a four point win for Chaos Engine. We are sure that this game will be just as exciting.


For more information and details about the bout visit Manchester's event page on facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/1576510082598296/

Capital City will also have brand new merch to take down with them, which will also be available at all their upcoming games throughout the rest of the year. The new baseball t-shirt is the first in what will be a few new merch ideas that they have been working on this year.

Capital City's new merch design Capital City's new merch design