For the past 2 and a half years derby has been my life, I can honestly say I put my heart and soul into my skating and I’m sure most skaters can relate with this. 2012 saw an amazing year of bouting for me and my team mates and a real year of growth for me personally.
However the pinnacle of my skating career so far happened very recently, March 10th to be precise. On this date I was honored to have the opportunity to skate with Team Steve, a.k.a The best of the rest in Scotland. I was absolutely blown away to have been selected and to have the chance to skate with some of the legends of the Scottish roller derby scene.
In order to actually take this opportunity I had to make it to Birmingham first. So I and some of my fellow DRG team mates who had also made the team, embarked on a 6 hour journey to Birmingham, crammed into the back of a mini bus. Luckily we are used to being in close proximity with each other on a regular and often sweaty basis.
On a completely unrelated but amazing note we ended up in the same hotel as all the Crufts dogs that were competing at the Birmingham NEC that weekend! Seriously best hotel stay of my life. I’d like to think the competitive spirit and prowess of a group of dogs in trainers with rollers in their hair gave me a sense of confidence and drive for the bout ahead…………. (Yes, I just said that!)
After a wholly athletic breakfast of Croissants and pain au chocolate we made our way to The Futsal Arena to take on the Mighty Gael Force. It had not slipped our notice that this team consisted of two Gotham skaters, An LRG skater and some of our own amazing Glasgow girls……Intimidating to say the least. I mean Suzy Hotrod skates with Gotham right? And she’s like derby royalty!
Donning our Gold bottoms and Team Steve vests felt good, I always feel a little more confident when I have my kit on, the floor was ok if a little different but I felt quite good during the warm up. Skating beside Bunny McBones (Gotham) questions raced through my mind, have you met Bonny Thunders!? What does she smell like!? Have you been to her house!? However I reeled it in and before we knew it the first line up was on track!
I have to admit I felt a bit overwhelmed but as soon as I got on track I was ready. I’m sure a lot of skaters can relate with this, sometimes it really is like flicking a switch. Now I can’t remember much of the details, At DRG we like to call this ‘Jamnesia’. I do however remember Jamming, Scoring some points and being annihilated at least twice by an amazing Gael Force offense.
Both teams played well, It was quite a strategically minded bout, Steve went out with Defense at first but Gael Force’s offensive play meant we had to hit back with some offense of our own. There were powerjams for both sides and the packs were very fast.
Both Teams started close to the Jam line, adjusting to having the front and back line accordingly. Default strategy was very evident and seems to be making a marked come back since the introduction of the new rule set. Get to the Front; Get a goat, Inside Sausage and Outside Sausage were all in force on the day. We didn’t squeeze a peggasist in but there were some amazing Apex jumps on the day!
The final score saw Gael Force take victory 228 – 154. Feelings were good all around. The bout was completely different to skating in a league game. Different skaters were adjusting to different styles of play and it was all around a very fun bout to play. We wanted to win but there wasn't major pressure on us. It was a fantastic experience and I learned a lot from it. I jammed in public and everyone on my team was supportive and amazing! I think it has given me a bit of encouragement in that, even if you don’t think you are the best skater in the world, just try your best and no one can really ask any more of you than that.
It gave me some brilliant experience of exceptional offensive plays. In our home league we are a very defensive team and our currently working on our offense so it was really good to see it in play and also to have a chance to action it myself. I have a lot of things to take back to practice with me.
Team Steve really is a Derby Institution and I hope to be able to skate with them again someday, I really like wearing gold!
All Photographs taken by Steven Frew.