As something of a teaser for our series of ECDX interviews, I caught up with Pennsylvania based Derby Spectating Team "Hot Pants Cold Beer", who are ECDX regulars. After Auld Reekie's Alma Geddon made contact with them pre-ECDX, the Hot Pants Cold Beer team made sure to catch the Scottish bouts and cheer on the foreigners!
I was talking to group founder Heather Harlin.
We'll start with some background, I think. So, how did you get started as a group?
Well I'm an official in the sport and only ever get to be a fan during ECDX each year. I was with other friends and joked about creating a spectating/drinking team. So our original group include a skater from Lehigh Valley Rollergirls, her husband, and 4 roller derby officials based out of Lehigh Valley. We decided to get shirts made up and a bunch of people hopped on board.
How long have you been going for, and how did you make your connection to our Scottish teams?
This is our second year and our philosophy is that we cheer for the teams that come from the furthest away. They're the least likely to have fans there and so we are their surrogate fans. Last year, Portland, Oregon's team Rose City Roller Girls and Denver, Colorado's team Denver Roller Dolls were the teams we worked hard to cheer for last year. When we found out that Auld Reekie and Glasgow were making the trip we knew immediately that they would be "our teams". Also, a skater for Lehigh Valley and a HPCB member Holly Floyd, "Double Barrel Hot Gunz" lived in Glasgow for a year so it was destiny.
So, before ECDX proper, Auld Reekie came over to play LeHigh. How was that bout - were you surprised by ARRG's performance, and did it change your expectations for ECDX itself?
As an official for that game, I actually didn't pay attention to much of the game. I did notice on Thursday and through the rest of the weekend that Auld Reekie is a second half team, meaning they learn quickly from the first half of play and make adjustments successfully. Those teams are always fun to watch and officiate.
So, coming to ECDX proper: what were the highlights for you? There were plenty of tense games and great derby to choose from...
I, personally, make a point to see teams I wouldn't be able to see within a 3 hour drive. The Scottish teams of course were my favorite - especially Glasgow v. Long Island. I don't think my heart could handle much more that 60 minutes of that game. It was so close and back and forth. The Windy City v. Philly game was intense, I hear, but I only saw the overtime jam from behind what seemed like a billion people and the energy from the fans was contagious!
From all of the games, I know at least 3 or 4 of us lost our voices from all of the cheering. I know mine came back just two days ago. It was such a great weekend
Having seen both Glasgow and Auld Reekie significantly surpass expectations in all of their bouts, do you think there's been a tendency in the US to be a little complacent about the International game? Could you see more European teams coming to ECDX in future (flights permitting)?
Since no one really knew what to expect I think it was a pleasant surprise to see them both. I don't think its complacency, necessarily, just lack of exposure. I can't speak on what ECDX does in terms of team invitations or lottery, but I can say I want to watch more international derby because all derby is wonderful. It's just hard to do when the sport is not main stream and rarely broadcasted in general.
With respect to derby video and broadcasting, it's true that the US has an advantage in livestreams (as DNN shows). But the Swedish National Rollerderby tournament was filmed by their national TV! Do you think ubiquitous bout footage is important to the sport, or just to spectators? (Lacking online footage, would HotPantsColdBeer consider flying to Europe for a big tournament here?)
It would be the DREAM to fly out and catch all the derby. I think video is important to the sport because its important to the fans/spectators. Not everyone has access to multiple leagues so having it broadcast is a great way to watch your favorite teams even from far away.
And of course, to see new ones!
but of course!
Thanks for your time!