As a very small league we found ourselves at the beginning of 2015 looking forward to a full year. Unsure of what to expect from the British Championships and excited about the prospect of bouts, scrims, and expanding our numbers through fresh meat sessions and recruitment drives, we couldn’t wait to see how it would unfold.
Full of hope and promise we saw ourselves compete in the Highland Rampage as our very first team effort without the help of guest skaters, and playing with only 10 of a team we did ourselves proud. We lost all our games in the competition but as a team we were excited at the enthusiasm and dedication that was shown by its members. Still full of hope and spirit little did we know this was to prove to be what would define us throughout the entire year. 2015 would gift us with a new and inspirational coach, would see us lose and gain great team members, would take us on multiple adventures within the UK and Europe, and would herald a new baby or two into the fold.
With the rampage behind us we headed into the British Championships with the same guts and determination. We secured funding, did a sponsored skate, car boot sales and other funding drives in an attempt to transport us across the country just to participate. Many tears and much laughter was dispensed along the way, and the courage of team mates shone through, as the novices amongst us played alongside the more experienced. Battling in most bouts with 8 to 9 players we never gave up, we always found a way to play, looking exhaustion, illness and injury square on and walling up regardless.
Looking at the statistics and having lost all of our 4 British Championship bouts and 2 friendlies, some would say that 2015 was an unsuccessful year for us, but I would have to disagree. Having fought alongside the ladies and gentlemen that make up our league, counting family, friends and team mates in the mix, I would say that we in many ways secured the win. Hosting our very first home bout and bringing Roller Derby into the news and home to West Lothian.
Roller derby is more than just a sport, it is a community, an all encompassing family that highlights everything you are and everything that you aspire to be. Being part of NTRG has seen me challenge myself physically and emotionally and with the support of team members has helped me to reach personal goals and slay inner demons. Like many families we have our differences but I know that when our combined strength is needed we pull together and support each other on and off track. NTRG has come to represent hope, hard work, and determination.
Speaking to the ladies and gentlemen of our league this sentiment is echoed, when asked to say what NTRG has meant to them common themes of family, friends, and fun shone through:
“Who you spend time with is who you become. It’s not what we get that makes us happy, it’s who we become. Then what we can give to become more. New Town has helped me to grow into the player I am today and embodies the heart and spirit of the sport I love. I will always strive to repay this kindness”
“NTRG is the first time I have been part of a team, I have been there for a full year and even though I have other priorities everyone is so friendly and allow me to feel part of the team. Being part of NTRG is like having another family on skates”
“Pleasure, pain, team, and family, win or lose, most of all fun”
“Before joining NTRG I was extremely unfit and over the last year I have seen my fitness level increase 10 fold, which was one of my main reasons for signing up! However having said that I have found that I have loved being part of a team and making new friendships with a diverse group of people. I have also learned new things about myself such as how resilient I am, how determined I can be when I put my mind to something, realising that with a bit of hard work and effort I am an alright skater. Learning to skate and play derby has been a great challenge for me and also a great escape from the everyday pressures of life”
“Derby girls got me through this year, just by being there. It’s the support you get with Derby that I love ….(and exercise and men in tights)”
“NTRG means friendship – I have loved getting to know everyone and feeling part of a team. Everyone is super lovely and there is always someone there with a hug or motivational words of encouragement to drive your determination forward”
“Watching the first roller derby event my wife participated in was a dual experience. Firstly you have the fear of her getting hurt and being injured. You know what will happen, you know what to expect but wait with trepidation for the first jam to start. Then it all kicks off and after you watch your loved one get up after being hip checked by a blocker, the adrenaline starts pumping and you're up on your feet shouting for your team. Discussing the merits of the game with your 7 year old son who is grinning inanely because mum has a star on her helmet. You shout cheer, holler and scream for the team, willing each and every point. They are out on track, sweating, panting and bleeding for a sport they love and you couldn’t be prouder. Roller derby is family. Roller derby is fantastic.”
So looking forward to 2016 we face the year with pride, pride of everything we have achieved, pride in every member, pride of our spirit and determination. Hopeful and excited to usher in new members, new experiences and increase out knowledge. Full of determination, motivation and the work ethic to succeed.
- AuROARa 812