Author: S'Mac Down Angel
Liverpool (4 days / 3 nights)
After waking in the services it was around 10.30am. The car park was empty when I arrived late at night and naturally by this time it had become quite busy. First thing I did was whack my jeans on and go to collect my knee pads etc. To my horror they were ALL gone. My heart sunk at the fact I had possibly misjudged crash pad thieves who roam around service stations! As I scanned the car park – to my relief yet utter horror I realised it must have been a windy night and my entire crash pad set had been scattered everywhere randomly around the car park. Dashing all over the place picking them up, I must have looked like a right chimp! Thankfully I managed to collect my pads in one piece but it felt like a scene out of crystal maze! One little wrist guard had gone astray for a while though. I found it about 50 metres away under a car. I’m glad the car owner didn’t see me whilst I was lying on my front wriggling around under his car fetching it! I never considered wind. Sometimes I work out the most complex of things – other times I simply don’t think of the most obvious! Lesson learnt there next time they’re going to be velcro'ed together tied to to a wheel!
The following day I went training with “The Birds”- my contact, Jo Primal Scrim, couldn’t make it but she’d clearly posted on their team page I was coming and in usual derby friendliness I was welcomed by loads of girls and made to feel at ease.
It was a session on skills and strategy and definitely got me doing new things – e.g. skating backwards... on one leg... and jumping! Basically hopping backwards on skates! Not to mention the floor was possibly the slippiest I've ever skated on and almost went flying a couple of times round the apex!
The following day we had a three hour scrim which was wicked. Second half – again something new; as we scrimmed anti derby direction for 45 minutes. You should try sprinting round an apex anti derby direction on a ice rink…. its bloody hard! Ha! Liverpool has a decent derby standard! Some REALLY strong players there particularly from their A team! These girls certainly know how to hit and blo*dy awesome at sweeping. The girls were all very encouraging of each other and building each others confidence – really good vibe amongst them! Lovely to be part of!
By the end of the three hours we were pretty much knack’ed but unfortunately they had picked up a couple of injuries too – one girls ankle (I think) and another girl had a fat nose from taking an elbow to the face… (It looked like it bl*ody hurt!) Also was pretty happy they scrimmed in yellow and black tops – gave me a chance to wear my Bath derby top (with pride)! :)
After finishing scrim with these awesome girls I pretty much got a hug from all of them and was wished well on my travels! Again – so friendly and nice and made to feel so welcome! Thank you Liverpool Roller Birds – you’re all ace! For memory here’s a pic of you guys with a red face random Bath skater too!
Liverpool Roller Birds
Well, I was only here for the day! What do I say? Leeds Roller Dolls – blo*dy awesome standard! As usual the team were expecting me and were like “you must be S’Macs” (May I just add at this point Bath – I've introduced myself as S’Macs to all the teams I've played with and that is what they know me as – I love it – I know occasionally you call me S’Macs but it much better than ‘Angie’ – we need to seriously discuss this!) Anyway as per usual really friendly. I knew as soon as they started warming up this was a sh*t hot team. The drills started out OK but my worst nightmare happened – hockey stops (If only I could hockey stop like you Hally ‘Thorne Supremacy'!) Sometimes I randomly pull off a hockey stop like I’m a blinking pro... but the rest of the time I tend to land flat on my a*s! Some skills for derby I pick up immediately others, such as hockey stops, just haven’t worked for me...
Anyway there was a fair amount of time spent on these (eh nehhhh) and then some jamming and blocking drills. I can't tell you enough; this team has been going for about 8 years and it was clearly very evident! The standard was very high! When it came to the jamming drills I was up against one chick (I didn’t catch her name) she was clearly an advanced skater (naturally better than me on wheels) but round about my frame. I thought “OK – She’s better than me on wheels but my asset is my strength which has usually stood me in good stead up against bigger players” (as to be fair I consider myself a relatively strong girl and am happy to take on any person / shape / weight or size – and normally hold my own in such 1-2-1s) Anyway – this girl hit me like I couldn’t believe! Her strength was ridiculous! Imagine combining Hally and Foxy together (for any non Bath derby girls, these are two of the hardest hitting players in our team) – imagine combining them in force – sticking them into my frame and Bob’s your uncle; you have a machine. So blo*dy good and strong it took the wind outta me! I don’t understand to this day how someone can be so mammoth in their strength!? I can only assume she is a yoga / pilates / marshall arts / football / rugby and derby expert all in one!!
This team take on some amazing teams in the UK and it shows what the difference is between this standard and an intermediate standard!!
Generally I held my own (I think!), don’t get me wrong – but it made me realise how a rookie may feel at Bath training. I've never really related to how a rookie must feel when they say "S’Mac Down Angel / Thorne Supremacy / Steg a-Sour / Foxy / Petra Bomb etc etc are scary" – but now I understand this a bit more. It was definitely a level beyond I’m used to! It was great experience and I thoroughly enjoyed the session and it was a class standard!
It's also interesting to see the different dynamics in a team. Having played with a few teams now – Leeds were very lovely and they were all very (as per) welcoming to their session. For example I got talking to one girl who also had a campervan and we compared travel stories etc. Lots of team giggles and usual occasional crude jokes – but generally Leeds were a very calm team compared to other teams Ive been training with… Leeds were not only calm but VERY athletically fit! This is not to say ‘calm’ is better or worse. It's generally an observation how each team all has their own different dynamics and energies yet all have one major thing in common –friendliness and derby love! Their team discipline was also ace.
I left this session exhausted after their endurance drills and other drills involving lots of jamming and blocking drills! Awesome team, brilliant standard and as per very welcoming! With respect to the legends of Leeds Dolls Roller Derby hers’s a pic of you guys with a random Bath intermediate player chucked in for good luck! :)
Leeds Roller Dolls
OK, off to the campsite – 15 miles away....
In summary is was a lovely friendly campsite but 3 very strange things happened here I feel I need to make reference to:
Henry getting in on the action!
For the extended version of Angie's blog head here.
All the historic goings on of Bath Roller Derby!