I’ve recently played in two sur5al tournaments, both co-ed, utterly different from the other, but both immense fun.

Sons of Icarus

Lilley Savage, jammingThis tournament used a few sur5al rounds to grade players for three full length games. Having lost both of our games we played in the bronze game. This worked out well for us; the black team of which we were a part took a strong win over the white team. As a bonus the full length games were captured on video and are available on YouTube. The day was really well organised by Mushiewookie, who I thank for the photos and videos.

The Rolling Dead

This was a “proper” sur5al competition. 75 skaters forming 15 teams. Each team plays every other team once. Whilst points scored by the jammer are recorded, they are not the primary grading system. “Sur5al points” are the main criteria, jammer points coming in to play in event of a tie.

Skateful Dead fielded two teams, coming fifth and fourteenth. We also had Thickin Ted playing for the Hades team. Considering our numbers we were well represented! Our top team consisted Buckingham Malice, Rollerphobia, Hylander, Hellfire Hoskins and Harassing Ford. Our second team was Durbinator, Block Teaser, Pixel Vixen, Dis-Droid and myself.

Lilley Savage, blockingAll members of our team had a go at jamming. I’m always happy to have a go, but quickly felt that I was not the best person for the job. In our first jam, against our first team, I got called on a cut track. In the following jams I got a direction of play penalty and an illegal procedure (bad star pass). I jammed one more time, almost at the insistence of the team – I don’t think that anyone else wanted to do it.

I wasn’t keeping track of how we were doing during the event, though some on our team were. Block Teaser was very competitive. I fear she probably found my ineptitude on track frustrating. Pixel Vixen also had strong opinions on how we should play. They both play at A team level, so they’re doubtless used to having players that can execute a plan. Sorry ladies.

I’ve noted previously that one of the great things about roller derby is that you occasionally get the opportunity to skate with amazing, high level skaters. This event had them in spades. The Rainy City team won every game they played and won the event. Not surprising; they were untouchable on track. Hull’s Angels team also did well, coming fourth.

My takeaways from the day:

  • I have *so* much to learn about the game
  • I seriously need to improve by skate skills
  • We have some damn fine skaters on the team
  • Most roller derby folk are nice people

Footnote: My derby number is 73, not 79 as pictured above. It got lost in translation and I didn’t notice the error until the day before the event.


I feel I should be writing a long piece about all the things I’ve not found time to write about over the past six seven weeks. I’m not going to.

Skateful Dead is a small team, very small. Our players are few and busy, so training sessions are often low numbers. I’m absolutely fine with this, that’s not what this post is about.

We train twice a week, Sunday morning for two and a half hours, Tuesday evening for 90 minutes. In between I train off skates, though not as often as I should. But that’s not what this post is about.

Just recently I’ve had a few sessions where I just felt like stomping out and quitting. This is when I’m jamming and getting completely stuck behind walls and yet others, who are only occasionally there and do nothing between practice, get through. “Why am I so f***ing useless?!”

That’s what this post is about. My poor attitude and how I’ve managed to escape it. On reflection it’s been a few simple things:

  1. Reading Treble Maker’s blog. I like her writing style and I can relate to many of the points that she makes. She also has some great exercises to work on.
  2. The Icarus Sur5al day. I expected to be nervous, but it felt like an opportunity to meet lots of new people. I jammed a few times and I didn’t feel out of place. I even scored a few points and managed to chase down the opposing lead jammer so quickly that she called the jam before scoring points.
  3. I’ve been watching loads of derby on YouTube, specifically the Division One playoffs. In just about every jam the jammer gets stuck, or cuts track/back blocks/gets recycled. If it happens to jammers at that level then I’m definitely going to get stuck.

I still have so much to improve upon, but I’m feeling fine with that now. I just need to train harder :-)