Yesterday, as part of my education in learning how to play roller derby, I went to watch a few bouts at North Bridge Leisure Centre in Halifax. Two local British teams were playing against two French teams from Paris. Having watched way too many YouTube videos of the French on inline skates I imagined that they would be just as crazy on quads. I was surprised!
Chatting before the bout I found out that Hot Wheel Roller Derby take the game seriously. Their coach (Jerry Attric) is apparently damn good. They don’t use toe stops so they all learn to t-stop/plough stop. HWRD took an early lead and by the end of the first period they’d extended that to quite a margin. At the start of the second period Paris Rollergirls drew level, due, I think (I wasn’t keep score) to very speedy Kozmic Bruise.
I had read the rule book over the past few days, now I was seeing it in action. Understanding why a lead jammer would want to call off a jam, seeing blockers clear the way for their jammer to pass through. It starts to make sense.
It also changed my perception of the sport. It was a rough and tumble clash of girls beating each other up. One girl got caught in the face by an opponents hand, quite by accident. That was it. The game was really quite civilised. Would the mens bout be the same?
After a short break the men’s bout started. I had been told that these are generally a faster pace than women’s bouts. I expected teeth and blood. It was perhaps a little faster, and some of the hits looked harder. I also got the impression that the men fell more, during and after blocks there seemed to be at least one person lose balance and fall.
In both bouts I struggled to follow all of the penalties, something that I suppose I’ll pick up with experience. One of Panam Squad had a major hissy fit at being given a penalty. A timeout followed and then, I think, he got sent out of the bout.
Beat Monkey seemed to be the main jammer for The Inhuman League. Quite pleased with that ’cause he looked skinnier than me – there may be hope for me in the sport :-)
Poupa Test was a popular player for Panam Squad – the audience chanting every time he came on.
The bout was owned by The Inhuman League, they lead from the start and finished with a lead of about 100 points. It might have been expected that the audience would have sided with the local teams. Not so. Every time Panam Squad had the lead jammer there was a cheer. A really good atmosphere, both off and on the rink.
I really enjoyed the event. There were stalls selling skate gear, jewellery, stickers and badges. The announcers (El Toupee and King Crazy) were entertaining and explained what was going on. Looking forward to being on the rink in future :-)