Angels vs Angels 18/11/2017

Following on from the madness that was Halloween, we have put our hosting and organising heads to one side and put our travelling wheels on instead.  In the next month we have games travelling both north and south on the A1.  And on Saturday 18th November it was a trip South East(ish) to see our buddies at Hulls Angels for a game that has been WELL overdue.  Our newest member of the squad Furicorn describes the day though her eyes….

So it happened again at the weekend… Another game of roller derby was played!

Pretty much all of the DCRA gang traveled to Hull to take part in an Angels v Angels bout involving Hulls Angels Roller Derby. It was fantastic and it obviously included the traditional pit stop at Wetherby service station.

So after a quick stop at Wetherby where people filled up on coffee and pastries (certain team members were on a sugar ban as they cannot be trusted not to bounce off walls. I’ll leave them nameless for now – you know who you are), we were off on the second half of the drive. I’m told that most of our convey spent the time listening to cheesey hits, singing along manically and dancing in their seats (see why some people aren’t allowed sugar?) so the last hour went by relatively quickly.

Before I knew it, we were about five minutes away from the venue and I began feeling nervous for the first time all day. I was surprised at myself that I’d managed to get that far without that nervous energy creeping in (yay, me!).

I was one of the first of the DCRA lot to arrive so I said a quick “hello” to a few of the Hull girls, scoped out the slipiness of the floor, watched as they laid the track and waited for everyone else to filter in. As more people came into the hall, I forgot all about being nervous. Now don’t get me wrong, I was nervous, but this time is was those excited nerves like the ones you get when you’re about to go on a rollercoaster or do something else of similar absurdness because, let’s just put this out there now – roller derby is absurd. We’re talking about a sport whereby you put wheels on your feet, bash into each other (voluntarily!) until someone falls down and you leave covered in bruises (or in my case very painful scratches from someone’s velcro – think pain like sunburn that bleeds, ouch). Madness!

Truth is, I knew why I had those good, excited nerves and not anxiety ridden nerves this time around – it’s because the whole thing had such a different feel compared to my first game less than a month ago; I was with people I knew, people I’d played with and trained with. I was with my teamies, my friends. It made it so much easier to relax.

So as we all kitted up together, the nerves ebbed completely and I was running on excitement and face paint (thanks, Bam!). We talked strategy and went through the goals we’d come up with for the team to concentrate on; we also set ourselves individual things to work towards (mine was to try and be more aware of what’s going on around me, with the aim to avoid getting too many penalties – I ended up with 3 which ain’t all bad). Before I knew it, it was time to get on track, get warmed up and get a feel for the floor – which turned out to be quite slippy may I add. Once warm up was done, it was off to our bench to have a little pep talk (thanks, Prinny), see what the line-up was looking like, and of course scream the team chant as loud as we possibly could before first whistle.

The first half of the first half of the actual game was… Weird. Everyone seemed disorientated and unsure. We were playing, our jammer was getting out of the pack but, the scoreboard didn’t seem to reflect just how much effort everyone was putting in. I remember looking at the score at one point and thinking “that can’t possibly be right”. Like I said, it was weird. It took us a good fifteen minutes and a word from the bench, to finally find our groove. We pulled together; we communicated more (one of the previosuly discussed team goals), we took charge of where we wanted to be on the track, we put into operation things we’d been drilling in practice (going from a defensive stance to an offensive one, and back again), we were knocking their jammer out and recycling them back, we were bridging and being mindful not to be penalised for destruction of the pack. These are some of the things that made us awesome that day, to name just a few.

The end of the first half came around quickly; everyone took a breather, gathered their thoughts, had another pep talk and discussed what else we could do to improve in the second half. The fifteen minute intermission felt like two and before I knew what was going on, it was time to get back on track.

The second half was fantastic. We were in the zone. We were pumped. We were determined. So much so that we managed to make up a 60 point differential in the space of about fifteen minutes. Our jammers were fast and jammy and our blockers were strong and… blocky; we took on board what our bench had told us and were calling off the jam at just the right time, allowing us to gain points without the opposition getting a pass – exactly what they had been doing to us and making us wonder if we weren’t losing our minds. Our communication was so much better and our wall reformation was fast and on the money. We fought like the warriors we are and had an absolute blast doing it. I’d like to say we won but this time around, the victory went to our namesake and it was very well deserved.

 

Certificates were awarded, (or paper plates in our case!) photos were taken and some of those who didn’t need to make the two and a bit hour trek home right away, went for post derby drinks to go over what had just happened and how next time, we’ll take home a win.

And that was my second game of, what a friend has affectionately coined ‘proper grown up derby’. It was great and I loved every second of it. What’s so great about the whole thing is that everyone was so… Nice. There were no bad feelings between the two teams, we all laughed and hugged once it was over and done with, we said our thanks to the officials and refs (who by the way, are awesome in their own right and no game can take place without them) and we congratulated everyone involved because yeah, it is good to win but – are you ready for the cliche? – it’s the taking part that matters.