DCRA never seem to have a quiet month and May was a particularly busy one for us; we played our first game in the 2018 British Champs T4WN; we marched and waved our rainbow flags at Durham Pride AND we hosted our first ever Rookie Scrim. New recruits to the Angels are like buses – nothing for ages and then 6 (!!) come at once!
Pavlovs Dodge started with us back in September 2017, and progressed very quickly to our ‘big girls’ sessions on Thursdays and Sundays. Pav brings a huge amount of determination to every session, and her Jammer Focus Face is pretty much the best in the business!
Hezzabelle Lecter skated in a previous life – no seriously! After 4 years off skates, she contacted DCRA at the beginning of 2018 to ask if we wanted refs. But then after one session back on wheels, the stripes have been put on ice and she is well and truly back in the game.
Here are their accounts on the preparations for their first Rookie Scrim:
Back in August 2017, I was sat in my office chatting to a colleague about whether or not I was brave enough to go with her to a “Learn to Play Roller Derby” session. It was something I had looked into before, but as the kind of person who would run away from the ball in football and would volunteer to be “deep fielder” during rounders (because, who can really hit the ball that far), I was convinced it would be far too scary for little old me. session. But when that message came back that a place was reserved for me, I was so unbelievably excited. I had not long returned to work after having my second child and I realised that I did absolutely nothing for me. Nothing. And everything I did do, I had at least one child with me. This was something for me. Something children weren’t allowed to do and something my husband couldn’t tag along to as DCRA are a women only league (although he has since decided he might like to find a men’s team he can join!). I felt ready to unleash my inner badass.
When the day came and we both strapped on a pair of skates, some borrowed kit, I set off like bambi on ice. Little did we know that 8 months later we would be competing against each other in our first Rookie Scrim!! During the months leading up to that scrim I trained as much as I could. There were things I felt I picked up so easily and things that felt impossible. Backwards skating was my nemesis and I spent many a training session facing “anti-derby” and not bloody moving! Oh, and jumping. Oh my God, that jumping! Jumping over nothing I could do. Jumping over the lines painted on the floor I could do. Jumping over those bricks, something I could actually fall over, and my feet just would not come off the floor. But over time, and with the help and support of the Durham City Rolling Angels and my fellow Cherubs, I passed my minimum skills and was “scrim ready” (not exactly the words I would have chosen!).
So the day came. Thursday 31st May 2018. I hadn’t felt too worried over the week leading up to it. It was just for fun. It was a rookie scrim so we would all (hopefully) be as bad as each other. But sat there in the hall, getting my skates on and watching the Angels, off-skates and in NSO-grey, loading score boards and lining up a penalty bench, the adrenaline hit. I don’t know if it was excitement or terror but I didn’t have much time to think about it as Clairey Psycho did the loudest whistle I have ever heard and called “skaters on track”. There were 6 of us from DCRA, three from Durham Roller Derby, and three from Newcastle Roller Girls. We were split into teams and it was then that I realised the person I had been contemplating joining with all those months ago, the now aptly named Cherry Snakebite, and I would be playing against each other.
I would love to be able to tell you all the ins and outs of the game but it went by so quickly! When the whistle blew for half-time it felt like we had been on track for about 10 minutes and when the full-time whistle blew I was not ready for it to end. What I can tell you though, is that it felt AWESOME. Awesome to finally play, awesome to not feel like I played absolutely rubbish, awesome to see the grins on the faces of all the players and officials there that day, awesome to be able to put all that training into practice. Regardless of the final score (we won BTW, which also felt awesome), everyone on track that day did an amazing job, as did all the Angels who were there off skates (who I’m sure were desperate to be on skates).
So to any of you reading this who are nearly or newly mins passed, and stressed to death at the thought of your first scrim, it really isn’t as bad as you think it will be. Go for it and have all the funs. And to those of you reading this who aren’t sure if derby is for you, give it a try – you’ll probably surprise yourself, get fitter, and make an awesome group of friends along the way.
And to all of you lot at Durham City Rolling Angels… When can we do it again???
Lorraine, AKA “Pavlov’s Dodge”
We’ve wobbled our way around track and put literal blood, sweat and tears into acquiring our minimum skills. Having passed the last few loose ends of them only a week prior, this was now IT! The rookie scrim! The cherry popper! An actual game! For reals!