The Ups and Downs of Derby Bouts

April 17th, 2018 by RiskyGalore

By Curse of the Black Pearl :: The Powerhouse Jammer extraordinaire from our BattleStars

It’s 15:30 in Brussels and the sun is shining outside. But the BattleStars don’t notice, they have other more pressing matters on hand. There are 6 minutes left on the period clock and they just went down to only 6 players. This is their third game in 2 days, and they are exhausted, but hungry for every point. With only 6 players the only one that gets a rest is the jammer once every couple jams. Sweating and high on adrenaline, they’re trying to keep their focus as they stand on track waiting for what will probably be one of the last jams of this game and of the weekend.

But let’s start at the beginning.  // A bit over 24 hours earlier…

We are on our way to Namur, 3 BattleStars and one coach in the car. We’re discussing tactics, who will play in which position and the possible outcomes of the game. The floor of the venue in Namur is known for it’s slipperiness, so we’re already changing our wheels to the softest we have (or could borrow from our league mates).

Passing by Brussels the nerves are starting to kick in. After Namur we will head straight for Brussels to bed and rise early to play two more games. With the Daylight savings we’ll miss one hour of much needed sleep..

Once we arrived at the venue in Namur, an ambulance with flashing sirens is at the entrance, clearly for a derby player inside. While my teamies and I waited outside by the waterside in the setting sun, our coaches went in to find out what had happened…

As always during the warm up everyone is getting excited and nervous. We chat and joke while running, jumping, hitting and doing butt lifts. Then we go get our gear on – the coaches decided to give us extra “glitter” time based on previous experiences. I wouldn’t say it’s more important than the on track warm up or the skate out but… Well let’s just say it’s part of my bout routine.. As is stuffing myself with sugars right before the game. If you see a half eaten banana lying around, it’s probably mine.

Pivots were very much needed in the Namur game! photo cred David Van Elslande

The floor is very slippery indeed, but I’m prepared so it should be manageable.
And I was right, it was manageable. But damn, what a hard game it was. The BattleStars had a lot of unlucky injuries and other circumstances which made our usual roster of 15 quickly plummet down to 9 players. Luckily Miss Painfully Honest, a league mate, was willing to help us out this weekend. So we managed to get it up to 10 for this game.
Namur was obviously the stronger team, and even with a full roster it would have been a tough game. We fought, but we weren’t an oiled machine like Namur was. It was hard to keep our spirits up, especially when one of us got injured and had to be taken to the hospital and 2 others fouled out. End score: 364 – 51.
Defeated but our minds already set on the 2 other games the next day, we left straight for Brussels for a well deserved rest.

I woke up, not having had the rest I badly wanted, but glad I used my last energy of the previous night to hang out my gear to dry (also sprayed with disinfectant, very proud). I packed and got ready for day 2.

A different venue, a different floor. This one is much stickier then the one in Namur, but we’re used to training on sticky floors. We’re all still a bit battered from yesterday and we are now with 8 players. But as soon as we start we off skates warm up (outside in the sun!) we are getting excited again. A new day, new chances and we only have 2 more games to go! We knew that Antwerp was going to be a tough game, but no one got injured and our teamwork had already improved so much! Final score: 192 – 46.

Trying to read the track vs Antwerp Roller Derby ✯ One Love Roller Dolls B team. Photo cred :: Camille Langlois

Game face vs Rolling Zombie Dolls. Photo cred :: Camille Langlois

Because of our loss against Antwerp we played Tournai. I recognised a lot of skaters from the scrimmage we had about a year ago. This was the final game, still growing while playing against Antwerp (and with shower beers already in sight) we went in full force. Time to push out that last bit of energy we had in us. I enjoyed this game the most. It felt like we were a complete different team compared to that first game in Namur. We were holding the jammer, giving offence, getting lead and scoring (efficient) points. We lost a player to an injury and to a foul out in the last 10 minutes, but even with 6 we kept on going. The result: 155 – 97.

To my big surprise I barely had any muscle ache on Monday. Apparently 2 days is already enough for your body to adapt, thinking “This is my life now”.

So nice to have supporters at an away game!

But after a couple of days rest it was time to look ahead and start thinking of what to improve. With only 3 weeks until our next game against Breda and only 2 team trainings it was time to prioritise. We practised reforming our tripods and working on our jammer-offense communication, the newest additions to the team had to get accustomed to us and our tactics. 3 days before our game we played a scrimmage against each other to practise our lines. We feel confident about Sunday after that, might we have a chance of winning?

Game day. The BattleStars haven’t played Suck City in several years, we didn’t really know what to expect. They (unlike us), have been playing with each other for a while so they probably know each other much better. Getting ready (in the most amazing dressing room I’ve seen in a while), there is a great vibe. We have almost twice the amount of players as in Brussels and we’re full of energy. Caticorn (our mascotte) is looking down on us, obviously pleased. The coaches give us the last instructions – remember your tripod, always be aware of the jammer! and we’re off.

What a different game to the ones in Belgium. We’re playing like we’ve known each other for months.

The blockers are holding the jammer off, while the jammers get lead after lead. And when they don’t they break out right after the other jammer and still manage to score some points. Halfway through the game, we hear some familiar voices cheering from the crowd. The All Stars came to Breda straight after their training to support us! Time for us to show off!

The final score: 313 – 77

I immensely enjoyed our games, some more than others. As a jammer it’s amazing when you’re scoring all the points, but when you’re stuck behind that wall seconds seem to become hours. But the feeling when you’re speeding through the turns and hitting the wall full force – there’s nothing like it. That with the amazing group of people that derby consists off, that will support through all your ups and downs..  and the ups and downs of scores too! What’s not to love?

Now to get ourselves back to practice and ready for the next HOME GAME on the 6th of MAY!

Thank you for hosting us Suck City Rock ‘n Roller Dolls!

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