“Get up and keep going!”
What they say…
“You have an unnervingly determined game face complete with voodoo stare. If they re-made Live and Let Die you’d be in it!”
– Red Gorevette
Why Derby?(And why CCR?)
A good friend of mine had joined LRR and kept telling me how brilliant roller derby is and what a fantastic time she was having learning how to play. I was intrigued but assumed that it was something that was just happening in That London. My friend then sent me a link to an article in The Guardian about LRR and roller derby. That was when I realised it was happening across the UK and I decided that I just had to try it.
I was immediately impressed by how inclusive roller derby seemed to be. CCR has an open door policy and everyone is welcomed. Unlike a lot of other sports, you aren’t required to have existing playing skills or experience and that makes it more accessible, especially to non-sporty types like me. I loved the fact that I was learning new skills, doing things I never thought I’d be doing and actually being physically active in a way that was FUN and not a tedious chore.
It beats the boredom of going to a gym hands down. Once I’d got into the sport a bit more, I was impressed by the levels of strategy and tactics that go into game-play; it’s definitely a sport that requires you to think and use your brain as well as your body.
My friend sent me a link to the UKRDA site, which helpfully listed contact details for leagues in Birmingham. This led me to eventually turn up to a CCR practice one Sunday morning in March 2010 and I loved it straight away! I had the best welcome from Twisted Mister, and I saw how professionally the practice sessions were being run by coaches like Stevel Knievil, Major Travis T, Rollin’ Rat and Bad Daddy Yan. I learned so much during that first session and I was immediately hooked!
Is there a story behind you name and number?
I’m not a tough cookie type of person and so names with an “Imma Batter You!” kind of theme just didn’t appeal to me. I wanted to have a skate name that made me smile and also sounded like an actual name so that it could become a pseudonym. I roped in some friends and asked for suggestions. Brigitte Wheelson (like Brigitte Nielson but with wheels on – geddit?) was the one that made me laugh the most (apart from a couple of Far Too Rude To Be Used names) and so I chose it. My number was meant to look like a pair of skates to tie in skate wheels with ‘Wheelson’.
Hottest piece of kit?
As a rookie skater, I haven’t splashed out on swanky skates (yet). However, I do find myself drooling over my keyboard as I search the internet for Bont and Antik set-ups! If I had my way (and the moolah), I’d probably go for Bont Hybrid boots, DA 45 plates and my trusty slim profile G-Rods (or maybe Omegas, just for a change!). As it will probably take me several years to save up for that kind of kit, I’d happily settle for the Sure Grip Rebel Invader package as I’ve heard really positive things about it.
The biggest difference I’ve experienced so far was when I got rid of the Cayman wheels that came with my R3s and replaced them with Atom G-Rods (slim profile). Man, I love my G-Rods!
Having had a knee injury, I fervently believe in using the best knee pads you can afford. I’ve tried a few different brands now but the best ones for me have been the 187 Killer Pros. I seriously would never use anything else now (unless an improved version of the Killer Pros came out, obvs)! I also always wear a pink sweatband under my helmet – it helps to stop sweat running into my eyes although sometimes I do seem to be sweating from my actual eyelids – oh the glamour!
And finally, what is your ultimate Derby goal?
I’m a rookie skater and so my goal has always been to develop my skills to a standard where I can make the roster for a CCR team. Currently, I’m looking forward to taking part in the first CCR intraleague game of this season (on November 19th) and I’m really proud to have made it on to the Queens of Steel roster. It’s certainly a roller derby high point for me so far.
Looking forward, I’d like to achieve a permanent intraleague team spot – that’s definitely my next goal. Ultimately, I would love to play for CCR’s travel B team, The Slay Belles. That would be an achievement that I would relish and it’s certainly something that motivates me to keep working hard. I don’t know if I’ll ever get there but I know I’ll gain so much from just trying!