December 2014 will see Dallas, Texas play host to the next installment of the Blood & Thunder Roller Derby World Cup. Rollergirls around the world have been training hard in preparation for many an athletes dream – a position on their national squad and a chance to represent their country on a global scale. Tinchy Slider recently took the plunge and applied for one such position and talks us through her scary-but-awesome weekend in her tryouts diary below:-
I’m pretty excited. It’s fair to say that I have a limited range of emotions – 4 to be exact. I’m not quite a robot, but if robots had DNA, I’m pretty sure we’d share a few strands. Today my face is showing a mix of 2 emotions – pretty darn excited and utter state of panic. Incidentally, this is not dissimilar to my jamming face.
Tonight I travel to Dublin to take part in Team Ireland tryouts. I have a Ryanair approved skate bag containing all of my tryout essentials – skate kit, black and white scrimm tops and enough bagels and sachets of porridge to feed all of the passengers crammed onto the flight.
But before I take off, there’s the matter of Defend the Palace – Glasgow Roller Derby v. LRG Brawl Saints and Tiger Bay Brawlers v. LRG London Brawling. Two amazing games. It may mean a late night flight before tryouts, but this was a game I didn’t want to miss. Inspiring stuff to take with me for tomorrow’s trials.
It’s early doors for the CCR hopefuls. We successfully navigated our way to the hotel last night after a few tours of the Naas Road, and finally got our heads down at 1am.
Joining me today for our 7am wake up call are my CCR teamies, Agent Dana Scurry (in an off skates capacity, thanks to an injury) and Kat Fight’her. We wolf down some breakfast on the go – porridge out of a mug for me – and make our way to the National Basketball Centre, our home for the day.
Kat and I are allocated respectively to team white and black; no security blanket of a familiar face on our line ups. We start the day with a section on footwork – stops, turns, stepping, weaving and jumping.
This is quickly followed by some blocking drills – push the plough, push the backwards skater, 1:1 blocking, pairs blocking. Endurance is up next – 50 laps in 10 minutes as a pack.
No hanging around, as we’re swiftly ushered into some walls drills, firstly without a jammer then with. The day is organised with the precision of a Gotham power jam.
A quick pitstop for lunch and we’re back to it. It’s scrimmage time! Firstly, some offense / defense work then full on scrimmage. It’s challenging but fun. I got to work with lots of new people and share in some new strategy. What a lovely bunch!
We head back to the hotel, quickly shower and then head out to meet a friend for dinner and replenish our depleted fuel stores. We opt for an early night with a thought for our 4am alarm call tomorrow morning.
Wow, I’m TIRED. We board our 6:30am flight, sweaty kit in tow. I’m heading straight to work when we land. It’s worth it though. I had a great derby day and met some fantastic folk. It was totally different to my expectations. With high competition for a few spots, I expected tryouts to be a little bit more, well, cut-throat. Sabotage, panty-hogging and the like. Somewhere between the Hunger Games and X Factor. But everyone was supportive and encouraged each other. Lots of derby love.
And now we wait. In just over a week we’ll all be checking our emails, pressing refresh repeatedly in the hope that we get that ‘congratulations’ email. There was some great talent on show and selecting the final 32 training squad skaters is going to be a tough call for the coaches. This is gonna be a LONG week.
1 WEEK LATER – ANNOUNCEMENT DAY
At 5pm today we find out if we’ve secured one of those illustrious training squad spots. It’s been a slow week, peppered with hopefulness and self-doubt.
4:59 and I press refresh on my emails. 5:01 refresh, 5:05 refresh. My heart sinks. Surely this is a bad sign. 5:07 refresh…New email! “Thanks for trying out for Team Ireland. We would like to congratulate you on being selected to join the 32 skater Team Ireland training squad”! I do a little jump and fist pump the air, text my nearest and dearest and beam for the rest of the day. More good news – team mate Dana Scurry also made the cut. DOUBLE WIN! Can’t wait to start training – exciting times ahead!
Big high fives go to all skaters who tried out for their national teams, CCR are very proud to currently have four such talents within their league. AND this is on top of our awesome NSO and ref crew who are often successful in their applications to officiate some of the events where these teams get to lock horns! A HUGE good luck for one of our coaches, illBilly, representing England in this weekends Men’s Roller Derby World Cup and all the teams and officials about to bring the awesome to Birmingham.