CCR join ‘Wheels4Wheelz’ initiative with new charity partnership

Words by Rachel Abbott

General pictureDo you remember what it felt like when you first put on that pair of stinky hire kit skates for the first time? Of course you do. For me, that was about 10 months ago. If you ask newbie skaters like myself to describe what that felt like, you’re likely to hear words like “bambi” “clumsy” “foreign” “out of control”. We weren’t born with wheels strapped to our legs, so naturally learning to use them is a completely alien concept; one that requires good coaching, hours of practice, and the right equipment.

There’s also the long term, experienced skaters who, after injury, find themselves having to re-train their body back to using their wheels. This can be a very frustrating and long process, as one skater told me: “When I broke my leg, after the initial shock had worn off and reality set in, I very much doubted my ability to walk let alone get back on skates again. I felt like a huge part of my life had just been taken away from me – not just roller derby but an active lifestyle. I watched practices and games and ended up just crying from frustration.”

MalachiAs part of our exciting plans for 2015, Central City Rollergirls have decided to support a national charity that also operates in our local area of Birmingham. Whizz-Kidz provide a range of mobility equipment to children with disabilities, to give them independence at home, at school and at play. They also provide wheelchair skills training delivered by a wheelchair user, Ambassador clubs support by volunteers. There is one of these clubs operating monthly in Birmingham.

Did you know that there are an estimated 70,000 disabled children struggling to get a wheelchair that meets all their needs? When I spoke with Vicki Rowles from Whizz-Kidz, she explained to me how the standard NHS wheelchairs are often limiting, uncomfortable and often don’t adapt to the child as they grow – this can cause frustration, and pain for them, as their equipment doesn’t meet their needs. It also can impact on their ability to socialise or take part in sport – heavy manual wheelchairs need a carer to push them – which can be a bit of an issue if you’re 16 and want to hang out with your friends! It would be akin to a skater wearing skates that were the wrong size and shape for your foot; they’d most likely hurt – and they wouldn’t suit your needs.

The wheelchair training is also a key element – they teach the children and young people how to use their manual wheelchairs, or how to operate their electric ones, or even a purpose built sports chair. Can you imagine how much harder it would have been to learn/pass your minimum skills without the support of a coach? How would you have nailed those transitions? What about laterals? These skills are fundamental to skating, as wheelchair skills are so important to these young people, whose mobility is restricted.

We value our wheels, and the mobility they give us. We know that others, like the young people supported by Whizz-Kidz, do not always have the right wheels, which limits their opportunities. Here are a few of the initial ways that Central City Rollergirls are supporting Whizz-Kidz throughout 2015:

  • Collection buckets at our games – so dig out that spare change and do something good;
  • Free entry to CCR games for young people supported by Whizz-Kidz;
  • Promotion of the great work done by Whizz-Kidz.

We really appreciate any help that our fans and supporters can give to help us contribute to the work of Whizz-Kidz – whether its financially, donating a raffle prize or anything else, everything is gratefully received.

Our next game will be on 29th March at Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre and more details can be found here.

Information on disabled access at the venue can be found here.

If you’d like to find out more about the work that Whizz-Kidz do, please visit


Officials Countdown to Dallas

refsWords by Sleaze

When I opened an email on 23 March saying: “Congratulations!! You have been selected to referee at the Blood & Thunder Roller Derby World Cup” I assumed there had been a mistake.

I had only applied as a joke to wind up Ratty, and had spent the month running up to the crew emails going out keeping my fingers crossed that Ed would get picked and we could start fundraising to help him make the trip.

When we all got in it pretty much blew my mind. On 5 April, Me, Ratty and Metal Ed announced to the world that we had been picked… and the fundraising began.

We asked what people would like to see us do to raise money, some said they wanted us to do things that scared us but most people wanted to see Ed do burlesque. Much as we asked him to (and God did we ask him to – repeatedly) he refused to take his clothes off. He also refused to let me cut his hair for money too. Spoil sport.

Our fundraising list began in a pub, in which we discussed ways that we could NEARLY DIE but not quite. We came up with walking on fire, Europe’s longest zipwire, zorbing and a suggestion about being launched into sea which made me grimace. We added in things people had suggested: we wash their pads (urgh no), we train their ref crew (yes!), we have a wet t shirt competition (this was purely aimed at Ed) and we do a ref role reversal game (ah-ma-zing!). And we started setting out to see which ones we could do.

Refs - All the SleazeWe started with some ref training. Crews from around the country messaged us with their situation, I wrote up catered training plans to their needs and then we drove to them to give face-to-face training, ref scrims, test them and give them feedback and encouragement.  First up was Wiltshire, then Leicester, then Cambridge then Nottingham and Wales. Met some absolute stars, got to have real in depth chats about fears, initiators, rules and progressing through the ranks. We also ate lots of meals at service stations and I nearly killed us by falling asleep at the wheel once. (Sorry mum).

Refs - BubblesThen we decided to walk on water. Ok, it was in a zorb, but still.  It wasn’t anywhere near as easy as I expected. Trav and stubble joined us, we climbed into giant inflatable bubbles and then ran around on what was basically a large pond, attached to strings so that we didn’t drift too far away. I ran aground several times, we all ran out of air at the end and one person suffered an over-extended thumb *cough* stubble *cough* but the entire thing was actually quite pleasant. MORE DANGER NEXT TIME we decided.

Refs - ZipSleazeSo we opted for Europe’s longest zip wire. MY ULTIMATE FEAR. Skew, Anton and Trav joined us. The wire was a mile long and they said you can hit 80mph on average. I HIT 92. My mum and dad came because I was certain I would die and I wanted to tell them I loved them before I did. Didn’t die. Raised some funds. I still feel sick thinking about this. LESS DANGER NEXT TIME we decided.

Next up was the referee role reversal. Organised by CCR’s Boots Manuva, the event involved refs from across Europe taking to the track and skaters paying to don stripes and ref them. Refs - JamRatI opted out because I’m not insane. I did however make the incredible art work for the FB event. So I think that counts. Oh and I bench managed Team 2.2.2. Spectators could suggest rules to be added to the game, and three of these were adapted to the WFTDA rules for each half. My favourite? Jazz hands needed to get lead. Never before have I heard so many people shout to the Dad of all refs (LRG’s Duncan Disorderly) “JAZZ HANDS DUNCAN”. Priceless. Oh and the outfits were a thing to behold, if you missed it, check out the pictures here. We had one concussion (Sorry Skew!) and Duncan’s arm fell off again. Looking at it you wouldn’t believe that it raised over £650 for us would you? Refs - JamEdCrackers fun. That’s ENOUGH DANGER FOR NOW we decided.

Coming full circle, we decided to finish how we began. Seven months of fundraising fun later and we headed to Plymouth for the final bit of referee training. A sad moment until we met that daft lot and had a barrel of laughs with them. They tried the hellahard test, then we taught them some tricks of the trade and refereed their session. Lovely finish to what has been a whirlwind year.Refs - Rattys Classroom

And here we are. Just under a month before the World Cup. Twenty-five days before we catch our flights and head off into the sunset. And OH MY GOD are we ready.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our fund altogether we have raised over £2,500 – you guys are amazing. That money goes towards our travel and accommodation while we are there. We can’t thank you enough for being so bloody generous. And thank you to everyone helped us and supported us whether emotionally or physically as we got ourselves ready for the biggest game of our lives. We will not let you down. Refs - SleazeSmack

You can still donate via this link to help get our officials to Dallas for the World Cup in December.

Photo’s Courtesy of Floyd King Photography or Sleaze’s own.

You can catch some of our officials in action at home in CCR’s upcoming match up against Kallio Rolling Rainbow on November 22nd. More details on the Facebook event here.

Ref vs Ref: It’ll all end in tears… or sweaty hugs.

refsBe afraid… be very afraid… This weekend sees something we don’t believe Roller Derby has ever seen before. A role reversal where skaters take on skating official roles and referees take to the track. That’s right, I know, I know this is mental…you were totally justified in just spitting out your tea over your laptop/smartphone in disbelief.

We continue our #officialsweek celebrations by bringing to you a once in a lifetime event where we get to see our referee crew go head to head on track and battle it out for the ‘not the world cup, cup’ in order to raise funds for CCR referees making their way to Dallas later this year to officiate the Roller Derby World Cup…. and they are really getting into the swing of things too! Facebook smack talk has been rife leading up to the event with the two teams (named after their favourite rules, duh – they are referees) facing off…

As Yvel (Team 1.3.2) pointed out, “I don’t need smack talk, we’ve got the skills to put Shref on his butt and make him admire ours.

Team 2.2.2 did not take those comments lying down and soon dropped some bombs of their own,,, “Ratty’s chances of winning are about as small as he is! *mic drop* (Ed, Team 2.2.2).

What could it all mean? Is this a coded threat? Has the competition sent Ratty insane?

What could it all mean? Is this a coded threat? Has the competition sent Ratty insane?

Then, something that nobody could have predicted happened. Ratty (team captain of 1.3.2) left a bizarre coded message to silence his opposition…

To get to the bottom of this eiree threat, join us tomorrow to see how the day unfolds:

  • The day opens with a co-ed mixed scrim after doors open at 1pm, first whistle at 2pm, referee role reversal game at 4pm.
  • Advanced (and reduced) ticket sales are available online until 2pm on 03/10/14 from here. Limited available on the door.
  • Location: Doug Ellis Sports Centre, Perry Barr, B42 2SY.
  • More details on the Facebook event here.
  • If you can’t attend the event you can follow our tweet cast from @The_CCR

Following this event, the next time CCR takes to their home track will be October 25th where they host a one day tournament. More information on that here.

Photo courtesy of Floyd King Photography