CCR represent at Mens Roller Derby World Cup

As the sun rises on Thursday 21st July, three of Central City Rollergirls’ finest will take their places on the world stage as they represent at the 2nd Men’s Roller Derby World Cup. Twenty one teams from around the world will travel from their home countries to Calgary, Canada to compete in the 4 day event. Central City Rollergirls will be watching closely and cheering loudly as Head Coach illBilly, Line Up Manager James Brown and referree Rollin’ Rat all make the trip over the pond. We caught up with them before they jetted off to find out about their preparations and plans.

Illbilly has been Head Coach at CCR for 2 seasons and will be travelling with Team England as a skater. This will be Billy’s second World Cup.

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How have you prepared for the World Cup?
Billy: Recently I have been trying to take it day by day and game by game due the amount of things happening and training sessions going on and I have found it quite beneficial to keep stress levels down and keep focused on the jobs in hand. Our team is looking incredibly strong and ready and I have a huge amount of confidence in what we can achieve this year. The real preparation has been the countless months training on the track and off it to be ready for the Men’s World Cup 2016.

How do you keep your tummy happy and energy up on tournament weekends?
Billy: I follow quite a strict routine at competitions like these. I will make sure I have healthy carbohydrate rich food throughout the weekend. I will have my last meal three hours before the game and maybe have a small energy supplement or jelly like snack at half time but often don’t eat anything until afterwards. I just stay hydrated with small sips of water because there is nothing worse than drinking to much liquid when you are working really hard. Afterwards I will eat almost immediately with the option of protein shake type supplement.

What are you most looking forward to about the World Cup?
Billy: Skating with my team mates, my brothers in arms is something I really enjoy. Standing up on the track at the world cup and singing your national anthem is one of the best ways to get hyped up ready to play. It’s a feeling like no other. Also I’m looking forward to meeting new people and seeing good friends.

Do you have any post-tournament touristy plans?
Billy: There is a Native American festival called the Calgary Stampede and I’m hoping to catch the closing day! Also I like going swimming so might find a lake or a river to go and swim in maybe and I’ll try hit the roller disco or two.

What’s your favourite Canadian thing or person?
Billy: I love maple syrup and that Sum41 song fat lip was pretty good. Maybe I could see an ice hockey game while I’m there too!

James Brown has been Line Up Manager at CCR (under the moniker Rick Rosster) for almost 2 seasons, as well as walking the boards as an announcer the length and breadth of the country. This weekend you’ll be hearing more of James’ dulcet tones as he announces online and trackside.

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How have you prepared for the World Cup?
JB: I’ve been checking out the international teams Facebook pages etc and have tried to take care of my voice as per some instructions from a speech and language therapist I’m friendly with. Oh and I’ve announced some Tier 1 Mens British Championship games that has quite a few representatives of the national teams (particularly European ones)

How do you keep your tummy happy and energy up on tournament weekends?
JB: I don’t really bother with breakfast but usually bring something for lunch like a sandwich or salad if Boots Manuva (Helen) has made it and try to scav a bit of water.

What are you most looking forward to about the World Cup?
JB: I’d like to announce a game Illbilly is playing in and hopefully I’ll get a sticker for my clipboard (I have low expectations).

Do you have any post-tournament touristy plans?
JB: Looking to go to Edmonton to see the mall that has a water park and a cinema and a nightclub and a comedy club and a casino in, with any luck I’ll pick up some nice trainers there. Also the Olympic park and Banff to see the Rockies and some baseball batting cages are on the list too.

What is your favourite Canadian thing or person?
JB: I think my favourite Canadian person is Michael J Fox, back to the future, secret of my success and all that, kinda speaks for itself don’t it. A special mention goes out to Bret Hart and Justin Bieber, I have a Justin Bieber impression that I do.


Rollin’ Rat is a highly experienced and long established referee and has officiated at CCR for 7 years. This will be Ratty’s third World Cup, as he previously officiated in the first Men’s World Cup in 2014 held in his home town Birmingham and at the Women’s 2014 World Cup in Dallas.

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How have you prepared for the World Cup?
Ratty: I have been refereeing as much as possible at games around the UK as well as regularly attending CCR scrimmage sessions since the turn of the year. I have also been lucky enough to be able to referee very high levels of game play at The European Smackdown 2016, 2016 A Skate Odyssey and also at Beach Brawl in Miami. I feel it is very important to prepare as best as possible prior to a tournament to get you in the mindset and your body ready for high level games which is why I also train outside of skating either at home or at the gym.

How do you keep your tummy happy and energy up on tournament weekends?
Ratty: I am probably the worst for eating the right things prior to a tournament or during a tournament. I am trying to eat more healthily but I can’t help that I love a good pie. I try and eat protein bars and snack bars on game day and make sure I take on water (I don’t like water). I am also likely to have a bag of jerky in my kit bag.

What are you most looking forward to about the World Cup?
Ratty: I can’t wait to see how the teams have grown and to see how the level of game play has changed across the world since the Men’s World Cup in Birmingham. I am also looking forward to seeing some of my derby family again.

Do you have any post-tournament touristy plans?
Ratty: While I am in Calgary I am going to try and see some of the sights and fit in as much as possible around what looks like a busy derby schedule. After the tournament I will be flying down to Vegas to attend RollerCon where I will be attending as an Official as well as a Player which I am really excited about. I am sure there will be a casino or two visited.

Following RollerCon I will be flying over to New York for a couple of days that will have nothing to do with Derby which is a novelty when it comes to my travels. I am really excited that this entire trip I will be travelling with my Wife “Verry Cherry” who will also be playing at RollerCon so hopefully we can get to play on the same or opposite teams.

Tinch: What is your favourite Canadian thing or person?
Ratty: I will probably have to say Michael J Fox as he was in some of my favourite films. Back to the Future Trilogy and Teen Wolf.

CCR are very proud and excited to follow their progress over the weekend. You can read more about it here http://mrdwc.com/calgary2016/

Photos courtesy of Floyd King Derby Photography and Phil Seymour Photography

 

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Captain’s Log: New Beginnings

3 Tinchy Slyder

CCR’s 2013/14 season was epic in the truest sense of the word. A shift to our season dates meant that the season ran for 18 months bar a couple of week’s respite over Christmas. That’s 228 practices or 106, 704 hours on skates together. See what I mean? EPIC.

This epicness in itself brings challenges. This many hours spent with the same 30 or so people. The inevitable burnout and fatigue. The natural peaks and troughs in performance at different points in the season, for different skaters. Life. The one outside of skating. Getting in the way as it often likes to do. A lot happens in 18 months in our wheel-less worlds.

I was considering the highlights of the season, but my goldfish memory doesn’t even seem to take me back to the days of the early season. So I’m focusing my thoughts on more recent highlights.

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The first that springs to mind is the Skate Odyssey tournament, hosted in May 2014 in Gent, Belgium. We finished the tournament in 4th position having played several challenging games. The most prominent in my memory was a closely fought match-up against the tournament hosts Gent Go Go. It was one of those down-to-the-wire games, decided, literally, in the last minute. CCR had dug deep to claw out of a 50 point deficit to gain advantage in the last quarter of the game.  With a long, heart-pounding, vein-popping minute to go we watched as Gent claimed back the lead that had been so dramatically chased by both teams in the 60 minutes. Gent ultimately took the points and went on to the final against Paris. Although we lost that game, the tournament did a lot for our team. Our second tournament abroad, and one in which learned a lot about team dynamics, mental game, maintaining focus and building tournament routines. Stuff we can most definitely take with us into our new season. Other things learnt in Belgium РBelgian waffles are pretty darn tasty and coach drivers are heroes (thank you to the coach driver who found my phone on a patch of grass and looked after it for me).

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Another highlight of the season was a little closer to home. Our season-closer against Kallio Rolling Rainbow in November 2014. Again, a game decided in the last jam (we like a bit of drama) and again, a game we lost to a narrow points differential. But that narrow score line was important for us against a team we found physically challenging. We’d previously faced Kallio at Skate Odyssey in a game to decide the 3rd/4th placed team. Kallio had taken a convincing 162 – 109 win on that occasion. The closer score this time round was a sign that we had achieved some of our team objectives, to build strong walls that could withstand hard hitters.

Funny that the highlights for me were both games we lost. We know we fought hard for every point, and we left both games with a kit bag full of ideas for how to move forward.

So, moving into our new, this time shorter (phew), season what do we have to look forward to? Well, there’s the not so small matter of the British Champs. Having been placed in the Premier Tier, we’ve got lots of challenging games ahead against the likes of Glasgow, ARRG, Middlesborough, Tiger Bay and Rainy City. There’s no doubt that these are going to be some of our toughest games to date. We have several trips planned across the channel and lots of visiting teams to host.With a very full calendar and some busy weekends ahead it’s more important than ever for us maintain our focus and teamwork.

And the challenges? The biggest that comes to mind isn’t one on track, or about our opponents. It’s the sad departure of our long-time and much-respected coach Barry Fight. He’s been with CCR since it’s early inception – 7 years of hard work, dedication and bizarre outfits. Now he’s off to be awesome on 2 wheels instead of 8 as he pursues a developing sporting carer in cycling (he’s pretty darn good at it too). To fill his shoes we welcome 2 excellent coaches to our ranks IllBilly (of Southern Discomfort and Men’s Team England) and Super Nashwan (of the Crash Test Brummies). We’re looking forward to a new coaching structure and wish Barry all the best in his pursuit of awesomeness.

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I’m excited to take over captaincy of the A Team as we start a fresh season with fresh coaches and ideas. It’s all new for me, for our coaches and for the team. But we’re in it together.

Photos courtesy of Floyd King

International Level Up!

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:-

imageSATURDAY
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.

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SUNDAY
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.

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MONDAY
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.