Co-Ed with the Undead: TiL Scrimmage 27.04.2013

In my short roller derby career I’ve often found myself asking ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ and last Saturday afternoon was no different as I turned up at The Inhuman League’s mixed Co-ed scrimmage.

I’d had a taste of Co-ed three months earlier at the NRG tournament as line up manager and have, for a while, been keen to take my skating to the next level and earn a place on our own team. As I watched the other skaters warm up, however, I could have been forgiven for feeling a little out of my depth. NRG train mixed sex but you could tell by the atmosphere that something slightly more serious was about to go down.

The rules were simple:

  • Three 30 min periods
  • If you accrued 4 penalties in a period you fouled out for the remainder of that period
  • At the end of each jam the penalty box would clear out allowing for a line up of five in the next jam

I started the first few jams like a rabbit in the headlights overwhelmed more by the rapid pace than any of the hits and, while ordinarily fairly disciplined, was soon in the box for blocking out of play, then soon after that for destruction of pack…

The line up was well managed with everyone seeming to get frequent track time while the breaks in between were a great opportunity to watch some of the UK roller derby greats go head to head; tempers were sometimes heated but it all made for great viewing from the bench and although I had never played alongside a lot of my team, I felt a trust when walling up next to them and also picked up a thing or two about communication during a jam.

In the closing minutes, with the assurance that we probably weren’t going to win I was persuaded to Jam and during that short time I learnt a lot about co-ed roller derby.

Firstly, I had no idea whether it was man, woman or beast hitting me at any given point; you see, skates are a great leveller and an affective and well executed hit is that regardless, something I became all to aware of when I was knocked clean of my feet and whacked my head. This brings me to my other point {fact}, jammers are insane and need to be extremely fit, agile and demonstrate expert skating skills.

A big girl like me can skate into blockers until the cows come home, as I found myself doing when we got a power jam, and I have to admit that I was chuffed with myself the times I took a hit and stayed standing. But co-ed jammers are the best of the best and a truly good jammer can get round a situation, can visualise various possible routes and can avoid those hits and more than anything, a truly good jammer has to be really bloody fit; this I am not and was delighted to see the opposing jammer skating back on to the track as it meant that I could call the whole thing off. Special mention to Boris Wrecker who very kindly pulled me up off the floor once I’d started to regain breath.

All in all an excellent afternoon with very good company and only £5 p.p; The Hillsborough Leisure Centre is a good venue with ample parking and a seated viewing gallery if your team want to come and heckle, I mean, support you.

Speaking of fitness, it’s time for a bit of riverside skating. Did we mention we’re doing a marathon in a few weeks..?

Feartrix Rotter

Photo courtesy of Shirlaine Forrest