Blitz Dames Roller Derby Boot Camp

Birmingham Blitz Dames - Birmingham, England's Original All Female Flat Track Roller Derby

Sunday, 21 June 2009

A Head Ref Speaks

Yesterday's Fear and Lothian bout between Auld Reekie and the Blitz Dames was a close, evenly matched event. It was our last bout of the season and my first as Head Ref, and it ended with a somewhat controversial draw of 117 all.

We've had some pretty tough and demanding times at BB*DD of late. Some because we've had the happy stress of about a bout a month during 2009, some because of the expected personnel changes and injuries, some for a wide array of personal reasons. Amid all kinds of busy and a change of venue I was well aware we were doing the best we could, but that it wasn't perfect. But I was hoping everything would go smoothly.

Unfortunately towards the end of the second period a problem with communication regarding scoring was observed. Even more unfortunately the full extent of these problems was not discovered until the period had ended and the scoreboard showed a Blitz victory. A full enquiry has yet to be undertaken, let's hope video footage helps clear up any grey areas to help prevent anything similar happening in future bouts, but it was clear that there was a discrepancy and Auld Reekie had been disadvantaged by this.

The obvious response was an overtime jam, but once the discussions between refs and captains had taken place, the skaters were cooling down and worn out from an hour of play. The Auld Reekie girls seemed quite sure they didn't want to get back on the track. The scores were reasonably close at the end and had been throughout, Auld Reekie we presume were missing points from some of their jammers' passes through the pack, so both sides agreed the fairest outcome would be to declare a draw. It might not be quite how WFTDA rules would have it called, but there was no way I was going to let our guests leave feeling cheated by our mistakes, so I believe this was the best call in a difficult situation.

The thing I'm taking from this is how keen I am to implement the changes that need to be changed, and how I cannot wait to have my second bout to Head Ref and prove how much better we can organise and officiate a bout. Much much derby love to our two visiting referees LRG's Ragged Reaper and ARRG's Ella Bella Bang Bang, who both displayed a fantastic understanding of the game and gelled into a focused team with the BB*DD refs. You both taught me so much, and I'm massively grateful.

I would like to make it absolutely clear that no one at BB*DD would feel any victory in falsely gained points or illegal behaviour, and we do set out to be absolutely fair. We love roller derby and we love being part of this ever growing wonderful community, but it isn't easy to produce and run a bout and, being human, mistakes are made. As Head Ref I want to say a big sorry to anybody who had a disappointing experience and a big thanks to ARRG for coming down and playing so well. Can't wait to see you all at Roll Britannia!

Derby love, Mimey Vice x

Saturday, 13 June 2009

A Savage Journey to the Heart of Roller Derby

So it's only one week since we faced the London Roller Girls and already the next bout is almost upon us.

London Brawling won 249 - 20. A scoreline not dissimilar to the first time we faced each other, but the bouts were miles apart. We have some fearless hitters, LRG have even less fear and even more hit. We have some super sleek, powerful jammers who can weave themselves through tiny spaces between roller girls...until they meet an LRG wall at the front of the pack. We have jammers who look fast and sneaky, until an LRG jammer whooshes past them. We've come such a long way since we first faced LRG on the track last October, but, sadly for us, LRG weren't snoozing in the intervening months either.

BB*DD had an awesome day (and night) of derby in London, and what the scoreboard showed after two chunks of thirty, really was not the most important thing. All of our skaters finished the bout with a massive grin on their face, many proud bruises and aching limbs, and a sense of achievement. We played hard, learned masses, and played as a team; nobody could ask for more than that.

LRG were friendly and helpful hosts. The first bout of the double header, between Leeds Roller Dolls and LRG's B-Team, the Brawl Saints was fantastic. The crowd was amazing, lively and supportive. The fun flowed freely at the after party. Memorable moments as this blitz dame remembers it:

~Correctional Felicity seeming to be an impenetrable wall even without any team mates. What's a word that means more impenetrable than impenetrable?
~Union Jack-U-Up finally getting back on her feet, and being ok, after she'd flipped into the wall and lay shaking on the floor for what seemed like hours.
~Kitty Decapitate and Fox Sake lapping the pack far too quickly. Far too easily.
~Those few happy jams where our jammers made it through the pack and scored some points.
~Realising roller derby has made it as a legitimate sport, when a newly naked man completed his first lap of the pack. Our first streaker!!!!! A naughty man who was properly punished for interfering with play. A very naughty boy who amused many.

Massive respect to LRG for being such an amazing league of skaters and much appreciation for treating us to such fun. <3 <3 <3

Here's to hoping we offer Auld Reekie a similar experience at our last bout of the season. Fun, frolics and fearsome derby action guarranteed at our new home Aston Arena. Tickets available here.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Share the Skate

These have been super busy times for the Blitz Dames. We're all fired up and ready to cause (legitimate and fair) carnage with London Roller Girls which is, eek, tomorrow. Thanks for hosting us, London, here's to a great sportswomanship, excellent entertainment and every Dame coming home knowing they've done their best. Preferably in one piece. Good luck to all skaters and officials. Then a mere two weeks later we're hosting Auld Reekie in our new home Aston Arena. It's boutiful!

We've been lucky to spend time with skaters from other leagues. Last month saw BB*DD sharing a scrimmage with London Rockin Rollers, skating several sessions with Blue Ruin from the Emerald City Roller Girls, and having a training session led by Winona Fighter from the Rocky Mountain Roller Girls

We've picked up new drills, honed old techniques, gained insight on aspects of gameplay and most of all, enjoyed basking in the love of the derby community. It's been amazing for us to meet so many fabulous people in the name of derby. MASSIVE thanks to all the skaters and skate lovers who took part in all of these meetings and made it happen. And big derby love.