September 22nd my old team took on my new team.

I was pleased to not be playing in the end, and announced it with Natalie “Germaine Leer” Boxall instead. It was ace. We did pretty well actually.

The bout was epic. Panda broke her leg, Rocky bust her face, Terri graffiti’d her shoulder, and we all got drunk afterward.

Scores were:

Whippin Hinnies 133 – 50 MMR B team

Canny Belters 94 – 189 MMR A team


RIP Jimmy

My granddad died last weekend. I spent a lot of my childhood in his tender/health and safety conscious care.

Main memories of Jimmy include him dressing as Santa for the school Christmas do; letting me and my big sis spray bats with water-filled washing-up-liquid bottles; and letting us watch Deliverance when we were around 7 and 10-years-old.

Granddad used to sing songs with me, write me letters when I was a radio presenter, and offer me cups of lemonade to dip Rich Tea fingers in. He was a genuine gent, always laughing, always complimenting, and always trying to help people out.

He suffered a stroke five years ago and had to move out of the home he’d lived in all of his adult life to spend the remainder of his days in a care home in Middlesbrough. It killed him as an independent man to have to be cared for.

I won’t lie, I found it hard to visit him in that state, and relied a lot on my friends (Boxall, you’re a treasure) to come with me. I would show him photos and videos of what I was up to, explain away two failed engagements, several house moves, and then force crafted crap on him because he COULDN’T SAY NO.

At his funeral my dad gave a speech (Jimmy was my mums dad) about how in his final years in the home, granddad would sit in the rooms of those that were dying, and keep them company when they were alone. Even when he lost the ability to talk and walk, he never lost his gift of selflessness.

Although I can only hope to have people say such things about me when I’m gone, it was honestly an honour to be his granddaughter, and I’ll try my damn best to do him proud in everything I do.

In the words of my mum though, he’s gone now, we’ve said goodbye, and it’s time to carry on with our own lives. RIP Granddad. I wish you could have seen me skate.

Update on the ol’ teeth.

Went to the dentist – he asked me to quit roller derby. I told him I have, he said that was good and what would I fill my time with now? I said “Boxing”. I don’t think he gets my sense of humour.

He said the second knock didn’t put me back too far, took x-rays, and said that a year of NOT BEING HIT IN THE FACE should help to get them back to normal. Really good news.

Going full circle

This weekend I reffed my old team, the MMR.

Yeah, we have a bout with them in two weeks, but they realise my attention span is *kittens* so I was given the thumbs up to come along. Skated the first half with them, then worked on some one-footed-transitions with Mike and then played refs with him and Rick. Two of the nicest refs you’ll ever meet.

I made some dubious calls, including one slightly over zealous cut-track-major, but chatted it out, realised my mistake and fixed it with the skater.

Reffing other teams is the future. I said “I’M NEW” when I got there, so they didn’t expect much… and then I got to practice saying numbers of skaters I didn’t know (thank you to the girls for sharpie-ing their arms for me).

Really starting to find my voice after the Helsinki bootcamp. Am taking on some advice from Cherry Fury about practicing the arm signals so much that whenever you say the penalty you automatically do the gesture. Hopefully that will kick my habit of doing “back block” hands for EVERY GOD DAMN CALL I DO.

Helclinki my Heldrinki in Helsinki!

Ok, quick re-cap. Last week was all about prep. Friday would see a taxi turn up at my house at 4am to take me, Terri, Ella and Noteyoung to the airport along with Brie and Danger (who we would meet there). We had a 6am flight to catch for Amsterdam, with a quick transfer over to a flight bound for Helsinki.

I’d planned in packing time. I’d planned in leg waxing. I’d even planned in a quick trip to the chiropractor.

What actually happened was I spent most of the week playing on my phone, watching DVDs and drinking hot chocolate, meaning that when Wednesday night came around (by which point in my plan I should have been packed, and had a totally clean house), I still hadn’t got a suitcase to put things in, my pads were still damp from the washing machine, and I was starting to panic.

Then I got the face hits, and it all went a bit WRONG… but not for long.

I believe in karma, I believe in fate, and this weekend I learnt to believe in the roller derby magic.

Thursday I finished work, went home, cleaned the spare room up, started packing, and before I knew it Terri, Ella and Noteyoung were at mine, drinking wine and trying to get on the wifi. I finished getting ready, watched some derby videos, and then we headed to bed.

Friday, did the flights, had fun, got to Helsinki and were met getting off the airport bus by one of Helsinki’s ref-squad, FatRat. Lovely guy. He walked us to our hotel and switched me from the Sunday Advanced derby bootcamp to the reffing bootcamp. DERBY MAGIC. Then we ate Reindeer pizza.

Saturday I joined in with as much of the beginner and intermediate skating as I could, and took notes when I couldn’t skate, then watched USA v Sweden and USA v Finland. Then we partied.

Sunday REF BOOTCAMP. I went to register and was told I could have 160 Euros back since I wasn’t skating today. DERBY MAGIC AGAIN.

I spent the day sat in a room with a load of other folk in different levels of reffing. Some had reffed the bout the day before, others were newer than me. Led by Cherry Fury we went through some basics, workshopped some plays and calls, and then we got our kit on and reffed the scrim (involving Team USA MOTHER-LOVER!!)

I need to work on not grinning constantly, but seeing the girls get points on Bonnie Thunders *that’s right isn’t it Terri Sue-Dron?* just couldn’t help but smile like a Cheshire Cat.

Loved reffing, did some calls, celebrated with the fellow zebras, and then spent the next day squeeling every time a new ref added me on Facebook.

Back to training tonight. WFTDA Manual is ordered and en route to me. I am taking this  so so seriously. If I can’t be the highest scoring jammer, I’m gonna be the best damn ref in the world.