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We’re very pleased to have now launched our website where we will be posting all our blogs from now on.

Visit our website to read the latest blogs on news, skater opinions and top tips about roller derby.

You can also find out how to get in touch and how to join us.

See you there! >> liverpoolrollerbirds.co.uk

Liverpool Roller Birds - Sisters of Mersey. Photo courtesy of Taut Clothing.

Liverpool Roller Birds – Sisters of Mersey.
Photo courtesy of Taut Clothing.

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Hatchlings’ top reasons to roll

Ask a derby player, in the UK at least, where they first heard of roller derby and quite often you’ll get the same answer. ‘Whip It.’ You know, that film where Kristen Wiig tells Ellen page to ‘put some skates on, be your own hero.’ It’s full of pretty bad-ass girls who talk big and pull some really violent (illegal!) moves. Is that what it’s really like? Er, not really. Does that mean I’m not watching it right this very moment as I write this blog post? Of course not. It’s great. Anyway, you watch it and it gets in your head. ‘Maybe I could do that…’ you start to think and next thing you know you’re at a bout asking one of the players how you can get involved. Well, that’s what happened to me, anyway.

Perhaps you’ve been thinking about joining a fresh meat programme for a while – in which case you’ve probably read a hundred skater perspectives on going through training and endless lists about what to wear and do on your first day. Sure, there are a tonne of blogs out there about being a newbie but that’s important cause everyone’s experience is different.

Maybe you’ve never thought about joining – you might be a long time supporter, you could have read about us on Buzzfeed or perhaps you’ve just seen our amazing contribution to the This Girl Can campaign.

Now, here’s the cool thing – it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you know the rule book back to front or if you only discovered what a jammer is today. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t done any exercise since you were 14 or if none of your friends will come with you or if you have awful balance, because derby is for everyone.

We’re now on a countdown to a new intake so I asked some of my lovely teamies to tell me a little bit about what being a Hatchling (the LRB version of fresh meat) was like for them.

Lisa, Amy, Sophie, Hannah, Lauren, Shelly & Kally

Lynn
‘I had become a bit bored with going to the same old exercise classes and wanted something to get my teeth into. Roller derby is brilliant for that! It’s not easy, especially at first, but we all started from the beginning together and slowly built our skills. There is always something new to learn. You always want to get better at one thing or another. And it’s definitely never boring!’

Lynsey
‘I was nervous about getting back into skating after having a baby, but everyone at Hatchies made me feel so welcome. I am so glad i joined LRB and I have loved every minute of the training so far. The coaches are fantastic and really help you feel confident by going through everything step by step. The Roller Birds are the most amazing bunch of people and I can’t wait to hopefully play for the team one day.’

Lauren D
‘It’s ok if you aren’t coming into the sport with a high level of commitment and an ‘ERMAHGERD #DERBY LIFE’ attitude. I’m almost a year into Hatchies and I still haven’t found my derby name whereas we have girls here who came to their first session already set on their name and number. Yes, for a lot of people derby does become a very large and meaningful part of life but that doesn’t mean you can’t take it slow. You don’t have to worry about inviting roller derby to meet your parents, and we won’t get upset if you’re ‘seeing other sports.’ (We understand if you want to keep your options open, we never agreed to be ‘exclusive’). Roller derby is a difficult (but super fun) sport; it’s not going to be like in P.E. when your science teacher had you in a bib and on the field in five minutes. You’re going to have to spend a lot of time just learning the basics, and that’s totally ok. Take every session as it comes, commiserate with your fellow Hatchies, hell, you can even have a little cry on track if that’s what you need (it happens all the time) but it’ll be worth it. LRB is a fantastic league full of lovely and supportive people so don’t pressure yourself to fall in love right away or try and force yourself through fresh meat as quickly as possible. Go at your own pace, every bird learns to fly in their own time.’

Lynsey, coach Mint, Kate, Bethany, Jem, Ruth and coach Cali Floor'ya

Lynsey, coach Mint, Kate, Bethany, Jem, Ruth and coach Cali Floor’ya

Lauren M
‘Be open minded! As this sport and the people you meet learning/playing it will change how to see yourself in all areas of your life. The people you start with and meet will be your biggest inspiration, your friends and greatest competitors; they will push and pull you through your highs and lows, in and out of the derby world. I promise that you’ll go home after your first session and research everything and anything derby related, compile a skate wish list and want to live and breathe all things derby.’

Rachel
‘Personally, outside of derby I’m super negative – derby is my positive space and that’s sliding into my every day life too. I had a bit of a rubbish time earlier in the year and derby was something to focus on instead of the things that were happening elsewhere. Even though I didn’t speak to anyone in the league about what happened, I know people would support me if I wanted to let it out. Derby also gave me the confidence to apply to study for a degree – I have the confidence to take risks now. When I needed someone to help the help was offered; everyone is so friendly and supportive. If I cry at training there’s always someone there to build me back up so I can get my head back to the game. Derby’s not about fishnets and brawls any more. As cliche as it sounds I feel like we’re the Addams Family of the sporting world – we’re kooky and cool and we all stick together.’

You might have noticed how many of our team mention enthusiasm and friendship as some of the best things about joining LRB. Recently Vicky asked the rest of the Hatchies if anyone was up for doing a skate half marathon and she was amazed by the response:
‘I honestly didn’t think anyone would be that keen when I put up the link but my team are amazing. I am going to go for it and challenge myself to do the full one in May next year! All the Hatchie love and support has made me look forward to it even more.’

Rebecca gave us her top tips:
‘Buy lots of plasters, don’t drink too much water or you’ll puke and when someone tells you to get lower, get lower.’

And last but not least, Jo said ‘remember, safety is sexy!’

Hatchies supporting the Birds at a home bout

If you like what you’ve read why not come along and see what really goes on at Hatchies? Our next open days are 15th August and 12th September before the next intake in October, send us an email on hello@liverpoolrollerbirds.co.uk to get all the details!

These Girls Can

Over the past few months you may have noticed a new campaign taking off. It’s called This Girl Can. All of a sudden it was all over the TV and the internet…and we loved it.

Their aim is to inspire women to forget any fear of judgement and just go for it. It is a celebration of active women who are doing their thing, no matter how they look or how red their face gets. No matter if they succeed straight away or take a thousand tries. It’s about teamwork, it’s about chasing your dreams and it’s about being yourself. In short – it’s pretty much what LRB stands for. On their website there’s loads of information about all different types of sports and it’s great to see a page on roller derby and how to get involved, wherever you are.

Of course, we had to get involved, and once we did it was time to choose a representative who embodied the ethos of both This Girl Can and LRB. A-team blocker extraordinaire and all-round fab league member Pops was an obvious choice – and having seen the video and billboards, we’re super glad she agreed!

pops1

Pops’ billboard in Walton

As an ambassador for TGC, Pops was interviewed and filmed in action at training. In the space of 3 minutes, I think Pops managed to summarize a lot of important things about roller derby and hopefully dispel some preconceptions. It’s not a violent sport. Sure, there’s contact, but it doesn’t have to be scary. It takes a lot to learn to let yourself fall over again as an adult, but once you do that’s half the fun.

Of course, roller derby is a team sport, so it’s not just Pops that features in the video. As members of LRB, we’ve always thought our team was pretty special. There is a great family vibe and it’s a place you can make friends for life. I think the number of smiles on Pops’ video sums up the general consensus of being involved in such a fun sport.

On Tuesday morning Cali Floor’ya was invited onto BBC Radio Merseyside’s breakfast show to have a chat with Tony Snell about the This Girl Can campaign and how important it is to our team. You can still listen to it on catch up and Cali appears from 50 minutes in.

pops2

Pops #767 for This Girl Can

Here at LRB we’re lucky to have found a way of keeping fit that we absolutely love, and maybe roller derby is a sport you would love too. OK, maybe I’m biased because LRB is my team, but I dare you to watch Pops’ video and not want to get involved.

Charity Partners: What have our Birds been up to for Macmillan?

In April we announced our charity partner for 2015 would be Macmillan Cancer Support. Ever since then our members have been up to all manner of exciting, daring and fun challenges, trying to raise as much as possible.

To kick everything off and get to know us, Lisa and Carl from Macmillan came to see us bout. Then Lisa chatted to us at our league meeting, giving us lots of ideas of how we could get involved.

Inspired by Macmillan’s Brave the Shave campaign, Harleen BringsHell immediately signed up to shave half of her head! Si from Si’s Barbershop brought his barber’s chair down on bout day and shaved not only Harleen’s head, but everyone else’s who volunteered and donated on the day! Harleen raised an enormous £541.66 for Macmillan. She choose to support the charity because they mean so much to her family. Harleen lost her mother-in-law to breast cancer and told us, “[Macmillan] were a fantastic support to her during her illness and right until the end as we were so far away. My mum was also diagnosed last year, and thankfully is on the road to recovery, but knowing that such a fantastic organisation exists is a comfort.”

The lovely Harleen post-shave

As well as countless skaters who braved the shave on the day, Killa Mandjaro’s son, Thomas, who had been growing his hair for years, had the whole lot shaved off! Our youngest volunteer was seven year old Daisy who was super excited about joining in and looked really cool with her under-cut afterwards.

Daisy

Next up was Spinderella, who ran Liverpool’s Spring 10k in Sefton Park. I asked her why she chose Macmillan and I think the last sentence perfectly puts into words how a lot of people feel about fundraising for a charity like them: “I chose to run a 10k because it seemed like a challenge – but an achievable one, and it would have the added bonus of helping my fitness for roller derby. It was fantastic to run for Macmillan because they were a brilliant support for my dad and uncle when they were ill. It’s hard to repay that, but every penny helps.”

Spinderella

Last week Lula Bruise donned her swimming cap and took part in the Dee Mile race. With a water temperature of approximately 14 degrees, Lula said she thought this would be a great challenge because she loves wild swimming. Like so many of our fundraisers Lula lost someone close to her to cancer and said of Macmillan, “They aim to ensure that nobody faces cancer alone and also lobby for better cancer care, so definitely a cause worth supporting.”

Lula Bruise

Lula Bruise

All these fundraisers have been incredible so far.  Next up it’s Button Doom’s turn: she’s running the Liverpool Rock’n’Roll half marathon on Sunday 14th June and we’ll be out there supporting her by Princes Park Gates at the Macmillan cheer point. Button said, “Last year my mum was diagnosed with cancer and has fortunately made a full recovery – I want to help make a difference to people who are less fortunate and need more care and support from these wonderful nurses.” Button also bigged up her teamies, saying, “I skate for the Liverpool Roller Birds and Macmillan are our partnership charity for this year, so many of the girls are doing as much as they can to raise money for this excellent cause.”

Later in the year a whole gang of our Birdies (and some friends and family) are taking part in the Adrenaline Rush endurance obstacle course in Manchester.  This event directly benefits Macmillian with 25% of the entry fee going to the charity, and the participants are going to be raising even more between now and then through sponsorship. If you want to get involved there’s still time to sign up!

So far having Macmillan as our charity partner has been awesome. The support we’ve received from friends and fans has been phenomenal and Macmillan have been there cheering us on every step of the way. In return, on Sunday 14th June, we’ll be cheering on Lisa (Macmillan) in the Rock’n’Roll Marathon, alongside our own Button Doom. Come along and join us if you’re free and help us say thanks to Macmillan for being fab!

The following pages are still active on JustGiving if you haven’t got around to donating yet but still want to:

Harleen’s Head Shave

Spinderella’s 10k

Lula’s Dee Mile

Button’s Half Marathon

Countdown to Bout Day!

There’s just a week left until our first home bout of the year at Greenbank Sports Academy so if you haven’t bought a ticket yet, what are you waiting for?

So, what’s coming up on the day? Of course there’s the main attraction – two bouts between four amazing teams. First up our Sisters of Mersey are taking on Dundee Roller Girls and after that Bruising Banditas and Furness Firecrackers will battle it out in the second game of the day.


Sisters of Mersey Captain Maggie Murder and Vice Captain Grace Bones

Sisters of Mersey Captain Maggie Murder and Vice Captain Grace Bones

Our brand spanking new charity partners Macmillan will be there raising money and getting their first taste of derby action, and maybe some cake from Button’s Bakehouse too. Yellow Shovemarines skater Harleen BringsHell will be getting part of her head shaved by Si from Si’s Barbershop as part of the Macmillan Shave or Style campaign. If you’re feeling like a Brave Shaver he’ll be there all day so you can too! If you’re not feeling so daring you can sponsor Harleen on her JustGiving page or donate on the day.

button's carrot cake

Carrot Cake from Button’s Bakehouse

Aside from the delicious looking carrot cake, Button’s Bakehouse are bringing a whole host of other goodies including gluten free and vegan cakes, so nobody has to miss out.

As always, there will be a raffle on the day with some great prizes up for grabs including a signed football from Everton in the Community, a signed Jamie Carragher shirt from his 23 Foundation and a Hornby Flying Scotsman train set from Hattons Model Railways. Make sure you pick up a ticket if you fancy getting your hands on any of it!

everton football

Signed Everton football

jamie carragher shirt

Signed Jamie Carragher Liverpool shirt

If you fancy a bit of bout day shopping LRB will be selling merch on the day so get yourself a t-shirt and cheer on the Birds in style. For the skaters amongst you, Grandslam Skates will be on hand if you fancy treating yourself to any new kit. Fyrefly Gems will also be there selling some gorgeous jewellery.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your skates on and buy your tickets now!

Macmillan – our Charity Partner of the Year 2015

We are very excited to announce that this year our charity partner is Macmillan Cancer Support. Every year, LRB members nominate and then vote for charities we would like to partner with, and this year Macmillan won with an overwhelming 50% of the votes. While so many of the charities nominated were really worthy causes, the results of the vote show just how many people cancer can affect, and how many of us would like to make a difference.

(From left to right) Louisa Walmsley, Emma Wolfe, Lisa Wild and Gillian Wilson, from Macmillan Cancer Support in Cheshire & Merseyside.

(From left to right) Louisa Walmsley, Emma Wolfe, Lisa Wild and Gillian Wilson, from Macmillan Cancer Support in Cheshire & Merseyside.

Macmillan work not only with cancer patients, but with all those affected by it; family, carers and friends. On top of tirelessly working to support so many people, Macmillan are great advocates for equality and keen promoters of women’s causes. Many of their campaigns focus on valuable, consistent care for all, regardless of age, gender, social status, or anything else for that matter.

The aim of Macmillan to ‘ensure nobody faces cancer alone’ is definitely something that resonates with our team.

We are proud of the way our skaters support and care for each other – sometimes through tough times.

Skaters hugging

Supporting each other is really important in our team. Image by Sakura.

When we told Lisa Wild from Macmillan Cancer Support in Cheshire & Merseyside that they’d been chosen as our charity of the year, this is what she had to say;

“What lovely news to come back to after the Easter break! We’re really excited to have been chosen as the Liverpool Roller Birds’ charity for 2015, I have a really good feeling this will be an excellent partnership for both of us.

We’ll be at your game on 9 May to offer our support! Thanks for choosing to support Macmillan, I look forward to meeting the Roller Birds.”

Cub, our Community Outreach Officer told us:

“A number of charities were nominated by LRB league members to be considered for a Community Outreach Partnership in 2015. All of the causes were really worthwhile and, as the person liaising with these charities in the initial stages, it was tough letting the unsuccessful ones know we’d decided to go with someone else this time. I hope that we will work with many of them in the future.

Macmillan Cancer Support captured the imagination of our league members by engaging with us via social media and recognising our similar ethos and values. This includes a shared passion for health and wellbeing and the promotion of equality and inclusion.

Sadly over the years, a number of our members and have been affected by cancer. While we are all really excited going forward in this new partnership, there’s definitely some poignancy to partnering with Macmillan too. We are looking forward to making a difference in our local community; continuing to support our own members; as well as reaching out to new audiences through working with our new partner, Macmillan.”

Macmillan will have a stall at our home game on Saturday 9 May, so why not pop down to say hello, watch some great roller derby and learn a little bit more about this fantastic charity?

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British Championships

This month we’re getting really excited as we plan our first home game of the season. This is a big one for us as it’s the first British Championships game we’ve hosted. See the blog post about our game against the Halifax Bruising Banditas and wonder what the British Champs were all about? Well you’re in the right place to find out.

The British Roller Derby Championships is the biggest roller derby interleague tournament in the whole of Europe and our A-Team, Sisters of Mersey, are taking part. This year there are 72 teams from all over the UK taking part and they’ve been split into four tiers according to ranking. Throughout the year, there are double header bout days at everyone’s home venues, which is why you haven’t seen us on track at Greenbank just yet!

Back in 2012, the British Champs started out as a much smaller roller derby tournament with just 6 teams taking part. Over the next couple of years, the tournament doubled and doubled again, with 24 teams taking part in what was known as the 2014 Heartland Series. 2015 is the first year the tournament has been known as the British Champs and we are thrilled to be a part of UK derby history!

Interleague Coordinator Bobby Mean told me that last summer we got a message from the British Champs asking us if we’d like to participate and of course we said yes! She told me ‘We’re super excited to be involved in the first British Champs. It’s an amazing opportunity for us to play against some brilliant teams and stretch and challenge us. So far we’ve loved being part of the Champs and we’re really looking forward to the rest of our games.’

Atomic Hittin’, Sisters of Mersey’s coach, agreed with Bobby about what a fantastic challenge this season would be. She said ‘I think the British Champs is giving us a great opportunity to play against great teams we have not had the chance to play before like Sheffield Steel Roller Girls and Furness Firecrackers. We do not always get to play teams of a similar ranking so this will definitely push us to work harder and achieve more this season.’

Liverpool Roller Birds are part of T3 Regional North which means we’ll play each of the other 5 teams in our division once during the season with the aim of moving up a tier. Our first home bout is 9th May and we’ll take on Dundee Roller Girls after Halifax Bruising Banditas go up against Furness Firecrackers. Tickets went on sale today so head over to our Facebook and make sure you don’t miss out!

Psst…if you can’t wait until May, don’t forget LRB are taking on the Furness Firecrackers at The Thunderdome on April 26th – and it’s free!