Wow, what a fantastic final home bout of the season. On Saturday 20 October our Chicks took to the track with the Munich Rolling Rebels, who included non-other than the lovely Angua Wheel2far who used to play with LRB!
The Chicks did us all proud, so here’s team captain Devil-Mae Clare to tell us about the hip checks, hugs and everything else from the bout…
I am always nervous on bout days. It doesn’t matter who we are playing or whether it’s home or away. I always feel the nerves in my stomach. I have ways of countering it, I dance to Lady Gaga in my pants, apply my make-up bright and heavy – a mask, war paint if you like. I’m not naturally physically confident (I wasn’t a tomboy as a kid, I didn’t climb trees, I liked dolls, dammit) but roller derby has changed me. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started (I thought Katie and Kelly were taking me to some sort of roller disco) and I struggled to get used to other people being so physically close to me, but then something clicked and I fell in love with it. It’s now a major part of my life, who I am, and I get so excited and proud when I’m rostered.
So this Saturday I had the usual butterflies, but hugs and kisses from my team-mates and league members (and some nice solid hip checks from Mint) get me in the right frame of mind. Because this Saturday was kind of special, the Chicks had voted me Captain (I got to carry the flag!) and it was my first international game – against Munich. Also because I was bouting against Rabea, an ex-LRB skater who had left to play with Munich. She’s one of my derby heroes, she taught me about using our long legs to our advantage and that being tall meant getting lower…. “LOWER, Devil Mae!”
We’ve been training hard, practicing our strategy, going through our plays. We felt quite confident I think, and after the first jam (in which I always skate wildly and without much purpose) all that training suddenly counted, and we knew what we had to do. The first half was a blur, shouting, chasing, absorbing, blocking. Our jammers were brilliant, nimble and fast, clocking up the points. We ended the first half fifty points clear, and Cee-lo said to me, “I just want to break 100”.
After half time, we did just that, keeping our cool, working together, listening to our bench (thank you Atomic and Daria!), and winning 172-100. I felt SO proud when the final whistle went, and we screamed and laughed and hugged each other and all the Munich players. I couldn’t stop smiling, and the flag went round again on a victory lap, while we high-fived the crowd and our lovely opponents. I really do love this sport, and I really love these women. And then….the after-party!
All photos by Pete Sheffield