They say it takes a village to raise a child.
In that case, it takes a city to play a game of roller derby.
Here’s some* of what goes on behind the scenes of roller derby, and why the Reserves are so grateful to ARRG roller derby community for helping us on our journey to British Champs playoffs:
1. What’s App
Honestly, you can’t leave your phone for 3 minutes to nip to the loo without some ridiculous, hilarious, heart-warming, emotional or urgent appeal for a missing mouthguard pinging your way via team What’s App chats. Teambuilding. It’s not on track, it’s on app.
2. Families and friends, aka my son’s face when I tried to wash him
You maybe don’t know if you’ve not been up close and personal with a skater or ref, but roller derby really smells. We all do our best to wash our kit, but we train 3 times a week and there will be times where your sweaty wrist guards end up sweltering in your stinky skate bag. So, the people who care about get you back from training smelling like some very old potatoes causally sidled up to you and asked to come home. I tried to wash my wee boy’s hair when I rushed back from training one day. He actually cried, “Can Daddy do it, I don’t want the smell on me”.
I can’t thank my family enough for making it possible for me to play roller derby – they support me, do without me, accept that I need to check forums and write emails, and even ask how training was, knowing that I will tell them, in great detail.
3. Reffing and NSO-ing at training
Maybe sometimes you get to have an evening off scrims, or you get to leave after your group’s session? Nope, not for some! Many of our skaters come on evenings when they don’t have to, or stay later than they need to, just to make sure we keep to the rules, which some of us still fail to do. Thank you, officials, and sorry for keeping you so busy.
When you take on the job of Captain, Vice Captain, Bench or Line up Manager, it comes with a sense of pride and honour at being picked by your teammates. And then you read the to-do list and open the emails…
It’s a given that our leadership team organise travel, accommodation, tactics, training, where we will eat (most importantly), team selection, team development, gameday schedule, “do I have time for a wee?” questions. What you don’t know is that the All Star Reserves’ leadership carry a lifesize version of the whole team on an enormous sheet of paper and display her at different locations to make us feel good and special and part of a wonderful thing. Honestly. Teambuilding. It’s not on track, it’s in the boot of someone’s car being driven to a funny location to have a picture taken.
5. Inters and AS playing against us at training
What’s harder than playing roller derby? Playing roller derby against a team that train together all the time. Kudos to our Intermediate skaters who prove to be amazing opponents for us. And we get the other extreme when our All Stars train against us at scrimmage… They came straight back from D2 playoffs ready to whip us into shape on track. Thank you. I think.
So, coaching. That’s just running a few drills and blowing a whistle, yes? No. It’s mainly working out where the coaching bag is. Like many leagues, ARRG train in numerous locations at various different times. We have people who book these illusive sports halls, plan the training rota, let the league know where they are meant to be, make a training programme, organise the coaches, invent and bring a track-making device. Then we work out (over an assortment of What’s App, email, Messenger, telegram and owls) who has the essential bag of track tape, whistle, bibs and helmet covers. And THEN the coaching begins.
And if we are lucky, once a year, someone will wash the bibs.
*and I haven’t mentioned fundraising and off-skates training and people driving mini-buses and spreadsheets and comms and google docs and pre-game breakfast chat and….
Auld Reekie, you’re so fine.