... they call me Rocky ... sometimes.
also you could call me Ella
I skate for the Middlesbrough Milk Rollers
So having a bit of spare time over Christmas let me think back about 2012 and how much time me and my buds have spent of it on the road for derby.
A quick add up tells me we’ve travelled 1,844 miles to WATCH derby and 6,238 miles to PLAY derby this year (that’s not including the Bootcamp in Helsinki!) If that’s not an obsession I don’t know what is!
Here’s to 2013, watch out world - MMR are coming!
So it’s almost bootcamp time again, I’m sure Sk8 Heaven isn’t going to come close to how amazing the Team USA bootcamp was last month but I’ve actually gotten really excited to go. Not really so excited for the learning (although that is always the good stuff), but it feels like it’s going to be a nice derby holiday… kinda what I need at the moment.
I did some sort of weird twisty knee fall in my last jam when we played NRG last month and since then (and after falling on it again at training) it’s been dodgy. So since we’ve got a kind of downtime thing - sorry Prepseason… (that’s what we’re calling it) going on at MMR right now I’ve decided to take a few sessions off skates to rest up and hope that it heals (I know knees are funny buggers so I want to treat it nice).
I’ll be strapping skates on again come Saturday for the bootcamp so I think that’s adding to the excitement, since it’s probably the longest time I haven’t skated since I first started playing derby (almost) 2 years ago… crazy!
In other awesome news our new uniform is almost ready from Queens of The Sin Bin, cannot wait to get to wear these on track!
Damn you downtime… sorry Prepseason, I need more bouts to look forward to please!
So Helsinki was amazing, I was a massive fangirl the whole time, I learnt some awesome skills, got to skate with amazing people and some familiar faces and got up to some antics in the meantime.
I’ll try and sum it up as short and sweet as I can, lets cram 6 days down into concentrated goodness…
Stay at Von Sleaze’s (beautiful house) and give ourselves sore arms with the Powerball challenge
DO NOT like getting up at 3am. Valium is STRONG, acts within 15minutes and makes me a floppy Ella as we board the plane to Amsterdam, not before I wolf down a £5 sausage sandwich. Flight isn’t as bad as I imagined, made a lot better with a free sandwich and tea.
Security to transfer through Amsterdam takes mega long, running late -we have a 7 minute walk to get to our gate - we do it in 3 minutes like a bunch of BAWses.
Second flight, valium not so strong - distracted by another sandwich. Steal a sick bag and Coffee creamer for one of Moose’s presents. Land in Helsinki.
Steal a load of panflets at the airport, consider taking the elevator tour of Helsinki… lol yep that’s a real thing!
Get bus to Helsinki centre, get off bus - immediately bump into Pat Rat (a ref from Helsinki Roller Derby) who recognises that we play Roller Derby and so kindly offers to show us where our hotel is!
We then realise we’re at the wrong hotel… (bless him, he did apologise and there are 2 of the same hotels) so we wander around and find it round the corner- paired with a sexy looking pizza place. Eat some Reindeer on a Pizza. Boom.
Drop our stuff at the hotel then go find a supermarket for foods and then go wander and see the streets of Helsinki, end up in a local Karaoke bar then decide to get an early night.
Waking up feeling like we hadn’t slept! But it didn’t matter we were about to go get taught by TEAM USA!!! Get on tram to Pasilla, apparently we don’t pay for public transport there because we got away with a free ride… we get off and we have no idea where we are. After 5 minutes we spot some Team Finland players who show us to the bus stop, Swede Hurt and Mad Malooney (Team Sweden) walk past, then Stefanie Mainey (Team England) turns up so quite a bit of Roller Derby huddled around one bus stop already and we hadn’t even got to the bootcamp yet!
Bus pulls up (which from now on be referred to as the ‘Bus of Dreams’) and I look into the window casually when who do I see looking back? ONLY FRIGGING JUKE BOXX!! So I had a little hyperventilation session and climb on the bus, the USA spotting marathon began.
Queue up and get signed in by Smarty Pants, Suzy Hotrod wrote on my arm (no big deal, whatevs… okay so we kind of squee’d just a little bit) then went down to test the floor. Floor was amazing, grippy as.
Photo credit: Marko Niemelä (http://www.facebook.com/punkmarkophotos)
Drills started with the beginner’s session. Went over the basics, stride, then Agility, then blocking then we ended the day with Suzy and Wild Berry Punch’s session which was partly off skates. They started to put the track down and that was it, skates off time - get ready to do all the viewing.
We see some more Brits at the game including our superfaves Tiger Bay Brawlers <3
The game was saweeeet, crazy agile moves and the team really demonstrated why they are so amazing. Plus we got THE BEST seats in the house, suicide seats by the team Bench.
Afterparty = funny as, we weren’t drunk but proceded to act like we were. Looking like Team USA superfans it was dance like an idiot time and Terri was imediately up the stripper pole displaying her core strength by flipping around. We also made Sleaze go up there which made some entertaining viewing, not to mention AWESOME pictures. We then attempted to get some sleep before the next day of bootcamp.
Up and feeling less achey, had to buy water. Bought water (4 euros!!!) = realised it was fizzy. Massive disappointment. Damn carbonated devil water! Got on the the bus of dreams again, more Team USA along for the ride YAY!
See more Brits on track yay. We start intermediate while the track is getting torn up/put back down. I start the day by crashing into an NSO whiteboard at speed in front of everyone… not my best move.
We get on to the good drills, after a few hours take ourselves away for lunch. We go be fangirls and ask Suzy for a photo. Never had a bigger smile on a photo for realz. Make notes on drills from the balcony and try to
evesdrop accidentally overhear juicy Team USA knowledge in the cafe.
Back to drills, kick it up with Advanced - make more notes. Flagging, need energy - eat some glucose tablets. Get ready for scrimmage. THIS IS WHY WE’RE HERE.
Photo credit: Marko Niemelä (http://www.facebook.com/punkmarkophotos)
Sneakily put my black top on so I can go in a group with Terri and Mills, get split up anyway. I’m on track 2 with the crap tape, great. Meh I don’t care THIS IS AMAZING. I see Andracula in my group, good times. Against some TBB awesome. Team USA starts to disperse into groups. I see V Diva on the other team, wow she’s gonna be hard to get past. Donna Matrix comes over to the black team, YES GOTHAM. Suzy comes over in a white top. Wait, yes…?
Everything goes really fast. First time jamming, schoolboy error - let the other jammer score points. CRAP WHY did I do that? Buster Cheatin comes over and tells me about it. MEH *I DON’T NORMALLY DO THAT I PROMISE!!!* I nod, yes I completely agree *CRAP CRAP CRAP* Okay lets do better next time.
Got Lead, got points, got Addy Rawls Point = WIN.
Got Lead, got points, got Suzy’s Point = YAYYY!
YES I’ll jam again, all of the jamming. Varla Vendetta just did wicked offence for me. Okay now I’m getting battered still, I’m really tired- keep going. AHHH THIS IS AWESOME ANYWAY!
Come off track buzzing. Everyone puts their hands in. Justin Campoy gives us some posters, Dot goes on a signing spree. Take kit off. Don’t want this to end. We have 3 minutes to get out of the hall. Now I’ll go slower. MASSIVE HIGH.
Go back, get showered and ready. Go get food, chatted up by chef. Daquiris! Henrys pub, singing loud - make Brie cringe. Try to go to The Vatican night club to party like a Roman - not open. Lame. Karaoke bar it is. LIVING ON A PRAYERRRRR. LOOSE = dirty rock club. Afterparty type antics; handstands, pile ons, gun shows, lapdance… the locals ask to take pictures. NO. LONG DRINKS. SCHNOBLIKOFF. They must really like the Beatles here. Sleep.
Hanging a bit. Lets go rent bikes! Okay first lets get food. Okay first lets get ready. Find needle cap and a stash of HEROIN in our room. FEEL DIRTY. Ew ew ew ew. Okay food. Memphis bar, Terri’s on the cocktails again. FOOOD. Okay it’s raining, no bikes. BOAT RIDE! Attempt to find the Port to meet the rest of the girls. Fail at navigation. Find out there’s more than one port. Awkward cross-language conversation with Taxi driver. Overpriced Taxi. FLEA MARKET! Wow there’s lots of dead animals here. Find a fox. Find a bear! Pay 50cents to pee. BOAT RIDE. Sleepy.
NAP NAP NAP.
Lets go watch the England bout! Netbooks, check. Free Wifi, check. CHICKEN WINGS. SHNOBLIKOFF. Awesome game. WE SPOT MOOSE!
MMR ARE COMING”
More Shnoblikoff, Karaoke! WHY IS EVERYTHING CLOSING EARLY? Don’t want to leave. Party at the hotel, popcorn! Sleep.
I don’t want to leaaaave! NRG come up with a word game giving us such gems as “HEL-CLINKI, HEL-THINKI, HEL-WINKI, HEL-KINKY…” You see where I’m going with this.
Airport check in. Can of Spam (energy drink) explodes in my suitcase. DRIPPING, EVERYWHERE. Buy reindeer and sweets in duty free. Shop full of Moomins, cray!
To Amsterdam. Free Sandwich YES! THE MOST ANNOYING CHILD IN THE WORLD SITS BEHIND US. SCREAMS AT THE RATE OF 10000000000 DECIBELS FOR THE ENTIRE DESCENT. Valium helps. Consider giving the child some. Landed Amsterdam.
To Newcastle, read the in flight magazine for the 4th time, more snacks. Land, back on home soil. Sleaze pursuades us not to end the holiday and we go for
Lesbian Lebanese food. It’s AMAZING, I like eating Lezbanese. Now holiday has to end…
Drive home to Boro was long, partly because we took the sceneic route, mostly because we got lost. Was nice to be home but I wasn’t looking forward to unpacking my kit… #HELSTINKI
Good people, lovely place, Best times. #Heldrinki
“Queens of the North”, hey not my expression - it’s just what it says on my certificate for WINNING THE GREAT YORKSHIRE SHOWDOWN!!!
Okay I may still be a tad excited despite my immune system crashing on Sunday and being ill off work from the whole weekend. Let me start from the beginning…
We set off in the Moosemobile at 7am on Saturday morning, we were the first team to arrive so we went to the changing room and dumped our stuff so we could go for a mooch around. Soon enough the rest of the team arrived and e got the waivers out of the way and had a sit down while the track was being put down.
Soon enough it was time for our off skates warm up, the team got together and went for a nice brisk car park jog!
When we got on track for our first game against the LRD Whip Its I was nervous as usual but I trusted my line up and I knew we could do it. Our status on the European Roller Derby Ranking System and Euroderby.org put us below the Whip Its, and actually below everyone in the tournament - so nobody was expecting anything from us except what we expected from ourselves.
Derby Data Europe (http://derbydataeurope.wordpress.com/) had figured out the algorithms from previous scores and our predicted score was 100 : 94 to the Whip Its.
My blockers helped me pull Lead Jammer out of the bag and despite their blockers giving our jammers a hard time we started as we meant to go on by closing on MMR 91 - 25 Whip Its. We were excited and pleased with the result but knew our performance was a little off from what we knew we could do, we made some mistakes and we knew what they were. So in debrief we discussed how we would take on our next game.
It wasn’t long before we were back on track against Glasgow Maiden Grr-ders and not knowing a great deal about them we were a little anxious to get the first jam out of the way. This time I was jamming the second line up, something new for me and Lolly was the first to put some points on the board for MMR with her Matrix moves.
I got on track and immediately looked at their blockers and knew they’d be giving me some trouble with that wall of theirs, surely enough it was bloody hard!
We were predicted 112 : 200 to Glasgow B from the rankings so we were pleased to see when we started putting more points on the board. Our blockers did an amazing job, including a Gotham type display during a powerjam against us when they managed to keep the jammer on her initial pass for almost 2 minutes scoring 0 points and Lolly managed to creep out of the box and score a sneaky 4.
MMR got our stuff together and ended the bout on 75 : 24 Glasgow B.
We were through to the Finals!! And had about 3 hours to wait… and then the exhaustion set in. This was MMR’s first tournament with our new team so we weren’t used to the aches about to come our way. Moose whipped out the Neurofen and that sorted my back ache for a while but one thing that bugged me all day was that I couldn’t eat because I was so nervous! I managed to chomp down a few mouthfuls of bagel and pasta, a low fat chocolate bar and some sports beans all day. I hate having my stomach grumbling before practice so it was even more annoying before a bout.
My nerves were a bit less mental for the final, strangely. We were up against Hot Wheels and our predicted Score was 100 : 187 to Hot Wheels. Moose was on first to jam and again she made sure MMR were the first to put points on the board. My first jam wasn’t as sucessful, coming up against Hot Wheels strong wall and big hitters I was still figuring out how to approach them to get through. We carried on pushing and by the end of the first half we were up by about 20 points at least (I forget how many it actually was! hectic!).
Shortly after returning for the second half penalty trouble hit, with only paying 12 players for each game we were getting tired and it was starting to show as Hot Wheels clawed at the differential and gained the lead. The mood started to get negative on the bench, I was sat there waiting to jam next and I heard the crowd starting to chant.
“MMR MMR MMR…”
I looked over at my line up and in a well and truly cheesy Mighty ducks moment started chanting away, the bench joined in and the mood immediately changed back to the one we needed - We weren’t about to give up without a fight.
We got the scores more or less level and with only a few minutes to go on the period clock - it could have gone either way BUT we found ourselves without anyof our main jammers able to go on to jam. I was poodling in hopes of clearing my 3 minors before the clock run out. We were all in penalty trouble and put Gunpowder Dot on to jam… now never in a bout has this ever happened in my recollection.
That last jam saw Dot get sent off for a major track cut, then Ruthless Philly of Hot Wheels spectacular Apex Jump got cut short by Frodo and she switched the powerjam as she got called for an Arial Block. Dot returned to the track illegally switching the powerjam again and as if we didn’t have enough drama in that 2 minutes Philly exited the box before being released and another penalty was issued. As both jammers had to serve their time the jam was called AND THAT WAS IT. I heard the final whistle go, looked at the score board and time seemed to stand still as my head couldn’t calculate what I was seeing… Final Score: Middlesbrough 157 : 148 Hot Wheels
I’ll never forget the feeling I got when I looked at MMR after that whistle went, the rest of the league ran over from the audience, there were tears and hugs and looks of disbelief but we did it!
MMR went to GYS with a hope to prove ourselves, to show that this new team of ours has been working hard and we did just that.
Hot Wheels ever the worthy opponent were lovely and I’ve got to say that was the best bout I’ve ever played they are such a great team. It was a friggin emotional rollercoaster and I lost my voice in the meantime!
Leeds organised a fantastic tounament and hands down one of the best days I’ve ever experienced since I started playing derby.
So since we did so well in the North, lets see what MMR can do in the SAUFFF against Croydon Roller Derby next month! We’ll be sure to bring the Milkshake to the yard.