Oh, boy. What a weekend. Where the hell do I start? Ok, for anyone reading this who is not a derby girl in Aus or NZ for that matter I'll provide a bit of background. The Great Southern Slam was a roller derby tournament held this past weekend in Adelaide. Our league, ADRD hosted it at the Wayville showgrounds. The main sponsor for the event was Hills Industries, so there were clotheslines everywhere with cool derby stuff hanging from them. The reason this was such a big deal is that it was the first time anything like this has happened in the SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE. America has been having inter-league tournaments for some time, and in Aus, places like Brisbane with more than one league can do it too, but never has there been a competition for every league in Aus to come to, and NZ as well. Needless to say, we were all very excited. Not just for the tournament, but for the coming together of so many awesome people. You have to understand, when I say that we hosted this tournament, it was a massive thing. Nobody gets paid, every single person that had a hand in organising the event did it for the love of the soprt. I'm not kidding, this juggernaut that is Roller Derby is crazy, just crazy.
So, there were fifteen representative teams, all vying for the ultimate title, the first ever Great Southern Slam champions. In addition to this, there were 'challenge bouts', for absolutely anyone who had passed their official skills tests. People got teams together for these fun bouts that were happening all weekend on any of the four tracks.
I had been selected to play for Adelaide, the 'Adeladies'. Despite the fact that I have been playing some sort of representative sport since I was 17, being selected as an Adelady was the biggest honour in my life to date. There were three of us that are 'freshies' (rookie in any other sport) who played - Radical Edward, Moe Skeeto and myself (my derby name is Tricksey Belt'em). All of a sudden I was playing with some of the best girls in our league, people I have revered since I started following derby in 2008. Barrelhouse Bessy, Vaderella, Violent Krumble, Melvin Star, Hell Grazer, Rolla Junky... if I keep going I'll just be naming the whole team.
Ok, so now we have the background info, I'll move on to the tournament. Friday afternoon/evening was a meet and greet session, and the first major thing that happened to me was that I met Bloody Mary, one of my all-time derby heroes. She is an original Texas Rollergirl and president of WFTDA, the Women's Flat Track Derby Association. She played for the Texecutioners in the first ever American Dust Devil Championship, which they won. Her profile pic in the book I read about the birth of flat track derby features her giving the finger to someone. Opponent, crowd, who cares, that spells cool in my book. Anyway, naturally I lost all my coolness in a blushing school girl meeting John Stamos kinda way and probably came off looking like a moron. Then, I met Punani Tsunami from Vic. My immediate impression of her was that she was a champion and any of the ADRD girls who know her backed that up. Later, when I watched her play, I saw that not only was she a cool chick, but a mad blocker. Later, I met Penergy, who was representing Townsville but lives in my hometown, Noosa. This fired up little rocket of awesomeness is the coolest thing on eight wheels. She was playing for five teams or something crazy like that... take my hat off to her.
So, Saturday. Our first game was at 10am. Our coach, the illustrious Guy Incognito had split our squad of twenty into two teams, team Sparklepuff and team Unicorn for these two games. S.Puff had the first game, with four girls from Unicorn to make up the allowable roster of 14 skaters. I was one of those four girls, so I warmed up with the team but expected no track time, as I am primarly a jammer and S.Puff had Bessy, the best jammer in ADRD, who is stupid fit and can go and go and go. Turns out I did have a few jams, but I can't remember anything about them lol... We beat Canberra by a fair margin, but not without a good fight by them - Cassatrophic (who is actually an old hockey mate of mine) was superb. Fast, agile and fearless she was definitely their star jammer I reckon. Unicorn's game that afternoon was against Van Diemen Rollers, from Tassie, a great bunch of girls. They're only pretty new, so we did beat them convincingly, but such is the name of the game I guess. I jammed a fair bit and blocked too, and in my last jam I took two massive stacks, like the ones where you hear the crowd gasp... it was cool! My sister thought I faceplanted the ground but I must've just avoided it. In one jam I was up the front of the pack, making a wall with Hell Grazer. Their jammer kept trying to split us, and each time she was coming Grazer would say 'here she comes again Tricks' and I'd hit her. I kinda felt bad after, I think I was under Grazer's evil spell, yep, defs blaming it on her. At one point we laid a nice sandwich block on a girl and as we were still playing, I said to Grazer 'nice sandwich!' haha she agreed and we kept going... I really do just never shut up lol... I also was able to catch up with my personal make-up artist for this bout and she painted my black eye strip like I like. My fan was about all day, wearing her eye stripe and a top hat like me! She is the coolest kid ever. We took this pic Sunday but I didn't have my stripe on:(
So, after that bout, I was walking about and I went past Bloody Mary hanging out with Ivanna S. Pankin I think it was (another wicked derby girl from the U.S.) and I said hi. *blush madly* She said hi back and told me that she's seen me jam and that she thought I jammed good!!!!
I can die happy. I don't recall what I said to that, it probably came out as word vomit anyway.
Since we won our first two bouts, we had the next round to play against Geelong/Ballarat that night. I was given a rest for that one, so I cheered my guts out. G/B are called 'The Maulrats', which I thought was particularly clever. Also their colours are purple and green, which made me very happy and I kept staring at them. This in combination with the fact that the lower part of their uniforms were tiny shorts made Kat think I was perving on them and I got a swift eye-bashing from her.
So, our girls beat them but it was a wicked game to watch, they were great and had some really talented skaters...
Sunday. Our first game was against SSRG from Brisbane, which is where our winning streak ended. These girls are amazing, from top to toe. First, they brought their own 'Beer Squad' cheerers. Way cool. Second, the Beer Squad has songs and actions for INDIVIDUAL PLAYERS! When Chop chop (my fave jammer from SSRG) lines up, they all yell 'Chop! Chop! Chop! Chop!' whilst making chopping motions with their arms! Their skills are wicked. They made walls that were impenetrable. In my meagre experience I have not come against someone I can't get around eventually except for Bessy and Smarty Pants. Here was a whole team like that! I tried my little heart out but didn't get lead once and got bugger all points. Blocking was a real challenge for me too. In my first jam as jammer, I broke free of the pack and a blocker chased me (they were great at that) and slammed me harder than I've ever been slammed before. I don't consider myself really easy to knock down, cos I do put up the best fight that I can, and she went down too. That girl, whoever you are, you left me with my best derby bruise yet. I can't sit on both cheeks simultaneously. Kudos.
So, after that game, all that was left for us was to play the NZ girls for third place. Now, these girls are incredibly nice. They are also terrifying. Their name is Pirate City for a start. Then, there are a few of them who painted their faces like warriors. That stuff is not to be mocked, I wasn't even playing that game and I was shitting myself. My fave player for them is Skate the Muss. She is a wicked and committed jammer with a very clever and culturally sound derby name. They put up a great fight and we only beat them by a very small margin, like less than ten I think. So, we got third, which I was happy with. Third outta fifteen isn't bad I reckon.
Then, we all settled in to watch the grand final between Vic and SSRG. The two teams were so evenly matched, it was a real nail biter. Vic has Kitty Decapitate, who has played all around the world and is rumoured to be in the top ten players in the world. SSRG blockers did a mad job of dealing with her. Vic won the game by two points, it was a wicked game to watch.
This post is getting long. Deal with it.
So. Afterparty. For anyone that doesn't live in Adelaide, hq (intentional lower caps) is a certain kind of club. U either love it or hate it. I fall into the latter category. U couldn't pay me to go there, I loathe it. However, They were kind enough to give up a venue to use so, thanks. I guess.
Moving on. I wore my toothpaste shoes (my new green and white addidas) which I had thought were stable, sensible shoes. More on that in a bit. First, we met up with Lady Cadaver, who is on our local team, the Road Train Rollers. I love Caddy like a sister, she makes me laugh constantly. Caddy, Kat and I had three shots each, even after I told myself I would drink responsibly. I walked out to the dancing area after the shots with two bourbons, both for me. Great start, Robyn. So, we started dancing. I did my world famous (and by 'world' I mean my own personal, very small world, not the actual world) karate dancing and began jumping about like a rogue electrical cable that has been cut and allowed to flip and arc wildly everywhere. I was having the time of my left with my fave people: GoGo Fiasco, Violent Krumble, KitCat Krunch, Mad Dog Mims... Now, I will write a list of things that happened, I may get the order wrong:
- I rolled my right ankle. So much for my 'sensible' shoes. I got inwardly upset and decided not to tell anyone cos I was having such fun dancing.
- I drank more alcohol to numb the pain of my ankle.
- I kept on dancing and fell over, people had to help me up.
- Caddy poked me in the stomach and I will now quote from her fb post about it:
'The punching may have been my fault. I think I poked you in the guts and went holy crap, check out your abs! Then I punched you a coupla times, then you punched me a coupla times. Then we went to the bathroom and forced SSRG and Vic girls to punch you in the abs. Then everyone was punching everyone. it was beautiful.'
I can remember asking, asking people to punch me in the stomach. I can remember people aiminig too low. I think my ovaries are tenderised. I have never, and I mean that, never felt pain like this. Moving on:
- after the stomach punching I rolled my left ankle. Kept dancing.
- After that I rolled my right ankle again. Kept dancing.
- By this time Bloody Mary had arrived and in spite of all the things I wanted to say to her, I just piointed at her like a creepy stalker as I was dancing. Classy.
- then the outside bit (that was supposed to be for us and there were still heaps left) was closed. This is why I hate hq. I complained about what c&*ts the bouncers were and then Caddy pointed out there was one right behind us. He did not look happy. Thanksfully he didn't punch me in my face. I know they have a penchant for that, bouncers.
- when we were inside, we started to dance. Someone suggested that I go on the stage. I thought it sounded like a great idea and went to the little stairs. Too much derby and alcohol meant that as I got there and there was a guy in the way, instead of asking him to let me by, I just shoved him aside like he was a curtain. The bouncer standing right beside him grabbed me and turned me around, down the stairs again, no go for stage dancing.
- Then Grazer suggested that we dance like we were in a mosh pit. Because I think she's awesome, I agreed. Probably not the best idea, cos we were in hq, not at a concert, and the boys in their salmon shirts with their gin and tonics on the dance floor didn't appreciate our exuberance. One of them shoved Grazer. I started to argue with him and quick as a flash, the bouncer took him away. Right before he left, he threw his drink on Kat's head. hq. Quality.
So. Monday morning I wake up with two swollen ankles, a big swollen and bruised lump on my thigh from the SSRG game, massively tender stomach from all the punching and only $3.75. The moral of this whole massive story is that derby is more awesome than anything else in the world, period. Do it, in some capacity. Be a rollergirl, a ref, a Beer Squad, whatever, you'll discover a whole new family and it'll change your life.
Off to ice my ankles,
P.S. just wanted to add something that happened today - an exchange between Kat and I when I mentioned the place in Semaphore that fucked up her order last night and gave her a chicken Kwai Teow instead of a vego one:
Me: 'yeah, that Red Ass is better at Indian than Thai I reckon, my food was nice but they screwed yours up...'
Kat: ' I wanna make those fuckers go out of business. That meat wasn't chicken, either. It was rubbery. I'm pretty sure it was horse dick.'
P.P.S. here is a pic of us unicorns about to do our thing. I'm wearing the star.