Friday, April 12, 2013

Kozmic Adventures in Wonder(eng)land

A 15-day trip around England. It all started with that game the Paris RollerGirls All-Stars had to play against Leeds Hot Wheels in Halifax on April, 6th. Then, I was just a poor victim of circumstances (pity me, please) and I got stuck in a storm of adventures which led me to travel England from South to North. 


Fate had it that there was the "100 Jams War" event in Oxford the previous weekend.
The second edition was entitled the 'Revenge of the French' over the English who had won all the games of the same event last year.
It gathered players from all around France and from the South of England, dispatched in 6 teams and playing 3 games of different levels.

The afternoon of SATURDAY 30th was reserved to the C and B-level BOUTS (both won hands up by the French yay!) and SUNDAY was divided into two, with a 3-part BOOTCAMP in the morning and the A-level BOUT in the afternoon. The bootcamp was run by local Elektralyte for the off-skates plyometrics, and London RollerGirls Rogue Runner (agility) and Bodily Charm and Raw Heidi (teamwork).
There should have been a scrimmage in-between which was cancelled for lack of volunteer players! Bs and Cs being quite tired and As wanting to save the little energy left for the upcoming game...
I entered the Oxford adventure by mere chance because I had heard there were vacant places in the French teams.
And I am glad I did, it was a great revitalizing time. The atmosphere was relaxed but focused, the games were pityless but fairplay, the bootcamp was interesting, the people were shiny, and the A-bout in which I took part was full of SUSPENSE: The French were led by the English the whole game and we reversed the scores on the very last jam, thanks to a powerjam by Thelma Track, under the cheering of the whole (English) crowd on that decisive pass.

100 Jams War: Revenge of the French
A-Game Compilation by DforDerby

I will not go on about my performances on that game... 4 cuttings as a jammer in the opening 10 min... and a trick played by opposing jammer MacMurphy on the starting line (alright, I blocked her way and she got revenge, an eye for an eye) which me led to another cutting! I lost count. Advantage: It was so shameful that I have learnt the lesson for good!
I stuck to blocking until the end of the game, which I was very glad of, because I do not have the occasion to block in the Paris games anymore. Before my accident, I used to be a pivot and a jammer, but since my comeback I am a 'mono-task' jammer which I find frustrating from time to time.


Bristol 'Rink rat' Tee!
Just before the Oxford episode, I went to visit my long-standing uni friend Emi in Bristol. We made up for lost time, visited the area for a few days, went to the theater to watch Starlight Express...

Meanwhile, I had contacted the LOCAL LEAGUE. They had no practices because it was Easter Holidays but luckily, Chick Dastardly whom I was corresponding with was going to Oxford for the event. I jumped in her car with her gf Kevin and their two dogs, and I was even offered some room and a futon at her parents' place in a typical village close to Oxford, together with Adel Linquent -- previously playing for Bristol and now living in Brest. It was more than welcome because 1) I was pretty dubious about my accommodation plans for the weekend 2) the hospitality was awesome and I met very friendly people 3) I had the opportunity to get to know Del better.

We went back to Bristol on Monday morning and I wasted my whole day on the living room sofa at Emi's because my THIGHS were complaining from the PLYOMETRICS of the bootcamp.


I headed to the North of England on Wednesday to stay at my brother's a couple of days. We spent some QUALITY brotherly time together, chatted, geeked and drank coke, went shopping, went to the gym to work out, traded music, the usual stuff...

Paris RollerGirls All-Stars (193-205) Leeds Hot Wheels
Apris 6th, 2013 / Halifax (GBA)
On Saturday, we took the car with my brother and his gf to go to Halifax for the game. I must say that we had a couple of DISADVANTAGES from the start: we were outnumbered with a roster of 12 and we had no bench manager. Monkey Business stood in for a last-minute bench helping. We managed the rotations by ourselves and it was not that messy in the end (maybe because we were not that many?) Last but not least, two of our players were having their first All Star game, being normally titular B-Team players.
We were OUTDISTANCED as soon as the first jams because of several powerjams in favor of Leeds. We were subjected to HEAVY LOSSES with a full box, but despite an unconvincing first period we did not give up, feeling we could lead the game on the track at least, if not the score.

The second period witnessed a REVERSAL of situation with powerjams for us and frequent leads. We were owing the track! And we steadily gained on Leeds until WE CAUGHT UP a dozen minute from the end. Unfortunately a couple of mistakes made us lose the advantage and the English made the most in widening the gap a little. The game ends with a score of 205 to 193.

We may have diminished the gap on the last jam --even won with a little bit of luck-- if I had not called it off out of reflex, when I saw the opposing jammer rushing into the pack for her first scoring pass... The time I realized what my hands were doing, the four whistle blows were already sounding. Even my mum, who was watching the live broadcast on the internet, and who does not know much about derby, asked me why I had called it off. Am really angry with myself. Shameful, shameful, shameful. Lesson taught too...

In the game, I lost my little finger and the elbow that goes with it, my throat, and my jaw with the corresponding inner ear. The first three are better, athough they have not totally recovered yet, but the last two are still whining. That's life. Could have been worse: I had a nice compensation >>>
MVPs and Mayor enjoying the company
The event was a double header starting with the girls and finishing with the men (the Panam Squad Vs. the Inhuman League, 235 to 131 for the latters).

The uncommon order was due to the fact that the Mayor of Halifax could not have watched the girls' game if scheduled later, and thus could not have awarded the MVPs! An interesting clash of cultures...
The two bouts were broadcasted live on the internet by RDUK.TV and commentated by the two greatest MCs I have heard so far! Check'em out in free streaming over here:


We hardly had the time to take a shower that we left together with Hooligan, in the back of Randi Razorlegs's car. The head coach and a good dozen of Rainy City RollerGirls had come to support Hooligan who used to skate at Rainy City and, by extension to support the Paris RollerGirls.
No after party for us to avoid traffic jam and be on form for the morrow. Destination: Manchester for my last full day in England, to enjoy a bootcamp in the Rainy City RollerGirls venue --which crucially lacks heating but which I am totally in love with! run by the Rainy City Roller Girls winning team in the UKRDA Sur5al tournament at Tattoo Freeze, Missy Rascal, Dee-Mise, RED, Belle-istic and Randi Razorlegs!

Rainy City Venue

The bootcamp started at 11AM with an on-skate warm-up and work-out, followed by blocker and pack drills. After a short lunch-break we resumed with agility-jammer drills and three periods of scrimmage.
The bootcamp is over.
But not the skating.
One hour later is the weekly scrimmage practice of the league, to which we are invited. And here we go again for four scrimmage periods, with changes of teams at each break to challenge the girls' teamwork. I mostly blocked again, and it was very enriching. I even surprised myself pivoting in English! It is not perfect of course, but it is on the good way. More tips to work on! I definitely learnt a lot during these 15 days around England!

Our trains and buses were in the early afternoon the next day so that we could hang out down-town before leaving the English soil. I arrived in Paris in the evening after two Eurostar trains. Back to real life!


No comments:

Post a Comment