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Dodgebrawl – Guest Blogger @ruby_gem



With barcamp fast approaching I believe it’s time to start organising something else!

My Roller Derby team The Nottingham Roller Girls are presenting a double header bout on 17th September at Skate Central Roller Rink in Sheffield. We’ll be making our debut on the trck taking on the Sheffield Steel Roller Girl’s B Team. Next up our coach Jammie Dodger has been busy organising the UK’s first co-ed bout! Average Joes vs. Globo Gym Purple Cobras. Following the exciting derby action is a proper old school Roller Disco. Can. Not. Wait.

Now I wasn’t sure what co-ed meant either. Basically it’s mixed sex. For the first time live in front of an audience girls AND boys from mixed teams will be playing hard hitting Roller Derby! We’ve got our Jammie Dodger leading up the Average Joe’s with lads and lasses from Manchester Roller Derby. Globo Gym Purple Cobras comprise skaters from Lincolnshire Bombers and Birmingham Blitz Dames.

If you’ve never seen a roller derby bout before you are in for a HUGE treat with this one!

Drew Barrymore brought out a film a few years ago called “Whip It” about Women’s Banked Track Roller Derby. It’s a really great film and well worth a watch. Drew directs it but also stars alongside Ellen Page and my all time number one girl crush Juliette Lewis. After Whip It hundreds of girls across the party wanted to get involved in playing Roller Derby. More and more teams are springing up, Nottingham itself has two!

Now a bit of history. I’ve skated pretty much my whole life. One of my earliest memories having a pair of my little pony roller skates in Lancaster, teaching myself to move from the wall to the washing line without falling over. I made the transistion onto inlines in the 90’s and spent time with my brother and his friend skating around Preston. I’d skate to my first job in the village, to exams when I was doing my GCSE’s, to my summer placement… I loved it. She who is averse to exercise! After uni and moving back to Preston I discovered Superfunk Roller Discos. That’s right, drinking, skating and DISCO BOOGIE! Serious fun. One finds the alcohol improves ones skating abilities (at least in my own head it does). As it transpires the roller discos are run by this sister of my very good friend Andrew Disley (founder of GeekUp). Rachel is an amazing skater and now a firm friend of mine. She DANCES on skates. Hoping to get her and her dance partner along for a little entertainment during the bout. I started going out street skating on Bank Holidays with Andrew, Rachel and a few other skater friends. We’d head down to Southport and skate for hours from parks to seafront, great fun. I even took to skating along Blackpool prom after work and purchased a new set of recreational inlines.

I moved to Nottingham shortly after, but just before that Rachel divulged the existence of Roller Derby to me. “You’d love it Gem.” is all she needed to say. I went on a few street skates with the Nottingham Skaters (I think it’s THE hardest street skate in the country 12-14 miles in 2 hours on a Wednesday evening followed by a session in Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem). I held them back as the poorest skater, but they were great with me. Taught me a lot about technique and were very patient with my fear of hills! I popped along to practice with the Nottingham Roller Girls on my inlines. It was brilliant.

I’ve now been learning to skate and learning Roller Derby since May last year. I skated my first marathon last August. I played my first bout in February with cherry poppers from Wakey Wheel Cats. Now I’m looking forward to bouting with my lovely Nottingham Roller Girls.

I’ve vastly improved my skating technique and fitness. As a bonus I have lost 1.5 stone and I don’t even feel like I’m exercising. Roller Derby is a fantastic way to exercise, improve self esteem and how you view your body. Roller Derby is for women of all shapes and sizes. My huge arse is now an asset! I’d say forgive the pun, but you’ll find Roller Derby is filled with puns.

So please come along, watch us play and stay to have  skate at the Roller Disco: