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Captain and Commander; Shep’s Profile

So, how did you get into derby and how long have you been skating for?

I wanted to try a new sport, as I already played cricket, and it’s gradually taken over my life in the best way possible! I decided to come and watch a few rec league sessions because I was too nervous to take part immediately. After two weeks, I was itching to put skates on, so I did – that was over 3 years ago!

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What do you do when you’re not playing roller derby?

Sadly, roller derby doesn’t pay my bills, so I work as a Healthcare Scientist in the NHS. I specialise in radiation protection, which means my job varies day-to-day; one day I can be testing an X-ray machine, and another I can be calculating patient doses! I’m part of the KRG board that helps to run the league, so my free-time is spent doing admin to keep everything running smoothly. I’ve also been voted in as Captain this year, which is a real honour and comes with extra responsibilities such as roster selection, so I’m kept pretty busy. I don’t get the chance to play team sports outside of derby currently, but in the summer, a group of us get together to play rounders as part of league in Canterbury. It’s a lot of fun, and it makes a nice change from seeing each other with helmets on! I’m hoping to get to the gym a lot more this year, as I’ll be moving bases to work much closer to home. My partner and I moved in together last year, and one of the first things we did was to get a hamster called Jeremy. He’s the cutest thing ever, looks like a tiny bear and would definitely win a hamster-version of Gladiators . He frequently climbs upside down in his cage and has recently learned how to escape, but luckily he doesn’t go far because he likes snacks too much!!

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What is your super power/biggest strength on the track?

I don’t know about super power, but my secret power is definitely sneaking in an apex-jump when people aren’t expecting it. Jamming doesn’t particularly agree with my wheezy lungs, but I regularly pivot – the thrill of chasing down an opposition jammer to try and steal some points is worth being out of breath for! Mainly though, I love working with my wall to cover the track and slow the other team’s jammer down – there’s no better feeling than coming off track and high-fiving each other because you know you just crushed a poor jammer’s soul!!

What are your goals for next season? What would you like to improve on?

My main goal for next year is to be a good leader for our team, as we’re taking on new challenges in the form of further growing the league and setting up our own bouting schedule for the year. It’s going to be a big year for us, and I want to be able to support all of our members in the best way possible. Personally, I would like to improve my endurance and get physically stronger, so my 2018 will involve a lot of off-skates training… there’s always room for development, especially with an increasingly competitive roster!!

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What would be your number 1 tip for those looking to improve this year?

Be patient, and be honest with yourself/your coaches. Some skills take time to physically master, and some take even longer to overcome mentally! Talk to your coaches, tell them your goals and tell them what you feel is currently standing in your way. Remember to recognise all the small steps you’ve taken along the way to accomplish your goals – today, you might have managed to transition for the first time, and in a year’s time, you might be gliding backwards out of the pack on one foot…but it all started with that first step.

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Introducing: World Cup Superstar Tenacious!

It’s the first time Team Romania has been in the Roller Derby World Cup and they’re planning on making it a debut to remember! Alina, or Tenacious on track, is a tiny but powerful jammer who began wowing everyone at KRG with their skate skills 4 years ago. Alina has gone on to win pretty much every derby award going and hopes to do some serious point-scoring in Manchester. We caught up with them to find out more…

How long have you been involved in roller derby?

I discovered roller derby 4 years ago. After years of living in Kent I wanted to get back on my skates and Iooked up roller skating online. It turned out Kent Roller Girls trained in the same town I lived in! I had never heard of Roller Derby before and I only skated on in-lines. After learning about the sport more and more I wanted to get better and better at derby.

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Tenacious breaking out of the pack against Wirral Roller Derby

Who inspires you?

On skates, Erin Jackson is a wonderful inspiration. The idea is growing in my mind to try speed skating ever since I came across her! And off skates, Dame Kelly Holmes, her day to day training is insane!

How much harder have you found it training for the World Cup than regular games?

Training, in general, this year has been difficult as I have had some health challenges and as it is the first time for me to play at an international level. It’s been a great reason to get better and stronger and helped me look at the future with a more positive attitude. It’s also been in planning for ages so I have had to stay focussed for a while. So yes, it has been harder but it is only by challenging yourself that you get better. I have seen the benefits of upping the off skates training too.

 

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Skating in front of the home crowd at The Bay Arena, Herne Bay

What drives you to put in the extra effort needed to train for the World Cup?

I am very proud to be representing Romania in the World Cup, especially because this sport is unknown in Romania (we are working on that). I feel like RDWC is so important as we are making history, so I want to give it all I can and make my team and Romania proud! At the same time I’m representing Kent Roller Girls and I want to show appreciation for the time my coaches have put into our training programme.

Do you find it easy to stay energised and focused between games in a tournament?

If I don’t have enough sleep I am very grumpy and can’t focus. I try to eat well everyday, getting lots of energy in, keeping hydrated and keeping the odd energy drink along side my water bottle. I get very nervous before a game until the first jam is out of the way. Usually a good warm up helps my mental game too so I try to kit up and put my skates on as soon as I can.

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Taking a huge hit from Swansea City Roller Derby

As a World Cup skater, people see you as a role model, what qualities do you hope people see in you?

I am dedicated to this sport and my on skates time has always been very precious to me. I am also very competitive and I hope I do inspire through these two traits of mine.

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High fives after coming first in Tier 3 of British Champs

Do you have a signature move that we should be looking out for at the World Cup?

My signature move is a one footed transition, I think. Well I thought it was mine until someone told me all about Lexi Lightspeed from LRG and then I went along to most of her bootcamps to help me perfect it!

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The Team Romania roster

The Roller Derby World Cup is an international roller derby tournament including teams from all over the world. It takes place in Manchester from the 1st until the 4th February. For more information check out www.RollerDerbyWorldCup.com

An Overview of KRG in 2017

An Overview of 2017 from Head Coach Brute 66

We started the year with a trip to Paris to play La Boucherie de Paris Rollergirls. A very early 4am start and a drive through Northern France to Paris did not lead to us playing our best roller derby. We tried to instigate some new tactics, but in the end we were outclassed by a very talented Paris team. This lead to the start of our British Championships T2 season. We were drawn in the Southern division meaning we would be taking on an incredibly strong tier of teams, Windsor Roller Girls. London Rockin’ Rollers, South West Angels of Terror, Swansea City Roller Girls and Big Bucks High Rollers, all in all we were very much underdogs in this tier.

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Pickett, who retired earlier this year, jamming against La Boucherie 

First up was a trip to London to play Windsor. A strong start saw us leading at halftime with the onlooking teams realising we weren’t going to be a pushover this year. Some strong Windsor tactics saw them fight back in the second half and just pip us to the win. Second up was our home b out and a game against S.W.A.T. again we started well, rookie jammer Chip having an amazing game and we held our own all game. Unfortunately, we just let it slip in the final ten minutes and SWAT took the victory. However, yet again we showed that we were a team you were going to have to work hard to beat. Next was the ‘big one’, London Rockin’ Rollers, a mainstay in the British Roller Derby scene, full of hugely talented skaters. We were nervous going into the game, but as a coach, I’ve never been more proud of my team than in this game. The team was outstanding from start to finish and fought for every inch of space on that track, every point. There were stand out performances all over the team, including a 19 point jam from a pivot. The lead constantly changed and though we eventually lost the game, we earned a lot of respect and learned so much about ourselves.

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Tenacious breaking out of the pack against LRR

Our trip to Swansea to play the host team, a team we had lost to in the playoffs the year before, was sadly called off due to a nasty injury to one of our skaters who thankfully has made a full recovery. Thank you to SCRD for hosting the event and their support in the weeks that followed. We rounded off our champs season with a game against BBHR. I won’t dwell too much on this game, but a few injuries to key players and the fallout from the Swansea call off meant we did not play as we had all season and Big Bucks rolled out easy and deserved winners.

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Two transfers to the team, Liannarchy and Finch, playing in Belfast

After a summer to rest and recuperate, including hosting our first ever Rookie Tournament, we attacked the off season with three away games. First, a trip over the Irish Sea to play Belfast Roller Derby. An unknown entity to us, and with two new transfers on our team, we played as a unit and eventually came away with a big victory despite a spirited second half come back from our hosts. The week after saw the very welcome return of the KRG B Team, The Knightmares. A trip to Suffolk to take on the Suffolk Bees saw the Knightmares ride out comfortable winners in their return. The new batch of KRG skaters looking strong and tough. The season was ended with the All Stars traveling to North Wales to play a doubleheader with the newly formed Kent Men’s Roller Derby. Another tough game for us saw and we eventually came away with the victory and then we watched KMRD take their debut victory meaning both Kent teams came away victorious.

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KRG after winning their final game of 2017 in Wales

2018 looks to be just as busy for KRG. We have taken a year out of British Champs in order to focus upon our rankings and hopefully gain our WFTDA apprenticeship. We have our first ever skater to represent their country at the Roller Derby World Cup (go team Romania!) and we will continue to develop and grow our league. We would like to thank all our officials and volunteers, all our skaters past and present for their work in 2017. And a massive thank you to all our opponents, Boucherie De Paris, Royal Windsor Roller Girls, S.W.A.T, London Rockin’ Rollers, Swansea City Roller Derby, Big Bucks High Rollers, Belfast Roller Derby, Suffolk Roller Derby and North Wales Roller Derby.

See you all in 2018, HUC HUC HUC!

If you’d like to come along to our next open day, check out the Facebook event or send us an email at recruitment@kentrollergirls.com

KRG Does Veganuary – The Beginning

I have always been fascinated by the role of food and nutrition in sport. It’s something I’ve always struggled with in my derby career; eating too much or too soon before a game, not eating enough to keep my energy levels up or replacing healthy food with sugary snacks and energy drinks for a quick burst of energy. So when I saw an advert for Veganuary on Facebook I was interested to find out more and try it for myself.

We have a few vegans in our team and I wanted to find out why they decided to choose this lifestyle. Ted’s decision was for health reasons.

X-Ray Ted:

I was vegetarian from the age of 11 till 17. I always used to joke that it was because of my mother’s terrible cooking, but really I’d made the connection between the meat on my plate and the animals I loved after someone handed me a leaflet on a trip out in London. I stopped eating meat with the promise to my grandmother that if I was craving meat it was because my body was lacking something and that I would listen to my body.

Continue reading KRG Does Veganuary – The Beginning

BRITISH CHAMPS TIER 2 – KENT ROLLER GIRLS VS S.W.A.T ROLLER DERBY

We narrowly missed out on their first victory in tier two of the British Roller Derby Championships on March 4th, when we played SWAT Roller Derby at our home ground, the Bay Arena, in Herne Bay.

We invited the Lord Mayor of Canterbury to come and open the game, who not only got involved in blowing the ceremonial first whistle, but was later seen cheering on our girls in gold from the stands with 200 other supporters.

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The final score was close with only 34 points separating the two teams, the majority of which was scored in a 6 minute period when Kent suffered from multiple penalty trouble. Thanks to everyone that came along to cheer on the team! There was an amazing atmosphere in the Arena on the day and it was great to see so many faces enjoying roller derby on our home turf.

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We now have two months time to regroup before we take on the London Rockin’ Rollers in the next game of the series. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for details.

 

Oasis toiletries donation

Thank you to everyone that donated to our collection for Oasis Domestic Abuse Service and their clients.

We visited the Oasis shop in Margate on Saturday 4th March to hand over your generous donations. Everything you donated will go to help those in need, who often have fled their home bringing few their belongings with them.

If you’d like to get involved and help Oasis see http://www.oasisdaservice.org/donate/

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KRG PROFILE – COMMANDER PAIN SHEPARD #713

Name: Commander Pain Shepard

Number: 713

Story behind the name and number: I wanted a badass persona on track that I knew would push me to be better, and what better than the saviour of the galaxy… Commander Shepard from the Mass Effect series. The ‘Pain’ is a play on words with the misnomer ‘Jane’, given to the female version of Shepard. I originally wanted N7 as my number, but the decision to remove letters had been announced… Another skater in our league had the number 7 already (damn you Clair!), so I decided to combine it with my lucky number to get 713.

Jammer or blocker?: mainly blocker, but I’m training myself to become more of a double threat!

Favourite derby move: apex jump!

Derby role model: sexy slaydie… She crushes the hopes and dreams of jammers, and has an amazing attitude.

Why roller derby?: I wanted to try a new sport, as I already played cricket, and it’s gradually taken over my life in the best way possible.

How did you get involved with KRG?: I decided to come and watch a few rec league sessions because I was too nervous to take part immediately. After two weeks, I was itching to put skates on, so I did!

What goes through your mind before a game?: I normally get super nervous, so I sing the Commander Shepard song by Miracle of Sound until I feel in control of my body and I know I’m ready to go skate!

Your favourite derby moment so far?: definitely has to be winning Tier 3 East of British Champs. It was my first season with KRG main league, and it was incredible to be part of such a cohesive team.

Your favourite WFTDA team to watch?: has to be Gotham… I have so many derby crushes on the skaters, and having met them at a bootcamp, I can safely say I have a few actual crushes too.

What’s your day job?: I’m a health physics technician for the NHS. It basically means I work in radiation protection, and get to test xray machines around the county.

What do you like to do off track?: I really enjoy cooking, going outdoor skating by the sea and watching roller derby to pick up new tactics.

How has roller derby impacted your life?: it has given me so many new friends, experiences and challenges that I never thought I could overcome before starting derby … It has given me the confidence to own my place in the world, and has introduced me to incredible people that I can’t imagine being without.

Shep xx