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

New Year, New You; Meet our rookies who are glad they tried something different

With our open day coming up on Sunday 21st January, at our home venue in Herne Bay, we asked some of our new recruits why they decided to try derby and how they got involved with KRG…

Melissa S: I watched LRG eight years ago. I thought this would have been the sport for me (recreationally) if I was ten years younger. Since then I’ve had kids and all sorts going on and I’ve lost a lot of confidence in my body and socially. My husband was helping me look for a hobby and we found this. I wasn’t sure I was right for it, but then I showed up at the end of July and I’ve never met such a kind and welcoming group of people in my life! I love learning that my body can do so many things I never would have thought possible and spending time with such lovely people who are all together for the love of the game. I love KRG and hope to be part of it for a long time!

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Katie L: I’ve been watching KRG open days come and go for a couple of years on Facebook. But despite my best efforts, I couldn’t get anyone to come with me to try it. In September, I finally decided to go on my own. I walked in feeling too old, too fat, too unfit and scared. I walked out buzzing and I haven’t missed a session since. The real joy for me at that first session was that no one cared how old I was, how fat I was or how unfit I was; they were truly welcoming and so enthusiastic to pass on their love of this amazing sport. This is a group of seriously beautiful and supportive women (and men).
A couple of months down the line Sundays are my favourite day of the week. I have realised that you’re never too old to do something you love; My ass (which I didn’t particularly like) is an asset of epic proportions playing derby, to both block with and sometimes land on; and I’m and getting so much fitter! If you are sat there wondering if this is for you… come try it. I’m so happy I did!

My New Year’s resolution this year is to pass my min skills, get fitter, learn some new things and laugh a lot more!

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Frankenmeanie: The year I decided to join KRG I’d decided I needed to get fitter but having given up on exercise regimes before I needed something more engaging. I missed an open day in July but was too scared to go on my own after so I waited until the next one in October and I was hooked! Skating is sooo much fun! I love the learning new things each week and that feeling of accomplishment when you nail a skill! Everyone is so friendly and supportive and we definitely laugh & have fun together…I really shouldn’t have been afraid to go along the week after the open day I missed!

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Mica: It started with watching ‘whip it’. I watched it and was like “wow I want to be like them” and remembered how many good memories I got from skating when I was a kid. I started looking around back in October 2010 and when I found KRG I was welcomed with open arms every time I emailed and was asked to come along. However, I suffer from social anxiety and depression and being put in that situation is not something I do. I kept bailing thinking I would be judged and the girls would be mean to me etc. Oh how I was wrong!! I finally got the courage to attend the latest open day and loved every minute, even the muscle ache during and after (it’s worse then squats I promise you) and then I was hooked! I felt like I was a little girl again! And every Sunday is my 2hrs of release from being me, from my anxiety, my depression… from the world. Roller derby is now my life and KRG are my saviours on skates!

My New Year’s Resolution, I would say, is to push myself further with derby; be more fearless and more educated in the sport and also with my equipment. Don’t be scared to ask for help. In everyday life, I’m thinking enjoy it more, that’s it. Not much to go for but I never keep to my resolutions so I’m keeping it simple this year!

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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 at WFTDA D1 playoffs in Malmö

website-tourney-logos-malmoA group of KRG league members travelled all the way across the pond and then some to Malmö in Sweden to witness some high level roller derby at the WFTDA division one championship playoffs. The tournament was being hosted by the phenomenal Crime City Rollers and would feature some of the highest ranked roller derby teams in the world!

Brute 66 (aka Jon), KRG head coach and bench manager, and Kent Mens Roller Derby skater, agreed to share what he took from the experience with us…

 

This past weekend a selection of KRG members made their way to Malmö to watch the first ever WFTDA D1 playoffs to be held outside of North America. This monumental event was being hosted by Malmö’s very own Crime City Rollers, and what brilliant hosts they proved to be. A slick well organised event in a wonderful venue, of which teams in the U.K. crave, with. Friendly atmosphere and amazing halftime entertainment including cheerleading, international skipping champions and a drum line.

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The KRG gang in Malmö

The tournament bracket meant we would get to see some of the best teams within the WFTDA, the highlight for most would be watching Gotham Girls in the flesh. However the tournament bracket threw up the possibility of, for me, the most mouth watering clash. If Rainy City could beat Calgary they would face London in a clash of the Brits, a game that only had a 40 point differential at Anarchy this summer.

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Image from wftda.com

The tournament started with a high paced games between Kallio of Finland and Detroit, who turned out to be my favourite American team to watch over the weekend, and from that moment the action never stopped. We were treated to some of the best D1 action, with ferocious walls, gravity defying jammers and world class officiating. It would be impossible to retell it all, you’ll need to watch the footage for that, but special mentions have to go to the Jammer Rotation of Stockholm, with Lil Slinky standing out above the crowd, Helsinki Roller Derby for putting on an amazing show, the aforementioned Detroit who were brilliant despite the bum deal that meant they had to play Gotham 4hours after their opener, and of course to the finalists Denver and Gotham. Denver fought hard and have some amazing skaters, Akers showing why she’s Team USA, and of course we know of Scald and Brawn, but a special shout out to #4 Leah who was dominant on track. Of course the winners were Gotham, who looked lethal on track, a dominating unit who were not feeling the lack of a certain Thunders as Maven, Space Invader, Giles (VRDL transfer) and Short Stop racked up the points, whilst V-Diva and crew dominated the pack. Gotham are on the Hydra Hunt.

Finally you will have noticed I haven’t mentioned Detroit coming up against Gotham four hours after their winning start in game one. Terminal City were the stand out team of the Canadian participants with Arya Ready providing some mean jamming action.

The gold medal match was Denver vs Gotham and as expected Gotham came away with the gold. However Denver put up a fight, the arrival of Scald Eagle and Brawn Swanson has really bolstered their game with Tracey Akers standing out from their roster. However there was no stopping Gotham, they were a disciplined imposing unit all weekend and show no signs of feeling the loss of Thunders. Space Invader, Maven, Giles (VRDL transfer) and Short Stop (MVP) racked up the points whilst Rocy Dallas, V-Diva and Co. dominated opposing walls all weekend. Gotham are on the hydra hunt people.

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Jon outside the venue in Malmö

However, now we have to talk about THE game of the weekend. Rainy did indeed win their opening game and that meant a 10am Saturday showdown with London Roller Girls London Brawling.

WHAT. A. GAME.

Rainy took the first three leads, Alex Wilde showing why she could just be the best british jammer around right now. They started to stretch their lead, with both teams show wall work to be admired. Ruthless Philly, Faye Roberts, Banshee, Missy Rascal and Fairy Quake were all outstanding, though it is unfair to pick out any one Rainy skater as they were all playing their hearts out. The blocking was so good on both sides that the scores were kept low, but Rainy continued to edge ahead. Could Rainy do it? Could they be the first european team to defeat LRG?

Suddenly there’s a power jam and Rogue Runner put 23 points on the board and then the game is tied 101-101, everyone drink. The game went to the wire and I have no shame in admitting I was screaming myself hoarse looking for the Rainy upset. It came to the final jam, and though Wilde got lead she couldn’t overturn the final 5 points and LRG came away with the win. In all their big game experience showed and lead by the ever phenomenal Kid Block who was a jammer magnet all weekend they progress to Champs along with Gotham, Denver and hosts Crime City. This game was the most nerve wracking experience of roller derby in my life. Between us we cheered ourselves stupid and drank far too much for 10am just to calm the nerves.

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KRG amongst the crowd watching the nail biting game of Rainy vs Brawling

Rainy may feel hard done by but they have made so many fans and now find themselves ranked 11th in WFTDA, this from a team ranked 99 in december 2015. The rise of Rainy is something all teams should admire, applaud and be wary of. 2018… the year of Rainy.

Thank you Crime City for an amazing D1 experience. Until the next time.

Brute 66

Kent Roller Girls Head Coach

 

If you’d like to see more photos and info about what happened in this crazy weekend of Roller Derby, see the WFTDA website.

Open Day Stories #4 – Rebecca’s story

KRG are holding our next open day evening on September 3rd at our home track, the Bay Arena in Herne Bay. To celebrate we’ve asked previous open day attendees to tell us their stories…

What (if any) other sports do you play?: Currently none, I used to play Airsoft regularly with my team but haven’t been able too since moving to Canterbury. I do pole fitness and like going to the gym but never got into any other team sports.

How did you find out about KRG?: I saw an advert on Facebook for a home game in Herne Bay, it was the week before the open day so I figured I would go along and check it out.

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Rebecca at our last open day (she’s wearing the black helmet in the centre of the frame )

How long did it take you to figure out how the game works?: I would like to say I know how it works after watching a few games and practise runs in training, but I am sure I have lots more rules to learn.

Do you want to be a blocker or a jammer?: Being a blocker seems to be more fun, but I can still barely stop myself, let alone anyone else! I do however like skating at speed, or at least the idea of being able to skate at speed! So I feel I may end up aiming for Jammer.

Is there a story behind your derby name/number?: I wanted to be a Palaeontologist since before I can remember, unfortunately life took a different route but my dinosaur obsession remains. I figured the T-Rex would be the most intimidating dinosaur to use and Beckysaurus Rex sprang to mind, to be shortened to B-Rex. Someone at work suggested the Wrex to be more “intimidating!”.

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Learning how to fall

Toughest skill you’ve learned/trying to master?: My original skating experience comes from skateboarding, so to have wheels on separately feet was a new experience as they don’t like to work as a team. More recently I have been trying to get skating backwards but my legs just refuse and I am currently relying on gravity!

Were you nervous coming to the open day?: Yes. My anxiety had me sitting in the car for a good few minutes before excitement took over and I decided to go for it. The second I walked through to the changing room I forgot all about my nervousness, and dove in. Loved it ever since, even on wobbly days!

First impressions of KRG?: I honestly wouldn’t be able to pin it down, other than the fact they are patient and full of encouragement. KRG is made up of so many different people, with different skills, abilities and backgrounds.

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Learning from our A team skaters

What skates/pads do you have/like?: I currently have some second hand Riedells which are great, but I could do with some wider skates so will be looking to upgrade to a wider brand soon.

Any tips for newbies starting their roller derby journey?: Have patience! In yourself, in your kit and in your fellow newbies. You may take to derby straight away, you may not find your inner skater until you have the perfect skates and wheels. Stick with it though, as the simplest changes can make the biggest difference!

 

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