At the National Roller Derby Championships, there was a bit of blood, a lot of skates, and a few tears. But the best way to describe this event is in the words of Eindhoven’s own Rockcity Rollers, 'hard-hitting, fast and frenzied'.
I’d never experienced roller derby before, so I was excited to see what was in store at the Championships, which were held in Eindhoven on 10 & 11 December. Seven teams were competing for the title – the Rockcity Rollers, Amsterdam Roller Derby, Rotterdam Roller Derby, Dom City Dolls from Utrecht, Arnhem Fallen Angels, Parliament of Pain from the Hague, and Suck City Rock’n Roller Dolls from Breda.
I was set to attend on Sunday, so Saturday night was spent googling roller derby rules. I learnt that there are two periods of 30 minutes, and these periods consist of 'jams' that last up to two minutes each. Each team has five skaters on during each jam. There are three blockers, and one pivot who form a pack. And then there is the jammer. She’s the one to score the points – she needs to break through the opposing team’s pack and she scores a point for every opposing team member she laps.
Or your elbow pads, helmet or mouth guard! Roller derby is tough. It’s physical. It’s fun. It’s hard. It’s full contact. And all this was evident in the first game I was treated to: the Rockcity Rollers v Dom City Dolls. They were playing for a spot in the final and the competition was fierce. Both teams fought hard but Eindhoven came out on top scoring 156 to the Dolls’ 130. Our local team was through! The final was set for 19.00 against Amsterdam, while the Dolls were going up against Rotterdam to skate it out for third place.
The crowd was raucous during the final. Fans of both teams were full of cheering and chanting that’s still ringing in my ears. The skaters were feisty. The derby was gritty and gutsy. Rockcity Rollers toughed it out to the end, but Amsterdam were too good. The stand out jammer for me was Bony Bragger from Amsterdam – what a pocket rocket! Every time she was on the track she racked up multiple points for her team. Also outstanding were Marcie B, Dolly Deathstar and Dropdead Desi, who made sure the points came rolling in for Rockcity.
Amsterdam Roller Derby are the 2016 National Champions with a final score of 224 to Runners-up Rockcity Rollers 146. Congratulations also to third place Dom City Dolls who defeated Rotterdam 194 – 132.
This blog also appeared on Eindhoven in Motion.