The Varsity Derby League’s Dishonour Rollers have had three attempts at the Cannery Challenge in the past six months, facing off against CRDL’s intra-league teams and a host of fierce ladies from Sydney and Wagga Wagga in these round-robin one day events.
But I have only skated in one, the Challenge taken on May 26 in the chilly sunshine of Fyshwick at CRDL HQ.
I’ve been with Varsity since the start, but I’m not a naturally co-ordinated or athletic person, so it’s taken me a wee bit longer than my skating cohort to girl-up and score myself a place at the Challenge.
Having heard all about the breaks and defeats of the first two Challenges, I was nervous.
It wasn’t that I didn’t think the Challenge would be fun, it’s that I wasn’t sure I’d be good enough.
I’m a recreational skater, not competitive, and even though I’ve been on wheels for just on 12 months, I’ve always felt more than a mark or two below my peers.
I wasn’t sure I’d come out of the Cannery without a broken leg and a severely damaged ego.
At the Challenge teams compete in 30 minute halves, not full bouts, and rotate opponents; we were first up on the day, playing the Brindabelters.
I was so nauseous I couldn’t tell you much about what happened, except I jammed once and got hit with the same trick on both trips through the pack.
Tori Smack would go ahead of me, clearing a path, I’d pass the pack but one Belter and she would hit me into the outside. TWICE. IT HAPPENED TWICE. WILL I NEVER LEARN?
I scored two points.
I got off the track with a clear head and warmed up, feeling like maybe actually this was going to be okay and you know I think I kind of might rather enjoy it.
AND I DID. AND IT WAS TOTES AMAZEBALLS.
During my sausage sandwich and Phar Slap junk food binge of a lunch break I watched the Red Bellied Black Hearts playing Sydney and by the end of it I was completely and utterly terrified.
From the Red Bellies, Bohemeth Rhapsody was wiping the floor with the girls from across the border.
It was one of the most violent halves of derby I have ever seen.
I strapped my skates on with the shakes, convinced I would either successfully avoid Bohemeth or end up a bloodied mess on the track.
But that isn’t quite what happened.
She hit me. But I didn’t fall down.
And I hit her twice. Both times she landed on the floor.
The first time was a combined jumbo effort with Miss Melee, the second was my roller derby moment.
The special moment.
When your mind clears and the strategy you need just leaps into your mind and you execute it perfectly.
Miss Ravish’em, one of my closest friends on and off the track, was jamming and Bohemeth was the only Black Heart holding her back.
I turned and assessed the situation and then I calmly can-openered Bohemeth.
She fell to the floor and Ravish got lead jammer and scored some serious points.
I nearly cried with joy.
At the end of the half hour we were down 35 to 50 odd, having started with a lead of nine points.
It wasn’t too shabby an effort for a play against the team that won the CRDL grand final last year.
And I will dine out on that Bohemeth story for the rest of my derby life.
Thanks so much to CRDL for organising these fantastic events and to all the skaters, refs, NSOs and people who rocked up to show their support.
You’re all my heroes.
xox Cruel Roller