Derby in Sweden

 Posted by at 9:15 pm  3 Responses »
Apr 162010
 

Kitty Cleavage from STDR in London to learn more about roller derby when Texas came to play London.

I spent the past week in Sweden and I had the opportunity to appear in Swedish Morning TV to talk about roller derby together with the president of Stockholm Roller Derby, Bess Irv Cold. The morning hostess borrowed a pair of bedazzled R3’s (courtesy of Jender Bender) and I was slightly surprised she did not fall on her face and seriously harm herself. Before we went on air I spent some time flirting with the band was featured in the morning show. Ah… life as a derby girl is so taxing sometimes, it was about 8 am, but it is never too early to impress.
The following day I got to guest coach Stockholm who mostly have very new skaters, but they are all so excited they are on skates and about roller derby. I got to blow the coaching whistle, boss them around and tell them a hundred times that they get extra credits for falling. (for some reason no one took this really serious, I WAS SERIOUS, falling IS good for you, it teaches you to get up real fast) The next day I took a train down to Malmö to visit the brand new league there.

Coming back to Sweden and see the girls working hard to find a place to skate, find gear, find someone to teach them the basic rules and even find enough girls to make up a team. And they do it all with smiles, giggles and beers in their hands make me remember why I loved derby from the first min. Those girls love derby for what derby is, they take every little piece of information and squeeze it, turn it upside down, jab at it, and ask more questions. They make derby their own, they love every little piece of what derby is and is becoming. They show up to practice in newly bought R3’s, in duct taped skates from the 70’s that someone found at a garage sale. Their pads are fresh out of boxes shipped from US or stolen/borrowed from a brother, sister or boyfriend. Everyone just trying figure out what derby is, how it is played, what to wear, what wheels that work in rented middle school gyms.

Sweden made me realize how blessed I am, that I am a part of a sport that women allover the world, not only US love and work so hard to get recognized. Derby makes me smile multiple times a day. And when it frustrates me, I just think of how much happiness it has brought me and all the friends I have made. Because Roller derby is something that is in your face, and I like to keep it there, with or without fishnets, it is what we all make it to be!

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Apr 112010
 

When I write this I am sitting on a train going south, trains are amazing in the way how I can see the landscape fly by outside and still walk around and have my own little space. X2000 is the fastest train of Sweden, and that is where I am, in the distant north where I was born. I flew from a sunny glammed out LA, a packed Doll Factory, skating my little Legit heart out against the banked girls of LADD to a Sweden, where the spring slowly is hesitating, one step forward, two back. Yesterday it snowed in Stockholm but today I could lace my skates on and skate down to the station to hop on the train to head towards the third largest city of Sweden called Malmö. Malmö just started Sweden’s fourth roller derby league, and I am there to meet with some of the girls and talk derby. It has only been two years since I skated my first bout, but the two best years of my life…

I found derby a little over two and a half years ago, and it was not in Sweden at all, I found it when I was just returning from a very crazy summer in Berlin, I needed some substance in my life, I wanted to find a passion that was filled with more than just words and no action. I needed to find something that made me smile with my eyes and that wasn’t about getting myself too drunk or writing self-loathing poetry.
In the middle of all this I had a great neighbor who was friends with Deadly Aim (former Rat City now Oly Roller) and asked me why I just did not try Roller Derby. Without even knowing what roller derby was, more than girls on quads knocking each other over while wearing short skirts, I bought a rookie package from some online shop. From that day and on I rarely drank, I quit smoking (and I had smoked for almost 14 years) and I went vegan. I tend to do things to extreme when I fall in love, and I fell in love with roller-skating, and later on with roller derby. After two months of going to all of the skate rinks of the Seattle area and mimicking the moves of random girls with striped socks, I found Jet City.
I was scared and shy; I was sure I would be laughed at and fall flat on my face. I wore stretch jeans and an oversized Misfit t-shirt, and I think I might have fallen on my face, but I ended up being accepted to Jet City’s booty camp and later trying out for the league.. Trixxie Trah’em, one of the best and scariest blockers of the league, always used to practice hits on me. I was always that scrawny and tall girl, I never imagined that I one day would be feared as a blocker on the track. I jammed my little heart out that first year, and I don’t think I ever really considered being a good blocker until I got on Rat City a year later. But I believe you can become anything if you really put your mind to it, it is all in the hard work and passion.
And it is not easy, I have fallen asleep some nights crying, feeling like I am not good enough, but when my jammer tells me she feel safe with me in the pack, I know it is all worth it. I feel good about being me, I feel good about wearing my team’s color on the track, and I feel good about roller derby. All the strong women that makes me believe that I can be what I want and strive to be, women I love on and off the track. I love how I can shit talk with Krissy Krash on the track just to lean my head against hers afterwards, because I know she is one of the good people. We all belong together, they love me for who I am just in the same way I love them. What is there not to love??

Oh and by the way, the Malmö girls got me real drunk after a little skate session.

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