From June 28th, until July 1st, 2012, our favorite European roller derby shop, Sckrpnch hosted the very 1st (4-day) European Roller Derby convention, right here, in Ghent, Belgium!
Skaters from all over Europe (& beyond!) were invited to join the revolution, to be submerged in a whole of trainings, seminars, workshops, scrimmages and everything a derby girl, -fan, -ref, -official, -vendor, -coach, etc. could possibly think of.
4 Days are impossible to synthesize in one, silly blogpost, so let’s try and break down what made Derby Revolution so incredibly awesome.
★ The Classes:
In these 4 days we’ve learned so much about gameplay, strategy, skills, drills, form and more, it sometimes felt as if we were completely new to the sport. But as every new thing was explained so well, and the coaches were so patient with our questions, we are sure to be able to take a lot back to our league.
★ The Coaches:
Sckrpnch was able to attract some hi-class coaches, like Joy Collision (Arizona Roller Derby, Arizona – USA) Kamikaze Kitten (London Rollergirls All-Star Team), Teflon Donna (Philly Roller Girls, Philadelphia – USA), Quadzilla, Luludemon (Terminal City All-Stars, Vancouver – Canada), Hidden Ajennda (Burning River Roller Girls All-Stars, Cleveland – USA), Roxy Rockett (Carolina Rollergirls All-Stars, Carolina – USA), Ballistic Whistle (coach of the London Rollergirls & skater for Southern Discomfort, mens Roller Derby league), 8–Mean Wheeler (Terminal City All-Stars, Vancouver – Canada) and many more!
Getting coached by the world’s best skaters is such an honor and so very valuable. Every coach has their own training style, which really works for them. For instance, 8-Mean Wheeler uses a lot of metaphors which helps to remember how to build up a drill. Teflon Donna likes to resume what we’ve learned after each session, so we have it memorized well when we leave class and Kamikaze Kitten has some cool and nifty tricks up her sleeve which help jammers to go through the pack quickly or otherwise stop them when you’re a blocker, approaching the problem and the skill very holistically.
On top of all this, there were several big names in the officiating-section present to share their knowledge to our refs & NSO’s. El Toupée, Europe’s most experienced non-skating official, with more than 80 bouts and 180 scrimmages under his belt! Riff Reff, introduced the very 1st ranking system for Europe and is one of the more renowned refs on the continent & co-founder of Euroderby.org. Tripp ‘n Dale, a Level 5 WFTDA Certified Referee & Head Coach Carolina Rollergirls!
★ The Scrimmages:
Beforehand, all participants had the opportunity to team up and sign up for a scrimmage. Derby Revolution provided the platform/tracks for several (mixed) scrimmages. People were able to play with & against each other and apply the new skills they learned in the courses they took on earlier during the Revolution.
We decided to challenge other attendees with a delegation of Belgium’s finest derby players and this unofficial ‘Team Belgium” got to scrimmage against a French/English mix of All-Star players (SEX’AND’CHEESE-team). A couple of the coaches decided to reinforce both teams & that’s how we got to play with/learn from Kamikaze Kitten and ‘SEX’AND’CHEESE kicked ass with Joy Collision & Shortbus!
★ The People:
In Europe, you’re often the odd one out when you’re telling a crowd you play roller derby. You’ll have to explain the game and often also why you’re so passionate about it. It’s amazing to be around hundreds of people who share this same passion. Who are just plain fabulous, fun and supportive to practice and play with. Of course it’s also nice to see familiar faces from other events, but we sure made a lot of new friends too.
We are extremely grateful for being able to be part of this event and we’ve enjoyed it intensely.
Therefore we take off our helmets in deep respect for Sckrpnch and their very successful effort to bring a worthy equivalent of RollerCon to our continent (and country even). THANK YOU Miss Miyagi and all the volunteers, helpers for pulling this off. Thank you Glitter Maffia for the amazing afterparties and THANK YOU to every participant, coach, vendor, sponsor, etc. who traveled to Ghent to make this weekend as awesome as it was. We’re extremely proud to have been a part of this!
Viva La Revolución!