With London so close to us, the Rollerbillies have been to all LRG’s home games, but we hadn’t seen any other bouts at all. How rubbish of us. To make up for it, we decided to take a trip north for Band of Brawlers – Birmingham Blitz Derby Dames vs. Stuttgart Valley Rollergirlz. We were pretty stoked to see two completely different leagues compete – and we’d heard that Birmingham have those cool bleachers we’ve seen in American high school movies, so the venue sounded neat too.
BBDD billed the event as the first pan European bout held on UK soil. Exciting. With the UK roller derby scene growing all the time, we’re looking forward to welcoming more leagues from Europe (and beyond) to play here, and wanted them to know how much we appreciate the effort they’ve made to travel here. Stuttgart have bouted the London Rockin Rollers in Germany twice, so we hung out in the suicide seats with LRR, CCR, and LRG and made some noise for Stuttgart.
It was a closely played game. The first half was a bit chaotic, and ended with the Blitzdames taking the lead and finishing with a score of 49-30. But Stuttgart didn’t let go and kept the point differential small throughout the rest of the game – they got some good checks in, but their jammers kept taking the outside and losing their position. If you were there and you heard people screaming ‘inside! inside!’ that may have been us.
Now that we’ve been training for a while we’re looking at bouts as opportunities to soak up the strategies in play; we’re paying attention to the reffing, and we’re watching the points. And this was definitely the most confusing bout we’ve seen. We could have really used more commentary, and the cool-looking electronic scoreboard turned out to be pretty slow compared to the painted letters we’re used to (and didn’t involve cute scoregirls, which was a disappointment). There were some straggly pack moments that left us wondering who was in play, and several times we thought the jam was called off but it kept on going. We were perplexed.
So overall there was plenty to be looking at and taking in. It’s always more exciting when the points are close all the way through a bout, and we were yelling pretty loudly as a result of all that tension. With the final score at 75 – 81 to BBDD, it was tight til the end. It was great to see different leagues play, and awesome to meet the girlz from Stuttgart.
I guess we’ve become accustomed to a lot of audience interaction and commentary, awesome music, and lovely ladies offering us cupcakes and raffle tickets, so the atmosphere of this bout felt quite different compared to LRG’s events. Perhaps the cupcakes were cancelled due to rationing? The venue definitely has a lot of potential – we liked the bleachers; shame there weren’t more fans on them.