Well, 2014 was a difficult year with highs and some painful lows. It was the year that we experienced the unexpected loss of our friend and teammate, Louise. Based on that, it’d be easy for me to dismiss 2014 as being an utterly sh*t year. However, I don’t want to lose sight of the positive things that we can take from the past year, so I’m going to share my ramblings about some of the good things.
2014 was a good year for inspirational high-level roller derby. With both the Men and Women’s World Cups that took place in the past year and the exciting WFTDA Champs there has been a lot of good roller derby for everyone to soak up and draw inspiration from. It’s given us that hunger to work harder and improve. It has also been incredibly fun watching the games together. We love cheering for the underdogs and seeing roller derby that makes our jaws drop.
In our very first year participating in the Heartland Series we secured the third place in the North East division. OH AND WE HAVE A TROPHY TO SHOW FOR IT! Yes, losing that chance to go through to the finals when it was almost within reach was disappointing but just looking back on our progress and realising what we’ve actually achieved here makes me incredibly proud. We have learnt a lot from our losses and it’s been such a great experience for us playing different teams and having something to work towards: And have I mentioned that we won a trophy?
Well if I’m going to talk about 2014 I have to talk about ‘Project Hench’. When Coach says that the team’s fitness and strength need improvement, we respond by over-using a hashtag (because that’s half the battle…). Certain teams’ attempts to intimidate us with their weight training videos (Oh hey, SSRG) brought fuel to this fire. So yes, the team is working on getting ‘hench’. Sometimes this involves doing press-ups at our workplaces; or at the pub. A web comic strip about a woman who crushes a watermelon with her thighs has been key source of inspiration for us. Watch out 2015.
We were reminded of how awesome and supportive the roller derby community can be. When we lost Louise the kind words and thoughts from across the roller derby community gave us so much comfort and I want to reiterate how grateful we all are for this support. Within our league, we drew together and looked out for each other, and I think we are incredibly lucky to have such a great support system. There is a new found togetherness and determination in our team which we take out on track with us.
Louise inspired many of us with how she embraced challenges with passion and optimism, and how she drew inspiration and learnt from everyone around her. I see this happening a lot within our league these days which is awesome. She has left something with us and we’re keeping that alive. We’re currently deciding on what would be the most fitting tribute to Louise and how to use the donation made to our league from Lou’s family and friends.
In 2015, we will be participating in the British Championships within Tier 3. This is super exciting and it will be a huge challenge as we compete against some very strong teams. We’re going to play hard and learn a lot along the way to see where that takes us because, you know – What would Lou do?
Captain & Award-Winning Booty 2014.
(I did say I wanted to focus on the positive things…)
Photos 1 and 2 courtesy of Simon Glazebrook