Okay, so we are really just talking about one league in particular – the Norwegian league, Nidaros Roller Derby. They’re ambitious, with aspirations to get the team from Norway to America, and will be starting their extensive trip in North Carolina, crawling their way across Georgia, and ending up at the Beach Brawl tournament, all the way at the tip of the East Coast in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
As so many of you are aware, and as we’ve also covered here again and again, European teams are currently caught in a rankings trap which means in order to push their rankings up and play in the upper WFTDA divisions, they need to make the incredibly expensive and physically demanding journey to the USA. Australian teams, like the Victorian Roller Derby League know about this hidden requirement all too well.
And so this team is aspirational – a quality we all love in our roller derby leagues – and they’re doing the hard work on all fronts to get there.
Last year, in 2014, Nidaros took on a lot of travel to climb up the ranks, competing at a number of international tournaments, including WET (the WFTDA European Tournament, in Malmö- Sweden), SKOD (A Skate Odyssey, in Gent, Belgium), and even traveled to America for the 4th Annual Mayday Mayhem (in Colorado). This year, they are planning to do even more!
As a diverse group of skaters, they all have their own stories about what it means to them to be able to include this trip in their year of roller derby. We were lucky enough to hear some of their personal reasons for being invested in making it happen – from a team full of the caring professions (nurses galore!) to skaters who have never been to that part of the world before.
Especially powerful were the stories of people who are working through incredible odds, including illness, to make their roller derby team commitments come true. Like this story from player Brawly:
“I am married to the most wonderful woman and together we have this amazing girl, Martine. Unfortunately Martine has a chronic kidney disease which requires frequent hospital visits and worries about the future. Last year Martine received a jersey with team USA roller derby players’ signatures on. To us the jersey symbols strength, as it is given by some of the toughest women on earth”.
Photo provided by Brawly herself.
The family plans to end their trip with a Disney World adventure with their little girl.
We were particularly affected by Benny Kill’s story, who is herself a nurse while also battling an overwhelming medical condition to fulfill her own derby dreams:
“But apart from my job, there is something else that affects my life. I’ve been fighting against my own body for some time now, probably most of my life. Two years ago I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Hypersomnia. It’s a disease that makes me want to sleep A LOT. I can sleep whenever and wherever. A power nap for me isn’t 15 minutes, it’s more like 5 hours.”
“It’s a real struggle, because I do want to function properly in my daily life and I don’t want any special treatment from anyone, but the disease often leaves me exhausted. When I take my medication I usually don’t have that big of a problem to stay awake, but the disease catches up with me sometimes, but I’ve made up my mind; I don’t want the disease to control me, I want to control the disease”.
“I believe that roller derby and working out in general does a lot good for me in my fight against myself. Even though I sometimes am way too tired to go to practice, I drag myself up and do it. I never regret doing it. The feeling afterwards is so worth it!”
Want to contribute to their valiant efforts? You certainly can! You have till the 10th of May to contribute to their fundraiser. But don’t wait too long – we don’t want them to lose hope!
Photo credit to Marko Niemelä, http://punkmarko.kuvat.fi
They’re even putting on a bootcamp that you can go to, to help them to raise money for the trip. Their intermediate coach, Yoshibitchu (pictured above), is also a strong caretaker off the track. In her own words: “I work as a nurse in the maternity ward, where I take care of newborn babies and mothers who need a little extra medical care. What I love most about my work is being a part of the miraculous childbirth and the happiest experience a family could have. I always strive to get better in everything a do, and my plan for the future is to become a midwife”. We think you should be very safe in her capable hands.
And we’ve been given the heads up that you should keep your eyes peeled for their limited edition merch available soon at an online store!
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