Hi Rollin' News people!
We are Team ZA
from South Africa. We will be the first EVER African team to compete at this year's Blood and Thunder Roller Derby World Cup
. Roller Derby has been going for about four years in South Africa and over that time it has grown (like everywhere else) exponentially. This year, the Leagues in Johannesburg
, Cape Town
have come together to put a national team together. This is the first time in South African derby history that all three leagues have trained and competed together.
Team ZA skater and Joburg All Star Skater, Electri-Kell was kind enough to write about her experiences during this history-making process.
It’s Winter 2014 and Roller derby just got real in South
Africa. Our hard work, passion and
dedication is gifting us with opportunities beyond our imagination and it all
started with the first round of Team ZA tryouts earlier this year.
It always surprises me to think about how quickly the sport
has grown in this country, with leagues in Johannesburg,
Durban, Cape Town, Bloemfontein and
Grahamstown. The layers of candy coated goodness that make a jaw breaking
South African derby community, who are finally ready to take on the world. How do I fit in to this community? I’ve been skating with
the C-max Roller Derby League in Johannesburg since I started Roller Derby less than 3 years
ago, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to be a member of our first ever
Travel Team (“Joburg All-Stars”) and
train with my mentors, the amazing ladies & coaches that inspire me and
keep my derby spirit alive.
Getting serious about Derby is a fulfilling achievement and
representing your country in the Roller Derby World Cup is a dream for a great
deal of dedicated skaters. The first round of Team ZA tryouts was testament to
that. The crème de la crème of derby fanatics lined up for a grueling 6-hour
trial in hopes of competing in this year’s Blood
& Thunder Roller Derby World Cup. In Johannesburg, it was a particularly hot day at our
training center and there was a resounding buzz about a wonderful bucket of ice
that was being handed around the benches in between drills. Oh, that sweet, loving, happy bucket of ice.
The pressure was building, emotions were flaring and time was crawling, but
that bucket of ice was there for all of us. When lunchtime rolled around, I had
a moment to gather my thoughts and prepare myself for the next couple of hours,
and I think my lunch box played a great role in getting me through the day. So
while I sat alone for a while and refueled, I felt the realness of the
situation. I felt that I was part of something bigger than me and I was eager
to get through the day unscathed. In our last 30 minutes we did a scrimmage
against each other. The ultimate test, how does one cope after hours of exertion when faced with a challenging physical task? You do your best, and so I did, and when that
last whistle blew at the end of the last jam I felt a rush of excitement
through my body, enough to make me want to cry, but I kept my cool.
When I found out that I had made it to the second round of
tryouts it was amazing. Once again I had been given the opportunity to skate
amongst some of the most talented skaters, not only in Johannesburg, but South
Africa as a whole. So in June 2014 the Team ZA organizers put together a Bootcamp and
fundraising event for Team ZA hosting the amazing coaches and Team ZA selectors
from Texas "Me Shove you Long Time" and "Booty
Queen". The event was put together beautifully by our very own “Gutter Fly” at the C-max Roller Derby League headquarters
in Jhb inviting skaters from all over the country to join. The Bootcamp was
the most exciting thing since heat moldable gum guards and bouncy toe stops.
With classes, seminars, bouts, parties, stalls and naturally the prospect of
being chosen as a Team ZA candidate, the excitement was tangible. Contenders wore red shirts throughout the
weekend so that SA’s top coaches along with the talented Texans could keep an
eye on us to see if we had what it takes. It was remarkable to finally get a
chance to skate with visitors from all over South Africa and the vast number of
red shirts really put things into perspective.
On Saturday we
were surprised with stylish TeamZA vests sporting our derby numbers on the back
for what would be our final test, a mixed scrimmage with the Team ZA tryout
squad. We all had our photos taken by Adriaan
van Jaarsveld and it was quite a laugh trying to disguise a full days
training which had crept into our perfect hair and polished lashes. I was proud
to have my parents there that evening to watch the bout, and what a bout it was.
The level of talent in this country is outstanding and there is no doubt in my
mind that with time we will climb the rankings and show the world what SA is
made of. The fact that the final score between the "Black Rhinos" and the "White Rhinos" was only 2 points difference shows the tough level of competition there was.
exciting after party contenders and visitors left to get some rest for what
would be the silly portion of the Bootcamp weekend, several exciting scrimmage
challenges including teams “Old vs Young”, “Gay vs Straight”, “Tall vs Short”
“Co-ed Coast vs Highveld” and more. Finding out the next week that I made it on to Team ZA and would be traveling to Dallas, Texas in December to take part in
the World Cup with the people I admire was inconceivable.A big thanks to
our Coaches, Managers, Sponsors, Leagues, Roller Derby girls, International
representatives & supporters for making this all possible.
See you in Texas.