Lady Lazarus - London Rockin' Rollers
Lady's photo courtesy of Dave McAleavy - http://boutday.com/
just finished university, I thought I’d have a break from writing for a while,
but as most of us know, any spare time we have is quickly filled with derby
related goodness. So here I find myself attempting to write my first ever
article and it’s really given me time to reflect and realise how far I have
come personally in this sport.
many others, I could write a whole essay on why this sport has been so good for
me and how it has changed my life in so many positive ways, but we’ll focus on
my derby career highlight to date which was being selected for the Team Ireland
my spectator ticket for the Blood and Thunder World Cup the day they went on
sale with no thought as to how exactly I was planning on affording to get there;
actually playing out there was the furthest thought from my mind and I would
have laughed at anyone even suggesting it. (Can you tell self-deprecation and
confidence issues are something I have ongoing trouble with?! That’s a WHOLE
I received a message from a friend over in Ireland about the upcoming tryouts
and “Don’t be so ridiculous” gradually turned into “Why the hell not?”. If anything, it was a good excuse to get back
over to Ireland which I like to do as much as possible.
born and raised in London by an English father and an Irish mother. It wasn’t
actually until I was in my early 20’s that I went over to Ireland for the first
time, but I knew straight away one day I’d move over there. I know there was
some controversy over some World Cup skaters and their nationality verses their
place of residence, but to be honest it doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
They say home is where the heart is, well mine is on the Emerald Isle.
figured I had nothing to lose; it’s better to try and fail then never try at
all right? So, after some discussions
with the husband and dealing with childcare, off I went to Dublin for the
tryouts. I can honestly say it was one of the most nerve wracking experiences
for me on skates ever. I suddenly realised how much I wanted this, how proud my
mum would have been to see me skate for Ireland (sadly, she passed away in 2011
and never got to see me skate despite wanting to). There were LOTS of people
there, in my eyes every single one of them better than me. There were jammers
who I admired and blockers that had laid me out flat in the past, but I soon
came to notice I wasn’t the only one feeling that way and the weekend ended up
being so much fun! I’d like to say I performed awesomely and came away secure
in the knowledge that a spot on the training squad was mine, but as usual, all
I could remember were all the things I thought I had done wrong.
Still, I must
have done something right because a couple of weeks later, the email arrived to
say I had made it. I cried so hard my husband thought the opposite news had
come through, then the tears stopped and I think I grinned like the Cheshire
cat for three days straight. Following that, came the realisation of what I had
signed up for. My poor long-suffering better half was already feeling like more
of a babysitter than a husband just with my home league commitments; I was torn
between the guilt I felt at leaving my family even more often and the somewhat
selfish desire to fulfil this ambition of skating nationally. Not to mention,
the fact I was still undertaking my nursing degree which consumed so much of my
Thankfully, my husband has continued to back me 100% in everything I want
to do with my life and resigned himself to more weekends alone. I can’t even
begin to explain how I managed to fit in completing my nursing degree, working
the 12 hour days, maintaining my attendance with my home league, taking care of
the house and family as well as being selected for the training squad, but
somehow I did. So now, here I am as part of the Team Ireland squad and very
proud of it. As clichéd as it sounds, they really are a great bunch of girls.
The hospitality toward those of us who have to travel long distances has been
overwhelming and I never need to worry about finding money for hotels or
getting lost on my way to and from airports. Currently, there are 32 of us on
the training squad and we’re getting ready to play our first bouts against Team
Wales and Team West Indies next month which should be interesting as I have
fellow London Rockin’ Rollers on both teams!
It’s so exciting to be bouting under the Team Ireland banner, in fact my
dad who has never shown any interest in Derby until this all happened is coming
to watch me play for the first time. My only goal for this bout will be to know
I’ve tried my best and to make my mum proud.
final 20 selected to play in the World Cup is yet to be determined. Will I make
it? Who knows? I’d be lying if I said I’d wouldn't be disappointed if I didn’t, but
there is such a high calibre of skaters, I won’t beat myself up too much if I
don’t. Just being picked as part of the training squad feels like such a huge
achievement and it’s something I’ll be telling the grandchildren about with
great pride. (Actually I pretty much tell everyone I meet). If I don’t make it?
Well, I still have that spectator ticket so you’ll see me trackside cheering on
my girls with a drink in hand. It’s the Irish way after all…..
Don't forget you can help Team Ireland get to Dallas at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/team-ireland-roller-derby