A winning start.
The whistle blew and as I looked at the score board it flashed: South West Angels of Terror 167 – Bristol Harbour Harlots 107. Every blister, every sweaty elbow pad to the face, and every 30 minute endurance drill (aka 30 minutes of doom) had all been worth it. The hard work had paid off and the celebrations started straight away. The floor became a sea of piled up purple hot pants with twiglet legs waving around. It was not only the win that we wanted, but the win we deserved.
This was our first bout since the rebrand and what a game it was! It would be a lie to say that people weren’t nervous but the conversation quietly flowed over the pre-game satsumas. With the unveiling of S.W.A.T.’s flag (shortly to be flung off its pole in a victory wave from the Coach/El Capitano) we were all excitedly nervous. This was our first game as S.W.A.T. and our first chance to show exactly what we had been doing over the last six months. After both teams warmed up and the benches had been allocated, we were ready for the skate out. The audience was fully loaded for some derby action with their recently purchased merch, S.W.A.T. banners and even the odd set of foam arms! Camera flashes were going off everywhere, and the shit just got realz yo! I remembered saying “Can you believe we have 7 weeks until the bout?!” to the Wife, and then BOOOOM, all of a sudden it was here. I’d played my first bout the week before in a mixed scrimmage but this meant more than anything I had ever done before. My mind flashed back to six months before the bout when I had one hellish horizontal skating technique. I remembered looking up at the bright sports hall lights whilst flat on my back thinking there is no way I will ever be able to roll my arse around this track let alone skate on it! But here I was, about to play in S.W.A.T.’s inaugural bout, and the feeling was unreal.
With S.W.A.T. clad in green/purple and BHH in navy/red the first line up was ready and the competition was looking fierce; in fact I’d say rather confident. However S.W.A.T. immediately took lead jammer status and scored points to put us ahead whilst dishing out hits S.W.A.T. style. After the first few jams S.W.A.T. were 20 points ahead and looking strong, skating together as a team, showing we had our shit locked down (whilst avoiding the unlawful killing of unicorns due to abandonment of the inside line!). We were clearly on top form from the outset. It was no easy feat though; BHH dished out some massive hits and took the opportunity for some show boating amongst the derby carnage. By the end of the first half S.W.A.T. were still very much in the lead but BHH had stepped up their game and were becoming more aware of our tactics. However the second half brought a few more tactics and a power jam situation with only two BHH blockers on track so it’s safe to say Bristol didn’t know what had hit them… possibly more apt to say we were ‘snaking’ them! Another power jam down and our resident star and claim to fame called off her jam with a call of ‘BOOOM’ (minus the defiant middle finger – it was a family show after all folks!). Captain Solomon seemed to be unstoppable even after numerous power jams. Defeat seemed imminent for BHH and the game got a bit elbow-y; with proof only too visible on the Captain’s chin. But hey, we all love a derby scar!!
Looking at the clock with less than three minutes to go we were ahead by 50 points. A further 10 points in the last jam left S.W.A.T. victorious. Screams filled the air from this group of sweaty woman in tight shorts, but the victory hugs were even tighter. With a lap around the track, spirits were so high even the flag wrenched itself from its pole! There have been many changes since S.W.A.T. came to be. A new team dynamic. A new league structure. A change in training ethos and method. A new take on how roller derby should be played to be successful. And I challenge anyone to say that the hard work wasn’t worth it. It’s one thing to win a bout, but we can all be proud that we won it with a clean and clever game. If this much can be accomplished in six months, it literally gives me shivers to think what can be accomplished in the next six months.
South West Angels of Terror… here to dominate the South West!!