So the Australian roller derby community is pretty isolated. We don't get too many international teams coming out to play with us, forming a national team is hard given the size of our country, and online broadcasts of bouts overseas are usually on at 2am our time. But for all that the Australian roller derby community is a thriving one. In fact it was in Australia that we saw the largest roller derby event in the world back in 2010, with the first Great Southern Slam held in Adelaide. This last weekend saw the second TGSS, and it was once again the biggest such event ever held, anywhere!
Three days of non-stop derby action across 5 tracks. To quote one of my teammates, "I now know what derby heaven looks like!" I played in one of those bouts, a very close game between PRD and Gold Coast Roller Derby, where the lead changed five times throughout the game, and in the end we lost by 5 points in the last jam. That sucked, because I was one of the two blockers left on the track when we lost (two blockers and our jammer were in the bin!), and watching that jammer whizz around and around, while we tried fruitlessly to stop her, was gutwrenching.
This event was later repeated at a couple of the other bouts I saw (notably Pirate City vs Brisbane City, and Canberra vs Sydney), where the game was lost in the last jam when one team's blockers and jammer were in the bin. A little lesson for us all there I think!
Overall it was a freakin' brilliant trip. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to go along, and to play. It was touch and go there for a while, with the captain wanting to bench me due to missing too much training (coz I was with my Dad), but I made it there in the end, albeit on a reduced roster. Now that I know what playing against a team you've never played before feels like (chaos, in case you're wondering!) I feel like I'll be more and better prepared next time.
It feels like this was so much of what I have been aiming for since the beginning of the year. I'm actually a bit worried that I will crack now, without that focus. I still have a father to grieve for, after all. But hopefully the regularity of training, and our home team games to work towards, will help to keep me sane.