Capsizing for Charity – by Sam Awry

The grey March sky hangs over The Ship pub in Leigh-on-Sea, and it’s quiet and empty – a stark contrast to the later plans that were about going to rock this boat (sorry)! By 1pm on the 30th the pub was filling with music-lovers congregating to see nine, mostly local, bands throughout the day. The Capsize charity all-dayer covered from rock to punk alongside a mainly metal line up of epic proportions, including acts that have shared the stage with Funeral For A Friend, and graced the stage at Bloodstock metal festival.
 
The Capsize event was organised to promote the local metal music scene and to raise money for two charities, firstly Fanconi Hope, and secondly for the Seaside Sirens’ chosen charity Southend YMCA. This is where I come in. As the organizer, Luke Kinsella, is a close friend of mine, I was able to put Southend YMCA forward, which has landed myself at a table collecting money for two brilliant causes for the day (please have a look at the links at the end of my blog to see what each charity does). Two of my fellow Sirens joined me to provide some well desired help – Hell Broke Luce and Mock The Weak. We had a ball working most of the day, but as we only saw about 3 bands between us throughout the event, I’ll leave the summing up of the action to the creator of Capsize himself.
 
“The day kicked off with the newly reformed Black Spring Rising. At first I was concerned that the turnout wasn’t so good for them, but as the set went on the pub started to fill, and people were drawn upstairs to be greeted by a fantastic performance. By the second band we were pushing 60 people piling in downstairs to see Ethereal Fire, who did a kick ass extended set with some superb covers alongside their own music. More and more people kept showing up and I knew, by then, the day was going to be a success. The line-up continued with Rough Divide, Walk In Coma and 7786 taking to the stage in quick succession. Next up were Minerva Falls, playing their hearts out to raise money for a charity very close to them – Fanconi Hope. Their set, as always, blowing away the crowd, and setting up for a brilliant performance from Forged In Black (previously Merciless Fail) who were showcasing their new lead guitarist with some quite frankly amazing solos. Later into the night we had Second Rate Angels followed by Last Superheroes, who, for me, stole the show. They managed to end what was an awesome day so epically, fully capturing the spirit of the day in with their 30 minute set that ended dead on midnight. Each band that come came and rocked The Ship helped us reach the huge and entirely unexpected total, making every stress from the day so very worth it. If you were there and you don’t know who I am, I was the tall moshing mass of hair at the front, loving every minute, and if this has sounded like something you’d want to experience, we will be doing it again, so keep your eyes peeled, and I hope to work alongside the Sirens again in the future.“
 
In all we had at least 150 people through the door throughout the day and raised just shy of £450 (which has now been brought up to £450 exactly) which is going to be split equally between the 2 charities. So here I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved and to all those who came and gave so generously – you all officially rock in the eyes of the Sirens and team Capsize! \m/ \m/
 
-Sam Awry
 

http://www.fanconi.org.uk

http://www.southendymca.org.uk

Bazooka Salt – She’s a good egg!

Hello from the ‘New Girl’! For those that don’t know me yet I’m Bazooka Salt 186 (JL in the real world).

 

In November 2012 I made the scary jump to transfer from London Rollergirls Rec League to the Seaside Sirens. My long term partner is an Essex boy and despite living in Bromley I throw myself up the M25 two or three times a week to come to training. Some people think I’m crazy but it felt the right thing to do both in my derby ‘career’ and my personal life (if anyone hears of a good horse job this side of the water, hit me up so I can move over!).

 

I’ve been skating since 2010 and despite an 8 month injury break have not looked back. Skating means the world to me so thinking about changing leagues was a really big decision. I knew The Bexorcist from LRG and speaking to her and seeing how passionate she is about the Sirens was a huge boost of confidence for me. I came to a few training sessions in October and by mid-November I knew that I absolutely had to put in to transfer.

 

Since turning up to my first training session I have felt nothing but complete acceptance and was immediately integrated into the group. I did not feel like there were expectations placed on me because of where I come from.

 

I made the top 20 draft in January which was both unexpected as I was so new and hugely exciting. Again, I felt nothing but support from the league despite being new and potentially taking a spot from skaters that had been with the league longer. I also became a coach within the league and normally take my share of our A team, league scrimmage and fitness sessions. As a riding instructor by trade, I’m used to leading sessions and formulating training plans but doing so for a new league was really intimidating. I had nothing to worry about! I didn’t at all feel like I had anything to prove despite never coaching to a higher level than fresh meat in the past. I am keen to develop my coaching further to help boost the league’s level using my skills as a blocker. I believe that we all have something we can contribute to our team and am keen to gather feedback during sessions from the other skaters so that we can work together to push ourselves upwards. Again, my methods have been accepted and I’m really enjoying leading my sessions.

 

I made the roster for our season opener against the Romsey Town Rollerbillies. We won by a strong margin and I won the Best Blocker award. It was my first one ever and I was thrilled as I’ve been working really hard during our training sessions. We have fantastic captains who I think are going to drive us forwards for the rest of the season. We had an off-skates training session after the game where we reviewed the bout footage as a team including our ace bench coach and line-up manager. Not only was it a fantastic team learning experience it was great for bonding as well. We were all able to openly discuss each other’s strengths and weaknesses in order to help each other improve.

 

Unfortunately I’ve had a bit of a whoopsie and have managed to break my fibula resulting in some nifty metalwork being put in my leg (an ORIF if anyone is interested). I had surgery on the 23rd March and will be in plaster for 6 weeks. Although I am completely gutted about injuring myself so close to the start of the season, I have to say I have never felt more supported. The league have been exceptional, be it sorting out my car, visiting me in hospital, bringing baked goods, lifts to training or simple get well soon messages. It’s given me a massive boost during a tough time and I couldn’t be more thankful.

 

I have 5 weeks left in plaster and I can’t wait to undertake my physio so I can get back on skates (and my horses!). It’s going to be tough, but I’m rostered for our first European bout in Cologne at the end of May. It’s ambitious, but so am I, and I think I can make the trip with my skates rather than as a bench warmer. Either way, I know my lovely Sirens will support my decision.

 

I’ll write back when I’m out of plaster and on my way back to recovery.

 

Onwards and upwards,

 

JL x

 

Image copyright: Andrew Sims

 

A Healthy, Happy You – Abi Sin Ya

So we’re already in the 3rd month of the year and it’s usually around now that the new year’s resolutions start to pale into insignificance and the chill of March has me eating comfort food and curling up indoors like some kind of overweight tortoise, hibernating with a pack of jammie dodgers and a bucket of tea. Well this year is different for me – I’ve decided to make a change and I am dragging as many Sirens as I can along for the ride!
 
 
I was given the idea of creating a slimming group by a friend that used to slim as a competition with her buddies, the biggest loser winning the pot of cash that they’d all paid into to join up.
 
 
From there, out little SSRG shrinkers group was born and after just one week I was astounded by the amount of positivity and support that’s being shared. One common goal can bring people together in such an amazing way. You only have to look at the Roller Derby community in general to see that that’s the truth.
 
 
I’m quickly realising how this group of ladies, that might have got together to lose a few extra pounds, have a lot more than just that in common. I’m noticing a ‘chicken and egg’ kind of deal going on with low self-image and a lack of self-esteem fuelling weight issues, weight issues that are quite commonly caused by a lack of self-esteem and low self-image! So how can we break this spiral of low self-worth?
 
 
I wholeheartedly believe that boosting your general mood and outlook on life can help you to change your eating habits and promote your desire to exercise, socialise and experience a better quality of life. I’m going to share some basic tips and hints that can help you to stay motivated and positive about your body image and your progress. I, personally, believe that without a positive self-image you will never allow yourself to succeed at anything. Self-loathing is willing oneself to fail.
 
 
Here are some great little pointers I found to help you look at what might be holding you back on your path to truly accepting who you are and what can make you happy.
 
 
The 10 tools to help you feel stronger and more hopeful:
 
 
1) Connect with others. Fight stress with friendship.
Look after your friends. Make them laugh, make them cry. Connect with people. Loneliness is a huge factor in depression and anxiety, so reach out to someone, today.
 
 
2) Stay positive. Changing your thinking can change your life.
Try to remember the positives in what you’re doing, whether it’s that little jump you did on the track without falling over or the half a pound you lost. Congratulate yourself on what you have achieved instead of beating yourself up for the things you’ve yet to achieve.
 
 
3) Get physically active. Exercise can make you happier.
It’s widely documented that increasing your activity boosts your immune system, reduces risk of heart disease and generally makes you feel like you can kick ass!
 
 
4) Help others.
You may feel better serving soup at a shelter than sipping Martinis at happy hour. The Southend YMCA is our chosen charity for the first half of this year, though there are lots of local charities that could always use a helping hand, and nothing makes you feel warmer inside than helping someone in need.
 
 
5) Get enough sleep.
Being tired can hurt your health and your relationships. Increasing activity and cutting out caffeine will aid a good night’s rest. Feelings of depression and anxiety are heightened by poor sleep, so treat yourself to an early night every now and then!
 
 
6) Create joy and satisfaction.
Feeling good is good for you, so have a laugh, find a hobby or just kick back. Patch Adams had it right – it’s widely believed that laughing boosts immunity and releases physical tension and stress, it can possibly protect you from heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.. Laughter really is the best medicine!
 
 
7) Eat well.
The right foods can fuel your mind, boost your body and fight disease. Eat regularly, eat healthily, eat happily. Don’t feel guilty for having that treat, just take responsibility for what you eat and respect yourself enough to put the right fuel in your tank.
 
 
8)  Take care of your spirit.
Praying, meditating or just connecting with your deeper self can enrich your life. Taking a little time each day to tune out of the world and into ourselves is so important. Lie down in a dark room; take some time to think about how good it feels to just be. Research has shown that meditation not only calms but helps with anxiety and depression, and can help with many more serious conditions.
 
 
9) Deal better with hard times.
Coping tools can help you through a rough patch.
Try to use adversity as a stepping stone. See finding something difficult as your fuel to power you into learning how. If you’re afraid of something, let that fear motivate you to become braver. This hard time you’re facing now might be the only chance you will get to prove to yourself that you are resilient.
 
 
10) Get professional help if you need it.
If you feel that your issues run deeper than Abi’s self-help tips can deal with, get help. See your GP, take steps to take back your life and regain control.
 
 
The shrinkers, although we are competing to win the pot of cash at the end of each week, are a group of people that are aiding each other on a path to being happier and healthier. For some it’s losing a stone or so, for some it’s a different battle altogether. Some aren’t even getting weighed at all and are literally connecting with people in the group, working on their own issues and, possibly inadvertently, helping others with theirs.
Also new for 2013 is the Seaside Sirens Wellbeing Committee, expect a lot more tree hugging and high fiving, coming to a blog near you!
 
 
Abi Sin Ya.
 
 

Sleeping Isn’t Always Easy – by Sam Awry

It was a challenge issued to the league that has landed me and Hell Broke Luce in a cardboard box on a cold march night for charity.  It’s 4am on March 2nd, the temperature has just hit -4°c, there is frost on everything, there’s not a sound in the car park and I seem to be the only one awake (dressed as a panda may i add). It is almost painful to breathe, but all I’m thinking is two more hours and then I get a hot breakfast and go home to a warm bed – I am so very lucky. I’m sleeping rough for one night to raise money and awareness for the Southend YMCA at their 1st annual Sleep Easy event.

 

A few years back I faced having nowhere to stay – I lost my job, lost my flat, and moved back home to find that I couldn’t stay in the family home. I was so scared that I would end up homeless, but I was lucky to have my mum who came through for me and offered me her spare room. So when the opportunity came up to help out people who face homelessness without a support network like mine, I couldn’t say no – what was one night, when many face days/weeks/months sleeping rough?

 

On the day over 65 people descended on the Southend YMCA’s car park around 7pm, so it was time to grab a box and pick a spot. One very creative group combined their boxes to make a huge shelter for them all making my half assembled box look shameful in comparison, but we, unlike a rough sleeper, had the means to do this with tape at our disposal.

We were treated to some music, a campfire and soup, before bed. I returned to my box find that my sleeping bag was covered in ice already and with eight hours to go I was worried, but Hell Broke Luce and I bedded down for the night. I wriggled into my box, but I couldn’t sleep. I lay in that box, the sides baring down on me, thinking about how hard it must be to do this every night. I was getting a cold that day and had a choice whether or not to do it, but even if a rough sleeper is ill, they have to do it. After two hours I had to get out. After a trip to the loo and a hot coffee it was back to the box for me, but this time I turned it into a deck chair recliner box and sat up for the rest of the night. In total I slept for about an hour that night.

In the morning we all felt a quiet sense of achievement, as we all knew how hard it was, and so with a tea and a bacon butty we packed up and went back to the warm.

 

Imagine sleeping for only an hour a night, being cold, hungry and scared. Hell Broke Luce and I only got a very small insight into how it feels to sleep rough in the winter. Southend YMCA raised a total of just over £11,000 for this event and I’m pleased to say that, between the two of us,  so far we have raised £284.55.

If you want to sponsor us please visit -

 

  Sam Awry - https://www.justgiving.com/Samantha-Wilson6

  Hell Broke Luce - https://www.justgiving.com/HellBrokeLuce

 

Or if you want to give it a go next year visit - http://www.southendymca.org.uk/

 

Still getting warm

Sam Awry

Pie ‘N’ Bash – we did a win! – by Lady GoreGore

It’s that time of the year again folks! We kicked off our third (yes, THIRD!) bouting season with a bang this past Saturday at Pie ‘N’ Bash, taking on our East Anglian sisters the Romsey Town Rollerbillies from Cambridge.

 

The Rollerbillies have long been good friends of the Sirens and back in the early days, I remember taking many a trip down to the infamous Romsey warehouse (RIP!) for mixed scrims and training sessions. However, Pie ‘N’ Bash was the first time that we’d officially met on the track and it certainly made for an awesome match-up!

 

Fresh for the new year the Seaside Sirens’ A-team’ is now captained by the awesome Frocky Balboa and vice captained by the fearsome Bexorcist (proof that good things come in small packages). The girls have all been working hard since their last win against Croydon in November.

 

As the hall at Garon Park filled up with spectators hungry for derby, the teams took to the track for their skate outs. It‘s a well-known fact that here at the Sirens we do love a good skate out and the girls in green certainly didn’t disappoint, throwing out some awesome moves to MC Hammer’s ‘Can’t Touch This’. Loving your style ladies!

 

Of course, we had some surprises of our own up our sleeve and we debuted our brand new skate out song to the home crowd – a mash up of ‘Oh I do like to be beside the seaside’ and Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Sirens’.

 

With the skate outs done and dusted, it was time to get down to business. From the outset, the Sirens’ jammers proved too slippery for the Romsey blockers to hold, with Killer Bite and Force Ten Gail both bolting through the pack to gain lead status jam after jam.

 

The Sirens have been training hard for the past few months, with a focus on conditioning and pack-work. It certainly showed on the day and, as one spectator said, they were a ‘well-oiled machine’ on the track. We’ve learnt some hard lessons from previous games so it was fab to see our girls working so well together on the track.

 

The Rollerbillies put up a strong fight however, and showed some fantastic work on the track. Valiant efforts from the Romsey blockers to break up the Siren’s defense, with Test Monkey in particular proving a formidable force to be reckoned with in the pack. Jammers Dusti Knuckles and Hemaphroditie both held their own, obtaining lead jammer status and taking a couple of key powerjams for the ‘Billies.

 

Extra special props go to Bare Thrills, one of Romsey’s primary jammer’s, who told me at the after party later that she didn’t even jam usually! Awesome stuff!

 

The final scores were 287 – 73 to the Seaside Siren Roller Girls. We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season. Massive thanks to the Romsey girls for coming down to the seaside and giving us such a brilliant game. Come back and see us soon!

 

Photo © Andrew Sims

 

More Scrimmy Fun Times! – by Ella-GNAW

ANY derby skater worth their salt will tell you that the best way to gain experience on the track is to skate against people you don’t know, so the Seaside Siren Roller Girls were delighted to welcome the London Roller Girls Recreational League last week  to scrimmage with our skaters.

On Sunday, March 3rd, we all arrived at our scrimmage venue, Clements Hall, ready to learn. There was nervous excitement in the air from our cherry popper girls, who would be facing opposing skaters for the first time in their derby lives, while our A-team girls, the Seaside Siren All Stars, were looking forward to putting into practice all the hard work and skills they’ve been dedicating themselves to since the start of the 2013 season.

Thanks to our Head of Referee’s, T, and our Head NSHo, Ragna Rock, who is rocking the socks off of Europe with her officiating skills, organisation and vision,  we were fielding a full group of officials to ensure all skaters got the most out of the visit from the Londoners.

Mixed scrimmages are perfect opportunities to mix showing off your game play with having fun on the track and doing what you love the most, and all our Sirens had a chance to get on track and mix it up with the LRG Rec women.

Black and Deck Her showed her big hits off to the Sirens while Tights made sure she had the track covered thanks to her agility! And more than that, we had a BALL playing with them. Everyone was up for it. Our newer skaters, who have never skated against derby girls other than the Sirens, did us proud, proving they’ve made the most of all those drills and skills training sessions.

I think it was safe to say that everyone had a great time, and the icing on the cake – we got to skate with our honorary Siren Tiny Temper.

So thank you to the LRG Rec League for travelling down to the seaside for some super scrimmage!

We would also like to thank our fabulous referee squad and our class-A NSHo’s for bringing it on the day.

If your team would like to visit the Seaside Siren Roller Girls for some Sunday Scrimmage fun times, then get in touch, we’d love to hear from you! Just email admin[at]seasidesirenrollergirls.com

Image Copyright: Andrew Sims

NSHos – (Ragna) Rockin’ all over the world – by Ragna Rock

The Sirens’ NSO team, the NSHos, are known for their travelling ways and can often be found winging their way around the UK and the rest of Europe. At the end of last year, Hos Krystal Vice, Slack Al and Ragna Rock attended Crime City Rollers’ Officiating bootcamp in Malmo, Sweden, and Sam Awry and Ragna officiated in Helsinki, Finland at the first merby bout in Scandinavia. This time however, it was Krystal Vice and Head NSO Ragna Rock’s mission to attend the WFTDA Officiating Clinic, hosted by London Roller Girls and Surrey Roller Girls in Guildford, and then to jet off to ply their trade in Denmark, officiating bouts between Copenhagen Roller Derby, Helsinki Roller Derby, Nidaros Roller Derby and Crime City Rollers.

First up was the WFTDA clinic – a weekend of rules, practising and practising again, and, of course, Nerf guns! This year the NSO track was taught by WFTDA ninjas Nine Inch Wheels and India Pale Al who had kindly hopped over the pond from the US to pass on their great knowledge. Sessions included tips and tricks on every NSO position, plus the all-important clarifications that can help put an end to many a tricky situation. There was also a scrimmage between LRG skaters and Surrey Roller Girls – including some weird situations to test those grey cells! All officials also got the chance to take the famous ‘hella-hard’ NSO / Referee WFTDA certification test – it certainly lives up to its name! So close: we’ll get you next time hella-hard! Both Ragna and Krystal came away feeling they had learnt really useful stuff to take back and share with the Ho’s at home, having spent the weekend in the great company of old and new officiating pals.

Copyright: Marko Niemela (Copenhagen)



The following weekend the girls jetted off to Copenhagen, bright and early (why do we never book later flights?!) and spent the day in the city being all touristy. Ragna got rather over-excited at the Viking relics in the National Museum and eventually the girls and Billy Smelliot (Copenhagen Head Ref and all-round expat British lovely person) were asked to leave due to overstaying their welcome. Or possibly the closure of the museum. A great evening of dinner and drinks with fellow officials followed, together with preparation for the bouts the next day.

Saturday’s bouts included Copenhagen’s Rollin’ Heartbreakers vs Helsinki Roller Derby, and their Kick Ass Cuties vs Nidaros Roller Derby. Both proved fast paced, exciting bouts which kept all the officials on their toes. Marching in to the hall to the NSO Army of Darkness theme was also a highlight, to the storming cheers of the 700+ crowd!

Copenhagen sure knows a good afterparty – but then partying with the Sirens is never a quiet night either…

Seeing Copenhagen Head NSO Ironmonger in a spangly gold dress is now burned into the two girls’ memories – it suits a heavily bearded man rather too well…

Copyright: Anna 'Hellcoholic' Haarala (WFTDA clinic)

The next day they were off to Malmo to officiate a closed door bout between Crime City Rollers’ B team and Nidaros Roller Derby, then to the pub (standard) and straight to the airport! Fingers crossed they can travel EasyJet again, after a few disagreements with airport staff regarding getting things out of and back into bags…

Both Krystal and Ragna had an amazing weekend with great derby friends and hope to return as soon as possible! And finally, for those who were there over the weekend: FYBJ!

Ragna x

Sirens Bowl Up A Storm! – by Snarley-Davidson

I’ve always found Valentine’s Day to be a bit predictable, and Valentines weekend can be a nightmare if you fancy getting a bite to eat in town, what with all the smoochy couples with their champagne and roses.

Not so at our Anti-Valentines Bowling Competition! For our first fundraiser this year we decided to put the fun back into fundraising and have a jolly old evening at the local bowling alley.

When we arrived at the venue (1st Bowl Southend) we found that we had been given the alleys in the bar area, which quite frankly suited us to a T! We had a bit of a drink to lubricate our sporty physiques and then took to the lanes. After choosing our balls (this took me ages) and typing our names in, we were off.

In all honesty I was flipping excellent at bowling and I have no idea why my score didn’t reflect that.
Apparently Mr. Dr. Terrorbrawll had the highest score and therefore won the trophy.

I think he was a ringer!

MK Scrimmage Fun Times! – Mother Mercy

One of my favourite things about derby, apart from the usual mix of teamwork, training, random bruises and heckling, is a good old mixed scrimmage. Don’t get me wrong, I love scrimmaging with my own league too, but the chance to go play with people I don’t usually skate with is generally too good to pass up. So when we saw that the Concrete Cows in Milton Keynes were holding a Friday night scrimmage we decided some road trip action was called for.

There’s another thing that this scrimmage had that we don’t – Boys! Well, not boys so much as men. On skates, to hit! We are not a co-ed league so we don’t often get the chance to train with the fairer sex. Co-ed is something that’s becoming more common in the UK and this isn’t a blog about whether or not you like it or why you don’t. Save that for the forums and Facebook. Personally, I like it. So that’s about it.

So off we trotted to Milton Keynes. Myself, Atomic Kylider, Killer Bite and Who? Rae! The set up was fairly simple, black vs. White for three 30 minute periods. Milton Keynes were great hosts and skaters from leagues including SDRD, Quads Of War, Big Bucks High Rollers, and Oxford Roller Derby were in attendance. Sorry if I missed anyone!

After a quick warm up (jogging backwards on skates was a new one for me) we got straight into it. The scrimmage was great fun. There’s not much more you can say about scrimmaging is there? Scrimmaging within your own league can become a little predictable sometimes, and it’s good to test yourself against people who will push you out of your comfort zone. There was even time for a “Shoot the Duck” race in pairs. This would have probably been better if half of us hadn’t ended up in a pile up on the start line but wouldn’t have been as funny.

And then it’s all over. Time to cool down, de-kit, check for war wounds, exchange sweaty hugs and make the trip back home.

Many thanks to Milton Keynes for organising the event.

Be sure to check out their website http://www.miltonkeynesrollerderby.com/ for updates on when the next one will be if you fancy joining them. We’ll definitely be back for more!

Peace out,

Mother Mercy

Falling for derby – Atomic Kylider

Here I am again, at a fresh meat training session, this time watching the first new intake for 2013 pad-up and get their Skates on to train with our fab training team. As I look at the new group of Freshies I remember the feeling of excitement, nerves and anticipation that I felt at my first training session just 3 months ago…It’s amazing how fast time flies by when you are having fun!

The session started off with introductions and a motivational chat from Bex, and a wellbeing presentation from Steph.

This training session encompassed safe ways to fall and the main ways to stop. Always safety first! Time was taken to practice safe falling and stopping techniques, (one and two knee falls, 4 point falls, plows and T-stops). The training team went one to one with each person helping and demonstrating the different techniques.

After Bex was satisfied that everyone was proficient enough to skate, stop, and fall safely, we headed out onto the track for the freshies to experience what it feels like to skate as a loose pack, skate through a pack and to practice the falls that they had just learnt. After a quick rest and water break, everyone was back out on the track.

They then had the opportunity to discuss what they thought they needed to improve, and which areas of general fitness would be beneficial to work on. Well done ladies! Looking forward to seeing you at the next training sessions!
 
Image copyright: Andrew Sims 2013.