Changing tides – by Geek Le Chic

Changing tides – by Geek Le Chic

I’ve loved being by the sea for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the late 70s/ early 80s, a time when it wasn’t common for families to go overseas on holiday. My family used to enjoy the good old British seaside holiday every year, and I loved it.

The initial hit of ozone and salty smell as Mum bundled us out of the car. Making sand castles, burying Dad’s feet in the sand, messy windswept hair, impossibly white ice cream, paddling in the sea, the abrasive feel of Mum rubbing the sand off our feet so we didn’t muck up the newly vacuumed car seats. And then stopping for fish & chips on the way home (I don’t care what anyone says, British seaside chips are the best in the world).

I’m lucky enough to live by the sea now, but the little flutter in my tummy when I first spot the sea on the horizon is still as strong as it ever was.

I never really considered the issue of marine conservation as I was growing up. Through a child’s eyes the beach is one big fantastic playground.
I first got an inkling something wasn’t quite right when I went to Newquay aged 17 for the annual surf festival.

I’ll admit my motives for going weren’t entirely honourable. The promise of a bevy of sun-kissed surfer dudes is, unsurprisingly, a huge draw for a hormonal, heterosexual 17 year old girl. However the main thing that made an impression on that holiday was a chat with someone from Surfers Against Sewage at the event.
Until then I had been blissfully unaware of the huge detrimental impact we as humans have on our seaside. My beloved seaside.
Sadly, as with many things, once you see it you can’t un-see it.

Fast-forward to the present and it’s truly upsetting to skate along the beach by my house on a Summer’s evening and see all the crap left behind by day trippers. Especially as there are numerous large litter bins available.
But then I guess visitors are not privy to the devastation they’ve left behind, so why should they care? They’ve already boarded the train and are half way home.
Not that the locals are entirely blameless by any means. There is evidence of dog fouling on the beaches year-round, despite numerous designated dog waste bins.

As well as being that big fantastic playground, our beaches now double up as glorified open waste bins, and it makes me very, very sad.

It’s obviously not just a visual impact rubbish has on the environment, it has a tragic effect on all marine wildlife from plants and sea creatures to birds. A bird only needs to accidentally swallow a tiny piece of plastic, get it stuck in its throat, and it’s unable to eat.
It will starve to death, if it doesn’t choke on the plastic first. Add to this the fact that 88% of Europe’s fish stocks are overfished or depleted and it paints a pretty bleak picture.

When one of the Sirens mentioned there was a Marine Conservation Society (MCS) beach clean survey on December 1st, I was keen to get involved. The last time I helped with a beach clean was when I was at University, which was…let’s say ‘a good few’ years ago. So I figured my involvement was well overdue.

So that’s how six Sirens plus one mini honorary Siren (7 year old Imogen) happened to be on a beach at 10am on a ‘brusque’ (read flippin’ freezing) Sunday morning.

We were joined by the beach watch organiser Debbie and four other volunteers. Most opted to wear Christmas hats. I declined. Mainly because I didn’t want to take my nice warm woolly hat off – Did I mention it was very cold?

Once we had given Debbie our details we were issued with a clipboard and sheet for tallying the different types of item we collected. We were given a thick blue rubbish bag, a small plastic container (for any sharps collected), a pair of heavy duty gloves each and one litter grabber thingy (technical term obviously).

Given Imogen’s obvious enthusiasm for the litter grabber thingy, we made her guardian of that – and she did a fine job using it to full effect.

Lil’ Miss Tash was designated as scribe, and therefore team leader, and diligently recorded items as they were put into the sack. I held the sack (it was a VERY important job OK?) AweSam, Dame Fear Her Limbs, Ursula Transgress, Hell Broke Luce and Imogen did the bulk of the collecting.

mcs photo

To give you an idea of how much rubbish there was (and remember this is off season) it took an hour for the seven of us to cover just a 20 metre stretch of beach. In that 20 meters we collected 0.75kg of rubbish (a total of 1.04kg was collected by all 11 of us). A surprisingly common item was plastic cotton bud sticks. General bits of plastic, polystyrene and food wrappers figured highly as did cigarette butts and face/baby wipes. We found a discarded syringe, quite a few pieces of broken glass, two lighters and a couple of bits of dog poop – we didn’t have to pick that up, but we did have to ‘log the log’ as someone eloquently put it.

MCS claim that the volume of beach litter has doubled in the last decade, despite awareness around the issue being on the increase. And the amount of rubbish we found was truly an eye opener and seemed to support this.

As it was a Winter beach clean, we only did an hour (two hours is typical in the Summer).
We vowed to come back to the next beach clean with a lot more Sirens.
Although a sobering experience, it was also an enjoyable morning. It was rewarding to be able to make even the teeniest dent in such a gargantuan task.

I’d really encourage you to take a look on the MCS website to see if there are any beach cleans in your local area. If there are, sign up and get involved!

If you aren’t able to, or don’t live close to a beach there are still simple things you can do to lessen your impact on our marine environment:

  • Don’t flush anything other than toilet roll down the loo.
    Use sanitary bags for tampons and towels and make sure to throw cotton buds and face/baby wipes in the bin.
  • When you do visit a beach, use the bins provided for any leftover rubbish – including cigarette butts if there is a butt bin available. If the bins are full then take the rubbish home with you to dispose of later.
  • If you walk your dog on the beach, pick up and bag their mess and dispose of it in the dog waste bins (again, if they are full take it home).
  • Try to use cleaning and beauty products that have natural ingredients and less chemicals in them. Most supermarkets sell own-brand eco cleaning products now.
  • Only buy or eat fish and seafood included on the MCS sustainable seafood list – and preferably those in season.

Thanks for reading. Geek Le Chic.

Photo Credits: Daddy Le Chic & Debbie Fox (Beach Watch Organiser)

Seaside Sirens v Lincolnshire Bombers 09/11/2013 – by Ella-GNAW

Seaside Sirens v Lincolnshire Bombers 09/11/2013 – by Ella-GNAW

WHEN you think of a finale we all know what we want…drama, screams, whoops, nail-biting, edge of the seat entertainment and a happy ending – and hell did our Seaside Siren Roller Girls deliver that at their last game of the season.
 
We were delighted to welcome Lincolnshire Bombers A team the Bombshell Bruisers to take on our All Stars, who have been victorious this year in all our games, bar our last bout against the amazing Newcastle Roller Girls.
 
But it was a very exciting day because our Seaside Siren B Team took to the track for the first time in 2013 to pitch themselves against the Bombers’ B team, the Damebusters.
 
So with the hall filling up on Saturday November 9th, B Team captain Bazooka Salt, who is fighting fit after a little ankle break in 2013 (have we mentioned how rock hard our skaters are?!) led her team onto the track to do battle with the help of a few friends of the Sirens from London Roller Girls Recreational League, Max Voltage, Baby Cheesus and Tiny Temper.
 
Despite not getting lead Jammer, Sirens jammer Baby Cheesus put the first points on the board after Twisted Innocence was sent to the box for skating out of bounds. Next up former Seaside Siren A team skater Tiny Temper, who gets a rowdy reception whenever she takes to our track, takes the jammer panty but passes the star to cherry popper and rising star Pegasus.
 
With some stellar jamming from Max and Atomic Kylider, the Sirens lead at the beginning of the game 35 – 19 but with blockers and jammers being sent to the penalty box the sees the half time scores at 94 – 115 to the Damebusters.
 
10 minutes into the second half and a couple of power jams takes the Sirens to 139 – 125 but Cheesus gets sent to the penalty box allowing Riva Styx to pick up lead jammer taking it to 139 – 135. Strong packs and some amazing blocking from Hell De Jour and Bazooka Salt keep jammers back for a lap and a half in some circumstances. Each team had to knuckle down and really fight for their points.
 
As the Bombers’ score continues to creep ahead Twisted Innocence starts in a 4:4 power jam with the guests playing some strong offence with Pegasus leaving the penalty box but hassling from Hell forces Innocence to call off the jam.
 
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Final score for our amazing B team versus the Damebusters is 160 – 242 but our girls carried on fighting until that final whistle and we look forward to what the future holds in store for our B Team in the 2014 season.
 
Next up was our A team All Stars and first up on the jammer line was Killer Bite and Florence The Machine. The Sirens steamed ahead with a power jam as a result of Flo cutting track, putting 24 points on the scoreboard for the Sirens to 4 for the Bombers.
 
Flo and Killer Bite continue to battle it out against each other with the scores fluctuating and remaining close. Force Ten Gail skates with astonishing power to score some points and close the points which have creeped into favour for the Bombers 46 – 64.
 
Force Ten manages to pick up two grand slams as Sirens due Katy Peril and Hula Gun keep Riva Styx in the pack before Peril gets sent off for Out Of Play penalty call. The Sirens hard work in focussing on packs and offence has paid off.
 
At the end of the first half scores at at 134 – 93 to the Sirens All Stars.
 
The second half is something that can only be understood if you were sitting in the crowd or following our lovely Phoenix in Flames’ twitter feed. With just 10 minutes left on the clock the Bombers tight walls and strong jamming see a lead change to the Bombers taking the score to 169 – 171. Next jam, despite Lincs having 3 blockers on the track to Sirens 2, Force Ten finds a gap and picks up 3 points before Mills can reach the pack, CHANGING THE LEAD AGAIN!! 172 – 171.
 
Second from last jam of the game the the score remains in the Bombers favour , with a 3:1 pack advantage to the Sirens it’s Force Ten vs Kissy. With Gail getting lead the jam is called dead as Kissy is directed to the medics for a facial hit and the Referees are given time to check the track for blood.
 
So into the final jam, 4:2 pack advantage to the Sirens, Riva versus Gail. Riva gets out first and on her second scoring pass before Gail gets out. Riva gets sent to the penalty box, the clock is on 00:00 and Force Ten passes bodies on the track before the last whistle is blown.
 
After an official review it is confirmed as a WIN for the SEASIDE SIREN ROLLER GIRLS ALL STARS but a nail bitingly close 194 – 192. Well, what a game.
 
It has been an exciting year for the Seaside Siren Roller Girls, and the acceptance into the WFTDA Apprentice Program, the B team taking to the track for the first time in 2013 and a final win for the All Stars has just topped it off.
 
We can’t wait to see what 2014 has in the pipeline but stay tuned because we have some amazing games in the pipeline!
 
 
Photo © Chris Brown

Seaside Siren All Stars v Dolly Rockit Rollers 21/04/2013 – by Jenna Tail’ya

Seaside Siren All Stars v Dolly Rockit Rollers 21/04/2013 – by Jenna Tail’ya

We love a goooooood bout. You know the kind. Where the blockers are all over each other from start to finish and the jammers have to claw for every single point they get. Where both teams are so evenly matched that it’s anyone’s guess who will come out on top. Where the skating and skill is top notch and you are astounded by some of the tricks you see. I know you know what I mean – a goooooood bout!
 
God love those lush London boys of Southern Discomfort Roller Derby for inviting us to open their home bout against the Crash Test Brummies at Tottenham Green Leisure Centre. And against the formidable Dolly Rockit Rollers (DRR) of Leicester none the less! We knew that particular game on Sunday the 21st was going to be a goooooood bout, we just didn’t realise exactly how good.
 
DRR and the Sirens have a long history of a lot of love – both teams were founded around the same time, with one of the DRR’s founders being a red-blooded – not orange-skinned – Essex girl (Hi Slamabama!). DRR catapulted themselves up through the UK derby scene as a force to be reckoned with, and we were impressed and awed with how quickly they were able to take to the game and make it their own. The Sirens’ own assent to awesomeness was a slow and steady incline in comparison so, needless to say, this bout was a long time coming.
 
The game kicked off to a packed house with what seemed to be an equal amount of Siren and Dolly supporters in attendance. Both teams have a bit of a reputation for being loud, lairy and a lot of fun, so it was always going to be a bit more noisy than usual. A ‘bit’ turned out to be an understatement!
 
The first jam saw Force Ten Gail (FTG) of the Sirens up against Nitro Noush of DRR. Power blockers from the Sirens – vice captain The Bexorcist, Hula Gunn, The Beckoning and Frocky Balboa – were able to hold Noush in the pack while FTG snuck around the outside of the pack dodging heavy hits from DRR’s blockers to get lead jammer status. She scored six points before Noush escaped the pack and called off the jam.
 
The second jam saw Killer Bite (KB) against the aforementioned Slamabama. The Bexorcist was back on the track and landed a huge – and unfortunately illegal – hit on Slam, making her the first penalty box trip of the game. None the less KB got lead jammer status, scored and killed the jam dead.
 
Between KB and FTG rotating one on one off as jammers, the Sirens managed to hit over 50 points within the first jams of the game. The Siren jammers, possibly tiring, gave away a few power jams to the Dolly’s jammers who took full advantage of the Sirens’ time off the track. They managed to even up the score very quickly and then surpassed the Sirens’ score within the first ten minutes of first half. Thus began the rotation of power jams; KB sitting down only to be joined by DRR’s jammer, captain Onya Case, which released KB back to the track. And back and forth we went like that.
 
Meanwhile, the packs from both teams fought hard and displayed impressive tactics. DRR were excellent communicators constantly feeding information to their team-mates while the Sirens’ heavy hits from Frocky Balboa and Doc, coupled with their impressive recycling abilities, managed to slow the bleed from DRR and claw back a few points of their own. The teams went into the second half with the Sirens ONE POINT in the lead, 77 to 76.
 
The second half began exactly where the first half left off. FTG wore the star for the Sirens, Onya Case wearing it for DRR. Both jammers struggled to get through the tough packs, but FTG managed to escape first and get called lead jammer. Onya was hot on her heels forcing FTG to call the jam off early and no points were scored. KB hit the track for the second jam of the half and got a cut track penalty, giving DRR’s jammer, Major Mickey Taker, the opportunity to change the score lead again. She catapulted the score to 91 – 77 in the Dolly’s favour and called the jam early to start the next with KB still standing in the box. Holly Sheet of DRR took to the track to do some more damage, but the Sirens’ pack were all over her and managed to prevent her scoring anymore points before KB rejoined the game. KB broke through the pack first but couldn’t be lead, and she didn’t manage to circle back around and score before Holly broke through, was called lead and killed the jam immediately.
 
Ten minutes into the second half and DRR are up 102 to the Siren’s 89. The penalties are heavy from both teams, but the Sirens blockers aren’t slowing. Some excellent jammer assists from Hula Gunn were well timed and hugely beneficial, while The Beckoning worked her magic at the back of the pack holding down the opposition jammer. DRR’s power blockers – Thrashin Bones and last-minute sub Evel Von Deta – weren’t making it easy either, targeting the Sirens’ defence and attempting to destroy their formations and their concentration.
 
The teams hardly went more than ten points from each other through the entirety of the second half and tensions in the crowd and on the benches were high. This was well and truly anyone’s game!
 
With 1:26 to go until the final whistle the score was a dead even 162 to 162. Jammers KB and Nitro Noush were taking turns rotating in and out of the penalty box, when KB cut the track and fouled out of the game with too many penalties! The jam ends and FTG is forced to take KB’s place in the penalty box where Noush is already sitting, and the jam starts with both jammers in the box! With hardly any time left on the period clock this is very clearly going to be the last jam of the game.
 
FTG is released almost straight away and she starts passing. The Sirens’ bench and supporters are all on their feet screaming and cheering her on! She passes once, and then twice, and starts on her third pass when Noush is released from the box and starts on her first pass with 30 seconds on the clock. The Sirens power blockers – The Bexorcist, Hula Gunn and The Beckoning – manage to keep her in the pack, rotating and recycling, driving Noush off the track and forcing her to the back and through again. DRR’s blockers are focusing all their attention on trying to stop FTG from scoring any more points and Tottenham Green Leisure Centre is rocking from the noise! Before Noush can score the final whistle sounds, ending the game with the Sirens ahead at 178 to 162. And the crowd goes nuts!
 
It was a goooooood bout!
 
The Sirens would like to thank Southern Discomfort for hosting us, the referees for their whistle skills, and the NSHo’s who were FANTASTIC as always, and the truly excellent Dolly Rockit Rollers for putting us through our paces.
 
Congratulations to the award winners from DRR:
Thrashin Bones – Best Blocker
Lil Crash – Best Jammer
Nitro Noush – MVP
 
And the same to the Sirens’ award winners:
The Beckoning – Best Blocker
Force Ten Gail – Best Jammer
The Bexorcist – MVP
 
Our next public outing will be at home in Garon’s Park Leisure Centre against Manchester Roller Derby’s Checkerbroads! Tickets are £5 in advance, £6 on the door and, as always, there’ll be beer!
 
 
Image copyright: Andrew Sims

Beyond The Thunderdome

Beyond The Thunderdome

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in April, the Seaside Siren Zebras-in-Training headed to Oldham – home of the Rainy City Roller Girls – and boy did it live up to its name!
 
We arrived at our stable for the night under heavy grey clouds and could only expect there to be a downpour in a city nicknamed Rainy! It had been a long trek and we wanted to put our hooves up before the day of skating that awaited us. So after a hot meal, we settled in with our Ovaltine (Clawd’Ya) and knitting (Rosie the Refetor) and pondered what lay before us at the Referee Clinic.
 
Bright and early on Sunday morning we re-fuelled, packed our saddlebags, and headed to The Thunderdome!
 
After navigating some horrible one-way systems littered with roadwork’s, we finally arrived. The Thunderdome was once a theatre in Oldham town centre – now it is the home venue of The Rainy City Roller Girls, who refurbed the venue in 2011 to suit their needs by laying a new concrete floor and designating bench areas and the penalty box.
 
We were met at the door by Matt the Knife, Yvel Saint Laurent and Emmeline Pancakehurst, who were without keys. The wind was blowing, and the herd of zebra’s was growing rapidly. Finally, Karl Lagerfilled arrived with the keys and we trotted up the stairs in anticipation of the day ahead.
 
We had been warned that The Thunderdome could get quite cold, but I don’t think anyone was fully prepared for the chill that awaited us! So, with mugs of warm drinks and several layers of clothes we gathered at the end of the room for the slideshow!
 
Matt and Karl introduced themselves officially, and we were all wowed by their years of experience and the certifications under their belts. We were definitely in good hands to learn the ropes. Labelled as an event for Beginner-Intermediate level ref’s, the day promised to teach us more about pack definition, making clear calls, professionalism, how to perform kit checks and more.
 
The morning session was made up of several PowerPoint presentations, and included role- play (no, not that kind of role-play!) of what to expect from an Official Review. Most of all, Matt and Karl stressed how a referee should be professional at all times, and ensure that you remain calm and in control of any situation as things can get heated on bout day! It was really informative and we came away with plenty to think about.
 
After a swift lunch, we strapped on our skates and donned our stripes (some of us for the first time ever!) for the afternoon session of skating. Matt promised that this half of the day would teach us the skills we would need for the track, and put the theory session to the test. After kit-checking each other and a quick warm-up, we set about on an obstacle course designed to put several skills into practice. Starting with a jump over the fallen skater, or cones in this case, transition to backwards to follow the front of the pack, then turn again to chase. Stopping at the next cone we were greeted with a penalty card and colour and number card, helpfully held up by some of the Rainy City skaters and refs, to which we had to clearly call the penalty and ensure we made the right hand signal. Can anyone say pressure?!
 
There were several more drills, and some of the Rainy City A-Team came to help with some pack work. We were split into three teams of seven (a full ref crew), to ref the pack at varying speed. Not only that, but they were holding up cards with different penalties written on them for us all to call. The cries of a herd of zebra can be quite deafening at times!
 
After a quick briefing by Matt, we were told the day would be ending with a closed-door bout between Furness Firecrackers and the home team, Bet Lynch Mob. Great, we thought, we can watch a ref crew up close and personal. But no, Matt told us that WE would be ref’ing the game! Making our bout debut was a scary thought, but we knew we had been preparing for this moment all day. After a quick group hug, the Seaside Siren Trainee Zebra’s went into battle armed and ready.
 
Matt was based on the inside track and would oversee us from there, helping with any calls or issues. Karl was watching from the Outside and was ready to debrief us after the game. We were split into teams of seven again, and would be skating four jam rotations and we would get the chance to try out all the different positions (that’s what she said!). Rosie the Refetor was in the first group, and Clawd’Ya and 7 Deadly Sims followed in group two. After the first rotation, all the zebras were starting to get into the swing of things, and even enjoying themselves!
 
With the bout whistled to an end, Matt called us in to the middle for the last zebra huddle of the day. We all felt that we had improved, and were leaving having gained some great knowledge and experience. The most profound being:
 
Rule 2.2.2 – The Team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
You need skaters to score the points
You need referees to count the points
You need NSO’s to track the points
 
Without any of the above, there is no game. So remember Rule 2.2.2 when you are next at a game, and remember that ref and NSO training is just as important as skater training. Without us, the track would be carnage!
 
Rosie the Refetor, Clawd’Ya and 7 Deadly Sims would like to extend a MASSIVE thank you to The Rainy City Roller Girls, and especially to the Matt The Knife, Karl Lagerfilled and all the ref crew for organising such a great day out. We hope to host you at the decidedly warmer seaside soon!
 

Capsizing for Charity – by Sam Awry

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!

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

 

Meet our new mascot!

Meet our new mascot!

THE Seaside Siren Roller Girls’ November bout Bucket and Slayed will be the place where dreams come true for one 10 year old fan as we are honoured to announce our very first mascot, Caitlyn Palmer.
  
Ask a child what they want to be when they’re older and the response you expect in 2012 usually include the standard pop star, doctor, pilot or princess perhaps. However, Caitlyn is no ordinary 10 year old, she dreams of strapping on her skates and joining Essex’s first and only bouting Roller Derby league.
  
The Seaside Sirens were delighted when Caitlyn’s mum, Angie got in touch with the league asking whether, for Caitlyn’s 10th birthday, she could bring her derby obsessed daughter along to a training session. Happy to make a birthday wish come true, the Seaside Sirens were more than happy to oblige and welcomed her along to a Tuesday session, where Angie had designed and made a Seaside Sirens birthday cake in the shape of the anchor and skate logo. The Seaside Sirens finished off her birthday surprise with a beautifully loud rendition of Happy Birthday.
Co-captain of the A-team Force Ten Gail said: “She had such a great time at the training session and looked so happy to be sitting in and watching what we get up to that we thought it would be brilliant if she would come along and be a mascot at our next bout. Especially seeing as she discovered her derby love at our last bout Battle of Britain.”
  
An excited Caitlyn said: “Visiting a training session made it the best birthday ever, and thank you so much for letting me come and see you. I cannot wait to be your mascot and cheer you on and I have even been trying to think of my roller derby name! I like Skatlyn Harmer!”
Caitlyn’s mum, Angie said: “Cait has really got into her roller skating and after seeing the Seaside Sirens bout at the Battle of Britain, that interest has only increased. So much so that she can’t wait until she’s 18 to join!”
  
Caitlyn will be making her mascot debut at Bucket and Slayed on Saturday 18th November, at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre, Garon Park, Eastern Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 4FA.
The Seaside Sirens will be taking on our London neighbours and league friends Croydon Riot Squad while the headliner will be Men’s Roller Derby favourites Southern Discomfort versus The Inhuman League. Doors open at 3pm and tickets can be purchased by visiting www.seasidesirenrollergirls.com/events
  
Words: Ella-GNAW. Photo credit: Angie Palmer.
  

Eastbourne Extreme – by Ginger Dread Man

Eastbourne Extreme – by Ginger Dread Man

Another grey, wet, day in the UK as we bounced along the motorway and made our way to Eastbourne. I came along for the ride to watch and support my team who were participating in Eastbourne Extreme, a yearly event showcasing what Eastbourne has to offer all in terms of sports, using the epically beautiful Eastbourne beach, its watersports offer, and those slightly more niche activities and sports including roller hockey, artistic skating, Parkour, and of course, Roller Derby amongst many others.
 
If I’m honest, I wrote the day off for being any good, I thought on our bumpy coach journey…
…I mean, bleak weather, outside gameplay, on a concrete sport court didn’t conjure the general idea of Derby in my mind and was surprised to see so many teams signed up to play.
 
I did however, thoroughly eat my words and wished to write a little about the event.
 
When we arrived the locals from Eastbourne were sweeping the puddles off of the wet track in order to aid the drying process as the Sirens arrived as one of the first teams there, curious faces looming on wondering if things would go ahead. Slowly the other skaters from Croydon Roller Derby, Beasts of Bodmin, Big Bucks High Rollers, Oxford Roller Derby and Bristol Harbour Harlots arrived. Sirens were on for the first game of the day against the not too distant Croydon team. The derby contingent of the event being arranged by the Bourne Bombshells.
 

Sirens Vs Croydon
Copyright: Gavin Bourne

 
The track was still wet, so warm up time prepped skaters for the newer skating conditions, getting used to their edges and the feel of the track, working out how to approach the game. The tournament was set for a 5-major limit and one thirty minute period for each game. There were no team time-outs and the games would be decided by overall points differential, highest making their way to the final.
 
My concern and feel, under the parameters and setting was that those who braved the weather and watched any of the games through the day would see a watered down and weak example of what derby as a sport actually looks like, not doing it any favours as it steadily pushes itself forward into more UK towns and peoples and vocabulary and dialogue.
 
The first whistle went and starting out slowly the game progressed surprisingly to the game I know and love. Pace quickened and hits solidified as the bout continued and skaters gained confidence. Players were going down on occasion as per regular indoor gameplay, but without any observable major damage. The sun kept poking through the cloud and the track started getting a little patchy which, as I know from my longboarding escapades, doesn’t bode well in the corners, but skaters were like ducks to..water (wet track etc…hehehe) in adapting to the temperamental track
 
Mosquito from Croydon was the first of the noticeable tournament victims of the grippier concrete, looking as if she’d whiplashed herself a little and she made contact to the floor, resulting in the jam being called off. Gameplay resumed shortly after and finished with Croydon, who went on the win the tournament, scoring well over the Sirens.
 
Sirens Vs Oxford
Copyright: Gavin Bourne

 
The court dried up at a good pace and bout after bout, gameplay was of a high standard. All teams seemed to forget they were outside and on rougher concrete and, from a spectators perspective, it did make a pleasant contrast against the usually indoor sounds and sights. This was clearly appreciated by those who walked by the ‘Derby Cage’ and watched some for a while, others for longer, no doubt being aided by the announcers’ commentary as to what’s going on and how it all works.
 
Sirens were back on after a few hours in a stark comparison to the mornings conditions. As per the other games, the dry conditions meant skaters moving faster and more confident leading to great gameplay with no visible difference from that of an indoor bout. Oxford Roller Derby were next to face the Sirens in the cage. Due to some power jam situations and Force Ten Gail flying around the track scoring one of the highest scoring Jams in the tournament, Sirens scored 135 by the end of the 30 minutes aiding to their differential and the well determined tight blocking of the Sirens did a stunning job of keeping Oxford at bay at 29 points.
 
Sirens Vs Oxford
Copyright: Gavin Bourne

 
Croydon and Big Bucks faced off in the final, a really close game til the end, but Croydon managed to claw the victory by a mere 4 points over the very strong team from Buckinghamshire to win the tournament.
 
I came feeling tired and reluctant, but I wished to take my metaphorical ‘hat’, off to all of the teams involved and who competed against one another on the day. The derby spirit and the determination of those who clearly have a genuine passion for the sport and for each other in the derby community shone through. All battled hard and through tough opposition and terrain and some now indeed really have the scabs and soon to be scars to show for it.
 
This to me, is a good and encouraging sign of things to come. As derby and the UKRDA gain weight and speed, exhibitions of derby like today show that those who are involved, given initially poor playing conditions and a different gameplay format, really made the day special, ultimately showing each other, the inquisitive general public, and this pessimistic young ref what derby and the passion that courses within it all, are all about.
 
Ginger Dread Man
 
Final
Copyright: Gavin Bourne

 

Fresh meat…The end… by Abi Sin Ya

Fresh meat…The end… by Abi Sin Ya

It’s not actually the end, but I thought I’d try and make it sound dramatic!
 
We’ve had such great success with the fresh meat attendees that Tuesdays are continuing for our new skaters to really develop and get through those minimums.
 
This Tuesday was all about hitting, yep that’s right, more hitting! I didn’t realise until now how enjoyable it is to be really flipping violent! We had great fun battering each other for an hour and a half.
 
We also did some faster paceline work, ducking and weaving in and out, juking as we went. we also did a time trial in which we had to complete 3 laps. I couldn’t believe it when I came first!
 
Guest referee Ray Fury of the Bruising Banditas came down to ref our drills and considering I am a trainee referee, I broke a lot of rules! Being good is harder than you think!
 
It was great to be completing fresh meat with all the guys and girls. There is a real sense of cameraderie there now which I hope will continue on as we all join the main league. This fresh meat has been so successful we are very lucky to have had some amazing recruits. They’re dedicated, hard working and most of all they’re well hard!
 
They fall, they get back up, they get hit they get back up. Actually they just get back up a lot! The progress we’ve all made in 6 weeks is astounding and I think that is down to our super head of training, Force Ten Gail. She’s positively evil but obviously wants every one of us to succeed.
 
So far as being a zebra is concerned, we have managed to recruit 2 more referees, making us a full team of 7 zebras now. We are now well on our way to having a high quality ref squad that is as dedicated and professional as the Sirens skaters and NSO’s.
 
It’s an awesome time to be a zebra and an awesome time to be a Seaside Siren. Thanks for popping back to read my blog, I hope you’ve enjoyed my meaty journey.
Hits and whips,
Abi Sin Ya, aged 34 & 2 days.
 
Image: © Marc De Groot

Week 5. Fresh Meat…..& 2 dead legs. – By Abi Sin Ya.

Week 5. Fresh Meat…..& 2 dead legs. – By Abi Sin Ya.

Tuesday night was all about contact, ouchy, ouchy contact. But first we had to warm up! Oh yes, the warm up. Joy! After some planking, jumping, squatting lunging and mega ouching, we kitted up.
 
That was it for the easy stuff, now on to the hitting! It was so much fun I can’t even begin to explain….. well okay I’ll try, or this will be a rubbish blog huh?
 
I spent a lot of time working with the gorgeous and tiny Brute Forceyth. She hit me hard! Her hip checks were catching me right in my quad muscle. This, I learned is the disadvantage of being so tall!
It’s great to work with someone of such a different height though, it makes you really think about where you are planting your hits. I had to be very careful not to high block Brute and she had to be very careful not to low block me.  We mixed up pairs and we carried on hitting until the end of the session.
 

Freshmeat5
Copyright: Seaside Sirens

 
I was pleased and surprised at how good we were at staying on our feet. I expected the floor to be covered in splatted out fresh meat! It was surprisingly meat free. Linda Mccartney would approve!
It just goes to show how well we’ve been trained in such a short space of time.
 
I’m in total, head over wheels, derby love with Force Ten Gail and her gruelling Tuesday night sessions. (That’s what she said) I can’t even begin to imagine what she’s got in store for next time!
 
Please excuse the shorter blog this week, my brain has been frazzled due to line up managing our amazing mixed B team at the Sirens second home bout of the year, on Saturday.We lost….but derby won!
 
Derby always wins! Don’t be a squeaky wheel, come back next week and I’ll write some more words down for you!
 
Abi Sin Ya aged 33 & 357/365ths. (What I’m trying to say is…it’s my birthday really soon, like)
 
Freshmeat5
Copyright: Seaside Sirens