Just over a week ago, two of our skaters found out that they had made it onto the Training Squad for Team England. We caught up with Fay Roberts and Missy Rascal to find out about their initial reactions and their plans for the upcoming season.
Fay Roberts: It feels amazing. I have worked so hard for this and I am just so happy that I have been chosen. When I first found out, I was at home and I cried! I kept looking at the list for days just to see my name on it.
Missy Rascal: It had been a nerve racking day waiting to hear the announcement and it was an amazing feeling to see that my name was listed on the training squad announcement. There were too many things racing around in my mind when I read it, so I just tried to enjoy the moment. Oh, and I had some champagne when I got home to celebrate too!
At any point during the try outs did you feel confident that you had made it through to the next round?
FR: Never! At least I never allowed myself to feel like that. I did some good things on track but just as many not so good things. I’m not one for being too confident as I’m very much aware that every single skater out there had just as much chance as me of getting through.
MR: The standard was really high and it was important for me to focus on my own performance rather than try and compare against others, so I tried not to think about that and just enjoy the process.
Missy, you were selected for Team England in 2011, how do you think it will be different this year? Can you see any new challenges?
MR: There will be more time to practice and play other games before the squad get selected for the world cup, which is great for building the best team possible.
What do you think about the other skaters who have been selected? Is there anyone you can’t wait to train with?
FR: I love the team. There was so much positivity on the Internet on the night the roster was announced. I’m looking forward to working with every single one of the girls. I can’t wait to train at that level. You only get better by training with skaters who are better than you. I’m really excited about getting out of my comfort zone and learning new things.
MR: There are some skaters that I have skated with before and others that I only met through the tryouts, so I am excited to see how the new combination of skaters work together. There are a lot of skaters who have been selected that I love skating with so I’m sure it will be fun. Obviously, it is cool that myself and Fay get to train together on the squad too.
The majority of the Team England skaters are from London Roller Girls. Do you feel any pressure to be a representative of roller derby in the North?
FR: No not at all. It’s just geographical. We are now all on the same team representing the same country. If anything I feel privileged to have been noticed as good enough to train at that level. LRG have a very intense and advanced training scheme and have been exposed to really high level roller derby. I’m going to make the most of that not just for my own development but for my home team too.
MR: LRG are currently at a level way above any team across Europe, so it is inevitable that the best in England were going to be heavily weighted from there. I think it is great that there’s a mix of other leagues that are also represented on the training squad, and I’ll do my best to play my part in representing the north.
Alongside the Team England training sessions, will you be embarking on any new fitness regimes in preparation for upcoming games? Do you feel the need to step up your training to prepare?
FR: I have been training really hard this year anyway. I have a trainer called Denton Burchall who puts me through my paces with off-skates training designed to help me with the demands of roller derby. I shall now be trying to up that to two times a week. I have to keep up with the level of fitness I’m going to be up against. I would hate to go to the TE trainings knowing that I’m not good enough because I could have done more. I want to give myself the best chance possible. Strength and fitness is a big part of that.
MR: I have a pretty disciplined approach to my fitness training which is always geared towards performance on the derby track, so I will definitely be looking to improve throughout the year. I like having a motivation, so being a part of this squad gives me that added focus to keep on track.
How would it feel to represent your country in Dallas in December? Have you let yourself think that far ahead?
FR: Of course I have thought of that. I’m going to do everything I possibly can to make that roster. If I don’t, then I will celebrate with my team mates who did.
MR: It would be amazing! It is definitely something that I would love to achieve and I will try my best to reach that goal. It would be an honour to be selected.
What are you looking forward to the most?
FR: I’m most looking forward to training at the highest level. I want to learn new skills, game plays, and challenge myself. I thrive off not being able to do things that well and then going and practising them until I can do them. That’s what I like most about training. I’m also looking forward to building bonds with new teammates.
MR: Right now I am looking forward to starting the training sessions and getting to know all the other skaters.
Finally, do you have any advice for skaters who would love to skate on a national level?
FR: Go for it!
MR: If that’s your goal, then keep your focus, remember what you’re working towards, and just go for it!
The 2014 Blood &Thunder Roller Derby World Cup will be taking place in Dallas, Texas (USA) on December 4th through December 7th. You can buy tickets here, and keep up to date on Team England news over on their official Facebook page here.
Team England’s first bout of the season will be at the Super Brawl tournament in Nantes, France, 15th February 2014.