Glen Coco’s insight into her very first bout…
Want to be part of the next Cherry Popper? New Skater training is on every Monday night at the Thunderdome!
Saturday came around really quickly and after waking up much too early and attempting to watch an episode of Friends, I started to get ready for the much anticipated Cherry Popper. I packed my bag and checked it at least 3 times before setting off because I was sure I was going to forget something – like socks or a single wrist guard. But I had packed everything, I think, and set off to cycle to the tram stop. Upon unlocking my bike, which is in a sheltered bike shed, I discovered that somehow a bird had had an ‘accident’ on my seat (which is good luck isn’t it?).
We had 2 teams, the Fallen Angels (team white) and the Black Widows (team black, of course). I was part of team black.
I got to the Thunderdome at 12:45 and I meandered around for about half an hour eating pasta and drinking Red Bull. I met a few of my teammates (who I had never met before, because Cherry Poppers bring in the best new talent from everywhere in the country) in the toilets as they were painting their faces and getting ready, we talked about how nervous and excited we were (at this point I was way more excited than nervous). Then we got our skates on and got into our team groups and went into our changing rooms, we talked tactics and who was doing what on track. I said I’d like to have a little go at jamming and blocking. It was all getting pretty official now!
It was really funny seeing myself in the programme. Especially because I was the only one who had put a filter on my photo in an effort to make it look better. And no joke, a child came up to me before the game and asked for my autograph, no doubt she was a die-hard blog fan.
We had a pre-warm up, warm up and let the other cherry poppers get used to the floor, then we had a little while before our proper warm up and our skate outs, so I went into the changing room and rang my friend who was supposed to be coming to watch. When they said they were on their way, my excitement instantly turned into nerves and I was a nervous wreck for the rest of the time. I tried to eat a banana and struggled to peel the skin.
We warmed up and skated out.
After that we had a minute before the game actually began so we sat down on the bench to compose ourselves and I couldn’t stay still, I had to start skating soon or I would have passed out through excitement. I didn’t skate the first jam, which I’m grateful for, as I needed some time to compose myself. But I jammed the second one. I put on the jammer panty and attempted to talk some sort of tactics with my team mates. The whistle went, we got on track and I cannot remember anything else. I got lead and scored some points (exciting!) and then after that it was jam after jam after jam and it all blurs into one. It was well good.
I got a little bit over excited as I skated around the track as jammer and saw my name on the scoreboard, especially when my name flashed red meaning I was lead jammer. And after all the nervousness leading up to jamming, it was my favourite part. Although I must remember to actually breathe next time.
It’s true when people say as soon as you start skating you don’t notice the audience. I could hear a few ‘You go Glen Coco’s, which always amuses me but I couldn’t hear much else. I hope there were some ‘Four for you Glen Coco’s as well. The only time I was aware that I was being watched was when I was hit out and nearly hit the PA desk and wondered how funny I would have found it if it had been someone else.
The whistle went for half time and I got a little minute to chat to a few people. My mates reassured me that I was playing good (even though they’d never seen a game before), and I got a pep talk off my Mentor, Harlot Jo Ransom. She told me to stop going for the outside all the time and said ‘Just go through the middle’, which I tried in the second half and have ended up with some excellent bruises in places I thought I would never get bruises. We went back into our changing rooms and exchanged words, we were losing by a little bit but we all thought we could bring it back.
The second half started after a nice little break consisting of water and another banana. We had swapped sides on the benches and had a nice view of the first corner. On the first jam of the second half, our jammer did an amazing apex jump, I think I screamed with excitement. I jammed some more and we were slowly catching up to the white team. We kept saying all we needed was a really good jam to bring the score back up.
I sat on the bench for 3 jams and finally got up to jam the very last jam. We were about 60 points behind so I knew we could only win if Jesus himself came down to jam for us, but we were stuck with me instead. The last jam was my favourite part of the whole game, I got lead jammer and scored 18 points, I could hear the audience getting excited but not as excited as me. I felt like I proper achieved something! The whistle blew and it was game over, the final score being 218 to the Fallen Angels and 185 to us, the Black Widows.
Afterwards I was really glad to get my pads and skates off. I had turned a new shade of red and was extremely warm. As we were de-kitting they announced they were giving out the awards. On the white team Best Jammer was Sammy Rizzle, Best Blocker was Mitchell and MVP was Goldiblocks. On Black team Best Blocker was Harley Quadzel, MVP was Harriet Jump Jet and your very own Glen Coco got Best Jammer. Well pleased!
The next day my legs were dead, I struggled to get out of bed and they are still hurting a bit now. It was all for the name of Roller Derby though and if you asked me, I would do it again any time.
P.S. On the jam line an opposing blocker told me she loved the blog, I can’t remember who it was, but I hope you’re reading this! And shout outs to my biggest fan (you know who you are).