This time last year, if you told me I would have just come back from playing in my first international game I wouldn’t have believed you!
My name’s Sammy Rizzle and I skate for the almighty Rainy City’s Tender Hooligans. I transferred nearly six months ago now and it’s been a wonderful experience so far. I am in awe of all of my team mates and still tend to fangirl a lot whenever I skate with the All Stars. I am very lucky to be here.
Roller derby bucket list
When I was told I had been rostered for the Oslo tournament, I may have had a little happy cry. (Most people that know me know that I have all the feels and roller derby always gives me the most intense emotions!) I was so excited as I have a roller derby bucket list and playing abroad has been on it for a while. In preparation for the tournament I read previous blog posts from London Rollergirls, including ‘Roller Derby Travel Tips with Shaolynn Scarlett’ and I think one of the most important things I read was to always pack your skates, helmet, uniform and mouth guard in your hand luggage! Although most of us were fine getting our luggage, I know that a few of my team mates had their luggage go missing! Luckily they got it back just in time!
We found an Airbnb situated just outside of central Oslo. It was the best! It was like staying in a roller derby sorority house! (Can we just go back now please?!) We were all so excited the night before and decided to venture out for dinner and found a super cool restaurant and bar and stuffed our faces with pizza! (Some athletes call this carb loading….ahem!)
After dinner we headed back to our house and started preparing for the games the next day. As I’m sure most people do, I have a bit of a pre-game ritual. I like to hang up my jersey and tend to spend time just laying in bed visualising about what I want to achieve in the game. Recently I have been using my ‘My Bout Day Book’. For those of you that haven’t seen them they are basically a roller derby game day diary! They’re fantastic to read and manage your progress. I have taken a picture of one of my first entries for you below.
My alarm went off at 7am and I was up and ready to go! I felt a bit nervous as I didn’t really know that much about either of the teams that we were playing that weekend. I had a bowl of cornflakes (not normally my bout day breakfast but I was struggling to eat that morning!) and we hopped on the train to the venue. As we got off the train Oslo Roller Derby had created almost a mini treasure hunt for us! We had to follow the coloured balloons which eventually led us to the venue!
I got kitted up as fast as I could and tested the floor. Jesus Christ……it was like skating on ice! For most of my roller derby life I have always skated on 95’s and never ever change my wheels but after testing out the floor I had to drop down to something lower! Thank god I had packed some spare wheels!
We fought hard against Oslo, they were a really strong team but unfortunately lost. (Oslo 217 – TH 132) But you know what, it didn’t feel like we had lost. They were a real challenge and I had a lot of fun playing against them. I knew that all of us had tried our hardest and that’s all that matters. We were all in pretty high spirits after the game and then had a few hours to kill. Next up was Oslo B vs Rainy C and what a nail biter of a game that was! BLM won by one point! (BLM 153 – OTCB 152) It was incredible, I was literally on the edge of my seat for most of that game. Then it was Oslo vs Dublin B. This was also a very close game. (DRD 177 – Oslo 172)
Playing two games in one day
We then regrouped, did our off skates warm-up and had a team talk. I felt well rested, confident and ready to go. This time the floor felt completely different, although it was still slippy I felt that myself and a lot of skaters felt better on it this time as the floor had a bit more grip. (Shame it wasn’t like this to start!) We fought hard against Dublin B and won. (TH 230 – 153 DRD) It was a great game. Our offence and defence switch was perfectly timed and we did everything that we had been practising. We kept calm and it paid off! Throughout the whole day I felt in a weird state of nirvana and watched my team mates do some beautiful things, I sat there mesmerised by beautiful threading, sneaky hit outs, triangles of doom and some spectacular jamming. We had a great Bench and Line-up Manager that kept us together and focused throughout the day. I am sad that not all my teamies were there and hope that we did you proud.
A few of us decided to stay until Monday. As much as we love seeing the inside of various sports halls we wanted to explore Oslo. And we did! We wandered around a very cold Oslo and visited ‘Jui Vinterwonderland’, ate some waffles, drank some glögg and then climbed to the top of the opera house. I had the best weekend and feel much closer to my teamies. Since moving to Rainy City I genuinely feel that all of my roller derby dreams are starting to come true, I am excited for what next year holds. (Hopefully more adventures abroad with my teamies.)
Over and out
Sammy Rizzle x<3