The South Americans thank the fans for their support
Alongside Japan and any team that has played Team USA, Argentina Roller Derby has been one of the firm crowd favourites at this World Cup.
This was no doubt helped by the courage they showed in skating with only eight players throughout the weekend, including against France in the quarter finals when they were forced to forfeit with only three skaters left after five fouled out.
One of the most touching moments of the tournament came at the end of that game, when The Beast picked up his seventh penalty and was consoled by France’s Bravehurt and other French supporters as he left the track.
The support they’ve received from all of the fans has been similar, pure raw emotion which has had a hugely positive impact on the team.
“Our morale was boosted a lot, it was a surprise for us and we feel full of pride,” says Sanchez.
“It was beautiful for me to feel that, so far away from home, we had people that were cheering for us and supporting us. I could really feel the love of the people and that is important when we are so far away, knowing that people came to cheer for us,” added El Pibe.
The support even helped to make up for the short roster, much like the Twelfth Man of Seattle Seahawks fame: “I felt emotional but all the tiredness I was feeling just disappeared,” said Sir Ar2.
Stomp Trooper skates in England with the Hulls Angels Roller Dames. She originally planned to come and cheer on her countrymen but days before the competition was drafted in to help translate on the bench.
“When I looked up and saw my teammates watching across the track and one of them was wearing the Argentina t-shirt it meant a lot to me” she said. “The other bench coaches and I even had people asking us for autographs afterwards, although we didn’t skate!”
Few people here in Birmingham expected the team, with their small roster (mainly owing to the economic situation in Argentina), to make it through to the next round. What makes this feat all the more amazing is the lack of time the skaters had spent together before the tournament.
“We never knew what would happen as many of us didn’t even know each other before we got here. Our big goal was just to move to the second round,” said Sanchez.
“We had a really good performance but I don’t know how as we never played together,” said El Pibe. “Although we were watching on video how the other teams would play we didn’t really know how they’d react, so it was a surprise to see how well we put it together.”
Now, Argentina hope their experience at MRDWC will make for an exciting future back home.
“Because of how we felt here, with all of the support of the people and the support from the people of Argentina who are following the stream and on Facebook, I think it may become a bigger thing when we go back with more support and more people playing, not only as a sport but as a social thing as well,” added El Pibe.
“This will open more doors for us hopefully,” said Sir Ar2. “We already know that we made the news yesterday in Argentina and expect that for the next World Cup we will be better prepared and with a full roster. And maybe sponsors!”
“This will lead us to the next level,” Sanchez said. “I expect people will help us a lot more in Argentina and we will have more players and some more teams. Because of this I hope that the name of Argentina will be remembered as a big thing in men’s roller derby.”
Given their performances in Birmingham this weekend their place in roller derby history is most certainly assured.