For our first team profile we check in with the boys in orange
Men’s roller derby is barely in its infancy in the Netherlands but, for those driving forward the fledgling community, the chance to appear on the world stage is an opportunity not to miss.
The Dutch will bring 18 skaters to the tournament, mainly from Roaring Thunder Roller Derby in Groningen, the one established men’s league started by Rollin’ Reckless in July 2012.
Two more leagues are due to start in Arnhem and Eindhoven this year, which will give the rest of the squad, typically referees and coaches from the Netherland’s 15 women’s leagues, more skating opportunities.
As for the national team, it was a star born out of chaos, according to jammer, Untitled Rush’n.
“Team Netherlands started about a year ago right after we had a huge men’s scrimmage at the end of Pixie Spankalot’s birthday bash. That scrimmage was chaotic and we had men from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands participating.”
An upcoming European men’s tournament, the Battle of the Beasts, convinced the skaters it was a good idea to come to a more formal arrangement for a national side. They hastily arranged training sessions in a couple of unorthodox venues and prepared to meet the German and Belgian teams.
“A group of people from the whole country had two practices together in an underground carpark and an empty warehouse,” says Johnny B Rude. “We then faced Belgium and Germany in the first Battle of the Beasts tournament and dragged out a win against Germany.”
Despite their early success the guys weren’t looked kindly upon at first as Rollin’, who in a past life represented his country at the Inline Slalom World Championships, explains. “We had to fight for our spot within the Netherlands. We were looked at like the strange guys that wanted to play a ‘women’s’ game, but after a while everyone became very supportive. We had to show we were serious and just wanted to play, because of our love for the sport, and now we are accepted as part of Roller Derby Netherlands.”
The Team Netherlands World Cup squad also includes skaters from Germany and England, where the men’s game is more advanced. Ben van Hurrt plays with the Crash Test Brummies in Birmingham, England; the same city which will host the tournament. Eligible for the Netherlands through his paternal grandmother, Ben is looking forward to the tournament to see how the newer sides develop.
“My earliest bouts were in an international tournament (MERDC 2012) and I learned so much and really grew as a skater and competitor. I look forward to witnessing what can be achieved by the less experienced teams in the face of adversity.”
The Dutch will be one team who will have their work cut out, with little bouting experience to date. The second Battle of the Beasts tournament, in October 2013, should have been an early testing ground for skaters from various European nations but it was, frustratingly, cut short.
“This should have been a two day tournament but due to weather circumstances the first day was cancelled and on Sunday we played some half hour demos,” Rollin’ says. “This was too bad, because we want every opportunity to play together.”
With the big tournament on the horizon the team have been training together every month to prepare the best they can. This has included a six hour bootcamp and many of the players also appeared in the Care Bears team at the recent Kings of the North tournament in Malmo, Sweden.
There will then be one final warm up bout against the Rotterdam women’s team before the Netherlands cross the English Channel to face the rest of the world. For a side that started skating in a car park a year ago, that’s not bad progress.
Who will the Dutch be watching at MRDWC?
Ben van Hurrt
I love to see Ballistic Whistle (Eng) jamming. I am excited to be playing against some of my most admired peers and to watch the teams who are less developed at roller derby and see how they get on.
Johnny B Rude
I’m both excited and horrified that we’ll play England, especially Sutton Impact, who made a big impression on me at Battle of the Beasts II. Of course I’m also excited to see Team USA play and I’ll cheer for our German and Belgian neighbours.
I would say most skaters from Team England, particularly Reaper, but I would also love to play against Dog and Spectral Aberwraytion. There are also a couple of players from France and the USA who I will watch closely and learn from.
My men’s derby heroes: Seahorses Forever (USA), Jonathan R (USA), Mr Furieux (Fra), Reaper and many more. But I also want to see what my teammates like ANIMAL, Johnny B Rude and Untitled Rush’n will do.
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Post by Beat Monkey / @jamiepotter