Tuesday, February 22, 2011

UK Derby

And now, back to adventures in Europe...

UK derby. How different is it from US derby?

The rules are the same. The floors they seem to generally skate on is a typical wood-covered-with-polyurethane found in many a gym and recreational center that feels thick but not slippery. The terminology? A little different, but probably not any more different than what one finds in the US. The skaters mainly dress the same. The refs are pretty much the same; they're made up of fans and spouses/bf's/others of the skaters.

It's the volume, people.

I mentioned that before, I know. But it's the glaring difference between the US and UK in terms of derby.

Both in London and Nottingham I was by far the loudest skater there. Some would say, Well NO DUH, Armov. But really? I'm kinda surprised. I guess I was influenced by stories of soccer hooliganism and thought that maybe some of the superfan behaviors that would happen during soccer matches would also happen to a much less-violent-but-still-vocal extent. 

When I went up to Nottingham, I got to see a men's derby match. Which of course was fun. But I started my usual pattern of heckling quickly when one of the teams obviously had less going on in the strategy area than the other. I find a lack of strategy BORRRRRRRRING. And I said so. Repeatedly.

What I didn't expect was the reaction. Of course this is the UK, so no one said anything to me as I continued to "coach" from the sidelines(I yelled repeatedly to the losing team: HEY! SEE THAT GUY WITH THE STAR ON HIS HELMET? HIT HIM! ONLY HIM! NO ONE ELSE MATTERS! They didn't take my advice), but I could feel the stares and wonderment at my continued minor-league assholiness. 

One group of visiting skaters started semi-organized cheers. In response to me? Doubt it. But I'd like to think that I had some sort of influence on them. Even if it was bad.

When I scrimmaged with both London and Nottingham, no one in the pack said anything during jams, either. That was WEIRD. I talked. A lot. Saying where the jammers were, telling my pack to speed up, slow down, inside, outside, etc. What method of communication do these skaters use if they don't talk?! I don't mean to be an asshole with that question, I'm honestly puzzled, because I didn't see anyone use hand signals or anything.

MAYBE THEY'RE ALL PSYCHIC. Which will make the upcoming Derby World Cup very interesting for the US team!

Another random observation: I noticed that the skaters didn't call each other by their skate names as consistently as US skaters do.  I knew more government names than skate names in Nottingham!

Speaking of names, I enjoyed the way my derby name was pronounced. Here in the US, "Tara" is pronounced "TAIR-uh". Hence the pun of my skate name. But in the UK it was pronounced "TAR-uh". Which loses something in the translation, though I have to admit hearing anything said in a non-US accent is pretty damned cool for me.

All of these photos were taken of Nottingham skaters the night before I trained them for three hours. They took me out to a pub that had THE BEST GODDAM BURGERS I've had in a long time. And then they bought me cider and I drew on them. I wonder if they would've been so nice if I had done the training and yelling first?!

Uhm, they would have.


Neil / Earl E Demise said...

Yes, well, it seems that you have had a positive effect - our packs seems to be shouting more because of you *grins*

Betty Bloodshed said...

I still think we were all just scared of you! We're usually slightly louder than that!