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.