2012: Advent Roller Derby: Pre-bout rituals

by on December 14, 2012

Feet.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, most people have things that they repeatedly do before events they are nervous about. If you have a big meeting coming up at work, you might go and hide in the bathroom and try to calm down a bit, or maybe make a cup of tea in the same way as usual, using the repetition of normal movements to soothe.

Rollergirls are no different. In the week or so leading up to a bout they might stop drinking alcohol (I said, “might,” ok?), and often they will consume their own weight in steak the night before (I’m looking at you, Feral Fairy). The things that happen on bout day itself, however, seem to be quite universal.

  1. Do Not Touch Your Skate Set-Up. It can take an hour or two to get used to just tightening one screw round a quarter turn, don’t do it!
  2. Consume a large breakfast. Sometimes it’s hard to eat when you’re nervous, but you need all that energy for later, so it’s important.
  3. Re-pack your skate bag. Just in case you’ve forgotten something accidentally.
  4. Put an extra bout shirt into your bag. If it’s a blank league shirt, even better, someone else may have managed to forget theirs.
  5. When you get to the venue, familiarise yourself with your surroundings. Make sure you know where the toilets are now, before you put your skates on!
  6. Put on some choons. Listen to favourite songs on a portable music device to get into the right mood.
  7. Warm-up. You’re about to skate almost non-stop for an hour or so, do the warm-up and stretch. Some teams do an off-skates warm-up too, for a bit of team bonding before the skates go on.
  8. Put on your game face. Make-up can be an extra bit of mental armour, and possibly even a bit intimidating for the opposition.

Before the bout gets going properly, there’s usually skate-outs, where the teams are introduced to the crowd to the soundtrack of an appropriately loud song. Most teams pick one and stick with it (e.g.: Rainy City Roller Girls’ travel team skates out to I’m Only Happy When It Rains by Garbage) but sometimes they’ll swap to a new one for each bout.

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