United Nations of Derby

The London Rollergirls will be stateside for the second annual Pac Destruction on June 13th and 14th, but since they are coming a week early, they will spend some time in Oakland, California with the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls.

The two leagues are joining forces and talents to put on a three-day boot camp for a range of skills levels, with classes for things on and off the track. It seems like there are always a boot camp or two going on, but this one involves two countries, over 20 coaches, and a lot of knowledge.

As if you need another reason to check it out, here’s a preview of skills by the London Rollergirls.

Juke Boxx travels around the world to coach, and will be one of many at United Nations of Derby. Photo by Branko Collin.

Juke Boxx travels around the world to coach, and will be one of many at United Nations of Derby. Photo by Branko Collin.

In this do-it-yourself sport, the better athlete can come down to which athlete continuously works at bettering themselves. League training can be limited, so some skaters try to get as much off-skates, rink time, boot camp, or open scrimmage time they can get. Now that skaters such as Jackie Daniels or Smarty Pants travel around to put on boot camps, you can invite them directly to your league to gain their wealth of knowledge.

With London coming to the Western U.S. for an invitational, something they have done before, they’ve decided to mix it up this time and combine the talents of the #2 and #9 WFTDA teams* to share with the derby community.

Many of us have watched skaters such as Juke Boxx, Lexi Lightspeed or Stef Mainey on our computer screens or 15 feet away on the track at WFTDA Championships, but now they are passing on their top-ten level skills.

Individual coaches travel all the time, but it’s rare outside of Rollercon that you can get this many coaches for the price of one.

Roller Derby is also especially unique in that leagues work together to run boot camps or tournaments for each other one day, and the next day they are facing off against each other on the track.

Bay Area and London may have gone head to head last fall in their battle for the Hydra, but on June 5th-7th you can learn from Brawllen Angel and Lulu Lockjaw in the morning, followed by Ballistic Whistle and Olivia Coupe in the afternoon. (See the full schedule here!)

The two teams aren’t just past foes, they will play a sanctioned game on June 10th before London heads down to Pac Destruction to take on three other teams. (Stay tuned for possible live coverage or textcast.)

This seems to be one of many things that come with our DIY sport.

Pro athletes have professionals training them up and taking care of them, but as amateur athletes we really do have to look out for each other, and encourage shared knowledge to keep our sport continually growing and evolving. Within our leagues and the wider community, we need to be constantly training our replacements to keep competition high, and to maintain the longevity of our sport.

Pink and Gold faced off last  fall, and will meet again before London heads to Pac Destruction. Photo by Tyler Shaw.

Pink and Gold faced off last fall, and will meet again before London heads to Pac Destruction. Photo by Tyler Shaw.

It is actually more than just two different leagues involved in this boot camp. Each person not only brings numerous years of experience to their classes, but some have skated with different teams in the past. Amanda Jamitinya was with Rocky Mountain when they made it all the way to #1 in WFTDA. Sweet Sherry Pie joined Bay Area this year from Gotham, and Dolly Rocket has been with them over a year now after transferring from Charm City.

Juke Boxx was on both the Mad Rollin’ Dolls and then Minnesota when she lived in the states, as well as a spot on Team USA. London has skaters coming to them from around Europe, and can boast many skaters on Team England, who took 2nd at the World Cup last December. Eight of the United Nations of Derby coaches from London are also on Team England, including their local and national coach, Ballistic.

Kid Block will be leading a class on 'Getting the Most Out of Your Training'. Photo by Quick 'N Derby.

Kid Block will be leading a class on ‘Getting the Most Out of Your Training’. Photo by Quick N Derby.

Reaching outside your own league for derby knowledge can be invaluable, because people learn in many ways, and hearing it from another voice may help it sink in better.

Or you could attend a boot camp like this, with classes on topics you may have not even thought of. Do you really ever know what you’re doing during an Official Review or Captain’s meeting? At this particular camp, Brawllen Angel and Kristi Yamagotcha can help you through it. Do you know what ‘tornado blocking’ is or how to effectively do it? Kid Block has the class for you. Have you been in awe of Rogue Runner’s exceptional awareness and timing? Well here you can attend her ‘Rhythym is Gonna Get You’ class.

In the past we have seen the quick growth of teams outside the U.S. after top-ten athletes have traveled there to lead clinics. Familiar strategy and jamming style could be picked out from skaters at the World Cup that have never been to WFTDA tournaments. The collaboration of Bay Area and London with this camp is another prime example of the DIY derby community helping to keep it’s progress moving forward. For more information, head over to Bay Area’s website.

*WFTDA rankings as of April 30th.

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