Whilst 2001 is the official year in which the “Roller Derby revival” began, it took until around 2006 and 2007 until Roller Derby entered the UK. One of the first places that Roller Derby took seed was, of course, Glasgow – and Glasgow Roller Derby are celebrating their 10th birthday this year with a massive triple-header event featuring newbie, coed and experienced bouts, starting from 10:30 on the 11th of March.
The event, as always, is at the Glasgow ARC at Glasgow Caledonian University.
To celebrate this decade of Roller Derby in Glasgow, who better to interview than one of then-Glasgow-Roller-Girls founding member, Mistress Malicious?
It seems especially significant to be talking to you as the sole remaining founder of Glasgow Roller Girls in Roller Derby, back in 2007. When you and Teri Toxic decided to start a roller derby league in Glasgow, what did you have in mind?
Sadly I am no longer a member of GRD. I had planned on staying on as a retired skater but life has finally just got in the way. However, I do still keep some of my derby work on as the insurance honcho at UKRDA.
I look back at the start of Glasgow Roller Girls with a lot of fond memories. The overriding feeling was that that we were at the start of something that was going to be huge. We were sure that we had found something that we knew was amazing, but was still a secret. We just tried to spread the word about it because we were so sure that everyone would have to fall in love with it once they had experienced it.
The fact that nobody had any skating or sports organisation knowledge certainly wasn’t going to stop us in our mission!
As the first league in Scotland (and only the 5th in the UK), Glasgow Roller Girls/Derby were there for most of the important and exciting formative moments in the sport in Europe – you played Canada as one of your first bouts, competed in the first European tournament ever, co-founded UKRDA, all before 2011! What have been the high points for you, personally, over the last decade?
When I think of high points its usually events from the early days, I guess that’s because we were so naive and still finding our way so any little success felt like a major achievement.
I remember our first practices, and reading emails from coaches from London containing skating advice and drills to practice, and everyone was trying to figure out what on earth they were meaning. At that time there was virtually nothing that could be found online, or any nearby teams to help.
London Roller Girls coming up to Glasgow when we were around 6 months old to give us a free weekend bootcamp with Bette Noir imparting all her derby knowledge.
Everyone travelling to watch London Rockin Rollers and Birmingham Blitz Dames in the first UK interleague game, which included an arm wrestling penalty competition for actual points. Our first game against BBD also included a backwards skating competition with the winner’s team earning 10 points.
Playing our first game against London Roller Girls. We arrived with one set of helmet covers as we didn’t even know we could have more, I don’t think we had ever practiced more than one jam in a row!
UKRDA getting roller derby recognised as a sport after having to fight the whole way to get it.
But, to get soppy for a moment, a high point is just what we have achieved with our sport. I consider myself an enthusiastic derby busybody but here have been many many others over the past 10 years and we have all volunteered our time through our passion and love for our sport.
Glasgow Roller Girls skaters, including you, formed about half of the first ever Scottish National Team, back in 2011. How did it feel for you, and your fellow skaters from GRG, to represent Scotland on the world stage?
I think everyone would have to agree that it was an amazing experience. An opportunity to say that you have represented your country is not to be forgotten. The whole team kneeling singing ‘O flower of Scotland’ would still bring a tear to a glass eye. And who can forget Sarah Oates’ one point against Team USA.
And now, ten years after that initial decision to start a Roller Derby team… what do you see in the Future of Glasgow Roller Derby, and for yourself as a member?
I’m not a member anymore but the future of Glasgow Roller Derby, as it always has been, is in the hands of its membership and whatever direction they decide to take it. That will depend on whatever its current derby busybodies are going to volunteer their time to get done. I’m sure that [Marshall] Lawless is still determined to finally get that GRD warehouse and, I don’t think it’s any secret, but I would love for there to be a GRD Juniors one day…
The Glasgow Roller Derby 10th Birthday event is bookable here: http://www.glasgowrollerderby.com/events-calendar/2017/1/26/grd-10-year-anniversary at just £5 for the event, or £7 for the event and roller disco afterwards.
The afterparty will be held at the EuroHostel Glasgow.