Glasgow Roller Girls (GRG) – Hells Belles vs. Death Stars
I have no idea what to expect.
The women’s intraleague roller derby is about to kick off with aptly named home team Hells Belles against Death Stars. Queuing outside Glasgow Caledonian University ARC gym with the growing crowed, we watch the competitors wander in and out. There’s a distinct dress code: shiny, sparkly hot pants, tattoos and badges. Clearly I’m overdressed.
Sit here at your own risk
Finally inside we pay (£6 for adults and free for children under 14 – hooray!) and make our way towards the seats – apparently at our own gamble. Sit here at your own risk is taped to the floor of the benches we’re sitting on. Unphased by the warning, my husband claims this danger bench is the best spot where we’ll be sure to see the most action as women gather speed and ram into each other.
The track consists of three oval paths, inner for the referees, middle for the skaters and an outer path for the skater fallout. And there’s a lot of fall out. We watch the glistening Lycra-clad ladies do the rounds warming up racing round the track, barging and jinking through each other. My boys conduct a slightly different warm up tucking into homemade cakes and drinks. The commentator introduces us to the energy-charged ladies whose possible areas of expertise are reflected in names like Whisky Galore & Luisa Bruises. And then the derby starts.
Thrilling, exhilarating, ride-on-wheels
I suppose the concept is rather simple – a sport played by two teams of five (I think) members roller-skating in the same direction around a track. And yet, not that simple at all. This is a contact sport. An exciting, thrilling, exhilarating ride-on-wheels wrapped up in tight-fitting-don’t-mess-with-me-garbs.
The whistle blows and I watch gripped by the two teams on the track as one woman from each team works her way her way methodically through the pack to complete circuits of the track and score points. All the while the rest of the team block, barge and charge each other to knock the opponent off course from their star-helmeted team mate. Body pads and helmets are well used as skaters hit the deck all over the place.
In a word this is fantastic. I enjoy myself so much that along with my youngest son, I cheer (some may say loud whooping) for the home team Hells Belles – although my eldest is won over by the Death Star’s theme tune – Star Wars.
Scoring is fast and furious at the end of each session; 15 to 5 becomes 15 to 30 which becomes 60 to 30, the lead changes hands frequently but the Death Stars beat our Hell’s Belles to a place in the final on the 12 November against the Bad Omens.
Don’t miss the Monster’s Bash – halloween double header – 29 October
Get your heart-rate racing and add a different spin to your Halloween. Check out the next match on Saturday 29 October – it’s a Monster Bash with local and international games kicking off at 12:30pm.
Definitely not to be missed.