By Ruth Fairy
In July, a group of Hellfire Harlots and friends embarked on a trip to Barcelona for Euro Derby Con 2016, the first annual European Roller Derby convention.
Our wonderful five-day trip was crammed full of fantastic skating opportunities ranging from training sessions, challenge games and off-skates seminars. Training sessions were led by top skaters such as Lexi Lightspeed, Kid Block and Smarty Pants.
Day 1 saw most of us get acquainted with the training track floor (literally…!). I had a little shock to the system, having turned up for a Juke Boxx training session and immediately face-planting as soon as I stepped on the super-sticky floor! With that embarrassment out of the way nice and early, I quickly learnt to embrace the floor of doom and picked up some great tips for apex jumping (which I’m sure I’ll never achieve but one can dream, right?).
The next few days we filled our time participating in various challenge games and training sessions. There were plenty of one-hour games on offer across the whole four days of the event, suitable for every level of skating ability. There were also scheduled black vs white drop in scrimmages so you really could skate as much or as little as you wanted to. Or in my case, as much as your gammy toenail would allow you to…
A number of the high-level games, such as Bont vs Chaya and Riedell vs Antik, were full-length and watching these provided a welcome rest from all the on skates activity. My personal favourite game to watch was Vagine Regime vs Dicks Will Do. I think my jaw was wide open for the entire game; I was just completely in awe of the sheer amount of skill on the track.
The off-skates seminars covered a wide range of topics such as footage viewing, strength and stamina workouts and how to deal with pressure.
In between all the skating and learning we found time to hang out together and enjoy the company of our much missed ex-Harlot pals (but once a Harlot, always a Harlot, right?) and our non-Harlot pals old and new! We even managed to squeeze in time for a cheeky beach trip and spent some time at the magnificent swimming pool right by the venue with breathtaking views over the whole city.
All in all, I highly recommend that you consider attending Euro Derby Con next year. It offers a fantastic opportunity to foster your love of derby. It was refreshing to play derby “just for fun” with no pressure.
When I semi-jokingly wrote a big list of all my favourite fan girl moments from the trip, it made me realise once again how completely in love with this sport I am. I came away from Barcelona with the little fire in my belly having been well and truly rekindled, and I’m ready to embrace the next challenges for me and my team.
See you next year, Euro Derby Con!