So, Halloween, fireworks and bonfires well and truly over and done with the ‘Cats are getting ready for kitty Christmas. But hang on a second… not so fast! We can’t possibly let Halloween pass us by without a spookily themed scrimmage now, can we? Certainly not!
Luckily the Hallam Hellcats were keen to oblige with their Ghosts vs. Ghouls Halloween Mixed Scrimmage, so after practice on Saturday, Kwick ‘n’ Blockher Glory, Bat Hit Crazy (Zubat), Rola Nicola and I all bundled into Glory’s ah-mazing yellow VW beetle (which I was obviously massively envious of…) and headed over to Sheffield to join the Ghosts for some scrimmy fun.
I hate to say that, due to time definitely not permitting, us ‘Cats let the side down somewhat when it came to fancy dress. Highly unusual for us not to get involved, I know! But hats off to our fellow roller girls who had certainly put in the effort – there were skeletons, zombies and witches galore.
Having not scrimmed that much following a string of leg injuries, I was certainly a little nervous, but was soon put at ease by our Day-of-the-Dead-clad line-up manager, Foggy, who encouraged us all to have fun and give everything a try. I was looking forward to playing some roller derby! But don’t get me wrong, I definitely wasn’t going anywhere near that jammer panty. No sir.
A quick kit check and the obligatory pre-bout chant (“Team, Ghost, Whoooooooooo…!”) and is that a whistle I hear? Time to knack ‘em!
The first few jams went by in a somewhat ghostly blur… I stuck to my comfort zone with some defensive blocking whilst I got used to the floor and my new spooky teammates, but my fellow ‘Cats were kicking some serious Ghoul butt! Zubat sent an opposition jammer flying into the in-field with an awesome hit to the inside, whilst Nikki and Glory had both put themselves forwards as jammers and were soon racking up the points. A few, well… maybe 10-or-so, jams in and I was starting to gain confidence and, shock horror, even having fun!
Then came the dreaded question from Foggy, “Who hasn’t jammed yet?” I hesitated, but for lack of other volunteers, decided to go for it. I’d probably regret it if I didn’t, right?
Stood on the jam line slightly regretting my hasty decision, Coyote’s words from a recent agility session rang through my head… “Get low, hit hard and use your momentum to run through the wall”. Those last five seconds felt like about 500, but when the whistle went I hit as hard as I could, used my push to break up the Ghoul’s wall and went for the resulting gap… I’m lead jammer!
Although my triumph was somewhat short-lived as the opposition jammer, Grimson Gaymer, was soon out of the pack and had managed to get in front of me with a cheeky hip check. I soon realised I wasn’t going to make up the gap and tapped out. Oh well, I tried! However, Glory was soon on track to show me how it was done, racking up an amazing 4 grand slams in one jam. Wowzers!
Half time and the ghosts had picked up a substantial lead, so Foggy told us now was the time to mix it up a bit and try something new. Armed with my new-found confidence and teammates, I soon found myself part of a solid wall, hitting jammers out of play and actually remembering to bridge back, withstanding some big hits and even goating opposition blockers. For someone who normally ends up flat on her face / bum two meters from the jam line, this was a definite improvement.
My fellow Ghosts were a joy to behold! Blockers Viqueen and Miss C were making Ghoul jammers work hard, whilst Kinevel Dead gave us a masterclass in agility as she skipped through the pack. The Ghouls certainly didn’t give us an easy ride though, with Gempire State soon slipping past our well-formed walls and Grimson Gaymer dishing out yet more huge hits. Before I knew it, the final whistle was blown, and I was gutted it was all over! The ‘Cats had done ourselves proud in helping secure a win for the Ghosts, making up for our lack of fancy dress, with Glory picking up a well-deserved best jammer award.
Homeward bound in the (ah-mazing) car we chatted all about how much fun we’d had, and how amazing our teammates and opposition had been. Despite the fact that some of us had only met that day I’d enjoyed skating with everyone so much! I loved my Ghosts! My only regret, as ever, was not putting myself forward to jam more… But there’s always next time, as I’m sure the ‘Cats will be all to quick to remind me!
A massive thanks is due to Hallam Hellcats for hosting such an awesome scrim, and line-up, Foggy, for being such great encouragement to the team.
I hope we see you again very soon!