Calm down, I’m talking about the first game I saw, not the first game I took part in – remember, the roller derby noob, me? 😀
(also I think we don’t say game in roller derby, we say “bout”, but I’m not used to that yet)

Now that it’s been clarified, let me talk to you about… the Roller Derby Finland Championships! Aka the Suomi Cup!

It took place a few days after my free skating lessons by KRR (around November 2015), and during the session they encouraged us to attend the finals of the Cup. It was a Saturday afternoon and I was free, as was my girlfriend, so we went there together.

When we arrived I was a bit surprised by the… emptiness of the place. I mean, when you just watched Whip It you’re kinda expecting a full house, especially for the country’s championships!

whip-it-o

But nope, there were most of the players from the teams represented in the championship and, I guess, some family and friends. That was a bit strange but I got used to it quickly, plus that meant we could get a good seat easily! I wish derby was more well known though 🙂

Also there were gay flags everywhere 😀 Did I mention that was my team’s color? I even brought mine, along with assorted glasses!

So, about the championships now. The four teams present in the finals were Helsinki Roller Derby, Kallio Rolling Rainbow (from Helsinki as well), Dirty River Roller Grrrls (from Turku) and Tampere Roller Derby.

The first game of the day was KRR against Tampere and I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew almost nothing about Derby. I knew what a jammer and a blocker were, and… that’s about it. I didn’t even know how they scored points!

So I just hoped for my team to win, and tried to understand a bit of what was going on!

Well as it turns out, watching a roller derby game is enjoyable even when you’re not sure what’s going on! I mean, you don’t need to know about the scoring system to enjoy a beautiful apex jump (I’m looking at you, Pretty Sick). It was also quite cool to see the people I met during the free skating session in action!

And the funny thing is, when I checked my pictures again to chose some for this article, I actually recognized some of the hand signals from the referees! I understand more of what happened back then now that I know more about the rules 🙂

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a Lead Jammer!

We stayed only for the first game (sorry, I mean bout) and then came back for the last one in the evening. So we saw my team’s first victory against Tampere, and came back for their final game (bout, dammit) against Turku. And of course we won, so KRR became the Finnish roller derby champions!!! Woot woot 😀

There seemed to be a very fair play mood, even from the losing team (well, they still got silver!) which was quite amazing 🙂 Lots of hugs were shared, and even this human fame tunnel… thing:

They delivered the medals and the special mentions to some players, they took pictures in front of rainbows and unicorns (I’m not lying) and more hugs were shared. I also stopped at the merch table to buy a badge of the event plus one of KRR for my student overall 🙂

I’m really happy I got such a good first experience with derby, and I really encourage everybody to try and go see a bout at least once just to see what it’s like!

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