Last weekend, I went to Kuopio for my first Derby trip ever! It was not to play (I’m not there yet) but to officiate. Here’s how it went…

Kuopi-what?

I’ve been living in Finland for 8 months but I’m still really bad in Finnish geography. So when I saw that I could go NSO in Kuopio I was very enthusiast… until I realized it wasn’t anywhere close to Helsinki suburbs.

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In a land far far away…

I forgot all about it, thinking I really couldn’t afford a trip to a faraway city for a whole week-end. But then a friend, who was going, told me that most of the trip was going to be refunded to us, and that some people could host us for free.

Wait – I can go visit a new Finnish town, have fun doing NSO, meet new derby people and spend some time with my teammates for *takes calculator* 10€?? I’m in!

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Wait for meeee!

I signed up, I got in as Lineup Tracker, and that’s how my international intercity NSO career started πŸ˜€

Here we go!

A few weeks later and it’s Friday morning, I’m in the train to Kuopio – with my dear Freshmeat friends Lassi and Kaitsu, who volunteered for the event as well.

The event only took place on Saturday, but we were invited to take part in the Freshmeat practice on Friday evening with the Kuopio team. Because of this, we stayed in Kuopio from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning. Aaand we took all of our derby gear with us – heavy stuff.

The train trip went as expected, with some derby gear modification and a lot of derby talk with my pals.

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We arrived at our hosts’ place in the afternoon. We didn’t know Γ„stee and Jarkko yet, but they were welcoming and nice even though we just dropped by, ate as quickly as possible and then asked them for a ride to our Freshmeat practice :p

The practice was really awesome! It was the first time we trained with another team, and that was quite interesting. There was this confusing time when they told us that they did off-skate practice… with their protective gear on? This embarrassing moment when we realized we couldn’t do the easiest stops possible (T-stops) because we never trained them. And this amazing moment when we tried to do apex jumps for the first time! ❀
Everybody was very welcoming and kind, and we didn’t felt too much like outsiders, so kudos to everyone involved in this practice!

Guess what my new favorite move is

After the practice we helped setting up the track, got a ride home, ate some more, welcomed our fourth Kallio NSO, Laura, who arrived at night, and went to bed quite early. We needed energy for the next day!

Bout Day!

We were woken up with porridge and coffee made by our lovely hosts, and then we took a ride to… another derby practice! Hanni, KRR C team’s Captain, conducted our very private practice (only us 3 KRR Freshmeat were on the track) for about an hour. People were testing the venue’s sound system at the same time, so I had the great pleasure of skating on Turisas πŸ˜€

And then the time for seriousness, pink shirts and paperwork was upon us: the NSO meeting! It was my very first official game, but except for being a little more formal than regular scrimmages – and having free food – it wasn’t a huge change.
Oh, and I had the satisfaction to see my name written in the NSO part of the event’s program! That was awesome πŸ˜€ Althought I think that from now on I will reserve my derby name (Salmi A. Kick) for derby, and use Kolina as my NSO name πŸ™‚

I found my Lineup Tracker partner and we went to our spot next to the track.
I was a bit anxious because LT can be quite stressful, especially when you don’t know the teams. But the venue was way more comfortable than the one I trained in (dark and with a huge pillar in the middle of the track) so it went quite smoothly πŸ™‚

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Does it show that I don’t enjoy LT that much?

Lineup Tracking is my least favorite NSO position because it’s stressful and you don’t have any contact with the players or the referees so it can be a bit boring. But I still enjoyed it, and had the satisfaction to do my job well (which I think I did).

The two games were both very intense, with very close scores, and I had to make efforts to not obviously root for one team or the other. As officials we need to be impartial at all time, even if (like LT) we would not have any influence in the results anyway.

After Party time!

The after party started right after the end of the second game, when we got served Brause. Brause is apparently the official Officials drink, at least in KRR. It’s a shot of vodka, drank with some kid’s fruit powder which makes it fizzy and sour. I have to say it’s quite good, and it gave us some energy to tidy up the venue πŸ˜€

After another nice diner (did I mention that with my team mates being vegetarian and vegan, I ate awesome meals and discovered a lot of cool foods during my weekend?) we headed towards… the club.

So. I’m not really into night clubs. Except if it’s gay clubs, but it clearly wasn’t. So I wasn’t sure what to expect…
It wasn’t as bad as I thought, because we mainly talked about derby in a not-so-noisy corner. I met a lot of people that I just quickly saw during the event, and felt comfortable with my derby peers πŸ™‚
At some point I managed to drag Kaitsu to the dancefloor and we had some fun πŸ˜€ After 5 different people asking for it, we finally got the DJ to play “Gay Bar” and suddenly all the Derby people were invading the dancefloor and dancing like crazy. That was cool xD

We came back home not long after that, had a good night sleep and took the train home on the next morning. I spent the trip back slightly hungover and watching a show about other hungover people (Shameless, not the best choice when you feel bad).

Last thoughts

The fact that this trip was made possible thanks to people opening their door to four strangers is amazing. Thanks againΒ Γ„stee and Jarkko ❀

Thank you as well to all the Kuopio people who welcomed us in their practice, to the NSO team for such a great experience, and to the KRR people who took some time to train us and to take care of us πŸ˜€

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And I could not not talk about the Kuopio team logo. The. Kupio team. Logo. Guys. In case you don’t already know, all the sport shirts I use for derby training have Batman logos on them, and so do my shorts. The Kuopio logo is basically the Batgirl logo remixed with their name. I’m in love ❀

Sources

  • Photos of the event by Enniriina Heiskanen
  • Photos of my apex jumps by someone I don’t know, and I was told I didn’t need to credit those?? Come forward if they are yours and you want me to credit you πŸ˜€
  • Photo of the train wheel change by yours truly (that means me)
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