– Steph Wilson contributed with this report.
The Lincolnshire Bombers have been getting girls across the region to swap their heels for skates in the increasingly popular sport of roller derby, and this month the girls fly to Germany to take on the fierce Stuttgart roller girls on Saturday, April 16th.
So far the Bomber girls have been a success, as last year they topped the Great Yorkshire showdown in Leeds, beating the home city by 28 points to still victory. With an ever-growing team, they feel that they are ready to take on the Germans, but fear for their lack of experience.
Bomber Anna Thomas, also known as ‘Synyster Motives’, explained what a great experience it will be for the girls: “We think they are a lot more experienced than we are. We’re not going over thinking it is going to be an easy ride.
“As a team I think they have been going for about three years, and it’s our first ever travel team so we’re still quite a young team. We’re still in the learning stages.”
The Stuttgart roller girls are Germany’s first roller derby team and have been going for three years. Their website sends a clear message to the Bombers – “We are prepared to take actions and make sure that they do not soon forget this trip.”
The modern incarnation of the sport started in 2000 in Texas, but gained more popularity recently with the Hollywood movie ‘Whip it’.
Last year, roller derby was finally recognised as a sport. Thomas explained what it means for the team to now be an official sport: “It opens a lot more avenues for sports funding for us. Up until now we’ve been an ‘art’ – some teams have got funding through that but usually most teams run off their subs.”
For several years America in particular has pushed for roller derby to become an Olympic sport. Thomas is unsure but hopeful for Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
“I’m not sure if 2016 is doable because it takes a few years to get it. But I know in the past it has been looked at to go in. We lost out in the 2012 Olympics and I think it’s something they are looking at in the future as an exhibition sport.”
Like any contact sport, there are inevitable risks to roller derby. However Thomas has given some good advice for beginners.
“The only thing that will hold people back is fear. It sounds really brutal, but we use all the proper safety gear. After your first fall, you get up and think it isn’t as bad as I thought.”Tweet