A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of getting my first ever exposure to roller derby at the Apollohal in Amsterdam for a mixed scrimmage of the Amsterdam Derby Dames. This was already a wonderful experience, but I was told to better be prepared for ‘the real deal’, the first ever official roller derby bout (i.e. match) to take place in the Netherlands on February 25th.
So of course I made it back to the Apollohal on the 25th to photograph and become part of a piece of roller derby history! And I wasn’t the only one, as there were ultimately more people who turned up at the venue than there were tickets on sale. All the 425 pre-sale tickets were gone anyway, days before the match actually started, which meant only 75 more lucky people who showed up early enough at the doors could get one of the remaining tickets. Selling all these tickets was a huge success and surprise for the Amsterdam Derby Dames, but I’m pretty sure they’re going to sell quite a few more for the bouts to come, as there is only one word to describe what it’s like to be at a derby bout: mindblowing!
Before the start of the bout it already looked like it was going to be an intense affair. Two superfit, well trained teams (home team Amsterdam Derby Dames -ADD- received the Roller Girls Of The Apocalypse -RGA- from Kaiserslautern in Germany), armed to the teeth, wearing intimidating facepaint, ready to kick some arse on the track… But nothing could have prepared me for the frantic action that happened once the bout had really started.
It was all so much more intense, faster paced and more furious than it had been at the mixed scrimmage. One of ADD’s jammers (a jammer is the points scorer in roller derby) ‘Abs Of Steel’ was almost unstoppable during the first period. No matter how hard RGA’s blockers (blockers are basically the defenders in derby) tried, they just couldn’t prevent her landing a few massive scores, putting ADD 30 points ahead of RGA at halftime.
And it wasn’t just ADD’s offensive line driving the German girls to despair, the deadly blocking duo of ‘San Solo’ and ‘Dirty Job’ created quite a few jammer sandwiches. In the photo above RGA’s ‘Courtney Loveless’ was on the receiving end of some ADD ‘love’…
Halftime brought us a superhero contest, deservedly won by little Spidey, but also gave the RGA girls the opportunity for a much needed think about how to turn the bout around again in the second period. Something they did very well, as the scoring was much more even after that, but the halftime point lead proved to be too much. Final score was ADD 105 vs RGA 69, breaking the previously unbeaten trackrecord of the German girls.
After the final whistle had sounded, it quickly became clear again that this sport is as much about battling it out on the track, as it is about respect and friendship between the teams. The RGA girls were the first to congratulate the Dutch team!
Medals for everyone! As creating this historical moment with the first ever roller derby bout in the Netherlands made them all winners for sure… BAM!
Big, big, big kudos to the Amsterdam Derby Dames, not just for winning the bout, but definitely also for the level of organisation as everything was run with military precision. Can’t wait for the next bout!
Massive gallery after the break…
Enjoy the photos!