The first foray

The meta data indicates the 19/10/2008. Meta data doesn't have the same feel as a proper set of negs and scrap of paper with faded writing on it, but we must all learn to embrace technology.

It was a Sunday. I had driven up to Graves Leisure Centre to meet the Sheffield Steel Rollergirls. It was my first foray in to the Roller Derby world. At that time I knew very little about it. All I knew is what I had been told by my friend Jenny (aka Maid of Steel).

On that first day there were just five of them. Jane Doe a Go Go,  Skatecrasher, Mia Malice, Carre Kazi and Bloodspill Blonde. I really didn't know what to make of it. There was something there, something embryonic, but I wasn't sure what. I did some shots, excused myself and left. I batched the images, sent them off to Jane Doe a Go Go and thought no more about it. The shots after all were pretty dire.  Technical skill and the combination of that god awful gym didn't ensure success.

Several weeks later, in fact, I believe it was just after Christmas, that I found an email in my inbox from Jane Doe a Go Go (aka Pauline). They had recruited some more members and would I go and take some team shots. Why not I thought to myself. Let's see where this thing is going.

It was a rather chilly Sunday in January. The 11/01/2009 to be exact. We met at the skate park by Devonshire Green in Sheffield. The team had expanded considerably since I had last seen them.  Introductions were made, twice for my benefit. The one drawback for the newly initiated in to the scene is having to remember two sets of names and then link them up to the right person. I don't have the mental faculties to create a mind map so I work on luck. There are skaters I know only by their skate name, some by their real name, and for the minority both. Luckily they usually wear their skate shirts, so as long as you stand behind them whilst talking to them you can just read it off their back.

 While I concentrated on shooting some members the rest skated around to keep warm. It became apparent that the sooner we could wrap this up the better. I began to lose the feeling in my fingers.  We concluded with some team shots then retired to the local coffee shop.

Over a cup of coffee we regained some semblance of feeling and chatted more about the sport. It was clear that it was growing but I did wonder how big this thing would get.

Just under  three years later as I sit here typing this I am on the verge of flying out to Canada to cover the first Roller Derby World cup.

I wasn't initially going to go. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised it was something I couldn't miss. I had discovered the sport in the UK in its embryonic stage. The World Cup would be the culmination to three years work.

Over that time my photographic skills have improved considerably. I've never had any training or attended any courses. Everything has been self taught. I initially trained as a Silversmith/Jeweller but didn't  fancy a life of green fingers and being constantly covered in crap.

Hopefully I can bring back the shots that everyone wants.


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