The last post

I’m sitting in departures at Pearson International waiting for my flight. It’s been a hectic week. I’ve not done half the things I planned to do. Keeping this blog up-to-date was one of them. Time has just run away from me. The schedule was hectic. I am planning to plough through all the shots when I finally get back home. I covered far more than I planned to.

The first Roller Derby was a great success. A bit rough around the edges at times but that’s why it worked so well. I must have spoken to over 100 different people from all over the world, made a fair few contacts and leg wrestled Suzy Hotrod. It’s been a good week.

Skaters and spectators mingled freely bringing a sense of intimacy to the tournament which isn’t found at other sporting events. The grittiness of the arena brought the grass roots elements of the sport to the fore and as the event approached its climax spectators thronged the bunker to see Team Canada take on Team USA.

Team England had previously beaten Team Australia to clinch third place and so everything was set for the final showdown. The crowd was firmly behind Canada. All nations bar USA fans rooting for them. The atmosphere was electric. I don’t think anyone had any misconceptions that the machine called Team USA were the favourites. But there was hope in the air that Canada could pull off the unexpected. By half time everyone realised that wasn’t to be. Team USA pulling out a commanding lead. The second half followed the same pattern. There was no doubt as to the final result. As the final whistle blew Team USA had taken it by a hefty margin.

Although Team USA came first, Team Canada second and Team England third there was no doubt as to who the real winners were. The real winners were all the Derby Girls out there, all the helpers, NSOs, friends, family and supporters who helped make the event such a success. The profile of the sport being raised up to a new level by bringing a truly international band of people together, united for one cause.

Everyone who was involved the planning and execution of the tournament should be rightly proud of themselves.

The after party was real international affair. Synchronised dancing from various team members and a human pyramid by Team England and Finland were a few of the highlights. It was a party where you could go up to a complete stranger, strike up a conversation and be guaranteed a warm response. I think that summed up the week and what made it such a success.

As I return home from a long trip I can feel satisfied that the decision to go out and cover the event was the right thing to do. I have met a lot of great people, surprised by how close knit the Derby community is and the passion that everyone involved in the sport truly has. I have a stack of images which will hopefully help nations highlight the sport, generate interest and make sure Roller Derby has continued success.

But first I must sleep. Recuperate; recharge the batteries ready for the next bout.

On my final day off myself, Holly, Tuesday and Rene took a sightseeing trip around Toronto, ending up at the CN Tower. Whilst there we bumped in to Hustle ‘her and Barry Fight from Team England/CCR. They were going off travelling for a few days before heading back to the UK. It was great that you can go anywhere in the world bump in to Derby people and feel at home.

After the success of the first ever Roller Derby World Cup I am certainly looking forward to the next one. But for now I have all the memories of the Bunker, the fans, organisers and skaters to keep me going.

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