Tier 4 to Team England
If I’m asked and I’m free I’m happy to cover bouts for any team, as long as the travel costs and time are not too prohibitive. For some competitions I’m willing to travel, the World Cup for instance, Toronto, Dallas, and well, I’d have to call it more of a day trip, Manchester. I really had no excuse not to pop over the Pennines.
It’s good to shoot teams you’ve not shot before and support Derby at the real grass roots level. There seems to be a bit more excitement around the newer teams as they go through the stages that more established leagues experienced in their early days. Everything new and exciting, holding their first open bouts, learning and developing, having fun before competition becomes too serious.
Last weekend’s Tier 4 East bout hosted by the York Minxters reminded me of the early days of Derby, everyone pulling together to host an event. Putting on a good show equally important as the skating. And I was asked, which made a big difference, and as a good friend was instrumental in their early days it was good to see how far they had come.
Having witnessed skaters go from being beginners in small teams to skating with Team England it reminded me that while the big competitions are fun to shoot, it’s in many of the smaller leagues that the stars of the future will be nurtured. They may outgrow their league and move on but the opportunity afforded them in their early career will give them the platform to develop.
Maybe in a few years I’ll see a face on track, a skater playing at the highest level, who I vaguely recognise but can’t pin down. Reviewing old photographs the face will re-appear, that’s where I recognise them from, Tier 4 to Team England.