Tiger Bay Brawlers

WFTDA ECC 2018 Skater Profile: Nitro Jen

In anticipation of the WFTDA European Continental Cup in Birmingham, we’re taking the time to introduce some of our A team skaters, ask them a few questions about what it’s like to train at Tiger Bay, and find out how the team is preparing to compete for the cup. This week we’re chatting to Nitro Jen, one of our veteran A team skaters.

Nitro Jen started skating for Tiger Bay circa 2014, coming to us as a transfer from Rainy City, where she first learned to play roller derby. Her solid blocking skills have jammers begging for mercy on the track, and the strength she lends our walls make us very glad to have her on our side! Nitro’s positive attitude and willingness to help others learn and improve from her extensive knowledge of roller derby make her a highly valued teammate in every regard.

 

Photo by Paul Jones Photography

Nitro, can you tell us a bit about your skating career to date, and what drew you to roller derby in the first place?

Up until I was 40 years old, I could count the number of times I had skated on one hand, and that was when I was about 14! However, upon turning 40 I realised that I wanted to make some changes in my life, as I was unfit, working in hospitality and had little in the way of a social life. I read an article about roller derby in a magazine, and it seemed to fit the bill – a great sport, filled with awesome people, that celebrated diversity and alternative culture. I Googled my local league, plucked up the courage to email them, explained a little about myself and enrolled in their new skater program. Needless to say, I fell in love with the sport immediately!


How have Tiger Bay been preparing for the European Continental Cup?


We have changed as a team quite a lot over the past 12 months, with new skaters moving up the ranks from our B team and transferring in from other leagues, but I’m happy to say that we have gelled really well and worked incredibly hard together. Under Kid Block’s guidance we have all become better skaters, and take a very professional approach to training and the team. Obviously we still have loads of fun, but we definitely know how to take care of business!


What are you most looking forward to, with regards to Continental Cup weekend?

Personally I’m really looking forward to seeing how we compete at this level, and I’m excited about working hard to progress even further, knowing that we have the ability to achieve our goals without any fear of the challenges we may face together.

Photo by Paul Jones Photography


Do you have any tried and tested pre-game rituals you will use to help prepare yourself?

I’m all about tapping in to the team vibe – I really enjoy the spirit of us all being together with a united purpose. Oh, and music! Lots of good music, that’s my way of engaging beast mode.


What is your favourite thing about skating with Tiger Bay?

Definitely the people. I am so inspired and in awe of the amazing people I get to call my league mates, I love all of them! Roller derby changes lives, for real – as a trans woman, I couldn’t have dreamt of a more supportive, accepting community, that pushes me to be the best I can be in so many ways.


What do you feel is your best ever roller derby memory?

 I think my best moment is yet to come; I’m pretty driven in that way!

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Jen! We can’t wait to see you unleash the beast on track at the Continental Cup. Follow Tiger Bay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to follow our journey to the WFTDA European Continental Cup!

Photo by Adam Chard

WFTDA ECC 2018 Skater Profile: Irene Adler

In anticipation of the WFTDA European Continental Cup in Birmingham, we’re taking the time to introduce some of our A team skaters, ask them a few questions about what it’s like to train at Tiger Bay, and find out how the team is preparing to compete for the cup. First up is Charlie Bowman/Irene Adler.

Irene started learning to skate with Tiger Bay in August 2016, and joined main league as a B team skater in February 2017. She is a fierce and intimidating blocker, and her formidable strength is a real asset to her teammates, meaning she has quickly risen through the ranks to become one of the most recent additions to our A team charter. She consistently proves her worth in training, and made her A team debut in September, skating against Nottingham Hellfire Harlots.

Photo By Simon Ayre
Photo By Simon Ayre


Irene, how have you found training with the A team so far?

At first I felt like I had wandered in by accident having no idea what I was doing, but I know that people are willing to help and that it’s just a case of getting stuck in. The training is intense, but also incredibly useful. I feel like I am being pushed, which helps me become a better skater – trying things that are daunting, and thinking about things differently. It’s a huge opportunity to be able to train with them, at that level, and getting the advice/tips/feedback that are only going to help me.


Does it feel good to be able to train at a higher level since making it onto the A team charter?

Yes, it’s a huge difference. It’s helping me to pick things up faster, and I believe it will ultimately make me a better skater. It helps to have so many skaters on the team that I can aspire to skate like, and be in a position to ask for advice and pay attention to the way some skaters approach different positions and plays. The tactics/strategy is the biggest difference which I am trying to get used to, and it feels like an achievement when I really get it and am able to do it successfully in training.


You recently skated in your first A team game – congratulations! Can you tell us a bit about that? What was it like, what challenges did you face, and did you have fun?

It was a super last-minute swap with someone who was too injured to play, so I didn’t know until the morning of the game! That meant I didn’t have time to get too nervous, which helped a lot. I absolutely love being able to skate in games, I get such an adrenaline rush and get completely sucked into the atmosphere. I wouldn’t describe myself as very competitive, so was loving every second of it despite the lead changes (although had complete faith in TBB of course!).

Being so new to the charter, and with the last-minute swap, I didn’t think I would get any track time, so was over the moon with being asked to go on for two jams. I had so much fun, and was so happy to be included and able to enjoy the game with the rest of the A team.


What does the next year hold for you? Do you have any personal goals you’re working towards?

I have only just got onto the charter, and obviously I’d love to make it again next quarter. Mostly my aim is to make use of every opportunity given to me to learn from the A team, to improve myself as a skater and to have the additional knowledge/different mindset that comes with it. I would also love to play in more games, both A team and B team, as I think the pressure and excitement brings out the best skater in me.

Photo by Paul Jones Photography
Photo by Paul Jones Photography


Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Irene! We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you within Tiger Bay. Follow Tiger Bay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to follow our journey to the WFTDA European Continental Cup!

Tiger Bay Brawlers introduce…. Big Jeanie!

The Tiger Bay Brawlers Roller Derby team are known for their aggressive skating and fierce competitive nature but they were only too happy to show their softer side this week, coming to the assistance of a local Cardiff pensioner.

Mrs Jeanette Jenkins reached her 77th birthday in July and the only thing she really wanted was to relive one of her fondest childhood memories and try roller skating one more time.

Rather than strap her in to some skates and hope for the best, Mrs Jenkins’ children contacted the Tiger Bay Brawlers in the hope that they could help. The Brawlers were delighted to be involved and invited Mrs Jenkins along to one of their off-season training sessions at Penarth leisure centre on Sunday.

Armed with just a pair of skates and some steely determination, Mrs Jenkins arrived to a wonderfully friendly welcome and was immediately presented with a team shirt, making her truly feel like a roller girl and an honorary Brawler.

After kitting herself out in plenty of safety gear, (all kindly supplied by the team) she placed her trust in the hands of two of the best roller derby skaters in Europe, Boba Fettish and Thrill Collins and headed out onto the rink.

Showing no signs of trepidation, and with very few wobbles, the septuagenarian soon gained her confidence with the encouraging support of everyone at the practice session, family members and several surprised onlookers.

Dozens of exciting laps later the smiling pensioner returned to the sideline, tired but extremely happy; with several members of the squad extremely impressed by her footwork and ability.

Whilst she may not be challenging for the position of first team Jammer any time soon, the experience is one which will live long in the memory of the thrilled Mrs Jenkins. Her family were absolutely delighted with the help of the team in making a small dream come true for their Mother.

“We couldn’t be happier with the support of the Tiger Bay Brawlers,” said Angela, her youngest daughter, wiping away tears of laughter and joy. “They have been so enthusiastic and more helpful than we could have hoped for; giving up their practice session, equipment and expertise to make this a really wonderful experience for us all, and, of course, for Mum in particular.

“Our family’s grateful thanks go to them all for making this happen”.

The Brawlers will hope to delight their fans just as much when they start their new season of competitive matches.