Beijing Roller Derby would like to share its highs in the past year and half with the derbyverse to show that it is possible to spread roller derby overseas, and have fun at the same time!
To date, Beijing Roller Derby has introduced its first team, “The Rickshaw Rollers,” to the league and we have many more teams in mind! We’re talking female, co-ed and male teams.
If you missed us last year, you didn’t only miss out on skating, but disco skating! You would have found our derby guys and gals dancing down at Mako Livehouse sponsoring Beijing’s first ever roller disco, and then helping out with consecutive disco events after!
If dancing isn’t for you, then don’t worry. Alongside the serious stuff like playing the sport, we have hosted movie nights, gear nights, brunches and even an online streaming sleepover! (Hard work, honest.) Not to forget we also held a very successful Skate-A-Thon!
What on earth is a Skate-A-Thon, you ask? For us it was skating a grueling 2 hours of laps to raise donations to buy loan gear for our newbies! Two hours of skating, pollution and a hot Beijing summer are not usually a pleasant mix, but we pushed on and skated 4,506 laps and ended up raising 3,707 RMB in cash at our event. Our international family also supported us from afar through the interwebs, raising a whopping 1,460 dollars! Jing-A provided us with free beers, stickers and temporary tattoos when we rolled into Beijing’s Beer Festival after the fundraiser, and Gungho Pizza sponsored us with pizza! We had a blast skating through the crowds at the beerfest, although we first had to sweet-talk a group of local police officers to allow us to do so.
Not to blow our own trumpet, but we have also had some success with the press here in China! If you are interested in reading about any of our recent press coverage, you can find links on our websites. Smart Beijing spoiled us with a fantastically written article and some of our first action shot pictures, the Global Times also graced its pages with a big photo of our butts after they snapped a shot after a pile up. Thanks!
On a serious note, we are very grateful to the Beijing community, local businesses and magazines for being so welcoming towards our league. Especially since roller derby is a never before played sport in China. In the early days, we worried that it might not be as easy as it has been so far. (*Cough* we are coming at you from behind the great firewall of China right now…)
Moving on…Beijing has so far had guest skaters from all over the world, and our past and current skaters also represent a diverse list of countries. Here’s a brief list of the nationalities that have helped build the league:
Plus many more which aren’t springing to mind right now…
We have also had to say goodbye to over 10 teammates since the league’s inception. Perhaps the hardest thing about playing roller derby in Beijing is that expats are often just passing through for work and are not in the city for extensive periods of time. We would like to send out derby love and hugs to all of our former BRD skaters that are now skating around the world in their new leagues. We miss you, we love you all, and you make us proud!
And now it’s back to work for us. We will be working hard this year and next to provide Chinese translations of what derby is, the history of derby, how to play it, the rules and more, so that we can try to encourage more local skaters to join and create a more accessible environment for them to learn the sport. If you are already aware of any translations, or would be able to offer up some translation skills to help with this monumental task, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and help us out!
That’s The Rickshaw Rollers over and out for now. See you on track!