As the rain fell heavier and the track grew slippery, it looked as though we'd have to pack it in and settle for an early brunch- much to the dismay of all the newbies who just got their shiny new skates, eager to take them for a spin. "Fear not! This be my last practice, as coach. So, thou shalt not go home without some DERBY! " were the exact words of coach Courtney. Digging deep into the bank of derby knowledge, the last-time coach (in Beijing, anyways) pulled out a golden trick from the bag. "Sock Derby"! Often played indoors as a training exercise, she gave it a BRD twist, added an 'h', 'e' and dropped the 'k'. Steady in our shoes, (but) feeling somewhat naked without our skates, we were still able to get a full derby workout and also hone in on some tactical skills. There! Take that, rain!
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Thanks Doc from Beijing Slice for your hard work! We love this!
It is with the greatest sadness that BRD must say goodbye to one our own, Kjersten, derby name Kruzemissile #13, who passed away unexpectedly in her sleep.
KJ was a joy to be around, always positive and full of a fantastic energy that cou...ld lift anybody's mood. She brought so much enthusiasm and love for roller derby with her to BRD that even on those days when we were all feeling a little tired, experiencing one of those "should we...shouldn't we skate" days, Kjersten was there always showing a positive example and what it means to be a team.
Kjersten was a determined and brilliant skater, who would often say "hmm not sure I can do that" you would turn around for a second, to then turn back and see her accomplishing what she was a bit uncertain about a moment before (In one instance, it was a giant backwards leap!). Never one to give up on any roller derby skill or technique. Kjersten was a real joy to skate with and always asking her coaches what could she learn next.
She had so much to give to the league, Kjersten planned to help with so many things and was very invested in BRD's future. She was not just a skater at BRD, she was so much more. We all felt incredibly lucky to have her on board when she joined us, and she fast became part of our derby family.
Kjersten was also accomplished in other ways aside from derby. She had a real appreciation for the world and the people in it. She was very well read and always sharing new topics to think about, not to mention brilliant at standing up for the things she believed in. She was also funny and light hearted, and underneath that was a very smart and talented writer.
She wrote and edited for the Beijing Review, the Des Moines Register, and recently started working at Capital Spirits in Beijing.
A snippet from one of KJ's articles:
"Walking down the city's bustling hútong — Beijing's eponymous ancient, winding alleyways — street vendors still hawk scallion pancakes and fresh watermelon; grandparents and neighbors dote on tottering infants; faded, red couplets on banners line the doors of residences, wishing passers-by prosperity and happiness; cars, electric bikes, motos and haphazardly piled wagons line the narrow streets."
(From her 'Making It in China' series for the Des Moines Register.http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/life/2014/06/22/china-beijing-newspaper-modernization-status-quo-kirsten-jacobsen/11105961/)
We are devastated, words can not aptly describe the loss we feel.
Kjersten, we love you, we miss you, you will always be remembered. We will skate with you again soon.
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!
We are very excited to be contributing to the updated, good looking Rollin' News!
Our first ever article is currently up and viewable, so go check it out and leave us a comment.
You can find it here!
If you are interested in writing for Rollin News you can follow this link.
Here is an excerpt from our first article:
"If somebody had told me a year ago that I would leave my original league in the UK (MKRD), my family and my partner and fly across the world to Beijing, and jointly set up a roller derby league in China's capital that has a population of over 20 million, almost no notion of what roller derby is, or even a word for it in Chinese... I would have laughed at them and offered to lay track every practice for a month...
However here we are, a year old and not going anywhere.
Beijing has well and truly joined the worldwide roller derby family and boy are we excited!
Here at BRD we want to help and encourage derby to keep on traveling around the globe, so we have begun creating a series of articles with tips and tricks on how to set up your own league in those tricky to reach places and countries that are yet to be blessed by our 8 wheeled sport."
This Saturday we finally had blue skies which meant our roller derby guys and gals were set loose in Beijing to skate away the morning and afternoon.
We met lots of new skaters, demonstrated the game with our intermediates, played a few games which ended with a pretty awesome leap from one of our new skaters down a set of stairs, to escape a 'zombie' (come and join if you want to find out more...)
Then after we went to The Rug, which had some pretty tasty food and drinks.
After brunch some skaters went on to drink cocktails, and they partied into the next morning resulting in a derby marriage being formed.... oooh... we'll let them share the news however.
Nancy took a couple of shots with her fish eye lens (before impressing us with her stairs leaping) and is excited to shoot some more pics for us next Saturday. We're excited too because she's a pretty awesome photographer! You can check out her details on our sponsor page if you are looking for a local photographer.
Join us next week for more skating, zombie chases, and dumplings in the hutongs.
Three of our skaters, Melissa, Sophie and Leah who have now moved away from China.
We have had an absolute blast skating with you, falling over with you, disco derbying, brunching and all round fun times.
Good luck to all of you in your future endeavors and your new team try outs and fresh meat programs! They are all very lucky to have you. (Sob)
Farewell for now,
I'm sure we will get to skate with you all again in the future.
Beijing Roller Derby.
BRD are excited to announce we finally have a finished logo for our league!
Big thanks to Riley Clay for your work, we are stoked to get this onto our first kit.
Notice: We are also currently looking to create logos for our league's two teams. Our Women's A team and our Men's A team. If you are creatively blessed in anyway, or have any ideas for what they could be, please send us an email and get in touch!