Every week, a team of Norwich ladies strap into their roller skates to play roller derby. The team, The Norfolk Brawds, which is sponsored by the Darkness, is currently on the look out for new members, as is the men’s team.
Photograph: The Norfolk Brawds.
The team was set up in 2009 when the full-contact sport was still in the early stages of its renaissance. Now, this successful team is about to embark on its first series tournament, the End of the World Series, competing against teams from central England.
In its initial phase the team was limited by the fact that the game was relatively unknown, and that those who did seek out the Brawds were unaware of what the game entailed. Brand manager, Tekura Maeva, says that “The Brawds have come a long, long way since it started.”
Flat track roller derby matches (or bouts) consist of a number of jams in which two teams skate around an oval track trying to aid their jammer in lapping the members of the opposing team, thereby scoring points.
Maeva continues: “Roller Derby has a role for women of all shapes and sizes … every type has a place on a team.” And the more team members that the Brawds can train then the more intra-league bouts they can take part in.
In recent years the Brawds have made their team a democratic organisation, developing a board of directors and a committee to help run the league. “We don’t want an elitist system”, says Maeva.
The captain is different for every bout and is voted in just before the Brawds take to the track, with experienced players training the new intake to make sure a strong team spirit develops. Maeva says the sport changes people: “What’s amazing is the strength it can evoke. Once the training starts, that inner aggression comes out”.
If you’d like to find out more about the sport, or the men’s or women’s teams, visit norfolkbrawds.com