Introduction: In this second installment of Brazil at World Cup, our new friend Mariah Bearings aka Bia #5 shares the excitement and the inside story of Team Brazil striving towards making it to Blood and Thunder Roller Derby World Cup 2011 and finally making it to Toronto. Also, we extend many thanks to world class World Cup photographers Sean Hale / Hale Yeah and Dave Woods Photography for the use of their work. Click to find the first chapter of this story from Derby friend Beki Band-Aid
It was the craziest idea. I had started practicing with the Ladies of HellTown league, in Sao Paulo, for 3 or 4 months, and people started talking about going to Canada to play at the Roller Derby World Cup. Since there were so few people practicing in Brazil, we knew that anyone who wanted to go (and, just as important, could afford it) would probably go. I wanted to go. I had some savings and I had some months to learn enough to be able to play.
We had, by that time, four leagues in the whole country who could send skaters to Canada: the Ladies of Hell Town and Gray City Rebels (dissident skaters from the Ladies) in Sao Paulo, Sugar Loathe Derby Girls in Rio de Janeiro, and Royal Victory Derby Girls in Manaus. We had also two boot camps before the try-outs. The first with Georgia W. Tush (which I could only watch due to a muscular distention), and the next one a couple months later with Bonnie D. Stroir which was a week of hard practice and unbelievable fun. The try-outs took place the following weekend and most of us were exhausted, but we were in Team Brazil anyway. If we didn’t go to the World Cup then who would?
So Team Brazil was born around July. Nanda, aka Brazilian Nuts, from the Gotham Girls, was our MVP and was working hard to get the things done. We had absolutely no experience, so all Brazilian skaters who lived in other countries and wanted to play were automatically in Team Brazil. Some of them had the opportunity to come to Brazil and meet their team mates (Bianca “Lobster” from Canada and Lucia “Bombshell” from US), but the others we were to meet in Toronto. It was crazy and felt like a dream. We had little idea of what we were about to face there but we just kept going.
By September reality hit hard and some of our best skaters had to give up the team mostly because they would not be able to pay for the trip.
We knew this would probably happen since we had no support here in Brazil. Most of the help we had came from the U.S. – helmets, armbands, money donations – but here we were all by ourselves. It was hard on all of us. Not even our head coach would be able to make it anymore. We had to fight to keep our spirits up and be motivated while paying for our visas and tickets and negotiating days off at our jobs.
Good news came on the last minute – OMG WTF would help us and be our coach, another Brazilian skater in the US, Fer, joined Team Brazil, and visas that were taking too long to be liberated worked out. In the middle of this chaos, we hopped on our planes and somehow got there.
We fucking did it. We were there. We know people were amazed seeing us laugh and scream and dance the whole time, even after a 7 to 347 score, but we felt victorious the whole time just for being there. Nothing would take that away from us so we screamed and danced, and gave our blood in every jam, even when we had no idea of what to do or what the hell was going on.
People there probably heard, and it is true, that most of us had never played a bout before Brazil vs Sweden on the first day. Every derby skater knows what it feels like. We were at the same time excited and scared as hell. I was one of the “virgins” and I couldn’t stop talking, moving, punching my team mates, jumping and annoying everybody. The next moment I didn’t want people around me, didn’t want to talk, got pissed just by being touched. Seconds later I was jumping again. It started. They were bigger than us, better skaters, hit harder. We were lost and confused and could not stay out of the penalty box. I don’t even remember the scores. It was glorious. When it ended, we immediately jumped on our team mates and screamed at the top of our lungs as if we had won the cup itself. It felt like we did. If you were there, you saw it.
We got better each game. We lost them all as we expected. We were tired, sore, cold as hell and still couldn’t stay away from the penalty box for too long but we played every game with the same enthusiasm and managed to put on more than 130 points in the second game against France. Our more experienced players were FANTASTIC and were giving their blood (sometimes, literally). We were doing the best we could to help them. I think we did a good job. People were cheering for us, asking for pictures, encouraging, screaming “Brazil!” when we passed.
What more could we expect? Somebody said we played with our hearts and that is true. The heart, for many of us, was the best we could offer our team mates and audience in that moment so we gave it our all.
Coming back to Brazil after all that was as amazing as being there. We knew that our friends and the girls on our league were watching, flooding chats and facebook with comments on every single move, sharing photos, scaring neighbours while screaming like crazy cheering for us from afar. But actually seeing them, drinking beer together, hearing all the stories, all the plans they now have for 2012, is the best part of this crazy adventure.
When I saw how excited they are, how awesome they were in our practice a couple days ago and the boost of enthusiasm the World Cup gave them, I realized how proud I am of being part of Team Brazil in the first Roller Derby World Cup. I am so damn proud. It wasn’t just the girls on team Brazil, it was all the girls and leagues there in Canada with us. I can say from the league I am part of, Ladies of HellTown, that we have tons of plans and 2012 is going to be a hell of a rad year for us. I believe it is like that for all the other leagues, some of them starting right now.
For me, I made 3 points in the World Cup and I am so very proud of it! I can’t wait until our next practice, can’t wait for our first game on Brazilian ground, and I am really happy to have my very first bout recorded on DVD and in so many photos. I have so many people to thank that I’ll have to do it in private or this post will be even bigger than it is now. I hope everybody who played or watched or worked in the World Cup had as much fun as we had and I am looking forward to the next one.
Derby love from Team Brazil and the Ladies Of HellTown for players and fans of Roller Derby all over the world!