On April 28th a majority of our A-team boarded the flight to Ft. Lauderdale, to take part in the Beach Brawl tournament hosted by Gold Coast Derby girls. This tournament offered the opportunity to play against higher ranked american teams and a big possibility for us to climb rankings – with a chance to qualify for the WFTDA Division 2-playoffs.
After a brief 2-day-acclimatizing period, filled with sunny excursions in Fort Lauderdale and pool parties in our own house pool, we hit the road for the tours first pitch stop: Tampa and the girls of Tampa Roller Derby. The game against Tampa, a WFTDA sanctioned bout against a D1-team, definitively proved to be one of the toughest games this week. After a long travel from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa, we found ourselves changing into our team jerseys in what could have been the tiniest locker room in history. Warm-up then took place during an ongoing Junior Derby tournament. As the game started, it soon became evident that the force of the Tampa Girls was hard to stop. Perhaps were also the foreign heat and the long days travel our enemies on the track. The game ended with the scores standing at 294 – 94, assuring Tampa Roller Derby the win. Despite the big score differential and a slightly defeated Berliner spirit, the rest of the evening was enjoyable, while we were hanging out and chatting with the Tampa girls over a lush snack stand. Then it was time to travel all the way back that same night. Once again, a huge thanks to the mates that willingly took on the task to drive home our sleepy squad back safely.
On the 2nd of May the day had arrived! The first game of the long awaited Beach brawl tournament was to be played. 24 teams, from 6 different countries and 3 different continents took part in this event. In the first game, we had to fight against the DC Rollergirls. Just as team warm up was over, we realized that this would be no walk in the park. Almost every one of us struggled with the unaccustomed grip of the sports court floor, on which plow stops at first seemed impossible. The first period of the match was even though, and we went into our well-deserved half-time break with a one point lead. The second half started with the scores standing at 49 – 48, but we were unfortunately not able to build up any further lead. The DC rollergirls managed to rack up some points to their advantage, overtook the lead and then finally took home a 151 to 117 win.
The following day, we were matched up with Suburbia Roller Derby. In contrast to the previous day, we now managed to find each other and our game on the track. Frequent trips to the penalty box for our jammers made it possible, though, for Suburbia the even out the scores. The game turned into a real, real nail biter as the period clock moved closer to zero. After the final jam the unofficial score showed 200 – 199 in Berlins favor. After a long official review, the numbers were turned around, however, as some of the final points had not been scored legally. The official scores from this game: 197 – 199 to Suburbia.
In the final game of the tournament we had the local heroines Gold Coast Derby Grrls as our opponents. The passed days had shown, that we could step up our performance for every game played. So, with two days of exhausting tournament play in our bodies, and the tough game against Tampa well in memory, our motivation and form was on top the third day. The match against Gold Coast Derby girls had a nerve-wrecking dramaturgy to it, and the excitement got just as high for the audience as for the skaters. Both teams had to fight hard for every single point, and definitively proved worthy every single point scored. With a margin of six points, we finally managed to seal the deal and ended the game with a 174 – 168 win.
The victory over Gold Coast was not the final cherry on top this day however! After a short break Paulina Pocket, Bee Fattal, Heavy Rotation, Master Blaster and Catherine Beat-Her Bones got to lace up their skates once more, to represent Team International together with the best skaters from other non-american teams of the tournament. Team International took on the infamous Team USA. The power relation in this game was clear and decisive, as was the final score: 435 – 31 to Team USA. Team Internationals skaters fought hard the whole time though and gave their all on the track, to the sound of a highly supportive fan crowd.
During the MVP-award ceremony of the tournament, the third treat of this day was served, as our own Master Blaster received the MVP-jammer award. Very well deserved!
Next day, we headed off to Palm Beach to practice and scrimmage with Dub City Derby Girls.
After this exciting and quite successful Derby week it was now time to get to know the country and its people. Trips to the beach, to Miami, or driving with an Airboat was on the agenda; together with photos of alligators, maybe one or two sunburns, the largest Margaritas, the loudest Mexican restaurant, the wildest pool battles and and and … after a really eventful and accomplished week the suitcases had to packed again, sadly enough.
The Berlin Bombshells thank all those who so strongly supported us and made this trip possible.
Photos by Duane Baker, Ken LeBleu of lebleuphoto.com, Craig Richmonds and Christopher W. Weeks.