We are Amy (aka Captain Havoc) and Cami Gabriel, two of Batter C’s newest recruits. Both of us came through the awesome LRG Recreational League, which Cami came to having ice-skated for most of her life and Havoc transferred to after two years with Auld Reekie Roller Girls.
We both loved Rec, which caters to those players whose aim is to move into the travel teams, but also to those within LRG who want to play in a more relaxed, fun and non-competitive environment. We scrimmaged with and against other local leagues, as well as in themed Sur5als, intra-league bouts and regular fixtures against Batter C Power. But both of us began to feel that we were keen for new challenges and decided to have a shot at trying out for Main League where we would be able to skate with Batter C Power, LRG’s team of rising stars!
Cami Gabriel: I started Fresh Meat with the LRG recreational league after seeing some really cool rec leaguers in a café in Brixton and with no idea what sport they really played. Coming from ice skating and gymnastics I could skate but had not been part of a sports team since the dreaded days of ball sports in school (and an embarrassing season of Netball as an adult where I grasped the rules halfway through our last game – 10 weeks in).
I really enjoyed the camaraderie, the friendliness of rec league, being an active member in committees and made a lot of new friends, but I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to be pushed and that I would not be happy unless I
got to play the best game I could play so getting into Main League was always something I was working towards.
I tried out when I had just passed my minimum skills knowing I would not get in but wanting to see what try outs entailed. It was a pretty eye opening experience – turned out that I knew nothing!
I enjoyed playing with rec league immensely and going to all the bootcamps I could manage, even to RollerCon and getting as much on skates experience as possible. I also started training with the boys at SDRD and saw my game improve quickly.
I tried out twice more, unsuccessfully in terms of getting into Main league, but very successfully in terms of tracking my improvement and getting feedback from some excellent coaches and on my 4th try I finally got in!
Just shy of two years from my very first scrimmage with rec league I played my first game (well, games really) at a B-team tournament in Birmingham where we won the BirmingHydra and I couldn’t be happier being in Batter C. It is challenging but also very rewarding and I can’t wait to start the 2016 season.
Captain Havoc: Moving to LRG from my old league was quite a big upheaval for me and it definitely took a while for me to get my head around different tactics and styles of coaching.
Switching from competitive skating back to recreational was also a bit of a change on pace, but the atmosphere of Rec was lovely and welcoming and considering I had a lot going on professionally it was also useful to be able to push myself as much as I wanted without as much outside pressure.
Initially I wasn’t sure about doing tryouts – I’d begun to enjoy taking things at a slightly easier pace and I was worried that I wouldn’t have the time for the commitment and league work required by Main League. But I was curious to get some outsider input on how I was doing and although I wasn’t successful the first time round I found the feedback I received from the coaches who assessed me to be extremely accurate and useful – I needed to work on my posture and improve my stability. Over the next four months I worked on these things in my own time whenever I could at open skate sessions and during warm ups before training.
The impact this had on my performance on track was huge. In fact, I’d recommend any Reccers give tryouts a go even if they’re not planning on skating with Main League, because it’s a great way to give yourself some focus no matter what your goals may be.
Second time around I got through to Main League and played in my first game with Batter C against the South West Angels of Terror in October. The atmosphere and camaraderie on the team was excellent, as was the quality of banter on the team bus to and from Dorset. Being on a travel team again is challenging and I do have to remind myself not to measure my progress against that of my contemporaries. But ultimately I’m finding it really rewarding so far and am looking forward to (hopefully!) kicking arse with Batter C on track again in the near future.
Making the journey from Rec to Main League can be a long and arduous one and for both of us it has required a big step-up mentally as well as physically. But we are enjoying the challenge and have been made super welcome by our new Batter C pals. Training with the likes of Brawls Saints and Brawling pushes us to always be upping our game and we can’t wait for the 2016 season to begin… things can only get “Batter” !
Want to see if you’ve got what it takes to reach the next level? Why not try out for yourself at the next Main League try outs on the 27th Feb from 11-15:00 at the City of London Acadamy! You can get your ticket here!
Captain Havoc & Cami Gabriel
Photography courtesy of Dino LaRouge