Camaraderie is just as important as competition for the members of the Low Rolling Deuces roller derby team.
Both figured prominently during the team’s recent trip to Ireland to take on two of the Emerald Isle’s better roller derby squads. It marked the first international competition for the Low Rolling Deuces, which is part of the Moosic-based Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roller Derby league and the B team for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roller Radicals.
Nineteen of the team’s players, along with various friends and family members, made the trip. On Saturday, June 29, they played Dublin Roller Derby’s B team in the Irish capital, then traveled to the town of Greystones to take on the East Coast Cyclones.
“Roller derby is kind of like a family – they call it the roller derby community. You can go to any part of the world, and message a team, ‘Can I come practice with you?’ And you’ll never get a no,” said Brandy Ralston, a member of the Deuces and the league’s president. “We just wanted a team-bonding trip, and a competition. And it was great.”
The Deuces lost both games by a rather wide margin, Ralston admitted. Which wasn’t really a surprise, given their opponents’ skill level.
“Honestly, the Dublin team was one of the greatest teams we’ve ever played,” Ralston said. “Dublin Roller Derby ranks around 34 out of about 3,000 teams in the world. I thought they were just going to cream us, and they did. We lost 290-56. But we thought it would be like 600-10.”
But the sportsmanship displayed by both Irish teams was exemplary, said Ralston, noting the Deuces joined the Dublin squad for beers afterward at Lucky’s Pub in downtown Dublin.
“They were the best sportsmen. Honestly, they were so welcoming. I want to say I was surprised, but I wasn’t,” Ralston said. “We brought them some nice American delicacies, including Cheese Whiz and Pop Tarts.”
For the rest of the trip, the team got a chance to engage in some serious bonding time at various high-profile Dublin tourist spots, among them the Guinness Storehouse and Trinity College’s library.
In addition to Dublin, the team traveled to other picturesque parts of the country, including Connemara and the West Coast city of Galway.
And, there was even a visit to Belfast in Northern Ireland, where the team visited a museum dedicated to the massively popular television show “Game of Thrones,” which filmed extensively there. That stop was most fitting, considering a couple of the team’s trip fundraisers were “Game of Thrones” trivia nights.
“I don’t think there was much we didn’t get to see,” Ralston said.
Now back in the states, the team is already starting to plan next year’s trip to Florida.
Meanwhile, the league is always looking for new players, Ralston said. On Sept. 8, it will hold tryouts at its facility at 4949 Birney Ave., Moosic.
“There’s always room for new skaters,” Ralston said. “We have a lot of fun. And, for a small team, we’ve accomplished a lot.”
For more information on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roller Derby, visit the league’s Facebook page, or its website, wbsrollerderby.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.