As we all know, year 2020 seemed pretty normal at first. In late February, both DRRD teams, the A and the B team, played a game in Peltola. In March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic hit Finland at full force. DRRD immediately cancelled all practices and we were able to return on skates only in June and to full contact only in August. In November all practices were cancelled again due to the worsening situation in Varsinais-Suomi.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, DRRD got two new transfer skaters from Hamburg in August 2020! Here’s what one of them, Randa Lena, has to tell about her experience in joining our league during such a weird time.
“I joined DRRD in the second half of 2020, the year of Covid-19 and also the year of the 10th anniversary of the league. Coming right out of German Lockdown with only a few weeks of non-contact training during summer, I was quite happy when I heard that Dirty River had just started full contact training.
It was a joy to play real Roller Derby again, not only in practices, but also in the 10 year anniversary scrimmage the league held on September 12th in Kupittaa. According to my new teammates, they originally planned to celebrate the 10th anniversary with a big tournament and many international guest teams that weekend. Unfortunately this was not possible, like so many other events that should have happened, but didn’t.
To celebrate at least on a small scale, we played an intraleague scrimmage and were even able to have some audience there! Of course, we made sure the audience was separated from the team all the time, to reduce the risk of infection.
Even though it was not the big tournament it should have been, being able to play publicly against other people in a setting that very much felt like a real game, was a great experience after all those months. There were not many players, we barely got two full line-ups, but it was fun and very challenging.
In the evening we had a little get-together, this time privately, in a small club house the league had rented. Again, the group was small, but it was a very nice evening where I got to know some of the league members a little better.
Unfortunately, the golden age of real Derby didn’t last long. The coaching department sensibly decided to go back to non-contact training in October when the second wave of the pandemic rolled over Europe, including Finland. Even though the coaches got very creative to make practice still fun and special (e.g. football on skates), the undeniable highlight of that time was the Spooky Skate Event, where beginners and advanced players dressed up in Halloween costumes for skating around the sports hall and eating spooky snacks together.
Understandably, many members of the league were not comfortable with coming to regular practices and meeting people despite the non-contact training, which made it much harder to really meet everyone. I got the chance to spend time with some people at the Moomin World in Naantali, though, where we raked leaves and carried wooden planks to raise funds for the league. League fundraising isn’t something we do in Germany. Seeing that DRRD does it on a regular basis is a new and exciting thing for me, and also gives me the chance to look behind the curtains of some places and events in Finland, which I probably wouldn’t be able to do if I weren’t part of this team.”
As Randa Lena mentioned, DRRD also turned 10 years in 2020. We were supposed to celebrate it in a lot of different ways, but had to cancel most of those plans. But hey, how about an 11th anniversary party next autumn?
Nobody knows what 2021 has in store for us, but we know already that the year has started with the pandemic still going strong and many restrictions still in place. Many are already so tired of this pandemic, but we at DRRD are keeping our hopes up for a better year. DRRD has existed for 10 years now. And you know what? There will be a time when this phase was indeed just that, a phase, a short phase in our history. This is not the end of anything, it’s a phase. Isn’t that a comforting thought?