Latest Nonsenses

OUTRAGE over the most ill-judged roller derby theme EVER!


Christian groups have reacted angrily to a roller derby event that took place in Huddersfield over the Easter weekend. Was the theme of the Hudd Bangers men’s league’s festive scrim a step too far? EMILY FLATULET reports…

“We didn’t mean to offend anyone,” says Hudd Bangers captain Chris De Bleurgh, “and we’re sorry if we did.” He’s referring to the league’s Easter Saturday open door scrimmage, entitled ‘Rollgotha’, which featured two themed teams of Bangers skaters. “In retrospect the whole Romans v Christians thing should never have been considered in the first place,” he admits, “although I also think there wouldn’t have been this reaction had the costume element been kept a lot more low-key.”

The reaction De Bleurgh is referring to includes Monday’s official statement from the United Federation of Associated British Churches: “We would be disappointed if a sports team choose to feature the crucifixion as a fancy dress ‘theme’ at any time of year, but to do so over the Easter weekend shows a considerable lack of respect.” UFABC were one of a number of organisations to express their outrage at the event, with further critical press releases emanating from Kirkendale All Faiths Forum, the Buddhist Council of South West Yorkshire and the River Colne Steamboat Society. Popular celebrity Katie Hopkins also waded into the debate, Twittering: “Bored of Rollgotha controversy now. Christians should chill out and get new hobby. Yorkshire men should stick to ****ing ferrets for sport.”

The Right Reverend Halibut Jones of St Ermintrude’s (a parish church close to the leisure centre where the event took place) was more circumspect. “I’d like to think there was no malice at work,” he told the Halifax Chronicle, “just naivety. Myself and the congregation at St Ermintrude’s would be delighted to have the Headbangers attend one of our regular Sunday services, so we can better educate them as to the true meaning of Easter and Christianity in general. They’d have to leave their skates at the door, though, as we’ve only just had a new floor put in.” Whilst several other clergymen have commented on the issue, as yet no official statements have been issued on behalf of Romans, although a man from Turin told it “all sounds a little stupid”.

The Yorkshire men’s league remains contrite, explaining to us how the situation developed in the way it did… “Ourselves and the Romans were really egging each other on over our costumes in the run-up to the game,” says one member of the Christians team, who has asked not to be identified. “We discovered that several of them had acquired reproduction Roman helmets, some of which were apparently used in the movie Gladiator,” continues Archie Enemy (aka Archibald Belchwell of 17a Bumbleberry Close, Holmfirth), “and we felt we had to raise our own game in terms of boutfits. In retrospect, the historical costumes we selected – when combined with the fact that all men’s roller derby players have long straggly beards – did make it look as if we’d all consciously dressed up as Jesus Christ, the Lord and Saviour of All Mankind.”

Belchwell adds that some criticisms of the Christian team’s costumes are unwarranted. “A few of the Roman side were dressing as Julius Caesar,” he explains. “and one of our lads sneaked into their locker room while the Romans were outside having their pre-game cigars. He stole the Caesars’ laurel wreaths. Wearing them ourselves during the game was just meant as a bit of ‘banter’ between the two teams. It was only when the Daily Mail contacted us the next day that we realised some spectators had mistakenly assumed they were meant to represent a crown of thorns.” Belchwell also points out that only one member of the Christians team took to the track with a ten foot tall wooden cross attached to the back of his robe. “This was removed after the first two jams anyway, although largely due to a safety ruling from the Head Ref. Apparently, several spectators seated on the turns were receiving splinters, as well as some minor head trauma.”

Chris De Bleurgh admits the Romans v Christians theme was his idea, although he points out that it was voted through by several different league committees. “Admittedly, I was the only person who actually turned up to those committee meetings – as bloody usual – but I’m sure the rest of the league are happy to take collective responsibility for the decision.” De Bleurgh blames the controversy on his own naivety. “Perhaps I’ve lived a sheltered life,” he says, “but I’d always assumed that Romans and Christians were fictional characters in the same way that Vampires, Wizards and Norwegians are. Had I known they were real – and that it would lead all this hoo-hah – we would have almost certainly gone for a different theme.”

The event in Huddersfield wasn’t the only Easter controversy in UK roller derby. Another men’s game, this one between the Inverness Invaders and Ayrs To The Throne, featured a half-time Easter egg hunt for children in the crowd. “We hid six chocolate eggs wrapped in gold foil around the hall,” Invaders ref Sock Rocket tells us, “but the kids only found five of them during the break. It turns out Ayr skater Dirty Bantz had found the other. I’ve no idea where on his person he then hid it – and frankly, I’d rather not know – but he whipped it out midway through the third jam of the second period and started waving it around. Of course the youngsters in the crowd all immediately raced out onto the track to try and grab it.” Did this result in any injuries? “Three skaters and eight children,” says Rocket, shaking his head sadly, “although thankfully the egg itself was undamaged.”

Queen Elizabiff of the British Roller Derby Network points out that incidents such as these are one reason why “most roller derby leagues take a break over Easter, and those that don’t will play their Jammersus Christs v Pontius Pivots etc games behind closed doors.” She adds that the BRDN are also considering formal legislation to ensure that “all men’s leagues leave the planning of public events to their wives or mothers,” adding that: “It’s for their own good, quite frankly.”

What do you think? Should men be banned from organising future derby events? Has the Church overreacted? Let us know…

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