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Published on August 26th, 2011 | by DerbyLife

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Inside World Cup: Team Finland

Editor’s Note: Head Coach Estrogeena Davis fills us in on Team Finland. Read the full Team Finland Roster and view the photo gallery on DNN.

DL: What was it like putting together your country’s first team?

TF: The selection process was difficult but it was also incredibly exciting. Although roller derby has only existed in Finland for a little over two years many people showed up to tryouts and laid it all down on the track. The Team Finland staff feels extremely privileged to be entrusted with the duty of selecting the very first Finnish all-star roller derby team. After seeing the skaters all develop together as a team we are quite certain that we made the right choices. We are proud of the team and can’t wait to see them play in Toronto!

DL: What are you doing to prepare the team for World Cup?

TF: Because we are unable to have more than just a few practices together as a team, the skaters are all expected to work on their own outside of Team Finland practices to improve their fitness, their knowledge of the game and their understanding of strategy. The skaters have a good deal of homework that is sent out to them on a semi-regular basis. We have also decided to prepare for the World Cup by bouting Team Sweden this fall. This will serve as practice as well as a fundraiser for both teams. In addition, our assistant captain, Tigre Force, is traveling around the country and guest coaching the different leagues that are involved with Team Finland. This helps us stay involved with our skaters and keep them up to date on any developments that we have observed in the sport.

DL: What kind of challenges are you experiencing? (Fundraising, equipment, practice, etc.)

TF: Fundraising is certainly challenging and there are also a lot of legal logistics that are difficult to deal with simply because the team is not yet a registered non-profit. Luckily many of the leagues from around the country want to be involved though, and they are helping the team through holding shared fundraisers with us and by donating us time when we need it. We are definitely met with challenges on a regular basis but the World Cup is so worthwhile that we won’t let those obstacles get in our way.

DL: What are the benefits or great experiences you are having from creating a World Cup team?

TF: One of the greatest benefits of creating a World Cup team is that it has brought all the Finnish leagues together. Everyone is excited and everyone is working for this. Leagues have offered to donate merchandise to raffle off at the Team Finland vs. Team Sweden bout and the camaraderie between leagues has really grown. We can’t wait for the bout against Team Sweden because that will have the greatest showing of Finnish skaters in the same place at the same time, both ON the track and off, not the least of which is a warm-up exhibition scrimmage between two teams of mixed skaters from all the different Finnish leagues.

DL: How are locals responding to a first national team?

TF: We have done our best to spread the word of derby around our home towns and around the country. Bringing a new sport to a small country is not easy so our biggest supporters so far have been our families and our friends. The more we talk about it, the more positive reactions we receive. It is still a work in progress, but we hope that the national team will gain the attention it deserves soon.

DL: What would help you most right now?

TF: Money. We don’t mean to sound materialistic but cold hard cash would be nice. This is a huge expense for all of our skaters and staff, from airfare to uniforms to room and board, so some monetary support would definitely be appreciated.

DL: How do you expect to perform in the World Cup?

TF: We expect to surprise our opponents and to make ourselves proud.

DL: What are your hopes for your team?

TF: My hope is that Team Finland will stay alive after the World Cup 2011 is over, and that this will become a regular event. As roller derby grows around the globe and the sport gains more recognition and more credibility as a real sport, the World Cup will truly become a staple. An event that brings together the very best roller derby skaters from all around the world to play against each other on a regular basis is too amazing and exciting to allow to fade out!

DL: What does this first World Cup mean to you or your team for the future of roller derby in your country?

TF: The World Cup is bringing legitimacy to the sport of roller derby. Derby has always been a SPORT but people outside of the roller derby culture are not always able to grasp that or do not always want to believe it. Having a World Cup really solidifies roller derby as a SPORT and not as simply a form of entertainment. This lends a growing credibility to the sport in our country.

The World Cup is also bringing the leagues in our country together which is crucial for the future of the sport in Finland. After the first World Cup is over we will work hard to strengthen these connections and truly make Finland a Derby Nation.

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