Friday, December 31, 2010

Interesting and Original Derby Blogger: RollerWannabe - The Road to Rollergirl

One blogger I've been following for a while is, who you can also read quips from on twitter at @RollerWannabe. I'm not sure exactly where she's located, but I think it's somewhere in Texas. Her blog starts off earlier this year, when she declared to the blogosphere that she's ready to do what it takes to join a roller derby team.

Fast forward to June when she starts writing about her first fresh meat/training practices (the league she was skating with requires you to try out) and throughout the Summer she writes about little lessons she picks up along the way. Definitely worth reading if you are a current fresh meat, because she writes in a way that seems universal to all.  As the Fall rolls in, she starts writing about the upcoming tryout season.  I thought her reflection post on her Tryout Day was a particularly good read. Overall, she has a really great attitude and lots of awesome thoughts on derby.

Which leads me to the point of this post: a celebration of awesome and original content. She has two cute posts about the types of skates we used as kids - the Fisherprice 1-2-3s (I definitely had a couple pairs of these!) and a salute to those Brownie skates you rent at any standard roller rink (fade to memories of Guptill's skating. I could only last like 20 minutes with these babies before my feet hurt like hell.)

Her most recent post, Twas the Night Before Christmas, Derby Style, takes them all. She took the whole classic poem and derbified it. Here's a short excerpt, which describes the one and only Dumptruck as St. Nick:

A bag full of skates he had flung on his back,
And wheels filled his golden lamé fanny pack.

His nip-rings -- they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks half-exposed, his back kind of hairy!

His muttonchops framing the grin that he flashed,
No beard on his chin, but a Hetfield moustache;

I smiled ‘cause I couldn’t help notice the way,
His voice sounded just like a strip club DJ

and then at the end:

With his fingers he gave me the sign of the goat,
crushed the can with his head, laughter roared from his throat;

He sprang to the bus, to his team gave a shout,
And they swiftly returned, climbed aboard, and peaced out.

But I heard him exclaim, as he guided the pack,
"Happy Christmas to all -- see you out on the track."

Three cheers for her amazing poem and for her blog in general! Make sure you check out the whole poem - it's hilarious and awesome!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review: Going in Circles

I want to preface this by saying I wrote this review back in September, and have been waiting for the write time to post it. I figure now is the time, since ran an article by the author, Pamela Ribon, back and June - which has just popped back up in some of my derby circles..

What's interesting is that I did't 100% love this book (read my thoughts below), but I completely loved her article on Oprah's website. The book is not primarily about roller derby, and I had a lot of trouble relating to it. On the other hand, her Oprah article is well written and, in my opinion, completely universal in the roller derby world - which makes me feel a little bit better about not 100% loving something having to do with roller derby.

Definitely read the article... and maybe check out the book too.


google images
On the recommendation of a fellow derby girl, I checked Going in Circles, by Pamela Ribon, out of my local library and snuggled up with a book for the first time in a while.

I haven't written a book review in a long time (middle school?) so forgive me if I do it wrong.  I won't give away the ending at least.

This book is not about roller derby... primarily.  In fact, the first third of this 300 page book doesn't mention it at all.  This book is about a woman in her 30s going through a divorce.  And frankly, I found the first part depressing.  I know divorce is a fact of life, and that's probably the point of the book, but when I was expecting to read about derby, it kind of threw me off.

So fast forward to the good stuff.  The chapter in which the main character, Charlotte, is first introduced to the sport is actually my favorite part of the book.  She's invited to an "event" at a warehouse by her new, yet quirky, friend from work, and when she arrives has no idea what she is witnessing.  An excerpt:

A group of women peel off and stomp to the track together.  Two other women wait a few feet behind them.  A whistle blows, and the women in front all start skating.  That's the word for what they're doing, but it doesn't describe what's happening.  It's more like an attack, like an army on the move.

The whole chapter perfectly describes the experience of roller derby to the uninitiated.  To the confusion/horror of the knocking around, to the grateful observation of the pads and other safety gear.

Charlotte ultimately joins the team and earns the nickname Hard Broken.  The story takes place in Las Angelos with a banked track team.  Nevertheless, her endeavors from learning to skate, to making friends on the team, to dealing with life outside of derby, are things every derby gal can relate to.  And there are some pretty funny scenes.  Her interactions with her wannabe derby wife, Francesca, are constantly heartfelt and/or jocular.

What's difficult about getting through the book is Charlotte's constant struggle over her divorce.  Throughout the story, via Charlotte's odd mental flashbacks, the reader learns more about her not-so-perfect-afterall with her lame almost ex-husband.  These asides are often just stressful to read through, because Charlotte is so distraught over it all.

But luckily she has roller derby, and luckily this book plays that up a bit more in the end so all the excited derby girls (the intended audience?) can finish the book satisfied.

Interested?  Check your local library or read more about it on Amazon.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Roller Derby Secret Snowman

Tasty pizza from Play by Play.
On Thursday night before practice some Hellions met at Play by Play (the bar where we have our after bout parties). We has some pizza and salad (carbs for energy before practice!) and enjoyed each other's company. I also had a mint chocolate Bailey's on the rocks (with a candy cane, haha!) I couldn't indulge too much because I had to skate in a couple hours. I was happy that Shrimp Scampi was there because I haven't seen her in a while! Anne the Bonny Basher, one of our skaters who moved away this summer was also able to make it, and she stayed for practice.  Hooray!  Except that Anne hits like a truck and I am scared of her.

About 16 people participated in our Secret Snowman (same thing as a Secret Santa gift exchange).

Here are some of the neat things people received:

Mathundra Storm got a book for writing down song ideas.
Did you know Storm is an accomplished musician?

Cool derby gift: Polar Derby!
Polar Derby! According to the description: the game is a rolling polar bear jam. Roll the colred dice to collect high scoring polar bears from the rink. Roll doubles to trip up opponents or "Free Skate" to take your pick of the pack. But press your luck too far and you may wind up flat on your face. The player with the most points skates away with the victory.

Derby style tights, X-men headphones, and a Zombie Christmas book. Derby
girls can be geeky sometimes.  Ok, a lot of times.
I got custom derby booty shorts from Ursula Udders! Awesome!!
They were made by Hot Across Buns on etsy.
Hot Across Buns is currently offering 20% off coupon with code HOT20

And lastly, I got my secret snowman, Snausage, a custom My Monster Hat Scarf (in Hellions colors!) made by the talented Anne Persand. I also ordered myself a matching scarf :)  Snausage, as you may recall, recently wrote a guest post on about Hellions practices.
Me and Snausge in our sweet Monster Scarves
Other people got various derby gifts such as socks and tights. A few items (the booty shorts, socks, and Monster scarves also appear on my roller derby fashion post, if you wanna read more about them.

Thanks again to Ursula for coordinating our little get together.  After our party, we headed over to practice (conveniently about 0.3 miles away). As if we hadn't induldged enough at the party, Ursula also brought these crazy colored cupcakes. Look at the blue! Of course, Ursula got a cupcake recipe book as she seems to be our resident baker of tasty and unique treats.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Injuries and Regrets and Envy at a Tough Work Out

Guest post by Hellions freshmeat, Snausage

It's really hard to be injured when you've just discovered a sport that you love and really want to master. It's even harder to be injured when you so how much fun everyone is having during practice.

Last week the Hellions had a brutal endurance practice, and I wanted so badly to join them. It started out with the always fun, 40 in 10 (40 laps in 10 minutes). I re-injured myself a week ago during 40 in 10, so I know how hard it is. After four minutes, I spotted a certain Miss Short Temper attempting to call off this endurance work out as if she were lead jammer! Most of my fellow meat made a spectacular showing of it, getting over 40 laps in the time allotted. Good job girls!

Wall squats
The next part of the work out was a core work out drill. It started out with three sets of thirty second squats. I sat this one out as my Doctor has forbidden me from doing squats. The second part was three sets of thirty second bicycles (a type of 'crunch'), 'superman' (lie on your belly with your arms and legs raised off the ground and hold), and planks. I did participate in this workout and am grateful that I have much more core strength than I used to. There was much groaning and grumbling from the assembled players and referees, but you know they loved it.

Bicyles - a type of sit up.
Afterwards there were pack formation workouts. This I also sat out, but watched with great interest and much envy. Players were split up into groups of four and given a number. They were then to skate together and change position when it was called out, for example, two in the front, two in the back. There were 'whips' being given, to help players get into position more quickly. It was great to see the cooperation between seasoned vets and fresh meat (new members of the league).

The second pack drill was to block the jammer. Teams of four went out with a jammer following behind. I must admit I got a bit nervous when I saw one of our newest members going up against Miss Flexi Wheeler, who was jamming, but she held her own against a truly great player. It made me want to go out there and try it myself! Teams went out, many people fell, and a great and educational time was had by all. Here's a video of two teams of four out on the track, with a jammer trying to sneak her way through.

And then came the hitting. Players went out in groups of two and three to throw hits at each other, shoulder hits and hip hits. And while all of this was happening, the referees were out practicing their own skills. Even at practice, they are not shy about calling illegal elbows or back blocking.  All in all, an enjoyable practice to watch, but much more enjoyable to participate in as I saw on Facebook by all of the postings about being 'sore, but happy'. Hopefully I will heal soon and be able to return to my skates, until then this is Snausage, signing off.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fun Friday: Tap Dancing on Roller Skates

Check out this video Mr. T showed me of Gene Kelly tap dancing on roller skates. It's a scene from the movie It's Always Fair Weather (1955).

There's a lot I can do on my toe stops. Jammer start, jump around, run backwards, jumprope. I think I have new challenge! Actually, it looks like Gene Kelly is doing a lot of figure skating moves, which sort of makes we want to take artistic skating lessons.

At first I was skeptical that this might not be real. I mean - I don't mean to doubt Gene Kelly, but I feel like it could be staged or dubbed over.  I looked up the movie on IMDB and one of the commenters makes a good case for why this probably is real:
You notice how sparsely Gene Kelly's finest numbers are shot? Long takes,little in the way of cinematic flair? Well,ponder this for a moment-he will often do something truly spectacular at the end of a take,leading one to wonder just how many times the poor chap put himself through the preceding minutes before getting it right...

A case in point is the justly famed (among those in the know) "Rollerskate Number":In order to demonstrate that the skates are,indeed,authentic,Kelly will swap-flawlessly-from "tap" to "glide" at the end of each take.

Pretty talented, I'd say. I've never watched any of his movies, but just the dancing and singing alone makes me want to.  Happy Friday everyone - hope you enjoyed this little number!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

2011 Winter - Spring Season

Wondering about the next time you can check out some Hellions action? See you in January!

We've got a fun season coming up. Hopefully debuting some new girls in our home bouts, and taking on some challenging teams away. One bout I'm excited for: Green Mountain Derby Dames up in Vermont. Skiing anyone? Happy we're taking on WFTDA leagues - I love learning more and more about the organization when we get to play teams who are members. Still got my eye on the prize for the Hellions - one day!

All home games take place at Rollarama in Schenectady. Hope you're able to make it out to a bout (or three!) this season!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fun Roller Derby Stuff on Etsy

Keep Calm and Derby On by PosterPop
Periodically I like to skim for for derby stuff. Here are a couple things I recently came across that I really like.

Keep Calm and Derby On Poster by PosterPop. $15.00
This shop actually has a variety of "Keep Calm..." posters. This poster is available in many different colors - so you can stylize to match your team!

Being part of a roller derby league can be a hectic but fun time. I think it's always important to keep this phrase in mind.

Custom Name Patch by lizmiera. $3.50
I collect patches so I think this is pretty awesome. This seller also has a variety of interesting designs, plus other styles of name patches, including one in tattoo style writing.

Custom patch by lizmiera
Put this patch on your:

-Gear/grm bags
-tote bags
-scrimmage shirt
-sweat shirt

Important note: if you click on a link for an item and it is sold out, make sure to check the seller's shop for a new listing. You will probably still be able to get it!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Slay Belles Photos on posted some pictures from our Slay Belles - Naughty vs. Nice bout on their website, which were taken by Bill Dhalle.

Take a look:

Journey from Fresh Meat to Graduated Skater - Part 2

Check out Part 1 of Valerie Valkyrie's story here.

The continuing story from guest writer Valerie Valkyrie regarding her past 5 1/2 months with the Hellions. She's been with us all summer and has been an incredible asset to the league in terms of craftiness, willingness to participate in league events, and general friendlyness. Meet Valerie Valkyrie!

Guest post by Valerie Valkyrie

Valerie Valkyrie
When that fateful Sunday arrived, we hit the track with gusto and labored through our drills, pushing ourselves and trying not to focus on our mistakes. At the end of the night I was pleased with my performance but still unsure if I would pass. I knew where I may not have met the minimum requirements and where I didn't meet my personal standards. I drove home with a knot in the pit of my stomach and my fingers crossed.

Waiting the 24 hours to hear the results was less painful than I expected it to be. My day was full with school assignments and I didn't have much time to dwell on the test, although any free moments found my mind wandering to my t-stops, hits and whips. The second I got out of my evening class I raced to my car and may have driven a little too fast to Schenectady. I was miserable knowing that missing the first 20 minutes of practice meant likely missing the graduation announcements - maybe I should've skipped class that night. As I walked into the rink, Flexi smiled at me and extended her congratulations. I grinned and jumped and squealed. And then I got down to business putting on my gear to join the big girls on the big track because as exciting as passing minimums and graduating was, it simply means that I am in for even more work.

My first night as a graduated skater was an extended 3-hour practice and since I arrived late I knew I needed to stay for the whole thing. It was exhilarating and exhausting and I was sore afterward and I can look forward to that for the rest of my derby career. I spent so much time focusing on meeting those minimum skills and on passing the test and I hardly gave any thought to what would happen after that. I knew in my the back of my head that the hard work and training continues but it wasn't something that really registered until I hit the track. I realized that even though I can perform all the necessary skills, I now need to put all of that together in the midst of chaos. I'm back to being a beginner and I so look forward to developing a new set of skills.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Win a Copy of Roller Derby Workout from Lucyindasky

Local derby blogger Lucyindasky is giving away a copy of Roller Derby Workout. I keep hearing great stuff about this DVD! It'd be great for even non derby people I bet. Also, if you win, you can participate in in the 2011 Roller Derby Workout Challenge on facebook!

Enter the contest here:
and check out the rest of her blog. Support local derby!

The contest winner will selected on Wednesday December 15 - so get on it!

Journey from Fresh Meat to Graduated Skater - Part 1

Sparkly HoT sign made by Valerie Valkerie
Check out thoughts from guest writer Valerie Valkyrie regarding her past 5 1/2 months with the Hellions. She's been with us all summer and has been an incredible asset to the league in terms of craftiness, willingness to participate in league events, and general friendlyness. Meet Valerie Valkyrie!

Guest post by Valerie Valkyrie

This is a long time coming.

I promised Short I would write a few different blog posts for her - one about my new skates and another about my love for hitting. But life took over and inspiration walked out on me and I never got them done. So I'm taking this time, so close to my recent graduation, to pour out my thoughts while they're still fresh and new.

I showed up at my first Hellions of Troy practice about 5 1/2 months ago. The first weeks were exciting but exhausting. I had also started a brand new on-my-feet-all-day retail job and I was constantly sore. My legs and feet were always aching, begging for a break. But I powered through it because something about roller derby caught my heart.

Brand new pair of roller skates!
Due to a lack of protective gear and then a nasty virus I missed almost a month of practices, upon my return the meat class was preparing for a minimums test and I was not ready. I tried it anyway, failing about half of the requirements and watched my compatriots graduate and take their derby names and kick ass on the track.

A few weeks later we held a recruitment night and brought in a few handfuls of new fresh meat and I went back to basics with them. After I had put in three full months of hard work, I felt ready to take minimums again and began pestering the coaches to run them - I can only imagine how annoying I must've been but I'm admittedly very impatient and I wanted to go, go, go! I understood, though, that they would be running a big test for just a few of us considering most of the newer meat wasn't really ready yet. So I waited and practiced and waited and practiced. And did wall squats and planks and ran drills and practiced falling and learned to place hits. And every time I started getting frustrated and maybe just a little bit bored, I was treated to a practice with the vets. Getting a taste of pack work and hitting and blocking drills was just the motivation I needed to continue working my ass off and wait (albeit impatiently) for minimums.

For the last month I wasn't the only one chomping at the bit - the women who joined during that recruitment night in late July were more than ready for a chance to prove their skills. It was announced that testing would be coming up in November and many of us spent those weeks alternating worry with excitement.
Would we pass?
What skills should we focus on?
Who could we snag to help us develop that lacking technique?
What fancy hot pants will give me the best range of motion while still making me look cute?

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Valerie's saga tomorrow!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How to Add Your Derby Wife to Your Facebook Profile

Adapted from here, from Michi-chan of

Love it or hate it, the new Facebook profile setup has something interesting to offer. While Facebook automatically generates your friends list to display on your profile, and you've been able to list your relatives on your FB, you can now also add a custom list. Below is a guide on how to add your Derby Wife to your profile.

If you have not converted to the new Facebook profile page, do that first (warning - pretty sure you can't revert back to the old style profile once you revert. But we're all used to that by now, aren't we?)
Steps 1 and 2

1. Go to your personal profile page.

2. Click on the "Edit Profile" button on the upper right.

3. When the new screen appears, click on the "Relationships" link on the left side.
Step 3
Steps 4 and 5
4. Scroll down to where it says "Featured Relationships".

5. Click on "Create new List".

6. A pop-up box will appear. Make your list name "Derby Wife" and select your lucky derby wife from your list of friends.

7. Click "Create List".

8. A new section called "Derby Wife" will appear on the profile editor.

9. Your derby wife will now appear on your profile page in the same area on the left side where your relationship and your family appears.

As you can see, I used my boyfriend as an example. I don't have a derby wife (and am currently happily single in this arena, so don't worry). After I did this example, I checked his profile and this custom relationship did not appear on his profile as well. I'm sure this is to prevent some sort of abuse of the system, but make sure you let your derby wife how to add you to her profile as well if you want!

Don't have a derby wife? You can use this tutorial for any relationship you want: your closest team mates; blogging friends ("blends" as THS calls them); pets that have facebook profiles... whatever you like! You are allowed to list more than one person your custom relationship - so girls with multiple derby wives, this is for you!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Improving my Jamming

In our December 4 bout, Slay Belles - Naughty vs Nice, I was put out to jam more times that I ever have been before. Six in total. I feel a lot more comfortable jamming since my first time jamming, but I know I've got a way to go. But looking at the statistics from the bout, I am pretty proud of myself!
Photo by Kimberly Vockel.
Here are my jammer stats from the last bout:

Total jams: 17 out of 35 total
   Jammer: 6 of 17

I was able to earn lead jammer 3 out of 6 times. In the times that I didn't earn lead jammer, I did not score any points (the jam was called off by the other jammer before I could make a scoring pass).
In the other three james, I scored 3, 5, and 3 points, for 11 points total.  Other jammers on my team scored 12-14 points each, with Kitty being our top scorer with 26 points :)

The final score was 63 Nice - 115 Naughty.

Point scoring aside, I think I've also improved on my technique as a jammer. One thing I struggled with was once and made my initial pass and rounded around to the back of the pack, I would slow down as if I think I could more easily maneuver around them (especially if there were one or two blockers hanging back waiting for me). This has never worked out for me.

In reality, what a jammer should do, and what I worked on in the last bout, is not give up any speed once she reaches the back of the pack. It's much harder to hit a faster, moving target. Quick reaction time and agility is very important - the second you see a way through, you have to leap (sometimes literally) at the chance.

With these thoughts in mind, I was able to break through a couple times. Believe me, it's hard when you've raced your heart out around the track, only to find Flexi Wheeler (she played on the Naughty team, I was on Nice) waiting for you. Tell yourself: don't be scared, you can do it. Then race up, juke around, and look for your next opportunity to leap.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Deep Derby Discount

Hey local derby girls and boys!

If you bring your USARS card or wear your team jersey to our bout on Saturday, you can get in for the reduced price of just $5! Tell the girls working at the door Short Temper sent you. I hope to see you there!

What I've Been Doing While I Haven't Been Blogging

Heyo! I am back. I'm gonna tell you about what I've been up to the past two weeks.

Last week I was in Nashville for turkey festivities and mini November vacation. You can read about my insane open skate experience here. While in Nashville, we also saw an NHL hockey game - the Nashville Predators vs. the New York Rangers!! The only hockey I've ever seen was the Albany River Rats, haha. This was fun to watch because all the skaters are so awesome! You would think that knowing how to roller skate would translate well into ice skating ability. Well, it does not for for me. I stink at ice skating. But these hockey players were awesome skaters. Backwards skating on ice like 23424 miles per hour!
The New York Rangers won the game 3 - 2 in overtime.  OH YEAH.

I did try to look up the Nashville Rollergirls, but it didn't look like they had anything going on last weekend.

Prepping for the bout this Saturday
Our next bout is coming right up! Did you enter to win free tickets from Nippertown and All Over Albany? Also, there's going to be a coupon in the Schenectady Gazette on Saturday for $2 off the price of an adult admission at the door. ;)

The theme of our bout on Saturday is Naughty vs. Nice. I'm on the Nice team. :) Tonight at practice I caught up on what I missed while I was away. It felt awesome to be back on my own skates.

Entering this contest
Win Roller Derby Workout exercise DVD from local blogger and derby girl, Lucy in Da Sky. Leave a comment on her blog for a chance to win the DVD. No skates required and your legs will never be the same. This workout DVD looks like it would even be good for non-derby people.

I think I am going to see Cold Spring at EMPAC. I have no idea what it's about, but there's gonna be some derby girls in it -- on SKATES -- so why not?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Just When You Think You've Seen It All...

A guide to Overtime Jams
Guest post by Hellions referee, Beau T. Call

The ref crew for the Roast-Her bout. Hellions Miranda
Wrights, Luci D. Dreams, and Beau T. Call (top left).
Photo by Sean Hale.
Last Saturday, I had the privilege to officiate at the Jerzey Derby Brigade Roast-Her bout, featuring the JDB Corporal Punishers vs. the WB Scranton Roller Radicals. Both teams were very competitive, and at the end of the bout, it turned out that the scores were tied! This is a relatively rare occurrence at derby bouts, but when it happens, a special set of rules kick in and let the fun continue in an Overtime Jam.

Overtime Jams usually begin with an Official Time Out to double-check the scores. The score trackers will make sure that the score on the scoreboard is current. The referees are also using this time to remember the four special rules that kick in during an Overtime Jam.

The four special rules are fairly easy to remember. First of all, there will be one minute from when the Official Time Out ends until the Overtime Jam begins. This extra time is for the teams to sort out any special plays they might want to use.

Order your pocket-sized WFTDA Rules Handbook from the
WFTDA Store and don't leave home without it.
Photo by Sean Hale.
The second rule is that there is no Initial Pass. The Jammers start scoring on their first pass through the pack. This rule keeps the action going, and gives a 'sudden death' feel to the Overtime Jam.

The third rule is that there is No Lead Jammer. Since there's no Initial Pass, there isn't a Lead Jammer. Pretty logical, I'd say.

The final rule is that the jam will last the full two minutes. Since there's no Lead Jammer, nobody can call off the jam, so it will last two minutes (unless there's an injury, or the lights all go out, or that sort of thing).

Otherwise, the Overtime Jam is just like a jam in regulation time. Penalties will be called just like they were during the last hour of play, so it pays to skate clean in an Overtime Jam. Your minor penalties will also carry over from regulation time, so it might behoove a bench coach to put skaters with fewer minors in the Overtime Jam.

One observation about an Overtime Jam is that the crowd has lots of energy and gets very loud and expressive. This energy is very contagious and distracting at the same time. It's something to think about if you are a communicative skater (or if you're a ref trying to send a skater to the box).

When the Overtime Jam is over, the score will be tallied again, and the winner will be determined. If the score remains tied, there will be another Overtime Jam (with another one minute before it). This could conceivably continue until Armageddon, but even a second Overtime Jam is very rare indeed.

One final twist is that if the Overtime Jam is called off early due to injury or other unnatural endings, the running score will stand (unless it is still tied, in which case there will be another Overtime Jam). Again, this rarely happens, but it's what the rules say (Section 2.5, Overtime).

Overtime Jams and close bouts are very exciting. They are slightly different from regulation jams, but the differences are fairly easy to understand and remember. If you ever experience an Overtime Jam, you will understand how they exemplify the energy and sportswomanship which is the spirit of Roller Derby.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Old School Roller Derby

One of the most common comments I get when people ask me about roller derby is "you mean like fighting on roller skates?" and then they pretend to elbow me or someone else in the vicinity.  No, I say... you can't elbow anyone under our ruleset.  Or punch, trip, kick... or any kind of fighting.

"That doesn't sound like any fun," they say. "I used to watch roller derby on TV when I was a kid. It was on after wrestling!"

Sigh.  Of course then I get into it about what IS fun and awesome about it. Leaving both sides mostly satisfied.

I've never seen that version of roller derby that was "on after wrestling", but I've wondered about it. And now I have my chance to witness it, first hand. This weekend is the 2010 Old School Derby Association (OSDA) Championships. The event will be held in Poughkeepsie by the 2009 Defending Champions, Man's Ruin, who will take on the Penn Jersey She Devils.

What is Old School Derby?

From the OSDA website (

"The OSDA was crated for those who want to skate something more akin to what the original Roller Derby was like. It is the foal of OSDA & its members to restore ties with "Old School" skaters, trainers, and coaches from past decades and leadn from their experiences and input.... Old School rules were created by melding many of the current developments in Flat Track Derby with the rules used by Old School Banked Track Roller Derby skaters."
Also, here is a FAQ about OSD:

I'm very intrigued and hope to get down to Poughkeepsie on Saturday to check it out! I'm not interested in playing OSD, but I think this would be a neat opportunity to get a better understanding of what it is. I'm sure it will make my head explode, haha.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Roll Around the World
Check out this webpage that I recently came across. Someone (wayfaring user futurnovelis556) put together a map of all (?) the roller derby leagues in the world. I say "?" because I am not sure when this was created or last updated, but it includes the Hellions of Troy! And check out how many leagues there are in New York and the Northeast! I guess you can say, we're on the map!

Monday, November 15, 2010

2010 WFTDA Championships - Day 1 - In Pictures

Below are photos from Day 1 (Friday, November 4) of the 2010 WFTDA Championships hosted in Chicago, IL. All photos by either Nicole Flaherty (Doc Bi O'Hazard) or Marcie Pry (Short Temper). Photos from Day 2 and Day 3 to come.

Demanda Riot of B.ay A.rea D.erby (B.A.D.) races up to assist her jammer in the first bout of the day - B.A.D. vs the Texas Roller Girls.  Photo by Nicole Flaherty.

Demanda Riot and Burly Bot of B.A.D. Photo by Nicole Flaherty.

View from the top of the seating area. There was not a bad seat in the house. B.A.D. vs the Texas Roller Girls. Photo by Marcie Pry.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Beirut Bombshell - Gotham Girls Skater Profile, with HoT Love

Former Hellion, The Beirut Bombshell,
now skates with Gotham Girls
Roller Derby.
Remember how I traveled to NYC the other week to see Bombshell and her team mates in the Gotham Girls Interleague Championship bout? That bout will air this Friday night at 12:30am, November 12th, on NYC life (Channel 25/22). I don't get that channel, but if you're in NYC check it out!  Maybe it will also be online at some point? I will keep you updated.

Anyway, The Beirut Bombshell, one of the founders of the Hellions of Troy and now skating with Gotham, was recently featured on their website, which also links to our website.  Thank you for the HoT love, Bombshell!

Check out the story here:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Next Hellions bout: Saturday December 4

Tickets available at or from your favorite Hellion. :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Meat Locker Missive #4

Fresh Meat Interview: Rock Lobster
By Hellions Fresh Meat: Roadkill

In the first of a series of interviews with my fellow Hellions "meat," I present our resident craft-manic, tutu-toting meat girl, Rock Lobster:

What brought you to join the Hellions and to roller derby in the first place?
My path to roller derby started with a moment of clarity. I attended my first ever bout and at about half time I couldn't stand it anymore; I needed to play. It felt like I had found something I was missing. I was at a place in my life where I needed something to prod me on and roller derby became that something.
What's inspires you, and or what in your life has prepared you to keep coming back and to excel in this sport?
I think the primary skill all new girls have in common is that ability to show up to practice and at least try to do what they say even when it looks like a really bad idea. Beyond this universal starting point what drives each of us is unique, for me it is my extreme competitiveness. Winning is important to me, each new skill I master is a win, each practice I attend when I would rather nap is a win, each time I fail and try again is a win. Roller derby has provided all of those gold stars of accomplishment I miss from school.

How has playing this sport and being part of the Hellions community affected you and your family?
The Hellions community is my first ever exposure to a team atmosphere. I was surprised by how together they are, truly they have formed a strong sense of unity while still being competitors. These are girls who will try very hard to knock me down and then give equal effort to help me back up. I skate harder to earn my place.

What are you finding to be the most challenging part of roller derby?
The biggest challenge I face is myself, which is probably true of most girls. I am very hard on myself, when you challenge a classic over achiever either she excels or she implodes. I am never truly satisfied with my skills, praise rolls off my back and I focus on what should have been better. My challenge is treating each practice as a clean slate, each lap as a new opportunity.

The most rewarding part of derby?
Being very very tired.

Anything else you'd like our readers and fans to know about you?
Roller derby slowly creeps into your identity, being able to skate low makes you stand taller; exercise is more fun when it consists of left turns and all you need to join is the ability to show up.

Catch up on previous Meat Locker Missives here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gotham Girls Intraleague Championship Bout Recap

Last weekend, Shrimp Scampi and I headed to NYC for the Gotham Girls Intraleague Championship bout featuring the Bronx Gridlock vs the Queens of Pain. Bronx Gridlock features notable skaters such as Bonnie Thunders and Ginger Snap. Queens hosts my fave Gotham Girl, The Beirut Bombshell, as well as Hyper Lynx and Suzy Hotrod.

Scamp and I got down to the City on the earlier side, and spent the afternoon in Union Square and made a pit stop in Times Square as well. Scamp got like 3lbs of Hellions colored M&Ms from the M&Ms World store! My favorite candy!

Anyway - the bout. The Bronx took the lead off the bat but Queens was close behind. I have never seen a Gotham intraleague bout before, so it was really interesting to see Bonnie Thunders faceoff against Suzy Hotrod (and also apparently the last time anyone will see it... maybe...especially as speculated by someone in the costume contest).

This bout also featured Hyper Lynx as a jammer frequently, which was neat because Gotham's top jammers in interleague play include Bonnie and Suzy, with Hyper Lynx being more of a backup jammer. I love watching her play, though. It was also interesting to see Bonnie and Suzy faceoff against each other. I've never seen more jammer on jammer action - they both really go after each other if they are neck and neck as they race around the track.
More thoughts and pics after the jump

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2010 WFTDA Championships in Chicago: Know Before You Go

Featuring Field Reporting from Hellions Announcer Eloda Sarcasm

Lucky for me, Eloda Sarcasm and Ida Feltersnatch have already landed in Chicago and have spent most of the day there. They've checked into the hotel, have ridden the L, and have thoughts on the weather. Here are some notes I got from Eloda today.

If you do not have a lot of luggage, arriving from the airport, I suggest the train. The 3 day pass is $14. The ride in was nice, and commuter heavy the closer you got into the city. Best part beside the price? Traveling along at a decent speed while cars are at a standstill on the highway.

  • From O'Hare Airport take the Blue Line to the Monroe Street stop (subway station). Follow the flow of traffic traffic 1.5 blocks down Monroe Street to the Hotel, which is between State and Wabash.
  • From Midway Airport take the Orange Line to Adams and Wabash - it's 1/2 block from the Hotel.

Peacock imagery throughout the hotel.
The is no free wifi at the hotel. It is $15/day. There is a business center and a super close Starbucks with free wifi. There is no little coffee pot in the room (which I have come to take for granted), but there is a Starbucks in the street level lobby, and one just down the street.

This hotel has probably never seen anything like derby in its halls, and I cannot wait to watch staff take it all in. If you have an irrational fear of peacocks, cancel your reservation and stay somewhere else! For realz.

You cannot check in until, the earliest, 11am, and that is NOT a sure thing. It's all based on room turnover. You can leave your bags upon arrival to get out and explore, then they bring them to your room upon check in.

The architecture here is gonna blow your mind. The ornamental iron and rooftops are amazing.

It's chilly here so be prepared.

Also, bring your swimsuit - there's a pool on the 7th floor of the hotel! (7th floor?!)

Also, here's the lowdown on the UIC Pavillion from a skater from Cincinnati on  If you're like me and didn't nab a VIP pass before they sold out, fear not:
There isn’t a bad seat in the house! You will not be able to sit on the floor, at least not your behind. All fans with VIP seats, will have floor access and a metal chair near the track. Personally, I prefer the stands to the track-side chairs. You’re closer to the beer, bathrooms and like I said…there is not a bad seat in the house. Bring your wallets, beers are $9, but there was a decent selection of quality beers.

See y'all this weekend!

Friday, October 29, 2010

NYC on Saturday
I'm headed to NYC tomorrow for the Gotham Girls Championship Bout at the City College of New York in Harlem.  What's better is that one of our fresh meat, Shrimp Scampi, is joining me!

As of the publication of this post, it looks like tickets are still available.  I've never been to a Gotham home game - they usually play at Hunter College ... so I speculate the bout location change is to accommodate more fans. I've tried to get tickets to Gotham games before but I always wait until the last minute when they've sold out already. So I'm super stoked I was able to nab tickets yesterday!

Gotham has several home intraleague teams. Their Championship Bout will see the Bronx Gridlock face off against the Queens of Pain. The main reason I am excited to attend this event is because former Hellion (and a league co-founder) The Beirut Bombshell is on the roster for the Queens of Pain! Bombshell moved to NYC a little over a year ago, so I only had the privilege of skating with her a few times. We were so proud when she tried out and made it to Gotham. Over my time involved with HoT, I've met her several times and she is definitely one of my roller derby roll models.

Gotham is ranked #1 in the WFTDA Eastern Region.  I will also be seeing them next weekend in Chicago at the WFTDA Championships!

Anyway, I think we plan to spend some time in NYC during the day on Saturday...Shrimp Scampi has never been so I've got to show her the sights! Times Square is clearly in order, but what should we check out beyond that? We can't wander off too far as we've gotta be back up in Harlem by around 7pm. I hate to just limit to midtown Manhattan, but I think that might be all we have time for.

2010 Zombie Prom

Space Chalky and Taxi: AKA the Zombie Prom King
and Prom Queen!
Not much to say except that it was hoppin'! Zombie Bomb provided a set of musical entertainment and we also had PYX106 there to fill in the rest. The best part of the night was when Space Chalky and his girlfriend Melissa, aka Taxi, were crowned the Zombie King and Zombie Queen!

Awards on display in the Royal Home.

The awards were provided by Carried Away Coffins, who also had a mini gallery at the Linda this past weekend.  In case you missed it there, you can check out the Coffin King 2010 Art Event at the Marketplace Gallery in downtown Albany through Saturday. There's over 200 Coffin Plaques representing 20 area tattoo shops...and you can vote for your favorite Coffin and help name the Coffin King 2010. I heard it's pretty good so I hope to stop by and check it out.

Also, thanks to the Times Union for stopping by before the prom to do a SEEN segment. You can see those pictures here.

Hellions Zombies! Back L-R Storm, Rock Lobster (fresh meat), Hana Solo,
Ursula Udders, Asa Diamonds. Front L-R: Shrimp Scampi, Deadlie Mercury
Photo courtesy of DM

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Series: Meat Locker Missive

One of our awesome fresh meat, Road Kill, has been contributing a weekly recount of her experience as a new skater with the Hellions of Troy. Unless you've been keeping up with our facebook, you've been missing out on her musings.  So I'd like to start cross posting it here!

Meat Locker Missive #3: The Fine Art of a Derby Hit
Guest post by Roadkill
This week we meat have had the benefit of 2 full practices on the track, with vets helping us enormously (normally, we get one day a week on the track and the other 2 days on the sidelines working away on skills and endurance drills while the vets scrimmage or practice). But the real bonus has been a fuller introduction to hitting techniques and how to take a hit. If for some reason you've found your way to this post and don't know a lot about roller derby: it's a high speed contact sport!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

2010 Albany Zombie Walk

Getting gruesome.
Photo by Kayla Galway.
After applying way too much makeup for last year's zombie events, I was hesitant to doll myself up as dramatically. However, since WAMC provided makeup artists at the walk meetup location, I decided to go for it anyway!

Zombies started congregating for the walk at 3pm, and by the time 5pm rolled around we had a nice big group. Thank you to AOA Greg for stopping by to capture some pictures of the walk. Check out the post on AOA.
Photo by Kayla Galway

The Walk went very well. I loved people's reactions as they watched from store fronts. Zombie Squad was there to keep back zombies from getting to close to the innocent. We also had mounted police to control the flow of traffic. Sadly no firetruck.

Here's a video of the Walk, courtesy of Space Chalky! Check out "Zombie Billy Mays" around 3:50.

Update: Photos by Sebastien B.:  He got a picture of Haggis on her skates, and my favorite zombie with the numbers on her face.  Woohoo.  Thanks for coming out to shoot! Full slideshow here.

Once we got to the parking lot of the Linda, there was a Thriller Dance Off as well as a Brain Eating Contest. I wanted to grab dinner with some Hellions before the prom started. I rounded up my friends but couldn't find Mathundra....where was she?

Find out after the jump...

The Point of No Return

Written with help from Hellions Head Ref, Miranda Wrights

A few nights ago at practice, we were discussing the strategy of "poodling" with the fresh meat. "Poodling" is when you take a player (usually a player who will be a jammer soon) with 3 minor penalties, and force them to get their 4th minor (4 minors equals a trip to the penalty box). When penalized at the very beginning of the jam, they go straight to the penalty box. They leave with minors at zero and start jamming with a clean slate. You wouldn't want to send a jammer our to jam if she has three minor penalties. One minor infraction and she's wasting time in the box. Dang!

How do they get their fourth minor? They start the jam out of play—like in front of the pack line or behind the jammer line. Since the only jammers can start behind that line, an astute ref sends the poodling player to the box with her 4th minor when the whistle blows.

However, a clever poodler uses the “Point of No Return”, a special spot on the determined based on the location of the penalty box. 7.3.2 of the WFTDA Rules states "When a skater is sent to the penalty box, she must immediately exit the track and skate to the penalty box in the counter-clockwise direction." Counter-clockwise is “derby direction”. If she has skated past the penalty box, she can’t turn around, skate clockwise, and try to enter the penalty box. She must skate all around the track and legally enter the box.

The Point of No Return is the point just after the last seat in the penalty box—beyond that is considered "past" the penalty box. Since time is of the essence—a blocker wants the shortest distance before this point.

What’s the best strategy? When the penalty box is between the pivot and jammer lines, poodling behind the jammers is the shortest distance to the box.

If the box is at turn three (about a quarter track behind the jammer line) then poodling behind the jammers isn't ideal. The poodler can’t skate clockwise to the to the box, even though it's the shortest distance. Instead they would have to go all the way around the track. Remember, you have to enter the box from a counter-clockwise “derby” direction.

So a strategic player starts as close to the box as possible without getting on the wrong side of the Point of No Return. Time is of the essence when you are sent to the box: your minute in the box does not start until your butt is in the seat!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Derby Bracket Contest

Screencap of contest.

This has been floating around Facebook... it's a 2010 WFTDA Championships bracket contest from Dave Wood Photography. From the facebook page:
On the weekend of November 5-7, 2010, twelve of the best roller derby teams in the world will come together in Chicago for the Uproar on the Lakeshore Championship Tournament. The bracket has been announced -- all you have to do is predict the winners and you could find yourself the winner of some quite lovely prizes. Hop on over to the contest page and submit your entry!

It looks like the photographer is based out of Denver, CO.  Check out his website for some artistic/action derby photography (under portfolio > roller derby).

Well, what are you waiting for? Enter the contest here:

It's free to enter and your winning bracket selections will put you in the running for prizes from Heartless Wheels, Sock Dreams, fiveonfive Magazine, Savage Skates, Wicked Skatewear, and Dave Wood Photography.

Update: Need something to base your picks on? Check out the Championship Preview from Roller Derby Inside Track. Great run down on all the teams participating.

Derby Fashion

Here's some derby stuff I've come across recently that I really like.

Skate Cardigan by Wicked Skatewear. $39.99. I first saw this at Wicked's booth back at ECE. I almost bought it, but had spent way too much money already. If they have it at Nationals, I might pick it up... I wonder if I could get away with wearing this to work.

Custom AssOgrams by hotacrossbuns. $12.  I've seen some funny phrases, such as "Get Low", "See Ya", "Kill the Jammer".  I'm just trying to find the right phrase for me.  Any ideas?

MEAT socks from Sock Dreams (and other vendors). $10.  I'm not fresh meat anymore, but I wish I found these socks back when I was.  Sock Dreams has tons of awesome derby type socks. I would like shopping spree there!

Monster hat from $15.  The amazing Anne Persand has a "no discard policy" for making her hats.  All scraps from the hats are made into something.  If they're large pieces, she reworks them into unique custom hats from special requests (she did a unicorn hat at Eastern Regionals!)  Smaller pieces become little plush monsters or are used for stuffing them.  Anne's work is a fun fusion of craft and art - which fits right into the DIY world of roller derby!

Here is Mathundra Storm modeling a custom lighting bolt hat, followed by a custom HoT hat Anne created for Flexi.

Visit to place a custom order.  Anne will pretty much make you ANYTHING.