Thursday, April 29, 2010

Two thumbs and rostered for the next bout.

Monday night at practice our roster for our next bout was announced. Our second game of the season is coming up, and I was not on the roster for the first bout. Not being picked was a learning experience: derby is competitive and it's important to prove you're solid with your skills or coaching is just not going to put you out there. People had been encouraging me to get aggressive -- play like I was mad at someone -- play like derby was where I could let all my frustration out. But it was wasn't quite clicking. After I didn't get picked for the first bout, it was time to play like my spot on the roster depended on it. With that in mind, let me tell you - the aggression and determination follows.
I've been skating with the Hellions since mid-September 2009. The Hellions' next bout is May 8, 2010 -- 8 months since I first strapped on skates. We'll be playing the Utica Roller Girls (URG) at the New Hartford Recreation Center in New Hartford, NY at 7pm. This will be a special game for me because my dad is from the Utica area and I've visited out there my entire life. My grandma and great aunt still live out there -- a while back I attended a skills testing event hosted by URG and I invited my aunt and grandma to come and watch. Needless to say, they told my whole family that I was now a "professional roller skater". They're actually the only two in family who have seen me skate. I can't wait for everyone else to come see me in action. I'll let them be the judge...and more importantly, my teammates and coaches. After 8 months of skating, I've learned a lot. My teammates have told me I'll learn more about the game from my first bout than that whole time period combined. Have you ever prepared and prepared and prepared for something, only to have the best learning experience be the first time you actually put your new skills into actual use?
Edit: I also want to mention that when Beefcake was reading down the list of rostered skaters on Monday, my name was called second to last. Talk about building up the suspense! Why second to last? Well, actually, people thought I was the last name to be called, until Beefcake pointed out he only read 13 names (a full roster is 14 skaters). Who would be taking the 14th spot? Surprise! We are also welcoming back Sonic Euthanizer, who is now back on the track after the birth of her daughter. Very excited to share the track with all our great veterans, especially Sonic.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Men's Derby

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending three roller derby bouts. On Saturday I traveled to Old Bethpage, Long Island to see a double header: the Long Island Roller Rebels (LIRR) vs. Pioneer Valley's Western Mass Destruction, which followed a game of men's derby featuring the New York Shock Exchange (NYSE) based out of NYC vs. Pioneer's Valley's The Dirty Dozen, based out of Northampton, MA This was my first time seeing men's derby. Today I will be blogging about that, and later this week I'll write about LIRR v. PVRD and the amazing bout I saw on Sunday. 

I am not sure how many men's teams there are in the United Sates, but the eastern US is lucky to have a solid and growing base of men's derby. In fact, the NYSE and the Dirty Dozen are among the top men's teams in the country. Other local teams of note are the Connecticut Death Quads and the up-and-coming Albany Men's Roller Derby team! 

But for now, my initial impressions: When I first pondered the idea of men's derby, I imagined (with great gender bias, obviously) football on rollerskates. I thought the men would be knocking each other out left and right with little regard for safety (their own or others!) I probably could not have been more wrong. Men's derby leagues, at least the ones I am aware of, play by the same set of rules as women's teams (generally WFTDA 4.0). Instead of going (pardon the phrase) balls out, they played a very strategical game. In comparison to women's derby I have seen, I observed that the men played in somewhat of a tighter formation, and in order for their jammer to get through the pack of blockers, they really had to bounce their way through every time; it was somewhat like watching a pinball machine. I just remembered that alloveralbany had a post about men's derby recently. The article quotes a skater, Musekn├╝ckle, saying, 
"if women's roller derby is like NASCAR, then men's derby is more like demolition derby". 
I would interpret this to mean that women's roller derby is fast-paced, has a sizable fan base, and the skaters have the endurance it takes to skate through an entire game and come out victoriously. Men's derby :: demolition derby could mean that they might look like a motley crew, but underneath their rusty outer shell is some fine engine work that can power through the nastiest machines on the track. Anyone else want to weigh in on that? (If you disagree, remember, I've only seen one game, but I can't wait to see more!)

By the way, Albany Men's Roller Derby has a recruiting event coming up. Join them at Rollarama in Schenectady at 4:30pm on May 2nd. Check them out on facebook for more information. I promise I will write more about men's derby after I am able to do some more research on it (including my thoughts in response to this comment).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Short Temper Here

Hello world. This is Short Temper reporting to you on behalf of the Hellions of Troy Roller Derby (HoTRD) league. The league was formed in September 2008 and we are in the midst of our second bout season. We are a real, skater-owned and operated roller derby team - unlike the roller derby you may have seen on TV in the 1970s, this is the real thing. The team is comprised of women from all over the Capital Region, including Troy, Albany, and Saratoga Springs. By day (and night) outside of the league we are students, nurses, state workers, mothers, and artists. I have been skating with the Hellions since September 2009. My love affair with derby started in 2008 after attending several Albany All Stars bouts at the Washington Avenue Armory. When a friend told me she was skating with the Hellions, I worked up the courage to attend a recruitment night and have been skating at least twice a week ever since. This blog will chronicle my adventures in roller derby, from bragging about bruises received at practice to attending local (and beyond) roller derby events. I have not been involved in a team sport since youth soccer in elementary school. My skating experience prior to derby was attending a few birthday parties at Guptills. Hello blogging world, what have I gotten myself into?