Friday, July 30, 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth?

Every time we go out to Utica we stop at the Exit 31 FasTrac.  It's become a tradition.  This is just a short post celebrating our not-so-secret love affair with a gas station No.  It's more than that.  It's a titanic emporium with enough food, drink, and entertainment reserves to satisfy an army of derby girls. And it's a great place to gas up before hoping on the 90 back to the Capital Region.

The last time we were at FasTrac was a beautiful Sunday afternoon a couple weeks ago.  The Utica Roller Girls invited a few Hellions out to their space to play in a scrimmage with them against the Roc City Roller Girls new home team: the Rottenchesters.  Rambo and I made the trip to Rochester (to play the 5-H8-5s) with URG a couple months ago to scrimmage them before, so I was excited to play with Roc City again!  Plus URG = <3

Slushies in Hellions colors!
But this isn't about that.  What, are you here to read about Roller Derby?  Well, derby isn't all about roller skating.  It's also about wonderful road trip hijnx with friends.

Drumstick, Shock, Storm, and Beau preparing their
 FasTrac milkshakes.

The first thing you need to know about FasTrac is that there is a variety of frozen beverage to satiate you before you depart the great city of Utica.  They have this magical machine that makes milkshakes.  All you do is pick out a frozen flavor cup of your choice, stick it in the machine, press a button, wait a minute while it whirls around, and TAH-DAH!!!  A delicious frozen beverage.

FasTrac also has a fine selection of small gifts, gags, snacks, and candies.  Check out the fabulous zebra ring we discovered.  Perfect for a referee!

How could a place called FasTrac NOT cater to roller derby?  See you next time, FasTrac!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Guest Post by Hanna Solo

Guest poster Hanna Solo shares her experience of graduating fresh meat status to her first time playing in a bout.  

Hanna Solo graduated from being a
fresh meat in mid May.  Two
months later she was rostered
for her first bout.
It feels like just yesterday I was known as “Slim Jim”, skating as fresh meat under the tutelage of Ida Feltersnatch.  She was an excellent coach, and before I knew it, I had passed minimums and graduated to the “big track”.  I still remember the words of my fellow fresh meat, Drumstick: “Congratulations, Slim Jim; you worked really hard so that you can work even harder!”

Boy, was she right.  There was a lot more to learn once I moved to the big track and a lot of skilled veterans skaters to try to keep up with.  The best part was, each of those vets was willing to give advice and walk me through anything I needed help with.

When I made the bout roster I was surprised but really excited…and I’ll admit, pretty darn nervous.  Was I really ready for this?  Well, I was going to have to get ready.  We scrimmaged a lot in the weeks leading up to the bout in order to prepare.  Some nights were better than others, but my teammates were always there to help me fix what I was doing wrong, and to commend me when I did things right.

Finally, it was bout day.  I didn’t just have butterflies in my stomach; it felt like a had bats flapping around in there.  I was battling nerves through the warm-up, the locker room pep-talk, and the national anthem; right up to the moment the whistle blew during my first jam.  I came off the line and I realized that I had done this plenty of times before.  I knew what I had to do and I trusted that my teammates were going to be there to do their job as well.

My trust was not misplaced; we worked like a well-oiled machine and came out victorious in our first home bout of the season!  It was an incredible experience and I am so thrilled to have been a part of it.  I even got to jam – twice!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

First Home Bout at Rollarama

I don't even know where to start.

Our first home bout of 2010 was, unofficially, a huge success.  Rollarama was packed.  I think I heard over 300 people came out to check out the HoT derby action.  We ran out of chairs and programs.  The chairs didn't seem to be a big problem (although we promise to accommodate better in the future!) because the crowd didn't seem to mind being on their feet and cheering us on.  There were so many more people there than we expected.  Thank you to all the fans that came out and cheered us to victory!

This was our first bout at Rollarama.  It was also the first bout brought to you by our new Bout Production Manager, C-Unit.  Most people don't know how much time and effort goes into putting on something like this.  I still don't even completely know, but we're all learning.  But as a skater, I think C-Unit and her whole crew did an amazing time preparing, setting up, coordinating, running around, and finally kicking butt during the whole production.  Thank you so much to all our volunteers, coaches, referees, and NSOs.

Me and Wii Block Her
at the after party
Thank you to The ManchVegas Roller Girls who graced our home space with style and friendliness.  As I lined up for each jam, here and there one of their players would smile or say hello to me, and a competitive friendly nod.  Wii Block Her was especially cool.  Later on, I met Chick Anery and a couple others at the after party.  Thanks to MVRG for coming out, playing hard, and partying with us afterwards!

Hellions MVP Mathundra
Storm with her Trophy
Lastly, I'd like to highlight the game MVPs:
Hellions: Mathundra Storm, #1108, who later went on to win the after party, IMO; and
ManchVegas: Massenkill, #2, who impressed the Hellions with her tenacity and for the way she stuck it to our own #2, Missy HellaHit.

Hellions of Troy, first home bout os Summer 2010
vs. ManchVegas Roller Girls from Manchchester, NH
Hellions: 139
ManchVegas Roller Girls: 44

Monday, July 26, 2010

Interview with Missy "Misdemeanor" HellaHit

A new feature to my blog: Hellions interviews!  First up: Missy "Misdemeanor" HellaHit!

What was your first roller derby experience?  Were you hooked right away?

My first derby experience was back on February 15, 2009. My husband had picked up a flier in the gym that week that had our last name on it to see what it was for.  (Yes it is true, thanks to him, I really am a legit Helion.  But with one L).  My husband was familiar with Roller Derby; while I, on the other hand, had no idea even what it was.  So that Sunday we went up to The Fun Spot in Glens Falls to see what it was all about.  The girls were amazing.  Minutes into the game I was cheering and loving this new sport that I had never known about before.  I took one look at my husband and said "I can see myself doing this."  The Hellions were holding a recruitment night the following Monday.  I wanted to play so badly, but was afraid of just how much a commitment I would have to give of my personal life.  With a lot of support from my husband, family, and friends, I went to the recruitment night.  It did not take long at all for me to fall in love with Roller Derby, let alone my fellow sister Hellions. 

What's your favorite position to play?  How do you like to interact with the other 5 girls on the track?  
Missy "Misdemeanor" is all about working as a team.
I really enjoy being a Pivot.  I have a big mouth (hehehe) and I work well with others so controlling the pack and making sure my teammates know what is going on at all times is important to me.  I like to work with both verbal and non verbal communication out on the track.  Our regular practice schedule allows me the opportunity to see what teammates work well with both variations.  Some I just have to tap or move, while others I'll verbally communicate to.  What is great about a pack is as teammates we work hard to always have each others' back out there.  If one girl misses, the next one makes her move.  We are never out there alone.  That is the most rewarding. 

Missy leading the team during introductions.
Did you play other sports before derby?  
I played softball for about 8 years.  I was a catcher.  Or as those who are familiar with baseball/softball... "leader of the field."  A catcher forms a bond with its pitcher and players and signals the next move.  I guess you could say I've had the leadership trait all along ;)  Playing softball was certainly some of the most rewarding times in my childhood.  From the tremendous family support I received, to All-Star games, to being in news paper clippings, etc.  It was a fun time for me.  

If you had to pick any other name besides Missy "Misdemeanor" HellaHit, what would it be?
Ohhh I had sooo many picked out.  My all time favorite though until I checked was Lucky Harm (instead of Lucky Charm).  The girl who has that name is definitely cool in my book!

Any parting thoughts?
They have a saying... "Roller Derby Saved My Soul"... and honestly, it is the truth.  There is just something about Roller Derby that no other sport has.  Maybe its the determination to be the best?  The hard work and perserverance that everyone has to give of themselves? The feeling of being your own local celebrity and love of the fans?  The empowerment of an all female sport? Or the amazing sisterhood and friendships I have formed as a part of joining this league and sport.  All I know is... I would not change it for the world.  I hope Roller Derby lives on forever and that I get to continue to ride this adventure into the sunset.  

Friday, July 23, 2010

Be Your Own Hero

Interested in roller derby?  Think you want to skate but not sure you have what it takes?  Come to our recruitment night on Monday, July 26 to see what we're all about!  You'll meet the skaters, talk to league members, and you can even strap on a pair of skates!

We're looking for more than just girls to skate.  Male or female, we always need volunteers, non-skating officials (NSOs), and referees.

I'd been going to roller derby bouts for over a year before I got the courage to show up at a recruitment night.  I'd see ads here and there for it, and thought -- I'll go... next time.  I was scared - what if I didn't fit in?  What if I don't have the time?  I barely knew how to skate!

I've been skating with the Hellions for over 10 months now.  This is one of the funnest things I have ever been involved with in my life.
I totally fit in.  The team is so welcoming.
I made the time.  In fact, roller skating is all I can think about usually!
The team taught me how to skate.  They taught me how to fall down safely.  They taught me how to hit...even though I was shy about it.  Now you better look out because I'm coming for you.

You have what it takes.  Roller derby is amazing and we'd love to have you as part of our league!!

Schenectady Art Night

Last Friday the Hellions were skating around downtown Schenectady for Schenectady Art Night.  We got hooked up by the editor of Quintessential 'Zine.  'Zines and derby definitely go hand-in-hand together.  Quintessential is definitely very DIY - and they've been successful, too:  Quintessential celebrated it's one year anniversary this month!

Art Night is the third Friday of every month.  We were set up inside of Proctor's Theatre, where they had a live band playing.  We were near the Muddy Cup, too, so it was a nice atmosphere.

Lots of people were out enjoying the nice weather! This was a fun event because all the Schenectady people were thrilled when we told them we play at Rollarama. "WOW!  I used to skate there a little kid!  Haven't been in ages!"  Which was the perfect segue into telling them they should come check out our bout this weekend. ;)

4'11" vs. The Amazon
At one point, Deadlie Mercury and I headed out to the streets to hand out flyers.  I didn't have my skates with me, so I hoofed it on foot while she rolled on.  I think this picture is hilarious!  I might be in denial, but it only LOOKS like there is a foot and a half difference.  I swear.

Ah well, they don't call me Short Temper for nothing.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

July Trivia Night @ Badass Burrito

Deadlie Mercury being amazing as usual.
We've pretty much made trivia and guest bartending at Badass Burrito a monthly thing.  Deadlie Mercury had some great questions so we're making inviting her to host again!

Check out this amazing flyer I made.  Doesn't Deadlie look like a good time?  Doesn't DRINKS look sound like a good time?

Join the team on Tuesday, July 27 at Badass Burrito in Troy from 6pm - 9pm for trivia, food, and drinks.  Meet the skaters, regale tales from out bout, and win fabulous prizes!

For the record, I personally recommend the roasted vegetable burrito.  They serve their namesake well!

More About URG Bout

I wanted to mention in my last post that Shockratease and Kitty were also at the last bout - playing!  The Utica Roller Girls are our sister team, so sometimes we have girls fill in if one team doesn't have a full roster.  It's also great to work so closely with URG, because sometimes we are able to go to each other's practices and learn something new from each other.

A girl on URG has one of my favorite derby names: "Betty B. Ready" and her number is "L8".  I think that's so clever!  haha.  Two of my other favorite girls on URG are Pink E. Racer and Anita Grenade.  I met them when I was still fresh meat, so they still (and will probably always) endearingly call me Turd (short for Turducken!)

Looking nice in brown and gold.
Utica played the Rideau Valley Vixens from Ottawa, Canada.  They were a really solid and fun team.  I loved their uniforms.  They also had nice matching gold helmets.  I thought it looked very sharp.  One funny/cute part at the bout was after they played the American National Anthem, they played the Canadian National Anthem and all the Canadian girls sang along to it.  Canada was also SUPER fun at the after party.  I wish I could've stayed longer, but I had to get up wayyyyy early to run the Boilermaker!  As Eloda described it, "derby girls take 'dance like no ones watching' to a whole new level."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Last weekend I went to Utica for the weekend.  I was running the Boilermaker (5K) on Sunday, and there was conveniently a Utica Roller Girls game that Saturday night.  Perfect!

So, I got to the venue and sat down next to Eloda Sarcasm (Hellions love to  road trip out to Utica!)  I was excited to watch some derby because I am usually just PLAYING it.  Not 5 minutes into me being there, however, someone asked if I'd like to help out with the bout.  OK, sure!  There was free t-shirt in it, so why not? ;)  

PS, do you like my dress?  Funnily, it happened to be featured on a blog post by a girl I just met, Courtney, this weekend.  Who knew I had style?

Working the box
It takes a lot of people who put on a roller derby bout.  Besides skaters and referees, you also need Non Skating Officials (NSOs).  These people are responsible for keeping score, tracking penalties, and moderating the penalty box, among other things.  I got to work the box with Beau T. Call (one of our refs - he was just NSOing this bout though) and a girl from Utica.
Penalty Timer for iPhone/iPod touch

In roller derby, you can have no more than 5 players in the box at once - two blockers from each team and one jammer.  When a player is sent to the box, they serve a one minute penalty, and the timer stops inbetween jams.  So -- we're we going to use 5 stop watches??  

Nope!  Luckily, in the age of the iPhone, there's an app for that.  Between the three of us, it wasn't too bad at all.  Somewhat confusing at times, especially if there were more than 3 people in the box.  But all in all a good introduction to NSOing for me!  Plus, I still got to watch the game, and pretty much from the best seat in the house.  However, mad props to Ursula, who is our usual "penalty mistress."  She can penalty time for every player in the box pretty much without blinking an eye.  Much respect to our NSOs for doing the jobs that make the bout happen and go smoothly.  Thank you!

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Mouthguard

Woo!  At ECE a couple weeks ago I got a custom fit mouth guard.  It's made by a company called Gladiator.  When you order it, they take a mold of your teeth by having you bite down on some impression material, which hardens when exposed to heat (your mouth!) for a few minutes.  Then, they create a mold from that, and they they create the mouthguard.  They also send you your mold, incase you ever need to buy a new one.

I like it a lot!  I can speak easier with it in.  I can also drink water without having to take it out.  Plus, look at that sweet skull I had put on the side, too!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Getting Involved

I'm the type of person who loves being in the middle of things.  I was in student government in high school.  I was in yearbook club in college (SUNY Albany has a yearbook?  Yes!)  I like to know what's going on.

I remember when I first joined the Hellions it seemed like there were a million opportunities to hang out with the league outside of practice.  It was September, so it was just after their summer season ended.  Whip It was coming up, we had our birthday party, zombie prom.  A whirlwind of activity.  Who planned all this stuff, I wondered?  I'm the person that plans things.  Who made all this happen?

One thing I love so much about this league, and derby in general, is that it's full of movers and shakers.  Roller derby is skater-owned-and-operated.  The girls and our supporters make things happen.

Hellions at the Spectrum Theater for the premier of
Whip It in October 2009.  One of my first "public
appearances" as a Hellion.
When I first joined, I was hesitant to volunteer to head things up because I was new to the game.  I knew I didn't know the whole inner-workings of the league.  But I wanted to help.  So I showed up for the Whip It event (so much fun!) and started going to league meetings.  More and more I got involved.

Fast forward to today.  We had a Creative Services meeting, where I just presented showed off the recruitment flyer I created and also the advertisement for our next trivia night.  Some other big news: I'm the league's new interim Public Relations Manager (and possibly full time - just giving it a trial run for now).

I really feel like I'm in now.  I'm not over my head, though, thanks to help from people who have been in my position before.  I even wrote my first press release today!  Sure it probably needs some work, but I think it's going in the right direction.  Making "derby" happen is a lot of work, but I am so happy to have so many others on the league who are also interested in getting things done.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Derby Wedding

A couple weeks ago the Hellions had a shotgun wedding celebrating the union of a lifelong friendship between two of our skaters, Killer Cupkate and Sally Mae Hurtyou.  Sadly, Sally Mae just skipped town to pursue graduate education and eventually be wed to her true love, Mr. Hurtyou.  As a gesture of love and appreciation, Killer Cupkate proposed to Sally on that night, and we proceeded down to the Albany Riverfront Bar & Grille for a Proposal, Engagement, Bachelorette, and Wedding PARTY.  By the way, we planned this whole thing in exactly one week.  And it was a total secret from SMHY!  Killer Cupkate never ceases to amaze me.
What is a derby wedding? 
It's the ceremony that ties together two derby wives. 

You can read about what makes a derby wife at the RollerCon website:  One line: 
1. She is the one person in this whole sport of roller derby that the very instant you looked at her, you felt like you’d known her since you were a fetus. She looked just like your best friend from fifth grade, or something she did reminded you of all the things you ever liked in anyone else.

Or, as our fake-priest,
 Collyde, so sweetly and personally put it:

"...Know that you are entering a very unique and special union...this is a union based on friendship, honor, and loyalty...they may not be your best friend, but they have that special quality that no other in roller derby possesses for you...they are the one who completes you...they are also the one who would not hesitant to punch you in the mouth is you ever said that out loud."

Also, one of the more fun vows: "I vow to trick you into ill-advised late night situations."

It was a beautiful wedding and there were many shenanigans.  Thank you to The Albany Riverfront Bar and Grill for tolerating us and for being one of the only places in the Capital Region with Monday karaoke! Also, thank you to our team mates who attended and who helped pull the whole thing together in such a short time. Yea Hellions!

Monday, July 5, 2010

July Events

Here's what's coming up for July!
Saturday, July 3 - Hellions at the Troy Farmer's Market.  9am - 1pm - Troy River Front Park..  Should be a beautiful morning.  Come grab your weekly veggies and say hi to the girls.
Friday, July 16 - Schenectady Art Night:  We'll be setup with Quintessential Zine in front of Proctors starting at 6pm.  We will be sharing a table Quintessential Zine in front of Proctors starting at 6pm.
Sunday, July 18 - Roller Derby Day in Cooperstown rescheduled date.  Cooperstown Hawkeyes stadium.  Doubleday Field. Cooperstown, NY.  I went out to Cooperstown the day the game was rained out, so I got to spend the afternoon in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Read my post about the connections I made for derby to baseball (it's one of my favorites).
Saturday, July 24 - Our FIRST HOME BOUT OF THE SEASON!  We play the ManchVegas Roller Girls from Manchester, New Hampshire.  Doors at 6, whistle at 7.  Rollarama in Schenectady.  $10 in advance (through your favorite roller girl or from Brown Paper Tickets); $12 at the door.  Kids under 12 only $3.
Monday, July 26 - Recruitment Night.  Wanna be a roller girl?  Interesting in reffing or volunteering?  Check us out at Rollarama on Monday night, 7pm - 9pm to learn what we're all about!
Tuesday, July 27 - Hellions at Badass Burrito for guest bartending and some more trivia!  We packed the house last time and gave away tickets to our bout.  Come party with us again this month!  I recommend the roasted veggie burrito.  So good.
Friday, July 30 - Troy Night Out!  6pm - 8pm in the Monument Square area.  We've been having a good time at this montly event.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

East Coast Extravaganza

This weekend I was in Philadelphia checking out East Coast Extravaganza (ECE).  This three-day tournament is sponsored by the Philly Roller Girls.  According to the website, there were 900+ skaters in 47 bouts.  The main attractions were the WFTDA sanctioned bouts, which were played by teams who are part of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association.  The Gotham Girls played on Boston; Maine (we played their B-team last month!) took on the Dominion Derby Girls from Virginia Beach; Providence, RI, played girls from Minnesota (arguably the best game of the weekend!), and sooo many more games.  Roller derby is a national sport, and this tournament is one way teams from across the country can get together and play each other to figure out their nation rankings.

There were also plenty of "challenge bouts" (basically pick-up games) that anyone could skate in if they registered as a skater.  Silly me didn't get my act together until the last minute, so I missed out on this!  Definitely next year!  What's fun about challenge bouts is that you can sign up to play on a team with some sort of theme, and you're pretty much matched with girls you've never skated with before, as you all sign up to skate for a team remotely.  There was a men's derby challenge bout which was great because there were lots of people at ECE who had never seen men's derby.  We are spoiled here in the north east!

So anyway, I went down to Philly with Eloda and Ida.  We spent Friday afternoon in Philly, saw Reading Terminal Market (same place as Reading Railroad from Monopoly!!) and took a double decker bus tour around town.  Then we headed over to the Sportsplex to check out the action.  We watched the Gotham Girls play Windy City (from Chicago).  Gotham is currently ranked #1 nationally  and Windy City is ranked #9.  It was a good bout.  Both teams played exceptionally, but Gotham is just outta control. They won the game 191 - 50.  Still, it was was so fun to watch - all of the girls had so much energy and were very limber.

I hope to blog about some other games and experiences from the rest of the weekend soon.  Can't wait until next year!

Couldn't make it to Philly this weekend?  Check out some of the bouts on Derby News Network:  They were broadcasting bouts all day on Saturday and Sunday.  Host a post-ECE derby watching party and perhaps play the DNN Drinking Game!  I definitely recommend Provide vs. Minnesota!  Such a close game.