Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Eastern Regionals Recap

I was at Eastern Regionals pretty much all weekend.  I got there after the first two games on Friday and Saturday, but from then on it was non-stop roller derby.

My favorite teams of the weekend were Montreal, Steel City, and Charm City.  As I anticipated, Montreal seemed to be the sweetheart team of the weekend.  In their first game, they held their own against Boston, but it's not too much of a surprise that Boston took the win.  On Saturday, they lost by only 2 points to Carolina, which later that night one NSO described to me as a "comedy of errors."  Montreal ended up taking 7th place after a strong bout against Providence.

Steel City's Hurricane Heather jamming past out of play
blockers from Carolina.
The first game I caught on Friday was Steel City vs. Charm City, which was a terrific match.  Right off the bat they utilized "slow game" strategies, meaning once the jam whistle blew, nobody raced off the line, but instead held back - perhaps in an effort to intimidate the jammer.  Our league has done a little bit of this strategy, but Steel City has nailed it.  Throughout the weekend, their "steel curtain" was incredible.  Charm City, however, featured tough cookies such as Dolly Rocket and Joy Collision.  Dolly seemed almost villainous as she played with a serious scowl on her face and took out anyone in her way showing no mercy.  I won't completely buy into it though - I sat next to her grandparents during the first bout and when she came over to say hello to them I saw her genuinely smile.  Even though derby girls can be fierce on the track, off the track they're still human.

This game was a great way to warm us all up for the rest of the weekend - I think it was my favorite game of the tournament.  Even though I came into the weekend with my eye on Steel City (and kept it there the rest of the weekend - they ended up taking 5th place), I began rooting for Charm City as well.

Philly vs. Gotham.  Notice how some blockers started
closer to the jammer line.  Getting ready to execute the
"slow game" strategy.
This weekend I learned that during regional playoffs, the most important game isn't the last game for first or second place, but the one decides third and fourth.  Out of ten teams, only the top three teams advance to the Championships.  That meant the game to watch would be Charm City vs. Boston.  Last year, Boston, Philly, and Gotham were the top three.

The score was neck-and-neck for the first 45 minutes of the game, until Charm City started pulling ahead, kept their defense strong, and won the game by 34 points.  Wooo!  I don't believe Charm City has never gone to the Championships before, so there was much celebrating.  Advancing teams will be: Gotham, Philly, and Charm City.

Catch some good recaps on all the bouts from Derby News Network here:

I learned some other interesting things and met some cool people this weekend, which I'll talk about in my next post.

Hellions + Starcraft 2

Mr. T plays a fair amount of Starcraft 2, and every once in a while I'll hear him talking about Hellions over Skype with his SC2 pals. How cute that he's talking about derby!

Hmph, not really the case. A hellion is some sort of unit in the game.  I looked it up on a Starcraft 2 wiki, and this is what I found out:

Source: Starcraft 2 Wiki
"...The hellion is a high-speed raider built around a lightweight four-wheel chassis. Hellions are capable of causing damage disproportionate to their size, particularly against enemy infantry, thanks to their heavy infernal flamethrowers. Additionally, their remarkable acceleration allows for improvisational tactics in the field. Some hellion drivers will deliberately outrun their enemies only to turn and attack when they have reached maximum range."  - Starcraft 2 Wiki

Sweet! I'm sure the game designers had our team in mind when they developed the unit. But please, no SC2 geeks commenting saying anything otherwise (Mr. T just gave me a lecture on their actual capabilities/usefulness in the game). If it's in the wiki it must be true!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

East Coast Regionals this Weekend

I'm starting to read up on the teams for Eastern Regionals this weekend.  Derby in the Burbs, hosted by Suburbia Roller Derby this year, will take place on Friday, September 24 - Sunday, September 26.

One special thing about this year's event is that it's the first time a team outside the U.S. will be competing.  the New Skids on the Block, Montreal Roller Derby's travel team, will take on Boston on Friday afternoon for Game 4.  I've seen both teams play, but more recently Montreal at East Coast Extravaganza back in July.

Like I wrote about Minnesota, I'm gonna say that Montreal is going to be the exciting team to watch this weekend - and not just because they'll be hard to miss wearing neon.  Not only are they an all around fun group of girls, but their hitting power and blocking ability is also quite impressive.  Geaux Montreal!

Shockratease is coming down on Friday with me and she's excited to see Steel City (Pittsburgh).  I just watched a video of them on youtube.  They look like a fun and hardworking team!

Then of course there is Gotham, whose All Star team never disappoints.  DNN has some interesting commentary on their strategy, which I've never noticed before so I'll have to pay attention.  Also excited to meet some of the girls from Suburbia (although they're not playing).  Lets go New York Derby!

Don't forget that you can watch the whole tournament live for free on Derby News Network!

For more "informed" commentary, check out DNN's preview article or the preview from Roller Derby Inside Track.  Better to consider their thoughts over my speculation when it's time to fill out your bracket.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

CNY vs Assault City - 9/19/10

On Sunday, September 19 I made the trip out to Rome to catch Central New York Roller Derby's (CNYRD) last bout of the season.  They were up against Assault City, hailing from Syracuse, for a battle of the "315".  The Hellions actually played both these teams at Empire Skate Showdown (they both beat us), so I especially wanted to take some notes.

One player that really stuck out to me immediately was CNY's Moody Obsession.  Built like a blocker, CNY had her in to jam quite a few times and it seemed like she was able to earn lead jammer more often than not.  She was also very stable - Assault City laid some good hits on her, but she remained on her feet.  And when she wasn't jamming, she was on the track kicking butt as a blocker.  Dang.

Going into the second period, CNYRD was ahead 77 to 32.  Assault City came back in aggressively; Blaze, one of AC's scariest (I mean that in a good way) jammers, earned a power jam and scored 8 points before getting knocked down by the ever pleasant yet extremely dangerous Slay West.

Both teams had impressive pack control, especially when it counted the most.  At another point Assault City found themselves in another power jam situation, and you could tell that CNY was working hard to speed up the pack, but at the same time, Assault City was working on keeping it slow, basically creating a net effect.  Later on, CNY's Farmer's Slaughter found herself in a power jam, but was not able to break through Assault City's strong pack until there were 20 seconds left in the jam.

My favorite player to watch that game, personally, was Pied Viper.  And not so much as a jammer (although she rocked), but as a hard hitting blocker.  WOW!  This girl totally has the idea of swooping in perpendicularly and turning her body at just the right second to execute some perfectly timed hits.

For the last jam, CNY put in Lady Die Mentia to jam.  (Blockers as jammers... I think I have figured out their secret weapon!)  But really, Lady Die bulldozed through the pack, earning lead jammer.  I think she scored a few points but was ultimately sent to the penalty box (I missed what for, though).  Assault City was able to pick up a few more points before the jam clock ran out.  CNY won the game, 146 - 66.

One final comment on the game as whole: it's quite clear that these two teams are very friendly with each other.  There was great display of derby-sisterhood which also makes me happy as a spectator.  Great game and nice job, ladies!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Recap: North Central Regionals

The weekend of September 10-12 was the beginning of this year's Big 5 WFTDA events.  The first of four regional tournaments leading up to Nationals.  The North Central Regionals: Thunda on the Tundra!

On Friday, I was excited to hear that my favorite midwest derby team, the Minnesota Rollergirls, easily won their first bout of the day (while I was at work, so I missed it).  Friday night, I did get to watch them play the #2 ranked Detroit Derby Girls on Derby News Network (DNN).  What a game!  It was neck and neck through out.  Not sure anyone saw that coming, but I was excited!  Read more about Day 1 here.

Note Mr. T's Yankees t-shirt and my London
Rollergirls shirt.  You know who we really love.
Saturday and Sunday I was in NYC with Mr. T visiting his sister.  We went to a Mets game on Saturday (they won, woohoo!)  Mr. T actually loves the Yankees but we got hooked up with these seats so who doesn't love a baseball game?

So, while the Mets and Phillies fans were sweating over who would win the second game of the series, I was desperately checking DNN/twitter/facebook/anything to figure out who was playing who and who was winning.  Minnesota had to play Madison, WI, another tournament favorite, to make the top three.  Again, another close game but Minnesota came out on TOP!  WFTDA Day 2 Recap.  Sunday, however, Minnesota would have to take on Chicago's Windy City Roller Girls - tournament favorite and #1 going into it all.

Far left: derby booty.
Sunday we went to an art reception at New Rochelle.  I knew Minnesota didn't play Windy City until later in the evening, so I enjoyed the afternoon.  As we were getting on the bus I knew it was about that time.  I figured out I could get play-by-play text updates on DNN, so using my dying iPhone, between dozing off on the bus, I caught bits of the game.  Windy City ended up winning the tournament, but Minnesota will advance in the #2 position.  Sweet!  Full WFTDA tournament recap here.

The next play off tournament takes place September 24-26 - Eastern Regionals in Westchester!  It's Derby in the Burbs hosted by Suburbia Roller Derby.  Luckily, I will be there in person!

Oh, by the way, one cool derby website I discovered that weekend: Roller Derby Inside Track!  Pretty new, but lots of good articles already.  It also features one of the most interesting people I follow on twitter: @CoachCaesar.  Check it out!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Training off the Track - Part 2

In my last post, I suggested running as a great way to help improve your endurance.  This post will focus on strengthening your legs and abs.

I came up with the idea of this post because the other night at practice I overheard Kitty talking about doing squats while she watches TV.  Squats.  Do them.  Set a goal - maybe 2 sets of 10 during each commercial break.

Now abs.  Why are strong abs (or at least not completely weak) important to roller derby?  One reason is getting up after a fall, especially if it's one where you end up on your back, you need to sit up with out putting your hands on the track.  Unless you want to get your fingers rolled over.

Doing sit-ups occasionally should be easy to incorporate into your week.  This isn't high school gym class, so I'm not going to suggest you do a ton, but try to work in a few sets during a commercial or before bed time.

Squats and sit-ups are two small exercises that you can do outside of practice that will help you in a big way during practice.  No time to do them off the track?  Why not do them at practice during warm up?  Please?  I need some company.

What do you do off the track to keep in roller derby shape?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Training off the Track - Part 1

Or at least how I train ... or should be training.  Sometimes when people join roller derby, they say "Wow!  I am out of shape!"  There's a few important athletic qualities for derby girls.  My two favorites: endurance and powerful abs and legs.

I've written about my running escapades in the past, but to be honest, I have not run that much this summer besides the few 5Ks I participated in.  It was too hot!  But fall is coming and soon I won't have an excuse.

I believe that running has helped my endurance and cardiovascular capabilities in general.  Believe me, I was NOT a runner in high school or even college.  But now I can huff and puff out about three miles - even though that all started with a single step, which led to being able to jog a quarter mile at a time, to running a mile in under 15 minutes, to completing a 5K (3.1 miles) in about 34 minutes.  I'm not a fast runner, but I can skate in every other jam.  I can also catch up and make my way to the front of the pack if I fall behind.  Believe me - you don't want to be lallygagging in the back of the pack.  To the other jammer, you're an easy point - and possibly the only point if the other jammer is right behind her.  Don't be that only point!

So what can you do to improve your endurance?  If you can't run, take a walk. Or ride a bike.  If you can run, no more excuses once the weather cools down!  (Disclosure: this may also be a self motivating post -- oops!).  Start small if you want.  1 mile every other day or so is achievable.  You can do it and you will feel great afterward and soon you'll notice an improvement in your endurance

If you just can't bring yourself to walk or run, head to the rink (technically you're not on the track, you're just on the rink) during open skate.  Rollarama is open almost everyday.   If it's not too crowded, skate as fast as you can for different time intervals: 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes (?!).  Take breaks in between, but the shorter your interval, the shorter your break, OK!?  You want to be conditioned to skate every other jam at least.  And during a game, that means a 30 second to 3 minute break at the most.

Roller derby is a sport and roller girls are athletes.  Small things off the track and outside of practice can (and will) make you a better athlete and the sport even more enjoyable.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What I Learned During Meat Week

Discussing the mechanics of jumping.
Last week we focused on the fresh meat and revisited some basic derby skills: falls, stopping, and endurance (including 25 in 5!).  These are things even veterans can use refreshers on every once in awhile.  Thursday night the new girls participated in their first ever multi-skill endurance drill. Basically 10 minutes alternating between sprinting and other derby skills such as one- and two-knee falls, turning around, and plow stopping.  Trust me, this drill can even be challenging for the vets (depending how tough coaching wants to make it) so I was happy to see that most of the meat worked through it, despite looking like they wanted to die. Good jobs, girls!

Look at that jumping meat!
Near the end of practice coaching suggested a jumping drill. I thought, eh... I'm kinda tired. I already know how to jump. I think I'll skip this one.  But then I saw some of the new girls really getting into it without any fear or reservation. Some of them were jumping pretty high.  So, in the spirit of meat week and learning new things, I participated in the drill and by the end found myself jumping higher than ever before -- attempting to touch my wheels to my butt!  I didn't get quite that high, but I definitely gained some height tonight.  I should also note that skaters are only required to be able to jump 3 inches off the ground.  Some of us were just getting fancy that night!

Meat week is for everyone, and there's always something to learn.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

No rain on our parade

Guest post by Deadlie Mercury

Despite the clouds, slightly chilly weather, and foreboding forecasts we had smooth skating for the Uncle Sam Parade in Lansingburg on Sunday!
Nine of us Hellions (Ivanna, Masochistic Molly, Spamgettihoes, Hanna Solo, Mathundra Storm, Epic Kate-tastrophe, Flexi, fresh meat coach Skittles, and myself) gathered to bring some Hellions sunshine and rainbows to one of Troy's most beloved parades.

Skating in parades is definitely one of the most fun things we get to do as roller derby girls. It's not only a great way to let the locals know that we're around, but it's so much fun to hear how excited people get to see us. As we passed the crowds we often hear "Hey! Roller derby!" or "YEAH HELLIONS!". We have a dedicated fan base in Troy, despite the fact that our home is currently at Rollarama in Schenectady. And we appreciate all the love we get, no matter where our fans are from!

Of course, my personal favorite are the kids. Some times you pass a cluster of children and one asks "What are they doing?" and someone responds "They're roller skating!" and become very in awe of this fact. Also, there are a lot of little girls who love my hair. Since it's pink/purple/blue, I guess I can see why.


Video highlights and photos of the parade by the Troy Record.

More photos from parade by the Gazette (linked photo: Flexi foreground; Ivanna left; Epic Kate-tastrope right)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Our Cup Runneth Over!

Guest post by Flexi Wheeler

On September 4th the Hellions traveled -- en masse in a chartered Yankee Trails bus -- down to Old Bethpage for the first ever, all-New York State, roller derby tournament.  This tournament was organized and hosted by the Long Island Roller Rebels who invited every league in the state, with eight leagues accepting the invitation to play, including:  Albany All Stars, Assault City of Syracuse, Central New York, Gotham Girls of NYC, Hudson Valley Horrors, Ithaca League of Women Rollers and of course ourselves and Long Island.

We went down to the tournament with a roster of 20 players of varying experience, from a single 3 year veteran (uh, that’s me), to two players who had not yet ever bouted!  The bulk of our players were evenly divided between girls who had just finished their second season and girls who had just finished their first season.  Because we knew we were the most junior league entered in the tournament, we expected to be challenged and to learn a lot.  It was anybody’s guess what it would be like when we got down there but our entire league was excited to be a part of this tournament.  Our coaching staff made it very clear that, in true Hellions spirit, we would be playing every member of our roster in at least one bout.  We believe that building a strong league and promoting ideals of fair play will eventually lead to athletic dominance as we support our players at every stage of their development.

When we arrived at the tournament, I was personally overwhelmed by the realization that I knew so many other players.  It was like a big derby reunion for me, and a wonderful networking opportunity for all of our newer girls.  Typically, we play a single team at a time and expect to see other players we’ve met on the track before, but to see everyone all at once was really awesome.  You begin to feel like the roller derby community is huge as you looked around and saw sooooo many familiar faces yet, at the same time, you realize it’s small and intimate because you know all these people by name.  And, the relationships!  Positively incestuous!!!  Players that used to be on one team but now on another.  Players that are also refs (refs that are also players?).  Leagues that arose as offshoots of other leagues.  The same themes play out over and over all over the derby world, and a tournament of this size – biggish yet smallish – brings that realization in to focus.  I’ve had the good fortune to have played alongside, or against, many of the players on each of the leagues who were there.

I don’t know if anyone reading this wants the detailed blow-by-blow of all the scores for the myriad of bouts played over the course of that very long Saturday but I’ll assume you’re interested in how the Hellions did.  Fair assumption if you are reading this!  

Photo by Sean Patrick Hale

Our first bout of the tournament was against Central New York.  We had played CNY out in Rome, NY at the beginning of our 2010 season so it was a real pleasure meeting up with them again.  The Clubbers, as they are known, came out victorious, beating us 63-43 in the half-hour bout.  The Clubbers were in especially great spirits, having just received word in the prior week that they had been admitted to the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (roller derby’s national governing body) as a full member league, having fulfilled the terms of the apprentice program.  There was a lot of congratulating going on as this is a big achievement.

In our second bout we faced off against our good friends, The Hudson Valley Horrors.  Seeing some of those familiar faces reminded me of a brutally hot summer day back in 2007 when I played in my first ever exhibition bout and where members of the Horrors were there to help out.  I realized I’ve known some of these ladies for 3 years now.  We have recently begun working more closely with the Horrors, scheduling regular scrimmages between our two teams and it’s an arrangement we’re all stoked about.  The Horrors emerged the winners with a final score of 83-43.

Our final bout was against the Assault City girls.  Those of us who know them haven’t seen them in quite some time because we have not played them since our last season (2009) at Frear Park in Troy.  I will always fondly recall my first opportunity to play Assault City, back in the spring of 2008, as the bout where I first found my hitting mojo.  This was our closest bout yet we still suffered a last defeat, losing 62-52. 

At the end of the day, the tournament awarded MVPs to each team and consoled the 8th place team (uh, that’d be us!) with a bandaged bruised apple trophy.  We all got to play some derby, mingle with our derby comrades, and watch some amazing derby too; for excitement, you just couldn’t beat the final championship game between the All Stars and Gotham’s Wall Street Traitors.  Gotham’s derby dominance is legendary, having been in existence for 7 years and national champions several times.  With only an 8 player roster, Albany gave the Traitors an incredible run for their money, eventually taking second place overall.  It was a helluva way to spend a Saturday and Long Island deserves generous accolades for such a successful event.

It’s not always the big victories but sometimes a series of little victories along the way that keep you on track to your goals.  We held our own against more established leagues, we played all of our players, we never lost by more than 40 points and nor did anyone hold us to under 40 points.  And we had FUN.  And we saw our friends.  If that glass ain’t at least half full, I don’t know what is!  Our foremost league goal is to have the Hellions gain entrance in to the WFTDA apprentice program so that we can continue to grow our league, promote the sport of roller derby and eventually find ourselves playing the sport we love at the regional and national levels. Hey, anything is possible when you put your mind to it and you have the collective force of 60 dedicated individuals---HELL YEAH, HELLIONS!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

North Central Regionals

Ten teams will be participating in this weekend's Thunda on the Tundra, WFTDA's North Central Regional Playoffs in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  This weekend is the first of the 5 major WFTDA tournaments - the Eastern Regional Playoffs are a couple weeks away, and will be hosted in Westchester, NY!  It all culminates at the 2010 WFTDA Nationals which will be held in Chicago.  I hope I can go!

For now, hopefully I'll be able to catch a game or two of Thunda on the Tundra online.  You can watch the bouts LIVE on Derby News Network.  That's what I am doing right now!

Here are the teams and any commentary I can offer on each (which isn't too much):

Windy City Rollers - will be hosting the 2010 Nationals.  Jackie Daniels (she was in Whip It!) also plays on this team.
Detroit Derby Girls - I remember them from last year's Nationals in Philly.  They were pretty tough.
Mad Rollin' Dolls
Cincinnati Rollergirls
Brewcity Bruisers - this team is hosting the tournament.  Also, superstar referee Miranda Wrights started her derby career with this team - as a skater!
North Star Roller Girls
Minnesota RollerGirls - I met some of these people at ECE.  Look at their website - they sell out to a crowd of thousands!  Isn't their venue perfect?  According to their website, "The Minnesota RollerGirls are the first league in the country to have a professional space for practices and bouts. The Roy Wilkins Auditorium in downtown Saint Paul is where we call home and we couldn't be happier!"
Arch Rival Rollergirls
Naptown Roller Girls
Omaha Rollergirls

I'm looking forward to seeing who comes out on top.  And the top three teams will advance to Nationals!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Deadlie Mercury's First Bout

Guest post by rookie skater, Deadlie Mercury!  Deadlie skated in her first bout with the Hellions against Central New York on September 4, 2010 at the Empire Skate Showdown.

I don't think one person can say that their first bout experience is the same as another. There are always different extenuating circumstances.

When the roster was first announced in July for the Empire Skate Showdown this past weekend, I had little expectations of being on it. And my instincts proved correct, my name was not on the list. I was a little disappointed, but I knew I had JUST passed minimums and coaching was still not sure of what I could really do (neither was I to be honest). But it was better not to look at it as a setback, but as motivation to work harder and really push myself. I began attending men's derby practice so I could get derby in 3 times a week as opposed to just 2. It was at the men's practice 2 weeks ago where I got my first (minor) derby injury, twisting my knee when I fell wrong. I didn't go to the doctors, cause I'm so tough (or maybe just stubborn?), but it definitely called for lots of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). For like, the past 2 weeks.

Well, just my luck: The next night is the Hellions practice and I tell our coach that I'm taking it easy that night because of my “boo-boo” and he asks me if I would like to play in the tournament. Um... HECK YES! But this called for some serious pushing of myself while not hurting my knee anymore in the process.

I was successful in this and was so focused on feeling better that this whole 'first bout' thing didn't hit me until the Thursday night practice 2 days before ESS. All the rostered skaters got together with coaching and we discussed strategy and the basic run of the days events. When I stopped to really listen to what was being said, it hit me like a ton of bricks. “Oh geeze... this is for realz!”  I then worried about everything. I was worried that I wouldn't look cute enough for crying out loud! I had so much anxiety I dreamt that I missed half the tournament and really pissed off the rest of my team and then somewhere in there it turned into a softball game. Yeah, dreams are weird.

Holding the line like a good newbie.
So comes the day of ESS, and what an awesome day it was! I'm lucky to have tons of wonderful friends in NYC to house me that weekend so I wouldn't have to wake up at the rear end of dawn in order to catch the bus (yeah, something else I have to worry about? I'd rather not). But wow, the tournament was an amazing experience all in itself. To see these other teams that were so experienced and to share it with derby girls from across the state was really something special. I had a running joke with my friends that I better get there on time because knowing my luck I'll be in the first bout. We laughed since I didn't think there was any way I could've been put on that roster. So guess who was hit with another surprise when our coach Beefcake said my name for the first roster. It was really time to focus. 

I was  little nervous but honestly, I can't express how supportive my team is. Everyone just looked at me with smiles and said “You can do it Deadlie.”. Until we grouped up at our bench, everything felt so surreal to me, as if it wasn't really happening. When we had our Hellions pre-bout-group-pump-up-chant I felt so pleased. I really felt like I had made it and I felt like I could own myself as a player. 

Introducing Deadlie Mercury and
Delinquent Dollie!
I only went out 3 times but only fell once out of those 3 times (of course within 10 seconds of the first jam I was in). I held the line like a good newbie and helped build walls with my teammates. We only lost by 20 points which, in roller derby terms, is still anyone's game. I think it was the best way for me to experience playing in a real bout for the first time and to feel confident in my skills finally. And I'm sure that not too many derby girls get to say they had their first bout experience at a state-wide tournament. *Insert shoutout- Except for my teammate Dollie. Yeah first timers!*


I really like the song "Kids" by MGMT.  It's so catchy.  And the first time I heard it was at a Weezer concert last year when they covered it.  Double love.  To me this song is about enjoying yourself by finding clarity in a situation.

I even got to speak briefly with the
Wall Street Traitor's own Ginger Snap.
We played three games on Saturday.  I wasn't on the roster for the first game, but played in the second and third.  After we lost the first (Central New York 63 over HoTRD 43) and second game (Hudson Valley Horrors 83 over HoTRD 43) I was feeling kind of blue.  Of course I always try to look on the brightside: it was a great day of derby, we had two new girls on the roster, Deadlie Mercury and Delinquen Dollie, and a whole bunch of non-rostered league members came down to cheer us on.  I had also spent the day talking to various girls on other teams and even got to warm up with the New York Shock Exchange (mens derby team!).  And, I got to jam during the Hudson Valley bout - I even made lead jammer and scored a couple points.

Flexi gives the team a pep talk before our
last bout of the day.  Photo by Sean Hale.
So there were a lot of positives about the day, but after all, we were playing in a tournament.  And now we were in the running for 7th or 8th place.  At that point, it was time to remember that I was there to have fun, and play my best.  Flexi, who had to take herself off the roster after getting injured in the first game, gave us a pep talk.  That's when I found my clarity and focused on playing a good game, and being happy no matter the outcome.

As we started the bout, the DJ started playing "Kids".  To me, it was perfect.

 Control yourself. 
Take only what you need from it.

Great game, new friends
Also, before I looked up these lyrics, I always thought the line was "enjoy yourself" instead of "control yourself."  And I was enjoying myself.  I was enjoying playing derby and watching my teammates go give it their all against Assault City.  It was a close game, with Assault City pulling ahead by 10 points at the end (62 over 52).  That was the end of the tournament for us, but at least my mind was clear beforehand.  Now it was time to get off my skates and watch the final bouts, including the championship!

Friday, September 3, 2010


Well, it's the night before Empire Skate Showdown.  We had a really great practice last night and I am so pumped to head to Long Island tomorrow and have a great time.  From what I understand, every team is guaranteed to play at least three 30 minute bouts.  Hmm, only 30 minutes.  I think this could be good and bad.  It's going to be a long day, so 30 minutes games (instead of games with two 30 minute periods) will definitely allow us to play all day without tiring out too bad by the last game.  However, sometimes I think teams need the first period just to warm up and get used to the strategy of the team they're playing.  Then, in the second period, that's when things really come out in the wash.  But sometimes things are tied neck and neck through both periods.  Hopefully after our first game, we'll be warmed up, ready to play, and ready to kick some butt.

One other thing that I just can't get over... this tournament must be so much work for the Long Island Roller Rebels (LIRR) to put together.  I can't imagine the magnitude of organization.  Roller derby is so home grown, too, so that makes it even more impressive in my eyes.  The skaters build everything from the ground up (with the help of volunteers, of course!) and then skate their hearts out playing the game they love.  I am very proud to be part of this tournament.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

2010 WFTDA Nationals

I'm trying to figure out if I can attend WFTDA Nationals this year in November.  I've basically been waiting since LAST November when I attended Nationals in Philly.  I was barely part of the league 2 months when I decided to go on that crazy adventure.  But it was so fun and amazing because so many people from my team made the trip down and we saw lots of great derby.
My first Philly cheesesteak.

This year it's in Chicago, hosted by the Windy City Rollers.  I've been pining over the $300 round trip airline tickets on Southwest.  Then there's the option of a 13+ train ride... or a 15 hour drive.

Derby is so big in Philly,
they have posters at bus stops!
Getting autographs at last
year's Nationals.
Then there's the cost of the tournament + food + souvenirs.  And taking off time from work.  And the fact that I may be traveling out of State for Thanksgiving.  But I've never been there before, so there's another reason to go!

Lots of options to weigh, but I hope I can make it out to Chicago.  Will I make it to Uproar on the Lake Shore?  Stay tuned to find out.

Tell you one place I do plan to go, however: Derby in the Burbs - the Eastern Regional Tournament hosted by Suburbia Roller Derby - Friday, September 24 - Sunday, September 26.  I think after I attend that tournament, I'll decide if I really need to go to Chicago.