1) What pump up song plays in your head when you take the track? Delirium Trigger by Coheed and Cambria 2) What is your favorite city to travel to play derby in? Denton Texas. I love that town and I’ve only had good experiences there. 3) Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? All of ARRG. Duh. 4) When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? Any of them, really. We all get along really well, so it’s not set in stone. Except for Kyle Stark. He doesn’t like sleeping with other people. I think he’s ashamed of what he sleeps in. 5) Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? Well apparently Dr. Feelgood Marshall. I mean, rivalry is a two way street, right? But also these guys: Shreddy Mecury, Cory Pain, Streak, definitely NOT Chuck Best, SeaHorses 4ever, my entire team, and other guys (if you’re wondering if that includes you, hit me up). smile emoticon 6) What is your favorite post-bout food? Uh, whiskey and ice cream are pretty regular parts of my post bout life.
1) What pump up song plays in your head when you take the track? Toccata and Fugue in D minor by Johann Bach and the Phon Coast by Hitoshi Sakimoto
2) What is your favorite city to travel to play derby in? That’s a hard choice! I love taking in the local flavor and regional cuisine specialties unique to every city around the world. Chicagoland has a special place in my heart since I grew up there (looking forward to sharing the track with some Bruise Brothers sometime) but i can’t deny the excitement of traveling to a new place.
3) Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? Bluebonnet Plague of Gotham Girls Roller Derby. She’s tough, fun, talented, smart, innovative, successful, and beautiful; the total package.
4) When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? Whichever ones let me hang up my tights/jeggings to air dry.
5) Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? There are so many fantastic MRDA skaters whose talent and skill pushes me to be better that I can’t even make a list without feeling like I’ve left too many off. No one has beaten me harder, physically and mentally, than my Shock Exchange teammates (in intraleague games, scrimmages, practices, barbecues, etc.) so they are the primary driving factor.
6) What is your favorite post-bout food? What is your favorite post-bout food? I like steak, pickles, chocolate milk, and soda.
Yesterday, NYSE barely squeezed out a win against a very hard So Disco crew. It was nerves of steel and experience that got them back into the game and victorious in the end, by only 5 points (including a nailbiting final jam that featured a fresh power jam for the Englanders). The Gatekeepers had a (relatively) easy time handling Bridgetown Menace last night and had a comfortable victory.
Today the Gatekeepers have to contend with a hungry crew of New Yorkers who understand they have to turn up their veracity. The Gatekeepers play like So Disco, if SDRD had more high level experience. The Gatekeepers understand that to get through said New Yorkers, they need to stay out of the box, and be persistent. Watching fan favorites (and Team USA team mates) Shane Bower against Jonathan R is going to make the morning exciting for sure.
This game kicks off the second day of River City Rumble at 9a CST on WFTDA.tv
1) What pump up song plays in your head when you take the track? What pump up song plays in your head when you take the track? I don’t normally listen to any music before a bout. I usually am trying to stay calm before bouts, I don’t need anything else to get me to keyed up. You’ll probably see me circling the floor before bouts, that’s to keep myself calm.
2) What is your favorite city to travel to play derby in? What is your favorite city to travel to play derby in? Jacksonville!! Really, anywhere that is in a skating rink with a nice wooden floor. That’s what I grew up skating on, so that’s where I’m the most comfortable.
3) Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? Kat Von from the New Jax City Rollers. Because she’s my girlfriend!!! Seriously though, she’s been playing for almost 9 years and is still going strong. As other girls have had to retire or had the game pass them by, she’s still out there working hard and trying to get better. She always working on becoming a better skater and a better teamwork. The entire New Jax team has taught me how to play this game. I wouldn’t be where I am without going to their practices every week.
4) When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? Well this weekend will be only my 3rd time traveling with MCM. I’m staying with Christopher Smith and Jason Moseley.
5) Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? Anyone from St. Louis. Their teamwork is unbelievable. They have the most solid walls I’ve ever played against. Hopefully we’ll get another shot to go up against them this weekend at Champs.
6) What is your favorite post-bout food? What is your favorite post-bout food? Pizza!! Really, anything. I love to eat.
I’d like to give a special thanks to Debbie Rice and Erin Jackson of Bont Quad Skates for all their support this season. My skates really are lighter, faster, and stronger than any other skates I’ve ever used. The Magic City Misfits are ready for Champs and can’t wait to show everyone we’re back!!!!!
This is speed against speed. Magic City has the stamina and the muscle to toe up against Your Mom, but the key will be teamwork. The guys from Des Moines know each other well enough, and have reflexes sharp enough, to work around each other fluidly and with few mistakes.
Both teams have jammers that can spin and hop around the competition. Both teams have big blockers with hard-to-beat lateral motion. This is going to be a test of nerves and penalties. Both teams are known for going through waves of penalty trouble, but Des Moines has always been able to recover with grace (and fury) in the past, thus their 3 consecutive gold medals. If Magic City can keep their head cool, they’ll be a real contender in the final game of the evening. Chef is ready to start cooking, and Becker’s ready to break some walls. This will be a game to watch.
Your Mom faces off against the men of Florida at 7p CST on wftda.tv
1) What pump up song plays in your head when you take the track? I like to listen to a lot of old school hip hop, and metal. I listen to a lot of Bring me the horizon, suicide silence, job for a cowboy, and then mix it with some nwa, snoop dog, or some real slow jam playa music. I’m a little bit everywhere, depends on the mood I am trying to set the game, smooth and stable, or chaotic “SoGo” (my nick name for when i get bro-ed out for Suns Out Guns Out) style. And of course, sweet melodies of Led Zeppelin.
2) What is your favorite city to travel to play derby in? Fort Wayne, always a good time at springroll. Sad that it won’t happen this year. Florida is also a good time, last time we went we played and went straight to the beach where we swam with sharks, rode alligators like surf boards, and got epic sun burns.
3) Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? Kayla Seiber, soon to be Woodward. She got me into the game, shes got the moves, the determination, the passion to be one of the best wftda skaters. and man does she got some sexy thighs, huh.
4) When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? I always room with Pink and Saint. Because we are besties, it is the circle of trust.
5) Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? I am constantly trying to move my body like Sugar Boots, I want to push people out like Cory Pain. I want to play to the crowd like Seahorses. I want to stop Jonathan R as the dragon. I want the derby knowledge of my buddy “The Saint”. There are a lot of talented dudes that I get to play, I learn a little from all of them.
6) What is your favorite post-bout food? You have to eat the potatoes to make the potatoes. Thats the secret sauce.
1) What pump up song plays in your head when you take the track? Iggy and the Stooges- Search and Destroy
2) What is your favorite city to travel to play derby in? To be honest with you, they’re all about the same to me. I generally don’t see much of the cities when I travel. I’m either at the venue, the hotel, or some bar where the after party is being held. It’s really for the people, and the sport that I’m there, not the city.
3) Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? I don’t have one specific WFTDA skater that’s my favorite. I’ve seen many skaters, at all levels, do really great things.
4) When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? I guess, over the years, I’ve roomed with Munster, and Demolition Man, and Miller more than anyone else.
5) Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? There isn’t one particular MRDA skater that pushes me to be better. There’s been plenty over the years, but I’d say my team mates are the ones that push me the hardest, and make me want to be a better player.
6) What is your favorite post-bout food? Definitely burritos, but for me, that’s an anytime favorite.
Bridgetown looked strong this morning against the 10 seed, Twin City Terrors, but they’re going to have to ratchet down their defense against a team like the Gatekeepers. St. Louis has been described as “brutal” and “exacting”. Bridgetown defense tends to expand and contract depending on the position of the jammer, but against the Keepers they’ll have to hit their brakes and use their strength and patience if they want to keep up.
The Keepers are excellent at keeping blockers away from each other, if they take advantage of the Menace’s natural movement, their jammers may only need to slalom through the defense. The Keepers’ jammers are excellent at momentum control, so the strength of Bridgetown’s hits may not phase them. For the Menace, the first game used a five jammer rotation. We’ll see if they continue that trend.
The Gatekeepers face the Bridgetown Menace at 5p CST WFTDA.tv
Hollywood Chuck Hendrick #247; Puget Sound Outcast Derby (5)
1) What pump up song plays in your head when you take the track? The song that makes pumps me up is Empire State of mind by jay-z
2) What is your favorite city to travel to play derby in? My favorite city to play derby in besides Seattle of course is anywhere that has a crowd watching. I love playing in front of lots of people.
3) Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? My favorite WFTDA skater is snot rocket science, she is so amazing on and off the floor and such a student of the game. Mostly it’s because she enjoys playing derby and you can see that when she skates. Lol
4) When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? I usually always am with Cory pain, ryrod never a dull moment there.
5) Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? Cory Pain pushes me the most out of any skater mostly cause he knows what I can do on the track and he won’t take anything less than the best from me. We have skated together for over 20 years, he is only player in derby I’m afraid of.
6) What is your favorite post-bout food? Post bout food is easy for me MEAT!! Love me a steak and some shrimp after bouts. My team has come so far this year and I’m really excited to see what we have at champs!! Thanks for all you do;)
1) What pump up song plays in your head when you take the track? Eminem “till I collapse”
2) What is your favorite city to travel to play derby in? Milwaukee “brewhaha”
3) Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? It would Lauren Mutch. Her skating ability and style is what is what I admire and I try copy it.
4) When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? I always room with Uncle Jesse Mcnasty, Rhino and Big O. It’s never a dual moment in that room.
5) Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? It would definitely be Shango Fett from gatekeepers. I’ve played against him for so many years. I’ve made a little rivalry and of it but he might not know it lol
6) What is your favorite post-bout food? It would have to be gummy snacks. I love raiding the snack table at tournaments
These two met each other at Midwest BrewHaha, and Puget has to be itching to correct the mistakes of the last game. Texas has been destroying the competition this year, which most of us expected when the merger of Denton County and Dallas Deception was announced. Puget is as dominant as ever, and though they lost to the Outlaws before, they have all the tools to win in this very close match-up.
Texas and Puget have very similar styles of play: they utilize a looser pack positioning when in motion, and ‘fish’ for jammers ng capability of individual blockers to give the pack a moment to congeal around jammers. Meanwhile, both teams have jammer pools mixed with agility, airtime, and the strength that have had a lot of practice pushing a grinding hypercube this season. Both teams play fast, both teams are hoppy. Both teams are also chasing the dream of ending up on the dais with hardware around their neck.
This is the last first round match-up of River City Rumble. It will happen at 3pm CST, and you can stream it live on WFTDA.tv on Saturday, October 17, 2015.
1) What pump up song plays in your head when you take the track? It’s different every year. NYSE has a song we warm up to every practice. It’s a great mental exercise to get the team in a mind frame. This year we’ve been playing Panama by Van Halen. 2) What is your favorite city to travel to play derby in? I’ve liked a lot of cities we’ve traveled to. I think the nicest was Tacoma, WA for Champs last season. The Pacific Northwest is beautiful. I’ve always wanted to live there, but never ended up living there, for no particular reason. 3) Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? I’m a big fan of all of the NYSE managers: Swede Hurt, Vicious Van Go Go, Miss Tea Maven and Sexy Slaydie. I think I like the way Slaydie plays most. She’s helped me get a lot quicker and I just like the style she uses. If I had to describe it, it’s a style in which you use all of your physical strengths to as much of an advantage as possible. 4) When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? It depends who needs a room. I’ve roomed a lot with Abe Drinkin over the past 2 years. 5) Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? I think it’s probably Tony Muse. Your Mom is at the top of the sport, and everyone wants that for themselves. I think his leadership of that team has pushed me to work harder. I want for NYSE what he has achieved with Your Mom. That makes me work harder, always. 6) What is your favorite post-bout food? Anything, really. I don’t have a post-bout ritual other than stretching, and drinking a bunch of water. If it’s a food I like, I’ll eat it post-bout.
1) What pump up song plays in your head when you take the track? Song wise it’s either Adagio in D Minor or Heroes (Branchez remix) by Alesso 2) What is your favorite city to travel to play derby in? I really loved playing in Des Moines, it was so peaceful and calm and the surrounding area was picturesque, even though it was very flat I really enjoyed the peace and open space. 3) Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? My favourite WFTDA skater is Lexi Lightspeed, her footwork and track awareness is absolutely incredible! 4) When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? When the team travels I spend a lot of time with Reaper, we shoot videos on long drives of us singing and we call it Shreaper FM. When it comes to rooming with teammates it all depends on who’s willing to share with me! 5) Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? Sully from Lincolnshire Rolling Thunder springs to mind, he’s just a super talented skater who popped up on the UK scene as another young talent. We get on pretty well so it’s always good to play against him.
Apart from that I’ve gotta say my teammates, we always push each other to be better and our team mentality has been on point. And then finally, although they’re not skaters, I have to mention our bench staff in Rob BG and Betty Swollox, the focus and commitment they have to the team is second to none and they’re constantly giving us the advice and guidance we need to strive and push to get better. 6) What is your favorite post-bout food? Post bout food is probably a really crispy apple, at least that tides me over until I can find as much cooked meat and pasta as I can possibly find.
NYSE is a continual powerhouse, and SoDisco are a dominant force in the UK. Shock has added some talented skaters since Mohawk Valley Cup, including Stankus (Quadfathers) and I Don’t Care Bear (Jersey Boys). SoDisco got some heavy hitters back, including Mr. Furieux and Ballistic Whistle. Both teams have a jammer rotation far deeper than its typical 3-man line-up would indicate.
NYSE has, in the past, had better grinding wall work then SDRD, but the UK boys have been closing the gap of experience the past few years. Both teams have big hitters (Geoffrey vs Sutton, and Abe vs Spectral should keep us all entertained). This is sure to be a highly physical bout, NYSE doesn’t want to lose their place on the podium, and So Disco is hungry to be the first international team to medal.
Stream the 3/6 bout live on WFTDA.tv at 1pm CST on Saturday, October 17, 2015.
1) What pump up song plays in your head when you take the track? I always listen to 96 Quite Bitter Beings by CKY. I used to listen to it before football games in high school and so it still do it to pump me up.
2) What is your favorite city to travel to play derby in? My favorite city to travel to for derby is Vegas. That means I’m at Rollercon!
3) Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? All of my fav skaters are on the Wheels of Justice. But if I had to choose another one S.H Long from Denver. She runs nasty defense, and throws a damn good party too.
4) When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? I usually room with Shreddy and Demolition Man. They don’t mind seeing me naked.
5) Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? Magnum PIMP [of St Louis]. He’s the smartest jammer in the MRDA. It’s a chess game with him. So if you outsmart him, you still have to try and block him.
6) What is your favorite post-bout food? Poutine and coconut water.
1) What pump up song plays in your head when you take the track? I’m always rocking out to Anamanaguchi. It’s a couple guitars, drums, and a pair of Nintendo’s. Get’s me in the right mindset and gives me bonus XP after the game. 2) What is your favorite city to travel to play derby in? I love Saint Louis and Saint Louis as far as I can tell loves me too. It’s derby scene is right up my ally, I’ve got a ton of close derby friends there, and they always treat me right. I’m pretty hyped that champs is there this year. I feel at home and know I’m going to have a blast. 3) Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? Awwwww man. That’s so tough! I gotta rep my MNRG girls though. Hurtrude Stein from MNRG has had an incredible season. She’s always been a good player but this year she’s really stood out as someone to watch on that team. Every time I see her out there she’s doing exactly what she should be and executing the fuck out of it. She’s one of those skaters I’m hyped to skate against when we scrimmage MNRG. It seems like no matter what the situation she offers me a new challenge. 4) When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? I think the appropriate question would be which team do I room with 😉 I’m kind of a derby gypsy by nature. That approach has had me on couches and floors of more teams than I can remember. Although the number of beers had prior to aforementioned unconsciousness might have something to do with the fuzzy nature of those memories. 5) Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? There are a lot of names on that list. At home Freight Trainand Derbie Monster always play their size against me which is crucial for my progress as a small fry in my sport. Skaters like Magnum and Gnat always seem to be one mental step ahead which I need exposure to keep moving forward.
Of course you’re got your untamed beasts like Feelgood, Steve Sweat, or Shane Bower too. It’s always good to have someone on the other team who just might do something really nuts. It makes me have to throw caution to the wind as you don’t stand a chance if you can’t meet them at their level. 6) What is your favorite post-bout food? Beer. I know it’s not technically food and I’m probably supposed to say candy but after an hour of giving my all I just want a drink. Perhaps a few too many if I can help it.
Twin City is coming into champs the #14 ranked team, in the slot of the 10 seed; they are excited to learn, grow as a team, and make a case for them to be ranked #10 next time around. Last year at Champs, Bridgetown narrowly lost to SoDisco in the Saturday evening game, thus a chance to play for 5th place. This year, with extra teams shaping the brackets differently, the winner of this first match up will have to beat the St. Louis Gatekeepers, or have Sunday off. Bridgetown does not want to have Sunday off again.
Both TC and the Menace have a solid core jammer rotation, with subs they can throw in based on performance. Both teams play with positional walls, and tornado-type recycling. Bridgetown has the upper hand in the area of experience, but this should be a fun first match up of the weekend.
Tune in on WFTDA.tv at 9a CST, Saturday October 17, 2015.
1) What pump up song plays in your head when you take the track? I like to listen to #1 by nelly hahahaha 2) What is your favorite city to travel to play derby in? Seattle, the city is awesome and the puget sound guys are a fun team to play against 3) Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? Crowe, she skates for the San Diego roller derby starlettes. One has tag says it all #croweknows hahaha the world will know about her soon enough. 4) When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? I room with a couple of my favorites waterboy, boo, Bobby light and my bestie MO oweuone 5) Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? B Stang for sure, I have skated with him and around him since we were young. He’s always been a step ahead of the rest. I work for him now and I use all that time with him to gain knowledge. In my opinion he’s the best skater in the world. 6) What is your favorite post-bout food? I always order a pitcher of shirley temple hahaha
1) What pump up song plays in your head when you take the track? How we roll (fast five soundtrack) 2) What is your favorite city to travel to play derby in? Ft Wayne. Just because we have been there so many times for spring roll I can drive around without gps. 3) Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? Ms. Jaxem [Erin Jackson of Jacksonville Rollergirls]. She grew up in my home rink and seeing her go from rink rat to world champion speed skater and arguably the best jammer in wftda is awesome! 4) When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? I normally room with Chef, Bratz, or Moseley. 5) Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? I wouldnt say a particular skater, but Texas men’s has really impressed me this season and shown what hard work and practice can do. 6) What is your favorite post-bout food? If it’s a tournament weekend, the Tour of Italy. It’s a team thing! Carb load!! 😀
The Aftershocks are generally an unknown in the MRDA.They played (and lost) to Puget earlier this season, but their roster has gradually increased with talent over the year. Magic City returns to Champs this year, and they are hungry to prove that they belong in the Top 5.
Both teams play with speed, and both teams prefer a face-to-face blocking game to rotating walls. The Aftershocks have world champions B Stang and Just Mike from Your Mom on their squad, and they bring high level experience to the squad.However, Streak has been ‘getting the band back together’ all year in Jacksonville, you can expect to see the unnecessary spins and extreme lateral coverage that has made MCM a fun team to watch.
East Coast versus West Coast happens on WFTDA.tv at 11am CST on October 17, 2015.
There’s been a “12 Reasons you should watch roller derby” buzzfeed article floating around. Guess what, folks? Some of it they got right! Some of it they got eeeehhhhh…..
So I’m rebooting this blog! It was one my first popular article on Examiner.I’ve re-written some of the explanations, but I’ve kept the headlines the same. 2010 derby or 2015 derby, these are still the 10 reasons you should watch roller derby. (PS Most derby leagues still don’t have seating, so you may want to pick up a Coleman Stadium Seat for your comfort at the game.)
The WOW factor How many of your friends watch roller derby? If the answer is “many”, then maybe there is something to this. Maybe they have an in on something. If your answer is “none”, you can introduce your circle to the fast-growing sport on the planet. How cool does that make you look? Roller derby is a completely unique, high-impact sport that is totally inclusive of age, gender, nationality, etc. It is an international phenomenon that grows every year. In 2018, the third Roller Derby World Cup took place in Manchester, England, hosting 38 countries, including the Czech Republic, Korea, and West Indies. Barcelona is the stage for the third Men’s Roller Derby World Cup in April 2018, where 24 teams, including Japan, Chile, and Denmark will compete. The speed, power, and finesse on 8 wheels is enough to keep you entertained, even if your local team isn’t allowed to sell beer!
The social works of derby teams Roller derby teams are often non-profit organizations themselves; regardless you will find your local teams out at charity events and raising money for good causes at their home bouts. Tens of thousands of dollars have been raised worldwide for charities. Whether promoting suicide prevention, helping wounded animals, collecting for homeless shelters, promoting love as love, or helping a city rebuild after tragedy, derby has covered the spectrum of charitable causes. The Girls on Track Foundation was founded to keep young girls involved in the sport of roller derby, thus building their confidence, courage, and leadership skills. Locally, our own Tampa Roller Derby is involved with Big Cat Rescue and Girls on the Run,
Athletic prowess These are athletes. Teams practice between two and six times a week, and the participants work out beyond their practice limits. Yoga, crossfit, powerlifting, Spartan Races, aerial silks… the cross-training of roller derby knows no limits.
Impressed by your favorite hockey player doing fancy footwork and scoring points? Wait until you see Lil Slinky of Stockholm duck and dance through the pack effortlessly. Get hyped up by your favorite safety playing all over the field defense? You will love seeing Alli Kat Scratch of the Tampa Tantrums crush the hopes and dreams of her opponents. The feats of agility and pure strength are display at any game (whether it’s the 500-person strong Rose City Rollers or 20 strong Twin City Terrors).
“Any Given Sunday” Just like in any other mainstream sport, roller derby has the “any given Sunday” mantra. The Oly Rollers came out of nowhere in their first season as a WFTDA* team, and took the Hydra as the underdog. It is possible for any team to sweat and bleed their way to beating a giant of roller derby. Tournament play has seen a lot of international teams come in and shock the world with their undeniable strength. Teams from the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia have been doing damage in WFTDA and MRDA** rankings the past few years.
Less expensive than a movie date
An American movie date can easily breach $75 (IMAX anyone?), and if you’re counting dinner, you can bet on a night breaking $100. Yes, there are some games that offer beer or full entrees (thank you Charm City). Yes, buying merch from Tampa’s Wrecking Mall might up your final cost for the night. However, most teams still play in roller rinks with small concessions and bake sales. A derby date can easily stay under $30! Derby encourages interaction and conversation, whether you are with one person or a group, and it’s way better than sitting awkwardly in a dark theatre with your Tinder date. Bring them to derby!
Community! The roller derby community is a very inclusive place; if it’s a tailgate kind of game (you can check with the league on their event page ahead of time), get a group together and hang out in the parking lot. My first team was notorious for cookouts and beer trading in the parking lot of the Olympic Skating Center before games. Groups often mix and mingle. Don’t know what’s going on during the game? Ask the people beside you (or look for someone with a “Ask me about derby” sign). Regardless of the side you are rooting for, everyone is super friendly and inclusive. You will make friends in the fans, the refs, and the league members themselves. Labels and judgement have no place in our house, so come one, come all!
Direct interaction with athletes
How many sports teams offer one-on-one time with their athletes? Every game and after party is a meet and greet, and leagues host events throughout the year where you can meet your favorite skaters. You can catch up with league scores from those directly involved, and can really feel like a part of the organization even as a fan. Websites like Flat Track Stats even gives you chance to follow how your favorite travel teams are doing, even if the team hasn’t received official sanctioning ranking. With the popularity of tournaments growing in roller derby, keep your eyes peeled to your team’s social media, it’s likely their travel games will be live streamed at some point. Then you can even watch them from home.
Unique characters Mainstream sports are chuck full of big characters, and roller derby does not disappoint. Be warned: It is not make-up and fishnets. It is the heart, soul, blood and tears that they pour into their work that make these athletes into giants and idols. Big characters in derby are the big hits, the big jams, and acrobats on skates. Whether your team matches in black compression pants, or dons old school mis-matched DerbySkinz and stickers on helmets, you will see the personalities on and off skates. It’s not just the skaters that make the game exciting: The announcers of roller derby are some of the most colorful characters you can imagine. Plus they are super knowledgeable about the game, so make friends with them.
You might find a new love Skaters, refs, NSOs***, announcers, medics, and coaches have to come from somewhere. Often, they come from the audience. Fans, friends of the fans, and the munchkins of fans are the future of roller derby. Even if you never end up skating, your support is vital to your league. Being a fan and posting about the games, inviting your friends to the events, watching WFTDA.tv, watching the YouTube archives of bouts… it spreads the goodwill of derby to people outside of the community who may never have heard of derby before. Or, maybe they went to a game three years ago and “have been meaning to return”. Maybe you can be the one to remind them to spend a Saturday night at the rink.
It’s just plain FUN The excitement is infectious. Regardless of your familiarity with the sport, the skill and strength of roller derby pulls you in. It is impossible to resist cheering as your jammer breaks through the pack. Try not to flinch when your team knocks an apex jump out of the air. The more you learn about your league, the more fun you will have each game. BUT the only way to learn more is to actually go!
If you have been pushing off attending a roller derby bout, it’s time to get off of Facebook and head to the rink. Friends, excitement, and real social networks await you. Youtube offers some great fan tutorials, or wait until you get there and inquirein person. Spend some time at your local games. You’ll be cheering more than at a Marvel movie, you’ll get closer to the action than nosebleed seats at Lincoln Financial, and you will build relationships unlike anything else you have experienced before.
*Women’s Flat Track Derby Association
**Men’s Roller Derby Association
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What makes us want to be on a roller derby team?
I’ve been thinking about this topic for months. Tried writing a blog a few weeks ago and I couldn’t actually translate my feels into a coherent written structure. I’m not talking, “Why do we love the sport?” or “Why do we join a league?” But rather, what drives us all to make a travel team? Or be drafted to a home team?
Before my home league’s travel team votes on the charter, each skater gets to talk about what they had to offer, and why they wanted to be a part of the team. It was interesting to hear the answers from those dropping their name in the hat for the all-stars versus the b team. There was quite the difference in theme of statement from one team to the other. I realized that those going for the the all-stars had a much different theme of answer than those wanting to be on our b-team. It got me thinking more and more about WHY we want to play on teams so badly.
If you ask a derby skater why they want to be on a team, the most common answer you’ll probably get is: “I want to play in bouts!” (Or do I call them games in the blog now?) **winky face**
They want to travel. They want to play other opponents. They want to prove themselves. Playing in bouts is a bit about the attention of everyone watching you, but should also be about the practical applications of skills and drills. Bouts are the place we test ourselves against an opponent to see if we have improved. I have been on many teams at this point, and I can say that being in a bout means different things based on the culture your team builds.
Some teams value bouts strictly as ranking potential.
Some teams just want to enjoy the fun of the sport; including all that boutfitting, production shenanigans, and after parties offer up as they play against your family from a different city.
Some teams want to try out what they have been drilling in practice, to see how their strength and mobility have improved.
Some teams play bouts just to raise money in their home venue and have their friends and family come and watch them do the thing that they love.
Some teams work really well together on bout day, and everything is low stress and fun.
Some teams may work together, but tension runs so high that benches become explosive.
Maybe a team just has that one player that yells at refs or complains about calls, and because they’re a “superstar”, the behavior isn’t squashed. That behavior spreads to the rest of the team, and the bench becomes a 3 headed monster.
Maybe the bench coach is that one superstar yelling.
Or maybe everyone loves each other and the sport so much that everyone is just focused on the fun of the game.
I should mention that teams don’t always take the time to create a culture. Some are self-aware enough to create a mission statement of culture to promote and strive for. Most derby teams, I have seen, do not even understand that a culture has manifested through coaching habits, attendance enforcement, and superstar treatments. Sometimes an awesome derby culture of fun and support is born organically through individuals gathering for a common purpose. Too often, I have seen leagues succumb to the expectation that certain players get praise and playtime, and those players can do and say no wrong. Everyone else are plebeians and must fall in line and teach themselves.
If you just had an ‘ah-ha’ moment, recognizing that your team has not given itself a Culture Goal (or worse, you’re in one of those cancerous league situations!), maybe it’s time to sit with your steering committee and decide on some core values for the league and individual teams.
Many cultures have this idea rooted into their core values without realizing it: “You will play bouts when you are on the travel team, and we do this to play in bouts.” So the skater immediately begins lobbying for a spot on the travel team, despite dedication. Despite training. Despite safety. Despite their willingness to play on a team. Endgame, we are taught, is: PLAY IN BOUTS.
I have a radical suggestion for you, Roller Derby:
You should not want to be on a team to play bouts. You should want to be on a team to practice roller derby.
You should want to be on a team to PRACTICE roller derby.
What do I mean?
I mean we need to adjust our mindset.
Bouts are fun, yes. Bouts are what count towards our ranking, absolutely. Bouts are the culmination of our practice time and work together, yes. But it’s just 60 minutes on the clock.
I am not saying we should undervalue bouts, or want to play in them less. Rather, I think we all need to shift focus to being excited for practice time. Most of Roller Derby practices at least twice a week. You are spending far more time with your team in drill, skill, and endurance situations than you are in bout situations.
I do my best to not even worry when my next bout is, because my intensity does not change from practice to practice. I do not show up with different intentions or drive when I know a roster is being decided that night. Every practice is 110%. I pay for this time on the track, so I am going to love it and use it. If I am put on a roster, great! If I’m not, it’s OK because I have practice again Sunday night. I know I won’t be short on derby for the weekend.
Too often skaters put so high a priority on bout day that all they think about is making the roster. They show up just in time, and with just enough intensity to play in the bout. If we could shift the prevailing thought in roller derby to be less “BOUT DAY!!!” and more “PRACTICE DAY!!” think of how many people would value their drill time more? How much would attendance change?
Bout day is a priority because Roller Derby puts an emphasis on it.
To me it is just as fun and invigorating to stop Tazmaniac in a wall drill in practice, as it is to stop her in a bout day situation. Putting our focus on the awesome of practice means more excitement, which means more bodies, which means more opportunities for strategy and teamwork. Which will, unsurprisingly, lead to MORE SUCCESS ON BOUT DAY.
When practice time is the center of attention, you can focus on goals as an individual and as a team mate. You can put your energy into what is being practiced instead of worrying about making the next roster.
When your focus is practice, not bout day, you think about your daily cross training differently, and with the mind of making practice better. You know you’re going to be doing five minute jams at practice on Monday, so what can you do on your off day, Saturday, to improve your conditioning for it? Thinking about that every week builds into months and then years of cross training, almost by accident!
When you focus on practice, you get to struggle and laugh with all of your team mates in all the different situations. You get to love the sport and the nuance of the sport.
When our focus is bout day, we get caught up in the spotlight of it. We get caught up in the pressure of performance, but when we focus on practice day, we are all Superstars, and egos are left at the door because no one is watching. When our focus is practice, we work hard for two hours at a time. If we can work hard for two hours, we can definitely work hard for our piece of 60 minutes.
Practice is the proving ground for bout day.
Practice is where we get to push ourselves and learn.
Practice is where we get to high five our family and celebrate victories.
Practice is where we get to tell our friends that bad days happen, and that one bad practice will not equate to a lifetime of failure in the sport.
Practice is where we get to put our head down and do work.
If your heart doesn’t beat with excitement when prepping for training (sometimes up to 5 in a week), why are you in the sport?
Glory should come from within. Achievement should be felt when doing something awesome with your team mates. This is no longer an individual sport. No longer should we put the spotlight on those who have talent, who don’t come to practice or fundraisers or do committee work.The spotlight should be on the weekly warriors who sweat with each other and create the bonds that only practice time can.
Practice IS our sport. I feel like the leagues that recognize and promote that in their culture, have the most success over the long term.
Stop counting down to bout day. Start counting down to Monday.
For coaching and nutrition help for all athletes, or to ask questions, propose blog ideas, or just give feedback, leave me a comment, or drop me a line at DerbyAmerica@gmail.com. I’m always booking league coaching for all levels.