Nicholas Becker #12; Your Mom Men’s Roller Derby (1)
1) What pump up song plays in your head when you take the track? Til’ I Collapse by Eminem – The beat is just energizing the the Chorus of the song gives me an extra little edge mentally! There are a few others, but that is my song to put me in the zone 2) What is your favorite city to travel to play derby in? I have been pretty blessed with the different teams I have played with over the years.. I would say Playing with Team USA in Birmingham was pretty amazing… The crowd had so much energy.. I remember being on the track when The opposing team scored the first point on us and I could barely here myself think none the less talk to my teammates.. That weekend was the most mind blowing weekend of my derby career to date!! 3) Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? My favorite skater in the WFTDA… Wow… I look up to and respect many of them.. I think the first name that comes to mind.. Acker’s.. She is such a driving motion with her team on the track (which i have experienced 2x now with Your Mom) and s\pushes herself to be an amazing leader. Seeing her Captain Team USA this last year when I was working the Roller Derby Elite both was pretty awesome.. Maybe its her twerking.. I dont know.. lol.. J 4) When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? Ahh… I have stayed with pretty much about any of them.. Being a satellite skater anytime I’m with the team I need a place to stay…. The team has opened there homes for me and I couldn’t be more blessed to have them. Most often I spend my time with A muse or open my room for a teammate to stay with me… 5) Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? They may sound weird for those that don’t know my past, but the 3 Muse brothers. Back in 2011 when I played with the Green Bay Smackers we played Your Mom at a tournament.. The Muse Brothers and the rest of Your Mom has pushed me to the point I am at now.. I have really been super blessed with this opportunity that came to me. 6) What is your favorite post-bout food? BEER… nah, just kidding.. not a beer drinker even tho I live in Wisconsin… I rarely eat after a game.. My adrenaline levels are so high that I have a very low appetite. Its normally several hours after a game before I eat and then its pretty much whatever is close
1) What pump up song plays in your head when you take the track? (My song would have to be Jammin by Black Violin. Back when I jamskated that song always got me pumped up and when I skated for MCM that was are skate out song)
2) What is your favorite city to travel to play derby in? (Besides the DFW area I would have to say St. Louis. They have awesome fans and I love the venue.)
3) Who is your favorite WFTDA skater and why? (I really enjoy skating against my wife (Hannah Barbaric). She is able to adapt to my skating since we always skate together. I would also have to say Smarty Pants. She is a class act. I always enjoy sharing the track with her.)
4) When the team travels, which team mate(s) do you room with? (I try to room with anyone who doesn’t snore. I HATE snoring. My roomies are usually Haterade, GI Joel and HimQlez. Good group of guy’s. )
5) Which MRDA skater pushes you to be better [because they’ve beaten you in the past]? (The two guy’s I like skating against are my old teammates Jeremy Strecker and Chuck Best. I have grown up with both of them and they always push me to skate my hardest against them.)
6) What is your favorite post-bout food? (Mexican or Firehouse Subs are my go to’s.)
Your Mom is known for speed skating agility and edgework; they use their momentum to get through packs and around blockers. They use their momentum to put other blockers on the floor. They have some bruisers like Becker and Jack Hammer’d, and they have strategists like Seahorses Forever and Sugar Boots. They have impossible to catch jammers in Rollomite and Frank NotsoHotra.
Texas is like their up-and-coming little brother. They have a lot of experience of high level play in TJ Binkley and GI Joel. All of their jammers jump apexes and out-juke opponents (you’ll rarely see The Enabler or Dr. Feelgood with all 8 on the ground). Their recycling yesterday against Puget was on point.
This is going to like the Puget/Your Mom game of Maritime Mayhem, which was called one of the best games of the year. This game gets rolling at 11a CST on WFTDA.tv
Two time MRDA champion, Your Mom Men’s Roller Derby is a collection of some of the most talented skaters in the world who also just happen to be phenomenal at roller derby. Disclaimer: I talk about roller derby pretty real at a couple points in this blog. This is not meant to make anyone #butthurt (as Elektra Q Tion would say), but if a blog about derby can’t say it, who can?
Your Mom is known for fast skating, and intense walls. When you watch them, they are not hard hitters – they don’t have to be. Their non-verbal communication and self-awareness is so sharp that if they rarely have to hit opponents to contain them. Their work is smooth and effortless. Hits are not short strikes, but rather elongated motion that carries the intended target out of bounds, or drives the target behind the blocker’s hips. Edges, edges, edges. Study it. Their bursts. Their control. Their awareness.
Your Mom knows what you’re going to do before you know what you’re going to do. They aim for where you’re going, not where you are, and they rarely have to catch the jammer, because the jammer is so commonly ensnared in their net.
How do you know that their blockers are interchangeable and their rosters fluid beyond measure? Think about this: Who are their big hitters and which jammer has the best differential? Sure, Seahorses Forever and Sugar Boots stand out because of their height. Yes, everyone knows Frank NotsoHotra. Otherwise it is hard to picture any skaters that are exceedingly more important than the others. On every other team you can look at a line up and pick out ‘key pieces’. Sure, every team SAYS they don’t have any players that are more important than the rest, but we all know that’s not true.
Double Excel. Magnum PIMP. Jonathan R. Szabo. Dilly Dally. Speed Dealer. Cozmo Damage. Shreddy Mercury. Richard Gaudet. Wes Turn. Sutton Impact. Reaper. Keith Rucker. TJ Binkley. Are these the only players that matter on their teams? Absolutely not! Do you want to beat that their teams would be a tad concerned about overall performance if one or both of these skaters were missing from the line up? Yes, I honestly think so.
On Your Mom they don’t have to worry about it as much. No Cleveland Stever? You’ve Dirty Larry. No Tony Muse? You got Dante Muse. No B Stang? You got Rollomite. No Sugar Boots? You’ve got Seahorses Forever. No Lily Pad? You’ve got Suicide Snow Cone. You getting the idea? There is no one on the roster that Your Mom can’t respond to with a “But we’ve got these 5 people that CAN do it”. And they have up and coming skaters that they’re training so that the tradition of winning continues.
“But Khaos!” You say, “You can’t really appreciate Your Mom.” (giggle) “They fly in all their skaters!”
There are 3 remote skaters that I know of. And by “remote” I mean living more than 3 hours away. And even if there were more, so what? Charm City, Philly, and Tampa Bay Men’s (for example) all have skaters that travel upwards of 3 hours to play with their teams. Those skaters could play for Charlottesville, or Suburbia, or Brevard Area Men’s, but they have chosen a different league and has made a commitment to the league of their choice. It is a hobby, we don’t get paid, so why should anyone feel that they are not allowed to play with the league of their choice? Why do we not hear about the skaters that travel across state lines to be a part of PRG or CCRG or TBMRD?
Because they’re not world champions.
As soon as a team starts winning division titles (Oly) or champs (YMMRD), suddenly it’s an issue. Jack Hammer’d lives in South Carolina (everyone in the MRDA knows that he moved, so I’m not exactly revealing a scandal). He is here with Maelstrom this weekend. Why? Because he fulfilled the attendance requirements set forth by his league, and thus qualified to play at Champs with Mass Maelstrom. Here is your tiny bit of beeswax so that you can mind your own.
And guess what? We saw from the WFTDA championships in previous years that sheer talent doesn’t win titles, teamwork, and practice time does. Your Mom Men’s Roller Derby has teamwork, communication, and ‘synergy’ (that’s for you, Austintatious). That doesn’t come from a bunch of people randomly showing up on bout day and not ever practicing with one another.
This weekend is going to be tough for teams to oust Your Mom as champions. Many of the men on the roster are very accustomed to a sticky hardwood floor like that of the Tacoma Armory. Several of the skaters were GLOWING at the opportunity to play Champs on such a surface.
Every team that faces Your Mom is going to have to bring the strongest walls, the ability to multitask, awareness like woah, and the endurance of a Champion.
Check out YOUR MOM (giggle) on Facebook to get continually information about them. They play Denton County Outlaws in the opening bout of the tournament at 9a PST on Saturday. Yes. That means in about 9 hours. Get some rest, and if you’re not in Tacoma check it out on WFTDA.tv! Thank you DeFord Designs for all the photos in this article. Hey Photogs! YMMRD needs more pictures taken of them next year. #JustSayin #BloggerinNeed
The Boys from Boston are coming in with something to prove, and there is nothing more dangerous than a group of committed individuals that feel a bit slighted.
Mass Maelstrom is coming to champs in a lower seed than they may have anticipated, and two places lower than how they finished out last year’s championship despite only suffering losses to Your Mom’s Men’s Roller Derby and New York Shock Exchange this season. Coach Rich Gaudet (also known as Stryker) says that Maelstrom is coming into champs:
“To prove that we were robbed of our 4th place ranking going into championships and to get our new skaters playing against the best in the MRDA.”
Maelstrom is no stranger to fighting for recognition. They started off as part of a co-ed league and split off in 2010 to do their own thing. Stryker says it was through hard work and dedication of the core of the team that Maelstrom was able to debut at #10 in the MRDA in 2012 and break into the Champs seeding the same year by landing at #8. While other teams are chuck full of experienced skaters, that isn’t the case with Maelstrom:
“Maelstrom’s strength is directly related to both our ability to play as a team on the track and to implement and counter the most current winning strategies on the track. Since maelstrom is one of the smallest competitive teams (stature/size wise), and because many of us did not come from skating backgrounds our style of game play is directly tied to that: we play in tight walls and use game play strategy to make up for our lack of bulk and skating skill. Although we have some stand out skaters who can dominate a jammer on their own, most of the time we contain jammers behind a solid wall of small guys.”
When you compare the stature of Mass against most MRDA teams – they do look generally small. Critical pack directors Terry Hasselmann (Peter Rottentail), R Pickering (Smiteochondria), and Mars Travolta are average height (at best) and certainly not hefty – they rely on deftness of movement to even the odds against opposing jammers. Overall, a fluid diamond formation or “around the world” style of play is very present in the Maelstrom blocking strategy, in order to give every blocker the best chance of leveraging their body weight against bigger opponents. Jammers like Cilantro and No Big Deal are not breaking any height barriers either. NBD uses brute force and quick, hammering edges to break packs wide open while John Collentro (Cilantro) falls back on pure acrobatics to obtain lead jammer (The kid is made of silly putty, I swear).
Ok, side note: you’re probably wondering why I’m using up your valueable time with making you read multiple names for all these guys. There was actually a bit of confusion during Champs last year for those streaming the Maelstrom bouts. The rosters were submitted with derby names, but [most of] the jerseys have real names on the back. Viewers at home weren’t sure which skater the announcers were talking about based on jerseys, and the announcers even confused themselves during their commentary.
Why the real names? Some of the guys are just done with derby names (I know a certain bunny who is particularly done with cheek of the fake names), while others see it as a way of really claiming the work they put into their skating and into their league. They are all very proud of what they do with Maelstrom and with smaller leagues in the greater Boston area; using their real names brings them a sense of professionalism and ownership for their accomplishments.
Alright, I’m back from the tangent.
2014 has been the season of ‘injures and real life’ for the Vikings of New England.
Everything from a car accident kept two heavy rotation blockers out of the first half of their ECDX bout, to a series of key skaters getting injured, to a few skaters simply tipping their hat and taking a leave. It is roller derby. This is a contact sport, and injures happen. It is a hobby, and sometimes people must bow out for personal reasons. That does not mean that the team gives up, the deeper a bench, the more effective a team can be, even in a time of struggle. Gaudet commented on Maelstrom’s roster changes:
“Since we sustained injuries to half our roster over the course of this season our newest skaters had to step up and fill some big shoes, which they have done with flying colors. We have picked up two strong hockey skaters that are helping to round out our jammer rotation; all we need now is to get them some more skate time.”
Maelstrom’s first bout of Championships is against an old, familiar face: New York Shock Exchange. This will be the second year in a row that Maelstrom will face NYSE a total of 3 times [in 5 months]. Last year, their final match-up of the season was at the Mohawk Valley Cup, in the finals, and Maelstrom took the win by 20 points after having lost the previous two match-ups.
The first round of Champs could prove a similar Cinderella story. At ECDX and Mohawk Valley this year, NYSE proved too dominant for the Vikings. Despite not having a “full strength” roster, Mass does not consider themselves out of the competition. With two bouts against NYSE under their belt, and with the return of Coulter and Pickering to their bench, Maelstrom is restored to much of it’s 2013 strength. Both vet and newbies to the roster are ready for the classic rivalry match-up in the first round.
Fans (and NYSE) will be get to see new and old faces on the roster this weekend, including Deep in Cider who has returned to the Maelstrom line. Aside from the vets, you should keep an eye out for fresh faces Cormier and Velawesomeraptor as well as those who have worked their way up from the Bzerker B-Team such as the agile Mikeopathic Chiller and power blocker JBeast. Gaudet says of the team:
“Every one of skaters that step onto the track is a critical piece of our strategy puzzle, and thus [new fans] should be watching the overall cogs that make up the Maelstrom machine.”
If you love Vikings and want to pick up merch, get info on upcoming clinics, or just to follow their season, you should definitely check out their Facebook page. Also, Mass Maelstrom has some wicked rewards going on right now on the MAELSTROM GOFUNDME so … Go Fund Them!! And make sure you tune into WFTDA.tv all weekend to watch the 2014 MRDA Championships. Thank you to Tyler Shaw and Hispanic Attack for the photos used in this article.
As a side note, Richard Gaudet would like you all to know that: