Sunday, June 27, 2010

Derby Heartbreak.

I meant to talk about our bout vs the Mid Iowa Rollers last week before I left town, but even writing about it now still makes me upset.

First of all, I just hate to lose. I’m a competitive person. I like to be the best and will get mad when I don’t do well. The week leading up to the bout, I imagined myself jamming:  breaking through walls, speeding around corners, trying to perfect a low, aerodynamic stance. Tynamite made the mistake of telling me days in advance that I was jamming first, so I tried my hardest to physically and mentally prepare for the bout. I was confident we would win.

Now all I can think about is how I messed up the last two jams. I keep playing it over and over in my head. In the second to last jam I was in as a blocker and had a strong wall going with Bat R Up, but I didn’t move quick enough and the jammer got around me. The score was too close to allow for this to happen, and it did. And then the biggest screw up of all, in the very last jam I was jamming and… went to the box. I just took out our only way of scoring points. I almost couldn’t watch from the box as the rest of the jam played out with me sitting helplessly in a chair.

I cried when we lost.

In all reality these last two jams were important, but there were about 56 other minutes that made up this bout that every one of the Old Capitol City Roller Girls put their heart and soul into. I really think we should have won. We were ahead the whole bout and only lost by a mere 3 points at the end. We had spectacular walls, awesome teamwork and professionalism on the track. I haven’t seen too many teams who work as together as well as we do besides maybe the Paper Valley Flying Squirrels. Nothing against any of the teams we have played who have all been strong teams on the track, but the communication and teamwork between skaters are vital to a successful jam, which we take pride in doing well.

In my heart we won that bout, which is why I hate looking back and seeing that we lost. I was so physically exhausted that when I got up for a huddle during a timeout, I about nearly puked. I acquired the most bruises from a bout that weekend than I ever had before, including the infamous waffle, and there are many moments I am proud of.

I just can’t get those last two jams out of my head, and now I will take them with me to the next bout and do even better. At the end of the day, I just need to put my competitive edge away, relax, and remember how fucking awesome roller derby is. 


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Full Metal Derby.

Last Saturday I think we lived out our "Kill! Kill! Kill!" philosophy to its greatest extent in our Full Metal Derby bout. We took on the Stateline Derby Divas and skated away with a 303 to 69 victory. The Warrior was unfortunately out for the Divas, and it sounds like they played a handful of newbies like, Marilyn Monsoon, Sookie Smackhouse, and RBQue who all played fiercely and never quit, even when Bat R Up had her way with them. (She hungers for fresh meat.) We were holding our usual strong front walls and kept our eyes and asses on their jammers, which allowed for our jammers to hold their own as they all had multiple passes through the pack. Myself and GLADi8HER both had 27 point jams, and a stellar 37 point jam by Ophelia Fracture.
Beware of the Kraken

With Furyis Jorge still laid up with her Furyis Fibula and Hitzy Blonde still recovering from her bionic knee, Holm Wrecker and Gigahurtz were able to finally pop their bout cherries. They, along with everyone else on the team, had a go at jamming that evening and skated beautifully. Although I’m beginning to think people are living out their derby names too literally as Gigahurtz ended her evening early with a hurt finger, dislocating it and popping it back, in a matter of minutes. A lesson in keeping your hands off the track.This was minor compared to CK Ann Destroy from the Divas who was taken away in an ambulance. Later I was told she only tweaked her knee, although please correct me if I’m wrong.

After launching ourselves into an impressive lead early on, we used this bout to work on new things and practice strategy. One thing we did which we don’t do too often is “poodling”. In derby you have minor penalties and major penalties. A minor backblock for instance would be touching the back of the girl in front of you with your arms as you enter the pack. You may not have moved her stance or forward motion, but you obviously made contact with her back. A major would be flying into the pack and knocking her to her knees by pushing into her back. Now you are knocking her off her feet or changing her speed with an illegal block. You may only receive four of these minors before it results in a major penalty and you are sent off the track.
Old Yeller, is a poodle? Along with OFX.

Let’s say Tynamite (our bench coach, duh) wanted to send Ophelia Fracture (OFX) in to jam, but she notices that OFX has 3 minors. She wouldn’t want to send OFX in as a jammer with the potential of her receiving a fourth minor, sending our scoring skater to the box. By sending OFX in as a blocker instead and have her start behind the jammers, she receives her fourth minor for illegal procedure and is sent to the box. This way we are skating only a blocker short one jam so that OFX may go in next as a jammer with a clean slate. This ladies and gentlemen, is called “poodling”.

Another strategic move we tried out is called “passing the star”. This is a rarely seen tactic in derby but it sure gets everyone’s ‘panties’ in a twist to see it happen. During a jam there are two helmet covers on the floor for a team’s lineup. You have the pivot, who starts at the front of the pack and wears a cover with a single stripe down the center. The jammer, who starts on the second line, wears a cover with a star on each side. The jammer cover, or panty, seems obvious in recognizing the score earning skater for each team. The pivot panty always seems a little vague in its purpose. The pivot is essentially a blocker but *should* stay on the line and control the pace of the pack. Really, they can skate wherever they’d like in the pack (right, Sugar?).

But alas, the girl wearing the pivot panty is the only blocker who has the potential to become a jammer, mid-jam! This is what is known as “passing the star”. The jammer may remove her star panty and physically hand it to the pivot, who then puts it on over her pivot panty and takes off as the new jammer, leaving the previous one a blocker. This could happen because the jammer is tired, can’t get through the pack, or just wants to sneak an awesome play on the other team.

I was put in as a pivot in the final jam of the night with Benzo Bang sneaking out of the penalty box, handing the star off to me. I took off past a very confused Diva to break the final score over 300. Even though I ended the bout in the penalty box, it was exhilarating to end the bout to such a pumped up crowd, (even if they didn’t know what just happened.) 

Look out MIR.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Whip It, a review.

Last October when I filed into the Coralridge Mall movie theater with my fellow derby girls to check out Whip It, Drew Barrymore's directorial debut, I didn't feel too strongly about it one way or another. I think we all had to like it because our rouge sport was getting a bit of coverage on the big screen, but I instantly realized this movie was more about growing up an "alternative" teenager instead of roller derby.

I just finished the book by Shauna Cross by which the movie was based off of, and it definitely cemented the fact that it was about the struggles of growing up Bliss Cavendar and how roller derby helped her along the way. I can definitely relate to her teenage struggle against her parents, the mainstream and yearning for freedom.. but for me this is about 8 years too late. Although, I can't even fathom throwing roller derby into the dramatic mix of my high school years.

I was an athlete in high school, but became very discouraged by petty attitudes from teammates and the overall structure and control the school had over it. By senior year I had dropped softball and basketball, things I had played all my life. A need to return to this active part of my life I lost, and my competitive spirit is what brought me to roller derby in the first place. It's an open, welcoming organization that gives everyone a hand in the athletic and organizational aspects which ultimately lead to its success. But like Bliss, people who aren't normally drawn to being an athlete can find their niche in the derby world. It is a much larger thing than just playing a sport.

I was a poster girl as was Bliss Cavendar.

Cross did a good job of exploring the different conflicts that often plague a 16 year old girl's life. Fighting with parents. Lying to parents. Hating your parents. Having a break through with your parents, and finally understanding your parents. Crushes on boys. Dating boys. Boys breaking your heart. Getting over the boy.  Explosive, heartbreaking fights with your best friends, bitchy girl nemesis, awful high school jobs, and struggling to find yourself. For Bliss, or Babe Ruthless, derby helped her discover confidence, an accepting group of friends and what is really important in life.

Cross did a good job of telling a story I could relate to nostalgically, but what I really wanted was more roller derby. But, I guess I already made a movie about that...


and remember. NEVER date a boy in a band.