Sunday, June 19, 2011


I got a little cocky. Maybe bouting four weekends in a row wore me out. Or maybe I just got out of shape. Whatever it was, our bout against the Minnesota Rollergirls was not my finest.

All week I went through panicky fits of confidence and anxiety. I tried to reassure myself to just play roller derby like I normally do, and everything will be fine. I had seen them play on DNN, I had felt their hits at their boot camp, and we played out all the possible strategies they might use against us. We seemed to be completely prepared.

Our team warm-up happened as the audience started filling the Marriott, and we were feeling pretty solid. Next was equipment check and the nervous-standing-around-time as we waited for the bout to start. I looked over and saw Bat R was intensely messing with one of GLAD’s skates, it looked sucky. Wobbling around on my own skates something felt weird. I thought it was usual bout day paranoia but under further inspection I saw I was missing one of the nuts that holds my boot to my skate. Fuck. Apparently GLAD was having the same problem and Bat R was busy helping her. I ran over to Lukan, who was NSOing that night, hoping maybe he had extra hardware. He didn’t, but generously handed his own skate over for me to steal from. A few people helped me as I frantically tried to get the issue solved, but the announcers started warming the crowd, and I started freaking out. MNRG started their intros and it was obvious I wasn’t going to have enough time to fix this. Now I would be skating with faulty gear, but it was just unfortunate timing and I would have to deal. I jumped on the track just in time for our intro, but I stared at the floor the whole time.
They jammed L’exi Cuter and Medusa first, two of their all-star jammers, and we held them pretty close at 4 to 1. It was obviously going to be a battle but I felt we could hold our own. I took the line against Jax Kvass, better known to me as the Frau, and managed to get lead. As I came around the track MNRG was speeding away, using strategy we precisely anticipated. I finally caught up to them but they were still successfully booty blocking me. I managed to squeeze my hips forward and called it off. One point. I blocked and then jammed again, getting lead and only stealing two points before calling it off.

 The next time I took the line was the worst two minutes of my derby life. I battled through the pack on my initial, and just as I was seeing daylight, they sucked me back in. Veudoo Prodigy is a tiny beast on the track and she was all over me. She is the quickest person I’ve seen knock a player out and run twenty feet backwards. I was already exhausted as she did this to me, so I think I stepped back in front of her, losing the ability to gain lead. Frau had exited the pack and evidently didn’t gain lead either. This was a battle with no exit strategy. After I finally got out of the pack, I re-entered for a similar beating. I tried my best to avoid hits by Veudoo, and during one of my signature “don’t fucking touch me”  moves, she missed my body but knocked my feet out from under me. After nearly face-planting on the track, I peeled myself up and felt every ounce of energy I had leave my body. I tried to press on but could barely skate forward, let alone juke hits, and kept getting taken out on every turn. I managed to push through one scoring pass and as I was celebrating a silent victory, I got knocked back into the pack. It felt like ten minutes had gone by and I just wanted to give up. Four whistles finally ended my pathetic show and I fell in a sad heap behind our bench.
Tyna protecting me as I hid.

Bat R had called a time out to regroup but I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t face them, or look at the crowd, or even feel my legs. I was embarrassed and ashamed because the only thought in my head was to quit. Tynamite consoled me, and asked if I wanted to hide in the ambulance, probably thinking I was hurt from my fall. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t just hide. I sat up and tried to pull myself together. I wasn’t hurt, but maybe just my pride.

I sat and watched for a bit before I let Tyna put me back in as a blocker. I finally jammed once more before the first period was over, getting lead and promptly calling it off. So determined not to repeat the last jam, I didn't even realize their jammer was in the box. GLAD was getting a little beat up, but still managed to snag some points. Opehlia Fracture seemed to have found my Twinkle Toes power as she jumped and juked their hits. She scored 20 of our 30 points to their 77 as we stopped at the half.

We were only down by 47, a situation that we had found ourselves in a couple weeks prior, so we knew we weren’t done yet. I managed to crawl back out of my head for the second half, but I wasn’t all there. The rest of the bout is kind of a blur. We scored fewer points but managed some decent defense. It ended at 220 to 56. They were just. so. good.

That bout was definitely a wake up call. I was in pretty good shape at beginning of the year, with the roller derby workout, but that ended once I got busy with bouting season. We also used to work a lot more on our endurance in practice, but with so many bouts back to back, we spent more time on strategy and pack work. We weren’t terrible against them by any means, but there are definitely areas of improvement.

I personally plan on taking advantage of our break in bouting, and really get back into shape. Practicing for 6 hours a week is not enough. If anyone is truly serious about roller derby, it takes an independent effort to train and improve. Some people run. Some people do hot yoga. Some people get up at 4 am to go to a 10 week body sculpting program. Whatever it is that keeps you motivated to workout outside of practice, you’ve got to find it.

I had originally planned on trying out for Team USA since they were holding a preliminary at the Waterloo bootcamp, but I think I’ve changed my mind. Minnesota gave me all the feedback I need to realize I’m not ready yet, plus I need to direct any extra funds towards Rollercon. It’s going to be a busy and exciting summer, and I’m especially looking forward to watching the fresh meat grow. 


Friday, June 10, 2011


Get to wear the green patch this weekend!
Hopefully it'll be pink soon.
As a three year old league, and a current WFTDA Apprentice member, we are seen as a young team. We’re not quite old enough to play with the big girls, but it is evident that we can hold our own with some teams that have experience behind them. In March we squeaked out a win against one of Madison’s home teams, the Unholy Rollers. Their All-star team, the Dairyland Dolls, stands 4th in the North Central region, according to WFTDA’s 1st Quarter rankings. The next month we hosted the Kansas City Roller Warriors: Plan B Team, and beat them by a little over fifty points. Their All-Star team stands at the top of the South Central region rankings. This past Saturday we played the Omaha Rollergirls AAA team, winning 225 to 8. Their All-Star team, which just moved to the South Central region this year from the North, holds the #8 spot. 

Animal Mother and I chatted about this on the road trip to Omaha, and how we’re kind of the awkward pre-teen on the derby scene. We’re at that age where clothes from the girls section are too short or tight in weird places, but nothing fits quite right from the Juniors section. We’re sitting at 8-0, having beat a range of Iowa leagues as well as some WFTDA “B” squads. We’re working on getting that pink WFTDA patch, but going up against any of the top sanctioned teams would be laughable.
MNRG has some awesome jammers and even better defense.
Photo by Preflash Gordon

This Saturday we are hosting the Minnesota Rollergirls and they are bringing some tough competition. We had been wanting to schedule something with their “B Team” at some point this year, and when a chance arose for us to fit them in, we grabbed it. Since Minnesota has no formal B squad, and it being last minute, the roster we are up against looks to be a “second-string” All-Star team. WFTDA places the Minnesota All-Stars as #2 in the North Central Region. If we become WFTDA, we would be part of this region and may someday play their official All-Star team for rankings. The bout this weekend is going to be a good indicator of where we fall on a nationally competitive level. I’ve never been so terrified and excited in my life.
This will be bout #4 in our recent block of bouts. We went into the Brawlers bout with defense first and foremost on our minds. We focused on strong walls, smart jamming and better awareness, which held them to a mere 6 points. The following weekend, I think we lost sight of that goal and were down at the half against the Sioux City Roller Dames. Once we regrouped, and reminded ourselves of our collective goal, stopping their jammer, we turned the tables on Sioux City and pulled out a win. Saturday, we went into Omaha, unsure of what their AAA squad would be like, but with the plan to focus on their jammer with effective defense. They got 8 points on the board in the first half, but we held them scoreless in the second.

We know we can play solid defense, and work well together, so seeing names like Medusa, Lexi Cuter and Psycho Novia shouldn’t make my knees shake. Being deemed “Twinkletoes” this year shouldn’t make my stomach flop knowing I may get hit by Diamond Rough or Vueodoo Prodigy. We are going to have to use every ounce of our knowledge and ability this weekend, and we’re going to learn a lot, and probably remember what it’s like to lose.

It’s a big night for us, but especially for two new additions to the roster; Outlaw Jessie Pains, and Jenna JAMesON. They will graduate from fresh meat status by participating in their very first bout Saturday, and they’ve earned it. 

The anticipation is killing me, but I just have to remember that we are all playing the same game. If we can keep clear heads and just do the best we can, it will be a great way to go out on summer break. 


Pictures from Omaha

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Never Say Die.

Next to Funsize, I feel giant.
Cathy Kovach Photography

Going into the tenth jam of Saturday night, we had only scored four points. Sioux City had pushed their lead to 41 and I was getting frustrated. I knew we were a better team than this. Our walls were getting broken up and our jammers were not getting lead. At the rate of this point increase we were going to get annihilated. GLADi8HER put another 3 points on the board and we felt a small victory, until she went to the box and they power jammed their way to 51.

Finally I got in to jam again and took the line next to Anita Spur, one of their two very tiny skaters. I made my way through the pack and exited as lead jammer. As I made my way around I noticed their star was sitting in the box. Excellent. I pushed it hard for a few grand slams, cutting their lead in half. The crowd was roaring and I hoped that I renewed their faith in us, as well as our own. GLAD came back to score four more and then our momentum lagged for a few jams, but we kept them from barely scoring. After Triple D Zaster and A Few Screws Lucy added 5 and 4 points respectively, we got hammered with a 20 point grand slam by PBR. She was a strong and powerful force as a jammer, and extremely hard to knock down, but she wasn’t going to let us end the half on that note. I took advantage of their jammer in the box with 3 grand slams, putting it 82 to 49 at the half, their lead.
PBR was a force to contend with, jamming and
blocking back to back through most of the bout.
Photo by KORfan.

This was a strange bout to begin with because going into it we knew we needed to play some heavy defense. Anita Spur and Funsize both stand under five feet and hard to catch. The Triple Threat girls, PBR, Sum Mo Pain, and Dubbs, are solid blockers and know how to break up a wall. With Bat R Up out of town and our roster short one skater, we had to rearrange the way some of our usual lineups work. Ophelia Fracture spent a lot more time blocking in the first half as well as Trip, and we used a lot of power blocker combinations. We came into this bout prepared, but apparently we weren’t using the framework we provided ourselves for a solid defense.

Their jammers managed to slip through the pack, getting lead jammer more than half the jams, and were building solid walls. After my first power jam, they had a target on me and walled up in the back, forcing me into 3 back block minors in a matter of one lap which I proceeded to carry with me throughout the rest of the bout. They took control from the beginning, but we were slowly stealing it back.
We finally remembered what a wall looked like. Photo by KORfan.
With a solid rotation of GLAD, Ophelia and myself in the second half, we started hacking away at their lead, closing the gap to 19 points in just 4 jams. As we started getting lead jammer a majority of the time, and they started getting more friendly with the penalty box, we got to under ten points in the last quarter of the bout. A 13 point jam by Ophelia FINALLY put us in the lead with over 3 minutes left on the clock; 129 to 127. Now it was just a matter of tightening up our defense and keeping that lead. We held them scoreless for the last three jams as GLAD and myself added 12 more points to the board, and I called off the jam as the final seconds expired; 141 to 127. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized the amazing feat we just accomplished. We were an entirely different team in the second half; one I knew we could be. We were looking defeat in the eye for the first time in nearly a year, but it wasn’t going to be that night. On to Omaha