Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Viva Rollercon.

I. am. in. Vegas.

To be honest, Vegas itself is pretty underwhelming. I’ve never really had the urge to come here because it’s expensive and gambling has never made much sense to me. (and the tunnel people!) But I’m not here to gamble or go to a fancy show, I am here for ROLLERCON. 

I’ve been nothing but excited the whole way here… the whole.. 27 hour way here. (Yes, we drove from IOWA CITY.) Last night Animal and I looked up which classes we want to take while we’re here. With those, the events, the challenge bouts to watch and you know, eating, this is going to be a VERY busy five days. Commence overwhelmsion.

I finally got some sleep last night, and I know I will make it all work. (work it out!) I just have to make peace with the fact that I probably won’t get to do everything I want to do. I also will have to exercise a little self control and limit my partying if I want to fit so many classes in. (the latter part will be hard.) Animal and I decided we will become Rollercon experts and then teach a preliminary class next year on how to do Rollercon right.

Team Christmas Miracle
We have already had lots of roller derby road trip practice this year. The weekend prior, Animal, Killer Baker, Fannysaurus Wrex and I drove to Lincoln, Nebraska to fill a hole in a double header weekend No Coast needed filled. They invited a few teams out to play, but when a team bowed out last minute they were scrambling to fill the spot. After many emails, and many potential plans, we ended up forming a mash up team with some girls from Sioux City, Sioux Falls, and Norfolk. They were so grateful they called us “Team Christmas Miracle.” Oh, did I mention we were taking on the No Coast Mad Maxines?

A moment of fear filled me prior to the bout, remembering the beating I was given against the Minnesota girls, but I let it go. I was  playing with girls I’d never played with before, against a WFTDA team I’d never seen play before; this bout was going to be a miracle anyway you look at it.

We danced and made friends.
First jam, I toed the line and looked up at the pack; the No Coast girls looked like giants, but the whistle blew and I looked past their two walls and exited, Lead Jammer! The first few jams we held them tight, but a few power jams later, they pulled way ahead. It didn’t matter. We showed them we meant business and I was ready to fight for every point. 

They won 200 to 46, but it felt a lot closer than that. I got my ass handed to me a few times, but I didn’t freak out and gave it everything I could. I felt bruised and broken and great afterwards and was awarded MVP of my team. We stuck around for the next day to help/watch the No Coast vs Ohio bouts which both No Coast teams pulled ahead and won in the final minutes. We danced our asses off at the after party and felt primed for Rollercon.

So bring it Rollecon. Give me everything you got. I’m ready to get my ass kicked. 

Monday, July 4, 2011


In an ideal world I would be playing as much roller derby as possible, traveling and creating video. Some sort of unlimited funds would be necessary to buy all the video equipment, software, and resources I need, alongside unlimited time for the editing process. Those same funds would pay for travel expenses to attend every tournament, bootcamp and championship as well as living. I am far from this ideal which leaves me wondering, what the hell AM I doing?

Right now I’m sitting in the Iowa Public Radio office across from John Pemble as he renders a video on some local bands that I helped him produce. It’s 5:15 am and I am remembering what hard work and mental perseverance can accomplish. I’m tired and wish I was fast asleep after a night of partying, but in this insatiable world, instant results have better success.
All weekend I ran around a span of blocks in downtown Des Moines with a flip camera, getting footage of local and national music acts at the 80/35 festival. I’m ‘doin a job’ but love this close interaction with artists who are passionate about creating. Being here also reminds me of a lot of old friends and memories with bands that reconnect me with another time. It kind of grounds me for a moment as I think about things and people I once wanted in life and the direction I thought I was heading.
Listening to multiple artists talking about creating and doing what they love made me envious.
Driving in early on Friday also meant I got to log in some time with my dad, revealing how out of touch I am with my own family. It also makes me pressure myself into proving that I’m doing something with my life now that I’ve been out of school for over a year. Faced with the simple question of, “what have you been up to?” I find myself searching and only really coming up with “roller derby”.

Derby. Derby. Derby. If you’re reading this you can probably relate and are excited about all the things that have been keeping me busy. To outsiders of roller derby though, I can only imagine what it looks like I have been doing.  I’ve fallen deep into derbyland and have lost all sense of direction. I’m losing my creative edge and am forgetting there’s more to life. It’s not about giving anything up, but about finding a balance. I’ve definitely discovered what I am capable of and want to apply these things to more parts of my life.

Looking forward, July is a month full of derby even though this is the lull in our season. Although I am too poor to participate in the Blood and Thunder bootcamp that is happening later this week, as well as the Team USA preliminary tryouts, I will go up Saturday to watch other people play derby. The next weekend I decided to take up an opportunity to play some high level derby with the Mad Rollin dolls in Nebraska for a triple header with No Coast, Omaha and Ohio. Then the week after that is Rollercon. My excitement is squashed by the anxiety of stretching every penny and hoping I have enough for rent when I get back. It’s no way to live and I am the only one who can change it.

I go through these inspirational chats with myself every few months when life starts to catch up with me, so I can only hope that this motivation lives past the words on this screen. Going back to school may be the answer. Sacrificing some roller derby for a better paying job may be the answer. I’ve fallen into this gimme, gimme, gimme world of instant gratification and just need to buck up and make some short term changes that will have longer lasting effects.

Product from the weekend that I had the most hand in.