Friday, May 27, 2011

A Separation? What?
After reading other derby blogs that talk about league separations, I felt secure and happy with my league. Never for a second have I doubted that maybe my new derby parents were talking about a looming divorce.

Recently I've answered 2 surveys from the league. One focused on league communication, and the other focused on the league's future and where we feel it should go. Among these directions, we answered questions about our preferences between banked or flat tracks.

The word "flat" in French translates to "plate" (pronounced just like flat, but with a p instead of a f). And, this word, "plate" is French-Canadian slang for boring.

Banked track derby is a thrill. It's faster. It's got angles and challenges a flat track just can't offer. BUT, am I too much of a rookie to express an opinion? What the hell do I know about derby? I mean really, up until February 18 when I joined the San Diego Derby Dolls what did I know about derby? Other than seeing parts of Whip It, and little segments inserted in movies from the 70s I knew jack-squat about the sport.

And now they've just announced two of our top notch athletes are starting a flat track league. *Sigh* Evidently when you want to go pro, as a league, you cannot do it with both professional associations, or something like that. Like I said, I'm a rookie. But, this also means that our "girls" who prefer flat tracks will follow.


And when they do that, we'll lose them to the new league... A new adventure begins with the San Diego roller derby community.

When my parents got divorced, I chose my dad and followed him. I'm choosing the excitement of the banked track, but beyond the track: I'm choosing the San Diego Derby Dolls. This is an organization I trust and know beyond words I would (blindly) follow anywhere...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Injuries = Trophies

My gang got to play for realz last night for the first time. We scrimmaged.

How cool is that?

As we split up into two teams, the coach tossed us the caps and I was handed the Pivot beanie. I accepted the challenge with an eager smile. "I get to yell and encourage my teammates? Sweet!" But I knew I was in trouble when the most experienced player, also wearing a Pivot cap told me "Watch out, you'll be the first person I'll want to take out!" Gulps. 

She wasn't shtting me. She took me out. Coming around at half a lap, the last thing I saw was a helmet coming for my face and BAM! Shocked, I noticed blood on my hands. Blood! As I kept skating to catch up with the pack I'm scooping up as much blood with my hands as I could. 

This is how I saw myself
Needless to say I was so friggin proud. And I immediately pictured this image in my mind. I was thrilled because to me, in my weird whacked out head this made me officially a derby chick. I get hit, hard enough to cut skin and I'm still in there skating and pushing myself.

Of course I was no where near this image. But I sensed her energy and her guts. I was her. I was the chick who's not afraid of pain. I was the chick who looks straight out and asks "Is that all you've got?" 

I was also the 5yr old playing with boys. "My Barbie can SO keep up with your GI Joe!" You know what I mean? Maybe I was too giddy to be the actual tough chick (heck, I was wearing a pink skirt à-la cheerleader style) so, maybe not that tough after all.

But we all survived our first scrimmage. We've discovered who's got top potential as future Jammers and Slammers. I don't know where I'll fit in yet, but who cares? I'm having the time of my life and will continue to show off my injuries.

They are my trophies. Trophies that say: 
  1. I ain't afraid of no wolf!
  2. I've got guts.
  3. No pain - no gain.
  4. Watch me go.
  5. Go ahead hit me. I'll keep skating!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Skills VS Endurance
The balance between working on skills and focusing on strength or endurance building is ... not easy to establish.

In the recent weeks, practices appeared to focus primarily on endurance building. I've been leaving the Dollhouse a tired, exhausted sweaty mess. But under this layer of icky salty smear was the glow of a satisfied skater. I felt energized from that mighty morphine of endorphin running through my blood. Nothing can replace a heavy workout!

I mean, really... who the hell needs drugs when you can skate your ass off until you drop. Or puke. Or whichever comes first... right? Am I right or am I right?

I'm right. But with this intensified focus on making us stronger skaters, we may have been neglecting our skill reviews.

  1. the ability, coming from one's knowledge, practice, aptitude,etc., to do something well: She could jump like a show horse and never stopped smiling 
  2. competent excellence in performance; expertness; dexterity: The skaters performed with skill.
  3. the review of skills requiring endless hours of standing in line waiting your turn to execute and determine your capacity to: stop, turn, jump, bump, balance on one foot, and other fun crafty stuff like that!
Can we do both? Endurance AND skills? Surely there is a way. Our coaches are focused on watching us work, and correcting us as we go. With new girls coming in every month, and constant drop-outs  remembering all our names is a skill (pun intended) not given to everybody.

Should there be a practice secretary on hand? Somebody shadowing the coaches each night to check off acquired skills? "Check her off on slamming!" to which the duty'ious little secretary quickly figures out the name and places a correct check mark as the practice focuses on improving our endurance and pack skating capabilities.

Food for thought.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

No Matter the Question: Derby is the Answer!

I must admit, I love seeing my derby friends progress and move forward.

Even if their progress is faster than mine. I love witnessing these girls improve. It's an inspiration. It truly is. Among my gang of boot-campers (which was HUGE) there are a few that are amazing. OK, so more than a few, but some really stand out. And last week, 2 girls were invited to stick around after practice to skate with the big girls...

Being invited to join league practice is a big deal. And the fact that some of the girls that started in February, like me, are already invited to step it up is wicked!

It's cool to feel sheer joy for them. We're all in this together, and I love feeling part of a team. Your success is my success, and mine is yours as well.

One night I stuck around after practice to video-tape a scrimmage. Waiting around until it was time to stand behind the camera, the recruiter was talking with 2 new girls from orientation. She asked me if I had any suggestions to give them. And we talked about how nice everybody is. And how cool all the girls were. My reply was: no room for catty girls here! They're staying at home so they can make other people miserable.

So that's that. If you're wondering what to do with your spare time and looking for a new social activity that will not only get your ass in shape but hook you up with amazing new friends: DERBY is the answer!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Q: Is roller derby all staged like wrestling?
A: NO! Roller derby is a real actual sport, just like basketball, hockey and football. Its fast-paced, it has contact, it requires skills and endurance. It's way too fast to fake (that's what she said), there is no way they could do that and stage the entire thing!

(It's incredible when you think about how often this question is asked. AND even more incredible then that is the look of disbelief in the person's eyes when you answer...)

Q: Why do they dress that way? Do they HAVE to look like strippers on wheels?
A: Well, that's all part of the fun... have you been out on Halloween in the recent years? PLUS, it's a derby tradition to wear funky socks and outfits. It's part of the culture. AND, the short skirts or shorts make it more comfortable to move and stretch in all directions. Its a highly active sport, we need to move and we can't do that in restrictive clothing. What we wear is like a second skin and does not limit motion. Plus every girl wants to be sexy...

(This is an aspect that makes it sometimes hard to sell roller derby as a real sport. Men want to watch bouts because it's exciting - in more ways than one. But the clothing is (in all honesty) a big part of derby. We love hitting local bars on Taco Tuesdays after practice and strut in there in our derby finest! It's a hoot!)


What questions have YOU been asked as a derby girl? AND how have YOU dealt with these particular questions? I'd love to know so I can improve my answers. As derby queens, we all bare the weight of being proper ambassadors to the sport.