THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE WOMENâ€™S FLAT TRACK DERBY ASSOCIATION (WFTDA) ISSUE 10, WINTER 2010
fiveonfive contents 30-31
ask dahmernatrix and suzy hotrod!
WFTDA Missed the Big 5? Tournament talk is here!
6-9 business mission statements tips for making a great league website
health and fitness understanding soft tissue injuries concussion testing derby after 50
16-23 games and coaching
derby fashion Beyond boutfits – crushing combos for your closet!
24-27 gear which wheels are best comparing mouthguards
34 JRDA two leagues – one vision
Danny “Jay Pegg” Bourne, dannybourne.com
2010 WFTDA championship recap team building
46 75th anniversary of derby
Old School and New School meet to celebrate in style.
48-49 international derby 54-56 art and media 57 classifieds 60 horoscopes
fresh meat announcing and audio issues
editor she who cannot be named rocky mountain rollergirls
from the editor
contributing writers dahmernatrix san diego derby dolls
Welcome to the tenth issue of fiveonfive magazine, the official magazine of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA)!
suzy hotrod gotham girls roller derby
Greetings fellow flat trackers!
jack & choke jersey shore roller girls
Behold, Issue number 10! We here at fiveonfive are super stoked to continue to
double easy denver roller dolls
deliver high-quality content that is both informative and entertaining, and we
rick fox l.a. derby dolls
couldn’t do it without the help of our fabulous contributors from all across the
copy editor vera n. sayne rocky mountain rollergirls content manager annsanity rocky mountain rollergirls art director assaultin’ pepa rocky mountain rollergirls
cruisin’ b. anthony steel city derby demons
derby landscape. Check out mainstays Justice Feelgood Marshall’s Games and Coaching article and Ivanna S. Pankin’s Gear section. Hot Flash and Jack and
hot flash tilted thunder rail birds
Choke make their debut with us this month in Health and Fitness, as well as
catholic cruel girl rocky mountain rollergirls
Dude who is featured in the Rookie section this month. And that’s just a smidgen
justice feelgood marshall derby news network
of what we have waiting for you in these pages!
coach pauly e-ville roller derby
Alas, this being the final issue of 2010, it is with a tinge of sadness that this is
nitro! slaughter county roller vixens ivanna s. pankin’ san diego derby dolls
my last installment as Editor of this great publication. I would like to publicly thank Assaultin’ Pepa, the OZ behind the curtain, for lending me the opportunity to be involved with such a great enterprise. The fabulous Miss Jane Redrum of
frida beater rocky mountain rollergirls
the Fort Wayne Derby Girls will be coming on to take up the helm. She’s no slouch
siouxsicide bomb denver roller dolls
– founder of FWDG, former BOD member of the WFTDA and an English professor,
betty ford galaxy seattle derby brats mimi metal storm canberra roller derby league dude ict roller girls danny “jay pegg” bourne london rollergirls auntie social east bay roller derby
she is no doubt well-suited to keep fiveonfive on track and rolling as a leader in the derby media landscape. At this point I am unsure as to what awaits me in roller derby, but I have no doubt that fiveonfive will be there to keep me informed about all things flat-track-tastic. Skate safe and kick butt!
kit kat power london rockin’ rollers pelvis costello boston derby dames kylie of backlash denver roller dolls cover photo nicolas charest nicolascharest.com fiveonfive magazine firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/fiveonfive fiveonfivemag.com
She Who Cannot Be Named #88 Rocky Mountain Rollergirls Denver, CO email@example.com
Many thanks to our contributors who come from all over the roller derby community and share their knowledge based on their countless hours of dedication to this sport! Check out additional contributors at fiveonfivemag.com.
Dude Nathan Ostrye aka Dude is a four year veteran with the ICT Roller Girls as a ref, coach, and volunteer. Dude has seven years experience working as an engineer at Galaxy Audio, a manufacturer of professional audio equipment specializing in vocal monitoring. Further training through Syn-Aud-Con seminars dealing specifically with room equalization, intelligibility and hums/buzzes. Over ten years of in the field experience dealing with everything from DJ at wedding receptions, to small rock shows, to large concert production.
Justice Feelgood Marshall
Justice Feelgood Marshall (Tracy Williams) has worn many a hat since becoming involved with derby in 2005. He's served as the head ref of the Charm City Roller Girls in Baltimore, MD (2006-2009) and formed one of the modern game’s first men’s teams, Harm City Homicide, in 2007. Also in 2007, he founded derbynewsnetwork.com, the premier online source for roller derby previews, recaps and live streaming bouts, and continues to run it today with partners Hurt Reynolds and Gnosis. He currently lives in Chicago, IL.
Jack & Choke Within three days in February 2008, Jack & Choke’s dog died, her best friend moved cross country and a drunk driver demolished her car. Instead of losing her mind, she joined Jersey Shore Roller Girls, because if life was going to play rough, so was she. When she isn’t skating, Jack & Choke enjoys diners, arts and crafts and smacktalk. She is currently studying to be a ninja.
Jay Pegg has been a professional photographer for six years, and a journalist for ten, being published worldwide in several well known magazines (none of which are officially as amazeballs as fiveonfive). After minutes of gentle cajoling he finally gave in to his wife, Erin No Bragh, and joined the London Rollergirls swapping his camera for a referee’s whistle when he realized that spending the rest of his life known as Mr. No Bragh would unduly interfere with his macho image. He also skates for Southern Discomfort Roller Derby merby team in his Skirt of Power (TM). He has two adorable cats, an unhealthy fixation for apple crumble and is available for weddings, barmitzvahs and roller derby bouts.
Ivanna S. Pankin’ Ivanna S. Pankin’ skates for the San Diego Derby Dolls and Team Awesome USA, and works at Sin City Skates. She gets credit and takes blame for tons of derby stuff, but her favorite of all of them is RollerCon, the yearly derby conference in Las Vegas.
Erin No Bragh
Nitro! Nitro! started coaching with Slaughter County Roller Vixens in 2007. Being with a growing league he assisted SCRV in building two inter-league teams as well as a WFTDA team. Due to his military commitment Nitro! has recently retired, leaving a void hard to fill.
Gotham Girls Roller Derby, New York, NY
San Diego Derby Dolls, San Diego, CA
DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, Last week my team lost a really important game and I feel singlehandedly responsible. We lost by 14 points and there were two power jams where I only managed to make one scoring pass (I’m a jammer). We usually score 15 or more points per power jam and that 20 more points would have made the difference between our loss and a win! I feel like if I had only pushed it and done better I wouldn’t have lost the game for the team. How do you cope with the guilt of losing the game for everyone? -GUILTY
DEAR GUILTY, Yes clearly, YOU are SO TOTALLY responsible for losing that game, YOU LOSER. C’mon now. If you think that, then don’t ever think about another sports career. Think about soccer goalies – can you imagine what they must go through? Also, you were the jammer still on the track, that’s a win! I could maybe see you feeling bad because you were the jammer in the box. Anyway, the truth is, I have had incredible amounts of postgame guilt and self-blame despite the fact that in public all of our teammates know that it’s a team sport and no one person is ever responsible. If your team is closely knit it’s likely that every single player could list ten reasons why they were the reason your team lost, which is strangely comforting. It shows that everyone is really disappointed because of the loss. After every game (win or lose) I have this giant list of stuff I want to improve. Calling it my “list of stuff I want to improve” is what it’s called after I cool off. Before that it’s really the “shit I can’t believe I screwed up and I want to die because I screwed that up so bad.” Post-loss depression. It’s real. The initial reaction could be personal sadness and pain. But the next one is far more fun where you commiserate with the entire team by hugging and/or violently drinking all together. Be a gang and get over it together. What if you’re still feeling bad? Think of it this way: You train oooooh what? At least ten hours a week for months for one bout? So it’s normal to be disappointed if you don’t win. Maybe take a day for the “real world” you. Do something non-derby related (GASP?!). Then get back to work, damn it. Time to start on that list of “stuff I want to improve.” p.s. My new favorite derby word of the week is “Jamnesia.”
4 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
DEAR GUILTY, Cheer up, Eeyore. You didn’t lose the game for everyone; everyone loses the game for everyone. I’m not trying to tell you that you’re playing on a team of losers, I’m just pointing out that win or lose, everyone contributes. The only way that you would have been singlehandedly responsible for this loss is if you flat-out refused to play. Your blockers successfully demoralized the other jammer until she no longer cared to score, and they pinned all of the opposing blockers to the track boundaries, and you still refused to pass them. If that’s what happened, then and only then will I start to agree that it’s your fault. And even then, that’s only true if you did that in your last jam. If you started out playing that way and the bench coach repeatedly put you in, well now it’s starting to be the fault of both of you that the game was lost. I mean yeah, you could have scored that extra 20 points, that would have been nice, but the other jammers could have scored more points too. The blockers could have prevented more points. Any number of things could have happened in your power jams, or any of the other ones. I’m not trying to tell you to blame your team and start a dysfunctional dynamic. I’m just trying to get you to lay off yourself a little. Your two jams can’t be the only ones where things didn’t go exactly as planned. And even if they were, you can’t be the only one who didn’t play perfectly. Why did you only make one scoring pass? Was the pack racing? Did someone nail you 19 feet ahead of the pack? Were the walls in the back getting you? Pack control, offensive blocking and pack awareness. There you go; I just gave you at least three things your team can work on to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Now wrap up the pity party and get on your skates, because no one ever won a game from practicing their self-loathing skills!
DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, Our league frequently has transfers from other smaller leagues, rec leagues or apprentice leagues. On their old leagues, these transfers may have passed the minimum skills test, bouted and been total rock stars, but they aren’t up to our league’s level of play or safety. We want to keep them around and help them increase their skills. How do we gently tell them that they aren’t rock stars here without them losing interest, getting angry or quitting? -BAD NEWS BEARER
DEAR BNB, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: it’s no mystery when you start playing with a new team and all of the sudden all of your moves reek of failure. Only the most self-deluded denial diva can go from Team A where she drops opponents like bombs and laps everyone until she gets too bored to bother scoring that 26th point, to Team B where every attempted hit leads to a 360 spin and a trip out of bounds. Long story short, going from a rock star to an average Joe is one thing, but if the difference between her old league and your league is so great that she’s not even up to safety standards, there’s no way that she’s unaware of it. She probably goes home every night beating herself up over it even harder than she got beat on at scrimmage. It’s good that you’re wondering how to handle this issue, because I’m sure she doesn’t need your voice on top of her internal monologue telling her how much she sucks. At the same time, it’s no question that someone who poses a safety hazard should not be allowed on the track to kick everyone with her adorable little bambi legs and flailing punchy arms. So, how do you tell her that she sucks without hurting her feelings and making her quit? At the risk of pointing out things that can’t be changed, you girls already messed up a little bit by tossing her in with everyone in the first place. Now, when you take her out she’s going to feel singled out. You said you frequently get transfers from rec and apprentice leagues, right? So this isn’t the first time you’ve had this problem. You need to institute a general expectation that a letter of recommendation from your old league is enough to get you in the door, but not on the floor. Everyone needs to pass a skills test with your league coaches, or spend some time in a rookie practice, or what have you. It’s up to your league what hoop you make the transfers jump through, but it’s important that the hoop be consistent from now on so you can ensure that everyone at league practice is safe. Eventually it will be understood that it’s just a step everyone has to take in order to become league members, not a punishment for sucking. Unfortunately, you don’t have the luxury of going back in time and putting this girl in boot camp without having her feel demoted. Like I said before, she’s almost certainly aware that she’s not up to snuff. And she’s probably embarrassed by it. The good news is I’ll bet she expected that from the get-go. Maybe she was hoping to join your league because she wasn’t being challenged at home and she’s looking forward to receiving more direction on how to be a better skater. If one of the coaches takes her aside after practice and respectfully, sensitively, asks her to attend a few more newbie practices before returning to league practice, that should be fine. Just make sure there’s no condescension being conveyed in the meeting. Most of the time when people are repeatedly doing something wrong they don’t like being wrong, they just don’t know how to do it right. So specific goals, such as, “We’d like for you to attend Fresh Meat practice until you can increase your time trials to X laps per minute,” or “Please work on balance and core strength so you’ll be able to fall smaller,” will probably be helpful. You have a lot of potential in this little ball of havoc your league has inherited. Moving leagues means that roller derby means a lot to her, and that she’s willing to make big changes to improve her game. Take all that passion, train it well, and you’re going to have an All-Star in a year or so. Or maybe I’m wrong. It’s possible you’ll send her your nicest, most pre-school-teacher-like coach to speak with her about controlling her skating, and she’ll flip the eff out and quit. And then you’ve weeded out a crazy drama queen early on. So, you know, no matter what, talk to her reasonably and your problem will be solved.
DEAR BNB, Skaters want to progress their play by joining the bigger league, but they aren’t totally there yet skill wise for your more advanced league. Well, my advice would actually be if someone has skated in another league but does not meet what you feel is the basic skill requirement for safety in your league, do not take her at all at that time. If your league doesn’t already do this, make sure transfers are required to actually tryout. Transfers don’t just get a free pass in. If your league has become the alpha league and the other smaller leagues around you are farming your skaters, you have a responsibility to your league to be thoughtful and “picky” about whom you take. Your coaching committee that selects new skaters should have an additional discussion for a transfer skater’s skills and history that is different from a “skating virgin.” Interview them off skates to get to know their personalities and experience. Gotham Girls do these interviews for main tryouts as well as transfer tryouts. Because derby has some years under its belt, there are skaters walking in the door with lots of experience from less established leagues. In some cases, teaching them out of their bad habits is more challenging than taking a girl who has never skated before but has natural athletic ability. Bad habits in roller derby are hard to break. It’s not impossible, but there’s not a quick fix. Also it’s possible that “big fish from the little pond” may not be familiar with taking constructive feedback or may smile politely but totally blow you off. So like I said, be picky if you’re in a position to do so! Take the girls with the right work ethic and attitudes. Now, like you said, you want to let these skaters into your league and train them to develop with you rather than send them back to their old league, despite the fact that their skill is not up to your desire. (That sounds kinda risky, but let me try to help you.) All the fresh meat we take on from tryouts have three months of skating before they are required to take a skills test. They must pass that skills test or they cannot be placed on a team. They get two chances to take that test and pass or they are dismissed from our league and can tryout again next year. That is something we make absolutely clear from the first day they tryout. You should have a similar policy for these transfer skaters. Nothing is worse than being in limbo. If you chose the right transfer skaters they should be enthusiastic to be in the “bigger pond” and learning more, and not lose interest, get angry or quit. Finally I can’t say enough good things about public basic skills sessions led by roller derby coaches. I don’t know what the structure of your league is like but many large leagues have begun basic skills classes open to anyone who wants to learn skating skills. It fosters stronger skills and safety for potential tryout candidates all year long, it’s good for referees and it’s good for our roller derby community because local leagues that are not as advanced as your league can attend. It’s taught by the roller derby family instead of some speed skating coach at a local rink. We reinvented this sport, let’s teach it to each other.
need advice? email firstname.lastname@example.org fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 5
mission statements JACK & CHOKE, JERSEY SHORE ROLLER GIRLS
When people think of mission statements, they usually think of the ones written by big businesses. You know the type: long-winded paragraphs full of flowery, poetic phrases that sound nice but don’t really explain much. Ironically, this is the exact opposite of what a mission statement should be. An ideal mission statement is a brief, precisely worded definition of why a business exists, and what makes that business unique. In the world of roller derby, your league is your business, and it’s up to you to define it. A mission statement is your chance to do that by plainly laying out your organization’s purpose, goals and core values. Mission statements serve a number functions, both to league members and to the public. Mission statements clearly outline to everyone involved what the league wants to accomplish, and how it will go about doing this. Everyone knows what’s expected of them, and they have steps they can take to achieve the desired results. An effective mission statement also has the power to motivate those who subscribe to it. When skaters see terms like “dedication,” “sisterhood,” and “superior athleticism” associated with their league, they tend to personally adopt those values, increasing the entire group’s unity and morale.
Mission statements don’t just benefit skaters within the league. They also serve to inform the general public of your league’s varied and unique aspects. How many times have you explained to fans that while yes, you do spend a lot of your time kicking butt, there’s more to being a rollergirl? You’ve probably surprised a few people by telling them that when they’re not skating, girls do promotional work or volunteer in the community. And what skater hasn’t rambled on about how her league is so intelligent/honest/dedicated/supportive? A mission statement does all this public relations work for you. Posted on your league’s website, a carefully planned, precisely worded mission statement makes a great first impression, earning you new fans and more than a little respect. Mission statements often consist of three key elements. First, the mission statement outlines the purpose of the organization. In derby mission statements, this part of the statement answers the question, “Why does your league exist? What need does it fill?” From there, a mission statement moves to its second component, the game plan. This part states how your league will go about filling its recently defined need. Any goals and action-based ideas should be mentioned in this section. The last piece of the mission statement consists of the organization’s principles and
values. Here’s where you highlight the beliefs that drive all your hard work. Overall, jargon and overly dramatic language should be avoided in favor of honest, concise, and specific word choices. Answering the three questions – what’s your business, what’s your game plan and what are your core values – provides a good starting point for an effective mission statement. There’s a gap between knowing what a mission statement is and feeling confident enough to craft one for your league. Fortunately, many rollergirls have taken the mission statement plunge before you, so you can learn from their examples. In addition to press kits and league constitutions, mission statements often reside in the “About Us” sections of league websites. Let’s take a look at some strong mission statements straight from the derby world. Suburbia Roller Derby, of Yonkers, New York is a good place to start. Their mission statement is short, sweet and to the point: “To provide a healthy, safe environment (both emotionally and physically) for women, ages 20+, to learn and play the sport of flat track roller derby in Westchester County, NY.” Right away, they define what their vision is and whom their efforts serve. The rest of the mission statement lays out their action plan and values: “the cultivation of respect, empowerment
...a carefully planned, precisely worded mission statement makes a great first impression, earning you new fans and more than a little respect. 6 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
Answering the three questions – what’s your business, what’s your game plan and what are your core values – provides a good starting point for an effective mission statement. and athleticism in all their members, the adoption of a DIY-attitude geared toward fostering sisterhood among fellow leagues and the importance of becoming contributing members of the community through local service and volunteerism.” Mission, goals and values, wrapped up neatly in four concise sentences. Texas Rollergirls, skating out of Austin, Texas, provide a good example of how a mission statement defines the specific nature of unique organizations. Texas has a recreational league, the Rec-n-Rollerderby, which they hold separate from their nationally competing league. To identify Rec-n-Rollerderby as separate from, yet equally as legitimate as the main league, Texas Rollergirls crafted a distinct mission statement for the offshoot: “The Texas Rollergirls Recreational League, the Rec-n-Rollerderby™ is an athletic and social organization formed to give all women the opportunity to learn and play the sport of Flat Track Roller Derby. In the spirit of a recreational organization, it offers a fun, safe, and competitive athletic environment without the level of commitment or skill that are required of derby athletes at the national level.” In two sentences, Rec-n-Rollerderby’s mission statement states that it fills the need of women who want to play derby recreationally, that it does this by offering a modified athletic environment and that it bases its decisions on the values of fun, safety and competition. It’s a safe bet that if this mission statement was placed next to that of the nationally-
competing Texas Rollergirls, the two would differ in goals, actions and values, even though they are two parts of the same larger organization. These differences illustrate how a mission statement gives a clear identity to a group. Here are few more samples of leagues stating who they are and what they do: Windy City Rollers, Chicago, IL: “The Windy City Rollers is an organization that strives to promote athleticism and fraternity among its members and seeks to foster professional, personal, and athletic advancement for all its members.” Rat City Rollergirls, Seattle, WA: “Our mission is to provide athletic entertainment that improves our member’s individual athletic ability, self-discipline, and character while promoting the roller derby sport.” At this point, you know what a mission statement is. You know what its key ingredients are. You’ve seen a couple of them up close and they seem pretty swanky. Following are some tips to get you started writing your own mission statement. Ask yourself the right questions. Writing a mission statement involves some serious league soul searching. Start by asking yourself questions like: What is your league? Who skates for you? What kind of environment do you offer them? What do you expect from your skaters, both on and off the track? Do you serve anyone else, like the community, the fans or sponsors? If so, how? What values are important to your
league? How do you promote these values? Base your mission statement on the answers. Make it a team effort. If you are tasked with writing your league’s mission statement, don’t go at it alone. Ask skaters why they skate for this league and what makes them proud to be affiliated with it. The answers to these questions will help you develop the purpose and values portion of your mission statement. Asking coaches and refs how to improve your training will get you started on the action plan section. Getting input from multiple viewpoints paints a fuller picture of your league. Say what you mean. Clearly state your goals and objectives using language that is easy to understand. Take as much time as you need to get exactly the right words. Be ready to edit and rewrite until the statement is as specific as possible. And mean what you say. In other words, be honest. A league’s mission statement should reflect its true goals and beliefs. While you may think your league is on the fast track to world domination, too much selfcongratulatory language could keep people from taking you seriously. Smack talk is fine for the track, but stick to the facts for a mission statement. Adopting a solid mission statement can help keep a league focused. A well-written mission statement clearly outlines your league’s goals, values and visions, making it a valuable tool for establishing your league’s identity both with the general public and in the derby community.
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 7
tips for making a great league website YI-NAN "DOUBLE EASY" ZHANG, DENVER ROLLER DOLLS
Your league's website is one of your most important PR tools. Here are some tips to help you use it to your advantage. getting started The first rule of creating a website is to think about your audience. Who is your website intended for? The types of people likely to visit include: members of your own league, members of other leagues, prospective skaters, media, and most importantly, your fans! Try to have something on your website that caters to each of these groups. There are two aspects of creating and running a website: layout and content. Website layout is an art that can be hotly debated over. It’s up to you and your needs. This article will focus mainly on content. Start getting ideas by looking at some of the best league websites out there: Gotham and Windy City have great layouts and Boston has fantastic content. Make sure whoever writes for your website has good spelling and grammar. There’s nothing that spells out “amateur hour” more clearly than a website that looks like it was copied from a teenager’s MySpace profile. Speaking of which... don’t have MySpace be your primary website. The overall design of your website is also something that should not be overlooked. If you’ve got the funds, consider having a professional design your website. This could cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, but both the immediate product and the additional ease of updating your website in the future will be well worth it. Yes, you can have someone on your league design and update your website for free. But there are always trade-offs. I once asked the IT department at my company why they chose to buy mediocre software from Microsoft when there were open-source equivalents available that were just as good, if not better. Their response was that yes, they may be paying extra to buy the software in the first place, but then if they need support for that software, Microsoft has an obligation to help them, whereas there are no obligations from open-source software. To the IT department, it was worth the extra money for the insurance of getting help in the future if they needed it. Moral of the story: If you have someone on your league do your website for free, make sure you have a Plan B in place if that person leaves your league or simply decides that he or she no longer wants to work on the website. This may seem totally obvious, but the first piece of information you want your website to give people is your location! Unless the most commonly-known name for a major city is part of your league’s name, you need to state your location in such a way that it is the first thing your visitors see. And even if you’re the “Portland Roller Dolls” you should give it anyway, both for those of us who aren’t so good at geography and to make sure there is no confusion about which Portland you’re from.
8 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
Keep your website UPDATED! Advertise your next bout as soon as the last one is over (if not before) and update the score from your last bout. If possible, post a recap for fans that missed it. Getting a recap written the day after a bout can be a tall order, but this is when your memory will be freshest. Assign someone to get a copy of the stats as soon as the bout is over. You really only need the jammer score sheets. You can also submit your recap to Derby News Network to have it published in their “Weekend In Review.” This will help increase your league’s exposure on the international scene. scores I cannot overstress the importance of keeping your league’s scorecard up-to-date on your website. If you want your league to be treated as a legitimate sports organization within your community, you need to have the stats to back it up and game scores are the least you can post. When you update your website with a score for an interleague game, make sure that opposing teams’ names are posted so that there is no ambiguity as to which team of which league played. Sure, it might sound awesome to be able to post on your website that your team beat the #1-ranked league in the nation, but did you neglect to mention that it was their fresh meat squad? To people who already know (skaters from other leagues, etc.), this will seem dishonest. And to people not inthe-know (your league’s new fans), finally seeing your league play might be underwhelming if your website misled them. Or worse, they might be led to think that their experience was the best that roller derby as a sport had to offer! Of course, if you are actually the #1-ranked league in the nation, then that’s a different story. One more thing about team names: If it is not obvious from their name, make sure you list where a visiting team/league is from. about Speaking of teams and leagues, the concept of hundreds of “leagues” in the world with only a few teams per league is foreign and confusing to people who follow other sports. Consider having someplace on your website that explains the concepts of home team, travel team, league, WFTDA and whatnot. Roller derby is different from traditional sports in many ways, not all of which have to do with wearing fishnet stockings and giving ourselves funny pseudonyms. Here is a list of differences that may not be obvious to your fans and will be sure to confuse them. • As mentioned previously, the difference between teams and leagues. • The length of the roller derby season tends to run almost all year for most leagues, with bouts typically played once a month. In other sports, the competitive season is only a few months and games are played much more often.
• Your skaters both skate and run the league. Your skaters do not get paid and, in fact, pay dues. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many fans are completely in the dark about it! Most leagues also give back to the community in some way, whether that is volunteering or donating money. Make sure your fans know about this! • The importance of the playing surface. Football players can’t run as fast if the grass isn’t the perfect length/density/dryness/whatever. The skating surface in derby is like that, but multiplied by 100! • There are two types of traditional sports: the big public professional ones that you can watch on network television and the small amateur ones that only families of players watch. Roller derby occupies some strange kind of limbo in between the two but is beyond categorization. news Whenever you have a news piece, make sure the index page of your website shows it. Fans don’t want to have to click to find news! In fact, why not just have your index page show the latest five or so news items? People are attracted by visuals, so try to include a photo with each news item. If you can, it’s visually appealing to have the photos accompanying the news item titles on your index page as well. Take a look at the Cincinnati Rollergirls’ website for a great example of this. Aim to churn out one news piece every week and make sure you link to it from all your social networks. This will give fans an excuse to visit and revisit your website. forum If you already have a significant fan base, consider adding a forum to your website. Open-source forum software can be found all over the web. If you’re not sure where to begin, look at some of the forums that you personally frequent. Chances are the software they’re using is freely available. Your forum is where fans can post messages and interact with your skaters. Have your announcers promote this at your bouts to get
skater profiles fans on it. And make sure your skaters are using it too. skater profiles Now we get to the part of your website that your league’s skaters will probably care most about: Skater profiles! This is where having a nicelydesigned website that’s easy to update really comes into play. If your league has more than a few skaters, creating and maintaining all their profiles could end up being a huge pain in the ass depending on the infrastructure that you have set up. Keep this in mind when you are setting up your website. What should you include in a skater profile? At the very least, you should include a photo (headshots are preferable to action shots because we’re easier to relate to when we’re not wearing helmets and mouthguards and we don’t all look alike in headshots), the skater’s name and the skater’s number. As for the rest of the content, start with the philosophy that you want your skater profiles to reflect the athleticism and professionalism of your league (or whatever you’re aiming for). When asking your league’s skaters to fill out their profiles, it is a good idea to give them some guidance in the form of a template to fill out or questions to answer. But make sure your questions aren’t too numerous or too specific; just ask a few general ones. Some suggestions for topics: Biography, Athletic Background, Awards Received or Nominated for. And please, for the love of God, don’t ask questions like “What’s your favorite bar?”, “What’s your idea of the perfect date?”, or the dreaded “What’s your sign?” You’re not running a lonely hearts service here, as much as some creepy fans might wish otherwise! Your league’s fan base is probably as diverse as your skaters, so there is sure to be a unique aspect of each skater’s background that a fan will share, and that is what can make a skater stand out in the heart of a fan.
some last words • Even though content is really what makes a website, fans can get bored visiting the same layout over and over again. Don’t be afraid to change up your design every couple of years or just whenever you need to. • Make sure everything that you really want visitors to see (when your next bout is, how to buy tickets, how to donate to your travel fund) is on your index page and is easily accessible from your other pages. • Connect your website to your social networking sites. Fans may not visit your website frequently enough to read your weekly news, but they may get a Facebook update or a tweet directing them to your website. • Make it easy for visitors to contact you. Post the contact info for different parts of your league on your website or just make a contact form that visitors can fill out. • Post pictures of past events, including bouts, fundraisers, service events, etc. They’re fun to look at and will tell your fans visually what kinds of things your league does! That’s it! Happy updating!
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 9
health and fitness
understanding soft tissue injuries RICK FOX, L.A. DERBY DOLLS
When I look back over the last 20 plus years of being involved in athletic injuries, I would say the most common thing I alleviate is fear. The fear of, “Is this injury career ending?” or “Is this injury going to take me out for the season?” or “Is this a simple injury?” I hope that this article will answer some of those questions. I have often thought of authoring a book and calling it “1001 Ways On: How Not To Do It.” If, as health-care providers, we would simply preface our statement with, “Based on our current research...” or, “Based on my personal experience...” we would probably gain a lot more respect. Instead, we suffer the continual embarrassment of acting like authorities and having new technology prove otherwise. With this in mind, I would like to share this article entitled, “Understanding Soft Tissue Injuries.” This is based on both my personal experience as a sports chiropractor for the last 20 years of which the last four were spent as Director of Doll Repair/Chiropractor for the Los Angeles Derby Dolls. Since there is about as much controversy over the understanding and treatment of the body as there is in present day politics, I will do my best to stay within the areas of agreement between all disciplines. Please keep in mind that we are talking about most people and the atypical patient can and does walk into our office on a daily basis. In understanding the mechanics and healing process involved with soft tissue
10 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
injuries, I think it’s best to start with defining soft vs. hard tissue injuries. The easiest way to make this distinction is: hard tissue is bone. Everything else is soft tissue. This includes muscle, tendon (attaches muscle to bone), connective tissue (cartilage, ligaments – attaches bone to bone, fascia, joint capsules), bursas, arteries, veins and capillaries, organs and brain. Some injuries to the soft tissue will heal faster than others such as minor bruises or track rashes as they mostly affect the outer or superficial layers of the skin and its blood supply; or simple muscular strains, as both these areas are rich in blood supply. Other injuries may take quite some time to heal such as more complex strains to the muscle in which there is a partial or complete tear, or damage to the ligaments and other connective tissues where there is a relatively poor blood supply. When it comes to muscle and ligaments, we have classified damage into three categories based on the extent of damage. We call this damage a sprain, a strain, or both a sprain/strain. A sprain is an overstretching or tearing of the ligament, whereas a strain is an overstretching or tearing of muscle and/or tendon. We can, however, strain a muscle through overuse or what we call repetitive trauma. This is why it is important to have an understanding of exercise workouts and how to avoid overusing a particular muscle or muscle group. The three classifications of the sprain/strain component are as follows: Grade I: A simple sprain/strain. This
usually is an overstretching or what we refer to as a fraying of the muscle fibers. Grade II: A more complex sprain/strain. This involves a partial tearing of the muscle and/or ligament. Grade III: The most complex sprain/strain. This involves the complete tearing of the muscle and/or ligament. In all three cases of sprains there will also be accompanying tearing of little arteries, veins and capillaries which will cause bleeding to occur in the area. Many times this will show up as bruising or discoloration in the area of the injury. Bleeding is an important part of the healing process as it is what will form the scab or blood clot to knit the tear back together. Speaking of blood clots, this might be a good time to address another type of injury commonly seen with roller derby athletes, the ever-popular hematoma. The bruise that elevates like someone placed anywhere from a golf ball to a grapefruit under your skin. Most of the time these go away with time, massage, heat and ultrasound; but sometimes if they are not treated properly they can harden and calcify in the muscle creating a painful condition we call Myositis Ossificans. Roughly translated, this means inflamed muscle tissue which is turning to bone. We will talk about this condition and the treatment for it in a future article. Regardless of the injury, whether it is hard or soft tissue, the following three stages of healing must occur in order to achieve full recovery. The first stage is known as the inflammatory stage.
Inflammation is defined as â€œredness, heat and edema (swelling).â€? The inflammatory stage usually lasts 48-72 hours and usually has the following characteristics: redness, heat, swelling, decreased movement or ability to contract the muscle, discoloration around the injury, and, of course, pain. As previously mentioned, with any injury, there is the tearing of blood vessels/capillaries. During the first 24 hours the blood vessels are closing off the bleeding to the area and forming a clot or callus around the injured tissue. This process is necessary for the knitting of the injured tissue. It begins the next phase known as the repair phase. In the repair phase, new blood vessels are being created. The same tissue as the original tissue is being reproduced, and collagen fibers, aka scar tissue, are being laid down across the injury in all directions. Unfortunately, with muscle, the repaired area loses some or all of its elasticity (stretch). There are various forms of soft tissue therapies that address this. Many of which can return a great deal of the stretch back to the muscle. The repair phase usually starts within 48 hours of the injury and can last up to six weeks depending on the extent of the injured area. The last phase of the healing process is known as the remodeling phase. The collagen fibers have stopped being laid down or are minimally being laid down. This is when the newly formed tissue has the ability to start strengthening. As the increased demands or stress loads are placed on the repaired tissue, the fibers will start to align themselves for maximum strength. There are several theories as to how to maximize this. Cyriax, an orthopedist in the 1930s,
came up with what we call transverse or cross friction massage. This technique breaks down the fibers of the scar tissue in all directions. Most myofascial release techniques tend to go only in the direction of the fibers. The understanding is, one is tacking down the fibers in the direction of the original fibers and breaking down the other more binding fibers. I personally use my intuition and may use either cross fiber or aligned fiber approach. I do feel that regardless of the approach, it is crucial to stretch the muscle after it has been worked on. The stretching will help lay down the fibers to determine the maximum tensile strength of the fiber. The athlete usually starts some type of rehabilitation program during the repair phase. This consists of range of motion, resisted range of motion, balance, neuromuscular re-education (band work/ball work) and stretching. In general, the athlete prepares for the re-entry into their training and sport. This is dependent on several factors: pain, severity of injury and, of course if there is a doctor involved, doctorâ€™s advice. By the time the athlete is through with the remodeling phase they are ready to start the re-entry to training period.
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 11
health and fitness
concussion testing C R U I S I N ' B . A N T H O N Y, S T E E L C I T Y D E R B Y D E M O N S
The Steel City jammer wasn’t thinking “concussion” when she went down mid-bout after a hit to the head; she just wanted to get back onto the track and score more points. But when her attempts to get back on her feet resulted in wobbly skating – something this girl just doesn’t do, unless it’s part of a dance move – the EMTs and safety committee were ready to put Steel City’s suspected-concussion plan into action. First, she was checked for signs of a more serious injury. Pupils that won’t dilate, bleeding, fractures, trouble breathing – any of those would have sent her to the ER, stat. Since she passed that initial screening, members of Steel City’s safety committee took her back to the locker room to check her brain function during the 20 minutes she was required to sit out from play. Concussion symptoms often take that long or longer to materialize and it’s very dangerous to send a skater back into a game to risk a second, and possibly more serious, hit. The tests the jammer had to pass before she could return to play involved as many areas of her brain as possible. A list of symptoms like dizziness, nausea and sensitivity to light was used by the safety committee in recording how the jammer felt. A safety committee member watched her walk, and tested other brain functions like her sense of smell. Then the jammer had to perform a series of mental gymnastics testing her memory and concentration. The final component was a balance test, which found the jammer standing on one foot, on top of a cushion, with her eyes closed. It was one of six positions she had to stand in for 20 seconds each. 12 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
The verdict? At the 20-minute mark, the jammer had no symptoms of a concussion and she passed all of her tests. She went back into the game for the second half. what’s going on inside the brain If this sounds like overkill for a whack on the head, consider that even a mild concussion is a serious brain injury, and symptoms are often hidden at first. “This is an invisible injury,” says Dr. Micky Collins of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Sports Concussion Program. “There is no swelling, no fracture, no bleeding. If you look on an MRI, [the brain] looks completely normal,” he adds. But symptoms can show up hours or days later and a skater may ultimately take weeks or longer to recover. A concussion occurs when the brain rattles around inside the skull, like shaking the yolk inside an egg. No helmet can totally prevent concussions; you can even get one from a hard hit to the body that jerks your head around. What happens inside the brain is a stretching of the brain cells, which causes a chemical cascade with two effects: one, the brain demands extra energy (which comes in the form of glucose, a sugar, in the blood); and two, the blood vessels of the brain constrict, limiting energy supply when the brain needs it most. Dr. Collins describes the situation as an “energy crisis” in the brain cells, setting up a fragile situation that needs to be handled very carefully. Dr. Collins described several typical cases of concussion in a web-based lecture. One high school athlete was cleared to return to play after his first concussion and suffered a second just
two weeks later. In the hospital, MRI and CT scans were normal, but he took over a year to recover from fatigue, dizziness, and emotional problems. His grades dropped and he had to be held back a year. Even for a first concussion, appearances can be deceiving. When Dr. Collins described a soccer player who returned to the game after testing but felt the full effects of her symptoms later, I thought of our jammer. “Looking back, I know exactly what happened. My adrenaline was through the roof,” she says. After passing her tests, she played a few jams. “Once my adrenaline cooled down I didn’t quite feel right.” Following league policy, a safety committee member arranged for a ride and checked up on her as she rested and recovered. When the jammer revisited her symptom checklist at the recommended 2-3 hour mark, her scores painted a very different picture. For the next week, she says, “I felt like I had a massive hangover.” how leagues can protect skaters with a concussion policy The recovering jammer followed a gradual return-to-play procedure, which kept her on the bench for almost two weeks. First, a skater has to be asymptomatic at rest; then, since exercise can bring out concussion symptoms, she has to try light exercise like walking, then more vigorous exercise like skating laps. To be cleared at each level, the skater must be symptom-free and wait 24 hours before advancing to the next step. The skater must then take the concussion test again and show that she is back to her pre-injury scores, which are on file from
Joe Schwartz / JoeRollerfan.com
the beginning of the season. Without the league’s policy, the jammer says she would have returned to practice that week, putting her in serious danger of futher injury. According to Dr. Collins, one of the most important things to do after a concussion is to make sure the athlete doesn’t get another one. “We are trying to prevent against cumulative force, less force causing a second injury and post-concussion syndrome,” he explains. The other important aspect to recovery is making sure not to increase demands on the brain before it is healed. That includes physical as well as mental demands like schoolwork. Many sports organizations are catching up to cutting-edge research to keep players with brain injuries off the field. The NFL famously introduced their concussion policy around the same time as Steel City (late 2009), after concussions were shown to be linked to long-term brain damage in retired players. Pro organizations for hockey, baseball, even NASCAR and Cirque de Soleil have concussion management programs or policies. While WFTDA does not have such a policy
yet, individual leagues can create their own policies, as Steel City did. If your league doesn’t offer concussion testing, a stopgap approach is to simply be aware of what concussion symptoms look and feel like. Dr. Lovell says that players often describe feeling like they are “in a fog.” Other symptoms may be similar to a hangover or a migraine (in fact, migraine sufferers are more likely to get concussions) including nausea and sensitivity to light and noise, and a severe pressure-like headache. An oftenoverlooked symptom is having emotional difficulties. Another Steel City skater, who was suspected of having a concussion, didn’t think she had any symptoms until her roommate noticed that she’d been emotional and irritable since the practice when she hit her head. Watching for symptoms in your fellow players can be even harder, since many skaters will hide or minimize what they’re feeling so that they can get back on the track. “We run into that issue all the time,” says Dr. Lovell, of players who “will do absolutely anything to get back on the field. It happens in five-year-olds and in professional athletes.” Testing helps
because the skater can see how her scores have dropped and detailed questioning about symptoms often gets more accurate answers than simply asking a skater if she feels fine. In lieu of anything official, you can always carry a SCAT (Sport Concussion Assessment Tool) card, which contains a mini-test and a list of suspicious symptoms. In a future issue of fiveonfive, I’ll talk about exactly how leagues can help and protect skaters. We’ll hear about the details of the Steel City policy, and a concussion expert’s opinion about ways to improve on that policy. For one thing, he says any skater who shows signs of a concussion, even fleeting ones like our star jammer, should be benched for the rest of the day. The American Academy of Neurology just released a position statement agreeing with that idea. Steel City also has a full season’s worth of experience with concussion testing by now, so we’ll hear about how it was received, the challenges that cropped up, and some thoughts about future directions that could help your league.
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 13
health and fitness
derby after 50 H OT F L A S H , T I LT E D T H U N D E R R A I L B I R D S
My name is Hot Flash. I am 54 years old and have been skating with Tilted Thunder Rail Birds in Seattle, Washington and am starting a recreational derby league in Seattle called Seattle Roller Derby. Hopefully this will be a good way for people to learn and get some extra track time in addition to the awesome PFM Roller Derby Practice Squad here. I decided that I wanted to play roller derby after I saw a bout and realized that it was my last chance to do a full body contact sport in this lifetime. A lot of people ask me if I feel out of place with all of the younger skaters. Not at all. In fact I feel like I can be an inspiration to them. If I can continue to improve at my age, which I think I am, then they can too. Age can’t be an excuse for anyone when I’m around. The Joe Grasso
mental aspect is everything; this took me quite a while to figure out. I plan on skating as long as I can. I am on a mission to be the oldest skater in modern competitive derby. I admire the old school folks who are out there in their sixties – I hope I can do that too.
rough time in my life and I was just trying to get “something” out
The way I look at it is all I need to do is out last anyone out there!
of it but that something was not very clear to me. Now I am skating
So far so good. For some reason my endurance seems to be
with the Tilted Thunder Rail Birds; Seattle’s banked track league.
increasing, rather than decreasing. I think that in tandem with
The experience is pretty warm and fuzzy in comparison and I realize
working on my basic skills, I’m learning how to use my head,
that I have something to offer as a person, not just being around as
which really was missing before.
someone’s mom. I may not ever be the fastest or the strongest but
Before I started skating I woke up with aches and pains and
I can work toward being my best and I can definitely help the fastest
thought, “Oh, THIS is what it feels like to feel middle aged.” Now
and the strongest on my team be their best. Now I have a purpose
that I’m skating I have new aches and pains from injuries, but the
and that is to live my life fully each day with no regrets. I wan t to
difference is they heal. The old aches and pains have gone away,
inspire others to do things that they never thought they could do
so the benefit of skating far outweighs the risk of injury. When I first
before and I’m here to help others navigate in this cuckoo world.
started to skate I wondered if I was insane each time I fell and got
This is the one shot we have and I very clearly see that it is a very
hurt. I was 48 at the time. Then I started noticing 20-somethings
small window of opportunity to make a difference for each other.
complaining of injuries. A light went off in my head and I realized it
My advice for younger skaters: DON’T SMOKE, work out and
is NOT about getting old, it is about getting hurt. And injuries heal,
exercise. Take care of your body. From age 30-50 I ran about 15-20
so realizing this helped me be able to throw myself into the sport.
miles a week even when I didn’t want to. I ran uphill and ran in the
When I first started skating I was on auto pilot. I was with Rat City
rain. I knew that at that time I was making the decision to have a
Rollergirls and skating with my daughter, Miss Fortune. I realize now
vital life in my older years. And don’t judge other people; remember
that what was missing for me on that league was intention. In
that everyone is trying their best and no one wants to be an asshole.
hindsight what I wanted to do then was something cool with my
Help each other, lend a shoulder and a hand, be a good sport. Let
daughter, and also be involved in a full body contact sport while still
go of the small stuff which sounds like a cliché but it is very true.
possible. Looking back, my main goal was to skate with Miss
Lastly, go easy on yourself. Do your best and give yourself a break
Fortune, so I was never very clear on my “place” in the league. I
if you aren’t on top of your game. Just let it be, accept it and it
wondered if people were just tolerating me because I was her mom,
will pass, whatever it is. This is it. This is all we’ve got so let’s
and I never knew if I fit in, and I wasn’t thriving. It was also a very
make the best of it!
14 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
Pumped-Up Twice Baked Potatoes with Soup and Salad Catholic Cruel Girl, Rocky Mountain Rollergirls
ingredients: 4 large baking potatoes 1 large or 2 medium celery root; peeled and cubed 1 large or 2 medium leeks; white parts only, finely diced 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 8 oz tub Crème Fraiche 1 package organic shredded cheddar cheese 2-4 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons canola oil 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Wash potatoes and using a fork, poke holes into potatoes. While oven is pre-heating, prepare leeks and garlic (I use a food processor for this). Set aside. Once oven reaches 450 degrees place potatoes on oven racks and set timer for 60 minutes. Fill a large stockpot with water and turn burner on high, add 2 pinches of salt. Cut off ends of celery root and peel with potato peeler, chop into medium-sized wedges. Once water is at a boil add celery root. Boil until soft when a fork is inserted, then drain. Set aside. In a medium saucepan heat canola oil over medium heat. Add leek/garlic mixture and sauté over low heat stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or until mixture is soft and somewhat translucent. Set aside. Place pine nuts in an ovenproof dish and bake in oven for a few minutes (until lightly browned), shaking frequently. Keep your eyes on them as they can burn quickly! photo: Jean Schwarzwalder food stylist: Leitha Matz When potatoes are done baking, remove from oven and let cool until they can be handled (about 15 minutes). Once cooled, cut in half and scoop out inside, leaving the skin intact. In a large bowl combine butter, crème fraiche (you don‘t need the entire tub, judge for yourself), potatoes and celery root. Using an electric mixer stir together until thoroughly combined. Add leek/garlic mixture and continue to stir until incorporated to potato/celery root mixture. Stir in as much cheese as you like, saving some for a light sprinkling on top. Scoop out mixture and put back into potato skins. Don’t hold back, pile it on! At this point you can refrigerate for up to two days and reheat or put back in oven until reheated. When finished top with some shredded cheese and pine nuts. Serve with your favorite canned soup (I recommend Amy’s Organic Chunky Tomato Bisque) and pre-made, mixed greens salad topped with dressing of choice.
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 15
games and coaching
2010 championships J U S T I C E F E E L G O O D M A R S H A L L , D E R B Y N E W S N E T WO R K
After previous championship tournaments held in Austin, Portland and Philadelphia, the 2010 WFTDA Championship came to Chicago on November 5 and proved to live up to its billing as the premier competitive event in modern derby. Each of the WFTDA’s four regions sent their top three teams to the big show, and three days of single-elimination action led up to a clash between the same teams that had met in the Western Region final in October – the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls from Denver, Colorado and the 2009 champions, the Oly Rollers out of Olympia, Washington. In the end, it was Rocky Mountain winning it all by just one point in a thriller of a last-jam finale, denying Oly the chance to become the first repeat WFTDA champions. photos by Joe Schwartz / JoeRollerfan.com
16 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
Rocky’s path to the title was not an easy one, as they had to turn back a surprisingly robust challenge on Saturday from Baltimore’s Charm City in their first match. Charm City, who had punished Minnesota 249-118 in Friday’s openinground action, was able to stick with Rocky for their first half, down only 67-52 at the break before eventually succumbing to more focused play from RMRG and an accumulation of penalties that had Dolly Rocket, Thoroughbled and Rosie the Rioter all in foul trouble early in the second half. In the end, Rocky came out of it with a 165-103 victory. That set up a Saturday night quarterfinal that pitted the West’s top seed Rocky against the East’s top seed Gotham in a long-awaited matchup. Gotham had gone 11-0 in 2010 coming into this game, including a big 151-52 win over extremely tough Texas in their first game of the day, but the usually unstoppable Gotham spent their first half looking uncharacteristically handcuffed against a fired-up Rocky squad. RMRG held powerhouse Gotham jammer Suzy Hotrod completely scoreless for the first 30 minutes and had a 7531 lead at the break; although Gotham played a much stronger second half, they could only shave 10 points off that lead and ran out of time, losing 113-79 in a game that sent Rocky Mountain to the championship. Without the benefit of having a first-round bye like top seed Rocky Mountain, Oly’s road to the final was a little bit longer, but they also had slightly less trouble with their opposition. Their Friday matchup was against Nashville, a surprising upstart from the South Central region who had
upset Dallas and Atlanta to reach the championship tournament, but Oly made sure their ride came to a quick end with the biggest rout of the weekend, a 214-53 thumping that closed Friday’s action. They again won by over one hundred points on Saturday, overcoming a bit of a slow start to knock out hosting Windy City with a 178-76 final. Although Oly’s 106-81 final score in the semifinal match against Philly looked pretty close on paper, Oly held Philly mostly out of striking range for the majority of the game there. Philly held a lead at 32-24 with about ten minutes to play in the first half, but a 28-2 Oly run to close the half put Philly in a hole they couldn’t crawl out of. In the second half, two 15-0 Philly jams proved to be the lion’s share of the points Oly allowed, and Philly spent the latter half hovering between 20 and 40 points down before the game closed on the high end of that range. In the final, both Rocky Mountain and Oly played an intense, up-tempo game that was even all the way through. Oly received spectacular performances from ace jammer Atomatrix, who blasted her way to a stunning 101 points, and pivot Sassy, who consistently had the front of the pack on lockdown and would eventually be named the tournament’s MVP. On the other side, RMRG was led by a determined and ubiquitous DeRanged, who took the star in nearly every other jam and was in the pack fairly regularly; big contributions also came from original member Frida Beater and recently added blocker Amanda Jamitinya. Both teams were able to successfully marginalize one of the other team’s most serious scoring threats, though; RMRG’s Urrk’n Jerk’n As Booty Blockya did manage to pop one huge 24-0 second-half powerjam, but was held to 10 points outside of
that jam. Meanwhile, Oly jammer Heffer, like Gotham’s Suzy Hotrod before her, found her usually prodigious scoring output stuffed – she scored only 6 points on ten jams. Oly held a small lead for the majority of the first half and got an enormous 25-0 powerjam from Atomatrix to push a 59-49 margin to a 84-49 lead at the break, but that didn’t last very long after halftime as Urrk’n Jerk’n put down her big 24-0 on the half’s third jam to make it a one-jam game again at 89-78 Oly. Still, Rocky Mountain couldn’t get back in front until penalty trouble seriously bit Oly as the game entered its last ten minutes; a 14-2 jam from DeRanged got Rocky Mountain within one point at 113-112 as Atomatrix had to watch from the box, and Atom was only on the track for a few moments in the following jam before getting sent out again and leaving the track open for Frida Beater to drop 12-0. That put Rocky up 124-113 with only six minutes to play. With 2:23 to play, Rocky Mountain had a 130-123 lead but had lost both Psycho Babble and Urrk’n Jerk’n to fouling out, and Oly’s Tannibal Lector, who had not been heavily used as a jammer previously in the tournament, turned in a massive momentum-changer with a 24-8 powerjam on a strung-out Rocky pack. It looked likely to be the gamewinner – until Tannibal was hit with a back-block major that left her boxed as the game’s final jam began. Rocky Mountain was down 146-138 with just 20 seconds left on the game clock and Frida Beater on the jam line against a very light 2-2 pack. Her first two passes were easy and clean to make it 146-143 as she approached for the game winning points with no time on the clock, Tannibal still stuck in the box and an electrified arena completely on its feet. Though Oly’s Femme Fatale forced Frida out of bounds just before she
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 17
games and coaching
could break pack on the second scoring pass, Femme went out of bounds on the block as well, freeing Frida to complete the pass. That was 4 points – exactly what RMRG needed to retake the lead – and Frida called it off for the one-point win at Rocky 147, Oly 146. In other memorable tournament action, Texas knocked off Bay Area in a very low-scoring opening game, 72-59 – it was the only weekend win for a team from the North or South Central regions, and the closest game other than the final – and Gotham didn’t have much trouble with Philly in the thirdplace game, rolling to a 162-51 victory. Rocky Mountain joined Kansas City (2007), Gotham (2008) and Oly (2009) as WFTDA champions; Oly, though unable to repeat, became the only team to reach the championship bout two years in a row. Next year, the WFTDA championship will be held in Rocky Mountain’s hometown, hosted by cross-town rivals Denver Roller Dolls. Joe Schwartz / JoeRollerfan.com
18 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
Joe Schwartz / JoeRollerfan.com
coach’s corner by coach pauly
know your roll
part 10: coaching chaos to gain focus
Practice night comes, you have your practice mapped out, the structure is brilliantly timed and perfectly spaced, the skaters are warmed and ready and it begins. Endurance, drills and skills strategy talks all completed. Now get to the dessert of our practice: scrimmage! Since my start as a roller derby coach I have heard the same groanings and grumblings when it comes to scrimmaging. “I don’t want to jam”,“I think I skate better with this skater or that skater”, “I suck as a pivot”, “I don’t want to play that position.” Have you heard any of these comments lately? If you haven’t, good for you. But if you have I have come up with a drill, better yet a method, to cover many of these issues. I call it the L.A. Freeway. If you have ever driven in L.A. and jumped on the 405 or the 101 you know that it’s chaos. The constant flow of vehicles, speed changes and being cut off brings your blood to a boil and makes you forget what you are doing. At this point you are probably asking yourself what the hell a freeway has to do with roller derby. If I can train my skaters to keep their heads while all of these types of distractions are going on around them, they will be able to keep playing their strategy while the opposition is going nowhere. Have each skater pick their equal; by equal I mean the skater who truly demonstrates skill closest to their own. Once you have all the skaters present partnered up, have them separate into to single file lines, one on the inside line and the other on the outside line. Make sure both groups are wearing different colors clearly separating them into teams. Now that you have everyone separated and standing outside the boundaries on both lines, give the first skater in line the pivot cover and the fifth skater the jammer cover. Have the skaters that you have identified take their positions on the track as they would in any other jam. Have the rest of the skaters move up to the pivot line and stay in their single file configuration outside of the boundaries. Now start the jam with the skaters on the track playing the jam as normal. The skaters off the track have to pull one blocker every time the pack passes them. They have to literally tell the person they are replacing to “GET OUT I AM IN”, grab her out and call her name. After the jammer breaks the pack twice she passes the cover to the next person in the line. The jam never ends, it’s perpetual.
As skaters come in and out they are forced to work with new people constantly. Strategies have to be rebuilt and formed on the fly. Skaters have to communicate faster. Skaters that always pass on jamming are now forced to jam. As each skater swaps in and out chaos melts away and focus becomes clearer and clearer, and in time your skaters will be so used to chaos that it becomes the norm and they will be at one with it. The L.A. Freeway gives you a new way to set up your scrimmage. It allows your new skaters and vets alike to skate together without giving them time to worry about anything but the jam at hand. As we all know each jam is unique, if you take one person out of the mix it changes and whoever is left has to adapt. The ability to adapt is a very important attribute, in my opinion. For those skaters that have an aversion to jamming, it forces them to jam with no time to think about it, they just have to do it. In time they find that it’s just another ability that will make them a valued resource to any team. For the skaters that seem to always do everything together, it takes them out of their comfort zone and forces them to be comfortable skating with anyone anywhere. The L.A. Freeway scrimmage method makes your skaters just play instead of thinking; it puts them in the mindset of action. After you have used the L.A. Freeway a few times you need to ramp it up. Have the skaters that are outside of the boundaries skate 50%, however ensuring that they remain parallel to each other. Don’t forget to switch inside and outside when your trainer/coach indicates to do so. This allows everyone to be in constant motion which adds a little endurance to the mix. Strategies are constantly broken and packs are reformed making for many immediate recalculations by each skater. Don’t forget to include your refs so they can take advantage of the chaos to hone their pack acquisition skills as well as keep the skaters honest in their game play. All in all the L.A. Freeway encompasses so many aspects of the games psychology, teamwork and over all spirit. At the end of your practice people will go home satisfied with a renewed love of the game.
‘Til next time, see you on the track… If you have any questions, comments or feedback please email me at email@example.com.
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 19
games and coaching
DRILL drill: wall of terror
purpose: practice holding solid defensive walls, communication and awareness
Steven L. Price (Skippy Steve)
Choose 5-15 skaters to form â€œThe Wall of Terrorâ€? (WOT). The WOT starts skating and forms a solid wall across the track. The coach sends in several jammers to try to break through the WOT. It is important to send in several jammers at a time to give the WOT constant challenges. Continue the drill until all the jammers get through or up to four minutes.
Derby News Network and fiveonfive magazine present the 2010 photo annual featuring tons of great photos from this year!
PHOTO ANNUAL fiveonfivemag.com
Available at fiveonfivemag.com
Congratulations Rocky Mountain Rollergirls!
UO L * U H O O R 5 \ H +
KwiK bearings and fiveonfive magazine recognize Rocky Mountain Rollergirls as the 2010 WFTDA Champions!
2GRU 2G RU HOLPLQDWLQJ LQJ ODXQGU \ ODXQGU\ G HWHUJHQWIRU GHWHUJHQWIRU \RXUVWLQN\ GXUDEOHV G XUDEOHV
ZZZVSRUWVXGVFRP 1RZDYDLODEOHDWDPD]RQFRP 1 RZDYDLODEOHDWD DPD] D]]R ]RQFRP
We are proud to be a part of your success!
games and coaching
team building NITRO!, SLAUGHTER COUNTY ROLLER VIXENS
When I first started coaching, I always approached each skater as an individual and always thought about their well-being on and off the track. The thing about this sport is that it’s a part time job for ladies who are single moms, wives/girlfriends, and employees from a great mixture of places. The biggest concern was giving them a reason to stay. What kinds of things can make a person want to stick throughout all the practices while maintaining a positive life outside of the derby world? The answer for me was to make the team an extension of their life outside of derby. You do this by creating a positive place for skaters to practice and encouraging them to push one another through the trials and tribulations. Doing your best to maintain a positive attitude creates an environment that is constructive and fun for the skaters to escape into. When you do this you allow them to immerse themselves in the sport, which makes for an overall stronger team and makes for a better skater. Saying this is one thing, but living this is another. I will describe a conceptual theory that became a reality and lead to building a very strong team. practice How do you run a practice to help skaters grow in skill but at the same time make the team grow as a family? You make them depend on one another. For example: if you a run drill that will beat them physically, you encourage talking during the drill. Venting in any form helps a skater push and adapt because they aren’t thinking of the pain in their muscles. You also tell them to have fun, but you exploit their “fun” by making them work extremely hard and introduce tougher drills. Miserable people tend to find comfort somewhere. In a situation like this, the comfort is with one another and the hard work becomes relatively transparent. This creates a positive working relationship while improving their skills. Some skaters will create competition with each other: who is faster, who hits harder and even who has the worst smelling pads. As a coach, you don’t want them to perceive you as a tyrant who just beats them down. This is why it is important to let them vent and even mess around during the practice sessions. You just have to be careful because too much fun and not enough work can cause issues. It is important to give each
22 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
skater immediate self-improvement and understanding of the sport. One thing I learned from coaching my son’s little league soccer team is if you don’t keep everyone busy, they get bored and sooner or later the kids will start losing focus. By applying this to roller derby you keep skaters busy plus they learn by doing. I’ve seen coaches who like to talk and describe everything that needed to be done. Then once the skaters start attempting the task, the coach will typically start talking some more. This is way too much down time. Down time leads to the skater losing interest and they tend to shut down. The best way to engage their interest is: 1. Tell the skaters clearly what the plan for the day is: “Today we are going to work on blocking.” 2. Then you want to keep everyone busy instead of only one or two skaters. “Everyone pair up and start blocking each other.” 3. As a coach you watch them; watch everything each skater is doing and see where the issues are. 4. When you see weaknesses, immediately address them by pulling the skater aside. Break down the issue by giving actual examples; don’t just talk to the skater about it. Showing leads to understanding. If done correctly they will have an “Ah Ha” moment. This moment does wonders to morale and the improvement of one’s abilities. gatherings Another important aspect to team building is doing things away from the rink. In 2007, Doc Rivers took the Boston Celtics to Italy for a preseason bonding experience. The Celtics went on to win a World Championship during the 2007-2008 season because their overall pride in the team made the individual mentalities fade in Italy. These kinds of bonding experiences are important because it allows players to see one another without their alter egos. Skaters in roller derby create an alter ego that can be outright scary. When you strip off the skates and pads, you sometimes get completely different people. Seeing each other without the alter ego allows skaters to respect and love one another as Kate, not Big Black Voodoo Mamba Snake Moan. The best kinds of gatherings are the ones that allow for all ages. Just take care not to sacrifice the stuff that the kidless skaters would be interested in. Some of these gatherings can
be as simple as cross training at the local park and then follow with BBQ hot dogs. Places to avoid are areas that don’t allow conversation or mingling. Concerts are probably not a good idea, unless of course it’s a Hall and Oates concert because this will automatically boost team morale (kidding!). Gatherings may seem silly from the outside looking in, but teams are refined by the things skaters do when the skates are off. These settings shouldn’t feel like work. It should feel like a break in one’s life. When this is taken back to the pack, the mentality to protect one another is stronger. When a drill is being performed or an exercise is being executed, the idea of letting each other down by dropping out is so inconceivable that shame is felt. pre-game Motivating your team is crucial prior to the bout. The kinds of things you need to try to address are the usual questions you get from skaters: “I heard they have fast jammers, is this true?” “I hear they got a new speed skater, how do we stop that?” “What do we do about their star blocker?” Although these aren’t exactly what the skaters will ask, the questions’ overall concepts are the same. The skater(s) are
feeling insecure and need something to help them feel better about the upcoming bout. The best way to address this is by making them feel invincible. Motivating skaters prior to a bout is probably one of the most important things next to getting them to relax (if a skater isn’t relaxed, then her muscles are tense; this causes fatigue faster. I find the best way to get them to relax is to have them dance to music). From pissing them off to questioning their pride, in the end motivating the group as a whole and giving them one thing to share just prior to the bout is the most rewarding thing you can accomplish toward success. the result Just because you can get everyone to have fun with one another doesn’t mean they are automatically a good team. It is very crucial that they’ve worked their butts off. From suicides, to thirty minute pace lines (thirty minutes of target heart rate is the best thing for building endurance), to endless core exercise, you have to get these skaters to work. Obviously the work is as equally important as the team building. Once you pull everyone together and practice hard as a whole, the skaters will take care of the rest.
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 23 fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 23
what wheels are best? I VA N N A S . PA N K I N ’ , S A N D I E G O D E R B Y D O L L S
There are a lot of factors that determine how a wheel will perform and it can be hard to figure out what they all mean and how they relate to each other. I’m pretty sure most people determine what wheels they want by figuring out what their hero wears, then buying those. But I have some bad news: you’re not her (or him). Maybe you have a different stride, body type, practice floor or skating experience; those things make a difference. The biggest factor in how a wheel will perform for you is – well, you! Your taste, your expectations, how receptive you are to marketing, and everything about you physically and how and where you skate – all affect how well a wheel works for you. Unfortunately, it’s hard to quantify all that stuff – but the good news is that you can analyze physical wheel features to help you decide. durometer Durometer is a term you hear a lot about wheels. Pretty much everyone has an idea of what it means, right? Durometer is a measure of the hardness and rebound of urethane. That’s a number (usually) painted on the side of the wheel that many skaters use to guess (often incorrectly) how grippy a wheel will be. But if durometer is so important, why aren’t all derby skaters that want more grip using soft outdoor wheels? Well, because the softness of the urethane is only ONE factor that determines how your wheel performs. What about all the others? Important factors in addition to durometer include: • the weight of the wheels (which can vary by as much as a pound for a whole set of wheels!) • shape of the wheel, including the diameter and width, or contact patch • the lip or edge s hape • the hub material, size and shape • the tread Not surprisingly, all these factors are related. Hubs can determine how heavy a wheel is and so can the shape. The lip bevel can make a wide wheel feel and perform like a slim. A soft urethane durometer can make a not-grippy shape grab just fine, and a harder urethane can make a shape with more contact patch feel slidey. It’s all related, but each feature does have a particular performance-related property, so that’s what we’re aiming to nail down.
24 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
weight That’s the easy one. Heavy wheels offer traction but can fatigue legs. Lighter ones make fast moves easier but can make skaters feel less grounded and stable. I weighed a few of ours on a postal scale and found the Heartless and slim Jukes were the lightest, which makes sense because they’re also the smallest. I didn’t bother to weigh for heaviest, but it’s probably a 62x44 wheel with a big aluminum hub, which isn’t commonly used for derby anymore, anyway. wheel size By size, I mean: diameter and width – or, actually, contact patch. When modern derby got rolling in 2001, most indoor speed wheels were similarly sized: 62mm diameter and 44mm wide with a small bevel on the edge for the widest contact patch. But now wheels with a narrower width and/or smaller diameter are as common as (formerly) standard width and diameter speed wheels. Most have a similar bevel at the contact patch side, but there is a lot of variety in the shape of the lips, or edge. diameter Diameter is how tall your wheels are from the ground up, basically. Generally, smaller diameter (shorter) shapes (like Jukes or Tuner Jrs) are capable of faster acceleration because it takes less effort to get going; that means more “quickness” for faster 0 to 60 snap speeds. Smaller diameter wheels are the quarter mile drag racers of derby. Larger diameter (taller; usually 62mm) wheels (pretty much all the rest) typically offer comparatively better “roll” – slower initial acceleration because they take more effort to get going, but less effort to keep going fast. Tall wheels are the endless lap Nascars of derby. Outdoor wheels like Krypto 70mm wheels are super tall because when you’re cruising the boardwalk, you want to coast. Speed skaters also tend to favor “taller” wheels because once they get going they want to keep going fast for all those long laps. Rookie players usually have 62mm wheels, as well, because they’re offered stock on most skate packages. That works because beginning players usually play mostly moving forward at relatively constant speeds.
Shorter diameter may be better suited to derby, however, because regulation tracks are short and intermediate and advanced gameplay styles require a lot more stalls, braking and quick moves forward, backward and laterally – so snap speed has more payoff for most players than long, constant lap speed.
lips Another factor in wheel-to-floor contact and grippiness is the edge or lip of the wheel. Imagine you’re mid-crossover with all your weight on your right leg and your left leg extended under you at the very end of your stride push – that last bit of wheel touching the floor, mostly likely on the left front wheel of your left skate: that’s the lip. If you have a speed- or art-trained coach or mentor, you hear about skating your edges a lot – same thing, but the word “lips” is funnier to me, so that’s what I call it. Wheel lips are just about ALWAYS beveled because if they were square, the lip could bust off in little urethane chunks when you push. But the shape of the lip, including the size of the bevel, how wide the hub is and extra urethane hanging out past the hub – always combined with the softness of the urethane – affects how much grab you get out of your push for speed strides and powerful lateral maneuvers, as well.
But there is more to shape than just the diameter, as well. I mean, who doesn’t know someone that loves narrow or “slim” wheels? width – or, really, contact patch The contact patch is, literally, what contacts the ground when you skate – not just the width measurement, but the width minus beveled edges, so really, how much of the urethane actually touches the ground. The wider the contact patch, the more grip you have (taking into account the other factors), which, for muscular-stride skaters can mean a more powerful stride and deeper digs for fast laterals – especially helpful when dodging out of the way of hits or digging in to lay a more powerful block on an opponent. Detractors say wide wheels also mean more wheel locking. As a coach, I prefer to fight wheel lock with training (ask me how in another article), but it’s true – narrower wheels can be a short cut that helps, as well.
Sin City Skates
Narrow wheels also have better slide, but, especially in softer compounds, wear down faster and get flat spots easier because you’re putting the same weight and pressure over a smaller area of wheel – which leads to faster wear on the urethane. This is especially true of slim wheels with softer urethane compounds. The best feature of narrow wheels is that (with nylon hubs), they’re also the lightest, and they help skaters with “hoppy” strides feel more agile, as well. The slimmer shape can help reduce drag for extra quick hops.
Sin City Skates
This photo demonstrates diameter, lips and hub: Diameter: Juke and QS are 59mm diameter, Fugi is 62mm. Lips: Juke has a square lip, QS square-ish, Fugi soft lips. Hub: Juke has a stiff design (to the lip), but a soft material. QS has a tiny hub, making the lip feel softer. Fugi has a standard sized, not-stiff hub with spokes to stiffen a little more.
Heartless has the smallest contact patch with sizable bevels on both edges. Omega in the middle with standard bevel on the front edge and squared off backside. Fugitive has the largest contact patch with the widest width, similar bevel to Omega, and softer lips.
• Square edge – uncommon for modern roller derby wheels, but found with the smallest bevel on Echo, Pure and Fuel (outdoor wheels). • Square-ish beveled edge (Omega, Poison, Dubz, Flat Outs, many cut-down slim wheels). This is a square front on the usuallypainted side of the wheel and contact patch edge with a very slight bevel. This bevel offers the smallest amount of lips you can get on a modern derby wheel in most cases. • “Soft Lips” beveled edge (very common edge and probably one of the most grippy; found in Fugitives, Sugars, Tuners, most wide wheels) – the bevel on top is pretty similar across the board, but the inside of the wheel face has been cut at a sharper angle to the core. That edge is what I call “soft lips” because it provides a lip that grabs at the surface at the end of your stride to provide
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 25
gear speed; or at the end of your sharp pushes for lateral grab, more so with softer urethanes than harder ones. These lips are apt to deteriorate with lots of use, especially on the softer urethanes – but they are grippy until then and make for very fast lateral moves. Soft lips can also be achieved with hub size – we’ll talk about that in a minute. • Rounded edge (outdoor wheels) – less grip but great for sliding and cruising. Less chance that the soft edge will deteriorate, as well. Good for “drift” – skaters that like controlled slide in their hits, etc. Great on outdoor wheels because it spits out obstacles like pebbles, but not common on indoor derby wheels.
Sin City Skates
hubs The hub or core of the wheel is the hard part in the middle where the bearings are seated and it can really affect the performance, but mainly in ways we already discussed; by how far out it protrudes, giving the wheels softer lips – or by being significantly heavier, like aluminum hubs. Hub size can also change the softness of the lip, like on the Quickie Stickies, where the extra small hubs make the lips extra squishy even though the lip bevel is really squared off. So they’re super grippy, but without the worry of lip deterioration.
An example of hub and wheels styles.
The “give” of a hub material or design also affects the roll in a way that is similar to the diameter. Stiffer engineering or materials in the hub (like aluminum, which has no give) have longer roll because they stay perfectly round when you push (and slip easier), while nylon hubs with less-stiff designs squish more to offer more traction (and rob you of speed) when you’re pushing. Of course, aluminum is also heavier (which can be slower), while nylon hubs are universally lighter and cheaper and usually traction is more important in derby than long lap speed. But we want them grippy and fast, so manufacturers are working to combine materials and engineer new designs with hybrid cores that are mostly nylon (to keep them light and inexpensive to make) with aluminum caps (to make them stiff), like the Juke 2.0 alloy or the Dubz. That technology is in its infancy and it remains to be seen if players will like it.
26 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
tread Tread is another misunderstood feature. Everyone assumes you must have tread and that bald wheels won’t be grippy. But urethane gets grippier from the heat of friction with the floor, and softer urethanes heat up faster. So just like your muscles warm up – so do your wheels, and the friction of skating can make even a bald wheel grippy. However, tread is especially helpful while you’re warming up, and – let’s face it, actually paying attention. Once you start playing, you’ve got a lot more to worry about, so you might not notice your wheels are getting grippier. But when you’re cold and your wheels are, too, those little lines of tread spread and create more surface area, making it easier to hang on to the ground. On the other hand, skaters with really smooth floors tend not to wear off the tread as fast. But the heat of skating will eventually harden the urethane and make it less grippy, as well. So they can have all the tread in the world and still have no grip at all. SO WHAT IS THE BEST? People always ask me what my favorite shape combination is. Well, it depends! Generally, I like small diameter wide wheels with a soft lip bevel in every range of urethane firmness. I switch around a lot so I won’t be dependent on any particular wheels, but I prefer grippy urethane almost all the time, especially when I’m blocking more, working on endurance, or in winter. I go firmer when I’m jamming a lot or feel like I want to slip around a bit to help me work on my stride. So – depending on how much grip I want, my favorite wheels (from grippiest to fastest) are Sugars that have been cut down to 56mm (try Ghosts if that sounds good to you), Jukes, Tuner Jrs, Fugitives and Lowboys. I’m not a “hoppy” skater – I am a power strider. So that’s what works for me – how do you figure out what works for you? Nothing substitutes for trying wheels out. As always, I encourage you to trade wheels with friends whenever you can! Even trying out someone’s dead bald-ass old wheels will give you a better handle on that type of wheel than judging based on your hero’s tastes. But hopefully some of that info helped you figure out where to start. Now go read this stuff: More information about grippiness and wheels from a 2009 article in fiveonfive issue 6: sincityskates.com/images/PDFs/wheels-Grippiness-Durometer.pdf REFERENCES: All About (Skateboarding) Wheels at lushlongboards.com: tiny.cc/2o9rx This guy introduced me to the concept of contact patch, especially. Good stuff here from a longboarder perspective. Experimentation ideas for testing how wheel shapes, sizes and hardness affect speed, grip and maneuverability at sciencebuddies.org: tiny.cc/mvlva Hey, Junior skaters! Do these experiments with derby wheels for high school credit. Send me the results!
mouthguards F R I DA B E AT E R , R O C K Y M O U N TA I N R O L L E R G I R L S
The mouthguard is perhaps the most overlooked piece of required roller derby protective equipment. Mouthguards vary greatly in cost, quality and comfort. Ranging from $1.00 for very basic mouthguards at Walmart to $100+ for fully customized orthodontic mouthguards from dentists’ offices, there is a great deal of variation among different mouthguards. A good mouthguard should not only protect your teeth, but also be comfortable; and it can’t hurt if it adds a little bling to your mouth. So which one do you buy? Below I have tested and reviewed five different mouthguards ranging in price, quality, comfort and appearance. Wilson Triple Density Football Cost: $3.86 Ease of molding: Gagged me considerably during the molding process. Comfort: Very large and uncomfortable. Ability to breathe/talk: Not easy at all. Protection: Strong. Aesthetics: Red and black. Wilson.com Protech Dent Cost: $39.99 for a 2 pack Ease of molding: Place the flat plastic piece in a bowl of hot water for just a few seconds and it transforms into a pliable item ready to mold. Comfort: The Protech Dent mouthguard seems to have been designed with comfort in mind. The ultra thin piece of plastic is more comfortable than any other mouthguard I tried. It is very unobtrusive and light as it wraps around your teeth. Ability to breathe/talk: Protech Dent touts the ability to breathe, talk and drink while wearing their mouthguard. I was able to do all three quite easily. Protection: Claims to have 30% better protection than conventional mouthguards due to the “crumple zones” that absorb impact. They include a $12,500 dental warranty for any damage incurred using the Protech Dent mouthguard. Aesthetics: Choose between a variety of colors, but no customization is available. ProtechGuard.com
Gladiator Custom Cost: $94.00 Ease of molding: Gladiator sends you a custom molding kit after you fill out an online form. The molding is not a difficult process, but it does take time to read the unique instructions. You then send your impression back to Gladiator and they send you your mouthguard in 7-10 days. Comfort: Average. Ability to breathe/talk: Although it’s a little bit bulky, it is definitely slimmer than some of the other mouthguards. Protection: Very strong. Aesthetics: Gladiator has the best aesthetics. You can choose from a variety of colors and they will put your name and number on your mouthguard for free. GladiatorGuards.com Shock Doctor Youth Gel Max Cost: $9.95 Ease of molding: Very easy. Comfort: Feels like you don’t have anything in your mouth as it sits inconspicuously inside your mouth. Ability to breathe/talk: Very easy to talk. Protection: Weak. Aesthetics: Black and small. ShockDoctor.com
Custom Defender Cost: $86.00 Ease of molding: The Defender mouthguard customization kit arrives at your house where you mold an imprint of your teeth with their grape-flavored impression material. The kit includes a DVD to follow step-by-step molding instructions. When finished, you drop the mold off at your local FedEx in the prepaid FedEx box from Defender. Comfort: The Defender hugged my teeth and the roof of my mouth leaving minimal space for air. Ability to breathe/talk: It’s on the larger side making talking slightly difficult. Breathing is easy, however, due to the tight fit. Protection: Excellent. Advertised as an alternative to custom dentist mouthguards. Aesthetics: You can customize these with three colors. I made the mistake of choosing black with white in the middle. My teammates quickly pointed out my resemblance to a rabbit as the white appeared to be one large tooth from a distance. They then proceeded to tease me the entire practice. DefenderMouthguards.com
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 27
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 29
2010 WFTDA tournaments SIOUXSICIDE BOMB, DENVER ROLLER DOLLS
WFTDA is our member leagues and volunteers. The 2010 Big 5 Tourney season was no exception. Big thanks go out to Tournaments Co-Chairs, Bonnie Thunders and OMG WTF; Nina Knockout, Games Plan Manager; Sarah Hipel, Games Play Manager; Ms DFiant, Games Officer as well as all the WFTDA volunteers (Referee Certification, Rules Committee, referees and RefComm, etc.). The WFTDA BoD would also like to thank all the tourney hosts with special mention of: J Knee Bones (East Regional), Aly Asylum (West Regional) Grace Killy and Scott Conklin (North Central Regional), Alicia Teaze (South Central Regional) and Karma Geddon (Championships). Without the volunteers, skaters and fans we wouldn’t have a game to play... and certainly no one to watch us play it! Broadcast thanks to Derby News Network, Blaze Streaming Media and B2TV. Special thanks to Dr. Haushka and all our supporting sponsors! The 2010 WFTDA tournament season kicked off on September 10th in beautiful Green Bay, WI. The North Central region’s playoffs, Thunda on the Tundra, were co-hosted by the Brewcity Bruisers and PMI Entertainment Group. This marked the first time a league has co-hosted with an outside company. It was Packers’ opening weekend and the venue shared a parking lot with Lambeau Field... chaos ensued. Crackerjack made a giant bracket on posterboard and teams/fans filled in their progression with stickers. Windy City took 1st, Minnesota 2nd and Mad Rollin’ Dolls took 3rd.
30 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
Derby march 2010 then headed to White Plains, NY September 24-26 for the East Region tourney, Derby in the Burbs, hosted by Suburbia Roller Derby. Highlights from NY included Montreal’s “Double Rainbow” theme, matching coach outfits, cheers and outrageous fan signs. The weekend was filled with color and flair, including Montreal’s magnifique announcer Plastic Patrick, an after party that included a mechanical bull, Boston Derby Dames’ Dreadnought bringing down the Roller Derby Quilt (for more info on the quilt go to RollerDerbyQuilt.com) for all to see and contribute to. Saturday
night’s bouts featured a special birthday party victory lap for a lucky local 10-year-old girl and her friends. Partygoers arrived wearing t-shirts with faux derby names and the great Saturday night competition hopefully inspired a new generation of derby skaters and fans. Gotham #1, Philly #2 and Charm City #3. The West region playoffs took us to Sacramento, CA October 1-3. The Sacred City Derby Girls hosted the West for Rollin’ on the River at historic Memorial Auditorium in downtown Sacramento. Blaze Streaming Media offered live coverage in HD, the venue was beautiful and there was gold as far as the eye could see. Rocky Mountain took 1st, Oly 2nd and B.A.D took 3rd. The final Regional playoff was Amber Waves of Pain, hosted by the No Coast Derby Girls in Lincoln, Nebraska on October 8-10. Amber Waves of Pain partnered up with America One to produce the bout and made it available for web streaming through DNN. This new partnership included the first ever instant replay for online viewers. Tons of local community support made Amber Waves of Pain a successful tournament. With the venue located in downtown Lincoln, everything was within walking distance including the hotel, the after party locations, restaurants and nightlife... no cars or cabs necessary! #3 Kansas City upset #1 Texas in the Championship bout
with a 29-point jam by Kelly Young (formerly Snot Rocket) to take the lead with seconds to go. The Roller Warriors had only beaten Texas once before, by just one point. KCRW came out #1 with Texas and Nashville in the #2 and #3 spots, respectively. Championships! Chicago! The Windy City Rollers hosted the 2011 Championships and made it look easy as pie (mmm, pie!). 2010 marks the 75th Anniversary of roller derby and it seems fitting that we would see the best of the best in the City of Broad Shoulders, where it all started. Weekend total paid attendance was 6,800 people; there were approximately 3,800 people in the Pavilion Saturday afternoon (including skaters and staff). VIP seating was the only way to sit trackside. There was 4-square on the practice track when it wasn’t being used, and it had some serious competitors during the weekend. Dumptruck and Val Capone’s DNN coverage was accented by matching boutfits and the kind of witty banter we’ve come to expect from high level derby announcing. The Rocky Mountain Rollergirls came out #1 in a nail biting one-point victory over the Oly Rollers, who then came in at #2, with Gotham rounding it out in 3rd. Tourney season 2010 can be summed up in one word... awesomesauce. Can 2011 top it?
2011 WFTDA tournaments September 16-18, 2011: East Region Playoffs in Baltimore, MD. Co-hosted by Baltimore’s Charm City Roller Girls and the DC Rollergirls, of Washington, D.C. September 23-25, 2011: West Region Playoffs in Portland, OR. Hosted by the Rose City Rollers. September 30-October 2, 2011: South Central Region Playoffs in Kansas City, MO. Hosted by the Kansas City Roller Warriors. October 7-9, 2011: North Central Region Playoffs in Indianapolis, IN. Hosted by the Naptown Roller Girls. November 11-13, 2011: WFTDA Championship Tournament in Denver, CO. Hosted by the Denver Roller Dolls. Stay tuned to wftda.com for more information on the 2011 Big 5.
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 31
beyond the skates: two leagues – one vision B E T T Y F O R D G A L A X Y, S E AT T L E D E R B Y B R AT S
Beyond the skates, fishnets, whips, hits and fouls, the next characteristic closely associated with derby is the sisterhood. I have experienced both a real and a misconceived sense of sisterhood through roller derby. For the most part, anywhere you go in your travels there is a league who will probably gladly welcome a fellow sister to a practice, if not to their home; or at the very least, make appropriate recommendations for a lone derby girl in a strange town. But what happens when there is a new league in your own backyard? Or your own league splits? Where is the sisterhood then? I have seen examples where the split leagues may help each other, however minimally, but there are also cities where the bitterness is so deep the leagues become arch rivals and will not even play each other. How is tha t for sisterhood? And in relation to Junior Roller Derby, how is that a good example of what derby is? I, personally, have had two leagues covertly branch off my Seattle Derby Brats and I have often wondered how it might have been different had either just asked for help. I have written articles on how to start your own junior derby and have answered literally a ton of emails about this subject in the past five years. I have always
thought if we could spend more time working together to help new leagues form or split leagues strengthen, that both leagues would benefit more as opposed to the fear of fan and skater loss. It wasn’t until this summer I was offered an opportunity to do just that. Sally Von Trample, one of the founders of Tilted Thunder Rail Birds – Seattle’s up-and-coming banked track lea gue, emailed me that her league was full and it was time to expand with a junior division. And would I, as founder of the Seattle Derby Brats, be willing to meet and talk about that and offer assistance or direction. I have been a long time friend of Sally, a fan of what she had done with her banked track venture and also guest-coached her league several times. I had a good idea of what this league was about, so would I be willing? Of course, I would love to help. I have seen a good example of the Rat City Rollergirls renting practice space to Tilted Thunder while they searched for a warehouse and their track is being built. A few Rat City skaters pop in with Tilted Thunder from time to time to guest coach. I thought I could follow their example, but perhaps take it to the next level.
Joe Schwartz / JoeRollerfan.com
34 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
Joe Schwartz / JoeRollerfan.com
And so help I did. Prior to our first meeting, I emailed Sally well over a hundred pages of documents offering examples on everything from legal issues to consider to dress codes to positive coaching skills. We arranged to meet at a coffee shop and Sally brought along Tomato Tornado, a Tilted Thunder skater on a break from skating who is interested in coaching their junior league. Tomato had no kids and had never been a coach, just like me when I started. I instantly felt a kinship and decided I wanted to do whatever I could to help them. Tomato was invited to all of our junior travel team practices until the end of the season to have her observe, help out and learn. It has been wonderful having her at practice. She caught on and stepped up. I feel confident she will be a very loving and caring yet stern junior coach. I helped them with information and examples on their league structure, policies, procedures, coaching strategy and even drills as there is no reason for them to go in blind when there is a system and model that works and may simply need to be modified for their own vision of a junior league. Through this cooperation, in looking at bigger pictures, best practices and ideal experience, we decid ed to cross train our teams: the SDB travel team, the Galaxy Girls, will skate and train on the
banked track and the Tilted Thunder Rail Peeps will skate and train on the flat track. The Peep season will parallel the Galaxy Girls to maximize opportunity. This allows both leagues a complete derby experience, a broader skill set, more opportunity to bout and compete, and also the experience of positive cooperation in derby with their sisters. The Seattle Derby Brats turned away almost twenty skaters last season who tried out and even though we are adding two more teams next season, I believe there are enough girls in our area to support another junior derby league, and we are thrilled at the idea of having such a rich conglomeration of junior skaters in the Pacific Northwest. There will be cross over: Brats becoming Peeps and one day, maybe Peeps focusing on the flat track as Brats. We will miss the Brats that go, but also we are excited to encourage them Joe Schwartz / JoeRollerfan.com to follow their passion and go where their heart takes them with confidence and without apology because that is derby in its purest form: strength in individualized passion. Both the Seattle Derby Brats and Tilted Thunder Rail Peeps are super excited for our 2011 seasons and to see where this spirit of cooperation, friendship and sisterhood will take us in our fresh, new, combined junior roller derby adventure.
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 35
bruise boasting: true stories of fresh meat feats M I M I M E TA L S TO R M , C A N B E R R A R O L L E R D E R B Y L E A G U E
Look, I’ll level with you. You seem pretty cool. After all, you’re a derby girl, right? I’ll be honest. I was attracted to roller derby for the flashy outfits, tough girl personas, alter egos and the delicious excuse to get more tattoos. What can I say? I’m a performer and a sucker for stage presence. I certainly didn’t get involved because of my sporting prowess. I fit the profile a lot of derby girls do. That is, I didn’t play sports in high school, wasn’t a valuable asset to anyone’s team and may or may not have faked debilitating period pain in order to get out of Phys Ed class. Okay, I definitely did do that. But for those of us who were, ahem, athletically challenged at school, we were sometimes given reprieve by being bused to the local roller rink, catchily named “Sun City Rollerama”. There we would clumsily roll around the cement rink on ancient brown skates that must have been relics from the 1930s, avoiding breaking our necks while grooving to the Top 40 hits of 1996 and drinking watered down Coke. My memories of my time on skates here are blurry. That could be because I spent my time at the rink clinging to the safety rail and nursing a bruised arse. So in December 2009 when I bought my Riedell Vandals and the rest of my approved safety gear, with dreams in my head of becoming Australia’s biggest derby star (keeping in mind I didn’t even know the rules yet), I conveniently forgot about those hazy summer days at Rollerama. Which may have been wise, because I didn’t need any discouragi ng. In those early days when it came to skating, I sucked. Hard. I’m talking unable to even stand up without the assistance of my ever patient fiancée who spent much of those early skating sessions moonlighting as a leaning post and then dabbing antiseptic ointment on the claw marks I dug into his arms with my fingernails. I wouldn’t have blamed anyone who saw me then for laughing me out of town once t hey learned of my rollergirl aspirations. Just skating from one side of the driveway to the other was cause for a gigantic celebration and sense of achievement.
36 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
As anyone knows who has learned to skate, it’s like learning to walk again. Even putting skates on and standing up in them was a calculated mission, so I made sure I got a couple of months practice on my wheels before I actually got to the start of my league’s six week fresh meat training course. Here’s how getting to bouting stage works with Canberra Roller Derby League. It may be similar at other Australian leagues, with a few variations. First off, you do your six weeks of fresh meat training with a group of other tenderloins where you learn basic skills, fall over a whole lot, shudder in fear at the thought of jumping absolutely anything a t all and work toward your white star, which is the first level. And yes, you actually get a shiny white star sticker to put on your helmet to showcase your achievement. It’s at this point that you’re the newbies in the league and you start working toward the next level which is yellow and is where contact comes in (yay!). Then comes orange (which is when you are safe to bout) and finally, green which signifies your senior skill as a skater. It’s about nine months from your first foray into the derby world as a freshie until your first bout, aptly named the ‘Carnival of Carnage’. The star system is really just a way of ensuring skaters are safe to take on new skills and by wearing the snazzy stars on helmets – each skater knows the level of her fellow skaters. This is handy in knowing who’s ready to take a hip check or not. At the time of writing, I’m rocking a yellow star and I’m at the stage where it’s a little hard to remember life pre-derby. You know, that time when getting knocked on your tailbone wasn’t something to brag about. These days, my friends and I can’t wait to show off a new arse bruise. That’s one thing that’s changed since I started derby. The other thing about the derby world that’s crept up on me and I didn’t even notice is how it dominates both your time and your thoughts – constantly. In a fantastic way though. I’ve never really been one to join clubs or organized groups, and to be honest with you, I’ve even found the idea of such a thing a little weird. I mean, training six hours a week, social
skating, voting at league meetings, chatting on internet forums, volunteering at bouts and all of this in the name of *gasp!* physical activity? On top of all that you actually want to then spend time with these people and down shots of Chartreuse with them at the bar. It’s crazy, but it’s the derby way. For someone like me who has been described as ‘flighty’ and ‘easily bored’, it’s incredible that roller derby hasn’t lost its allure. Even now that I know how hard a training session can be (particularly when your trainer announces the whole league will skate 100 laps of the track together) and that it’s not all just cute outfits and knee-high socks, having the goal of my first bout in sight makes me even more determined. I recently went to watch my league’s travel team, the Vice City Rollers, play the Sydney City Assassins in Sydney, a three hour’s drive away. It was the first time I’d seen an away game and to say it blew my mind would be a massive understatement. Although we lost 109-105, the game was a nail biter; our girls were amazing and made me realize even more how derby gets under your skin. I don’t think I’ve ever cheered or screamed until I was hoarse or booed at a sports game before. Wait, have I been to a sports game before? The cheer of the crowd, big hits by the blockers, the speed of the jammers and those amazing
jumps – who wouldn’t want to play this sport? When you’re watching a bout and think to yourself, ‘if I wasn’t already playing this game, I would so want to be’ then you know you’re a derby girl. I talk to a lot of girls now who are interested to learn more about derby but say they couldn’t do it because they’d ‘be too scared’. I’m here to advise those ladies that unless they are worried about becoming stronger, fitter and more confident, they have nothing to lose. If someone like me, a shrieker who was petrified of hurting herself, can get out on the track, feel great when she lays a good block on a friend and even better when she takes one, then anyone can. Hell, the fact that I even learned to stand up on skates and stop clinging the wall gives everyone else hope. It also means my fiancée no longer suffers from scars on his arms. From clinging to the safety rail to celebrating bruises, my eight wheel journey so far has never been dull. But it hasn’t even really begun. By the time you read this I will hopefully be sporting an orange star on my helmet, nearly ready to pop my bout cherry and cop a whole new set of fresh bruises.
understanding your announcer DUDE, ICT ROLLER GIRLS
“And here comes mmrmrrn brrannnmm out fff the pppk and seee sss your LEEEEAAAADDDDD JJJAAAMMMEEERRRRRR!!!!” Is this what your crowd hears throughout the course of every bout? Are you constantly receiving fan feedback that they wish they could better understand your announcers? If so, it is likely that you have a problem with a little thing called intelligibility. If your main venue is a roller skating rink, chances are that you have heard this complaint. But don’t get your jammer panty in a bunch; there are some tips and tricks that can turn a mumbled, garbled mess into useful, play-by-play announcing. Before diving into how to fix the problems, let’s start by finding their roots. This article is going to target the most popular of roller derby venues: the local roller skating rink. Regardless of when your rink was built, the sound system was more than likely installed with one main purpose in mind, and it wasn’t roller derby. The sound system was designed to play music and get people on the floor skating during a regular skate session, with the occasional game of roll the dice or limbo. Unfortunately, when an announcer grabs this “decent” rink mic, the crowd and your announcer may suddenly find out that calling out the hokey pokey between songs is significantly different than trying to announce a bout over the noise of 500+ screaming fans. If you are playing in an auditorium or arena, you may not have the ability to control anything. Or perhaps you are at the mercy of a DJ who brings in two large speakers for music and announcers, in which case, god help you. Second in line to the fundamental problem of the sound system itself is the announcer. Most people don’t naturally know how far away from their mouth the microphone needs to be (it’s slightly different for every mic, however). Quick example: how many weddings have you been to where they pass around the microphone for speeches and you can’t hear the mousey little maid of honor, but the drunken best man comes on like a bear to confess that he is secretly in love with the groom and wants to have his child? If I had a dollar for every time... Anyway, the point is, good announcers will learn proximity through practice, just like the skaters on the track. Instead of having them “cup” or “swallow” the mic to make them more intelligible, have your announcers practice with the proximity of the mic. Ideally, a good mic will pick up the announcer’s voice when it is ½ to 2” from his or her mouth. Unless
38 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
you’ve got them playing the harmonica or beat-boxing, your announcers shouldn’t be cupping the mic; they shouldn’t even have their hands around it. There are many ways to optimize sound reproduction, but for our purposes, stick to the simple things: focus on frequency and amplitude. To better understand this, think of a graphical representation of a human voice or even the little visualizations on any media player. For the frequency spectrum, think about that little bar graph that shows up on your radio or media player. Music is comprised of a very wide range of frequencies which makes all the pretty little bars dance. The human voice can’t come close to spanning that same range, but the human voice is also never comprised of a singular frequency. There are always harmonics contained within the voice which define each person’s sound. If you want to get the most out of your announcers, you will want to limit the frequency range to the range at which the human is most receptive. Just like with frequency, think of the graphic depictions, but this time consider the dramatic peaks and valleys. Human speech is not a singular, steady amplitude, but your announcers will be most effective when you confine his or her speech to a limited amplitude range. So what kind of corrections do you need to make to the frequency spectrum and how can you do that? Normally this is done through some type of equalizer by lowering (or cutting) the undesired frequencies and raising (also called boosting) the intelligibility range of frequencies. In most skating rinks, there will be an equalizer, and generally speaking they are almost always adjusted with what we call a “smiley face,” which occurs from a boost to the lows, cut to the mids and boost to the highs. On a 12 band equalizer, the sliders will look like a smiley face. This is a horrible configuration if clear, intelligible announcing is your goal. Boosting the low end makes everything sound muddy. Boosting the high end brings out the “S” sound and may increase your chances of feedback. One of my pet peeves about sound reproduction is people who only boost levels. If you have done everything correctly, you should use an equal amount of cut and boost across a frequency range. So if a “smiley face” is wrong, then what is right? When it comes to sound reproduction, there isn’t a hard-andfast rule about setting an equalizer for maximum intelligibility because it is so dependent upon the voice and the environment.
However, generally speaking, you will want to make a fair cut from the lows, a small boost to the mids and a small cut from the highs. This will take most of the muddy sound out of your announcer’s voice and allow what they’re saying to cut through the crowd noise. For higher pitched voices, especially with female announcers, don’t cut the lows quite so much, leave the mids flat, and cut a little more from the highs. Subtle tweaks can go a long way. Making these small adjustments should solve sixty to seventy percent of your problems. The rest can be solved with rough amplitude control. When it comes to amplitude control, the goal is to reduce the overall volume level automatically. It seems counterintuitive at first, but in the end it will actually allow you to boost the overall level. There are four different types of automatic volume reduction: gate, expander, compressor and limiter. Each of these devices works by detecting the input audio level, then reducing the output volume level proportionally. A gate essentially turns off the audio output when the audio input is below a set threshold. An expander reduces the output level proportionally when the audio input is below a set threshold. A compressor reduces the output level proportionally when the audio input is above a set threshold. A limiter does exactly what it sounds like; it never allows the output level to go above a set threshold. I mention all four of these things so that you will know what they are, but I think it’s best to keep things simple and cheap and just do a little compression. There are also multiple adjustments to the reduction ratios and the speed of reacting to audio inputs (attack) and returning to normal levels (release), but for our purposes, a rough guess will suffice. For the application, you should be most concerned with reducing the audio level as the announcer’s volume increases. Let’s say that your announcer’s audio level ranges from between zero and ten when she or he is talking. She averages a four during most of the bout, but peaks at ten when events are exciting. However, the best volume for people to hear her calls and banter in the venue is actually around a seven; in order to keep the system from clipping, you normally have to cut her volume so that it can handle a level ten without too much distortion. When this happens, your announcer ends up being too quiet most of the time. If you can compress the areas between six and ten, you can then turn the actual output level up a few notches so that the average level of
the announcer is closer to seven. Anything louder than seven will still come through clearly as well. Unless your rink already has the aforementioned equipment and settings, you’ll also need to tackle the equipment. The bad news is that your league may need to invest in a few pieces of equipment; the good news is that it’s not really that expensive and it will dramatically improve your crowd’s experience. I do recommend purchasing your own equipment to avoid as much rewiring of the rink’s sound system as possible. There are many options for how to accomplish everything mentioned in this article, but I recommend keeping it as simple as possible. The first thing you want to do is make sure you have quality microphones. Whether you go with wired, wireless, headset or handheld is up to you and your announcer’s preferences. A quick note on wireless mics: do not buy a VHF mic. Stick to UHF mics. Next, grab a mixer with a built in compressor and a three band equalizer on each mic channel such as a Yamaha MG102c. The mixer will allow you to do all the audio processing as well as balance the announcers’ volumes. It can also give easy interface access to a DJ, which also lets you control their volume so they Joe Schwartz / JoeRollerfan.com don’t swamp out your announcers with music. I suggest this mixer because of its simplicity, price and ease of interfacing with a wide variety of equipment. Plug your mics into channels 1 and 2 then bring up the gain on each channel while your announcers are practicing. Try to get the gain such that it is just below clipping when your announcers give 100%. Next, make all equalizer adjustments as discussed earlier. Then, one channel at a time, adjust the main channel volume and the stereo output volume until your announcer’s voice makes the output lights peak. Since a Yamaha mixer has a one knob compressor control, simply turn this knob up until the announcer’s voice just makes the light below the zero level flicker. You should now be free to adjust their channel volume (not the gain) a bit louder, but within balance of the other announcer. Did I say this was a simple setup or what? You will probably spend longer figuring out what cables you need than you will adjusting the audio! Take control of your audio! Don’t let yourself be at the mercy of whatever equipment and expertise happens to be available. With just a little understanding, time and money, you can make a correction that will get your crowds screaming for more while still understanding the name of the lead jammer!
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 39
n o i h s a f y b r de
some of your favorite derby companies! from s ble em ens e som awe se the in k trac the bournephotography.co.uk Look great on and off photos by Danny ‘Jay Pegg’ Bourne, danny Hoare photographic assistant – Lucy Vagablonde nson hair and makeup – Siobhan Goregrrl Aitche
Frightning Bolt T-shirt Rudechix $19.00 Spooky von Strange
booty shorts Wicked Skatewear $28.99
cardigan Sourpuss $50.00
dress American Apparel $100.00
leggings American Apparel $34.00
cardigan Wicked Skatewear $39.99
booty shorts Wicked Skatewear $28.99
socks Sock Dreams $12.00
skate covers Deviant Derby $15.00
leggings American Apparel $46.00
special thanks to Wonderland Studio, Isabella Barnholt, London Rollergirls, Royal Windsor Rollergirls, London Rockin’ Rollers and Croydon Roller Derby
40 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
Erin No Bragh T-shirt Wicked Skatewear $14.99
T-shirt Rudechix $19.00
armband Deviant Derby $12.00
sheer dress American Apparel $42.00
shorts American Apparel $22.00
socks Sock Dreams $7.00
T-shirt Rudechix $19.00
socks Sourpuss $13.00
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 41
Shoot â€˜Em Up
Must Hang Sally
top American Apparel $22.00
T-shirt Sourpuss $25.00
T-shirt Wicked Skatewear $14.99
high waist shorts American Apparel $46.00
hotpants American Apparel $26.00
skort Wicked Skatewear $21.99
skate covers Deviant Derby $15.00
socks Sock Dreams $16.00
leggings American Apparel $26.00
americanapparel.com 42 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
Katy Peril Cherie Pi
Spooky von Strange
T-shirt Rudechix $19.00
T-shirt Sourpuss $25.00
T-shirt Wicked Skatewear $14.99
skirt American Apparel $70.00
shorts American Apparel $22.00
shorts American Apparel $26.00
socks Sock Dreams $6.00
leg warmers Sourpuss $13.00
legwarmers Sourpuss $13.00
skate covers Deviant Derby $15.00
T-Shirt Sourpuss $25.00
shorts Wicked Skatewear $28.99
dress American Apparel $48.00
wickedskatewear.com fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 43
4/30/2010 9:07:15 AM
roller derby’s 75th anniversary A U N T I E S O C I A L , E A S T BAY R O L L E R D E R B Y
The first game of roller derby was held on August 13th, 1935 as a cross-country endurance race. Accordingly, 2010 marks the 75th Anniversary of the sport. On Saturday, October 16th, the National Roller Derby Association, founded in 2007, hosted a historic event near San Francisco, California to celebrate 75 years of roller derby and to honor those who have made significant contributions to the sport’s continuing success. Honored that evening was keynote speaker and roller derby pioneer Mr. Jerry Seltzer, son of the sport’s creator Leo. Jerry, otherwise known as “The Commissioner,” was the recipient of the first annual Leo Seltzer Award, created to pay recognition to those who have paved the way for the progress of the sport of roller derby. Representatives from all generations of derby were present at the event. Split into three waves of 25 years (1935-1960, 1960-1985 and 1985-present), there were skaters dating from as far back as the original roller derby, all the way to women of today’s flat and banked tracks. The evening was an extraordinary culmination of 75 years of roller derby. Young and old came together to reminisce, celebrate and dream of a greater tomorrow. Little Iodine Behrens reflected, “It was surreal seeing Margie Laszlo, Delores Tucker and Carole Meyer together again.” Sweet Alyce, head NSO of the Mountain Derby Girls, captured the air of the evening by commenting, “Being at the Roller Derby 75th Anniversary showed me that derby never really died between  and the latest incarnation. Roller Derby has always lived in the hearts of the people associated with the sport.” And she is right. Roller Derby has not only survived but has thrived for the past 75 years and we intend to keep it going strong into the next 25. See you all at the 100th! 46 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
East Bay Roller Derby with Jerry Seltzer, Frank Macedo, Peanuts Meyer and Iodine Behrens
Sugar Town Rollers and Jerry Seltzer
NRDA Members – Cliff Butler, Jerry Seltzer, Carlos Ray
Jerry Seltzer and Coach Kutthroat Kandie of Redding Rollergirls
Sue Fregulia, Pete Boyd, Jan Vallow, Cliff Butler and Lorreta Iodine Behrens in front
Georgie Hase and Pirahna Shawna of Port City Roller Girls
NRDA Members – Cliff Butler, Paula Daleo, Carlos Ray, Brian Gallagher, Corinna Hamilton and Ron Matzke
Lorreta Iodine Behrens and Georgie Hase
remembering those we have lost Even in a young sport such as roller derby, sadly some have been taken from us too soon.
Blinky Style #17
aka Blenda Marshall aka Joe Luglio 1969-2008 1953-2009 Green Valley Roller Girls Tucson Roller Derby
Bunny Lepowski #32
Moxie Mayhem #∞+ 2
aka Becky Verhey 1980-2009 Rose City Rollers
aka Stacey Morgan 1976-2009 North Star Roller Girls
aka Brooke Smith 1987-2009 Star City Roller Girls
Southern Belle From Hell #333
Amanda Explosion FeBe the #187 “Iron Box” #26
Becky Bloodnut #31
Kitten Vicious #M30W
aka Robin Martin 1979-2010 Mobile Roller Derby
aka Amanda Polston 1986-2010 Burn City Rollers
aka Bethany Heckman 1977-2010 Killamazoo Derby Darlins
aka Claire Smith 1976-2010 Ballarat Roller Derby League
aka Jennifer Danielle Moreland 1984-2010 Blackwater Rollers Rocktown Rollers
2 Ton Teyla #2XL
Rippin Kitten #65
Loco Lisa #21
aka Kendra Morgan 1978-2010 Sydney Roller Derby
aka Caroline Cumming 1987-2010 Dundee Destroyers
aka Lisa Johnson 1970-2010 Port City Roller Girls
Bade A Blocker #44
Danger S #1
aka JoEl K Bade 1966-2010 Rainy City Roller Dolls
aka Stephanie Little 1974-2010 Tallahassee Rollergirls
you will never be forgotten! Thank you to Oscar the Roach for creating “the final jam” yahoo group – sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/THE_FINAL_JAM fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 47
derby in London K I T K AT P OW E R , L O N D O N R O C K I N ’ R O L L E R S
I’m Kit Kat Power #664 and I skate with
my feet that I no longer had any control
Rockin’ Rollers practiced – and what I saw
the London Rockin’ Rollers, a league based
over. They played shit music and I was
blew my mind.
in London. London, England that is.
surrounded by tons of stupid leg warmers
I’m not from London originally; I’m
I didn’t understand what was going
and hen parties trying to look ‘80s but just
on there on the track, but I knew I wanted
from Sweden which in itself is not very
looking very crap. Why neon? Other colors
to do it.
interesting, apart from one small but quite
were available in the ‘80s I’m sure. I left
vital detail: Roller skating was not a big
promising I’d never go back to roller
the next day (you know, the red and blue
thing where I come from. I played tennis
ones in fake velvet), grabbed my red
and tried football but hated it because I had
Anyway, friends’ friends must have
to play with the older girls as there was
gotten the impression I was some kind
just one girls’ team in my village. The older
of roller skating ace and recruited me to
I bought my first pair of clown skates
bicycle helmet and off I went. Come next weekend, the tall Swede was back. I tried out a few more moves;
girls were hairy and loud and scared me.
their ‘roller derby’ team. I didn’t understand
some went well, others not so well. No
I also ran, quite fast, through fields and
a word of what they said at first, didn’t get
Rockin’ Rollers raised an eyebrow – bless
climbed trees until I was about 16.
if they were talking about a sports team or
them. They might have wondered what the
if they also took part in some sort of roller
hell I was doing but they just let me get
So, skip a few years (to 2008 to be
Danny ‘Jay Pegg’ Bourne, dannybourne.com
exact) and I’m all grown up and live in a proper city with buses and road signs and everything. One fine Sunday evening I
disco thing, but with less focus on music. I was just intrigued by their enthusiasm and, quite frankly, a little bit flattered
on with it, and allowed me to take part in drills whenever it was safe. I used to think that was for my benefit, but in hindsight
found myself a pub in Camden with friends
that they were so persistent in trying to
I understand they were scared of getting
and friends of friends. We talked about this
convince me to come along. I have quite
whacked in the face by a clown skate!
and that – like you do when you don’t
a positive outlook on things so I thought
After a few weeks I could both skate and
know people – and I said something about
perhaps it will come naturally and I’ll be
take in information at the same time, so
a roller disco I’d been to the previous night.
a kick ass roller derby girl before they
the skill drills started and as I was the only
could say “fishnets”. You never know,
new skater, I moved quickly from beginner
miracles can happen, why not to me?
to intermediate to advanced.
The truth was my best friend had dragged me there and I had hated it. Two hours wasted as far as I was concerned. Two hours with wheels under my feet,
48 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
So the following Sunday afternoon I went up to the school where the London
At the same time as I was getting better, the league itself was growing;
Danny ‘Jay Pegg’ Bourne, dannybourne.com
more girls joined and we all got better as
though, if that’s of interest to anyone out
time, competing against LRR folks, but I
skaters, and more organized as a league.
there. All the halls we have contacted seems
guess we'll learn more the more we bout
We outgrew our first hall, and had to find
to be block booked by badminton clubs.
and scrimmage. Just have to make sure
a larger one. We also had to regulate the
Due to the problems of finding suitable
everyone is a London Rockin’ Roller first and foremost.
intake of new girls. We started having
halls, we only hosted our first home game
groups of ‘Noobs’ on a structured 10-week
at the beginning of 2009, but it was worth
program followed by skills assessment.
the wait! We got to know the manager of
us play for the first time, he ran down
Once they passed the first three months,
a historic hall in East London, York Hall, built
to see me after the game and had the
and kept up good attendance, they became
in 1929, and that's our home arena now.
biggest grin on his face whilst shouting,
a full LRR member. However, lately we have
It’s got a beautiful main hall with balcony
‘it’s like it was invented for you!!!’ I think
grown so much we have had to temporarily
seating all around it, a stage for halftime
that’s what most of us think when we have
close recruitment, as we don’t have a hall
entertainment and a bar. It’s a great venue,
a good day. Roller derby can make you feel
big enough for more new girls. We will
and has great flooring for skating too. We
like it’s a sport tailor-made just for you, no
schedule new intake later on this year
have now hosted over five home bouts. We
matter if you are a solid blocker or a nimble
and let all the girls on the waiting list
take great pride in putting on a fantastic
jammer, or the brains on the team. All types
know when and where.
show as well as skating hard.
of skaters add value, and when it all comes
London is not a great city for indoor
Our league has grown to the point where
When my old flatmate came to see
together it’s the best feeling in the world.
sports, especially for relatively unknown
we can now have intraleague teams, which
I’m proud to be part of the London
sports on wheels with large space
is very exciting. We have the Voodoo Skull
Rockin’ Rollers and proud to be taking
requirements. We are constantly looking
Krushers, The NeanderDolls and the Goldie
part in a new era for such an amazing sport.
for bigger halls with more flexible dates and
Lookin’ Chain Gang and we kicked off 2010
Not bad for a tall Swede in clown skates
times that welcome skaters, but it’s quite
with our first intraleague bout at the end
who swore she’d never go to a roller disco
hard. It’s clearly a Badminton friendly city
of February. Great fun, yet odd at the same
again. I still haven’t!
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 49
52 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com 1. Go Girl banner in background has changed. 2. Number has changed on the ref’s back on the right. 3. Middle ref’s whistle is missing. 4. Ref on left is missing tattoos on right leg. 5. Man on left is missing from balcony. 6. Limelight banner on right has been changed to 3pm. 7. Female ref’s necklace is missing.
THERE ARE SEVEN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE PHOTOS – FIND ‘EM!
2010 best bruise/injury O S C A R T H E R OA C H , BA K E R S F I E L D , C A
I noticed some derby sisters bragging about their bruises and injuries so i started a yahoo group to collect the biggest and baddest bruises – groups.yahoo.com/group/roachs_bruise_city. We voted on the best bruise of 2010 and the winner was Triptease with Ohio Roller Girls. “I have been skating with the Ohio Roller Girls since 2005. I have always wanted to play derby, long before the resurgence and followed the Texas teams online. When I found out about a league starting in Columbus, I joined immediately. I love this sport and hope to be back on skates in 2011. The injury happened during one of our scrimmages and was one of those freak incidents. I was jamming (which is something I don’t normally do) and had just gotten through the pack. One of the opposing blockers came up and hit me out of bounds and I rolled my ankle. While trying to regain composure, I fell landing right onto my ankle, fracturing it in two places, shattering it in a third and dislocating it. Now I have a plate with six pins on the outside of my ankle and two long pins on the inside.” Triptease #86 Ohio Roller Girls
Thank you all so much for joining Roach’s Bruise City and I wish you all a speedy recovery and return to derby! fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 53
art and media
brutal beauty P E LV I S C O S T E L L O , B O S TO N D E R B Y DA M E S
When I was asked to review Brutal Beauty: Tales of the Rose City Rollers for fiveonfive, I was hesitant. It wasn’t that I was afraid I wouldn’t have anything nice to say about Chip Mabry’s documentary, but I had a fear of coming off as an obnoxious viral marketer. Only a few months ago I had reviewed the film, along with four other derby documentaries, for the Independent Film Magazine (aivf.org), and I wrote Brutal Beauty was my favorite. However, with only one hundred fifty words or so to tell the public what I thought, I barely scratched the surface as to why this film is so wonderful. Chip Mabry is no stranger to roller derby. He has direct ties to one of Rose City’s wonderful announcers, Mike Chexx (one of my favorite men to call with at any tournament), and is able to deftly navigate the waters of the league’s community both on and off the track while making it accessible to the derby layman. What the film offers the skaters, referees and derby widow(er)s, however, are pieces of the puzzle that accurately reflect the behind-the-scenes experience many of us have in our own leagues. The intro of the film drops us into the sixth game of Rose City’s fourth season, while we are introduced to the founders of the league who tell us how this all began. The original story is much the same as any league that started out four or more years ago; with a nod to the derby warriors of Austin, Texas. Rocket Mean provides a fantastic summary of the beginning of the league while Mabry juxtaposes interviews and archival photographs with more recent bout production setup. camaraderie The film quickly introduces the ladies of the league, many of whom are the stars on this season’s Wheels of Justice, without spending too much time on one skater over another. The narrative follows the words of the early interviews, that the league was started by those who were not only looking to play a game, but sought camaraderie. Watching skaters hang out in parking lots, set up a track, and even get tattooed drives home the point. As Cadillac is getting inked, she mentions that people outside of derby wonder why she’s getting her nickname tattooed on her, to which she explains it’s not a nickname and derby is not a pastime but her life.
54 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
For the average skater, that revelation may seem a given. How many of us have watched our social and personal lives transform under the mutagenic rays of roller derby? In this stage of the sport’s development, the flat track’s pull is all encompassing, your life does indeed center around the sport. Through the lens of Brutal Beauty, we see a league of powerful, diverse women who have a mission that’s stated early on – to get to Nationals. It’s a goal shared by many leagues looking to break onto the national scene. Through the last twists and turns of the home season, we see SmackYa Sideways, Blood Clottia and countless others playing against one another, but their hits and competition are collegiate. Once the season is over, it is time for the ladies of the Wheels of Justice to prepare for the 2009 Regionals in Denver. Where other films only make passing reference to the men involved with the ladies of WFTDA, Mabry takes the time to introduce us to the derby widows and coaches who have only one goal, to support these women to the best of their ability. It’s Rob Lobster, the erstwhile coach of the Wheels of Justice, that gives us one of the best descriptions of roller derby while using doughnuts in place of actual blockers, pivots and jammers. You
also see the men and women who assist the league in non-skater roles, from beloved super fans to the derby widows. evolution of a league Brutal Beauty’s narrative is constructed with the same care as a literary masterwork. The surface action follows the league through the home season, interleague and their quest for Regionals glory. However, the action is coupled with skaters’ reflections of the past and asides that flesh out each featured skater into accessible, fully-functioning women. MaRollin’ Monroe is given time to be an irreverent, flip jokester, but shows a tender side as well. Likewise, the buildup of the BAD vs. Wheels bout is done well. The post-game analysis from Rose City underscores that 2009 was their year for taking their team to new heights. The footage from Denver alone is worth renting or seeing this film in a theater. Though Rose City lost to the perceived underdog Rocky Mountain, Mabry doesn’t gloss over the loss. The skaters, their fans and husbands calmly assess their own missteps in the game and talk about the sportsmanship they possessed in their consolation game. Where other filmmakers would cut off the narrative, or gloss over a loss, Mabry trusts in the depth and maturity of his audience to present them with a nuanced, honest view. The end of the film focuses on those who are talking about their plans for the next season. Some are retiring, others plan on leaving their home teams to play for the Wheel of Justice full time and others mourn the loss of their friends while looking forward to the future. The end of the film captures the bittersweet end to every derby season without leaving the viewer feeling depressed. Scratcher in the Eye’s goal at the end of the film was to come back the next year and make it to Nationals. While Oly and BAD may have stalled that dream in 2010, the Rose City we see in Brutal Beauty did live up to its promise to evolve into a tougher, nationally recognized team. In summary, Brutal Beauty does contain many aspects of the modern roller derby documentaries that you have seen before, but it’s the first of its kind to show the sport as what it is and is becoming, rather than a prolonged history with archival footage and overwrought tales of glory days. The memories expressed by those involved only set to enrich the action Mabry captures on film. Unlike the other films before it, the filmmaker understood that there were two audiences for his movie and accomplished the Herculean task of pleasing them both. If you’re tired of the same old “these ladies are tacosaleswomen by day, but at night they rock,” then this is the film for you. Mabry and his crew show that these women rock every moment of their lives with the same intensity that they take to the track.
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 55
classifieds Want to get rid of that old gear? Need to get the word out about something to the derby community? Searching high and low for something you just canâ€™t find? Submit your classified text (up to 50 words) FOR FREE to firstname.lastname@example.org to include in our next issue!
WANTED Help us help you find what you need!
the uniform thread
www.leslievaglica.com 414-517-6870 exclusively rad custom uniforms
FOR SALE Riedell 265 boots, size 8. Asking price $200.00. Please contact email@example.com.
CHECK THIS OUT! Ostentatious Podcast Seeks Partners For Weekly Talks: Us: Fun Loving and Rambunctious. Loves AC/DC and long skates around the track (both flat and banked.) You: Loves Roller Derby. Willing to experiment and open to new ideas. Must be opinionated and willing to communicate. Find us online at DerbyDeeds.com Rocky Mountain Rollergirls Boot Camp 2010 WFTDA Champions, Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, host their 2nd Annual Bootcamp in Denver, Colorado. Save the date â€“ May 13th-15th, 2011. All levels invited. For more details, email Bootcamp@RockyMountainRollergirls.com.
from custom leather belts to dog collars and so much more
fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2010 | 57
horoscopes P R OV I D E D B Y Y O U R D E R B Y P S Y C H I C , K Y L I E O F BA C K L A S H
S A G I T TA R I U S
November 23-December 21
May 21-June 20
Living the good life is an excellent aspiration. But do you really need a set of wheels in every color? Even though you always seem to have the money for everything you need (and most things you want), keep your budget in mind when making even small financial decisions. You’ll have that much more when the big money is needed.
Your jack-of-all-trades knowledge has made you a popular go-to for others on your league. Enjoy being the star! It’s nice to be respected for more than just being the top point earner at the local pub’s trivia night.
CAPRICORN December 22-January 19
Your dedication to taking on all the “un-sexy” jobs is admirable; however, it seems to be costing you your sanity. Teammates have noticed your impatience as of late and are wondering what happened to your focus – show them your head is still in the game and leave all the drama of the business side of things off the track.
AQUARIUS January 20-February 19
Contrary to what you fear, your passion for derby isn’t gone. It is just laying low while you work though the myriad of crises that seem to have popped up lately. Take some time for yourself. It will help clear your mind and your heart.
PISCES February 20-March 20
That nasty comment thrown your way on the track really means nothing in the long run. Letting the hurt feelings fester will only drag you down. Instead, focus on honing your ability to quickly adapt to the different playing styles – it’s a skill many of your teammates envy.
CANCER June 21-July 22
As the saying goes “Home is where the heart is”, but since you found derby that is where your entire heart has been. While it’s super easy to talk nothing but derby to anyone who will listen, your family members want to know you support them on the projects they are passionate about.
LEO July 23-August 22
Get out of your derby rut and go to a few practices with the newest members of your league. They need to know that the veteran skaters care about their survival though the ranks and it would be good for you to recapture some of their newbie enthusiasm.
VIRGO August 23-September 22
Sometimes finding order amongst the overwhelming chaos is as simple as cleaning out your skate bag. You were wondering where all your socks and that new package of ankle wrap had gone! Take the time to put your bag in order at the end of practice and you will have one less thing to think about come next practice.
LIBRA September 23-October 23
Your quick and instinctive actions translate into some amazing jams on the track, but off the track, well, that’s another story. Think through the big opportunity presented rather than saying the first thing that comes to mind.
Weighing your options shouldn’t take this long. It’s starting to become a stall tactic, and you know it. Make a decision already! Get fired up and state your opinion on the issue you’ve been stewing over. It doesn’t matter if people disagree with you, that is what keeps life interesting.
TA U R U S
April 20-May 20
October 24-November 22
You’ve recently been accused of being too rigid. You prefer to think of it as being prudent. There is no point in trying to make others see the practicality of your ways – very few would appreciate it anyway. Take comfort in the fact that it helps keep you grounded when those around you start going crazy.
Sugar-coating things is not your style, and that’s okay. While vocalizing the truth as you see it doesn’t always get the majority support, continue to trust your gut. People are listening to what you have to say, even if they aren’t quite ready to admit they agree with you.
March 21-April 19
60 | Winter 2010 | fiveonfivemag.com
Joe Schwartz/JoeRollerfan.com com
Brian Macke aka Apron pron
Brian Macke aka Apron pron
Hydra photo by Jean Schwarzwalder
read mo more re at wftda.com/champs-recap wftda.com/champs-recap
derby girl name: Ida Capitate
d n e i r tf
a e ar
y b ed r
s e b s ' ig rl