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THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE WOMEN’S FLAT TRACK DERBY ASSOCIATION (WFTDA) ISSUE 14, WINTER 2011

fiveonfivemag.com


fiveonfive contents 34-35

4-5 advice

ask ms d’fiant and suzy hotrod!

WFTDA Rules Revisions Curious how the rules of our game are evolving? Beth Row provides insight into the WFTDA rules revision process.

6-8 business merch 101

10-15 health and fitness concussions heel pain

16-25 games and coaching

44-45

2011 WFTDA championships recap mental training I’m sorry, did I offend you?

Transgender Policies: My Story DC Rollergirl Lenore Gore shares her compelling journey to acceptance as a transgender rollergirl.

26-31 gear

36-37 junior derby derby at 15

Michael Todaro

quiz: should I upgrade my plates? boots wheels

46-47 Unsung Heroes: Referees

38-40 rookie

From skater to referee, Shantastic McAwesome explains how making the transition opened her eyes to the extraordinary talent and dedication it takes to be a great ref.

look what I did

Jules Doyle

50-51 international derby 56-62 art and media 63 classifieds 68 horoscopes


editor miss jane redrum fort wayne derby girls copy editor vera n. sayne rocky mountain rollergirls content manager annsanity rocky mountain rollergirls art director assaultin’ pepa rocky mountain rollergirls contributing writers ms d’fiant angel city derby girls

from the editor Welcome to the 14th issue of fiveonfive magazine!

The 2011 tournament season has come and gone. And what a fantastic season it was, providing non-stop, back-to-back action at the regional level, culminating in an exciting Championship series that brought us our first two-time champion,

suzy hotrod gotham girls roller derby

Gotham Girls Roller Derby. Though I was able to travel only to the North Central

interplanet janet rat city rollergirls

region playoffs this year, the video contract between WFTDA and Blaze Streaming

papa doc windy city rollers

Media brought the action right to my living room... and that’s just where I was

dr. j sioux falls roller dollz

camped out for weeks on end, watching each inspiring moment unfold on the

catholic cruel girl rocky mountain rollergirls justice feelgood marshall derby news network cruisin’ b. anthony steel city derby demons coach pauly e-ville roller derby ráyn of terror hudson valley horrors ivanna s. pankin’ socal derby la petite mort fast girl skates beth row carolina rollergirls

track. What a great addition to the tournament experience! For a full recap of the Big 5 action, check out Justice Feelgood Marshall’s article on page 16. So tournament season is over. Now what? Thankfully, we all know there isn’t a true off-season in this sport, and the bouts just keep on coming. Seriously, the week after Championships, several of the teams that participated traveled to Chicago to face off on the banked track. Totally badass! No rest for the wicked, right? Of course, there’s no off-season for us here at fiveonfive either, and this issue is packed with information, including articles about concussions, how to handle

pink e tampa bay derby chicks

heel pain, and conquering the mental aspect of the game. Be sure to check out

f.u.b.a.r.bie roller derby virginia beach

the gear section featuring an article about boots and how they’ve evolved over

red d 2riot angel city derby girls

the years and a comprehensive wheel guide to help you choose the right ones

lenore gore dc rollergirls

for you.

shantastic mcawesome stateline derby divas

As always, we rely on you for valuable and relevant content. If you have an idea

swede hurt crime city rollers

for an article, send us an email. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

harriet the spike rocky mountain rollergirls

Miss Jane Redrum

kylie of backlash detour derby

Fort Wayne Derby Girls Fort Wayne, IN editor@fiveonfivemag.com

cover photo Mike Butler – LeVar Hurtin’ fiveonfive magazine info@fiveonfivemag.com facebook.com/fiveonfive fiveonfivemag.com

WE GOOFED! The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the contributing writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Women’s Flat Track Derby Association or fiveonfive magazine. WFTDA is a supporter of fiveonfive magazine but does not approve or disapprove of the content or advertisements.

Our apologies to Wayne Patenaude for omitting his photo credit in Summer Issue #12 in the “What’s the Difference?” section. Our apologies to Chaz Hall with the Carolina Wreckingballs who wrote the article in Fall Issue #13 – Dos and Don’ts of Stripes. We mistakenly credited the wrong author for the article.


contributors

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.

Interplanet Janet Interplanet Janet has been with the Rat City Rollergirls’ for 6 years: 2 as an active skater for the Throttle Rockets, 2 as a coach, and 3 as the team mascot. She’s also the assistant travel team coach for the Seattle Derby Brats. Nicknamed “Merch Mama,” she's been ordering most non-apparel merchandise for the league since 2004 through her mom’s company, Bytes ‘n Grins. This year, she started her own merchandising company.

LeVar Hurtin’ / Mike Butler

Justice Feelgood Marshall

Papa Doc Papa Doc is a retired pediatrician who was captured by roller derby six years ago. Working with the Windy City Rollers for six years and on Regional and Championship tournaments, he has gained appreciation for the blood (literally), sweat, and injuries that make up the marvel of roller derby. It led him to want to contribute to the publications of derby and to draft a first aid manual for derby.

Travis Taylor

Tracy Williams (“Justice Feelgood Marshall”) has been involved in roller derby since 2005 as a referee, player, announcer and writer. In 2007 he founded DerbyNewsNetwork.com, which eventually grew into the premiere online source for derby recaps, previews and live streaming video; he also founded one of the first modern men’s teams in Baltimore’s Harm City Homicide and helped launch the Men’s Roller Derby Association. Currently he lives in Chicago, Illinois and serves as a bench coach for the Windy City Rollers while remaining the editor-in-chief of DNN.

Shantastic McAwesome Clearly driven by insanity, Shantastic strapped on a pair of rentals at derby practice and spent the next several months looking like a seizure on wheels. Her prior skating experience was a middle school birthday party at a roller rink, during which she clung to the wall and asked repeatedly when her mother was coming to take her home. Now she skates five days a week (far from the wall) and teaches other people how to skate.

Lenore Gore Kayley ‘Lenore Gore’ Whalen joined the DC Rollergirls in 2008. She skates for Scare Force One and has also been on the DC All-Stars and the Board of Directors. Roller derby gave her the confidence to leave her career in finance to pursue her passions for activism and writing. When not skating, she is an advocate for humanism, drug policy reform, LGBT rights, and the Occupy movement.


advice

Suzy Hotrod

Ms D’Fiant

Gotham Girls Roller Derby New York, NY

Angel City Derby Girls Los Angeles, CA

DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, For many seasons, our league has considered making the transition from non-skating coach to skating coach; however, our male coach has been with us since the first season. How do we tell him that it would be more beneficial to coach ourselves? -SNOT U, IT’S US

DEAR SNOT, It sounds like this is less an issue about skating versus non-skating coach and more an issue with your coach in general. You don’t want to box yourselves out with hard rules. Are you sure you want to draw the line in the sand with skating only coaches? Or again is this just a way to help get out the old timer coach who hasn’t grown with you as the sport and the skaters have grown? My league has a lot of coaches, an elected head coach and then elected coaches. They are chosen by the whole league in voting. Some are active skaters: travel team and home team only skaters. We have retired skater coaches and we have male coaches who were never skaters but have experience leading us in training and acted as managers or referees. They all have the physical capability of skating though. It’s really important that they all understand how we move. Is it that your coach has no ability on skates at all? I guess I could see that as being a huge drawback. Really what works for us is that the coaches are elected. So it’s not like a hard line of only taking skating coaches, or whatever. So, the worst case scenario, a coach that isn’t wanted has to accept that they weren’t fairly voted in by the whole league. Maybe you guys would want to consider that type of system. You should have more than one coach for a league though. Man, we can barely get by with ten coaches! Even if your league is just one traveling team, it seems you’d want to have a few important leaders helping out as managers, practice leaders, and team captains. There are so many roles to fill. Don’t kick your old coach to the curb. Maybe you just need to find a fitting role for him that will still benefit the team? It’s roller derby, we’re all volunteers and good help is hard to find. Most of all, you want to avoid being like, “We want to train ourselves.” That’s like shooting yourself in the foot. Think of the long-term goal: a league where coaches coach and skaters skate. Being an experienced skater, I know it’s important for me to coach my home team and my new skaters, but a lot of times I really would like to just be a skater and concentrate on developing my own game, and many years down the road we will get there. It’s a weird sport we’re in juggling a lot of roles as we grow. So I’d say think twice before getting rid of your old coach, and instead consider a modified role for him. Or maybe choose a new head coach and have him be the assistant coach? This is really hard because there are years of experience you’ve had with him. Approach this with consideration for all of the hard work he’s given you guys and try to work something out where everyone is still part of the family.

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DEAR SNOT, Breaking up is hard to do! Autumn in roller derby has always been a time of great transition, in my experience. Every year around autumn, there’s a feeling of absolute desperation, as league pillars retire or relocate. And somehow, each January, new seeds start working their way up through the solid ground, and by spring, we have strong shoots of leadership. This constant turnover is probably more frequent in roller derby than any other sport. It sounds like your league has recognized that some of the old growth needs pruning and is ready for the change. Given that you’ve made this decision, I think you owe it to yourself and your (soon to be former) coach to be very honest. Make sure to be honest with yourselves first, though. Has everyone come to this decision? Maybe it’s time to elect new leadership in the training department. Elections are an easy route because no one person has to take the blame when someone isn’t re-elected to a position. Also, it ensures that you’re operating more democratically, which is in everyone’s best interest. In my personal experience, I’ve found that skaters get very attached to coaches and filling those shoes can be an emotional thing. Make sure the league is well represented when choosing how to move forward with training. Speaking of the emotional, is this person important to you? I’ve seen leagues nearly split when losing a coach before. If so, is there still a place for him? It may be a matter of finding the right role for him in your league. Maybe it’s not running the coaching program, but instead running an endurance practice? Or training the fresh meat? You never know, he may appreciate a lesser role in the league. Sometimes we get very self-important in roller derby and put our lives on hold thinking nobody can (or wants to) do my job. That’s just not true. There’s always a little seed just waiting to sprout up and take a bigger role. So, my advice, start with a very open and honest conversation with your league and with the coach. You may be very surprised at what is uncovered.


Steven L. Price (Skippy Steve)

DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, As a blocker or jammer, sometimes I get trapped behind a wall. What’s the best thing to do in this situation? Slow down and reset manually? Get lower, turn sideways and shove your shoulder in? -LIL GOAT

DEAR LG, First, mentally deconstruct that wall to be two individual targets in your eyes. As you work each one, mistakes will be made from the blockers as they adjust to your movements, hopefully opening up a hole between the two or opening space between one skater and the boundaries of the track. If the blockers are excellent they won’t so much be opening up space holes. You’ll want to be looking for them opening up their hips and leaving “hip holes” so to speak, where you see their hips pointing in a direction rather than neutral. That is a hole. As you push off of them, their body will go in the direction their hips are pointing. So if their hips open to the outside of the track, for example, you push off of her from the inside and she will head slightly to the outside. I find there’s two natural ways. You are naturally comfortable either hitting things with your hips or with your shoulder. The thing is, whatever zone you use on your body to initiate, both parts need to make it out in order to break free. My opinion – the hip initiating the hit is much more effective. Most newer skaters are more comfortable with their shoulders but when we teach this at boot camps, I see a lot of skaters leaning way too far forward with their one shoulder in an unbalanced mess and both their feet even. Practice using the hip. You have to stack your body. You can’t go in there as a block of human. You need to be heading with one shoulder, one hip, and one leg all in front with the rest of you stacked behind. The space you have to work with is small enough as it is. You can’t be going in there straight forward from your top to your bottom. The little legal zone on the side of the rear end and just to the outside of the bra straps are the zones on a blocker’s back that you need to be working with. The biggest thing to take away from this technique is that constant consistent pressure is the worst way to do this. You need to vary your levels of attack and location. I like to think of it like when you’re in a Fun House and there’s those rubber narrow walls where you bounce back and forth to get through it. It’s very common to teach this and no sooner are you through telling people to mix it up, the students are just running along pushing on their toe stops hopelessly forward into a steady wall connection with their shoulder. NO! NO! NO! Keep bouncing those attack hips. One last thing, get those hips in front of their hips after something opens up, or you’ll be trapped with your shoulder helplessly reaching through a blocker sandwich with your nice derby bottom half stuck on the wrong side of the wall. Pick a target, hit it. That means HIT it. Don’t just lay yourself on it evenly with a steady drive. Attack it. You need to initiate something that is “upsetting” to a blocker, something that they need to react to, something that will throw them off physically because the punch of your hit makes them physically roll. You need to essentially punch them in the hips. Once you make contact, you could be connected. Ok. You’re pushing them forward. But there’s a two second rule. Don’t stay there more than two seconds before disconnecting and hitting another spot on them or the other blocker. You have to mix it up. I just can’t stress this enough. Don’t stay in one place too long. That gives blockers time to adjust. There’s a lot of fast footwork needed in this skill aside from just the contact part. You need to deliver erratic hits in multiple locations to the left and right laterally, then you need rush your twinkle toes through the holes. I use a combination of shuffle steps on the edges and the toe stop running forward. The more you can move around laterally and forward in all hit deliveries, the better off you will be. As for speed and resetting. If you withdraw back to restart speed, that’s more time for the other two blockers to recycle and you could be up against a wall of four now, eep! Try to keep pushing onward and get it moving forward any way possible using the erratic movements. I try not to drop back and reset so much as if I find myself making consistent physical contact with a blocker too long, I know I need to break the physical connection immediately. I like to say, you can have a quick moment with a blocker, but if you and a blocker are sharing a “moment,” (and you start to hear Secret Lovers playing in your head) it’s been too long, ya know? One last word of advice. Watch your forearms or elbows. Don’t get them involved. Either tuck your forearm under your boobs as you make hits. Or flatten your arms to your body straight down. Just don’t let you arms run free or they will get stuck in between blockers or collect forearm penalties. Also for god’s sake, never try to get through this mess using your head! I only say it because I’ve seen it happen. Just because you’re in a helmet doesn’t mean you should smash people with your head.

DEAR LG, Friend, you have come to the right place. I often find myself goated in the pack and trapped behind a wall. It’s a reel that plays over and over in my head at night, trying to figure out how I got there. The answer I like to tell myself is that as Pivot, I’m usually much more concerned with communicating to my team and getting everyone to the front of the pack. After instructing everyone to hustle, the other team has caught on and is all over me. The obvious first thing is, don’t be in that position! It’s up to us as skaters to know where we should be in the pack. That lightening quick thinking takes practice to develop, so start trying to think in every jam – where should I be in this moment? Also watch a lot of video of yourself and spot yourself out of place. Watch a lot of video of other teams (hello Big 5 archives!) and note which players are out of place. This will get your brain thinking quicker about pack speed and placement. The reality is that no matter how much video and practice you have, you’ll be behind a wall sooner or later. Let’s talk about what NOT to do in this moment. Do not stop or skate backwards. Especially if it’s a power jam, the last thing you want to do is make it quicker for the other team to score more points. Fight Fight Fight! If the wall is holding you to split the pack and free their jammer from your team, that constant fighting will help keep your teammates in play. In the worst case scenario – a power jam where you have very few teammates on the track – consider calling for a teammate to join you behind the wall. A powerful two person wall has shut down plenty of power jams. At the very least, you’ll slow a jammer down more than either of you will on your own. On the other hand, if your teammates are building a great wall in front of the wall that’s holding you, this is when you employ timing and a little brute force to free yourself from the trap. My coach (Billy Motion) gave us the best advice here when he suggested to fight/push the wall until the opposing jammer approaches. When she’s around five feet away, back off the wall a little and go on defense. If you hit the jammer, great. If not, now is the time to follow her through the hole her wall just made. After she clears her wall, she will hit your team’s mighty defense. This is sure to take the attention of your captors as they turn to offense and give you the perfect chance to hustle and join your team at the front of the pack. As with everything in derby, it takes a lot of practice and mental focus. Keep at it!

need advice? email advice@fiveonfivemag.com fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2011 | 5


business

merch 101:

non-apparel merchandise and logos I N T E R P L A N E T J A N E T, R AT C I T Y R O L L E R G I R L S

Merchandise can be a great source of pride for your league members, a way for your league to raise funds, and it can build brand awareness and recognition in your community. Or it can end up as a bunch of junk taking up space in someone’s garage... popular swag items Know your fan base. Usually, your first buying fans are your own skaters, NSOs, friends and family. What do you want to buy? Do your fans lean green and ride bicycles? Do they drink lots of beer? Do they bring the kids? That will help you narrow down your selection. Koozies (Coolie/Kozy/Can Cooler/what-have-you) are very popular because they are inexpensive and have a high profit margin for you. Other great items to start with include shot/pint glasses (although shipping prices keep increasing on these items), window clings, magnets, rally towels, cowbells, stadium seat cushions (if your venue doesn’t have seating), plastic cups, water bottles, travel coffee mugs and tote bags. The roller skatebottle-opener-keychains are also very popular. Patches are also great items to sell and can be made in full color (unlike most imprint items, which will require separate setup charges for each color), but they can be tricky to order – they are almost all made overseas and quality can vary dramatically. Allow two month’s lead time before you need them in-hand; this should allow for edits/re-sews to make sure it looks the way you want. Be sure to request a production proof. As your fans get savvier and your league has more capital to invest, you can branch into creative items like sweat/wristbands, dog tags, diner mugs, flasks, belt buckles, car flags, coaster sets, etc. Be creative! let’s talk logos Before you can put your logo on something to sell or give to your fans, you need a good design. The best derby logos are visually compelling yet simple designs with clean and bold lines that translate well to imprint, embroidery, or screen printing. They can be printed in full color but also look great in just plain black and white. And, most importantly, they inspire fans to want to buy or wear merchandise with the logo on it, and not just because it’s their local or favorite team.

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Think of some of the best logos you’ve seen: Rat City (of course, I’m a bit partial since that’s my home league), Arizona Roller Derby, B.A.D. Girls, DC, London, WFTDA, Big Easy, Sin City, Oly Rollers, Minnesota, the new Team USA logo, and my personal favorite new league logo, Juneau Rollergirls. This is by all means not an all-inclusive list, but what do they all have in common? They are simple, catchy, and recognizable – plus, they look great on stuff. As Rat City has grown to fill a 6,000-seat arena for most bouts, we’ve seen a lot of people who may only attend one bout per season, but they buy merch simply for the “cool factor.” They wear it around town and feel like they’re part of the in-crowd when someone they pass on the street gives them a nod, like, “Yeah, me too...” The merchandise you sell could be your best advertising investment. Whether you’re just coming up with a design or you’re reconsidering an existing logo that isn’t working well for you, here are some important tips to consider before going into full production: • First – perform the shrink test: using a simple copier, reduce your logo down to 2” (common for koozies) or 1” (for keychains) and look at it on the monitor or print it on a piece of paper. Can you read any of the text? Is much of the detail lost? If you really want to keep your detailed logo for web/print, then have your designer come up with an alternate logo version. For example, Mason-Dixon Roller Vixens’ original logo works for most items (left), but they also have a simplified version mainly to add variety to their merch selection (right):


version A

version B

version C

version D

version E

version F

Once you have determined your artwork for merchandise, you need to have several versions of it on file: a color version, a black on white version, a version optimized for printing in white ink on black (or dark) background, and the “negative” version of that logo, which is the file you send to the printer. Imprinting in color can get very expensive and some items can only be imprinted in one color, so having a good black and white logo is important. Let’s use my logo as an example of how to optimize black and white imprinting. When you send a file for imprint/screen print, know that the black areas in the artwork will be the parts that are printed – in other words, the black areas of the logo are what create the “holes” in the screen that the ink goes through. So, if you want to print in white ink on black or dark backgrounds and you send your regular file (in my example, version A), you will most likely end up with the exact inverse of your logo (version B). If your printer took this into account and reversed your logo for you, at best you would end up with version C because the file was not originally optimized for printing on black – notice how her head scarf disappears and it just looks like polka dots scattered around her head? If your logo, like many of the derby logos out there, features a girl’s face as the main image, you don’t want the imprint of her hair and lips to be white and her face to be the color of the background (black, red, etc.) – this is probably not the image you intended, your artist envisioned, or your fans want to buy.

To optimize my logo for imprint on black, my artist added the line around her that you see in version D, and the final file you would send for print would look like version F (the checkers you see actually represent a transparent or “no” background). You can also add a white circle around the logo like version E. • Next, make sure you have all of the versions of the logo in vector format. Vector images can be scaled easily without producing the “stair-step” edges you will see in pixel-based (raster) images such as .jpg files. They adapt to the resolution of any output device and are considered to be resolution independent. They are produced by programs like Adobe Illustrator®, Macromedia FreeHand® and CorelDRAW® and usually end in .ai or .eps. PDF files can sometimes work if the logo was saved from an original vector file. Note: Although you can save a .jpg file as an .eps file in several programs, just saving it does not actually convert it to a vector file. To maximize image quality: • Files should be saved at a minimum of 300 dpi (dots per inch), fonts should not be less than 7mm (5 for block fonts), and lines should be at least 1mm thick – in the Mason-Dixon example shown, though it looked great on the printed proof, we lost her chin line on some cowbells and had to have them redone. Better safe than sorry – follow the 1mm guideline!

fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2011 | 7


business • All text should be converted to “outlines” or you run the risk of a manufacturer not having your exact font in their library, especially if your text was created from scratch. • Finally, once you’ve gone through all of this work, I strongly suggest saving everything in a logo library that all members can access for years to come (e.g., Google Docs). We know that turnover in derby can be high and the head of the art committee now may not be in charge next season, so it’s important for the league to have easy access to the files in the future. It seems like a lot of work, but it’s better to get your art set up correctly the first time than to try and hunt down logo versions mid-season when you’re bouting, practicing, etc. And it’s way better than getting 200 black koozies with an inverted logo! Sadly, I see it happen all the time, and I spend hours fixing logos myself, so hopefully this information will save you some future headaches. dollars and sense Be Prepared for Setup Fees. In the “promotional products” industry, distributors get products from many different suppliers. For example, if you want your logo on a shot glass, a koozie, a tote bag, a keychain, and a patch, it’s very likely your distributor will source each of those items from a different supplier. And each of those suppliers will charge you a different setup fee – an average of about $40.00-$60.00 per product! Even if you order a shot glass and a pint glass and the distributor is using the same supplier, each item would have a setup fee because the logo needs to be sized to that particular item. The good news is that when you reorder that same item from the same vendor within a year’s timeframe, they will usually discount the setup fee. How to Price? Keystone pricing (doubling the cost paid) used to be the rule of thumb for pricing items for retail sale, but is used less and less these days. Here are some factors to consider when pricing your merchandise in today’s industry: • Take into account the full cost including shipping/setup/etc. • Ask yourself, “How much would I pay for this?” • Is the goal to make money or to get your logo seen around town?

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• Do you want to deal with dollar bills, or are you content with only getting $5 for an item that a fan might pay $6 or $7 for just so you don’t need to make change? • If it only cost you $1, would it be better to throw it in “free with $25 purchase” to encourage people to buy the higher ticket items? • Will they be given away to volunteers or for fan appreciation? Plan Ahead. I know derby is incredibly demanding on your lives and schedules, but try to give some thought to what you want to order well before you actually need it. Allow a minimum of three weeks or more from when you order something to receive it in-hand without paying extra for rush production or shipping charges – that’s money coming out of your bottom line! For example, ground shipping to Seattle from a supplier in Florida may take as long as seven business days, and shipping to Australia or Canada can take weeks! The production clock doesn’t start ticking until you have approved your artwork and given the green light to the distributor. That means that if you are the ultimate decision maker, make sure you stay in communication during the entire order process and be ready to quickly approve a proof or pay an invoice. A good distributor will do her homework and research many suppliers offering similar items to find a manufacturer as close to you as possible. The item may actually cost a few cents or dollars more, but a local supplier can offer substantial savings in shipping, especially with heavy items like glasses. a few words on apparel We’ll discuss apparel in more depth in a future issue, but here is some food for thought: don’t be afraid to invest in quality! Something cheap with your logo on it is just that – cheap! If a derby girl has $50 to spend at a tournament, are they going to buy your black unisex logo t-shirt, or something fashionably fantastic from Flat Track Revolution or Pivot Star? Back in the day, we bought stuff from everywhere because there just wasn’t much of it – derby merch was still pretty novel. But now, there’s a lot of competition from other leagues and derby apparel businesses are selling some really cool stuff. Whatever you decide for your logo or your merch, remember to have fun.


LASKS FLASK F ELLS BELLS COWBE COWB RS RS ERS ER PENE PENE OPEN TLE O TLE TT T OT O BOTTL B BOTT NS IONS ION CUSHIONS AT CUSH EAT SEAT S SEA LS LS EL E WE W OW TO Y TOWE LY LL AL ALL A R RA RALLY E!! ORE MORE MOR CH & M RCH ER MERC MER M


health and fitness

concussions PA PA D O C , W I N DY C I T Y R O L L E R S

Concussions are a common injury in contact sports. Individual events of concussion can range from a simple “ding” to emergency medical problems. Importantly, recent medical evidence of the possible long-term serious consequences of repeated concussions forces us to be more careful dealing with our skaters. definition: As we currently understand a concussion, the injury is a change (probably chemical) in the brain function induced by acceleration-deceleration and shearing forces on the soft brain inside the hard skull, rotational forces being more damaging than straight linear force. Actual structural changes are not demonstrated by imaging (CT, MRI) in the case of a concussion. Repeated concussions or a single severe concussion have the potential to induce long-term changes in the brain function. On the good side, most who suffer one or more concussions will not have long-term effects. On the bad side, some will. Unfortunately, at this point, we do not have a 100% way of predicting which skater will have long-term consequences from concussions, although amnesia for events before injury suggests a more serious concussion. We are left with careful monitoring and ensuring brain healing has time to take place. diagnosis: An event occurs during which the head is violently shaken – the event does not have to involve a direct head blow. The symptoms that can occur in various combinations and severity are: headache, pressure in the head, neck pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, blurred vision, amnesia for events before or after the injury, balance problems, sensitivity to light and/or noise, feeling slowed down, feeling as if in a fog, difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering, feeling fatigued, confusion, drowsiness or trouble falling asleep, more emotionality than normal, irritability, and nervousness. The victim of a concussion will demonstrate difficulty in balance, concentration, mental function, and behavior. Note: a loss of consciousness is not actually a common symptom, resulting

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in under-reporting of concussions. Please, if you suffer the mentioned symptoms or signs, report them to your medical team. If there is a loss of consciousness, evaluation in an emergency room (ER) is needed. If there is no loss of consciousness, the severity and number of symptoms will determine whether the skater will need to go to the ER. ALL skaters with symptoms and signs of a concussion must be evaluated by the team medical personnel and be excluded from play that day. Evaluation in the ER may include brain scans and referral to a specialist in neurological injuries. There is a useful evaluation form (SCAT2) that can be used to evaluate and to follow a concussed skater. The whole document is available at Marko Niemelä nata.org in the Journal of Athletic Training, 2009:44(4):434-448. There is a short, on-the-field evaluation form, as well as a lengthier evaluation form, useful for initial evaluation and follow-up. It is important to remember that other more serious brain injuries can begin with mild concussion-like symptoms and progress in hours to a dangerous situation. That is why a concussion must be evaluated by medical personnel. treatment: First, because a more serious brain injury that does not show up right away can start out with symptoms similar to a concussion, the injured person should be monitored by someone for 24-48 hours. It may be necessary to waken the victim every 2-3 hours during the night to ensure their sleep is normal sleep, not unconsciousness. Nausea or vomiting may


occur after a concussion, so the injured skater should have a bland, mainly liquid diet for 24-48 hours. Because of possible problems with concentration, confusion, and mental slowness, the victim should not drive or operate dangerous equipment for 24-48 hours, possibly longer. Prevention of another injury until the brain heals chemically is critical. Second impact injury (another injury to the brain before healing has occurred) can result in dangerous and chronic dysfunction of the brain, including death. The skater must rest mentally and physically until the signs and symptoms have fully resolved and do not flare upon resuming mental and physical activity. Rest is the only actual treatment for concussion. This means both physical and mental rest. The hardest part is resting the brain, but it is the most important part of “treatment”. This involves not using the brain for anything other than basic life functions until the symptoms subside. Initially for a day or two, a quiet, dimly-lit environment is beneficial. Reading, tasks requiring mental effort and concentration, watching TV, and the like should be avoided until the symptoms subside. Ideally, this involves time off work. Physical rest is also needed. If the symptoms subside but re-occur on resuming mental and physical activity, rest must be resumed. Pain treatment for the head or neck pain may be needed. Rest and ice bags will often be sufficient. If not, acetaminophen (Tylenol is one brand) is all right. Aspirin and NSAIDS (ibuprofen, naprosyn, and the like) must be avoided because they promote bleeding. Although bleeding is not a result of a concussion, the concern is that a more serious injury involving bleeding may present with concussion symptoms initially. Sedative and narcotic medicines must be avoided because they mask

important symptoms or cause symptoms that mimic head injury such as dizziness, lethargy, or nausea. If the skater is on regular medications (prescription or over the counter) for another unrelated medical condition, a doctor must be consulted as to whether the medicine is okay to continue. Alcohol and hard drugs are absolutely contra-indicated. return to play (rtp): Because each concussion is so individualized, the RTP must be individualized for the skater. Blanket rules don’t work well. In general, the milder the concussion, the sooner RTP can happen. The time frame may be a week to as long as several weeks. But it must be under the supervision of the skater’s own physician and the team medical staff working together. The key determinant is that the symptoms and signs must have resolved completely AND must not start up with the resumption of normal, non-sport activities. Once that is true, gradual return to sport-related, but non-contact activities is instituted. If the skater remains symptom-free, then gradual return to contact sport activities can be done. There are instances where the skater will be well and return to contact sport activities but have a relapse of symptoms some days to weeks later even without a new head trauma. This is known as post-concussion syndrome and requires further medical evaluation with a neurologist. prevention: It is obvious that complete prevention of concussion in contact sports is not possible. But the use of a well-fitted, well-made helmet and mouth guard helps reduce the likelihood. This is the reasoning behind prohibiting hits above the shoulders and using the head to block. There is evidence that increasing the neck strength may reduce the forces generated in falls by reducing the violent shaking of the head. This is still being investigated, but strong flexible neck muscles are helpful in reducing neck injuries in any case. Preventing the long-term consequences of repeated concussions requires that skaters be honest in reporting symptoms in the first place and following the medical advice carefully. This will give the best chance for the brain to “heal” and allow the best chance for the skater to return to derby safely and soon. Some investigation into using neuropsychological testing before and during the sports season as guides to diagnosing and managing concussion is being done. This is not currently available widely due to the time and expense involved. In short, “use your head”, report your symptoms, and don’t “lose your head”.

fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2011 | 11


health and fitness

heel pain D R . J, S I O U X FA L L S R O L L E R D O L L Z

You skate and skate and skate. You come home and then the next day you can’t take a step out of the bed onto your painful foot. What is up with that? One of the most common causes of heel pain in all sports that involve use of your leg muscles is plantar fasciitis. Most skaters are familiar with their Achilles tendon, the huge tendon that comes down from the calf, or gastrocnemius muscle, and which inserts into the heel bone or calcaneus. Most skaters have probably experienced some tightness in their calf muscles after skating and do some version of a gastrocnemius muscle stretch and stretch of the Achilles tendon. What most skaters probably don’t realize is that if the calf muscles and Achilles tendon tend to be tight, the plantar fascia tends to get tight also. The plantar fascia is an enormous band of tissue that is like a strap on the bottom of your foot. It controls your arch. If you pull up on your toes, you will feel your inner arch move up toward the top of your foot. This is called the windlass mechanism. If your Achilles and gastrocnemius are tight, this tends to stress the plantar fascia. However, if you are a skater who tends to roll in and collapse your inner arch as you skate, this also can stretch or even tear the plantar fascia. Skaters who have plantar fasciitis often have pain with their first step out of bed in the morning. The bottom of the foot feels deeply sore, especially near the heel toward the arch. Skaters who have problems with heel pain need to be examined by a doctor to make sure there isn’t a heel fracture or nerve injury in the heel or another serious medical problem. Sometimes, if the doctor gets an x-ray, the doctor may find a bone spur. These heel spurs are actually from the traction of the plantar fascia pulling on the heel bone over time. THAT’s a lot of tension! Skaters who have a lot of heel pain and who have been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis usually get better if they consistently do stretches. Calf stretches are great and many skaters should feel better afterwards. Remember you need to stretch your calf with your knee bent as well as with your knee extended to really get a full stretch. Stretching ideally follows a brief warm-up.

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Some doctors recommend crossing the leg with the painful heel over the other knee. The patient pulls up on the toes of the affected foot. It is recommended that you do this stretch throughout the day. Other options to treat plantar fasciitis include night splint and taping. The splint is worn on your foot at night to stretch your gastrocnemius. Taping, which is often done by a podiatrist or a physical therapist, helps support your arch. Physical therapists have additional techniques to help, such as ultrasound treatments. Very occasionally, some people who just can’t get better will need to be referred to physicians to determine if injections or other types of surgical treatments are necessary. Remember that you can help yourself by not ignoring your symptoms, getting yourself competent medical advice early, stretching, and taking a good hard look at your skates regarding fit. NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER: This article is intended as a reference only. The information is not intended to be nor should this information be used as a substitute for medical treatment. If you suspect that you have a medical problem or are experiencing any health issues, seek the advice of competent medical care and consult with your personal physician.


health and fitness

Party Time! Catholic Cruel Girl, Rocky Mountain Rollergirls photos by Jean Schwarzwalder

Victory Lap Cocktail ingredients: 1 ½ oz reposed tequila ¼ oz Canton ginger liqueur 4 dashes orange bitters Samuel Smith’s Organic Apple Cider Beer Orange peel

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In a shaker filled with ice, combine tequila, ginger liqueur, fresh ginger and bitters. Shake strongly for a few seconds and strain into an 8 oz glass filled with ice. Top with cider beer and garnish with an orange peel. (This cocktail was originally made with Carmessi Tequila)


With the derby season behind most of us, it is time to take a break from our diligent training and make some room for indulgence. These recipes reflect the desire for warm, comforting food and drinks to share with friends and family. The Mexican flair of these goodies are perfect for the chillier weather, with their balance of flavors and spice. Cheers!

Mexican Shepherd’s Pie ingredients: 2 tablespoons canola oil 2 medium russet potatoes, washed and diced into ¼” pieces 4 large cloves garlic, minced 1 cup celery, diced 1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced into thin coins 1 cup yellow onion, diced 1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded (if you want less heat) and diced

2 cups kidney beans, rinsed and drained 1 28 oz can fire roasted crushed tomatoes 1 can chipotle peppers, diced 1 cup vegetable broth ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped 4 cups prepared polenta (corn grits)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium saucepan bring water to a boil. Add potatoes and boil until slightly under-done. When finished, strain and set aside. While potatoes are cooking, prepare vegetables. In a large saucepan, heat oil. Add onion, garlic, carrots and celery stirring occasionally. Sautee on medium heat until softened (about 10 minutes). Stir in poblano pepper, jalapeno, chipotles, beans and tomatoes. Continue to cook over medium heat for 8 minutes. Add vegetable broth and continue to cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add cilantro. Stir until combined and spoon mixture into a 9x12 inch baking dish or prepare in individual casserole dishes. Top with a layer of polenta. Sprinkle with desired amount of cheese. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2011 | 15


games and coaching

2011 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

It was another season of firsts for a young sport in Denver, Colorado, in November as the Denver Roller Dolls hosted the 2011 WFTDA Championships. For the first time, the WFTDA had a repeat champion as New York’s Gotham Girls repeated their undefeated season from 2008 to take the Hydra in a 140-97 victory over 2009 champs Oly. Unlike the 2010 Championships – which had been marked primarily by lopsided blowouts with the exception of the onepoint thriller of a final between champs Rocky Mountain and runner-up Oly – much of the excitement in the 2011 edition was in the journey to the final. Kansas City, in particular, seemed to be incapable of playing a non-thriller all weekend, trading the lead almost all game long in e ach of their four contests and nearly handing Oly an enormous upset in the semifinals. Last year’s also-ran Minnesota ejected favored Charm City

The game was tied at 119-119 with 3 minutes to play when a critical track cut to Rose City jammer White Flight left the floor open for KCRW’s Track Rat to score the game-winning points with a 14-0 – although on the next jam, Kelley Young gifted Rose City a chance at a last-jam comeback by calling a jam at 0-0 just before time expired, allowing Rose to call timeout with 6 seconds on the clock and the score 133-119 Kansas City. Rose City’s Scald Eagle won the final face-off 16-10, but it wasn’t enough for the game win, and Kansas City advanced with a 143-135 win. First-time Championships competitors Naptown (Indianapolis,

and gave Texas a run for their money, and Texas themselves hung with unstoppable Gotham for much longer than expected before Gotham took it over. Friday’s opening-round action featured two nailbiters and two blowouts. North Central 2 seed Minnesota got the weekend off to an exciting start in their game against East 3 seed Charm City; when the teams played in the 2010 Championships, Charm City steamrolled Minnesota 249-118, but this time Minnesota took advantage of Charm City penalty trouble and a very hot opening run to win 160-118. They led 94-42 at the break, but the second half almost seemed like two completely different games – Charm City erased all of Minnesota’s advantage with a 73-2 run that put Charm up 121-109 with 11 minutes to play, but Minnesota ended the game on a 51-0 run to take back the lead and eventually the victory. In the other close one of the day, South Central 2 seed Kansas City went up against the West’s 3 seed Rose City. Rose City had an exceptional weekend in September at their regional tournament and was projected by many to be he aded for a topfour finish in Denver, but Kansas City had other ideas. Led by eventual tournament MVP Kelley Young, Kansas City led for most of the first half and was up 46-19 after 20 minutes, but Rose City erased it all with back-to-back 14-0 jams to go up by a point with 6 minutes left in the first half. It was the third of 10 lead changes in the game.

luck to face the previous year’s WFTDA champions in the opening round. In 2010, they’d gone up against Oly and lost 214-53; this year, they pulled Rocky Mountain and lost by a similar score of 198-58. Friday’s results meant that all four quarterfinal matches on Saturday featured a regional champ going up against the 2 seed from a different region. Three of those matchups were very even. In the first, Minnesota looked like they might have another upset in them as they opened up an early 51-17 lead on South Central champs Texas, but Texas followed the double-barrel attack of Vicious Van Go Go (54 points) and Olivia Shootin’ John (48 points) to a comeback. Texas turned it around to lead 91-69 with about 20 minutes to play, but Minnesota answered and made the score 92-91 Minnesota with 10 minutes to play. Penalties severely hamstrung Minnesota in the final stretch, though, and Texas pulled away late to win 141-108. A highly anticipated clash between hometown Rocky Mountain and East top seed Gotham ended with a 53-point win for Gotham that didn’t reflect how close RMRG came to the win. Gotham’s margin of victory ended up being built entirely on powerjams, as Rocky Mountain had major problems dealing with Gotham’s strategy of slowing to a crawl without engaging any RMRG blockers. Rocky consistently ended up running out of play and sending a nonstop conga line of blockers to the box. Though Rocky Mountain was up 100-85 with about 20 minutes

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IN) didn’t have much luck in their matchup with perennial contenders Philly. The 2 seed from the East buried the 3 seed from the North Central 225-68 in the weekend’s biggest blowout and held Naptown to just 20 first-half points in the process. In the other blowout game, Nashville once again had the bad


Steven L. Price (Skippy Steve)

Jules Doyle

Jules Doyle

Jules Doyle Jules Doyle

Jules Doyle Jules Doyle Jules Doyle

fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2011 | 17 Jules Doyle

Jules Doyle


games and coaching remaining after fighting back from an early 52-14 deficit, the fatal series came when Gotham went 14-0, 30-0 and 30-0 as Rocky Mountain jammer Urrk’n Jerk’n as Booty Blockya simply could not stay out of the box; she was sent off four times in three jams while Gotham put up 74 unanswered points and changed the score from 100-85 Rocky to 159-100 Gotham. Rocky Mountain could only knock a few points off tha t lead in the 14 remaining minutes, and Gotham won 187-134. The third quarterfinal saw the top seed from the North Central, Windy City, continue their tough luck in Championships play – after finishing in 2nd place in 2008, they’ve been one-and-done every year since. In 2009 it was Denver and in 2010 Oly, but this time it was Kansas City delivering the ejection in a victory over the Chicagoans. Kansas Ci ty led for the great majority of a very low-scoring first half that ended 42-29, but early in the second half, WCR went on a 31-0 run featuring a spectacular balancing act by jammer Varla Vendetta to stay in bounds and finish off a 10-0. That put Windy City up 74-57 with about 15 minutes to play, but they couldn’t hang on. Kansas City used clean jamming from their rotation – no KC jammer went to the box in the second half – and methodically chipped away at Windy City, retaking the lead at 87-82 and then working the clock effectively until claiming a 112-95 win. The final quarterfinal game proved to be the only lopsided contest of the round, as Oly jumped out to a quick early lead over Philly and then kept pounding away – at the break, Oly was up 89-36. Although Philly managed to play Oly evenly over the final 20 minutes of the game, the damage had been done early and they’d spend the last third of the game hovering around 90 points down before finally losing 181-95. That set up semifinal matchups between Texas and Gotham and Oly and Kansas City to end Saturday’s action. Texas gave it their all against Gotham and managed to hang in there longer than most of Gotham’s 2011 victims had managed; even after falling into a 56-17 hole with about 10 minutes to play in the first half, they managed to rally and make it 75-48 at the half. For the first ten minutes of the second, Texas stubbornly refused to give ground and was still within striking distance at 102-79, but Gotham finally put their foot down there with a demoralizing 34-0 run. Texas was unable to answer in kind and finally went down by 82 points at 195-113. Most of the crowd expected the second semifinal between Oly and Kansas City to be an Oly rout – Oly had defeated Kansas City 169-88 earlier in the season when they’d met in Olympia – but Kansas City very nearly dropped a stunning upset on the heavily

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favored Oly. The game opened more or less as expected as key Oly jammers Stella Italiana, Atomatrix, and Licker*N*Split led their team to 46-15 lead about 15 minutes into the game; Kansas City managed to keep pace with Oly for the remainder of the half and go into the half down by a very respectable margin of 60-36. But Kansas City was interested in more than just a respectable loss. A 14-0 jam for Kansas City’s Jade Lightning on the second jam of the half made it a single-digit game at 62-54, and four jams later, KCRW’s Kelley Young toed the j ammer line with the score 67-62 Oly and their jammer Atomatrix in the box. Young had an epic jam, twirling and spinning her way past a rapidly diminishing Oly pack – and Atomatrix picked up a tripping major penalty upon her return. The crowd went nuts for Young’s 25-0 jam, which put Kansas City up 87-67 with 19 minutes to play. Oly was back up 4 jams later at 99-91 with 10 minutes on the clock, but Kansas City’s Trauma got a 10-0 powerjam to lift KCRW into the lead one more time at 101-99 next. However, Oly would be on the right side of the bout’s final lead change two jams later when KC’s Hall Balls was boxed and Atomatrix took advantage for a 15-0 that put her team up 114-104 with about 5 minutes to go. Kansas City did not score again, and Oly dodged a bullet, 124-104. That put Texas and Kansas City in Sunday’s third-place matchup – a rematch of October’s South Central final where Texas defeated Kansas City 132-92. Much like that game, the teams traded the lead multiple times before Texas finally pulled ahead for the win. Kansas City was in a 21-3 hole after ten minutes, but it didn’t seem to faze them, even after they lost key jammer Track Rat to injury during their early rally. With 15 minutes to go in the half, Kansas City had already taken the lead back at 27-24, but there would be four more lead changes in the next 15 minutes before it ended with Kansas City up 62-50. The KC advantage peaked at 79-59 with 23 minutes left to play, but a big 20-2 powerjam for Texas’ Olivia Shootin’ John changed the situation considerably; one jam later, Texas was on the right side of the bout’s 7th lead cha nge at 83-81. Though the Texas advantage remained stuck in single digits for the next 10 minutes, Kansas City never retook the lead, and they were finally hampered by jammer penalties after having a very clean weekend thus far. Texas claimed third place on the weekend with a 136-112 win in the end. That all led up to the grand finale between Gotham and Oly – the first time that previously undefeated teams had ever met in


the WFTDA championship game, with the 2008 champs up against the 2009 champs. It was Oly’s third year in a row in the championship game, but it had turn out to be the second year in a row they’d end their season one game short of ultimate victory. Gotham went back to the same strategy that had served them well throughout the year, crowding the jammer line on starts and usually eschewing offense to focus on keeping the opposing jammer bottled long enough to allow their own jammers to claim lead on split packs. It didn’t start well for the New Yorkers, as Oly held a 22-4 lead after 7 jams, but Gotham hit their groove then, blanking Oly for ten minutes while going on a 48-0 run featuring a 24-0 powerjam from Wild Cherri. With abou t 10 minutes to go in the half it was 52-22 Gotham, although Oly managed to find their footing and finish the half with a good run to leave it 59-38 at the break.

But the second half eventually proved that Oly’s sheer athleticism wasn’t a match for the teamwork of the deeper and more disciplined Gotham. Oly relied very heavily on a smaller core than Gotham did, and it started showing up in penalty problem s. The game was 79-59 Gotham with 18 minutes to play when things started unraveling for Oly. Jammer Stella Italiana was boxed three times in two jams, and at the end of the sequence Gotham was up 99-68 and Oly had lost a critical element in a foulout to Tannibal Lector. Two jams later, Gotham delivered the one-two deathblow with a 14-0 to Suzy Hotrod immediately followed by a 17-0 powerjam to Bonnie Thunders; it was 130-72 Gotham with only six minutes to play, and though Oly finished strong, there was not enough time to get back within striking distance. Gotham took the final with a score of 140-97.

Steven L. Price (Skippy Steve)

Steven L. Price (Skippy Steve)

Jules Doyle

fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2011 | 19


games and coaching

mental training 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

90% of the game is half mental, as Yogi Berra once said, so when I first heard mental training consultant Aimee Kimball say that athletes should train our brains as well as our bodies, I needed to know more. Dr. Kimball is the Director of Mental Training at UPMC Sports Medicine, where she works with athletes and coaches. Sports psychology techniques, she says, can help us make the most of practices, perform better in games, and bring a positive attitude to our team bench. I called up Dr. Kimball to ask her some of the burning questions my league mates and I had about mental training for roller derby. How do you get started figuring out what mindset will help you perform your best?

tell your teammates, “Here’s what I’m working on, really push me and make sure that I’m doing it.”

Usually what I tell people to do is to think about their best performances. So in a competition, when they felt like they did very well, identifying what they were thinking about, what they focused on, what their attitude was, even their energy level – so if they were really pumped up or if they were really calm. Basically, try to get a snapshot of, “Here’s what my mind is doing and here’s what my body is doing when I perform well.”

We’ve all seen people that keep a cool head even in a really intense game, but then some people play best when they get angry – if something’s going wrong, they say, “Harness that! Hit people harder!” Is one a better

So then, by identifying it, you can work on ways to create that mindset.

You’ve said before that practice needs to be more than just “going through the motions.” How can I make the most of practice time? A good thing to do is have a goal for it, and go into practice saying to yourself, “What can I do today to make myself a little bit better than yesterday?”

Can you offer any advice on choosing a good goal? Make the goal specific. Don’t just say, “I’m going to go into practice and do my best,” because that can be your best based on the fact that it’s late at night, that you didn’t get a lot to eat, that maybe you’re sore from the night before. It needs to be specific: I’m working on blocking, or I’m working on getting a good start. Really focus on, “Here’s what I’m going to do, and here’s how I’m going to do it.” Part of your goal can include who’s going to help you with that, so maybe you’re going to

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approach than the other? When you’re looking at playing with a lot of emotion you have to be careful because there’s a fine line. It’s typically not the anger that helps them to play well; it’s what the anger does to their focus. If you get too angry, though. It can backfire, because it can make you more tense. It can make you not think straight, so you’re trying to do things that maybe are taking away from your real game plan. I think it’s more looking at how that emotion does affect your focus, and maybe your energy level, and then seeing if there are other ways to create that focus and energy. Some people do play a very even keel, showing no emotion, but that may not work for other people. So it’s more about how your emotion is affecting your energy and your focus.

I was wondering about strategies for overcoming setbacks and disappointments. Scenario: As a captain, you have to cut people from your game day roster. Those people aren’t going to be happy about it. How can you keep them motivated? It’s a hard question that coaches always have to deal with.


And I think most of it’s being up front and honest with them. I find the people who struggle with it are the ones who think they have a chance, and when it comes down to it, they don’t. So it’s important for the coaches to tell them ahead of time “Look, here’s where you are in the lineup right now, here are some things you can do to improve” but also making the point that this isn’t the set lineup, there will be opportunities later on for you to get back into the lineup, we’re not ruling you out – if that’s actually the case. Point out the things that they’re doing well, how they can contribute to the team, and things that they can work on.

To flip that around, what advice would you give to a player in that situation? I think they just have to realize there are times in life where you don’t get exactly what you want. And sometimes you could be the best player but maybe the coach doesn’t like you, or you might be a great player but it doesn’t make for a strong team. What I usually tell people is just to tell themselves, “I’m gonna make myself so good that they have no choice but to play me.”

What about when you’re injured? How can you overcome that disappointment and then what can you do to be mentally prepared when you come back? Recognize that anytime you’re injured, it’s going to be hard. But it’s something that can make you stronger. I think a lot of people who are injured come back more motivated because they have had to sit out. They might hear teammates going, “Oh, I’m so tired, I don’t want to be here today” – well, if you’ve overcome an injury and you’re back, you don’t take those days for granted anymore. You can actually be a smarter player, so when you’re injured and you’re on the sidelines, watch from the perspective of a coach. Because sometimes when you’re actually playing and competing, you don’t pick up on the same things as you would if you’re on the sideline and watching, trying to learn.

Something you linked on twitter, about delayed serves in tennis, got me thinking. [Here I explained about the jammer start delays.] That’s definitely a mental aspect of the sport, that you know somebody could come up with some weird loophole in the rules that might be very frustrating because you can’t find a way out. Any thoughts on that? I call them mental fire drills. We all have fire drills in school or at work so that we’re prepared if a situation arises, we don’t panic, we don’t get really anxious about it, we skate effectively and efficiently. And so it’s the same thing with situations within sports. It’s saying “here are situations we might find mentally and physically challenging – in this situation, what’s our plan? What’s our mental escape route, what’s our physical escape route, what are we going to do to make the most of this situation?” Because you can’t control what they’re doing, but you can control what you’re doing. We used to have a softball coach in high school and at the end of practices sometimes we would have “Stump the Coach.” We would throw out a random scenario and see, based on the rules of the game, what he would do. So that might be a way to do it too.

Any last words of advice for derby players? With an aggressive sport where you’re going fast and you’re getting hit, I think it is important to make sure you’re mentally prepared. Because if you start to fear getting hit or getting injured, that’s going to affect your game. Make sure you go in and say “Here’s what I’m going to accomplish when I’m out there, here’s my role, here’s how I’m going to skate,” and know this is your identity when you’re out there competing, and really focus on what it is you want to do rather than what you’re trying to avoid.

If you’re interested in learning more, Dr. Kimball recommends the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. Their website, appliedsportpsych.org, has information about books and articles about mental training and lists certified consultants. fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2011 | 21


games and coaching

coach’s corner by coach pauly

know your roll

part 14: derby is like a rolling stone

Hello from the Great White North! Well, moving from the hellish summers of Arizona and enduring one of the worst winters in Edmonton’s history, I have a greater respect for skaters that dig up their roots and transplant themselves and their derby to new digs. After coaching AZRD and then going freelance and now Coaching E-Ville, it has been quite a change in culture. At AZRD, we had derby year round with very short breaks for peace of mind and then bang – derby, derby, derby all over again. Here in Edmonton, my local league is deeply rooted in the seasons. Fall, winter (break for Christmas till January), and spring are derby months and summer is for getting out and enjoying the weather. When I first arrived, this was so foreign to me and caused me great frustration. To me, time off the track = loss of productivity, knowledge and fitness. All the work put in during the season seemed to evaporate. Now I stew over the summer and think about the advances we made before the break and watch all of that disintegrate as I dream of September and the start of our new season. For me coming to a new league had its ups and downs, but at the end of the day, I had it pretty easy. I had already worked with my new home league and had built a relationship with them. For a transfer skater, I think it is more difficult. The difficulty is different for each skater based on their skill, knowledge of the game, and the skill level of the league they are joining. Some skaters have chosen to leave their league because their skill is higher than that of their home league and they want to play at a level that compliments them and helps them evolve. Some skaters move because of work or other life changes and find themselves on the internet looking for a new league in their new city. They find a league and make contact, work out membership info and booya, they are back on the track. Others want to be in derby so they move, find a league and as a brand new skater, have no expectations. We have a snap shot of three separate individual skater types. We have the advanced “badass”, the intermediate “here for fun and socializing”, and the beginner “I don’t know what I want”. Don’t get me wrong, there are a throng of others, I just want to capture a cross section. So let’s talk about them point by point. The Advanced “badass”: A skater that is awesome on her skates has a great understanding of derby on and off the track.

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She is usually involved with training and someone who is looked up to and respected. These skaters generally are the leadership both on and off the track and tend to be relied on heavily by other skaters. The Intermediate “here for fun and socializing”: A skater that is good on her skates. They are here to have fun and get some fitness in while doing it. She has no desire to take it to the next level, and is happy playing on a house team. The Beginner “I don’t know what I want”: These skaters have just started derby and have no expectations or hang ups; they just come skate and go home. Each practice they gain knowledge and grow their derby. They are not hindered with derby drama. They are fresh and have positive energy for derby. Out of these three basic skater types the advanced skater is the skater that usually has the hardest time adapting to a new league. If they are coming to a league that is fairly new, drama usually ensues because of jealousy. There is not much anyone can do about that. I know if Atomatrix moved to Edmonton, I would be a happy camper as a coach; as a skater the feeling may be different. Both league and skater go through a feeling out period and soon you notice that jealousy turns to respect and respect turns to camaraderie. The league accepts the skater and the skater calls the league home. Now this is the best case scenario that I have experienced. On the other end of the spectrum, you have a skater that was the top skater in her old league and ruled the roost across the board. They are now coming to a new league that has skaters that are at the same level and higher in some cases. Some of these skaters have been to every boot camp, training camp and open scrimmage around and think their pads don’t stink. They question the training structure at every practice, stopping practice to inject their view point. They break off from the group to practice their own set of skills and drills and then leave the floor when everyone else is sweating it out. This is a huge problem when your training committee is comprised of skaters that have been leading practices for multiple seasons and have been appointed to their position because of their trainings skills. Now does this mean they don’t have anything to add to the leagues knowledge


base? No, it doesn’t. It just means that the new skater needs to be shown the proper channels of communication to inject their views and ideas. And understand that each league has a culture and to be a true member you have to learn the language and understand the lay of the land. Fighting to gain clarity will get you nowhere. Having a healthy discussion will open your eyes to reason. Again, having a clear definition of how the league operates clears this up from the start. I have said it a thousand times: derby is beautiful because you are always learning new things. It evolves daily. We are all very aware that derby draws many different personality types and with that comes drama. I recommend an interview process that would clearly define league culture to the interested skater. Also having a representative from the business side of the league, as well as the training side, so that the skater can get a good snapshot of where the league stands is a good idea. This will help them decide if the league is a good fit. I know that most leagues have great bylaws and most of this is

covered, but I find in my travels that even the best leagues don’t always adhere to them. Does this take a little time? Yes it does, but if you can take that time and weigh it against the time you may have to spend dealing with a disgruntled skater that is unhappy because the league is not what it was advertised to be, it will be worth it. I know at one time, the WFTDA had a transfer form that skaters would have her current league send to the new league that would basically state the skater’s current abilities, status in the league and overall information about that individual. This helps leagues intake transfer skaters or alert leagues to problem skaters. Now when you handle transfer skaters, remember, good bylaws and good administration of those bylaws will keep things running smoothly.

‘Til next time, see you on the track… If you have any questions, comments or feedback please email me at derbywhisperer@gmail.com.

DRILL

drill: trap and slap or bridge it out?

purpose: working on one-on-one defense and decision making for a second defender based on where the first defender and jammer are relative to the pack

Place groups of four at the end of the track. One person is a jammer, two people are from the same team playing defense on the jammer, and the fourth person acts as “the pack”.

The first defender body blocks the jammer. The second defender starts a second later and decides if she is going to hit the jammer out of bounds, or if she needs to create a bridge to keep the first defender in play. The fourth skater skates at a slow, steady pace behind the defenders and calls “out of play” when the jammer is 20 feet from her (the pack).

Jules Doyle

It is important that the second defender communicate to the first defender about what she is doing and if the first defender needs to hit the jammer down or out of bounds.

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games and coaching

I’m sorry, did I offend you? R Á Y N O F T E R R O R , H U D S O N VA L L E Y H O R R O R S

In derby, as in life, there are people who are very sensitive and have a very thin skin. I have met these players multiple times, and let me tell you, our meeting at times, can be traumatizing to them. I have come across fresh meat who were shocked when I told them to stop apologizing to people they trip or hit. I have even had complaints that I was mean, rude and offensive. I have been taken off of rosters due to how other players perceived me on the track. There is one of me on every team and if you’re lucky, maybe two or three. The truth is that everyone is not cut out to be the asshole of their team and still be rendered an effective skater. I feel like the more I hold in what is bothering me about a player or the team, the less effective I am on the track. Granted, these are team-oriented issues, not personal issues that will still be there to worry about after derby practice, or an issue that I have with an individual player or the team off-track. Understandably, these are issues that the coaches should be addressing, but haven’t or won’t, which is a whole other can of worms. I am that teammate who believes that if you wanted to have a hobby that catered to people who need to be coddled, then do some extreme knitting or extreme tea parties; derby is a full contact sport of full body checking, where parts of the game calls for you to be unapologetically ruthless. I respect the player and the game, but we have to actually start playing the game, instead of addressing personal issues during play/practice times.

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Derby isn’t for the faint of heart. The very nature of the sport goes against what society deems as socially compliant. Most coaches know how to walk the fine line of knowing what needs to be said to bring out the great potential seen in a prospective derby player versus which ones are just not going to make it through the verbal coaching, let alone the physical part. My crew coach in high school knew how words could motivate a player when they physically and mentally needed to dig in deeper. The mere thought of disappointing my coach and the team was greater than my ego/pride/feelings. Whatever he said, and it really was a tongue lashing when I wasn’t rowing to my fullest potential, made me get it done! I didn’t perceive it as rude or offensive, only as something that needed to be said to get the job done. I fear some teams have adopted this “handle with kiddie gloves” syndrome that society has used to coddle those born after 1990. It’s sad but true. It may be offensive to say, “Man up!” but rarely do men have a problem on a sports team regarding their feelings. Do I believe men are stronger than women when it comes to their feelings? No, they just channel it better. There are women out there who can do the same, if not better, than some men. In a sport like roller derby, where there is a group of women who need to be on the same wavelength as each other for the sake of success, effectiveness and teamwork need to be a priority, not feelings. If there are some things that I can say to help out freshies, tenders or venders (vets who are still a little tender, yes they do exist), or veteran skaters it would be the following: 1. I am not responsible for your feelings! This is my favorite thing to say. I don’t want to hear how I hurt your feelings. The team is not a therapy group or a dumping ground for your feelings. This isn’t a knitting circle or a sorority. You need to check your feelings at the door and “Do Work!” on the track. Really work it out on the track. Use that rage to push yourself to be a better player. It may be hard to achieve this but an opposing team may prey on your inability to stay focused on the game. I know I would.


2. Put up or shut up! No one likes a know it all. If you know the rules of the game and can call every technical nuance out there then PROVE IT! Otherwise, you are going to annoy the hell out of the rest of your team and more than likely you will be offended when someone tells you that you need to shut up and skate or when someone says you are USELESS on the track. That last one may sting but what your teammates need is someone who is going to HELP your team function effectively. If you aren’t helping YOUR team, you are helping the OTHER team! Real talk. 3. Keep derby and your personal life separate! I can’t stress this enough! Let’s face it, if we could handle our jobs like we handle a jammer or blocker in derby, things would be much simpler. Just think, hip checking your boss across the board room table because he/she just volunteered you for a project that will have you missing a bout would be easier than changing jobs. If you whine to your boss every time someone is rude to you at work, then I kind of feel sorry for you. If too much is weighing on your mind in your personal life and it is affecting your gameplay, it would be better for you to opt out of practice. 4. This one is for mommies who treat their teammates like children. I love mommies. I think they are great. I have one, she’s awesome! Check it at the door when it comes to your teammates. Unfortunately, there are a lot of wimpy kids out there because someone told them they should go tattle to whoever is in charge when someone does something mean to you. In my day, if you came home crying from being beaten up, you were more than likely going to get into more trouble because you didn’t stand up for yourself (It’s called building character, self-esteem, self-efficiency, etc.). Doesn’t work in derby. It just gets your teammates pissed off at you because you didn’t confront them like a true teammate should. 5. I’m sorry that you feel that way, but I am not sorry I said it. If you are going to regret it a second after you

to stand firm in your convictions or recant it later. There is a fine line between being disrespectful and saying what needs to be said. 6. Coaches need to coach without apology. If you don’t tell your players, realistically, what their playing levels are compared to BOUT READY players, then chances are another player will. I’m not a coach on my league but I have dished out my own assessment of a player when they have asked. I could do it wrapped up nicely in a present that has puppies, unicorns and rainbows on it, but that just doesn’t do the trick. HONESTY will always rule out you trying to be diplomatic. I, and many others, prefer the cold, hard truth over you trying to spare my feelings. If you can’t do that, then you may want to re-think being a coach. I don’t remember my basketball coach saying that the girls who were cut were “really great and you will be a great player someday, so we’ll just throw you in there with more seasoned players to try to raise your skill level.” This practice can/will set your teams back when you test fresh meat every year and throw them in with the whole population and then wonder why you get a player like me that is terminally frustrated because this player is deemed USELESS on the track. Scrimmage-ready and bout-ready is more than just a physical test, in fact, it’s mostly mental. Players who aren’t ready are more likely to get hurt. 7. Losing happens. Get over it already. You really can win them all but the likelihood of it happening isn’t too great. What we don’t want to hear is, “It is OK that we lost because we showed a lot of team work out there!” It’s going to get old after a while. If winning didn’t matter, then we wouldn’t keep score (Vince Lombardi). There’s no CRYING in derby! Seriously. Unless you are grossly injured, you do not get a free pass to cry because you lost. SUCK IT UP! In conclusion, if any of my words here offended you just remember, I’m not responsible for your feelings.

have said it, then don’t say it. YOU WILL, probably, have

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gear

quiz: should I upgrade my plates? I VA N N A S . PA N K I N ’ , S O C A L D E R B Y

Within the past few years, gear available to the derby skater has gone from whatever we could cobble together at online jam, hockey, and speed shops, to specialized derby-specific business and products. Everyone is clamoring to convince us that the only thing that can bring you the derby domination of your dreams is the merchandise and advice that only they can provide. On the other side of the fence are old-timers who spout platitudes like, “A good skater can skate in anything,” or that recommend obsolete gear that was the very best you could get – in 1984. That may be true to an extent, but I’ve yet to see any of them shredding it up on the crap that newbies accidentally buy at generic sporting goods stores, and I will never believe what is right for one person is automatically the best for everyone. Just

1. How often do you change or replace your cushions? A) I love experimenting with different hardness of cushions! After several weeks of skating on different combos, hours of online research, and even more telephone conversations with local skate shops – as well as one in Europe and one in Australia – I think I finally found the optimum cushion setup for me. But that might change if we move practice locations to a different floor... How exciting! I can’t wait to start experimenting all over again! B) Cushions? You mean the bushings? I have the ones that came in my skates, but I was thinking about getting new ones – and wondering if they come in the same color as my team uniform. Is there a better way to decide? C) What are cushions? Do you mean, like, a helmet? Brain cushions?

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about the only thing all the so-called experts seem to agree on is that what you put on your feet will affect how you skate. The irritating truth is that if any of them were as right as they think they are, there wouldn’t be so many people performing well on such a variety of skates. Skate components differ from each other as much as skaters differ from each other, and we all have diverse experiences, needs and preferences. The best way to figure it out for yourself is to try on as many setups as possible and see what works best for you. But, if you’re too busy, too lazy, or just couldn’t give a crap less to learn about different types of gear – feel free to let this time-saving self-quiz lead you to your next new pair of plates.

2. How important is speed to you? A) Speed is the most important thing in the world to me. I’ve been a speed skater all of my life and my favorite thing in the world is pumping my rock-hard robotic legs to get as much power as I can from every push. In fact, I’d like roller derby a lot more if people would stop killing my speed boner and gettin g in my way... B) Speed is important to me, but so are a lot of things in this crazy sport of ours. I like to strike a compromise between speed, grip and maneuverability, to be the best all-around derby player I can be. C) I play stroller derby. Who needs speed? I’d rather be standing or hopping on

3. If you were to describe your skating style like a g ame of “rock, paper, scissors,” which one would you be? A) Nothing can cut through the pack with the same amount of sharpness and shine that I do, baby! Scissors all the way. B) I’m solid as a rock, and just as slow, but I love the way I can destroy those stupid cutty scissors. ROCK SMASH!!! C) I’m a paper player, for sure. I may not be able to cut as precisely as scissors but as least I can cover rock, body blocking them and keeping my jammer safe.

the track than skating on it. Think outside the box, man! Scoring 1. A) 5pts B) 3 pts C) 1pt

2. A) 1 pt B) 3 pts C) 5pts

3. A) 5pts B) 1pt C) 3pts


Scores 15 pts: The most important thing to you is quick response, and you are willing to sacrifice a little bit of speed, stability, and simplicity in maintenance to get it: you are just the skater for DA45 plates, or a short and forward mount. The narrower angle of a 45 degree plate gives them a shorter turning radius and allows them to give more maneuverability with less effort from the skater. The same can be said about a short and forward mounting. The downside is that maneuverability goes both ways, good and bad, and you will be less solid and more likely to be knocked around by your opponents – if they can touch you, that is. Also, DA45 plates tend to offer more complication to adjustments, as well, so in order to get the most out of your skates you must be willing to learn how to fine-tune them properly. They also require more than your average skate key to adjust, so you’ll want more tools. Unlike the super highend plates, DA45s come in a range of prices (roughly analogous to their weight – heavier = cheaper). For the right derby player, a short DA45 mount can be a crotch rocket nimbly weaving through a cumbersome traffic jam. For the wrong player, they are unstable crash machines. Sure Grip is offering quite a few choices in the DA45 area lately, including the new magnesium Avenger, which they promise to be super light and moderately priced in comparison to most at that weight. Depending on your foot size, just about any plate can be shortened to suit a short and forward mount. For more information please consult the charts in the Sin City Skates site or talk to yo ur most trusted skate expert.

9-14 pts: You don’t want to be all over the place, like your squirrely friend on DA45s, but you can also tell that your factoryassembled introductory skates are holding you back. Maneuverability is important to you, but you don’t want to make too many compromises as far as speed and stability are concerned; you should consider something with a moderate 15-19 degree truck angle. A 15-19 degree angle will be more responsive than the stodgy 5 or 10 degree angle you probably learned on, but also more stable than a DA45, allowing you to retain control at high speeds. Two plates for you to consider are the PD Revenge or any Roll Line model. If you want high performance with simplicity of maintenance, consider the PD Revenge plates, as they will offer you the choice of conical or round bushings and more sophisticated action adjustment, but feature a sturdier pointpivot truck that requires less adjusting and no special tools. If you’re not offended to be called a “gear queer” you’re a candidate for plates that are extremely high-end such as Roll Line, Snyder or PD Reactor plates. Super high-end plates give you more adjustment choices at the ball pivot, reverse kingpin and kingpin end to dial in your action perfectly. They offer you more choices in cushions as well, including conical or round, and often urethane or rubber – so you can really get exactly the rebound and snap you want. The really high end plates also come in more sizes, so you can make sure the axle to axle spread is exactly perfect for your weight and skating style. Also, sounds like you might be a little bit of a ge ar-head, and higher end plates require a lot more

preventative and on-the-bench maintenance – you don’t just get in and drive, like a Honda. You have to keep up on them like a Ferrari, because high end precision plates have a lot of moving parts and adjustments. Many high-end plate parts are not cross compatible – for example, Roll Line plates have metric thread pitches, so in most cases, only Roll Line parts will fit them – so you’re also going to want to carry extra parts and specialized tools. You know that all of that adds up to unbeatable performance that will make you a better skater. To some people that probably sounds like a prohibitive hassle. But I just saw your eyes light up. 3-8 pts: You don’t really care about technical mumbo jumbo and would rather just get whatever is easiest or most wellrecommended. When you’re ready to upgrade, you should probably consider a skate package with well-fitting boots in the $200-$300 price range, unless you’re rich, then you’re probably already dreaming of Antiks in your team colors. But you’re not even reading this anymore. That’s okay; you look really pretty in your bout photos – and Antiks come stock with good plates.

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gear

boots J E N N I F E R S AVA G L I O A K A L A P E T I T E M O RT, FA S T G I R L S K AT E S

So, how much time do you spend in your skate boots? Six hours a week? Ten? More? Next time you are racking up some of those practice hours, look at the other skaters around you. How many do you think would fit perfectly in your skates, be happy with your plate or accelerate just as fast on your wheels? Skill, stature, stride and experience all play a part in how you set up your skates. So when it comes to boots, since every skaters’ feet are different, how can one “derby” boot possibly be perfect for everyone? It can’t. What matters is finding the right boot for YOU. This also applies to the rest of your equipment. You should be able to choose your boots separately from plates, wheels and bearings. Why wouldn’t you want the best product each manufacturer has to offer? We have picked our absolute favorite boots and put them into two categories: the new hotnesses and tried and trues. We feel the boots listed below reflect the very best of what the market has to offer.

A skate under $200 is typically considered a “recreational” skate. That means that it is usually made in a factory overseas, is very padded, is synthetic and comes only in whole sizes. It also comes all put together with a plate, bearings and wheels. If you are skating for fun or are a beginner, most likely you don’t want to be in pain or have to break in your boots. A recreational skate is comfortable out of the box, but is not designed to withstand the wear and tear that happens when you wear them up to ten hours a week. Especially to play derby! In contrast, the higher end boots mentioned here are hand-made in the USA and are considered athletic equipment. While there is nothing wrong with starting in a more recreational skate and upgrading to a higher end boot later, it’s good to know the difference. Hopefully by the end of this article, you’ll have a better idea of what type of skate you want, and what kind of support you need.

THE BLUE STREAK: For some of us, the boot nirvana is to have the skate be an extension of the leg. It feels like it is just part of your foot and is so light you don’t even notice it is there. To achieve this, a very snug fit is called for, but who wants to lose their toenails or turn the skin on their feet to ribbons? The design of the Blue Streak has all the support and tried and true features of the original Riedell 595, with upgrades to ease the break in period and make the boot feel like a slipper, but with supreme durability. Details concerning the release of this skate will be available soon. Features: • Split last with a narrow heel and all over narrower fit more suited to a woman’s foot. • Super soft leather to ease break in period. • A fuzzy shearling tongue to reduce top-of-foot pressure and lace bite. • The simplest, easiest to repair heel snug strap. • A convenient pull-on strap on back. • A split toe borrowed from an outdoor style skate to give those toes some wiggle room! And it isn’t as vulnerable to splitting after normal skate wear and tear!

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THE ANTIK AR-1: The new offering from Quadzilla of GrnMnstr fame. Modeled after a hockey boot with ultra support for lateral movement. This boot has a heat-moldable counter, medical grade foam on the tongue, and a hard toe box to protect your toes and extend the life of the boot. This boot was designed to not need a break in period, and is lightly padded.

595: The original, fast girl style. We still love the snug “extension of the leg” fit, the durability, and the fact that this boot has been field tested by the toughest, fastest, most experienced skaters for years. Little known fact – Fast Girl Skates was the first retailer to request all our high end boots be made with the split last! We believed that the medium D width (for men) was too wide to get a proper and supportive fit for most women and had Riedell make all our boots with the D width ball of foot and B width heel. Clearly the idea caught on, as now most derby boots come with a split last. Thanks for listening, Riedell!

Gregory Scott Baxley

The 395, 695 and 195: All variations on a high end competitive speed boot. The 395 features a closed toe and lace cover. The 695 has the cinch strap across the foot that we all grew to love during our years wearing the RS1000, and the 195 has a lower boot height to reduce the rubbing on our ankles. We can’t all have slender doe-like ankles, you know! Proper boot fitting: Let’s apply common sense here. You want the ball of your foot to sit in the widest part of the boot, and the arch support to sit under your arches. The heel of your boot should “hug” your actual heel. Your toes should NEVER be curled! Ideally when the boot is new it should be snug while wearing thin socks because a leather boot only gets larger as you wear it. In a competitive speed boot, your toes should “feather” the front so the foot cannot slide forward and thus the heel cannot come out of the back of the boot. After these conditions are met, it is every skater’s personal choice of how tight they want or need their boots. It sometimes takes time to figure out what your boot needs are. And many of us didn’t get it right the first time. But luckily for us derby girls, it is getting easier and easier to try (and buy) new boots with all the offerings and local skate shops popping up!

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gear

wheels J E N N I F E R S AVA G L I O A K A L A P E T I T E M O RT, FA S T G I R L S K AT E S P H OTO S B Y G R E G O RY S C OT T BA X L E Y

With so many wheels on the market and so many skating surfaces, it can become an overwhelming chore to choose the proper wheels. When you factor in travel games where surfaces will vary from your home rink, wheel knowledge becomes a necessary evil. The bottom line is that the wheel market spans the needs of all skaters, so a little investment into knowing the ins and outs of your wheels will allow you the basis for making better choices to improve your game. Metal (Aluminum) vs. Plastic (Nylon): The difference is in the hub. It’s the same theory as with plates. Flex and weight. An aluminum hub wheel is more responsive, and some say it gives you a better roll because it’s more rigid and heavier. A nylon hub wheel flexes as you push, which can waste energy, but it is lighter. That said, if your wheels feel heavy to you, you could be wasting energy. Finally there are wheels made out of a more rigid Nylon or Urethane, which keeps the weight down but still allows for more response and roll. Atom and Heartless/Reckless/B’Zerk wheels are an example of these types of wheels. Indoor vs. Outdoor: Hardness is the big differentiator here. Generally, indoor derby wheels range in hardness from 88 to 101. An outdoor wheel is much softer like 78 to 84. This is because when you are skating on a sidewalk, for example, there are many bumps and rough spots, so you want your wheel to act as a shock absorber and be more sticky/grippy. Outdoor wheels are sometimes larger, so you can go further with each push, a good idea when you are skating 15 miles in a straight line!

Wide (44mm) vs. Narrow (31-38mm): The difference here is speed vs. agility. The old standard width, 44mm, was used for speed skating. The idea is that the more surface the skater has to push with, the faster they can go. The narrower wheels are for agility. The wheel is narrower, so the skater hits the edge faster and thus moves their feet faster. When considering which wheel is right for you, ask yourself if you want to improve your speed or your agility. Diameter – 62mm vs. 59mm: Again, the difference is agility. The larger in diameter the wheel is, the further each push carries you. The smaller it is, the more agile you can be and stops and starts become faster. Cheat Sheet: Where do I put my pusher wheels on my skates? For flat track – you put your most grippy wheels (88a hardness is considered a pusher wheel) in the spots that you push with. On the left foot – your front left side and either the back left side OR the back right side. On the right foot – on the front left side and either the back left side OR the back right side. On the banked track, some skaters are putting their pushers on the RIGHT sides of their skates in order to “dig” to climb up the banked track. The best way to determine your needs is to try different placements of the wheels. Some skaters use only one pusher, others need all 8. The choice is yours!

black wheels are the pusher wheels

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Wheel recommendations: the following chart is meant to be a guideline and/or a starting point if you are overwhelmed by all the wheel choices. If the wheels you are using do not fall into this chart, but are working for you – don’t change them! If it ain’t broke…

88-91a 88a flatout 88a Ikon black 88a Psycho 88a stalker 88a stinger 90a creeper 91a madman 88/91a super g

93-95a 93a devil ray 93a fugitive 93a g-rod 93a Ikon blue 94a schitzo 95a d-rod 95a Ikon purple 95a lowboy wide 95a speed ray 93a cannibal blue

93-95a 93a power plus grip 93a devil ray 93a fugitive 93a g-rod 93a Ikon blue 93a omega 93a tuner 93a trak atak 94a breaker 94a schitzo 95a d-rod 95a Ikon purple

88-91a 88a bones turbo 88a flatout 88a Ikon black 88a psycho 88a stalker 88a stinger 88a super g 90a creeper 91a madman 91a super g

84-88a 84a poison 84a shadow 85a bones turbo 86a bones zebra 86a voodoo 88a flatout 88a Ikon black 88a psycho 88a stalker 88a stinger 88a super g 88a bones turbo

88-91a 88a flatout 88a Ikon black 88a psycho 88a stalker 88a bones turbo 88a stinger 88a super g 88/91a super g 90a creeper 91a madman

93-95a 93a devil ray 93a fugitive 93a g-rod (either) 93a Ikon blue 93a evader turquoise 93a omega 93a power plus 93a tuner 94a schitzo 95a d-rod 95a Ikon purple 95a lowboy (either) 95a evader pink 95a trak atak 95a power plus

90-93a 91a madman 91a super g 92a bones koi 92a bones turbo 93a devil ray 93a fugitive 93a g-rod (either) 93a Ikon blue 93a evader turquoise 93a omega 93a tuner 93a trak atak 93a cannibal blue

84-88a 90-93a 84a poison 91a madman 84a shadow 91a super g 86a bones zebra 92a chaser 86a voodoo 92a bones koi 88a flatout 92a bones turbo 88a Ikon black 93a devil ray 88a evader yellow 93a fugitive 88a psycho 93a g-rod 88a stinger 93a Ikon blue 88a super g 93a evader turquoise 88a bones turbo 93a omega 93a tuner 93a trak atak 93a cannibal blue 93a power plus

Wood

Agility

Banked Track

Advanced

95-98a 95-97a 95a d-rod 95a dubz 95a Ikon purple 95a d-rod 95a lowboy wide 95a Ikon purple 95a devil ray 95a lowboy wide 97a fusion 95a devil ray 97a Ikon orange 97a fusion 97a trak atak 97a Ikon orange 97a power plus green 97a trak atak 98a lunatic 97a dubz 98a stroker 97a cannibal orange 97a cannibal orange

Polished Concrete

(Either = narrow or regular width)

Sport/Skate Court

Jammers

Blockers

Beginner

Speed

Wood

Sport/Skate Court

Polished Concrete

Banked Track

93-96a 91-93a 84-88a 91-93a 93a g-rod 2.0 91a super g 80a bones rose 91a super g 93a evader turquoise 92a black tile biter 80a bones turbo 92a bones koi 93a omega 92a chaser 84a poison narrow 92a bones turbo 94a breaker 92a diamond red 84a shadow 92a chaser 94a schitzo 92a bones koi 86a voodoo 92a black tile biter 94a diamond nat 92a bones turbo 88a flatoutrageous 92a diamond red 95a lowboy narrow 93a g-rod 2.0 88a evader yellow 93a g-rod 2.0 95a evader pink 93a evader turquoise 88a stalker 93a evader turquoise 95a trak atak 93a omega 88a stinger narrow 93a omega 96a diamond green 93a trak atak 88a super g 93a trak atak 96a vanish 88a bones turbo 95-98a 95a d-rod 95a Ikon purple 95a lowboy (either) 95a devil ray 96a vanish 96a diamond green 96a bones snake 97a fusion 97a Ikon orange 97a trak atak 97a evader red 97a cannibal orange 98a lunatic 98a stroker (either)

95-97a 95a d-rod 95a Ikon purple 95a lowboy (either) 95a speed ray 95a trak atak 95a evader pink 96a vanish 96a diamond green 96a bones snake 97a fusion 97a Ikon orange 98a lunatic 98a stroker (either) 97a cannibal orange

88-91a 93-95a 88a bones turbo 93a devil ray 88a flatout 93a g-rod (either) 88a Ikon black 93a Ikon blue 88a evader yellow 93a evader turquoise 88a psycho 93a omega 88a stalker 93a trak atak 88a stinger 94a breaker 90a creeper 94a schitzo 91a madman 94a diamond nat 88/91a super g 95a d-rod 95a Ikon purple 95a evader pink 95a lowboy (either) 95a trak atak

93-95a 95-97a 93a devil ray 95a d-rod 93a g-rod (either) 95a Ikon purple 93a Ikon blue 95a evader pink 93a evader 95a lowboy (either) turquoise 95a trak atak 93a omega 96a bones snake 93a trak atak 96a vanish 96a diamond green 94a diamond nat 94a breaker 96a turquoise tile biter 97a fusion 94a schitzo 97a Ikon orange 95a fugitive narrow 97a evader red 95a Ikon purple 97a trak atak 95a evader red 97a bones turbo 95a lowboy (either) 97a cannibal orange 95a trak atak

88-91a 93-95a 88a flatout 93a devil ray 88a flatoutrageous 93a fugitive narrow 88a Ikon black 93a g-rod 88a evader yellow 93a Ikon blue 88a psycho 93a evader turquoise 88a stalker 93a omega 88a stinger 94a breaker 88a bones turbo 94a schitzo 90a creeper 94a diamond nat 91a madman 94a orange tile biter 88/91a super g 95a d-rod 95a Ikon purple 95a evader pink 95a lowboy (either) 93a cannibal blue

Did you know? 1. A wheel must be broken in before it reaches its actual grip. When wheels are brand new, they are often slippery and should not be worn for the first time on a bout day, for example. 2. Many wheel manufacturers acknowledge the grooves on the wheels do not give you more traction. The grooves happen as a side effect during the manufacturing process when they

make the wheel round. Just because your grooves are gone may not mean you need a new set of wheels. To know when your wheels are done, it’s better to look at the edges. If they are very rounded, or the wheel has very large air holes around the hubs, it is time for replacement.

fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2011 | 31


The perfect gifftt ffor or derby fans! Available now at:

DerbyCalendar.com D erb byCalendar yCale endarr.com


wftda

taking the big 5 to the next level B E T H R OW, C A R O L I N A R O L L E R G I R L S

Starting with the 2012 tournament season, WFTDA will be taking a larger role in running the Big 5 tournaments. WFTDA hired a full-time tournament director, Janis Kelley, in May of 2011 to improve the Big 5 tournament experience for fans and skaters alike. Kelley has diverse leadership and project management experience in a broad array of fields; including being the Bout Production Chair for Minnesota RollerGirls. The Minnesota RollerGirls have seen record

making your travel plans! The Queen City Roller Girls of Buffalo, New York, will kick off the 2012 tournament season by hosting the North Central Region Playoffs in Niagara Falls, New York, September 14th-16th. Queen City skater, Her Ass-Her, said they are excited about the challenge of being the first team to host an out-of-region tournament. “We hope that it will be an experience that you will all remember

attendance at their bouts for years and Kelley is looking to bring that

and want to return to,” she said. In addition to watching

success to the WFTDA tournaments.

great roller derby, “You’ll be seeing one of the Seven

“I do believe that what I bring from the Minnesota RollerGirls bout production will add value to the WFTDA Playoffs and Championships,” Kelley said. “The success Minnesota has achieved is similarly the result

Wonders of the World!!! It’s only two blocks away. ...And it won’t be snowing in September!” B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls will follow that up by hosting

of directed PR and marketing, strong sponsorship relationships, the

the West Region Playoffs the next weekend in Oakland,

dedication and talents of an amazing crew of volunteers and, of course,

California, September 21st-23rd. B.A.D. is hoping the

creating an engaging and value-worthy bout experience for fans that

“home team luck” continues for them, as it did for

encourages repeat attendance.” In the past, the tournament host leagues have been responsible for almost every aspect of tournament production, from marketing to videography. This began to change in 2011. WFTDA’s first venture

several tournament hosts in 2011, including the West Region hosts, Rose City Rollers, who qualified for the WFTDA Championships for the first time. The East Region Playoffs will once again be

toward more consistency was its partnership with Blaze Streaming

co-hosted; this time by Green Mountain Derby Dames

Media to provide high-quality, reliable live coverage of the 2011 Big 5

and Montreal Roller Derby in Essex Junction, Vermont,

tournaments.

September 28th-30th.

“By consolidating broadcast rights under the association umbrella

“We are extremely proud to be the first International

we can create better access to roller derby footage for fans, coaches,

league to co-host a WFTDA Big 5 tournament with the

and skaters,” Kelley said.

Green Mountain Derby Dames,” said Trash N’ Smash,

WFTDA selected Blaze Streaming Media as its video contractor for 2011 after an open competitive bidding process. The 2012 Big Five

of Montreal Roller Derby. “This is GMDD’s first year as a WFTDA team and

broadcaster contract will be opened for bidding early next year. WFTDA

we’re excited for the opportunities this will bring us. We

hopes to continue the high quality and reliable coverage into the coming

are also thrilled to show off our beautiful state to the

years by providing centrally managed video broadcasting from one

Eastern teams and their fans,” added Green Mountain

vendor for all tournament events.

skater, Queen Defeat-YAH.

In 2012, WFTDA will be taking a larger role in running other aspects of tournament production, although it will still rely on host leagues for volunteer support and other local needs. While each host venue will offer its unique experience, WFTDA wants to ensure more consistency in the player and fan experience across the Big Five tournaments. “With 2012 being the first foray by the WFTDA into hosting and managing its own tournaments, my main focus is to establish a solid, well-defined foundation on which to develop the WFTDA product for future

No Coast Derby Girls are hosting the last playoffs of the season with South Central Regionals in Lincoln, Nebraska, October 5th-7th. The 2012 WFTDA Championships will be hosted by the Atlanta Rollergirls in Atlanta, Georgia, November 2nd-4th. Kelley believes that the success of the Big 5 depends on the WFTDA members’ involvement. “I’m really impressed by the level of dedication that WFTDA reps provide to the organization. It’s amazing the amount of time and skill

years,” Kelley said. “I want to combine customary practices with consistent

that many volunteer on top of the work they do for their home leagues.

branding to create a product that is instantly recognizable as a WFTDA-

These people are really some of the best in our community and their

sponsored tournament model, a gold standard for tournament play.” WFTDA has already selected the locations and dates for the 2012 Big 5 tournaments, so it’s not too early to start requesting time off work and 34 | Winter 2011 | fiveonfivemag.com

involvement and dedication creates the outstanding product that we have come to know as a WFTDA tournament.”


in depth: WFTDA rules revisions B E T H R OW, C A R O L I N A R O L L E R G I R L S At the beginning of the resurgence of modern roller derby, rules were individualized; every team had their own set of rules and their own way

If needed, the Rules Committee can release clarifications or official interpretations of the rules in the time between major rules updates.

to interpret those rules. Before a game between teams from different

These are published on the “Rules Central” portion of wftda.com as

leagues could be played, players had to meet with the opposing team

“Rules Publications.” A rules publication gives guidance on how referees

and the referees to negotiate the rules both teams were going to abide

should call a particular rule and how skaters should interpret that rule.

by. Having a consistent, steady set of rules that every team would accept

Big proposed changes would go into the ratification process; the Rules

is one of the main reasons the WFTDA was formed in 2005.

Committee will not change or add a rule in between rule update periods,

Fast-forward a few years and the WFTDA now

especially during tournament season. An example of a rule publication

has an all-elected Rules Committee to handle rule

would be the clarification of pre-jam positioning, released in July:

revisions, interpretations, suggestions, and questions.

wftda.com/rules/publications/prejam-positioning.

Committee members can be skaters or officials, but

There are some ideas about big changes to the WFTDA rules that

there must be a minimum number of skaters on the

have been circulating in the derby community and will be decided during

committee. There also must be at least one

this rules update cycle. Perhaps the most talked-about issue after the

representative from each region on the committee.

2011 playoff season was whether to speed up the jam start to improve

The Rules Committee used to publish an updated new ruleset once a year in the spring. These first few

the fans’ experience and encourage immediate competitive contact. If such a change does move ahead, roller derby certainly wouldn’t be the

years included big changes as the committee was still

first sport to change the rules to speed up the game. Basketball also

ironing out all the discrepancies between the different

started without time restrictions. Both the three second rule and the

rule interpretations from each league. As WFTDA grew

shot clock in basketball were created because unhappy fans were

in size and stature, the rules became more sustainable

complaining about slow or boring games.

and, in 2009, the WFTDA moved to a rules update

Another issue up for debate during the current rule revision is

every two years. The last ruleset went into effect

eliminating minor penalties. Currently, each illegal action classified as

in May 2010; the next update will be published in

having “minor impact” on the competitor or game is called, reported, and

mid 2012.

recorded throughout a game. Each time a skater accumulates four minor

The biennial rules revision is a lengthy process, with plenty of opportunity for leagues to provide input

penalties, she must serve one minute on the penalty box. Many skaters, fans, and officials have suggested that eliminating penalties with minimal

along the way. After the 2011 Playoffs, the Rules

impact while still penalizing illegal actions that have significant impact

Committee released a rules revision poll. This poll

on the game will simplify the game by eliminating complicated penalty

was distributed to all of the WFTDA leagues so that

tracking mechanics and creating a more direct relationship between

each individual skater, coach, or referee could submit

illegal actions and penalty time served.

proposed changes to the rules. After two weeks, the WFTDA Rules

WFTDA conducted several official beta test bouts this year using

Committee used this information to compile a list of proposed rules

a ruleset that eliminates minor penalties and moves those actions into

changes. Those proposed revisions were sent back out to WFTDA leagues

either the “major impact” or “no impact” parts of the spectrum. Many

and the leagues prioritized the proposed rules changes in terms of

other leagues also unofficially tried out the beta rules, and the Rules

importance. Most often, rules are prioritized based on how they affect

Committee has been collecting feedback from skaters and officials

game play or how the rules make the game easier for officials. After the

about the beta rules. Based on that data, WFTDA member leagues will

Rules Committee has discussed the proposed solutions, they will draft

determine whether eliminating minor penalties improves the game for

rule revisions that WFTDA member leagues will vote to ratify, or not ratify.

skaters, fans and officials.

If the new or amended rules are approved, they are incorporated into the

The 2012 ruleset will publish in late spring, and will take effect in

updated ruleset. The revised ruleset is then formally adopted in its

summer 2012. Stay tuned to wftda.com/rules for the updated rules once

entirety via a final vote.

they are complete.

fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2011 | 35


junior derby

derby at 15 P I N K E , TA M PA BAY D E R B Y C H I C K S

“Umm, maybe we should just go home.” I half said, half begged to my parents. I was slumped down in the back of my mom’s mint green Prius with a mosh pit of butterflies in my stomach when we pulled into the pitch black parking lot of Town and Country Skateworld. “It’s probably the wrong night,” I said, “let’s just turn around.” I knew it was in fact the right night but I had just come to the realization that I was probably not cut out for derby; I barely knew how to skate and everything I knew I had learned from Whip It! and an episode of Psych. I was a tiny little glasses-wearing 14-yearold, not some fearless skating she-warrior. “We came all this way, let’s just go in and check it out.” my mom said. I clenched my dad’s hand and entered the building, before I could run away a smiling woman skated over to me and said, “Hi, I’m Miss E, you must be Liz.” I nodded. “Grab some pads and lace up your skates, then get out on the track.” I shuffled over to a bench and slipped on my R3s, “Here goes nothing,” I shrugged to my mom. I started doing laps, the only other person on the track was a pint-sized girl name Wild Cat. We chatted for a while when we were joined by Sugar N Spice, a sassy fourth grader. “I’ve only been here for a month and now I skate like a pro. Don’t be afraid because Miss E will teach you everything,” she said. I was a bit

36 | Winter 2011 | fiveonfivemag.com

relieved, until she asked if I had a derby name. I didn’t have one and I didn’t think I could ever come up with one. She looked down at my Victoria’s Secret shirt, which read Love Pink, and exclaimed “Pinky! I’m gonna call you Pinky!” Sugar sped over to Miss E and told her the news while I kept circling

name. “Umm Pinky, like the normal way, P-i-n-k-y.” “Nah, let’s spell it P-i-n-k space E. You know, to make it more derby-y.” “Awesome!” I was starting to feel like I actually could be a derby girl. Then I was introduced to Tara and Tabatha, the only girls on the team who were older than me. I soon found out that Tabatha was one of the best skaters the rink, trying to look like I knew what I in the world, literally. She was a world was doing. I managed to make it around class figure skater and quickly became three laps without face planting when one of my skating role models. Miss E shouted, "Pinky come here!” The rest of practice is really a blur, I remember Miss E literally having to hold my hand when we practiced toe-stop walks and I thought I was amazing when we did our laps at the end of practice and I wasn’t the last one done. Fast forward almost two years; derby is my life. I’m now a captain for the Tampa Bay Derby Chicks and I’ve started speed and artistic skating. As cliché as it may sound, derby really has changed my life. Before I started skating, life kind of sucked; I was a benchwarmer on a competitive soccer team and a total geek. Now life is perfect. I get to skate up to five days a week and I have dozens of derby sisters to fall back on. Christopher W. Weeks, Starving-Artist-Productions.com The great thing about derby is that it doesn’t matter what you look like, I looked around trying to figure out where you’re from, or who you hang out who she was talking to, after thirty with; as long as you love derby everyone seconds of looking like a complete and on your team will love you too. As total idiot, I remembered that I was catty as teenage girls are, it’s almost Pinky. I hurried over, blushing, and she impossible to befriend people that you asked me how I would spell my new


“Derby’s made me so much more confident about my athletic ability, leadership skills and my body; it has helped me learn to love myself.”

insixiangmy

have practically nothing in common with, but at derby everyone gets along immediately after meeting. Derby’s made me so much more confident about my athletic ability, leadership skills and my body; it has helped me learn to love myself. It’s also made me somewhat shameless; ever since I had to finish a jam in my skivvies after my skirt fell off, I’ve been impossible to embarrass. Derby gets me through the week. Without it I would

probably spend the majority of my time on the couch eating Ben and Jerry’s and watching “How I Met Your Mother”. One of the bonuses about playing derby is the publicity. I’ve been in the newspaper three times and I’m scheduled to go on Talk Derby Tampa, a local talk show all about derby. I love it when people know me as the girl who plays roller derby. Once a total stranger came up to me in the hallway at school and said, “You’re Liz, right? I saw

a video of you skating, and I just want to say that you’re a total bad-ass. Like it was so bad-ass!” Sure, I don’t skate for fame or glory, but a little recognition makes all those squats a little less painful. Most importantly though, derby has taught me that you really can do anything if you set your mind to it; if you want something bad enough you can achieve it through blood, sweat, tears and, of course, rink rash.

fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2011 | 37


rookie

look what I did

from hobby to career F. U . B . A . R . B I E , R O L L E R D E R B Y V I R G I N I A B E A C H

I’d like to clear up a misconception about my derby name, F.U.B.A.R.bie. It does not mean “F you Barbie”! I love Barbie. What’s not to love? She can be anything from teacher to model to astronaut to rollergirl and look good doing it. F.U.B.A.R. is actually an acronym for F***** Up Beyond All Recognition (or repair). Barbie gone bad. Barbie with the bruises on her arm or fishnet burns on her butt. In the BF (before F.U.B.A.R.bie) period of my life, I was many things: daughter, sister, friend, wife, band widow, ex-wife, mommy,

Being sized by a guy on the phone at an 800 number gave me little

room mom, church nursery lady, orchestra mom, office manager,

confidence, so I started hitting all the sports stores-the national

surgery posting coordinator, manager, senior administrative

chains to the used sports stores-to be sure they knew about Roller

assistant, girlfriend, empty nester, and fiancé. Looking back, it seems

Derby and how many skaters there were locally who needed ska tes

that I re-invented myself many times, but I always knew there was

and gear. They all said the same thing: “Wow, that’s so cool, but

something amazing out there waiting for me; waiting for the timing

we’re not interested in carrying anything for roller derby.”

to be right. I never dreamed it would come at 46 years old and that it would be roller derby.

The league had one wholesale online gear supplier but no way to be fitted or to even know what gear was safe. I kept researching,

I was older than most derby players are when they retire, but

reading reviews and comparing prices and before long, I took over

I fell head over stupid in love with roller derby from the moment

ordering for the league, telling them about new products and new

it re-entered my life. I had forgotten how much I loved watching

technologies, paying for the orders myself and delivering them.

banked track derby in the 70s and speed skating until my Nick

Skates, wheels, pads, whatever they needed. I was paying retail for

( FU-Ken, Mr. Barbie, or just Nick) took me to my first flat track bout.

most of this stuff, and many times I took payments or never got paid

I bought Riedell R3 skates (a size too big, thanks, rink guy) at

at all, but I had discovered I was good at recommending the best

halftime and went to the pre-boot camp fresh meat meeting a

products for specific needs and I LOVED IT.

couple of weeks later. I could hardly focus on what the skaters were saying. I was so electrified; so sure I had found my next big thing. Much to my surprise, I not only survived boot camp, I left the rink

In the real world, I had twelve years of experience at a local non-for-profit as a Senior Administrative Assistant to the CFO. I knew everyone in the company and my many dear friends were so stoked

after three hours of hell feeling more alive than I had in so very long.

about derby that they dropped by my desk to see my bruises, ask

It had been thirty years since I skated and it only took a couple of

how it was going, suggest derby names, and eventually they came

laps to remember how great it felt to feel the vibration in your feet

to see me skate.

and the wind in your face. Looking back, the “I’m too pretty to

It was a big year for me. The last of my three children moved out

sweat” water bottle was not the best choice for this first meeting

of the area, I became engaged to my sweetheart of more than eight

with my new sisters. I was grateful I had opted not to go in full

years, I finally moved in with him, and I had roller derby. Everything

Barbie pink.

was perfect. Then it happened. On a Thursday morning, out of the

I dove in skates first and woke up every day thinking, “What day

blue, I was terminated from my job for being four minutes late. I had

is this? Do I get to skate tonight?” Derby saved my poor old soul and

noticed that my boss (uber-conservative, mid-sixties) and the other

ate my life, just like that. From there came tons of online shopping

elite executives had begun to treat me differently. It was subtle, but

for everything derby and online research on everything from how to

everything had a little frost on it.

heal the raw purple blisters on my right foot to who makes the best safety gear, wheels, etc. and where to get these thing s. I found that

I finally had to tell my boss about derby when I could barely walk from a giant (like dinner plate size) bruise on my left hip. He said,

there was absolutely nowhere to get anything in person. Online

“Aren’t you a little long in the tooth to be involved in such a thing?”

shopping for safety gear and wheels and such just didn’t cut it.

He printed the head shots of some of my teammates, asking, “Are

38 | Winter 2011 | fiveonfivemag.com


these the type of people you spend your time with?” with barely

obscure industrial areas with warehouses where we could make

concealed disdain. I explained that one of them was a manager at

noise and spread around the derby love without disrupting. I called

a huge mortgage firm, one a full-time Masters Program student,

friends in the business, but as soon as they found out what I

and one a Trauma Nurse. I told him that those were just head shots

wanted to do they said, “That’s so cool , but the owner isn’t

and they were just posing, but it was too late. The thought of some

interested.” These places were empty and had been for months,

bruised up, tattooed (I’d had the ink for a couple of years, BTW),

years even, and they’d rather not. This was my second big lesson

trash talkin’ derby floozy representing them was more than they

in how derby culture is perceived by those who just don’t know

could stomach. They stopped joking with me. I was out of

better, and it sealed the deal for me to take on telling the world

the circle.

how great roller derby is. Nick said, “I just don’t

I hid from the world for a few days,

think it’s a good idea,”

ashamed and broken.

when I told him I had

Thank God I had roller

found my destiny. I told

derby to feed my soul.

him I had so many

I shudder to think what

people who were on

might have happened

board and were thrilled

next if I didn’t have

to help.

practice and safety evals (my testing was

The first place I drove by looking for a FOR

the same week I got

RENT sign was an odd

fired) to live for and

little dead end road just

a group of awesome

a few miles from the

women who

oceanfront. It always

understood my

had an eclectic mix

situation and just let

of businesses and

me skate through it.

activities. At the dead

Nick was so supportive

end is the Lynnhaven

and patient. And, I

River. Just before you

passed my safety

drive into the river you

evals and my hits were

turn left through a huge

so much stronger now

gate and there’s a quiet

that they had the face

little building with a huge

of the bad boss. It

for lease sign on the

was official. I was

roof. I saw it from the

F.U.B.A.R.bie, #32flv. The thought of hitting the street looking for a new job with a new group of snobbish bosses who would force me to be someone I was not was less than appealing. It was time to take

highway. At first, I thought it was too small, but around the corner was a huge warehouse and parking lot. I knew it was the place. Roller Derby Virginia Beach belonged here. Now, where to get the money? It’s a great idea, the city will like

charge of the second half of my life, and for the first time, I had no

it. I’m a single mom with a dream. I’m old and I’m a badass but

kids to consider and no husband. I had rented my house to one of

still pretty. They love that. They’ll give me money to get started.

my teammates, so I didn’t have to stress about the mortgage. The

Once again, I was very wrong. I did find a great free resource

possibilities were endless. I was certain about one thing only; it

through the Department of Economic Development called SCORE.

absolutely had to involve skating.

It’s a group of long-time local business owners who listen to your

The next part of this crazy odyssey was so surreal it’s a little

business idea, tell you how to make it work or why it won’t, and

blurry. The path unfolded in fro nt of me so naturally I’d have been

give you creative ways to come up with the funds. They gave me

foolish not to skate it. I am a Virginia Beach native and know where

a great idea that turned into me funding the business myself with

darn near everything in the tri-city area is, so I made a list of some

my life savings. Awesome? Yes. Was I terrified? Not for a moment.

fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2011 | 39


rookie I had some painful lessons and big hurdles. I’m broke, but I love

or just listen to their favorite skate jams and do some laps,

every moment.

or join in a practice, leaves something with us and takes

That was in October 2010. I did all the work myself. I scraped off the hideous wallpaper and covered the sponge paint in one bathroom and the GOLFER MURAL in the other. I painted and

something to share. I opened my doors and my track in April 2011. I work harder than I’ve ever worked. But from all my work, a safe and

planned. When I reached outside local derby and asked for help

empowering place for skaters of all levels, derby or not, can put

from skaters who shared my love of derby and my dream, I met

on skates and listen to music and have fun. Our Derby Style SK8

the most amazing people and they led me to the right people to

for Fitness classes have gotten amazing results in so many ways

get me whatever I needed. Fast forward to October 2011. Nick

for so many dynamic people.

still says, “I just don’t think it’s a good idea.” My derby widow. Poor Nick. He took me to a bout and I never came back. Roller Derby Virginia Beach is a one-of-a-kind full service skate

Somehow the Derby Gods smiled on us and we had Mo “Quadzilla” Sanders spend the day with us... leading to skating, of course. One of the most amazing days of my life. Fast Girl

and protective gear shop with a focus on all things roller derby, as

University is bringing their training camp here in December; it’s

well as a 5000+ square foot warehouse with a SkateCourt track.

their first on t he east coast!

We focus on training and skills development, inviting other leagues and teams in to skate and practice and share drills and stories. We

Roller Derby Virginia Beach sells only the best and newest gear, skates and products, we make the most awesome custom shirts

stream derby from DNN, play derby movies and video games, and

and stickers for all things derby, and we have attracted enough

sometimes we get in a pack and just play. No drama, no stress,

“MisFit Sk8RZ” to actually start our own recreational flat track

just a shared love of skating and derby. We have skaters from all

league. Roller Derby Virginia Beach is the home of the RESORT

over the country pass through on vacations and work travel, and

CITY ROLLER DOLLS established 2011. What’s next? We’ll just

every single one who comes in, whether they buy gear or wheels,

have to stay tuned.


feature

blood, sweat and vomit R E D D . 2 R I OT, A N G E L C I T Y D E R B Y G I R L S

Bloody hand prints on the floor, knee pads blowing sparks due to the speed and force of landing... and the vomit... we can’t forget about the vomit. This is Angel City Derby Girls’ endurance night. Our tough-as-nails skaters aren’t born, they’re made... and thanks to Shiv, Go-Go Gidget and Ghetto Fabu-Lez, the women of Pretty City (Los Angeles) can live up to our name. The air on an endurance night is a little more electric than on regular practice nights. The dusty warehouse is packed to the gills with derby girls of all experience levels. The vets chillin’ like it ain’t no thang... and the newbies already peeing in their pants from the horror stories they’ve heard. “It is a rite of passage,” says Kristi Yamagotch, a jammer for ACDG’s A-team, the Hollywood Scarlets. “It’s a good bonding experience and obviously a great workout,” she says. What this sweet-as-pie former figure skater means is that for the first time, after officially becoming a member of our league, we get to kick the shit out of you... but in the nicest possible way and with smiles on our faces. And really it is true. Our training team, and ACDG as a whole, is a pretty positive and supportive group of gals. But churning out competitive derby girls is no easy task. “Tuesday endurance nights are legendary because they create legends,” says trainer and Scarlets’ Captain, Go-Go Gidget. “ACDG training believes that roller derby is just as much about athleticism and endurance as it is about strategy and game play. Tuesday nights give us a chance to whip our girls into swift, agile and strong players.”

And that they do. Our Tuesday nights start off with skills practice and end with heavy endurance. As for skills, we cover drills in jamming, blocking or footwork for instance. Backwards, forwards, sideways, sprinting, stopping, jumping... and don’t forget about high knees, grapevine, toe stop leaping and relays. Scarlets’ star jammer and trainer, Ghetto, takes the lead here, “I come from a hockey background, so I often take drills from my past that can cross-over to help improve our skaters’ footwork,” she explains. And we learn from the best. Ghetto effortlessly moves across the floor... high tailin’ it with such dexterity and ease that it looks like she came outta the womb with skates on. After the skills portion of the evening is completed, most everyone feels pretty good. It’s all fun and games until the endurance portion. Wide smiles quickly drip off our faces as the burn of these drills sap us of every ounce of fortitude we have. This is where Shiv, Scarlets’ Co-Captain and star pivot, steps up to the plate. Never have you met a woman so positive, supportive and completely willing to turn you into a limp fish dying in a puddle of your own _______. (You pick the fluid ‘cuz surely it has hit the warehouse floor on endurance night.) Yick. “Shiv LIKES endurance,” says Ghetto with a grin. And boy, is she right! Shiv has been an athlete all her life... loves fitness so much that she just goes on three-mile-runs during her lunch break... just ‘cuz. She and Go-Go, who by the way is the creator of the one-andonly Roller Derby Workout DVD, come up with their choices of

“Repetition and positivity. Those are the keys to training our skaters. It is hard work, but it will help them on the track.”

Janette “Rocksteady Betty” Sotelo

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photos by Janette “Rocksteady Betty” Sotelo

torture for the evening and then Shiv kindly lays out the instructions and participates in the drills with us. We all push ourselves to our breaking point, if not to become better skaters, then to at least not let Shiv down. A disappointed glance from her is like watching a baby seal get pummeled. It feels awful. And not because she’ll yell at you, but because she (and, hence, you) know you can do and be better. “Repetition and positivity,” says Shiv. “Those are the keys to training our skaters. It is hard work, but it will help them on the track. The women who come to endurance night show a direct improvement during game time.” “Endurance night IS what makes you a great roller derby player,” says Rachel Rotten, Captain of ACDG’s Rocket Queens and a Scarlets’ charter player. “It pushes you past your own perceived limits, and forces you to really dig out strength you didn’t know you had. On my first night, I lost it. My body crumpled under me. My legs wouldn’t hold me up. My arms shook uncontrollably and I lost my nerve.” But the more you come, the better you get... and Rotten is a perfect example of this. She powers through practice and makes it look easy. Bear crawls, sprawls and falls, jammer hell, queen of the track, star jumps, situations, burpies, get-ups... the list goes on and on. After just a few minutes of the endurance portion of the evening, hearts are racing, sweat is dripping and the weaker skaters fall a bit to the side and watch in awe as the vets finish their drills, as if they were ravenous for it. “These girls grip the inside of the track and push the rest to the outside. I have been hopped over, one leg scooted and mohawked more times than I’d like to count. Their beauty and fierceness on the track is unmatched,” says Marcella “Hooks” Silva, a fresh meat 2 skater. “I may not be the best at these drills yet, but I am becoming a better, stronger skater.” “These muscles won’t build themselves,” says Duchess Von Damn, Scarlets’ infamous hitter. And while this is obviously the truth, many shrink from the challenges of the evening. With quotes like: “I literally couldn’t feel my limbs,” “I swear, after she hit me, I honestly lost minutes of my life,” and “As vomit was tickling my

tonsils, I heard the worst noise... like a donkey braying, and it was coming from me! I was hyperventilating.” (Good one, huh?) But really for those of us with even the slightest inkling of selfpreservation, it is understandable that some would find this practice a bit masochistic or at least un-enjoyable. But the gains outweigh the pains! “I feel bad for the girls that have to leave the track to vomit,” says Shiv. “Barfing is the worst. But I am always super stoked when they come right back out and keep going. It does get easier.” One of Shiv’s best lines is, “It will never be this hard again,” but some of us beg to differ. “Every endurance night, I swear, I have been the most physical I have ever been in my life... then the next endurance night rolls around and I have been the most physical I have ever been in my life,” says Janette “Rocksteady Betty” Sotelo, a fresh meat 2 skater. “I threw up three times in one practice, the next week I cried and thought I was going to pass out,” says Sergeant Bomber, Rocket Queens blocker. “But at least I know that I am not pussyfootin’ around. I am accomplishing my goals and proving to myself that I belong on that track playing the sport that I love.” And man, we do love it. I can’t think of a single thing that could make me do the things I do on a Tuesday night other than roller derby. “Oh, Grandma’s dying? Yeah, she was getting old. I’ll just stay here on the couch eating cheese.” Ha! So, while it is one of the toughest nights of our week, ACDG embraces endurance nights for the sheer advantages it gives our players: the mental toughness, the strength, the agility and perseverance, not to mention the highly under-rated ability to swallow the vomit that has made its way into your mouth. It’s also sorta fun to go to work and explain the stigmata on our palms from the endless bear crawls, but I digress. So come one, come all... join the many Angel City Derby Girls, and other league players, who flock to our Tuesday night practices like Shiv was the Messiah. You might wish you skipped it while you’re in the thick of it, but you will certainly leave proud of yourself and grateful you came!

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feature

transgender policies: my story LENORE GORE, DC ROLLERGIRLS

When I started training with the DC Rollergirls in May 2008, I was required to sign a code of conduct that stated, “transsexual women are allowed to join if it has been at least two years since surgery, per International Olympic Committee rules.” In signing that document as a then pre-operative transgender woman, I was forced to live a lie that would haunt me for years, and nearly cost me my place on the league. Even after being drafted to a home team, I still lived in constant fear of being “outed” as transgender, and my need to remain closeted made it extremely difficult to build the kind of trust with my teammates that a sport as intense as roller derby often demands – both on and off the track. My team, Scare Force One, provided an extremely welcoming atmosphere, which meant a lot to me, having often felt like a social misfit. We bonded over our passion for roller derby, and a shared drive to win. Our different backgrounds didn’t matter; we all were family. Yet I found myself frequently holding back. I always felt extremely uncomfortable whenever discussions about childhood came up, or even casual references to how cool it was to play an all-women’s sport. At overnight events, I was overly nervous and very cautious. I could never let my guard down, in fear that a single word or action might cost me my right to be counted as a DC Rollergirl, and force me to lose the family I held so dear. It took months before I came out to even one teammate as transgender, and only then because I knew she had seen the

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devastating effects of transphobia on her friends. However, despite all my precautions, my worst fear nearly came to fruition midway through my first season. After winning a particularly vicious bout, an anonymous complaint was filed with my league’s Board of Directors demanding an investigation into my medical history to determine whether I was woman enough to skate with the league. My

Pedro Alicea

captain, whom I had never come out to, took it upon herself to educate herself on transgender issues before she relayed the complaint to me, and she made it clear that she believed I was under no obligation to come out to her or anyone on the league. She also made me aware that vicious rumors had been circulating behind my back alleging that I had an “unfair advantage” as a transgender skater. One day shortly after this all came to light, I was cornered at practice by a transphobic rollergirl who spent nearly twenty minutes harassing me with questions about my medical history, and when I refused to answer, continued spouting reasons why transgender rollergirls had no place in derby until finally, our two captains physically separated us. As for the anonymous

complaint, thanks to the efforts of my captain, co-captain, team’s Board representative, and the league president, it was rejected as a breach of my right to privacy. Furthermore, their continued transgender advocacy efforts led to a more inclusive code of conduct for the DC Rollergirls no longer centered on surgery. Inspired by their hard work, I went on to serve as a Board representative myself. I also later joined DC’s travel team, the DC All-Stars, for nearly a season until a career change forced me to take a temporary break from inter-league bouting. WFTDA is now about to implement a gender policy for inter-league play that is far more inclusive than DC Rollergirls’ original code of conduct, a policy that is a testament to the increased visibility and acceptance of transgender rollergirls within WFTDA since I began skating in 2008. WFTDA’s policy for the first time officially recognizes the contributions of transgender women to the sport of roller derby, and should serve as an example to other sports, as well. By not relying on surgical status in its definition of “female,” and instead relying on the testimony of an athlete’s healthcare provider as to whether or not that athlete’s hormone levels are within a “medically acceptable” range for a female, WFTDA’s gender policy leaves a lot of flexibility in its definition of gender, and is far more inclusive than that of almost all professional sports. But it is also far from perfect, and it is my hope that it will be revised after implementation to be more inclusive,


Michael Todaro

and furthermore, that any policy regulating hormone levels will apply equally to cisgender and transgender women, rather than singling out transgender women over concerns about how hormone levels affect athletic competitiveness. When transgender inclusion has been discussed in other women’s spaces, it’s fairly common to see strong opposition based on prejudice and ignorance. It is remarkable that no such voice has emerged within WFTDA. On the contrary, the Philly Rollergirls have emerged as vocal critics of WFTDA’s Gender Policy arguing that it isn’t inclusive enough and that it “may potentially lead to widereaching problems regarding hormone testing,” leading to possible “witch hunts.” In June 2011, at the East Coast Derby Extravaganza, volunteers from the Philly Rollergirls asked participants to sign a petition asking WFTDA not to implement the gender policy as written and furthermore asked rollergirls in support of their petition to wear temporary tattoos with the transgender pride symbol to show solidarity with their cause. Hundreds of rollergirls responded favorably to their cause, and transgender pride tattoos were visible everywhere you looked – on arms, faces, even cleavage. It was a heartening sight that brought me to tears more than once. It began healing the anger I had harbored

for so long from the witch hunt that I had faced within my own league. The atmosphere their protest created made ECDX 2011 the first time I ever felt comfortable talking publicly about being transgender with other rollergirls, coming out to many DC Rollergirls for the first time and also sharing stories with other out transgender rollergirls including Rita “Jacquelyn Heat” Kelly from Philly and Melanie “Nameless Whorror” Pasztor from Montreal. I am proud to be a transgender rollergirl, and I am optimistic as I look forward to the implementation of WFTDA’s gender policy in January 2012. I firmly believe that WFTDA is better off with the current gender policy than without one, and I sincerely hope the visibility that the Philly Rollergirls’ protest brought to potential problems with the gender policy will lead to revisions in the policy to make it more inclusive. While ECDX 2011 was the first time I spoke openly and publicly with other rollergirls about being transgender, in 2009 I wrote a story, “Talk Derby To Me,” for the anthology “Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation,” which also told the story of the transphobia I faced on my derby league. Fearing possible retaliation and not wanting to represent DC Rollergirls in a bad light now that they have evolved into an incredibly transgender-friendly league, I wrote that

story under the pen-name Uzi Sioux. At one point, I fought for my right not to have to be out, and I still think it’s important for transgender rollergirls to have that option. However, because I know how high the stakes are and I’m choosing to out myself now – I’m done hiding.

James Calder

At a recent DC Rollergirls bout, a troop of Girl Scouts was in attendance, and afterwards one came up to me and said, “When I grow up, I want to be just like you!” What could I do but encourage her? I never thought I’d be a role model, but that one eager Girl Scout is not the only woman who has told me that I am an inspiration to them – I am now a proud “derby mom” to two other skaters, including another transgender rollergirl. Through roller derby I have found a loving family like nowhere else, and a sport that has inspired me and countless others to re-shape their lives in incredibly positive ways. I can’t imagine my life without it.

fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2011 | 45


feature

unsung heroes - referees S H A N TA S T I C M C AW E S O M E , S TAT E L I N E R O L L E R D E R B Y D I VA S

I’m going to drop some (hopefully) obvious wisdom on you – Being a referee is incredibly challenging and skating officials deserve to be respected. A majority of the leagues I’ve encountered embrace their officiating crews (sometimes literally), which is excellent. A few still harbor an “Us vs. Them” mentality, as though the skaters’ true opponents are the ones with the whistles that skate outside the track boundaries. Until my foray into the world of stripes, I didn’t fully appreciate the extent of a skating official’s contribution to a league or understand how utterly dumb I was about the rules of this sport. I also learned that despite referees ultimately being a positive force in roller derby, they can be taken for granted very easily. It never fails to amaze me when the audience boos a referee for awarding a major penalty, especially for a blatant major. If a blocker just smashed her shoulder into an opponent’s head, a trip to the penalty box is perfectly justified. In fact, depending on the circumstances that’s a very reasonable consequence. She could easily be ejected for safety reasons. No such rational thought seems to occur to any gi ven audience, however, as they will make you feel as though you’ve just done something unforgivable. The amount of adrenaline

46 | Winter 2011 | fiveonfivemag.com

coursing through people during a bout is proportional to how quickly they forget that referees are completely impartial. I’ve even seen bench coaches get ejected for screaming at officials. Needless to say, it’s a little disheartening when you realize that all the hard work and tra ining you put into officiating will inevitably be met with, “YOU SUCK!” or “DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB!!” I’ve noticed a double standard when it comes to fans’ jeers and cheers. For instance, a fledgling jammer would never get booed or told not to quit her day job if

she failed to complete her initial pass. However, it is perfectly acceptable to disrespect an official for merely stating an action they observed. Skating officials put a lot of effort into learning the rules thoroughly and being able to enforce them while observing the general mayhem that is roller derby. It seems unfair to me that they’re told to suck it on a regular basis

when they’re upholding the very rules that make this sport a legitimate one. Every time I hear a referee get yelled at, I picture someone blowing their nose in a WFTDA rule bo ok. Admittedly, I used to be one of those people that blindly booed officials when my favorite players were awarded penalty time. However, since I wiped the snot off of my rule book (figuratively, of course) and actually tried to read it, I’ve come to realize that it’s actually more challenging to be a jammer referee than a jammer. Jammers don’t even skate during every jam – what pansies. One of the most important things I learned about being an official is that you NEVER call a penalty you didn’t see. There’s no guessing or saying, “Well, she looked like she was going to cut the track, so I just went ahead and called it.” Not calling a penalty unless you see it is a sound policy, however, at times it is incredibly difficult to enforce it. If you break down a typical referee rotation with a fully staffed crew, that’s Jules Doyle a maximum total of fourteen eyeballs, assuming everyone has two that function. Four eyeballs are devoted exclusively to two jammers and since outside pack referees rotate, that only leaves a total of six eyeballs on the pack at any given time courtesy of two inside pack referees and one of the rotating outside pack referees. At most, you can have eight eyeballs on


Jules Doyle

the pack when the outside pack referees are transitioning during their rotation. In that case, each skating official only has to attempt to observe two skaters simultaneously. Occasionally, as anyone who has attended a bout can attest, crazy things happen. If a skater gets launched off the track and accidentally takes out an official, that leaves even fewer eyeballs on the pack, which can have up to eight people in it. It is important to note that referees do not develop independently roving eyes to accommodate such a need. Sometimes a penalty doesn’t get called because no one sees it. This is okay, the sky will not blacken instantly and usher forth the four horsemen of the apocalypse. I still prefer no penalty to officials preemptively issuing penalties, even if it’s as maddening as an elbow in your sid e.

One of the most startling things I’ve learned about roller derby is that most skaters have a very limited understanding of the rules, yet they seem to believe they are a walking and talking rule book. Playing roller derby allows you to learn the rules necessary to interact with other players safely. Studying the rules and learning how to call penalties, on the other hand, will completely blow your mind and give you a very thorough understanding of the sport. I thought it was crazy that I knew how to utilize a no pack start, yet there were several teams at 2010 Championships that appeared to struggle with the concept. After serving for a season on an officiating crew, I rarely find myself in the penalty box. Prior to my officiating experience, I thought it was perfectly legal to re-enter the track anywh ere as long as you yielded to

whoever knocked you out. I would also worry that I would get called for a low block if I crossed over too far. I worried about many other silly things and didn’t understand why I received any penalties. Perspective is an amazing thing, and it’s completely transformed the way I view officials. Skating officials aren’t a tyrannical group of evildoers seeking to ruin roller derby (despite the moniker “Team No Fun”), quite the opposite actually. They work tirelessly to stay current on the rules and ensure the safety of all skaters during a bout. They work within a completely overwhelming set of parameters and make roller derby a legitimate sport by their mere presence. It’s easy to forget all that sometimes, especially if what your team lacks in self-awareness they make up for with throwing elbows.

fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2011 | 47


international

battle of the nordic light S W E D E H U RT, C R I M E C I T Y R O L L E R S P H OTO S B Y M A R KO N I E M E L Ä

SwedeVix presented Battle of Nordic Light 3-4 September, 2011, Malmö, Sweden Battle of Nordic Light started as a big dream and grew into a reality that gave us more joy, derby and fun (and a few headaches) than we could have imagined. Me (Swede Hurt) and Vix Viking sat around in early 2011 and talked about how cool it would be to arrange a Nordic Championships. And then we thought, “what the hell, why not?” In the end Nordic Light didn’t turn out to be a formal Championship, but it became six bouts during two days, thus we made our dream come true with some hard work and help from friends and family (derby and real). We invited Scandinavian teams we knew would be able to field full rosters and had previous bouting experience. So the first weekend of September, we had the joy of hosting Helsinki Roller Derby and Kallio Rolling Rainbows from Finland, Copenhagen Roller Derby from Denmark, and Stockholm Roller Derby and our own Crime City Rollers from Sweden. Each bout was a full-length bout played by WFTDA rules, with help from officials from not only the Nordic countries but also from all-over Europe and were lead by Riff Reff, Stuttgart Rollergirlz, and Camp David, London Roller Girls. The weekend started with Kallio Rolling Rainbows playing Crime City Rollers. Kallio is probably one of my favorite teams in terms of spirit, as they always go out on the track with a smile and a song. Crime City Rollers countered with tight walls, low penalties and very competent jammers, and this year it was the winning concept. And not only against Kallio. Later, Copenhagen also fell victim to Crime City’s determined blockers, who just kept on denying Copenhagen’s jammers to pass while Crime City’s jammers seemed magically to do pass after pass (I like to call that sort of magic good blocking). Copenhagen is a team with lots of skating skills and they seem to improve their derby for each game I see them play and this showed during Sunday when playing Stockholm. Stockholm Roller Derby was up against Helsinki Roller Derby as the second bout on Saturday, and they did not look like the Stockholm 50 | Winter 2011 | fiveonfivemag.com

I had seen earlier this season. Stockholm has lots of raw talent and versatility among their skaters, but against Helsinki, they seemed lost. Luckily, for Stockholm, it seemed that by the following day, they had found themselves again and Copenhagen versus Stockholm was probably the closest and most exciting game of the weekend. Both teams suffered from penalty troubles at times, but Stockholm pulled it together in the end and brought a narrow victory home. Helsinki Roller Derby stood out in the way that they probably studied the most footage, executing strategies that seemed to really frazzle both Stockholm and Kallio, but that didn’t work at all against Crime City who kept on busting through the Helsinki jammer-line-walls and gaining lead, while keeping the Helsinki jammers relatively scoreless. It was a long weekend, and none of the teams had ever played more than one bout during a weekend before, but I think that all those teams are hoping to participate in a European Regional WFTDA Championship in the future. And that is not an impossible hope with both Crime City and Helsinki Roller Derby being WFTDA AP leagues. This weekend showed that there are not only a whole bunch of amazing skaters and derby players in Scandinavia, but also that there is a want and a drive to build up derby and to develop further and further and push themselves and each other. Each team brings their own dish to the derby smorgasbord and then together pick and choose the best and learn from each other. I am already looking forward to arranging and participating in Battle of Nordic Light 2012. results day one Crime City vs. Kallio: 191 – 43 Helsinki vs. Stockholm: 141 – 77 Crime City vs. Copenhagen: 266 – 61 day two Helsinki vs. Kallio: 217 – 57 Stockholm vs. Copenhagen: 149 – 137 Crime City vs. Helsinki: 212 – 76


fiveonfivemag.com | Winter 2011 | 51


remembering those we have lost Even in a young sport such as roller derby, sadly some have been taken from us too soon.

Andy Capp

Raging Ruby #5 3/4

Fritz n Wesson #40 cal

aka Andy Hodge 1971-2011 Slaughterhouse Derby Girls

aka Kristie Rubino 1975-2011 Assault City Roller Derby

aka Mike Fritz 1973-2011 Harrisburg Roller Derby

Hammer #13

KillaJules #23

Lynn Shimek

aka Yvonne Johnson Hammer 1971-2010 Windy City Rollers

aka Julia Stewart 1981-2011 Electric City Roller Grrrlz

1968-2011 South County Derby Girls

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 If we’ve missed anyone, please let us know.

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art and media

jam! tales from the world of roller derby H A R R I E T T H E S P I K E , R O C K Y M O U N TA I N R O L L E R G I R L S

I couldn’t have been more surprised by how much I loved JAM! Tales from the World of Roller Derby. When it arrived on my doorstep – with its brightly covered color and CAPS-PLUSEXCLAMATION-POINT-TITLE! – I was skeptical. Its publisher, Oni Press, classifies its content as “Youth” level, another strike. After watching Whip It, I got pissed that the protagonist in the only largescale, mainstream media representation of derby was a teenage girl. Obviously, derby has a place in teenagers’ lives (let’s face it, junior roller derby is possibly the coolest thing ever), but one of my favorite things about the derbs is that it consists of a sisterhood of women – women with or without families, careers, and so on, who make sacrifices and dedicate huge chunks of time to derby anyway. Women that run shit. I worried about how derby would be depicted in JAM! and groaned inwardly. Published in collaboration with the Rose City Rollers out of Portland, Oni Press (of Scott Pilgrim fame) calls JAM! a graphic novel, but it’s more a collection of graphic fictions, often written and illustrated by derby girls themselves, plus refs, volunteers, and fans. Edited by Jill Beaton, the book consists of 16 stories, punctuated with “Pinups” (one-page illustrations that could serve as just that), and also features derby-focused writer/illustrator bios.

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Because I am a total geek who has to read all the front and/or back matter in books before settling down to read, I loved the contributor biographies. In addition to their professional accomplishments, contributors were asked things like “Best Injury,” “Favorite Video Game,” “Best Compliment,” “Favorite Quote,” and “First Time You Tried Manic Panic” (I was never brave enough), plus their skater name and affiliation. Contributors include skaters like Apocalipstick, Gonnolea, Olive Turmoyl, Rhoda Perdition, GoGo Gidget, and Chewblocka, and at least ten leagues are represented, including Charm City, Dallas, Burning River, Windy City, and the Rose City Rollers themselves. All this variety is one of JAM!’s biggest successes. The artwork is a comic collector’s wet dream, in as many different styles as there are illustrators. In addition to the pinup-labeled pages, many of the story panels themselves are worthy of framing and hanging. I particularly enjoyed “Maybe It’s All a Dream” by Angela Joy (Antidote) Moscoso and illustrated by Ray Fawkes. One of the shorter pieces, Dream is only four pages, with what looks like ink and watercolor art. The text around the art is sharp and to the point, including lines like “A whistle blows” or “Breathe dammit breathe.” My favorite panel (p. 117) says simply, “With


all my might, one skate after the other, faster and harder...” I just might frame and hang that panel myself. The various authors also allow for wide, authentic-feeling derby coverage, featuring experiences that seem universal – learning to skate, putting your weight into a hit, skating in front of a crowd, a real fear of injuries – to some derby-specific tropes (knee socks, PBR, derby wives, “falling is learning,” afterparties, etc.). While other derby writing incorporates these things, this book is better than the few “Intro-to-Derby” books I’ve encountered. JAM! captures the spirit and experience of derby so much more vividly – it’s impossible to read this book without becoming excited about derby; getting the feel of derby versus just having information about it. Because JAM! consists of illustrated comics, it also features some of the traditions of comics, making the stories themselves a lot of fun and not simply straightforward narratives describing what it’s like to become – and keep skating as – a derby girl. Inside you’ll find time travel, energy-sucking vampires, a “Clownquistador” (scary as shit), a team of freaky-deaky, zombie-looking nuns, and a superjammer named Galzilla (“Thunder lizard go boom.”). “Time Jam” by Dennis Culver features a post-apocalyptic future where derby girls have to rescue the human race from robots. You’ll also find highly entertaining personal details, including a woman wearing a license plate and a hair-pulling fight on a pool table. What’s not to love? The aforementioned inclusivity that’s so important to derby is, actually, prominent throughout the book (hooray!). At least three different stories list and illustrate the many careers of derby girls, and the illustrations were balanced with regard to race, body size/shape, age, and sexual orientation. Many stories also felt like self-transformation, discussing how derby can improve confidence and build friendships. Like any work, JAM! isn’t without its flaws, although they feel slight. There are a couple references to fighting being awesome, which I personally don’t believe and also think isn’t representative of where derby is as a sport today. Also, while the pictures are diverse, most of the protagonists are white, or at least look pretty white. Finally, there are a couple of references to female friendships being a challenge to attain, which seemed to just reinforce competition among women – and not the good kind of competition like the derbs. Overall, however, much like the Independent Film Channel Portlandia series, this collection of derby comics is one of the coolest things to come out of Rose City other than the Rollers themselves. I loved it. Treat yourself or the (potential) derby girl in your life and buy it! onipress.com/title/jam

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art and media

no mercy photo book Professional photographer Jules Doyles, a.k.a. Axle Adams, provides a comprehensive view of modern roller derby through 352 images. Doyle, who documents regular season bouts, independent tournaments, and both flat and banked track roller derby, allows you to experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. He gets front and center, capturing all of the crushing hits, stifling blocking, and nimble jamming. He also captures behind-the-scenes moments – when one skater gets her hand wrapped by a paramedic, another is upset with herself for getting a major penalty call and more. Doyles traces the growth of the popularity of this fast-growing sport from its original founds to the modern day stars. Fans of roller derby and lovers of fast-paced, contact sports will enjoy modern roller derby’s history while photography buffs will appreciate Doyle’s artistic prose with the camera.

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60 | Winter 2011 | fiveonfivemag.com 1. WFTDA patch is missing from jammer’s shirt. 2. Rainbow sticker is missing from blocker’s helmet. 3. 7 is missing from front blocker’s arm. 4. Inside track boundary is missing from bottom right. 5. Jammer’s leggings are longer on her left/back leg. 6. Blocker on ground has a black wheel instead of yellow. 4. Ref’s toe stop is missing.

Jules Doyle

THERE ARE SEVEN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE PHOTOS – FIND ‘EM!


Photo: Michael Nig

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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 , D E TO U R D E R B Y

S A G I T TA R I U S

GEMINI

November 23-December 21

May 21-June 20

The surge of energy that you feel is a good thing – don’t resist it. Embrace the power within and use it to keep you moving though that certain task you’ve been avoiding for awhile. This newfound vigor combined with your natural cleverness will lead to some awesome opportunities that will surprise even you.

It’s been a rough couple of months for you and you haven’t followed through on tasks you promised to do. While it didn’t seem like that big of deal, your teammates have noticed and are having to pick up the slack. Don’t make excuses, just be honest. By accepting responsibility for your mistake and correcting it best you can, trust in you will be restored.

CAPRICORN December 22-January 19

You’ve been spinning your wheels a lot lately – and not in a good way. Now is the time to stay calm and focus. Make time for the wheels that make you truly happy. Try and get some extra practices in. Focus your energy into a skill that’s been eluding you.

AQUARIUS January 20-February 19

Don’t let the fear of offending someone keep you from doing what is best for you. Telling people what you think they want to hear is not working out. You are being asked because your opinion is important. Tell them what you think, even if it’s hard to say. They are big girls and can take it.

PISCES February 20-March 20

Getting emotional and quick to anger has been the norm for you for the past few months. It’s the result of trying to give everyone the attention they want, and need. When doing more than your normal routine takes a lot of concentration it’s time to stop and try and different path.

ARIES March 21-April 19

Not one, but two past loves have contacted you recently. While your first response is to be guarded; give friendship a chance. There was a reason you were so close to these people for so long. Be open to the differences in both of you as you begin the reconnection process.

TA U R U S

CANCER June 21-July 22

It’s hard to avoid confrontation when you are involved in such an aggressive sport as roller derby, but you need to pick your battles carefully. By keeping your emotions under control you’ll keep the anxiety level of yourself and those around you at minimal levels. Self-control will also help keep you focused on the large project being planned with your adaptive leadership style in mind.

LEO July 23-August 22

Big changes are coming your way. Isn’t that what horoscopes are always suppose to say? The reality is change happens all the time – as hard as that is for the ever-in-control Leo to accept. Put that cool demeanor to good use and roll with the punches (no pun intended). It will make life much easier in the long run.

VIRGO August 23-September 22

For Virgos, stability and routine are the foundation of a happy life. Lately though, you’re bored by the day-today drudgery. Shake things up and get a change of scenery – even if that means moving your bed from the west side of your room to the east. You’ll be surprised what a difference a slight change of view will make.

LIBRA September 23-October 23

You’ve been wistfully looking at those flashy new booty shorts in your drawer for way to long. Put those awesome things on and own it! Life is too short to wear only black pants to every practice. Not only will it make you smile, but it will also thrill your teammates to see you in something so unlike you.

April 20-May 20

SCORPIO

Taking huge risks are not recommended at this stage in your life. Strong and steady is the best way to go. Don’t give up on those ambitious ideas though – put them in your “to-do later” file. The outcome will be better if you wait and you will be in a better frame of mind to navigate the challenges.

October 24-November 22

68 | Winter 2011 | fiveonfivemag.com

Been winning the after parties a little too much lately, haven’t you? Your body and mind are getting a bit sluggish and that is probably the cause. There is no shame in leaving the party early. There is, however, glory in pushing yourself to be the best you can and succeeding.


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fiveonfive | issue 14 | Winter 2011  

fiveonfive | issue 14 | Winter 2011