Page 1


proud partner of the WFTDA

fiveonfive contents 34-35

4-5 advice

ask ms d’fiant and suzy hotrod!

WFTDA From two regions to four, the evolution of the WFTDA tournaments.

6-8 business how does your league roll eat your art out fundraiser

18-23 games and coaching

Jules Doyle


health and fitness athletic trainers: a good addition to your team derby and drinking

44-45 Sk8 the State

the big transition skate like you mean it

Three skaters, 713 miles, and over $7,800 raised for Multiple Sclerosis research, Sk8 the State takes on Iowa.

26-31 gear common questions and misconceptions toe stops

36-39 junior derby


training and conditioning juniorcon 2012 recap

Derby Burnout

40-41 rookie

Whether skater or volunteer, we all run the risk of getting burned out. Do you know the signs?

50-51 international derby 52-62 art and media 63 classifieds 68 horoscopes

Thom Evered

how to be a good guest league

editor miss jane redrum fort wayne derby girls copy editor vera n. sayne rocky mountain rollergirls content manager annsanity boulder county bombers art director assaultin’ pepa rocky mountain rollergirls

from the editor Welcome to the 17th issue of fiveonfive magazine!

Where does the time go? It seems I just wrote about tournament season and here

contributing writers ms d’fiant angel city derby girls

we are again. Like most derby skaters, volunteers, and fans, tournament time is

suzy hotrod gotham girls roller derby

my favorite time of year. The best of the best in our community are on display,

scarlet slamurai dark river derby coalition

and gameplay is catapulted to a whole new level. I attended my first tournament

rachel rotten angel city derby girls

in 2007, WFTDA’s Eastern Regional – Heartland Havoc, hosted by the Ohio Roller

slay west central new york roller derby

Girls, back when we had only two regions, East and West. The sport has grown

feist e. one boulder county bombers catholic cruel girl rocky mountain rollergirls

exponentially since then, not only in terms of number of leagues worldwide, but number of tournaments, as well. This year marks our 4th season of The Big 5: 4 regional playoff tournaments, culminating in a championship tournament in

punchy o’guts maine roller derby

pursuit of the Hydra. We’ve come a long way, and with the addition of a full-time

hockey honey san diego roller derby

Tournament Director, Janis Kelly, we are well on our way to even bigger and

coach pauly e-ville roller derby

better things. For a full history of the evolution of WFTDA’s tournament structure,

la petite mort fast girl skates

check out the WFTDA article on page 34.

beth row carolina rollergirls bill mayeroff rock island, illinois tanya procknow junior roller derby association

Sadly, I won’t be able to attend any of The Big 5 this year, but thanks to a partnership with Blaze Stream Media, will bring the games to my living room. Though it’s not the same as being there, it’s a close second. Quality

john maddening minnesota rollergirls

of the live stream will be better this year than last, and, perhaps the best part, it

gregory baxley seattle, washington

will be cheaper. So make sure you log on and catch all of the tournament action

skinnerella sioux city roller dames

this year.

f-bomb rose city rollers mortar ‘n pistol rose city rollers ivanna s. pankin socal derby flyin’ bryan killman toronto roller derby

Also in this issue, be sure to read the gear section on pages 26-31. Our writers address common questions and misconceptions and provide a comprehensive review of toe stops. If you are looking for inspiration, check out the Sk8 the State article, beginning on page 44.

masonite burn rose city rollers she who cannot be named rocky mountain rollergirls

Have an idea for an article? Send it our way. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

ellen parnavelas london rollergirls kylie of backlash detour derby cover photo sean murphy fiveonfive magazine The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the contributing writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of fiveonfive magazine.

Miss Jane Redrum Fort Wayne Derby Girls Fort Wayne, IN


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

Scarlet Slamurai The Cannon Kraken (Theresa Kankka)

Scarlet Slamurai is a founding member of the Dark River Derby Coalition of Quincy, IL. She currently serves the league as a skater, vice president, interleague coordinator, and eventsraising committee co-chair. Scarlet also maintains a derby focused blog – The Way of the Slamurai – where she ruminates on the philosophical, emotional, and intellectual aspects of roller derby. In her everyday life, Scarlet is a mom, wife, and violence prevention educator for a rape-crisis center.

Punchy O’Guts Punchy O’Guts skates for Maine Roller Derby’s charter team, the Port Authorities. She joined the league in 2006 and served as the head of bout production for three years and the head of marketing for two. She serves as a WFTDA rep, a member of the training committee, and a team captain. She has a 13-year-old daughter, completes her MFA in creative writing this January, and has several writing projects in the works (all about derby, of course).

Rachel Rotten Donalee Eiri, Photography by D.E.sign

Rachel Rotten stumbled upon the Angel City Derby Girls in 2010, when she was reluctantly dragged to a meet and greet by a friend. Then she just kept coming back. She’s head of marketing for the league, a WFTDA rep, and a generally annoying overachiever. When she’s not filling people’s inboxes with emails, she writes, produces documentaries or perfects her MS paint skills. She skates for the ACDG travel team, the Hollywood Scarlets, too.

Valorie Unruh


Hockey Honey

Dave Wood Photography

F-Bomb has been a member of the Rose City Rollers (Portland, OR) since 2007. After competing for three seasons, she retired from her home team in 2011 and is expecting the arrival of Baby Bomb in late October 2012. F-Bomb has volunteered as Rose City’s board vice president and WFTDA representative since 2008, recreational derby (Wreckers) coach since 2010, and WFTDA Compliance Panel Chair since May 2012. She can usually be found drinking craft beers, camping, making snarky jokes, eating chicken wings, and/or any combination of the above.

Hockey Honey has been competitively playing ice and roller hockey since 1998 and roller derby since 2008. She has spent the last seven years coaching and encouraging derby/hockey players to bring their skating to the next level. She currently lives in San Diego, CA, and plays for San Diego Roller Derby’s travel team, the Starlettes.


Suzy Hotrod

Ms D’Fiant

Gotham Girls Roller Derby New York, NY

Angel City Derby Girls Los Angeles, CA

DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, What are the best cross-training activities to improve your derby skills? And/or what should I focus on in my own time outside of practice: improving advanced skating skills (footwork, propelling myself sideways, backwards skating, power-sliding) or general athleticism and endurance? -CHRIS CROSSTRAIN

DEAR CHRIS, The honest cold cruel answer is don’t be lazy and ask me to give you the perfect plan, because there is none. I’m not trying to be mean, but the truth is you have to do research. Reading fiveonfive is a great start and there are lots of ideas within this magazine. Also the world of athletics is an immense resource of knowledge outside of these pages. Entire careers are based on studying, improving, and innovating athletic training. Why do world records continue to get broken? It’s better training, science, and nutrition. I do research by doing things as simple as looking at Nike’s website, YouTube, fitness magazines and websites. I also have a total soft spot for those “how they train” montage videos from the Olympics. Here are some leading questions to help you start your search. What other sports are like roller derby? Sports that focus on agility, contact hitting, short bursts of speed, and two minutes of fast intervals. What drills develop that? What can I do in my sneakers to improve my skating? If I want to be faster and more agile on skates, can I improve my speed off skates too and how? Where are the spots I get injured most? Which exercises and drills promote injury prevention to those areas? Which of my muscles don’t naturally get developed through skating that I need to develop off skates to be a well-rounded trained body? Think about strengthening, skill improvement and injury prevention ideas. Outside of practice, I would recommend not skating, rather developing yourself as an athlete. I like to say that you are expected to bring the best version of you that you can offer to your team. That is your responsibility as a team player. Is going to the gym better than yoga? Running better than rowing? Haha, I don’t know. I really don’t. I’ve done Plyometrics, Tabatas, running, yoga, biking, boot camp workouts, weights; anything that makes me sweat! And all of it has always served me well. Stay focused, get cracking on research, and get ready to sweat in lots of new ways to a better roller derby athlete... you!

4 | Fall 2012 |

DEAR CHRIS, This is a personal question. I had a pretty solid skate background when I joined derby, so I didn’t concern myself too much with advanced skating skills. I’d work on sideways or backward skating before practice, but it’s not something I spent too much time really cultivating since I could do it pretty easily. Strength and endurance, however, is something I can’t get enough of and it’s never easy. Because if it’s easy, I’m doing it wrong. So, I’m going to go with option number two. Not to mention the very nature of “cross-training” is not training in your chosen discipline (ie: skating). You mention athleticism and endurance, but what I find most skaters really need outside of practice is strength training. Most leagues have a dedicated endurance night but not all take the time to get into strength training, or they breeze over it with some girly pushups. True strength training was one of the best things I did to improve my derby game. Being stronger and faster enabled me to take my game to the next level. Some leagues are lucky enough to have gym memberships, but if that’s not your league (and I’m pretty sure that’s not the case for most readers) fear not! The good news is, you don’t need a gym to get strong. There are some easy circuit training drills to do at home without any fancy equipment. To be honest, I like working out at home more than going to a gym for a number of reasons. First, it’s way too easy to make an excuse and skip the gym. I’m busy, there’s traffic, forgotten gym clothes, super skinny girls complaining about being fat, etc. There are plenty of reasons, but almost all of them fall off the map when you do your workout at home. Second, it is 100% less expensive. Also, an added bonus for us moms out there: doing the workout at home teaches children that exercise is part of everyday life. Plus, they’d much rather try and do pushups with you than play in a gym day care. A home workout might look something like: 10 burpees 10 star jumps 30 second plank 20 lunges 20 jumping jacks 30 second plank Repeat three times. Or just get through once if that’s difficult to start. Ideally, get a friend to join in; it’ll keep you honest and motivated. There are endless lists of circuit training ideas online or you can follow along with Rollerderbyworkout blogspot or the Roller Derby Workout Challenge on Facebook, which starts in January.


DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, I just came back from a broken ankle and I can never tell when I should stop and rest or push through. Is there any sort of checklist that could help me determine if it's good pain vs. bad pain? -RHODA TORECOVERY

DEAR RHODA, Although we’re all crazy masochists, “good pain” only exists when pumping iron or doing a ton of sit ups. When it comes to ankles, there is no good pain. I’m not technically authorized to answer this question as I’m not a medical professional nor have I broken an ankle. However, roller derby does make us self-proclaimed medical know-it-alls as we experience many injuries all around us on a daily basis. So here’s a list of the stuff I do know. I know stabbing pain is bad news. I also know that bones grow back, so the ankle isn’t going to just break again. I know that when you overdo it on a recently broken ankle, you will see bad swelling and that’s never good. If something is swelling, try to lay off that for a little while. I know plow stopping is harder and more painful when coming back from a broken ankle. I know derby girls are crazy and will skate through anything when they have to, but there are times where you really should know better. If you’re in pain at a regular practice, take a break for Pete’s sake. Don’t brush off your doctor or physical therapy. It’s worth the peace of mind to pay that co-pay to get advice from someone whose job it is to look at ankles all day. Listen to your body and don’t try to “tough guy” bully it in to doing something that causes it pain related to an injury. Don’t go around expecting that you’re going to feel like your old self again. You won’t. Learn who the new you is and what is normal everyday pain vs. I’M HURT pain.

DEAR RHODA, Returning to play from injury is a delicate dance. Push yourself too fast and you risk re-injury. On the other hand, if you take it too easy, you’re likely to fall even further out of shape, feel depressed and not make your team of choice or get to play in the next game. From my completely unscientific perspective, I think a lot of roller girls fall into that first category and re-injure themselves. Now that I’m a mom of two, I just can’t help but be the mom here: take it easy on yourself! If we know one thing, we know this – roller derby is not going anywhere. If you want to have a long and plentiful roller derby career, give your body the time it needs to heal now. The worst thing that you could do is give yourself a chronic problem because you were too impatient. But while on the road to recovery, there are some things you can do that will make your transition to full-time skating easier. First, I hope you’re seeing a good physical therapist. Most insurance programs will cover it and these folks are professionals that will help you tone the muscles surrounding your ankle and prepare it for that long derby career you want. Above anything else, I would listen to your physical therapist. They’re watching your daily development and want to see you succeed too. Second – exercise in other ways. There’s more to life than roller skating (don’t quote me on that): swimming, water aerobics, stationary cycling, lifting, rowing machine, etc. There are plenty of ways to stay in shape and take it easy on your ankle. Because, let’s face it, rad skating skills are part of what makes a good roller derby player, but being in incredible shape is what separates the skaters from the all-stars. Third – RICE. Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate should be your mantra. When I sprained my ankle I RICE’d all day at work for months after I started skating again. You need to keep caring for that ankle well after returning to play. Here’s what the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine recommends for returning to play: Guidelines for Safe Return to Sports • You are pain free • You have no swelling • You have full range of motion (compare the injured part with the uninjured opposite side) • You have full or close to full (90 percent) strength (compare with the uninjured side) • For lower body injuries - you can perform full weight bearing on injured hips, knees and ankles without limping • For upper body injuries – you can perform throwing movements with proper form and no pain Lastly, remember to have a positive attitude. Nothing defeats us more than ourselves when we’re on the return path from injury.

need advice? email | Fall 2012 | 5


how does your league roll? S C A R L E T S L A M U R A I , DA R K R I V E R D E R B Y C OA L I T I O N

We all know how the game is played. Whether your league is WFTDA, MADE, MRDA, Renegade, or freshie floaters, there is a specific ruleset followed as closely as possible in order to ensure fairness, safety, and consistency. Without rules; without order, what is left but chaos? Enough chaos is already created by different types of derby game play without adding lack of jurisdiction into the mix. So, what about the road that leads to bout day? What about the way a league or team manages to move up from skating in circles without gear to becoming something different... something more? There are no set in stone guidelines for leagues in terms of government and business management, which begs the question: how do you really do it? It’s almost universally agreed that at the foundation of any league’s governing body there be an element of democracy and percentages of participation/ ownership by those that each “higher” governing body (WFTDA, MADE, MRDA) support and endorse. From there, it can oftentimes be played more fast and loose. For profit, non-profit, LLC, Associations, and Partnerships are just a few examples of the multiple business plans a league can adopt to operate appropriately. For those unaware: a roller derby league is not just a group of skaters practicing together several times a week. It’s a living, breathing entity that requires hard work and determination from many participants in order to flourish. Let’s take a closer look inside a few of these options and the

6 | Fall 2012 |

motivation of the leagues that utilize them. For-profit – A business or other organization whose primary goal is making money (a profit), as opposed to a non-profit organization, which focuses a goal, such as helping the community, and is concerned with money only as much as necessary to keep the organization operating. Though the definition is slightly open for interpretation, the crux of this ideal is primarily running a league as a business with profit to the league being the centerpiece. This is not to say a for-profit league is capitalistic or uncaring, only that the collective interests of the group is the group itself. Darrel Moore AKA D’Moralizer, founder of The Lincoln Land Roller Derby League out of Springfield, IL, is all too familiar with this concept. When the league was formed in 2010, he cites that “research and lawyers” prompted the decision for a for-profit approach to Derby, and a very distinct business model was created. “The LLRDL is run by its Executive Corporate Officers and has a Board of Directors,” he says. These corporate structures are not uncommon in the Derbyverse, and many leagues have adopted similar business models in order to propel themselves into the world of legit venture capitalism. Though the LLRDL was started as a for-profit, the organization is moving toward acquiring its 501c3 for both the women’s and newer men’s leagues. The league uses its monies to donate to local charities, support injured skaters,

and promotion of the league in general. Which leads us to perhaps a better known group of Derby ambassadors: The Puget Sound Outcasts and the incomparable Mo “Quadzilla” Sanders. I had the rare opportunity to sit down with Quad at a recent training camp to pick his brain about Derby politics and his league’s take on the ins and outs. The former coach of The Rat City Rollers, Quadzilla has a great deal of experience in the area of league structures and what might be the most efficient methods of keeping the bearings lubed. Puget Sound is a non-profit organization that operates with a 501c3, which is a tax-exempt bond issued by a state or local government to non-profit organizations, such as educational facilities, churches, and other charitable groups. Since this type of bond is tax-exempt, its rates are usually lower than standard forms of financing. The Outcasts chose this road when the realization that their “loosely banded group had to be official” and that “no one was profiting” one way or another from disorganization. On the other side of the spectrum, they felt that a for-profit approach was not as attractive. According to Quad: “Somebody’s making money somewhere, and if leagues are profiting, it [profit] should go back to the league... take care of the people that help you get there.” This is the basic idea of most leagues that take up the non-profit banner: help your league and help your community. Total league transparency (in terms of funds and policy), as well as a simple

Executive Officer format (President, VP, Secretary, Treasurer), have helped the Outcasts succeed for nearly five years. Quad, as well as many other skaters, believes that the “By Skaters, For Skaters” credo is not only a profound part of our community but an absolutely essential one. “It’s pretty simple. You may love roller derby, or you may not. If you are not a skater, it doesn’t apply. I am a skater; I am making this for skaters,” he says. There is absolutely no hubris in this attitude as at the foundation of all great empires lies the need to serve its people. The best way to serve a league is for a league to serve itself and use its spoils to make as many things better as possible. Whether it’s league standards or community outreach, it all falls under the same auspices and improves the overall identity of roller derby as a sport. On a personal note, my foray into this amazing world started with lusty admiration of St. Louis, Missouri’s (nationally ranked) Arch Rival Roller Girls. AARG is/was a bit of a shining beacon for my own league, The Dark River Derby Coalition, and from very early on we picked their brains on many, many topics. I was surprised that politics and league structure had never been breached, so I reached out to All-Sat Co-Captain and WFTDA Representative, Chewblocka, to get a peek inside the world of a WFTDA league. Though ARRG is nearly seven years old, they are just now coming to terms with the concept of extra profit. The use of these funds has benefitted the team by covering travel costs and paying for previously out-of-pocket costs like supplemental

“Somebody’s making money somewhere, and if leagues are profiting, it [profit] should go back to the league... take care of the people that help you get there.” WFTDA insurance. AARG is an LLC, a Limited Liability Company, a type of company authorized only in certain states whose owners and managers receive the limited liability and (usually) tax benefits of an S Corporation without having to conform to the S corporation restrictions. An LLC is an unincorporated association, is relatively flexible and simple to set up (making it appealing for small businesses with only one owner), and allows for pass-through income taxation. In layman’s terms, earnings are treated as personal income and personal liability is limited. It is a smart and simple business model for a smaller company. Along with their sleek business structure, ARRG also has a biannually elected Board of Directors, committee heads, and a Board President who guides the way. Currently that honor belongs to Biohazard Betty. When asked why the league was formed this way Chewblocka explained: “Our league has grown organically that way, which in some ways is cool, but in other ways means there is a lot more care and keeping to work through the bugs and weeds and other stuff. Organic apples are not the prettiest in the bin.”

However, ARRG is a shining apple in the Midwest for how smoothly the machine can operate. It is, of course, always a struggle to maintain transparency and calm within an organization that supports 60+ skaters and a few dozen volunteers, but it is always the goal of the league to be fair. “Finding when it is appropriate to solicit the vote of everyone versus empowering individuals to make decisions on behalf of the league has been a delicate balancing act,” she says. It is certain to remain so for as long as human beings are human beings. So, what’s right? What’s wrong? Maybe there isn’t nor will there ever be an etched-in-eternity example of the absolute best way to run a league. Perhaps someday WFTDA, MADE, or MRDA will include in their membership a detailed outline of how a league government must be constructed and run in which business composition is mandatory in order to be involved with the major governing bodies. Perhaps not. It is, however, universally agreed that roller derby is, at its core, a grassroots movement of individuals from all walks of life doing everything in their power to maintain order and ensure success whether you have aspirations of national rankings or not. My advice to any league questioning their current configuration or just starting out is to do research, talk to other leagues, and have a plan of attack before you begin your assault. There is nothing more disheartening than failure because of lack of planning when enthusiasm and pure passion are riding shotgun. Derby Love. | Fall 2012 | 7


eat your art out fundraiser R A C H E L R OT T E N , A N G E L C I T Y D E R B Y G I R L S

Every February for the past five years, Angel City Derby Girls (ACDG) has hosted a one-of-a-kind art showcase and auction called EAT YOUR ART OUT. The show features talented artists of all ages and mediums from around the world and has grown exponentially with each year’s show, it is not only an incredible experience in the LA art scene, but also Angel City’s largest annual league fundraiser. The fifth installment on February 25, 2012, sought to transport patrons to a 1920’s travelling carnival and art gallery inside of Titmouse Inc. animation studios, a space triple the size of the show’s previous home for the past four years at the Meltdown Comics Gallery. The Angel City skaters circled the floor as auctioneers in gold corsets with black and gold feathered head-pieces, donning circus-worthy makeup that transformed the ladies into everything from lizards, cheetahs, ring leaders, snake charmers, tattooed ladies (not a far stretch for some!) and bearded ladies. Famed artists, such as Andy Howell, Angry Woebots, Dave Crosland aka King Gum, Dave MacDowell, Jason Goad, Jim Mahfood aka Food One, Joe (Chogrin) Game, Johnny VamPotna, Josh Taylor, Kevin Knight, Lou Pimentel, and many more, contributed pieces to the silent auction. All were assigned minimum bid prices, but priced to sell at much lower cost than

8 | Fall 2012 |

normal gallery showings might allow, attracting a much larger crowd of art enthusiasts by being less cost-prohibitive. This year’s show was the largest fundraising event Angel City has put on to date, with over 800 attendees throughout the night browsing over 75 pieces of art, taking photos in the costume-ladened photo booth, enjoying the open bar, cotton candy, popcorn, and general circus merriment. Long-time league member and show curator Jane Dope has been instrumental in the creation of the show from start to finish and participates in every facet of the event from the selection of artists down to the costume and gallery design and volunteer placement for the show’s execution. As the show continues to grow in popularity in the LA art scene, we continue to be challenged with finding new, fun themes that will attract both the art collector and the casual art enthusiast. The event never ceases to amaze both the public and our league members, who truly find a sense of closeness in working together to make such a large scale event happen over the course of several months. Not only do we test the limits of our own creativity in an effort to financially support the league, but we usually end up with a few new fans as well!

LIFE’S AN ADVENTURE, ADVENTURE, ROLL ROLL WITH IT IT.. Walla W Walla, alla, WA WA Derbby owned and operated www Use code RG5 ffor or discount

health and fitness

athletic trainers: a good addition to your team A N G E L A S P E T T S , M S , AT C A K A S L AY W E S T, C E N T R A L N E W Y O R K R O L L E R D E R B Y

Anyone who has been part of a roller derby league for any period of time knows that injuries happen, and sometimes, often. Many leagues have at least one player or ref who has some kind of medical knowledge, whether it’s as an EMT, an RN, or a physical therapist. Some leagues have amazing sponsors with orthopedic offices, making it easy to treat these injuries. One option that many leagues may not think of utilizing is athletic trainers (ATs). ATs are certified health care professionals who are educated in the “prevention, assessment, and intervention of emergency, acute, and chronic medical conditions” ( They are most recognizable as the person you may see run onto the field or court when watching professional or college sports on television. Some roller derby leagues are already utilizing ATs as their medical coverage for bouts rather than or in addition to EMTs and paramedics. ATs are nationally certified and need to maintain a license in most states. Minimally, ATs must have a bachelor’s degree and nearly 70% have a master’s or doctoral degree ( ATs have specialized training in the care of athletic injuries, specifically in orthopedics, heat illness, and concussion evaluation. Roller derby leagues may be able to gain access to ATs via a sponsorship or partnership with a physical therapy clinic, hospital, or orthopedic office. Many high schools, colleges, and even professional sports teams partner with one of these types of groups in order to provide their athletes medical care. By partnering with one of these groups, your league may be able to receive additional medical care. There is no reason roller derby leagues shouldn’t have a team of medical professionals to care for them like any other sports team. An example of how this may work could be Masonite Burn

10 | Fall 2012 |

how my job is set up. I am employed by an orthopedic office with a surgeon who has a sports medicine specialty. We have athletic training coverage contracts with several local high schools. Some contracts consist of providing the school with a one day per week athletic training clinic, medical coverage at home football games, and the ability to be seen sooner by our orthopedic surgeon. Other contracts consist of daily coverage of practices and games. The Lansing Derby Vixens have a skater who is also an athletic trainer and, like me, she finds herself routinely helping her league mates in the course of practices. Coach Rexxx Manning is grateful to have Gluteus Maxine as someone who can help keep the entire league healthy by simply providing feedback and advice in areas like nutrition and stretching. He states that she has also helped to improve overall athleticism by putting together an off-skates program and suggesting ways to increase endurance. The Rose City Rollers are lucky enough to have a sponsorship through the Oregon Health Sciences University’s sports medicine department and has previously worked with the Orthopedic Fracture Clinic. Through this partnership, they have ATs present for free at bouts and scrimmages. Rose City also has their ATs on the league forum in order to answer questions skaters may have about injuries and general fitness. The Rat City Rollergirls have also had a long standing relationship with ATs. Method of Madness is an AT and worked with her league to find another AT (Anthony) that they originally contracted at an hourly rate. They started with coverage at their weekly scrimmage practices, but after Anthony got a job at a PT clinic,

Bridget Kelly

he worked with his new employer to develop an outreach program so he could continue to work with the roller derby league. He is now able to be at most practices and even travels with them regionally without adding additional costs to Rat City’s budget. Since Anthony is employed through a PT clinic, this makes him available for skaters to receive further treatment during the day, not only at practices, scrimmages, or games. Rat City has a well built medical team that also consists of an EMT, PTs, another AT, and two orthopedic surgeons. Having a well developed medical team helps provide consistent care

to your skaters, which in turn keeps them healthy and on the track. As roller derby continues to strive for the highest level of professionalism and athleticism, injury prevention and care must be on the forefront in order to keep the skaters strong and healthy. An athletic trainer can help provide all facets of care to your skaters and can open the door to a wider network of health coverage that your league can utilize. By treating our bodies right and having access to the people who can help us do so, it allows us to stay in the game for a longer period of time. | Fall 2012 | 11

health and fitness


Everyone has had a night when they drank a little too much and then have practice or a bout the next day, right? OK, maybe not everyone. But those who have know it is hard to skate. You are dehydrated, feel lethargic and dizzy, and maybe even get a little sick. But does a minimal amount of alcohol, a drink or two the day before skating in a bout, affect performance? Here is some advice from skaters, a nutritional expert, and research studies. The Southern Illinois Roller Girls have a strict policy not to drink alcohol 24 hours before a bout. “I take that very seriously,” said Splatter, who does not typically drink alcohol up to a week before a bout. Splatter explained that when she drinks, she typically feels slow, bloated and run-down, which is not how she wants to feel when skating, especially during a bout. Derby teams that have a strict “no drinking alcohol before bouts” policy may have the right idea, according to certain sources. The American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) official stand on alcohol emphasizes that there is no benefit from its use on sport performance. They even say that such usage may be detrimental to the athlete. The ACSM recommends skipping alcohol for 48 hours prior to an athletic performance because it can take your body up to three days to purge itself of alcohol. It recommends no more than one drink over the course of an evening in order to be at top athletic performance, if you choose to drink at all. “I never drink alcohol the night before a bout. It’s weird but I like to think of it as a sort of pre-bout cleanse. The day before a bout, I also eat healthier than I normally do and try to drink mostly water,” said Macho Girl Mandy Savage of the Southern Illinois Roller Girls. According to a study done by Margaret Gutgesell and Randolph Canterbury in a 1999 issue of “Addiction Biology,” light to moderate alcohol consumption over a six day period produces increased resting heart rate in women compared to those who did not drink for six days. And an increased resting heart rate will result in your heart working harder when you are exercising.

12 | Fall 2012 |

Though everyone knows the effects and has seen research on heavy drinking, there are not a lot of studies done on drinking and athletes. According to Jennifer Gibson, a sports dietitian for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), it is because it isn’t ethical to have athletes, or anyone, drink alcohol for a study. There are still many things that are known about alcohol’s effects on the body, including dehydration, the slowing-down of cognitive and motor functions, and interference of sleep patterns. When cognitive and motor functions are slowed, a skater will react slower, not recall plays and strategies as fast, and generally feel sluggish while skating. Even a couple of drinks can interfere with sleep patterns. According to the University of California San Diego Intercollegiate Athletics, alcohol affects the quality of sleep, and bad sleep equals bad daytime attention. If alcohol is consumed late in the evening, the attention and dexterity of an athlete will be noticeably reduced the next morning. But for derby players, alcohol affects one thing that is crucial to every athlete and her performance: muscle recovery. A study done by Conor P. O’Brien, MD, from the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin, Ireland, shows that alcohol slows healing. Alcohol depletes the body of much-needed vitamins and minerals, causes dehydration, and disrupts sleep patterns. All of these are factors come into play when the body is recovering from an athletic performance, particularly from a sport where aches, pains, bruises, sprains, and breaks are not uncommon. “Instead of spending its time mending the injury, the body has to fend off the effects of the alcohol,” Dr. O’Brien said in his study. Gibson, from the USOC, agreed. “Depending on how much you are drinking, it can affect your recovery for a few days.” She said alcohol can result in a decrease in muscle recovery from dehydration, which can prolong recovery time. Another point Gibson made about alcohol is its effect on nutrition. One 12-ounce beer has seven calories per gram and is equal to eating one small bagel. In comparison, there are four calories per gram for carbohydrates and proteins in food.

Gibson asked if an athlete would eat five or more bagels at one time. Even a few alcoholic drinks a night can add the calories, and there is no nutritional value from beer, wine, or hard liquor, Gibson said. Other roller derby teams do not put restrictions on alcohol consumption and allow individual players to make their own choices on what, or how much, they drink the night before a bout. Miss Ill, from the Steel City Derby Demons of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, drinks less alcohol the week before a bout, but does not totally cut it out. “The number one thing that affects my performance does not seem to be the food I eat, the stretches I do, the pump up music I listen to, or the socks I wear. It is the amount of sleep I get and how mentally relaxed I am,” she said. Miss Ill mentally prepares for a bout by having a relaxing dinner with her fiancé, friends, or teammates, which sometimes includes a drink or two. Laryn Kill, of the Southern Illinois Roller Girls, said she notices changes in her performance only after months of bad nutrition or health habits, but does not notice immediate changes from bad habits for only a week or two. Bad habits she mentioned include not working out as often, not eating as healthy, and getting less sleep, along with drinking alcohol. She compared her timed 25 laps in February at 4:00 minutes to her time of 4:01 in May, after more than two months of not spending as much time on her health and nutrition. “...I do now notice some decline in my game, but again this has been a slow process. So the week of a bout, no, I do not notice any significant changes [when abstaining

from alcohol],” Laryn Kill said. Gibson, from the USOC, said another factor she weighs in on alcohol use is the athlete’s overall nutritional level. The nutritional advice she gives on alcohol consumption for athletes depends on their overall nutrition and health. If everything is good with their nutrition and they are at their target weight, then she has no problem if an athlete has a glass of wine in the evening. But if she is looking at a diet to control weight, alcohol will be the first thing she cuts from an athlete’s routine because of the empty calories. Gibson said there is not enough information or studies done on moderate alcohol use and athletic performance to make a determination on the effects on skating. She does think that it is probably a good idea to abstain for a little bit before an athletic event, though, because “it’s often hard for people to say no after one [drink].” Leannibal Lecter, from the Steel City Derby Demons, believes a little alcohol can affect people in different ways. “I think [the amount of alcohol that affects performance] depends on the person. Personally, I do not drink enough water when I drink alcohol and even a little imbalance can be enough to throw off my game,” she said. A skater should use guidance from her team policy, her decisions, and her routine before a bout to be prepared to skate her best. A drink or two may not hurt, if she knows her limits, and the way that she best mentally and physically prepares. “I think at the end of the day, people know what their bodies can handle... and we ask people to be responsible,” Gibson said. | Fall 2012 | 13

health and fitness

Good Morning Quinoa Bowls Catholic Cruel Girl, Rocky Mountain Rollergirls photo by Jean Schwarzwalder

Oatmeal blues got you down? Try this take on the morning classic. Quinoa is a complete protein and is high in magnesium and iron. In addition, it is a great source of calcium and fiber. All of this and it tastes yummy too! Lose those oatmeal blues and eat quinoa warm cereal instead.

ingredients: 1 ½ cups nut-based milk (i.e. almond milk, hazelnut milk) ½ cup quinoa ½ cup dried cranberries ¼ cup sliced almonds 2 teaspoons amber agave nectar

In a small saucepan, bring the milk and quinoa to a boil. Simmer until most of the milk is absorbed (approximately 10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the cranberries, almonds and agave nectar. Additional flavors to try: ½ cup diced fresh pears Large pinch of ground cardamom ½ cup sweet potato puree Pinch of cayenne pepper ½ cup diced fresh peaches Large pinch of ground ginger Get creative and think about what is in season. Pair with a little spice, nuts or seeds. The possibilities are endless!

14 | Fall 2012 |

16 | Fall 2012 |

rl! Hey RollerGi

BLOCK the odor with Sport Suds

Odor Odor eliminating ing laundr laundryy d detergent etergent for your stinky d durables urables

Available at Save $1 per jar jar,, enter promo promo code: DERBYGRL

games and coaching


It’s pretty staggering to think that our sport was essentially self-taught. No one knew what they were doing when they started. We had an idea and a lot of love and stick-to-it-tiveness, and we made it happen because we had to. Let that sit with you for a minute. We. Did. This. We are doing this. And doing this never gets easier. We were, and still are in some leagues, babies raising babies, which explains why we’ve had so many rule sets and why we spend an exhausting amount of time refiguring them. The sport constantly evolves and our training, the way we teach roller derby, does too. My league, Maine Roller Derby, started six years ago. Back then we had very few resources for training: the WFTDA minimum skills requirements served as a guidebook for what we needed to learn in order to play roller derby, and other (less new) leagues to hit up with questions. For the most part, though, we were guessing, and years later are realizing we got some of it wrong. The league consisted of veterans with some bad habits – nothing tragic – and Fresh Meat who needed to be taught the right way. The problem was we didn’t know how to find the right way. Even if we did, how would we know that the current right way isn’t tomorrow’s wrong way? As a trainer, all you can do is research, research, research, know your skaters, do your best, and correct your mistakes. So that’s what we did. In the beginning stages of training, my league conducted Fresh Meat training like an elementary school standardized test. The training committee used the WFTDA minimum skills requirements to determine bout readiness. Skaters were taught what was needed to pass the assessment of minimum skills and then thrown into scrimmaging with the big girls. This was problematic for two reasons: 1. They weren’t learning how to play roller derby and, 2. They knew it and became frustrated. The “throw them to the wolves” / “figure it out” approach did not work. Very few skaters survived a full year. They weren’t being taught how to efficiently block and how to do it with teammates, and they struggled with simple strategy. What

18 | Fall 2012 |

seemed to be a no-brainer for the Old Meat was impossible to grasp for some younglings, which wasn’t exactly a confidence booster. The mentorships approach was helpful – Fresh Meat skaters were given the opportunity to direct their questions to a big sister skater and get some one-on-one time – but it didn’t bridge the gap in training. Because the Fresh Meat didn't learn fast enough they weren't placed on a team and bouting (we have an A/B team structure). Because they weren't placed on a team, they didn't feel connected. Because they didn't feel connected, they didn't see the benefit of being part of the league. So they quit. My training committee spent criminal amounts of time debating how to transition Fresh Meat from passing minimum skills assessments to scrimmaging. It was like all the official time-outs in history together in one bout. Exhausted and without a solution, the minds at work agreed to let me test out the idea I pitched (timing is everything in derby, my friends): Scrimmage 101. It was a one-month program set up to teach the basics. I wasn’t exactly qualified to coach a crop of Fresh Meat, but after working with newly scrimmaging skaters, I had a sense of what questions are asked over and over. I used those questions as a guide to write the program.

The program consisted of teaching basic strategy: playing offense and defense, learning the positions (jammer, pivot, blocker), and learning the basic rules that most skaters struggle with (pack definition, cutting the track, multi-player blocking). It seemed to make a difference in transitioning the Fresh Meat, which benefited everyone. The Fresh Meat had more confidence and skill, and the veteran skaters were less frustrated. I ran the program with a few classes (big thanks to all the skaters who let me experiment on them) and realized how capable they were of learning more complex plays and how hungry they were to do so. The program evolved each time and I was giddy to teach it. I wanted to get it out to the derby public because it seemed necessary. I noticed that the same questions were asked over and over on the roller derby coaches yahoo forum: How do you teach skaters to play roller derby? How do you assess skaters? How do you know when they are ready to bout? I didn’t know if Scrimmage 101 could be an asset to other leagues, but I thought offering a manual might inspire others to create their own, or other trainers could take from it what made sense and adjust other parts to fit the needs of their league. I strongly feel that in order for the sport of roller derby to grow, the skaters with experience need to share it. I absolutely love that roller derby coaching services are offered. This is so huge for us. Think about it: how amazing will we be if the bottom rung of skill grew to the level that the best teams in the world play at? Then the best teams would get even better and our collective derby mind would be blown apart. That fantasy is exactly why I created Scrimmage 101. I don’t think the manual is going to change the world or anything. I do hope that I can offer some aid and maybe a sprinkle of inspiration for trainers. Scrimmage 101: How to Teach the Game of Roller Derby can be purchased at | Fall 2012 | 19

games and coaching

skate like you mean it

background photo by Joe Rollerfan

H O C K E Y H O N E Y, S A N D I E G O R O L L E R D E R B Y

I grew up playing Rink Hockey, which is played on quad roller skates, and it was imperative that skaters completed each skating task as perfectly as possible. If not, she risked being in the wrong place at the wrong time or her coach yelling at her or pulling her from the game. It’s things like keeping your head up, butt down, and knees bent that a lot of derby players have missed and are now paying for when they are trying to move to the next level. My coaching philosophy is to focus on three main goals to becoming a stronger, more effective skater and roller derby player. 1. posture and positioning While on the track, you should always be ready to be hit. That means your posture and positioning needs to be perfect (or as close to it as possible). That means YOU need to get your butt to practice and work on backwards skating in the opposite direction, turning and stopping in all directions, executing each drill precisely, and understanding what it takes to get to JM IV the next level of skating. At the very basic level of good posture, you have to have a good skating stance: A. Session Skating – Standing straight up, sitting on your heels, rolling around the track chatting with your fellow derby people about the sweet after party where you wore as much glitter as possible. B. Normal Skating – This is all the time in between getting hit and hitting someone. This takes up a surprisingly large part of the jam. Knees should be over the toes, chest and head up, and butt down. What really grinds my gears is when newbies are learning how to skate and are forced to skate super low... who can hold the super low “Derby Stance” position for longer than two minutes? No one I know. C. Derby Skating (Stance) – this is when you are super low (yet head and chest are still up, ready to move side to side, and respond quickly) about to hit someone, take a hit, or otherwise cause mayhem. This is probably the least used stance in derby, but at crunch time, you’ve got to be able to do it.

20 | Fall 2012 |

2. confidence From the big hit to the tiny side step, you have to know where your foot is going with every stride. Everyone has seen that skater that skates around with wide legs, short strides, and is barely keeping up with the pack, ask them why they aren’t keeping up? Nine times out of ten, “I don’t have the endurance.” That may be true, but a bigger problem is they are not bringing their feet back together after each stride, not bending their knees, and not understanding where their bodies should sit. Foot placement after every skill is imperative to success. Being confident that you are executing every stride and move to perfection gives the ability to focus more on the game instead of on skating. I tell people all the time, I would be a terrible derby player if I had to think about skating and derby at the same time! 3. hustle SKATE!! I can’t tell you how many hundreds of people I’ve preached this to now, but we as derby girls are lazy. We skate harder to get our spot in front of the jammer line than we do the rest of the jam. When the jammer gets by you, do you skate after them? When you fall down, do you hop up so quickly that you are still in the pack? Do you switch from offense-defense and then back in less than a blink of an eye? Most of us out there would say no! If you want to be better at derby, you have to hustle and skate like you mean it. No more lazily t-stopping from one drill to the next (you know you do it). Taking the time to skate harder at drills in practice will show results on the track. With a unique skating style that has mostly hockey and a dabbling of artistic, jam, and session skating, I get asked constantly what I do to become such an experienced derby girl. It’s all in the skating. That’s why you see people with skating backgrounds do so well. Excuses are made on a daily basis about why it is hard to get to the next level. Don’t let excuses be the reason you don’t be the best you can be.

fun and games! JammerUp: The Roller Derby Board Game A strategy game modeled after the rules and strategies of the sport of roller derby. In a two-player game, each player controls a team of five game pawns: four Blockers and one Jammer. A player moves her Jammer through the pack, maneuvering around opposing Blockers to earn points. This is all done while trying to keep her opponent from doing the same. The rules are simple, but the game evolves in complexity as players become more adept at derby strategy. Beginners will enjoy drawing cards that allow them to jump, juke, and block in special ways that help them make their way through the pack and defend their territory. Advanced players will rely less on the cards, employing real derby strategies like skating the diamond, hammer and nail, and goating. JammerUp: The Roller Derby Board Game requires you to carefully plan your next move, think ahead to what your opponent might do, and pay attention to offense and defense at the same time. For more information about the game and how to play, visit! Derby Dates v1.0 Derby Dates is a one-stop app to help you locate Roller Derby events in your area. The app displays a list of all the upcoming events and is configurable so that you can filter out teams or regions. Select an event and you can view all the details, as well as purchase tickets, add the event to your personal calendar, and link to websites for participating teams. Derby Dates uses team websites as well as direct communication with the teams to ensure that the app contains the most up-to-date information available. All the events listed also link to the team’s websites for your convenience. The app is currently supporting Colorado Roller Derby and will expand to other areas soon. If you are interested in this app for your area, contact

Derby Playbook Plot out all your flat track strategy on your iPad: an interactive, animated whiteboard for Roller Derby plays. • Keyframe animation: set the skaters in their appropriate locations at specific times, and it will animate between them (skating along the course). • Customize team colors (primary, accent colors, and number text colors). • WFTDA specified track layout dimensions • Automatically calculates pack and engagement zones (using official WFTDA “box” method to determine 10’ proximity) • Includes a whiteboard to make annotations on the track, as well as textual detail (with special “cleanup” logic to make easy straight or circle players) • Supports unlimited number of documents (including being able to duplicate the current document, making it easy to diagram out multiple scenarios) • Connects to external monitors to use with projector/large screen • Plays can be emailed to another Derby Playbook iPad user, the current frame can grabbed as an image (to paste into another app), or all the keyframes can be emailed as a PDF or printed, or the entire jam can be exported as a movie • Configurable of penalty box placements, track background, track lines, ref 10’ marks, skater icon styles/sizes Available for $4.99 from iTunes. | Fall 2012 | 21

games and coaching

coach’s corner by coach pauly

know your roll

part 17: TEAM

What is a team? Webster’s may have a different definition than I do, but I believe that a team is a group of people who train and work together to achieve a common set of goals. As a coach, it is my job to help that group rise above the obstacles and direct them toward achieving those goals. The one key is that we do all of this together: win, lose, or draw. No matter if we are playing teams that can wipe the floor with us or teams that are our equals. If we find ourselves in a situation where teams are not at the same skill level as us, we use that opportunity to refine our skills not destroy them for the sake of winning. Instead we play people out of their positions and try strategies we normally would not use. Sport is not just about winning in my viewpoint. It’s about honor and integrity in the face of adversity. It’s pitting your team against teams that you know will destroy you and taking a beating with class, taking what you learned to evolving your game. I was in Washington State and I had the pleasure of watching Charm City play Rat City. It was a hard fought game, which ended in Charm’s defeat. The beauty behind this is they came all the way across the country to take on Rose City and Oly before they faced Rat City. It is a great practice and many successful teams follow the same practice and have reaped the rewards. The more games you play against teams of equal or higher skills, the more you evolve your game. I call it the Highlander effect. In that movie the main characters collect the heads of their fallen opponents and absorb their power. Each bout you play you take some of the spirit of the team you play and use it to evolve your team each time. When I think of a team that I have seen recently, Terminal City comes to mind as a great example of how a team that plays regular higher level games can change their ranking by playing every weekend. From the beginning of interleague play, teams could only get better. The more you traveled, the better you got. One thing that you didn’t really see was sub players. I know this is really common for leagues starting out but not all-star teams. Since I have been in Western Canada, I have found that teams use this practice regularly. This year, my travel team has played in two tournaments in Western Canada. For each of these events, the rules allowed each team to add two skaters from anywhere to their roster. For the first tourney in Calgary (hosted by the

22 | Fall 2012 |

Chinook City Roller Derby) only three teams chose to bring their own roster without additional skaters. The other tournament was the second annual Best of the West regionals hosted by the CWRDA/RDAC organization. At this one it was the same situation. I have never experienced this practice at the travel team level. This practice robs teams of the glory, win or lose. It strips you of the ability to gauge your team’s performance if you have faced these teams before. If you win, the defeated team says that they didn’t have their full roster; if you lose you will never know if your team could have beat them without the additional players. Playing teams straight up eliminates any questions, which allows both teams to be proud either way. Beast of the East, on the other hand, is known for being the showcase for all the house teams in Eastern Canada to come together to enjoy a weekend of playing a travel team style tournament. It gives those house team players a chance to experience what their travel teams do regularly. I don’t have a firm grasp on what the rules are for that tournament, but from what I can gather each team is a house team representing their home league. If they are down skaters and need people to fill rosters, they can draw from their home league’s sub pool. Now we all know that in each league the home teams have travel team level skaters on their house team rosters, but I think the spirit of that tourney is to take the team you have straight up against the rest and see who rises to the top. I know some leagues use the A and B team structure and even in this case stacking your B team with A team players doesn’t help to further the sport or the level of play, it just means you can kick ass in a kindergarten. I have experienced this concept as a coach and as a spectator and honestly it just looks horrible. I know I am here to watch a competitive game. I know a few of you are asking, do one or two players make a difference? I say yes they do depending on what the team lacks to start with. If you look at the outcome of the Dust Devil Tourney in Arizona you can see what three key skaters added or subtracted from a team can do to the outcome of any giving game. The only difference is the changes in this case had nothing to do with subs; it was skaters migrating and

taking time off from derby. No matter what the point is clearly illustrated. Adding players to win is like Sunday soccer; it isn’t a true representation of your team’s skills and capabilities; it’s more of a more of a façade of your shortcomings. Don’t get me wrong, if the bout is no longer for ranking and the show must go on, subs are perfectly acceptable, because without the show we cannot move the sport forward. If you work your team hard in practice to sit some of your own skaters out to bring in people from outside your league, not only are you telling your team that they are lacking, you are telling them that their work means nothing and those skaters that had to sit are not good enough, as well. On the other side of the coin, if I bring my ten skaters to play your ten with subs, the honor of winning or losing is not the same.

The honor and integrity of the game and everyone grows in the sport. In my opinion, you go with what you have and if your roster doesn’t have enough healthy skaters to play the games safely, then maybe you shouldn’t play that bout. When I was still in the states, derby seemed to be pretty uniform in most regards. The only differences was WFTDA, OSRDA or Flat, Banked, and Renegade. As derby grows and the rules change, I hope that we all can agree that we keep the honor and integrity as the cornerstone of our sport.

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

DRILL drill: 10x10 Walls

purpose: To practice working on walls and maintaining 10 feet in the front and back of the pack. Also addresses speed control and communication.

Pete Serrata - FocalAdrenaline Studios

Make groups of four people and line the groups up from the pivot line, separated by 10 feet each. Give the jammer panty to the last four people in the line. The jammers jam through the groups of four one at a time as the groups play defense on the jammer. If that group of four runs into the back of the group in front of it, they must let the jammer pass. The jammers continue through each group until they get to the front of the line where they remove their jammer panties and create a group of four to play defense. Continue to send the last four blockers in the line through as jammers. The trainer can create groups of three and two to play defense, as well. | Fall 2012 | 23

59 mm slim sl m

62 mm slim sl m

62 mm WIDe W De


the all new, reck reckless kless envy 'a all ll purpose' purpose hybrid h wheel is the answer er to all of your problem m skating surfaces. the en surfaces envy vy g gives ves you a super superior or gr grip g p and roll for all kinds ds of surfaces, from unpolished ol shed concrete to sl slick ck wood floors and d dirty rty sport t tiles. les use envy as pushers, or mix with the reckless evader and ikon kon for extra tract traction. on the envy is s also a super alternat alternative ve to standard outdoor wheel wheels, ls, providing prov d ng great traction on and stability stab l ty on asp asphalt, halt, cement, outdoor skate skate parks, and tennis courts. ourts. grab your set of reckless eckless envy nvy 'all all purpos purpose' s hybrid se hybr d wheels wh ls and be b ready for anything. nf fo@GRnmstr com | 888 888.360.4534 360 4534 4 | grnmnstr com


common questions and misconceptions 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 BA X L E Y

Before we get into the next part of the plates discussion, I thought it might be helpful to answer some frequently asked questions that have to do with plates. A few are covered in some detail in other articles, but some are technical in nature and actually have simple(ish) answers. I would also like to take this opportunity to make a correction to my last article. I missed an error in one of the inset pictures. Throughout the article, the Probe plate was correctly indicated as a 10 degree angle kingpin. The inset picture has it indicated as 15 degrees and that is incorrect. I’m thinking of buying ____ wheels. Should I buy 7mm or 8mm bearings to go with them? Actually, bearing size has to do with the hole in the middle of the bearing not the size of the bearing itself. This hole has to fit snugly on the axles of your skates (the posts that your wheels sit on) otherwise it will either not fit at all or rattle around like oversized ring on your finger. Happily, it has nothing to do with the wheels, so you can use pretty much any wheels any time! The current standard or most common size is 8mm. Back when speed skating was popular, skaters were very concerned with reducing weight, so requested thinner axles. But once skateboarding really came into popularity, 8mm became the standard. If you have 7mm axles, you need both 7mm bearings and axle nuts. The axle nut size is determined by the inside diameter (i.d.) of the nuts, as bearings are determined by the inside diameter of the race. To determine which axle size your skates have, here are a few tips: 1. If your skates came put together from Riedell with boot, plate, wheels and bearings, they are 8mm. This includes the following plates: thrust (black nylon/plastic), triton, revenge, reactor, powerdyne aluminum. Antik packages come with these plates as well. See how I italicized from Riedell in the first statement? That’s because there are lots of skate shops (including my own) that sell “package-like” assembled skates, which include a Riedell boot with plates

26 | Fall 2012 |

from other companies. These are not assembled at Riedell, but rather mounted in the store and they can include plates that have either 8mm or 7mm axle plates. If your skates were not assembled in the Riedell factory as a package and you don’t know what size your axles are, call the folks who sold you the skates and they should be happy to tell you. 2. If your skates or plates have an old metal plate (and by old, I mean 20 years), it is possible they are 7mm. You can: A. compare them to a teammate or friend’s skate that is newer and you are sure has 8mm axles. If your axles are 7mm, they will be noticeably thinner. B. Try the two different bearing sizes on your axles. Obviously, if the bearing won’t go on the axle at all, it’s a 7mm bearing trying to go on an 8mm axle, or if you put it on the axle and there is space or doesn’t seem to be a snug fit, it is an 8mm bearing on a 7mm axle. C. Measure the outside diameter (o.d.) of your axles. This is a bit more challenging, as it is difficult to be accurate with the types of measuring devices most of us have at home. 3. If you have a plate made in Italy, it is most likely 7mm. The Roll-Line plates, for example have 7mm axles. 4. If you have the following plates, they are 7mm: Snyder, Power Trac, Nova, Laser. Conversely, these plates are 8mm: Probe, Rock, Avenger, Invader. Many of Sure Grip’s plates can have either- it is the skater’s choice: Competitor, XK-4, Century, Cyclone, Classic.

If you discover that you have 7mm axles, but only have 8mm bearings, you can purchase axle sleeves. These are literally “sleeves” that go over your axles and turn a 7mm axle into an 8mm axle. However, the axle nut stays 7mm. I have these metal tube things in my wheels between my bearings, what are they and what are they for? Those are spacers and are an interesting debate right now. I hear from skaters who absolutely swear by them, and others (including lifetime skaters), who say they are not necessary. Here’s the breakdown. Each bearing has an outside “race” (the metal ring on the outside) and an inside “race” (the metal ring on the inside). Remember, bearing size is determined by the inside race. A spacer is meant to sit on the axle between the two inside races to prevent them from collapsing into each other. This could happen if your wheels were to take a significant impact laterally. The proper use of spacers also allows you to completely tighten your axle nuts and still get maximum wheel roll. The problem is that spacers are made in a factory wherein a large metal “tube” is cut into little barrels by a machine. It is difficult to make them to exact specifications. Let’s say you get a set of spacers and put them between your bearings. They are actually only effective if they are exactly the right size and touch both bearings on the inside race when the bearings are seated in the wheels. Look at the inside of your wheels. See the little “shelf” that the outside race of your bearings sit on? That prevents the outside race from collapsing inward. Try this: 1. Seat your bearing in one side of your wheel (I usually do the inside or flat side). 2. Put the spacer in the wheel sitting on the bearing and look for where the top of it ends up. It should sit very slightly above the other “shelf”.

If the spacer isn’t the right size, it isn’t doing anything but moving around inside your wheel and therefore wouldn’t be very effective in keeping your bearings intact should your wheel get hit from the side. How do I know it’s time to loosen my trucks? A new skater who is just learning often doesn’t skate very fast around the corners, especially if they haven’t yet mastered the crossover. Since skate packages come from the factory with the trucks pretty tight, this isn’t a concern at first. Once the skater can do a good crossover and is consistently skating faster, they need the skate to help them turn. It’s like having power steering. We also get a LOT of questions about foot cramping. This is usually because either: a. the skater’s boot is too big, and they are clenching their toes to “hold” the skate onto the foot while skating, OR b. the trucks are too tight and are fighting the skater when turning.

You get this turning flexibility by loosening the trucks. This is done by the nut on the bottom of your kingpin. A good starting place is to loosen all four kingpins a quarter turn to the LEFT or counter clockwise. Then go skate. Be sure to take several laps at speed with crossovers to see how it feels. From there it is fine tuning. To loosen all four at once is a starting point. There are no hard and fast rules. Some skaters like their front trucks more loose than the back, or one foot more loose the other. And generally, the more advanced the skater, the more loose they prefer their trucks. You must give your skates this flexibility or it will take the flexibility from somewhere else, such as pain in your feet, ankles, | Fall 2012 | 27

gear knees, shins and hips. Another side effect to trucks that are too tight is for your plate to separate from the sole of the boot, OR your boot upper will separate from the sole along the back of the heel. Conversely, your trucks are too loose when: 1.Your boot is touching your wheels when leaning or turning, causing you to not only fall on your face, but creating a divot in your boot above your wheels, as well. Another side effect is that the screw holding the plate onto your boot can cut into your wheel causing a groove around it. 2. You cannot control your skates at all. 3. The nut is almost all the way off of the kingpin. Please, please, please do not loosen your wheels instead of adjusting your trucks. We are seeing a fair amount of this and although it is very rare I tell skaters NO definitively. This practice is dangerous and should not be done in lieu of loosening your trucks. I’m serious. Ask any of the skate/plate manufacturers or career skaters. Do I ever need to replace my axle nuts? Absolutely. Axle nuts are commonly referred to as “Nylock” style nuts. This means they are metal and have a nylon ring on the inside and are made to “lock” in place when they are tightened. Look at your nuts, the nylon is usually black, yellow or white. After you have removed your nuts 10+ times, the nylon starts to wear, preventing the nuts from locking as they did when new. If your axle nuts are “backing off” or getting looser as you skate, they need to be replaced no matter how many times you have taken them on and off. Remember to double check the size when buying new. Are they 7mm or 8mm? Remember it is the size of the axles on your skates that determines this.

FYI: Astro Nuts from Grnmnstr and Zero Nutz from Sure Grip are made entirely of nylon. They have no metal. They are lighter, but the nylon still wears away and must be replaced just like metal nuts. Also, these nylon nuts come in 8mm ONLY. Will changing my cushions (or bushings) make a difference? Yes, as long as you are actually changing the hardness or replacing ones that have reached the end of their life. Most 28 | Fall 2012 |

plates come standard with medium hard cushions, and it takes quite a while for these to wear out. They are worn out when they are flat, bulging (another side effect of too tight trucks), cracked or brittle to the point of disintegrating. Cushions are rated similarly to wheels. The lower the number, the softer the cushions. Changing the hardness works in several ways: 1. It gives the skater more flexibility similar to adjusting the trucks. 2. It gives the skater more or less responsiveness when pushing or turning. Let’s break that down a bit: Let’s say you have medium cushions that came on your skates when you bought them. You are now pretty advanced and have loosened your trucks as far as they will go but still feel that you need more flexibility. You would be a good candidate for softer cushions. This will allow your trucks to be slightly tighter but you’d still get the flexibility by the hardness of your cushions. Or, you are skating (which means pushing) and feel like you have too much flexibility and/or are working way too hard. You would be a good candidate for harder cushions. Keep in mind a few things. Generally, a larger skater finds harder cushions more useful and a smaller skater finds softer cushions more useful. You can mix the cushion hardness on each kingpin, but the harder cushion should always go on the side of the truck closest to the plate, and the softer cushion should go on the side of the truck closest to the floor. You can also use different hardnesses from foot to foot or front to back. Just like truck adjustment, it can take trial and error and differs from skater to skater.

Okay. I hope that was helpful! And as always, if you have more specific questions, please feel free to email me at

toe stops R A C H E L R OT T E N , A N G E L C T Y D E R B Y G I R L S

When I first started skating, a vet told me that gear shouldn’t matter if you are a good skater. That is BALONEY. Have you ever tried to skate on rink skates now that you own your own? Try it and then tell me how gear doesn’t matter! Toe stops are a pretty crucial part of roller derby. I don’t know who got better first, who the chicken or the egg is, but jammers and blockers (players in general) have gotten really good. It’s like we’re athletes or something! Jammers have gotten faster and more agile. Blockers have gotten more vicious. For the most part, four wheels rolling on the ground, no matter how talented or powerful a skater you are, won’t necessarily get you through a ferocious pack. Blockers have made it considerably harder for jammers to get through a pack. And to combat this, jammers must be more agile by hopping back and forth, alternating between wheels and toe stops trying to push forward and move laterally while blockers do the same, trying to prevent them from gaining momentum. That small item at the front of your boot is doing a good percentage of work along

with your wheels to let you do fancy stuff out there! I started playing roller derby on the PowerDyne toe stops that come stock with Riedell skates. Though they were all right, I quickly figured out that there might be something out there with a little more performance, just like discovering different kinds of wheels and the magic of a good plate. Gear is important in every sport, so while I grumbled about my increasingly expensive derby habits, I reminded myself that there’s a reason I had certain kinds of bats in softball, balls in bowling, types of knee guards in volleyball, etc. It’s not a total conspiracy by sports gear manufacturers to claim that a product can give you better performance. But, as we all know by now, products don’t always live up to their marketing, and we spend a lot of money finding the right products for our personal preferences. In an effort to sift through some of the options as the market for roller derby gear continues to grow, I have become a bit of a gear hoarder. I decided to put my limbs at risk and tested out a handful of different toe stops. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it

would be, because I didn’t account for the toe stops that don’t live up to the “stop” part and caused me to face plant more than a few times. Luckily I didn’t break anything when those things fell apart, and will now tell you all about it so you can avoid your face meeting the floor too! Before foraying into this journey, I had purchased Gumballs on the recommendation of everyone who tried them, and I loved them. In order to wipe my opinion slate clean, I decided to mix it up when the ladies at Wicked Skatewear were rad enough to provide me with a bag full of the aforementioned toe stops. First up were the PowerDyne Moonwalkers, second were SureGrip Gumdrops, third were SureGrip Mini Gripper and then Gumballs followed by Snyder Advantage last. Also important to the experiment process was the duration (about three weeks each) and the surfaces I’d be using them on; our practice warehouse is polished concrete, our venue is wood, I frequently skate on another local track that is painted concrete and lastly, four of the five stops also were tested on sport court at away bouts or scrimmages.

toe stop photo Kim Lincoln | Fall 2012 | 29


PowerDyne Moonwalker


Colors available


mint green, blood red, neon yellow

$15-$28 (I saw them listed as high as $35)

black, gray, cream


Diameter / Length




Floor type tested on

Snyder Advantage

Ideal Floor type

Quality Durability

Anything else?

These worked fantastic on everything.

These have such Wood, sport court, excellent response polished concrete to pressure when and painted stopping! I needed concrete. less pressure than I was used to in order to stop fast or take off. I find that these really pull the surface under you without feeling like you’re shoving your toes down in effort to stop faster.

This was my favorite of all the toe stops! They’re incredibly light and really durable, they wore the most evenly and the least overall. I don’t think you’d need to replace these as often as many of the other stops.

Unique cylindrical packaging, distinct label that feels spacey to match the name of the product. The material doesn’t feel like any of the other stops, and is really responsive.


100% natural rubber

About the same The similar shape shape as the and size to the Gumballs, slightly Gumballs mean more rounded face similar feeling (like a hamburger of balance and bun). stability... until the whole thing rips off of the stem while you’re playing a game and you’re left to limp around the track for the duration of the jam.

Deceptive! To the Wood, sport court, I don’t recommend Let the photos of touch, they feel polished concrete them on anything. the rubber torn sticky, but when and painted from the stems you use them they concrete. be a warning feel a little slippery to your pretty face and require about that could meet a dozen stops to the ground wear the top layer unexpectedly off to get some with these. stoppage. Unfortunately, I didn’t wear them long due to the rubber ripping off of the stem.

Can we talk about the name? GrumDROP? It’s fairly clear that they were created to compete with the Gumball, but there’s nothing that might make them more appealing than the Gumballs.

white, black, blue, green, yellow, orange, red and pink.

(at widest point) 40mm/52mm



“Natural.” I’ve heard you can dye them!

Standard 30mm or short 17mm stem length

natural rubber


It’s listed as “gray” but it’s really more of a navy blue-ish color.


natural rubber

PowerDyne Moonwalker

Unique tear-drop Excellent. They are shape, slightly slightly smaller rounded top, with a in diameter than circle of holes many of the around the face. stops, but plenty wide and the size doesn’t compromise balance or stability at all.

Sure Grip Gumdrop Sure Grip Mini Gripper



natural rubber compound

GRN MNSTR Gumball Snyder Advantage

Sure Grip Mini Gripper

Sure Grip Gumdrop

30 | Fall 2012 |

Flat top, cut at an I slipped on these I put these Wood, sport court angle which is more often than on when the and polished supposed to be for not, and the Gumdrops ripped concrete. easy running squared off top off their stem starts. Raised didn’t feel as during a bout, and grooves in the comfortable as for the next three rubber that are the round stops. jams, my feet supposed to be the proceeded to slip “gripper” element. out from under me with every step I took on them. Not completely flat, They’re wide but smooth and so there’s a lot level across of surface area the face. Thick to balance on while and sturdy, like maneuvering. a quaruple stuffed Oreo.

These look like a larger/wider version of the Gumballs.

These privided similar stopping results as the Gumballs, but because they are much larger I didn’t have the same agility. They felt bulky often felt like I was tripping on them while in motion.

Excellent, but Wood, sport court, sometimes didn’t polished concrete stop as quickly as and painted I’d like, even when concrete. varying pressure. Slide-to-stop is fantastic on these – so if you’re good at estimating where you want to stop based on when you start stopping, these are great.

Great grip, sliding into a turnaround stop was appropriately responsive but a little on the sticky side. Taking off felt powerful though due to the increased size.

Something very They seem to be I couldn’t get any grippy like a roller sturdy and durable, kind of traction rink. I tried them but the lack of at all, so after on sport court maneuverability 2 weeks I simply and fell on my and stoppage gave up and face when trying doesn’t argue moved to the to take off. well for quality. next toe stops.

These worked fantastic on everything.

These won’t fail The packaging is you, it’s a great really, really cool. product. From my It’s probably experience, these impossible not wear a little to pick them up faster than the when you see Moonwalker, but them on a shelf. slower than the others. A very active skater might have to replace them every few months. Also, it’s a bit heavier than Moonwalkers, but possibly worth the extra ounces if you prefer the larger diameter.

Wood, polished These were the My biggest concrete and only stops I did not concerns with painted concrete. try on sport court, these were how but I imagine incredibly heavy they’d be fine they felt and the because they wear. These wore worked well on down the most and everything else. fastest out of all the toe stops.

It concerns me that when researching them, I’d read that they too were known to rip off of the stem.

someone had put stickers on my toe stops and then removed them only to leave that gooey stuff. Oddly enough, they didn’t respond as though they were gooey and were surprisingly slick instead. Much to my dismay, the Gumdrops ripped off of their stem during a (really important) bout and I replaced them at half time with the SureGrip Mini Gripper, which wasn’t much better except for the fact that the rubber actually stayed on the stem. Moving on to the Gumballs was a sigh of relief, and finishing with the larger-but-similar Snyder Advantage rounded out my testing quite favorably. All in all, the Moonwalkers and Gumballs were the best products I tried based on quality alone, and I firmly believe that quality directly applies to the value. They’re both reasonably priced and every

retailer seems to sell them for the exact same price, unlike the other three products that varied in price by retailer. The Moonwalkers state that they are a “natural rubber compound” but they felt slightly different than the natural rubber of the Gumballs so I’m not sure what the secret in the recipe is. The unique teardrop shape with the divots for gripping provided excellent response, as did the wide surface area of the Gumball and I suspect would come down to a skater’s personal preference. Either way, both of these stops will allow you to do some fancy footwork out there, and when I think fancy footwork, I think Michael Jackson. Keep on with the force, don’t stop... toe stop ‘til you get enough.

Jules Doyle

Rather than write long paragraphs about each, I broke down the factors I thought about and considered when reflecting on the various products so that anyone can prioritize what is important to them when selecting how to spend their money. (See chart.) With any toe stop, the amount of pressure you apply to them affects how long you slide before reaching a full stop. I switched to the Moonwalkers as my first set to experience and I was pleasantly surprised. The material had excellent grab on each surface I skated on. The bounce, maneuverability, and stoppage were just awesome, and I was surprised by how much I liked the slightly smaller size. When I picked up the Gumdrops to place them on my skates, the rubber felt sticky against my fingers. It felt like | Fall 2012 | 31


the evolution of the WFTDA tournaments r walde chwarz Jean S

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 Since 2006, competitive flat track roller derby has culminated in a

Playoff and Championship bracketing in the current tournament structure,”

Championship tournament, where teams representing the best WFTDA

WFTDA Executive Director Juliana Gonzales said about that first

leagues in the world compete for the top spot.

tournament’s seeding process.

The first flat track roller derby championship, Dust Devil, was held in

In 2007, Women’s Flat Track Derby Association’s competing leagues were

Tucson, Arizona. Because the 2006 Dust Devil tournament was the first

divided into Eastern and Western regional divisions to determine qualifiers

multi-league competition and there was no national ranking system in place,

for the Texas Shootout tournament, in Austin, Texas. Eight teams fought for

a series of round-robin mini-games were played to seed those teams worthy

the Championship – four from the Western division and four from the

of fighting for the Championship. The 20 teams were grouped into four pools

Eastern division.

of five teams. Each team in the pool played four 10-minute games. Point

At the Championship tournament in 2008, Northwest Knockdown in

differential was used to determine placement within each pool and overall

Portland, Oregon, East and West once again fought for the championship

ranking. Teams that placed in the top 3 of their pool advanced to

while fans and skaters saw the debut of The Hydra trophy. The Hydra,

a single-elimination style tournament, leaving 12 teams fighting for

named in honor of a founding WFTDA member and the first president of

the Championship.

the WFTDA, became the highly coveted championship trophy earned by

“It was part intuition, part invention, plus a lot of research into tournament models – but vestiges of that bracketing are still evident in our

the WFTDA Champion each year since. With the membership of the WFTDA continuing to grow, in 2009, leagues were subdivided into four geographic regions. East and West regions were joined by North Central and South Central, creating four regional playoffs funneling the top three leagues from each region into the Declaration of Derby championship tournament. These four playoffs, and the ensuing championship, created a total of five tournaments for WFTDA leagues, nicknamed “The Big 5.” “When WFTDA expanded from two Playoff regions to four in 2009, we doubled the access to tournament eligibility,” Gonzales said about the expansion. “Leagues that may have been under the radar, or who hadn't gotten a chance to showcase their talent, suddenly got a much better shot to prove themselves. Even more importantly, fans got to see twice the action, and the road to Championships became more publicly visible. Everyone could see how teams were developing over their season, and fighting their way up from the pool of 40 Playoff qualifiers to the Championships.” This Playoffs and Championships structure continued in 2010 and 2011 with the same format of four regions culminating in 12 teams competing

Ziv Kruger

for the WFTDA Championship. At the same time, WFTDA membership was growing at a rapid pace, adding more weight to preseason games as teams worked to earn an ever more elusive top 10 slot within their region.

34 | Fall 2012 |

Jules Doyle

Some of that growth was taking place outside of North America,

again working with Blaze Streaming Media to provide exceptional coverage

where modern roller derby and the WFTDA first emerged. In 2011, the

for this new online channel, which builds on the success of the 2011 live

London Rollergirls became the first league outside of North America to

online tournament coverage.

qualify for the East Region Playoffs and made WFTDA tournaments a truly international affair. With the Playoffs and Championships tradition well established, the WFTDA is taking charge of its own tournaments for 2012. The WFTDA has always managed the competitive aspects

“ is looking to redefine broadcast standards for the sport in an effort to strengthen the integrity and image of women’s flat track roller derby around the world,” said Erica Vanstone, Director of Broadcast Operations for the WFTDA. “In order to make the experience as fan-friendly

of the tournaments but in 2012, with the hire of

as possible, Playoffs and Championships

a Tournament Director on staff, it is managing

subscription costs will be significantly lower than rates

the event experience, as well. Having WFTDA managing

charged during the 2011 season. The WFTDA is also

the tournaments minimizes the financial risk of hosting

partnering with the Association of Flat Track Derby

and potentially increases the number of venues and

Announcers and Rinxter. We hope that working with

leagues able to accommodate a WFTDA tournament. One of the 2012 goals for Janis Kelley, WFTDA Tournament Director, is to create a brand for the five tournaments that is individualized for the regions and yet brings together the cohesive components of the WFTDA Playoffs and Championships. “We still want to ensure that participants and fans have the same positive, seamless experience they enjoyed with the member-league hosted tournaments,” Kelley said. “We’ve made an effort to have all of the logos

these entities will enhance the level of broadcast quality significantly, and that our productions will be more entertaining than ever!” As the battle for the Hydra draws near for 2012, the WFTDA continues to look at ways to enhance the fans’ experience and the skaters’ level of competition for tournaments. “What changes may come down the road for the future Playoffs and Championships? If history is any indication, the WFTDA will continue

retain an element of uniqueness that is reflective of the host league’s

to meet the needs and desires of the organization by providing additional

geography or local culture, but to visually make it apparent that they are

opportunities to highlight the incredible skill of our growing membership,

part of a whole. They stand alone, but in concert with the others, making

and we will continue to incorporate exciting projects and new technologies

a very clear statement that these are five large-scale tournaments that

that improve the participant, attendee and viewer tournament experience,

the WFTDA produces.”

both in the venue and as they tune in from all around the globe. The WFTDA

streaming live games from the Playoffs and Championships. The WFTDA is

Playoffs and Championships are the crown jewels of modern roller derby and WFTDA will make certain they really shine,” Kelley said.

Jules Doyle

One more addition to this year’s tournaments will be, | Fall 2012 | 35

junior derby

training and conditioning B I L L M AY E R O F F, R O C K I S L A N D , I L

It’s no secret that there are risks associated with playing roller derby. Despite strict safety measures, injuries are inevitable. Every time a skater hits the track, the potential of broken bones, bumps, bruises, sprains, strains, and concussions lurks around every turn. But what happens when those injuries are suffered by kids with still-developing bodies? Junior roller derby teams are popping up all over the country. That proliferation raises a couple questions. First, are derby-playing kids and teens susceptible to injuries fullydeveloped adults are not? Are kids’ bodies affected differently by the most common roller derby injuries and can those injuries have long-term effects on their physical growth and development? Casey Creger, a doctor of physical therapy and athletic trainer at Genesis Medical Center, Illini Campus in Silvis, Ill., said that for the most part, risks for kids versus those for adults are fairly similar, especially when it comes to broken bones and other contact-related injuries. In fact, Creger said, kids often have an easier time with such injuries than adults. “Children and adolescents bounce back sooner from injuries than adults,” he said. However, Creger said, a broken bone in the wrong spot can have long-lasting effects on kids. Kids and adolescents have growth plates at the end of long bones. According to, growth plates are regions of cartilage where bone growth occurs and are weaker than surrounding tissue, making them more vulnerable to injuries. Growth plate fractures, Creger said, can lead to a child’s bones not growing and developing properly, which would affect them for the rest of their life. That’s not to say every kid who suffers a growth plate injury will have problems for the rest of his or her life. Jason Strang, the manager of rehabilitation therapy for Trinity Regional Health System, a medical group with locations in eastern Iowa and western Illinois, said his son recently broke his wrist playing

36 | Fall 2012 |

hockey, but likely won’t suffer any significant long-term ill effects. “He broke it right through the growth plate,” Strang said. “Long term, I don’t think there’s going to be a huge detrimental effect. Strang agreed with Creger that kids’ bodies will bounce back more easily from injuries than adults’ – even if you factor in a growth plate injury. “Kids, they’re still going to grow,” Strang said. “It’s always easier for a kid to come back from an injury. They’re more resilient.” Concussions, though dangerous to anyone who has one, are something kids need to avoid because their brains are still developing, Creger said. “Kids do have an increased risk for concussions,” he said. “It would probably take longer to heal.” That increased risk for concussions, Creger said, also makes it more likely that a child who suffers a concussion will suffer another. “Once you get a concussion, you’re at a higher risk of getting a secondary concussion,” he said. Additional concussions, he added, put kids at risk of impaired learning and cognitive abilities. Creger said it’s not just repeated concussions that can be dangerous. As with adults, if a child repeatedly injures a certain body part, each injury decreases the likelihood of a full recovery, which can impact a child’s long-term physical development. “The more recurring injuries, the more likely the area won’t recover,” he said. So how can derby-playing kids avoid permanently damaging themselves? Both Strang and Creger believe it’s not that difficult. Kids who wish to play derby need to be fully aware of what they’re getting themselves into in order to play safely. “Understanding that you’re going to get bumps and bruises is a part of the sport,” Creger said. “There is no preparation for physical impact. A lot of it is mental toughness.” But it’s more than just being aware of the potential for being hit and falling, Creger said. “Knowing how to take a hit and/or fall can reduce risk of injury.” When a person – child or adult – falls, their instinct is to brace for impact. That’s actually counterintuitive. “Try to reduce the bracing,” he said. “Bracing can increase risk of elbow and shoulder dislocations and wrist injuries. Fall more limp.” Strang said that coaches of junior derby teams also have a role in keeping kids from permanently injuring themselves.

Beyond simply teaching kids the basic skills needed to function safely on skates, coaches must constantly watch for signs that they have been injured. For example, if a child is suddenly struggling where they were not before, a coach should step in and make sure nothing is seriously wrong. However, Strang said, kids are often better about reporting injuries to their coaches than adults. Adults are sometimes encouraged to play through and ignore the pain, which can be dangerous. Kids generally have not been taught that. “A kid, most likely, would tell you something is not right,” he said. Ellonyia Yenney, also known as El Efino, coaches the Orphan Brigade – the junior derby team associated with the Davenport, Iowa-based Quad City Rollers. Yenney said keeping kids from getting injured on the track is not much different than keeping adults from getting injured. “There are still the same basic skills,” she said. “The mechanics and the muscle memory are the same.” Yenney said teaching those basic skills to kids is often easier than teaching them to adults because kids are generally taught to listen to adults. “I think the kids are a lot easier to coach,” she said. “It’s very easy to say, ‘You need to listen.’” The smaller size and lighter weight of kids’ bodies can cause them trouble on the track, Yenney said. “It’s really hard to get them to stick to the floor,” she said, adding that even with the right wheels, very light children are prone to falling more than adults. “They have to know how to fall correctly.” Because the Orphan Brigade has 21 kids between the ages of 7 and 17, Yenney said the league instituted rules designed to reduce the chance of injuries due to kids of varying body sizes skating against each other. The skaters under nine years old do not get hit while rolling because even a light hit from a larger skater can be dangerous. The question that remains is this: Should kids be playing roller derby? Strang thinks so, provided they are taught the skills needed to safely function on the track. Starting kids on a sport – any sport, not just roller derby – at a young age, makes it easier to teach them those skills. “At hockey, they start them at three or four,” Strang said. “I think it’s perfectly fine for kids to play roller derby.” Creger agreed. “Every sport has its own inherent risks,” he said. “The better trained you are, the less of a risk for injury.”

Fotodog | Fall 2012 | 37

junior derby

juniorcon 2012 TA N YA P R O C K N OW, J R DA

JuniorCon 2012 was a three-day event intended to bring the world of junior roller derby to a single location for in-depth roller derby training and education for skaters under the age of 18, coaches, managers, and officials. This year the event was held in the TXRD warehouse where expert trainers were available for both flat and bank track skaters and coaches. In addition, there were a series of round table discussions and clinics for coaches, managers, and officials on the most up-to-date practices, as well as discussions on the future of the sport and how the JRDA can help to it grow. JuniorCon 2012 brought in 103 participants from 14 states and 2 from Canada. The lead trainers were Lacy “Carmen GetSome” Evans who coaches the I-5 Roller Girls in Seattle, WA, and travels around the world to train roller derby skaters at all age and skill levels, and Olivia “Cherry Chainsaw” Vernon who has been skating on the banked track of TXRD for nine years. Friday night was skater check-in, skills assessment, and Junior Prom. Once everyone was checked in, they were sent through a skills assessment process for the trainers to be able to separate the classes into skill levels to give the skaters the attention they required at their skating skill level. Junior Prom was a dancing-socializingpizza party with the young skaters in one of three outfits: derby uniform, Halloween costume, or prom dress! It was interesting to see how these young skaters translated what a “roller derby event” meant to their attire. Here’s what Grainne Hunter a.k.a. HuntHer Down has to say about JuniorCon: “JuniorCon offered skaters from around the country, and Canada, a variety of coaching styles, drills, and experiences. I particularly enjoyed skating on the banked track; it was my first time. I learned skills that I could take to the flat track with slight modification. JuniorCon was also a great opportunity to meet and get to know other girls around the country who share

38 | Fall 2012 |

the same passion I do. So many different personalities, skill levels and a wide age range! I can't wait for next year!” day 1 The skaters were all separated by skill level and put onto the flat track, banked track, and off-track for their initial skating/off-skate adventure. The most talked about drill in the morning was when Lacy made everyone take their toe-stops off their skates! Doing drills with NO toe stops was something they never thought they could be successful at, but everyone survived. No casualties, really! During the skater training, the coaches, parents, and organizers met to discuss junior derby and all its glory. From refereeing challenges to fund-raising. The #1 complaint in this realm of discussions was insurance options for skaters. The JRDA is working towards offering its membership base an affordable supplemental insurance akin to the WFTDA and MRDA insurance offerings. This is currently being researched for options to offer our members in January of 2013. It was very exciting to see almost all of the skaters (at each skill level) skate on the TXRD banked track for the first time! All the adult skaters, organizers, and vendors had to get on the track too – since a lot of them had never been on that type of track either. We just kept saying, “These kids don’t know how lucky they are to have this experience at such a young age.” day 2 Sunday was scrimmage day. The level 1 skaters got some flat and banked track time, working on their speed, stopping, and practicing controlled falling. The level 2 skaters practiced and scrimmaged on the TXRD banked track. They looked very controlled and aware of their surroundings as they skated. Coming away from the weekend of Junior Roller Derby action, it’s definitely safe to say that Junior Roller Derby is NOT just a side show any longer. It’s a main event! JuniorCon will be held in Ft. Wayne, Indiana in July of 2013!

rudechix loves junior derby QUEEN RUDE, RUDECHIX Does your roller derby league have a junior league? We think you should, really we do. Junior derby is modified for children and adolescents, and in turn it builds coordination, endurance, confidence, and team playing skills. It also grooms the young ones from ages 7-17 for adult leagues. Since the first junior team was formed in Tucson, Arizona in 2006, junior derby has grown to 134 leagues. Rudechix has been in the derby scene full time since 2008, regularly vending with the Los Angeles and San Diego Derby Dolls. It has been exciting to watch the growth of junior derby in these leagues, as well as the junior skaters themselves. Confident, cool, and adorable, the junior derby girls work hard at practice, which really shows at their bouts. I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Quadfather, LA Derby Juniors coach, father of Lil’ RegulateHer and husband of RegulateHer. (Yup, a roller derby family!) How did the junior teams start in LA? QF: The junior league was started in 2008 by Kilo Kitty, who had three daughters who wanted to play. The All-Star team was started at the end of 2011 by pulling the top 18 players. How much do they practice? QF: Two sets of practices for different levels on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Why did you decide to coach junior derby? QF: I had been coaching youth sports for 16 years and my daughter wanted to play. I know how important it is to have parent involvement so I offered to help. As for my family, derby is a big part of our lives. Why is derby a positive influence? QF: It is important for girls to know there is a sport that is just as competitive, exciting and physical as any boys’ sport. I’ve seen some girls who are shy or lack confidence when they start. And after a few practices, they are speaking up or teaching other players something that they just learned. Also, derby has made it possible for us to travel more as a family and meet hundreds of new people from around the world. Ready to start your own junior derby league? Quadfather recommends being open to volunteers willing to help, while making sure you have the right people before you put them with the kids. Keep it fun, positive and fresh, as kids don’t always have the longest attention spans. Be creative with the drills to make them learn without the kids knowing that they are actually working on a specific drill. And keep the explanations of the drills as short as possible. Get the parents involved if you can. Be firm, set rules, and have the kids follow them. And be prepared to get your point across in three different ways.

Rudechix recently launched the “Heart Junior Derby” junior cut t-shirt (S to XXL) at the LA Juniors’ bout in May. Then we had a photo shoot! We would like to give recognition and derby love to: Charley Davidson, Lil RegulateHer, Regret Butler, Emma Swatson, Emily Bombte, and Skater Moon. “Heart Junior Derby” dolphin shorts (S to XL in junior sizes) launched at RollerCon in July 2012. And, of course, a huge thank you to Quadfather for his wisdom and derby experience. Check us out at | Fall 2012 | 39


how to be a good guest league J O H N M A D D E N I N G , M I N N E S OTA R O L L E R G I R L S

hangover bout

In the last issue, we talked about how to be a good host league. Well, you can’t hang out at your house forever. It’s time to stretch your wings and fly!

sanctioned game. These bouts are often (but not always) between

finding leagues to play

smaller team to get in some well-needed playing time against

facebook is your friend

higher-level squads, and it helps extend your budget.

To get the most out of a trip, see if you can get a “hangover bout” in the next day before you leave. Often, the league who hosted you on Saturday night would be happy to invite you and another nearby team to play in their practice facility or another venue for a second teams with more space between them, rankings-wise. It allows the

You’re in luck! When Minnesota (and the rest of the original leagues)

how do we get there?

started, Facebook was an Ivy League-only thing. Now, you’re likely


to have tons of friends on your Facebook page who are in other

Flying is the fastest, but generally the most expensive way to get

leagues across the country... and world. Strike up friendships with

to another city for a bout. And if it’s farther than 500 miles or so

folks who play elsewhere, and you’ve made your first steps! It

from your home base, it’s usually the only option. Check with airlines

makes it much easier when your Board presents you with dates

about group reservations. Remember, if you’re flying, you have to

you have to fill if you can open a chat window with your good

budget rental cars or public transit on top of those airline tickets.

friend a half a continent away.


tournaments are better

When we travel within the five-state area, we’ll either rent cars or

Whether it’s the Big 5, ECDX, Midwest Brewhaha, Rollercon, or any

use our own. This can be dangerous if one car breaks down on the

other, tournaments are great places to network. Even if your team

side of the road with four hours left to go, but it is the cheapest way

isn’t on the track, simply wearing your home league’s t-shirt can

to do it. We have a business discount with a major national car rental

lead to high fives, exclamations of “I can’t believe there’s a league

company, which knocks about 10% off the rental. It doesn’t sound

THERE!”, and most importantly, invitations to play. Everyone has an

like much, but when you’re renting five cars or three minivans, it

open date they’re trying to fill, and they won’t think of you unless

sure does help.

you get out there and let people know you’re interested.

bus it

be prepared to say no

One of the coolest things ever was when the Naptown Roller Girls

One thing to be watchful of is trying to please everyone. You have

Tornado Sirens rolled up to team breakfast in a giant tour bus. Sure

a team, a coach, and a budget that all need different things.

it took 10-11 hours to make the trip, but they did it overnight so

Just because another league has invited you doesn’t mean you

most of them could sleep on the road. Naptown even has a superfan

have to go. The rough economy hits everyone, including derby

who is a licensed bus driver, and they saved even more money by

teams. If your team doesn’t have the money to get twenty people

not using the bus company’s driver, but by paying for his meals and

to a town with expensive air service that’s too far to drive to, there’s

hotel room for the trip!

nothing shameful about saying, “that’s not in our budget right now.”

Above all, get there early! Make sure you budget your time for

Odds are, the other team’s interleague coordinator has had to deal

any delays, breakdowns, or bathroom breaks. Nobody wants to leave

with the exact same thing.

another league in the lurch because you didn’t plan for problems.

In addition, you don’t get any better by playing teams much

bring your fans

worse than you are. Try to use your time to play the better teams,

Nothing can be more intimidating than having 4,000 people boo you

and your team will learn more. You can even check out the rankings

when you’re introduced. People love their home teams, and they

on DNN, Flat Track Stats, or Derbytron to see where observers

want to see the invaders defeated. However, one of the most

rank your team in relation to others, and schedule accordingly.

effective counters is bringing your fans along to cheer for you!

Of course, predictions have been known to be wrong... from time to time.

40 | Fall 2012 |

Of course, you can’t afford to pay for someone else’s flight, hotel room, etc., but there are probably a good number of fans who live

Nicolas Charest

and die for your team and would love to join you on the road. The

other skaters, love collecting t-shirts from around the world, and for

Minnesota RollerGirls are lucky enough to have a pair of sisters –

you, it brings in some much-needed cash to help pay for the trip.

Jeanne and Christine, the MNRG Superfans – who not only have

Just twenty T-shirts at $15 each is $300 more than you had before!

front-row season tickets at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium, but also

Even in 2012, certain carriers (like Southwest, or Delta if you

travel along to nearly every away game and tournament! There are

have their credit card) don’t charge for checked bags, so there’s

also well-known folks such as The Belligerent Nashville Rollergirls

really no excuse to not bring a little something to sell.

Fans, Big Tom from the Texas Rollergirls, and of course Bane-Ana

do something non derby related!

from Charm City! Fantastic fans like this make it feel a bit like home

(Wo)man cannot live on derby alone! For a Saturday night bout,

in a strange town after a thrilling victory... or an agonizing defeat.

MNRG generally arrives on Friday afternoon. We have time to

Let your fans know (in email updates, Facebook postings, etc.)

decompress, and have a team dinner if we choose. Saturday

about your upcoming trips, and tell them you’d love to have them

morning, we’ll meet in the hotel lobby and break into groups to go

join you! The vast majority of hosting leagues offer a small number

out and about. Some skaters love shopping, others museums or

of comp tickets for family and friends who make the trek, and you

tours. Nobody is paid to play, so you might as well have fun while

never know when you’ll run into an expatriate from your home town

you’re traveling.

who wants to cheer for you.

treat your hosts well

bring merch

It’s like going to a party. Your hosts are opening up their home to

I’m always surprised when visiting teams don’t bring merch to sell at

you, so thank them for their hospitality, follow their rules, and keep

away bouts. Packing an extra bag of t-shirts, stickers, and patches

your skates off their furniture! You want them to remember your

doesn’t cost much extra, and can more than pay for itself. Fans, and

league fondly, and want to play you again! | Fall 2012 | 41


the progression of roller derby G R E G O RY BA X L E Y, S E AT T L E , WA

The debate over whether derby skaters are professional athletes is raging from coast to coast. As the fastest growing sport spreads, so do the misconceptions. With so much integrity and empowerment driving these women, it’s sad that mainstream media has yet to take notice. Cluttered with athletics lead by men making millions, the recognition for roller derby is slow to build. And recently it all came to a head in Seattle, Washington. Local television station KING 5 annually compiles a list of the “Best of Western Washington,” detailing the best businesses, people, art exhibits and more. Local citizens vote online for their favorites in each category, and the winners are announced with fanfare at the end. Broadcasted, and released online and in print, the recipients gain a decent amount of media push, a treat for any small and growing business. And because Seattle has multiple professional sports teams, the category of “Best Pro Athlete” is a highly regarded accomplishment. After all, these are the fans supporting their favorite teams and players, feeding hometown pride. But something both surprising and not surprising happened in the 2011 poll: the people of Seattle seemed to grow tiresome of the over-paid men of football, baseball and soccer. From the first week of voting, local Rat City Roller Girl’s skater Re-AnimateHer took the lead by a large margin. Throughout the process she maintained more than 25% of the vote, far surpassing second place Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez with a mere 10% of votes. More and

more fans took the opportunity to support a skater that has gained recognition for her skill and showmanship. And with such an undeniable edge, the station finally took notice. But not in the way we expected. Re-AnimateHer is one of the most paramount skaters of the modern game. She has been the highest scoring jammer for two years running with Grave Danger of the Rat City Roller Girls, one of the first leagues to bout in an arena, regularly selling out all 7,000 seats. She’s also a member of the Rat City All-Star team who are currently ranked 7th nationally, and recently traveled to Australia for a string of bouts. And she’s a founding member of Team Legit, the current national bank track champions. She also coaches and

Gregory Baxley

42 | Fall 2012 |

teaches clinics internationally, all while running her own business off the track. She’s a busy athlete to say the least. Even after tearing two PCLs and battling a broken wrist among other injuries, she refuses to be anything less than the best. And for these reasons, she has a very dedicated fan base. And just as derby fans were celebrating her rise in the poll, the television station made a sporadic and distasteful decision, removing her from the rankings completely. And without warning, they claimed that Re-AnimateHer is not a professional athlete. She was no longer allowed to be acknowledged under this category, and fans were quick to notice her deletion from the competition. Her profile was deleted, along with the hundreds or thousands of votes she had received. What constitutes the term professional athlete? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that a professional is someone who gains their livelihood from an activity, field or endeavor. Re-AnimateHer doesn’t earn a paycheck for playing roller derby, and therefore cannot be considered a professional athlete according to this definition. In the weeks following Re-AnimateHer’s removal, fans started a viral online campaign to reinstate her in the category. They wrote letters to the station, posted on blogs, drafted a petition, and even made a Facebook page. Citing an abundance of arguments, sports fans internationally took notice. Many re-voted, writing her in and putting her back in the running, only to

Gregory Baxley

have the station delete her again and again. This was supposed to be a fan-voted contest, but KING 5 was not budging, and no amount of correspondence was changing their minds. Some people were suspicious that local team owners and professional athletes were throwing their weight around, but nothing was ever confirmed. In fact, KING 5 had very little to say at all. Aside from a single brief email directed to Re-AnimateHer, they offered zero correspondence and response to fans. Many have doubted that anyone running the poll had ever even been to a roller derby bout. The fact is that many skaters, including Re-AnimateHer, compete around the globe. This is the focus of their lives, and they spend extended hours training and practicing. Probably more time spent skating than baseball and football players spend on the field. They face injury, rankings, and competition the same as any other sport. These are world class athletes; the best at what they do. And even as arenas are being filled with enthusiastic spectators, many media outlets are quick to judge and disregard. Many people have sided with KING 5, arguing that professional athletes get paid. But Olympic athletes aren’t paid, and they are certainly considered professionals at their respective sports. Others claim that derby skaters aren’t professionals because they don’t garner sponsorships, but Re-AnimateHer has been a sponsored athlete for years. There are an endless amount of requirements that can be argued, and most of them can be disproven. But as with anything, it all comes down to perception. So why, outside of the derby community, are skaters not being taken seriously?

KING 5 claimed that all roller derby skaters were amateurs and fans revolted with little resolution. This story has evolved into something more than it originally was. As the fastest growing sport, roller derby is in the midst of a revolution. Teams and leagues are attracting record-breaking attendance levels at bouts around the globe, and new organizations are popping up in regions where other sports have never existed. There are derby billboards and bus ads, logos adorning clothing and buildings, and fans eagerly anticipating

broadcasted bouts on both television and the internet. And yet, mainstream media has neglected to catch on. Eventually KING 5 created a new category for “Best Amateur Athlete” and Re-AnimateHer won without hesitation. Some claim this a victory, and while it’s good publicity for the sport, it has little importance in the long-run. Even in a city where roller derby is huge, there remains bias. And that’s a hurdle that each new skater must jump. | Fall 2012 | 43


sk8 the state for ms takes on iowa S K I N N E R E L L A , S I O U X C I T Y R O L L E R DA M E S

Sum Mo Payne, Dubbs, PBR and support driver/mother hen/ organizer, Skinnerella, have now skated 713 miles and raised over $7800 for Multiple Sclerosis research. As we prepared for Sk8 the State for MS 2012, we were more confident than ever. It was, after all, our third year. Sum Mo Payne, Dubbs, and PBR had already skated 482 miles across two states. They were cross training, and eating right, not to mention being derby juggernauts twice weekly at Roller Dames and Korn Stalker practices. They were outfitted with Vanilla Skates, Atom wheels and Bones Bearings, and had a van full of water, healthy snacks and enough band aids and moleskin to cover each of them from head-to-toe three times over. On top of it all, we were skating our home state of Iowa, a state we know and love. The chosen route came out to 231 miles, slightly more than Nebraska, which we crossed in four days, so we allotted ourselves five days to skate Iowa. Of course, I had no illusions. I knew it would be a punishing trek for the skaters. I spent weeks talking and emailing with county engineers, Department of Transportation employees and Sheriff’s deputies to find the best possible roads. It wasn’t easy. As it turns out, almost every road in Iowa is under construction throughout the summer. The roads that aren’t under construction are used to route truck traffic around said construction. County and State authorities were incredibly helpful, going over our proposed route, suggesting changes, informing me of road conditions and safety concerns, but almost every conversation ended with something along the lines of: “Are you sure your skaters can’t just stick to the trails?” To which I would confidently respond: “Thanks, but we’ve done this before. I think we can handle it.” Skip ahead to day one. We drive from our hotel in Clarinda

44 | Fall 2012 |

to the Iowa-Missouri border and already Mo, Dubbs, and PBR are sweating the monstrous hills that the van is struggling to get over. Many people are under the impression that Iowa is like Kansaslite: an endless plane of corn, stretching flat as far as the eye can see. But actually Iowa is more of a roiling and tossing ocean of corn, with hills, valleys and ridges galore. It is beautiful, but a real pain in the ass to skate across. The skaters started strong with a 13.2 mile stretch that was literally all hill; as soon as they reached the bottom of one, they started up the next. Traffic was not bad, a few trucks and a car here and there. We learned (as we have learned every year and apparently forgotten) that when skating south to north, you are moving toward higher elevation and therefore you go uphill more than you go downhill. It is a slight difference, barely noticeable, unless of course you are grinding your way up each hill on skates, in which case you can most definitely tell the difference. For the next 25 miles, we drove north, then skated south in a switch-back pattern. As the day went on, traffic picked up quite a bit. We had to stop frequently to let cars and trucks pass, since, with all of the hills, we were essentially skating in one long no-passing zone. Then somewhere around mile 35, with traffic passing and traffic approaching, Mo got tripped up going down a hill, did a quick monkey roll and popped right back up on her skates. She wasn’t hurt and kept going, but after that, she started taking the descents a lot slower. We took a break in the next town, had some snacks and talked about our feelings. I told the skaters that if they stayed on these roads, I would need to make a stop for some depends, because I’d already nearly peed out of fear several times. They all felt pretty much the same way and we decided to drive on to a paved

trail that covered over 25 miles of the route. They finished out the day of skating on that, while I spent some quality time with Albert, the world’s largest bull statue, which can be found in Audubon, IA. After a long first day, we retired to the world’s weirdest smelling hotel (also in Audubon) to rethink our game plan. The two previous years, skating the roads was fine. There was less traffic and enough of a shoulder so that the skaters could mostly stay out of the lane. Iowa was a different story. After much discussion, we all agreed that it was just too unsafe to continue on the roads. We had to scrap our original plan to skate a continuous line across the state and start looking for paved trails that would allow the skaters to clock the remaining 185 miles. Fortunately, Iowa has hundreds of miles of beautiful trails, so the skaters were able to cover the miles while seeing the countryside. Day two was spent on trails between Carrol and Lake View, which was some of the most idyllic scenery we’ve ever seen. When you aren’t trying to skate up and over every hill in the state, you are really able to appreciate the beauty of rolling corn fields dotted with wind turbines and the occasional farm house. After a great day with over 50 miles under their skates, we were invited to spend the night at the cabin of a friend’s grandmother. This was a welcome change after the two previous hotels that made us long for the hospitality of Norman Bates. We woke to day three, rested, refreshed and ready to take on another chunk of Iowa. Iowa answered us with rain. We hadn’t budgeted an extra day for weather, so after we realized that it wasn’t going to clear up, the skaters bundled up and headed out on the trail. By this time, soreness from day one’s massive hills was starting to set in and morale was pretty low. I was driving to check points where I could meet up with the trail every few miles and at about 10 miles in, I was seriously worried that this day was going to torpedo the whole project. Even the everpositive PBR was barely dragging herself through. They had gone over 100 miles in two days and they couldn’t imagine going another 130. Shortly after I sent them off on the next fivemile stretch, I got a phone call. Dubbs needed me to meet them

back at the last checkpoint. She didn’t say why. I, of course, thought the worst: an injury, an irreparable skate malfunction, a hockey-masked psychopath dragging skaters into the woods to meet their doom. After speeding back to the trail, I found that it was none of these things. It was, in fact, a kitten. The skaters had found a soaked and starving kitten, about the size of a rat, huddled beside the trail. They picked it up and Dubbs zipped the scrawny little thing up in her jacket to keep it warm. The kitten, whom we named Iowa, turned the day around. As we got her warmed up and fed, we could see the life returning to her and that seemed to breathe new life into the skaters. Simply having this vital little animal to fuss and fawn over reminded them why they were doing this: because our lives are fragile, but our bodies are strong. They can betray us with illness or they can save us by being there when we need them and taking us where we need to go. They managed to skate over 40 miles that day, which kept us on pace and allowed us to finish the skate on schedule. The motivation behind Sk8 the State hasn’t changed. We are on a mission to raise funds and awareness for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. But each year, we have found a new path to achieve this goal, and along the way we have found new reserves of strength and resourcefulness within ourselves. Sk8 2012 gave us a new appreciation for the beauty of the state that we’ve called home for years. It brought us closer to some dear friends who fed and housed us along the way. It brought a beautiful grey cat across our paths and into our lives. And it showed us once again that with the right motivation and a little flexibility, we can do anything we set our minds to. After five days and 231 miles, the skaters reached the Minnesota border. We have now crossed a third state off our to-do list and have raised $7800 and counting. This is a rare experience that is both humbling and empowering, challenging and satisfying, difficult and beautiful, and we will keep doing it as long as our bodies will let us. | Fall 2012 | 45


derby burnout F - B O M B A N D M O RTA R ‘ N P I S TO L , R O S E C I T Y R O L L E R S

Roller derby is a mostly volunteer-run enterprise that relies on its skating and non-skating volunteers to operate its leagues. Whether you come from a small league of 20 skaters or a mega-league with over 300, we are all driven by the desire to make our team or league bigger, better, and more competitive within our town, state, region, WFTDA, or even the world. Across the board, new and old leagues generally want the same thing – competitive teams, a well-functioning leadership group, great officials, adoring fans, a strong sense of community, and an endless supply of businesses and sponsors to provide resources. These are fantastic things, but we know they don’t materialize on their own; someone (or a group of “someones”) has to make them happen. What form does the distribution of the work of these volunteers and those “someones” take? Most of us are familiar with the saying “20% of the people do 80% of the work.” This adage is true in the general world of non-profit organizations that rely heavily on volunteers, and roller derby is not free from the same trappings. At some point, those 20 percenters are going to hit a wall (either literally or figuratively) and feel like they just can’t put any more of their time, energy, love, tears, sweat, knowledge, or brainpower into derby. Their energy is sapped, their motivation gone, and a life sans derby seems mighty enticing. Hitting the wall isn’t limited to the numerous non-skating jobs like running a committee, being on a board of directors, or those more at-risk 20 percenters. Derby is a big enough commitment that active skaters who don’t hold leadership positions beyond their duties as a team member are at threat of hitting the wall too. Skaters who bust their ass several days a week for months and years at a time – whether it’s trying to “bring up” their team or league to a more competitive level, pushing their own skills to the next level, or grappling with the age-old question (at least age old to derby) of how to balance life, work, and derby – can reach the point where throwing in the towel isn’t appalling but appealing. Skaters also face pressures – external and internal – to push themselves into dangerous territory; e.g., skaters can often be reluctant to take time off from training to adequately heal an injury because they’re afraid of “losing their spot” on a team to up-and-coming talent.

46 | Fall 2012 |

Does this sound familiar? Can you think of someone in your home league (maybe even you!) that these situations apply to? The people who have hit the wall are suffering from something very real: burnout. Burnout is not just a buzzword; it is a formally defined technical term with a body of research on the subject, and support groups and resources to help prevent and deal with it. What is burnout? All right, we’ve all got the general idea, but what exactly is burnout? Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and/or physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that prompted you to take on a certain role or activity in the first place. Burnout reduces productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and/or resentful about the thing you used to love. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give. Despite that hundreds of thousands of derby skaters and volunteers experience burnout, the topic doesn’t get much direct attention – particularly the physical side of it. Yes, many of us have conversations with teammates and others about how breaks are good, but how much knowledge do we have of the very real health and wellness benefits of breaks? How much do our teams or leagues stress the importance of proper rest and recuperation and work to educate its members on it? How much do leadership and skaters value and encourage the breaks that are good for us versus appearing to keep up in the “be strong” competitive environment? WARNING SIGNS – Someone May Be on the Road to Derby Burnout if... Most of the time, people don’t like to openly admit that they have limits – especially in derby. We’re all too damned strong, proud, and uber-dedicated to derby to say “no” to another project or another away game or another three months of off-season training. Some take-charge folks experience a great deal of anxiety about letting others take on big roles or tasks because “If I don’t do it, it won’t be done right.” Those take-charge people are wonderful to have on committees, board of directors, and other league groups because they get things done! But taking on

so much volunteer work or derby training can also lead to negative developments down the road if you don’t watch out for warning signs of derby burnout. Here are a few examples... 1. Every day is a bad day. You all know this person. They come to practice or meetings with a super grumpy face and send out all kinds of negative mojo. It’s obvious they would rather be chewing on glass. 2. Caring about derby responsibilities seems like a total waste of energy. Busting ass for my league/team doesn’t seem to matter anyway, so why bother at this point? 3. Exhausted all the time. Self-explanatory! 4. Majority of time is spent on tasks that are mindnumbingly dull and/or overwhelming. I hate my committee job! I’m just checking boxes and doing stupid paperwork – and for what?? This is such a waste of time. 5. Feel like nothing makes a difference, personal efforts are not Thom Evered appreciated. See #2. FINDING BALANCE – DERBY NIRVANA IS ATTAINABLE! Don’t worry, it’s not all gloom and doom! There has been ample research in the professional and athletic world to help prevent and mitigate the causes and side effects of burnout. The “Three-R” Approach (from 1. Recognize – Watch out for the warning signs of burnout! You know what they are now 2. Reverse – Undo the damage by managing stress and seeking support 3. Resilience – Build your resistance to stress by taking care of your physical and emotional health

In the next issue of fiveonfive we will discuss strategies for reducing derby burnout. But now that you know how to identify burnout we won’t leave you high and dry! Here are a few useful tips to tide you over: You gotta have realistic expectations about your derby experience. That includes picking the right league or team volunteer job for yourself, being honest about your current skill level versus what your ultimate goal is (travel team, certified official, board member, whatever), and maybe even your expectations for teammates and other league members. Ask yourself if your home league and/or team provide equitable opportunities for skill development, both on and off the track. Derby isn’t just about training athletes; it’s about building a community of bad-ass ladies who are empowered, knowledgeable, and capable of amazing feats of athleticism as well as throwing down on an amazing event, strategic planning session, or fundraiser for the good of their team, league, or roller derby itself. Last but not least, recognize the importance of making sure your entire league feels appreciated and valued for their contributions – from skaters to officials to bout volunteers to raffle girls, and even down to program shufflers. People are more willing to feel positive about their work and take on yet another challenging task or job if the people around them say “thank you, great job!” once in a while. This also includes building a positive and supportive culture within individual teams as well as creating some kind of recognition or reward system on a league level. 1 | Fall 2012 | 47


Masonite Burn

Masonite Burn

Masonite Burn

Masonite Burn

rollercon 2012 I VA N N A S . PA N K I N , S O C A L D E R B Y

Its time for my RollerCon Know Thyself analysis! I know you’re all super excited. I am! This info was culled from our Brown Paper Tickets reports, our staffing software, and our master schedule. There might be errors, but don’t worry, no animals were harmed in the making of this analysis. Final numbers were in the neighborhood of 4,000 paid attendees, plus hundreds more that just come to have fun at the pool! FACILITIES 7 tracks in 2 (air conditioned) Convention halls 6 seminar rooms 4 separate vendor areas about a zillion square feet of space 1 pool that did not get barfed in EVENTS 450 unique events 98 challenges 19 regulation bouts (6 of them were WFTDA sanctioned) 115 on-skates training sessions 22 off-skates athletic training sessions 95 sit-down seminars 38 hours of open scrimmages 33 open skate sessions 12 “official” social events (+ lots more unofficial ones!) Your favorite events: Bouts and Challenges 31.6% Athletic Training / Seminars 30.7% Open Scrimmages 7.3% Black N Blue Ball 4.7% Pool Party 3.7% Other 3.1% Vendor Village 2.0% Scavenger Hunt 1.3% Derby Wedding 0.4%

Masonite Burn

Masonite Burn

48 | Fall 2012 |

WHO WAS IN CHARGE? We had over 900 people who signed up on our staff this year. 69 of them were managers, most of them returning. Managers were averaging over 100 hours! I think we had about 69 vendors this year, but that’s from memory. LET’S TALK ABOUT YOU 61% of you came to RollerCon for the first time. Ask an old timer about previous years! Your age group: 31-40 41% 21-30 37% 41-50 11% 18-20 1.3% Over 50 1.1% Not Your Business 0.6% Junior 0.5% Juniors – we had just under 20 of you in our BPT report. Probably a few more not showing up there. Your gender: Female 76% Male 16% Not Your Business 0.6% RollerCon 2013: July 31-Aug 4, 2013

STEFCON 1 (LA Derby Dolls)

STEFCON 1 (LA Derby Dolls)


beast of the east 2012, a rookie’s perspective F LY I N ' B RYA N K I L L M A N , TO R O N TO R O L L E R D E R B Y

Skaters representing 16 different home teams from Canada’s east coast emerged through the doors of Arena St.Louis in

With Canadian travel teams, such as Montreal’s New Skids on the Block, Toronto’s CN Power, Tri-City’s Thunder and Vancouver’s

Montreal, QC in late April to take part in the fifth annual Beast

Terminal City All-Stars, flying through the Women’s Flat Track Derby

of the East tournament. Enthusiasm and nervousness spread

Association (WFTDA) rankings in their respective divisions, some

across the faces of many, but the overwrought thrill of the

veteran skaters are leaving their spots on home teams to play

Beast was apparent, almost obvious, for the first-timers.

exclusively for travel teams, which in turn gives rookies an

“I wasn’t a sporty kind of gal until I found derby, and definitely not team sports. This was a first for me,” said Derby Debutantes

opportunity to showcase their skills after learning from their peers. The wisdom and knowledge being passed down to the rookies

rookie Lise Lotter aka Free Range Clam. “It’s sort of like being

will not only help them with their games, but also provide them

at a convention, except instead of being an attendee, you’re

with a history lesson about the sport of roller derby. “Judge Jody

one of the stars – a really minor star, but still someone people

and I were in the same car. She is an original Harlot and part of

came to see.”

the team that won the first Beast of the East,” said Hammer City

Familiar faces such as Semi Precious of the Slaughter

Harlots rookie Amanda Demelo aka Skinned-Knee Crosby. “She

Daughters, Nasher the Smasher of Chicks Ahoy!, Nameless

shared Harlot history with me and stories about the beginning

Whorror of La Racille and Ti-Loup of Les Contrabanditas,

of roller derby in Canada, which was super awesome.”

all of whom have WFTDA travel team experience, skated in

The Beast creates an outstanding playing and life experience

the tournament, but the large contingent of rookies playing in

for all skaters, but rookies may in fact benefit from it more than

the Beast was as bewildering as the top-tier talent participating.

anyone else. It gives them the opportunity to bond with their

The event showcased Canadian home teams of varying skill

teammates on a completely different level. They spend an entire

levels from all over the east coast and is a spectacle unlike any

weekend playing tough bouts, travelling, sharing life experiences,

other, hence its popularity. The short, twenty-minute periods,

dancing and partying at after-parties, and sharing bathrooms and

the diversity and geography of the participating teams, and the

hotel beds with one another. The weekend festivities are something

new faces on the track made the event unlike any other in

they may never experience in their lives, let alone their derby

Canadian derby.

careers. The journey is something that’s new and unforgettable,

“I have been in different tournaments for different sports but nothing compares to this. It is an amazing experience,” said Smoke

and who knows what might happen along the way. The fifth version of the Beast included many highlights, such

City Betties rookie blocker Renata Loranca aka Renny Rumble.

as the Smoke City Betties come from behind to win in the last jam

“I would love to play again; I hope I get to do it next year.”

over the Thames Fatales on day one, the back and forth dogfight

50 | Fall 2012 |

between the Slaughter Daughters and Les Filles Du Roi in the

the improvements in our team play since our very first game.

quarterfinals on day two, the surprising team from Thunder Bay

It’s good to see that we can put up a decent wall if we try.

who made it to the second day, and another new tournament

Now if we can just improve on a thousand other things.”

winner in the Vicious Dishes. “That Betties vs. Thames Fatales game was one of the most

One of the more interesting elements that came out of the Beast is the sheer and utter respect teammates have for one

exciting and emotional derby games I have ever seen,” said Chicks

another after such a gruelling and ferocious tournament.

Ahoy! rookie Emily Shelton a.k.a Roadside BombShel. “I felt that

Everyone is exhausted, covered in bruises and dripping with

our league was a big family and we loved being able to support

sweat, yet they still have the time to give praise. “All of my

each other.” Aside from big game highlights that they witnessed, rookies

teammates were helping make everyone comfortable, especially our captains Misery Mae and Titmouse,” said Loranca. “They

skating in the event also had their own personal highlights, which

are doing such a great job keeping the Betties working together

presumably cemented the weekend into their minds. “Watching

and that shows in our game.”

my teammate Audrey Hellborn’s first derby bout since 2009,”

The enthusiasm and nervousness that was on the faces of

said Death Track Dolls rookie Amy Dal Bello aka Ames to Kill.

rookies on day one turned into exhaustion and smiles by the end

“She is an amazing player and I've been anxiously waiting to

of the weekend, was it all worth it in the end? “Seeing Tara (Part)

watch her play and she did amazing.”

with the well deserved (third place) trophy in hand and hearing

Rookies also receive the opportunity to play with skaters they

the crowd chant Chicks Ahoy! as we posed for pictures shouting

idolize, a highlight that makes some skater’s hearts flutter whilst

‘We're number fun’ was amazing," said Shelton. “We all got

boggling their minds at the chance to step out on the flat track

outrageous matching Montreal Roller Derby hats and got called

with their favourite players. “I got to play against Mirambo and I

up to accept our third place trophy, radiant in our neon green

didn’t get sent to the box,” said Lotter. “It was also nice to see

was well worth it.”

Save the Date 5 t h An n u a l Sk808 Roller Derby Tournament

January 19, 2013 Honolulu Hawaii Early Skater Registration Ends 11.30.12

Referees and NSOs Welcome / roups/sk808 | Fall 2012 | 51

art and media

the sport and the spectacle... how photographers choose what we publish MASONITE BURN, ROSE CITY ROLLERS

In this edition I want to shed some light on the photographic process and how pictures go from camera to presentation. Fear not, this won’t be a dialogue on photo processing tools; instead I hope to shed some light on why some pictures make it to Flickr, Facebook or photographer sites and others never get past the editing process. As a derby photographer one of the comments I hear on occasion goes something like: “Why aren’t there any good pictures of me?” These comments are most often not a voice of criticism but more disappointment. Other times, we are drawn into the same internal conflict over accentuating the sport or the culture of derby. it’s not you, it’s me... I begin with a simple caveat – different shooters have different perspectives; so my explanation will most likely apply in part to every shooter, but apply completely to no one (including me). Derby photographers are a diverse group and their bias is often reflected in their work. Artist, action photographer, portrait photographer, news photographer, or super fan (my own humble beginning) – our perspective will bias what survives our internal review processes. What a photographer delivers can also be affected by their equipment, the location, and the conditions under which they are allowed to shoot. Our passion for this sport often results in a disposition toward images of the extremes; we capture that which makes the sport bigger than life. If you look to past “Best of” images as selected by the derby community, it is evident that we as a community are drawn to amazing feats of athleticism, powerful emotional moments, quirks of the culture that nurtured it, and abstractions that reflect what many players strive to become. This is where the science of shooting becomes the art of publishing for many photographers. When a shot gives me goose bumps and I shot it, I know it will be well received. okay, maybe it is you, but just a little... After querying the 300 shooters who associate with the f/2.8 group, here are some of the things we focus on: 52 | Fall 2012 |

1. Form Matters. When you look to the images you often seen promoted in the community, there is a general form that appeals to this community. Skater forms that convey a sense of speed, control, a perfect cross-over, or powerful decisive block tend to find favored status. The occasional “Bambi on ice” image may be included because we look upon it with a fond reflection of humble beginnings, but most pictures where the skaters are standing erect or wrestling with themselves for control, are left behind. So for new players who are still getting comfortable on skates, it is something to keep in mind. 2. Maintain an Active Presence. With very few exceptions, a passive presence on the track will not draw a photographer’s attention. When opponents are within range do you engage, or simply skate alongside them posing no threat. Does your block dominate your target or is it a half-hearted tap before they score on you. On the disadvantaged side of a power jam do you shut down the opponent jammer singlehandedly or just shut down. 3. Facial Expressions. Many derby photographers are drawn to expressive looks that reinforce how intense this sport is. Emotional pictures that run the gambit of glee to rage are

pure eye candy for shooters because they help tell the story of the moment we capture. On the contrary, the “deer in the headlights” look doesn’t flatter the player or sport. The jury was split on the “poop’n face” (or Derp Face) that some people make before, during or after a big hit. In the end it’s a matter of context, but hitting with ferocious intensity or manic glee will have a better chance of survival. Another queue to pictures that often get sent to the island of lost toys manifest around massacre derby (nope, not Boston, I dig me some Shark Week like everyone else) – but when a team is getting so thoroughly trounced that their spirit is crushed and it begins to show in the pictures. Nothing can ruin a moment of athletic prowess like a backdrop of opponents who look so beaten it calls into question how challenging it was to execute in the first place. 4. Warpaint. There is a bit of a split on this one that seems to align with the feeling about what it will take to make roller derby a “recognized sport”. In this community there are some athletes who are known for the visage they adorn on the track with the same brand recognition as KISS. Some shooters like it, others tolerate it. Accents to full facial paints, it’s bound to find someplace in the gallery. 5. Sportsmanship. While strong emotions have a certain appeal, many shooters want those emotions to reflect positively on the sport. Anger can be positive when it reflects healthy tension, conflict and adversarial relationships based upon the sport. Contempt and appearances of uncontrolled rage quickly degrade the athletic qualities of some images, reducing them to paparazzi caliber images. Some of the most popular sportsmanship images capture that moment when players who were only moments before fiercely engaged with each other finish a lap as friends. 6. Engaging the Fans. When you are on the track and you kick ass, share your excitement with the crowd. It’s okay to throw a fist pump into the air, to high five your teammates, or offer playful gestures to the referees. Excitement is contagious and players can trigger fan response with a simple yell or throwing horns. One of my favorite pictures to this day is a shot I caught when a jammer mirrored the lead jammer gesture back at the ref as she circled the track smiling ear to ear. It’s not about being cocky – it’s about conveying this sport kicks ass. You are having an awesome time and you want to share with the fans. Blowing kisses to your opponents while you blow

their doors off doesn’t hurt either. 7. More human than human. One of the more interesting aspects of capturing this sport is when we are given one of those rare moments to see the human behind the player. Back in 2009 when I first started shooting roller derby, I caught one of my favorite images still today – it was after a bout and a player was tucked in low being pushed around the track by her four-year-old daughter – mother and derby player all at the same time. While we love the bigger than life, those moments where we can bridge between super athlete and the everyday person have a lot of appeal. 8. Something New. This sport has been evolving since its inception. Photographers who know the sport recognize those moments when they capture them. Remember witnessing (or executing) your first apex jump? How about the recent “Pegassist”? 9. Injuries. When it comes to derby photography, one of the more controversial subjects for the community is photographing an injured player. There is no ghoulish delight or malicious intention when we photograph an injured player being worked on by EMT’s or being transported. These moments define what happens on the track as very real and injuries are part of the story. When covering this topic as a group, numerous shooters conveyed stories of players who were actually appreciative that the moment was captured. So if you see a known photographer capturing such moment, please understand it is done with respect for the players and sport; many of these pictures will never be seen without the injured player’s approval. But often when they do it sends a powerful message to the community. everyone else... Up until now I have focused a lot on skaters. For the rest of you who are absolutely crucial to the survival and evolution of this sport – this counts for you as well. While the action is on the track and within reach of our lens there is less chance we are focused on you (sad but true), but during those other opportunities our attention does turn to you. final thoughts – balancing the sport and the spectacle... This was not written to influence you toward focusing more on showmanship and less on the sport. I think everyone has some affection for both the Sport and the Spectacle – we all just want each to varying degrees based upon our own vision of this sport and its evolution. Derby photographers seek to tell the very best story we can about Roller Derby which gravitates our focus to the exceptional moments. I close with some advice from Jules Doyle... My best advice for skaters that feel left out of photos is... Do cool shit! I want to thank Kindell and Sydney McIntosh (Jesus Feist and Foxy Shazam respectively of the Rose City Rollers Rosebuds) for their help demonstrating the types of shots we encounter. | Fall 2012 | 53

First order with MERCH MAMA? Get 10% off! Code: fiveonfive

art and media

roller derby: the sensation that caused a book S H E W H O C A N N OT B E N A M E D , R O C K Y M O U N TA I N R O L L E R G I R L S

I have to admit, when I was asked to write a review for this book, I was less than excited. What could a dude in a banana suit have to say that would add anything worthwhile to the unofficial historical record of roller derby? How can anyone take that dude seriously, much less pay mind to any musings he has put down on paper about anything? He’s never played the game, or, more importantly, been subjected to required committee work, dealt with league drama – in other words, “suffered” for the sport. What could he possibly have to say about derby that we “derbyists” – a term that he employs many times throughout the narrative – don’t already know? Interestingly enough, I found myself turning over page after page of this book due to Baneana’s adeptness from the get-go at drawing the reader into his own version of suffering for the sport. The saga starts with Bane-ana’s colorful description of his induction into the culture of derby. What makes his version of the ofttold “a friend of a friend’s sister/cousin/coworker got me into it” tale so compelling is his gritty descriptions and photo recall of details. Details by the boatload! You can almost smell the vomit that Captain Morgan unleashes in his car as he leaves his first after-bout soiree’, taste the booze at the house party where he meets Butterscotch Cripple, and hear the fans in the audience taunting him with the standard chants of “you suck!”during his mascotting debut at the small Long Island skating rink where he begins to hone his crowd chops.

56 | Fall 2012 |

Very quickly, Bane-ana’s relentless dedication and enthusiasm for derby takes him away from his home league and thrusts him out on to the road on a somewhat convoluted quest for answers to some fundamental derby questions – What is Derby Love? Where is Althea N. Hell? And, last but not least, from where and how did the Vagine Regime originate? And of course, the more he discovers, the more he discovers he doesn’t know, and thus the more he wants to know! This is where the bulk of the tale is told, recounting the mascot’s adventures through Texas, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Chicago, and everywhere in between and beyond. The most engaging moments of his recollections are those where the Bane finds himself in those situations that are uncomfortable, awkward, and unfortunately, all too common. Who can’t relate to fending off unwanted advances from a random drunk person, or the trials and tribulations of finding a highway rest stop to take a much-needed coffee pee break? His play on words and one-liners fall just on this side of cheesy good and lend comic relief without the air of trying too hard. There’s even a misty-eyed moment here and there. One such poignant recollection is that of a meal and conversation shared with a homeless lady, who, while clearly not entrenched in the derby culture, embraces the message that everyone should be united in some way. Bane-ana’s evolution as a mascot mirrors that of derby itself – small beginnings cheering in front of a local crowd who don’t

really understand what is happening on the track to the big show of WFTDA Nationals, then on to the flagship event of international growth, Roll Britannia. He even experiences a fundamental issue every player does – his gear stinking! But all along the twisting and turning road of mascotdom, he never loses his fascination and wonderment in the sport and community of roller derby, much like those he encounters in the book. For once, procrastination turned out to be a good thing for yours truly. I hadn’t finished this review before leaving for RollerCon 2012 much to my chagrin. But it was meant to be, in a way – I got to see Bane-ana man in action at RollerCon in Vegas this year, cheering for the Vagine Regime in the same fashion that buttons up the ending of the book. I’m happy to report that not only is he still going strong as a mascot, but he has built up an entourage composed of miniBane-anas and ladypart-costumed cohorts. It’s good to see that he is staying true to his roots while embracing growth, much like derby itself. And I imagine that he’ll write about it. Good Ol’ Bane-ana Man!

Players Pl ayers y

2 8++ 30–60 30 0–60 0 60 Agess Age





Gametime Gam metim me

Play P lay ay tth the he fi first fir rst strategy sttrratteegy st gy game ga g ame based ba b base aseed do on n modern mo m od o odern dern roller rolller leerr derby deeerrby d by Now N No ow a available av vailla able on on A, Am mazo on n .cco om , o orr vvi visit iissit Ja J ammeerrUp com fo ffor rm mo more ore iin info nfo f| o Fall 2012 | 57

art and media

flat track fashion E L L E N PA R N AV E L A S , L O N D O N R O L L E R G I R L S

Writing has always been a big passion of mine. I’ve been writing since I was a teenager and studied English literature at university, both for my undergraduate degree and my Masters. After I finished studying, I continued to write fiction and poetry on my own and as part of a writing group, as well as bits of journalism here and there wherever I found an opportunity. While I was still a postgraduate student, I got my first job working in publishing. I have since become an editor for a small publishing company and although editing books is a job I enjoy very much, there is nothing I enjoy more than having a large writing project to get my teeth into (other than playing roller derby of course)! In my previous job, the editorial department I worked in had meetings every month where ideas for new books were presented and discussed and then were eventually commissioned if they were deemed to be good ideas. At the time I started working there, I was just getting into roller derby. My colleagues listened and looked on in horror as I told them all my stories of what we did at practice, came in with bruises, played my first bout and fell in love with the sport. After I had been playing for a while, I started suggesting to my boss that we should publish a book about roller derby. I never dreamed that she would take the idea seriously and at first she laughed it off, but I kept talking to her about the idea until one day she said ‘Ok then, write me a proposal’. So I did. I was editing fashion books at the time so I thought it would be great to make a beautifully designed, illustrated book with photos from all the leagues that have formed all over the world and really showcase the whole culture and style of roller derby and how it has developed over the years. 58 | Fall 2012 |

To my surprise, the company really liked the idea so I suggested that I write the book and manage the project myself. I really enjoyed the challenge and researching and writing about it all. There are chapters on everything from the history and origin of the sport to uniforms and logos, personal styles and fashions from leagues around the world, protective gear and skates, including the history of the roller skate, to menswear, referees and men’s roller derby, make up and tattoos, as well as a Foreword written by veteran skater Virginia ‘Cheap Trixie’ Evans of the Texas Rollergirls. I wrote to leagues all over the world and got some pretty amazing photos of some very stylish rollergirls from around the globe. We also did an exclusive fashion photo shoot with rollergirl models from London Rollergirls, London Rockin Rollers and Croydon Roller Derby especially for the book here in London in the atmospherically moody setting of a graffiti spattered tunnel under Waterloo station. available on | Fall 2012 | 59



temporary number tattoos 2� tall number tats meet the WFTDA Standard Includes carry-all to keep tattoos safe Share number tattoos with your team Make Your Mark! Mark yourself with your number

order your Bout # Tattoos at


Sharing derby love and our passion for roller skating through participation, education, customer service and discounts on roller skates, derby gear and accessories. | Fall 2012 | 63 207.699.4499 Portland, Maine SKATER OWNED AND OPERATED BY MAINE ROLLER DERBY’S KISSY KICKS #828


All the action’s at Turn Two photo: Wijadi Jodi

Special Pricing Through Our Team Helmet Program der e m

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



August 23-September 22

February 20-March 20

Changes in your body are frustrating. Be it an injury, pregnancy, or weight gain from enjoying too many beers on the patio over the summer. Let the cool fall air bring back the excitement you originally had in training. Your body is not the same as it was, and that is okay. It still works and can be an amazing machine again. Don’t lose faith in yourself.

The seasonal changes will bring you peace and clarity, which will help you appreciate the little joys in life. Tranquility for weeks and months at a time is a good thing. Some might find it mundane and tedious, but this respite is just what is needed after a crazy busy summer.


ARIES March 21-April 19

There are times when the only ways to get out of a rut it to charge full speed ahead and knock down the wall you’ve built around yourself. Now is that time. Get off your butt and get to practice. Push though your seasonal apathy and you’ll find yourself moving past that plateau that has been plaguing you.

The warrior in you keeps coming to the surface fast and furious. Be careful, your roars are becoming commonplace and are a bit unsettling to others. While your willingness to fight for what you know is right is needed, realize it’s not something that is necessary with every interaction. Be cool. Be calm. Fight the fights that are worth the energy. Let the rest go.



October 24-November 22

April 20-May 20

Why does what other people have to say about you occupy so much of your mind lately? Not getting along with a few certain teammates does not have to be the end of your devotion for derby. It is far more important to learn to work around the personality conflicts than to just walk away from something you love and need in your life.

You have been struggling with the friction in your team and you really don’t want to take sides. It’s time to stop just observing the chaos and help fix it. By being honest with all parties involved you can bring some diplomacy to the table. Patience and tact will be necessary, but that should not be a problem for you.



November 23-December 21

May 21-June 20

All those ideas that have been floating around your brain are ready to be realized. The new training ideas will not do anyone any good unless they are brought forth. Talk with the leadership in your league. Talk with the trainers. Feedback will come at you from all sides, but don’t let the comments make you doubt the productiveness of your ideas.

Self doubt always seems to creep up when you need all the inner strength you can muster. With all the things you have accomplished in your life, the obstacles in your way are not that big. Just keep reminding yourself that the signs of your accomplishments are all around you if you leave yourself open to see them.

September 23-October 23

CAPRICORN December 22-January 19

You seem to be missing the point of playing derby. Sure it’s fun. It is great exercise. And you have made lots of new friends. But... now is the time to start knocking some people over! Stop being afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. They know how the game is played and are more annoyed you are not giving it your best.


CANCER June 21-July 22

You have taken on the roll of troop leader, so to speak. Always taking care of everyone else’s problems and feeling personally responsible for their happiness. Those around you have taken to this status quo well and unfortunately it is starting to make you feel smothered. Now is the time to be honest and upfront with your family and friends. Your happiness is what you need to focus on.

January 20-February 19


It’s time to face the truth – you have been talking too much and listening too little. It is time to shut your mouth for a minute. Listen to what your friends and teammates are saying. Listen until they are done. Now it is your turn to speak. Ask questions. Be an active participant in the conversation, not just the voice talking. It will take practice, and will make you the go-to once again for advice and suggestions.

July 23-August 22

68 | Fall 2012 |

It’s nice to know there are people out there who have your back. Sometimes it is one person, sometimes it’s your whole team. You know who they are. Show your thanks in a big way. Only you know what will thrill them the most. It doesn’t have to be a material object, just make sure they know how much you appreciate being a part of their tribe.

Profile for fiveonfivemedia

fiveonfive | issue 17 | Fall 2012  

fiveonfive | issue 17 | Fall 2012