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proud partner of the WFTDA

fiveonfive contents 34-35

4-5 advice

ask ms d’fiant and suzy hotrod!

WFTDA European roller derby has grown exponentially the past few years. Learn what the WFTDA is doing to embrace that growth.

6-7 business volunteer voodoo

8-13 health and fitness 14-27 games and coaching

Manish Gosalia

the case for commuting pad cleaning

defensive play coaching and the wizard of oz 2012 championships recap

44-45 How to Build a Team Bond A simple step-by-step guide for building trust and league loyalty.

common questions and misconceptions wheel review

36-38 junior derby excellence in coaching age differences

Danyel “Shoot To Kill” Duncan

28-33 gear

46-47 Derby Burnout Part 2

40-41 rookie the dos and don’ts for newbies

50-51 international derby 52-61 art and media 63 classifieds 68 horoscopes

F-Bomb and Mortar ‘N Pistol provide practical suggestions for reducing your risk for burnout.

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 contributing writers ms d’fiant angel city derby girls suzy hotrod gotham girls roller derby col lision roc city roller derby cat owta hell roughneck roller derby triple shot misto rocky mountain rollergirls catholic cruel girl rocky mountain rollergirls andy frye chicago bruise brothers magnum, p.i.m.p. arch rival roller girls justice feelgood marshall derby news network coach pauly e-ville roller derby la petite mort fast girl skates ivanna s. pankin socal derby

from the editor Welcome to the 18th issue of fiveonfive magazine! It’s hard to believe another tournament season has come and gone for the WFTDA. Like many across the globe, I was glued to my laptop for several weekends this fall, watching and listening to each bout as we inched closer to Championships. If you missed any of the action, you are in luck! The best bout recapper in the world, Justice Feelgood Marshall, provided us with a full account of this year’s tournaments, beginning on page 20. Be sure to check it out. He’ll make you feel like you’re sitting trackside in the midst of the action. Spoiler alert! Congratulations Gotham Girls on your second consecutive championship and third overall. You’ve built an empire that many try to emulate, and you’ve helped push our sport to a new level. I can’t wait to see how the next year unfolds as other teams work to dethrone you.

lois slain dc rollergirls

Also in this issue, great advice about dealing with derby drama and keeping

sweetart spokannibals

in shape during the off season, an informative article about integrating your

pink e tampa bay derby chicks

volunteers so they feel like a part of the league, and a full review of products

amber russell boulder county bombers betty beretta detroit derby girls feist e. one boulder county bombers f-bomb rose city rollers mortar ‘n pistol rose city rollers

to keep your pads clean. The gear section is chock full of information too. The folks from Fast Girl Skates explore plate mounting and maintenance, and Ivanna S. Pankin provides a full review of some of the newest wheels on the market.

adrian klemens dynamic sports academy

As always, if you have an idea for a story, email us at

todd bradley exploding corpse productions

You just may see your mug gracing the pages of an upcoming issue.

pelvis costello boston derby dames kylie of backlash detour derby cover photo midnight matinee / joe mac 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

Cat Owta Hell Cat Owta Hell has been skating, bouting, making the All Starz, and spreading the derby gospel for three years and still considers herself a neophyte. She is a novelist (, artisan candy maker (, and a wildlife habitat gardening fanatic dork. She is looking forward to RollerCon 2013 and the next issue of fiveonfive magazine.

Mortar ‘n Pistol Mortar 'n Pistol is a book loving formerly un-athletic girl who saw a roller derby bout poster one day and knew everything had to change. She started teaching her wobbly doe legs to skate three years ago. When not hitting the flat track for Rose City, she can be found banging on the drums, writing in secret, or editing your paper for fun.

Magnum, P.I.M.P. Magnum, p.i.m.p. started the StL GateKeepers in 2009 with fellow skater Bat Wing. Magnum is the ‘Keepers head coach and Travel Team Captain. He has coached the Arch Rival Roller Girls for the last four out of five years.

Amanda Rieker/Wicked Shamrock Photography

Feist E. One An ardent athlete for more than half her life, Feist E. One found her derby calling from a flyer at a liquor store. She skated on Castle Rock ‘n’ Rollers for two years, with some time off to have a baby in 2010. Since then, she has moved and now skates with the Boulder County Bombers.

Col Lision Col Lision walked into one of Roc City Roller Derby’s first bouts in 2009 and never looked back. Starting as a bout-day volunteer, four seasons later she has served as League Volunteer Coordinator and Web and Digital Manager, and is currently a member of the RCRD Board of Directors. More than anything, Col is pretty darned proud to be a Non-Skating Official and member of RCRD’s 19th Wardens officials’ squad.


Suzy Hotrod

Ms D’Fiant

Gotham Girls Roller Derby New York, NY

Angel City Derby Girls Los Angeles, CA

DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, How do you keep away from the inevitable girl drama while still being a good teammate and friend? -DRAMA MAMA



Treat your roller derby time with the professionalism of the workplace. I have a natural bond I share with my teammates because of all the time and effort we give to the sport. Regardless of our personalities and personal interests, we make this work because we’re running a successful business. Time is precious. If you’re going to be in a volunteer organization, money is not what’s keeping you there. It’s about giving your precious time and it should be productive time. Friendships and incompatibilities are inevitable. You need to manage both. To answer this question it’s also important to remember that girl drama and friendship are opposite ends of the spectrum of personal experience that needs to be kept in check because quite frankly, you got a lot of shit to get done and you don’t want your emotions fueling your decisions. There is no place for drama when you’re maintaining professionalism. Drama will happen and everyone will talk about it. Saying “Don’t gossip” is fluffy wishful thinking. People will talk, especially in a world that is so closely knit and incestuous. But we have to rise above our personal lives to be a functional piece of the roller derby machine. The more years you continue to be involved in roller derby, the more you get to know each other a little too well. Sometimes the less you know someone the easier it is to work with them. Chris Rock has this bit where he talks about how when you start dating it’s not you, you’re sending “Your Representative,” (the perfect version of you that you wish you were), and it’s all a big lie. So once we get past each other’s “Representatives” it’s not pretty. We’ve all got dark sides, flaws, and issues. No business is run flawlessly, but you have to decide if your contribution is going to help keep your business thriving or if you’re making it go out of business. Drama and rosters, a classic! If you get cut from the roster you can debate all you want who’s friends with who, who’s sleeping with whom, and who you didn’t kiss up to, or you can own it and hunker down and focus on yourself and accept that if the decision isn’t yours you have no more control over other than to put forth the best version of you that you can. And it’s not about you versus her or them, it’s about just you. Or if your friend gets cut, it’s the same deal. You can comfort her in the negativity of the blame game or you can chose to keep it professional and not give in to the dark side. Friendship provides a positive influence on running the business. It naturally allows us to work smoothly together. Being a good teammate is a lot like being a good friend: reliability, trust, honesty. Professionally speaking, I have amazing teammates who embody all these qualities who are not necessarily my friends but are the exact people I want to be in business with. We also have to be careful to not get overly emotionally attached to one another when it comes to the tough calls like giving feedback on the areas that need improvement or choosing a roster. Fuzzy warm feelings and darker negative feelings are laying just below the surface but keeping it all business as much as possible is the key to the success of a derby league and individual derby career longevity.

Ugh! Derby drama. There’s one topic everyone hates to love. Probably the second most said thing a derby girl says – first, “I never had any girlfriends growing up, only guy friends” – means “I see both sides of the issue.” This is usually followed by a defense of one side or the other. Well sister, you now have a lot of girlfriends and let’s be honest, there’s no less drama with your guy friends either. So, how do we deal with it? I’ve been doing this since 2005 and I still struggle with the answer, but the one I’ve come to rely on most is this: you need to talk this over with the subject of your derby drama. We owe it to ourselves to be honest with each other. If the derby drama isn’t about you, then you need to politely tell your sister that she needs to take it up with the appropriate party who can help resolve the issue. And don’t shy away from discouraging the behavior. There is a very special dynamic at play in team sports and when two people are having issues, it affects everyone. A good teammate takes her personal problems outside of the team and works it out. This is the part where she says she’s just “venting” and has to “get it off her chest.” That is a valid point, but do it somewhere else. Drama is poison. If you’re not fixing the issue then you’re really just talking shit. If you need to vent, talk about it with your therapist, non-derby BFF, or other appropriate party. Do not poison the well of your team and league. If the nature of the complaint isn’t personal rather professional, recognize that at some point we have to trust our elected league leadership. Share your ideas with the director. They’re either going to say, “Great, are you ready to help with it?” or “No, that’s not really the direction I was thinking.” If you don’t like the direction of a league leader, do not vote them in the next year. Or better yet, run against them with a tri-colored “Change” poster. Of course, there are times when the bad feelings start escalating and a league has to look inward. For this reason, I strongly suggest having a Skater Advocacy committee in your league. Our Skater Advocates exist to help mediate personal problems between skaters and also keep their finger on the pulse of the league. If the leadership is getting out of touch, the Advocates sometimes send a reality-check email. Bottom line – It's 2013, if we want to take our sport to the next level we need to leave derby drama in the past and be as professional as the makes us appear. So, it's time we put on our big-girl athletic pants, because we’ve all got a business to run and a sport we love to play.

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DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, My league takes a one to two month break after our season. We still host practices, but attendance is not required. While I don’t want to fall behind, I want to avoid burnout. Do you think it’s best to take a complete break from derby for a few months or just cut back a little? -BETTY BURNOUT

DEAR BETTY BURNOUT, There is no off season when you’re an athlete. You should never let your body slip out of training for that long and expect to pick up where you left off. You also will destroy your mental health if you deny it the release it gets from hard exercise. Your entire life will go to shit if you stop. I tire out this old quote from Michael Phelps, “One day out of the pool is two days in to get back to where I was.” Yes the truth is, roller derby is no one’s career... yet? Off season time is important for mental refreshing, but not body negligence. I remain active in my off season by attending speed skating practices, doing yoga, or going to the gym. For God’s sake, Oprah begs our moms to get out and get active daily. So please don’t fall dormant. Your body and mind need action. Once, at a yoga class, the teacher read a quote, “Happiness is sweating daily.” Maybe you’re not attending giant three hour practices, but finding physical activity at least three days a week is imperative. Slowing down too much for me results in me being even less productive. I actually accomplish more when challenged to multitask and deliver a lot of things at once. I guess I like juggling. You’re a team sports person, so it’s likely not as easy to self-motivate. But as an athlete, you have to dig within. I find branching out to other forms of athletics helps me to mentally refresh. My brain does enjoy a little space from skating as an activity and as a lifestyle. Stepping away is bad, stepping sideways is good! I am challenged because outside the comfort zone of roller derby, I stink at yoga, weights, and running. I hate these things, but I know like eating my vegetables its doing me good. I spend time personally reflecting and working alone for a change, and I find a peace and comfort in that. Aside from athletic training, in the off season, it’s more important than ever to watch what you’re eating because you’re likely not working out with the same intensity at the peak of the derby season. Always practice moderation in eating junkier foods, and be a responsible educated adult with lifestyle choices. Cook a healthy meal. I know in the heat of the training season I eat a lot more convenience expensive type things cause I’m just too busy or tired to cook. Not to get too preachy, and I’m no saint about this stuff. Finally take some time to make dates with all of your non derby friends and family. I haven’t seen some people in years and I always make an effort to schedule some hangout time with my pre derby folks (the very very few that still even exist.) I’m always happy to see them and talk about everything else but roller derby.

DEAR BETTY BURNOUT, I took a break from derby once... to have a kid. Hey, know what’s great about off season? Me either. What’s the difference between off season and Santa Claus? My kid thinks Santa exists. Oh, we’ve heard them all, haven’t we? Here’s my advice for off season – get out there and have fun. Go street skate, or pick-up a scrimmage, visit a nearby league, guest coach jr. derby, or play some broller derby. Take a derby roadtrip with a friend, couch surf, and visit all the leagues within driving distance. If my alt-derby suggestions aren’t a reality in your corner of the world, then it’s also acceptable to do other forms of exercise that don’t involve eight wheels. There’s always yoga or whatever-the-hell Zumba is. This is also a nice time to hang out with your teammates and remember why you like these people and spend so much time with them. Roller derby isn’t just about the skating after all, it’s about community and sisterhood too. Whatever you do, do not stop skating for two months. First, this will surely lure your friends and family in to a false sense of security and when you think about it, that’s really cruel. They’ll remember what it’s like to spend time with you. Next thing you know, your partner is going to want to go do things. Things that aren’t: a derby-girl’s birthday party, a game, a fund raiser or a league/committee/team meeting. Second, psychologically your brain is going to beat yourself up for being out of shape when you return to skating. Or, even worse, make excuses for not working as hard at endurance. This selfsabotaging move is one of my faves and is personally responsible for many months worth of excuses I told myself after having a kid. Finally, I told that jerk (my brain) to shut it. The coaches don’t care that I had to feed a baby at 2am and 5am last night, they’re gonna play the girl who performs. If I want to play, I better be that girl. Speaking of, playing fun roller derby outside of your leagues’ attendance requirements can help you grow as a skater. Even if you’re guest coaching, it’s possible to learn more about skating through instructing. And by skating with other people, you’ll learn new tricks too. So go on, get out there and enjoy this so-called “off season!”

need advice? email | Winter 2012 | 5


volunteer voodoo: why derby cannot live without volunteers COL LISION, ROC CITY ROLLER DERBY

“By the skaters, for the skaters.” It’s the phrase that helped guide the modern roller derby revolution. It represents the DIY, hands-on, roll-upyer-sleeves-and-get-‘er-done, “Hey, kids, let’s put on a bout” ethic that is so much a part of modern derby. It’s how derby restarted; it’s how we were reborn. But if that’s where we began, we have to admit that, as derby grows up, defining derby as being made up of “just” skaters doesn’t work anymore. It’s not the whole truth; as Bonnie D. Stroir said in a blog post from earlier this year, “It's much bigger than that. We're all much bigger than that.” What I’m talking about is the importance of volunteers. Those intrepid folks who work behind the scenes – and sometimes center stage – do to help make things happen. They’re not on wheels and they don’t juke or block or pegassist, but they do make those things possible. Maybe they’re your officials; out front helping you skate the best possible game you can skate. Maybe they’re your production staff; organizing venues, setting up hospitality, booking halftime entertainment, announcing their hearts out, and taking care of all of the details so bouts go off flawlessly. Maybe they’re your worker bees; helping with appearances, selling league merch, or attending to one of the hundreds of other tasks that need doing to keep your league healthy and thriving. Any way you look at it, though, they’re volunteers. They donate their

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time and talents for the love of the growing, evolving sport called derby – and without them, we could not thrive. So let’s talk about how leagues can foster volunteers as an important part of our organization. recruit Long have our volunteers been pulled from the ranks of friends and family; moms and dads and significant others purposed into duty as need crops up. As the Gospel of Derby spreads; however, there are more and more non-related fans out there positively itching to get more involved with their favorite sport. Give them the chance. First, dedicate some space in your various public communication vehicles – your website, your bout program, your Facebook page – to share clear directions on what opportunities are available and who budding volunteers can contact for more info. Create a central email – – where all interested parties can go to start the ball rolling. And when you have Fresh Meat Info Nights? Take time to talk about volunteer opportunities; it’s often the perfect way for interested folks to get to know the league better, and to understand how derby really works behind the scenes. Treat volunteer recruitment similarly to skater recruitment. That first contact can mean the difference between a lifelong volunteer and someone who just sits in the stands but never takes the next step.

organize Being a derby volunteer can sometimes be a tough job – many hours of work, and not particularly glamorous work at that. Support your volunteers by creating an organized league volunteer squad. You can get as formal (regular meetings, dedicated discussion boards, the works) as you like about this, but I’d suggest creating at least a loose “team” identity where there’s a space for online connection and conversation. It helps your volunteers share information and ideas, gives them a place to connect to derby and each other, and instills pride in being part of your league – which keeps them coming back and giving their all as volunteers. Everyone wins. lead Every squad needs a leader. In Roc City Roller Derby (RCRD), this is a committee-chair level position: Volunteer Coordinator. I held this position for several years, and this role is crucial for volunteer squad health, no matter how serious or casual a volunteer’s involvement. The Coordinator gives your league a central person to send new recruits and interested parties, and also establishes the “face” of volunteer recruitment out there acting as your champion in the community (pro tip: it helps if this person is friendly, outgoing and has good people management skills – RCRD’s current coordinator, Sinister Minister, is a people person extraordinaire, which serves this role VERY well). (S)he also has a bird’s

eye view of what roles and support are needed across your league, and can help track and assign volunteers to help as opportunities pop up. Having a central Coordinator gives your volunteers someone to look to with questions, to share ideas, and to help as they decide to deepen their involvement as well. This is your volunteers’ link to the league, so be sure to invest some thought in how this role is positioned and who holds it. steward Once you have your volunteer squad and leader in place, the work is not yet done. Oh no, indeed. Now you need to DO something with those volunteers. First, maintain good records. Keep track of your volunteers’ names, their contact information, and when and where they’ve helped before. Acknowledging key dates like birthdays – maybe with a leaguebranded card – is a nice touch, too. A spreadsheet is a good place to start and can be easily shared and transferred as the Volunteer Coordinator position changes hands. Second, stay in contact. During your season, talk with your volunteers regularly – at least once a month. Email is lovely for this. Send not only a call for help/volunteer opportunities, but also share interesting (non-NDA) derby news and tidbits: the latest scores, interesting milestones, a picture or two from a practice or scrimmage... insider information that is well-earned and helps your volunteers feel like they’re really a part of something. In addition, when someone is scheduled to work for the league, be sure to formalize the communication chain: provide lots of clear information about the job description, expectations and details (times, parking info, dress, etc.) to make

things as stress-free and smooth-sailing as possible. Third, give something back. All of our volunteers who work an assigned job at a home bout get free admission to the bout, as well as access to our post-bout

Jennifer M. Ramos

hospitality area. You can also implement a basic rewards system. For example, if a volunteer works one job, they get a thank you. After volunteering for three work opportunities, the volunteer gets a bumper sticker. Six opportunities earns a t-shirt; ten or more earns an invite to the end-of-year banquet. These are lowcost investments that yield great returns. Don’t ever underestimate the power of

a free league-branded drink koozie. It might say “cold beverage” to some, but to a volunteer it might be a bigger sign that the work they do is valued, acknowledged, and appreciated. include Make a place for volunteers in your league. We can say all day long that volunteers are important, but it’s our actions and how we treat and include our volunteers that REALLY tell the story. Create spaces for volunteers to be as involved as they want to be. Maybe they just want to hand out programs once a month; that’s cool, and much-needed. But maybe they want to get down and derby, as deep as they can go. At RCRD, volunteers can be full dues-paying members of the league. I started as a volunteer handing out programs and eventually graduated to being an official attending practices and meetings several times a week, acting as committee chair. I am just closing out a year serving as an elected member of our Board of Directors. How your league does it is up to you, but be sure to create a culture where volunteers are not just helping your league but are a genuine, important part. thank I’ve said this already, but it bears repeating: just say thanks. Volunteers love derby as much as you do. For whatever reason, they can’t be skaters, but they darned well want to further the cause. Take the time to acknowledge the work they do – when they say “Great bout!,” you say, “Back at ya!” Because we’re all here for the love of the game, and we all do what we can to make it happen. We all need each other to build modern, strong, growing leagues that do awesome stuff – and, in the end, isn’t that what derby is all about? | Winter 2012 | 7

health and fitness

the case for commuting C AT OW TA H E L L , R O U G H N E C K R O L L E R D E R B Y

You don’t want to be part of the problem, I know that. And you’re a derby girl, so you probably don’t get enough time on your skates, so consider this: skate to and from your day job. To all of you who just with shouted in protest the reasons why that’s impossible, telling me that it would never work because you have to skate uphill both ways through snow with kids strapped to your legs, just relax. It’s only an idea. Take a breath and think about it. I am fortunate enough to work and live close to a trail, so I take advantage of it. Pre-derby, I used to commute by bicycle. Biking is so much easier than skating! It’s blazing fast and you don’t have to worry about sticks, rocks, cracks, gravel pits, and dust wallows, or shallow ponds that shouldn’t be there but are due to poor drainage. But after five record-setting flat tires in two weeks, I decided to leave cycling behind. Since derby, I appreciate all the extra time with my trusty Riedells and James Gibard, the Tulsa World Radar Pure wheels. As a confirmed multi-tasker, I love that I can work on my speed and stride while getting to and from work. On a typical morning, because my trail is next to river, I get to experience all the wildlife I want. We have blue herons, brilliant white egrets, brown pelicans, hawks, eagles, and the terminally cute Canadian geese with peeping flocks of plump, green, fuzzy goslings. These geese are almost as tall as I am and they hiss at me as I whiz by. I see turtles trundling along the asphalt and scores of bunnies conferring in the shade. I’ve seen mockers, robins, doves, orioles, and killdeer. Depending on the time of year, I am surrounded by either Eastern black swallowtails or migrating monarchs. In spring, the wind is

8 | Winter 2012 |

fragrant with elderberry and honeysuckle, and in autumn, it smells of leaves and wood smoke. The clattering of cottonwood leaves as I skate under their canopy is just like a good rainstorm. I cannot imagine a better way to bookend my day. Your commute will be different, but you never know what surprises you may discover on your journey; things you wouldn’t have seen if you were isolated in your speeding car. To get started, I bought the biggest backpack I could find (thank you, Swiss Army!) and put everything in it I would need once I arrived at work, such as my office clothing and shoes, accessories, hair products, deodorant, powder, cologne and extra socks and sunscreen for the skate home. Because I’m also weird and fiercely independent, I added my novel manuscript, my breakfast, lunch and an addict’s amount of Mountain Dew. Think of what you need around your home that gets you out of the house in the morning. You will probably need to carry that on your back. Some caveats: if you’re into grooming with tons of makeup, lots of hair products, and intense blow dryer use, commuting to work isn’t impossible, just a bit more challenging. I keep my hair very simple, wearing it in a chignon, a French twist, a braid, or a dressed-up ponytail, or down and loose with a plain hair band. I don’t wear contacts or makeup but if I did, I would just add those supplies to the backpack and take care of it in the office bathroom. If you are squeamish about changing clothes in a bathroom stall and doing minor ablutions at work, then that presents a bigger problem. However, you can still try the commute and if you don’t like it, by all means, go back to driving. Also, if you are unorganized, irresponsible and a complete flake, habitually

forgetting important things, then I cannot emphasize this enough: do not commute. It is not for you. Don’t make yourself and those around you frustrated and angry by even attempting what will be a catastrophic hassle. Because you must remember to charge your phone and have it with you. Every time. You cannot forget your office shoes or extra pantyhose if you wear them. If you’re packing food, you cannot skate away without your lunch. And ideally, you will have a spouse, partner, lover, friend or derbywife, who knows your specific route and with whom you check in as soon as you arrive safely in the morning and you notify before leaving the office every day so s/he knows when to expect you home. It’s also handy to have someone to call to be your sag wagon if you give out and just need a ride. And carrying a pepper spray within quick and easy reach isn’t a bad idea, either. Once I was ready to try this crazy thing, I strapped on my pads, turned on my iPod, and skated to the office on a Saturday so I could see how it went and how long it took. I put my loaded back pack on the scale and it weighed in at a whopping forty pounds but I didn’t mind. It just makes me stronger and James Gibard, the Tulsa World reminds me to stay low and steady. My commute is only about five miles each way, so with road construction and rush hour traffic, it is actually faster for me to skate than to drive. Sunday, I set my alarm, and on Monday, I sprang out of bed and haven’t looked back. One etiquette note: as much as you would like to blow a snot rocket on the joggers, restrain yourself and wait until the area is empty before closing one nostril and doing the farmer’s salute. We do want to be polite, don’t we, ladies? I prefer not

to be thought of as a rude thug until I’m on the track at a bout. And even then, it’s a façade, I confess. I am the sort who will send you a thank you note after bouting. I think it’s important to consider commuting for several reasons. 1. Environmental, 2. personal health and well-being, and 3. raising visibility and awareness of derby girls. Because unless you live on a coast, which I most certainly don’t (considering the politics of my home state, I barely live in the modern age), unfortunately derby is still stuck just outside the mainstream in either total invisibility (there’s roller derby here?) or in television from the 1970s. And I believe, in my own small way, I can influence people and help derby just by commuting and talking about it to civilians. The most surprising thing about commuting is the self-discovery. Perhaps you’re a completely selfactualized person with very clear definition of your strengths, weaknesses, and of exactly what and how much you’re capable. I’m not. I tend to think myself weaker, more fragile, and more delicate and definitely, more tired than I actually am. Learning derby has taught me that I can do so much more than my limited mind thinks I can. And commuting has taught me that I can skate in hotter, colder, and wetter weather than I realized, that I can carry a forty pound backpack ten miles and not notice it; that I can get barely any sleep and still skate to work and have energy to spare. Plus, after a hard skate to work, I’m in a great mood and the rest of the day is easy. And after a hard skate home, straight into the wind (it’s always into the wind!), I’m ready for that Krispy Kreme. And I’ve earned it. | Winter 2012 | 9

health and fitness

pad cleaning T R I P L E S H OT M I S TO , R O C K Y M O U N TA I N R O L L E R G I R L S

“Fish and visitors stink in three days.” - Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin’s statement is universally applicable to many things; particularly with roller derby and our protective pads. Three short hours of derby leaves my pads smelling suspect, three days of derby and my pads are utterly disgusting. Skating in unkempt pads covered in filth and grime is part of the sport I have yet to fully embrace. My pads get all sorts of N-A-S-T-Y, but as a self-professed “posh-spice” derby girl, I work hard to prevent the inevitable stink from happening! Trial and error over the last few years and a recent comparison of different detergents and cleaning methods has afforded me some prudent advice to help keep your pad funk in check (unless of course that’s what you’re going for)! Below is my simple when, where, what, and how for derby pad cleaning. WHEN do I clean my pads? Okay, I exaggerated; generally speaking, washing your pads every three days, as Benjamin Franklin would suggest, is both excessive and hard on your pads. Overwashing will considerably shorten pad life by breaking down fabric. For me, the rule of three applies, three weeks to be exact. The average skater will put in roughly 25 hours (give or take) of sweaty skating during a three-week period. Depending on the season, skating intensity, the weather, geographic location, and your body’s

10 | Winter 2012 |

inclination to perspire, you may need to adjust this three-week variable up or down. Like with anything, prevention is the key. Falling behind on pad cleaning will undoubtedly exacerbate the problem. WHERE and HOW do I clean my pads? Sticking with the rule of three, I tried each of the three following methods for washing derby pads and have noted important considerations of each. In all instances, it’s important to ensure that the Velcro on each of your pads is completely fastened prior to washing. You should also remove any detachable plastic parts (if applicable): 1. Soak your pads in the sink or a bucket. • This is the most time-consuming method but also the gentlest and most accessible. Allow your pads to soak fully submerged in HOT water for at least one hour. Stir your pads three times throughout the soak. Use an easily dissolvable and nonsudsing detergent. Vinegar works well. Make sure to thoroughly rinse all pads and hang them to dry (note: it takes my pads two days to dry after sink washes). 2. Use a washing machine for your pads. • A washing machine is the fastest and easiest cleaning method but it can be hard on your pads. The washing machine breaks down the fabric, elasticity, and Velcro Wash your pads separate from all other clothes and fabrics on your washer’s highest temperature

and lowest spin speed settings. Using the pre-soak and/or extra rinse features can help with overly soiled pads. Do NOT use too much detergent! Less is more; extra cleaning products do not fully rinse out and serve to attract and intensify foul odors, while also contributing to pad decomposition. A dryer CAN be used to expedite drying time but be sure to use the LOWEST heat and spin settings. Again, high heat drying prematurely breaks down your pads. If you use a dryer, adding a large dry towel will soften the blow of your pads in the machine and help absorb extra moisture. 3. Use a dishwasher to wash your pads. • A wise mom once told me to wash my kids’ overly soiled baby clothes in the dishwasher. I was shocked to find that it easily rid them of tough stains and odors. The same holds true for derby pads, washing them in the dishwasher is arguably the best and easiest under-utilized cleaning method. Wash pads in the dishwasher using regular dishwasher soap or vinegar and be sure to wash separately from all dishes and utensils-DUH! The heat dry cycle of a dishwasher is too hot and not recommended, instead, hang dry pads. WHAT do I clean my pads with? There are hundreds of different products on the market, most of which successfully manage to rid gear of derby stank to varying degrees. At some point,

what you use becomes personal preference. Below are a few popular options that I’ve tried and reviewed. • OxiClean: $5 for 3 lb. tub at your local grocery store. My overall impression is that this detergent overpromised and underperformed. I purchased OxiClean in the original powder formula and found that it isn’t easily dissolvable (they do make a liquid formula). Using the smallest recommended dosage, I felt a layer of powdery residue on my skin after wearing my pads – EWWW! OxiClean also has a pretty distinct “bleach” odor. It only temporarily masked my derby stink. Upon first wear, my pads became an unpleasant symphony of scents. • Tide with Febreze Sport: $11.99 for 100 oz. bottle at your local grocery store. Admittedly, I like all things girly, especially perfume, so the

extra strong scent of this detergent, along with its promise of “deep extreme odor elimination” played well into my criterion for pad cleaners. Tide with Febreze Sport left my pads smelling fresh and relatively clean. It remains to be seen whether this particular niche of Tide works better than their standard product. Much to my enjoyment, I did periodically find the fresh Tide with Febreze Sport scent wafting off me during the next few practices. • SportSuds: $21.95 +$5 shipping USD for 500g pack. Available online at I was wary of using this product. Once again, I expected this expensive product to overpromise and underperform. I was pleasantly surprised. This environmentally friendly detergent delivered. It eliminated all odors from my stinky pads and left absolutely no scent behind! Though slightly higher in price, I’ve yet to try a better product. SportSuds is specifically geared toward removing bacteria, unclogging fabric pits, and ridding gear of any lingering odor. SportSuds enabled my pads to stay fresh considerably longer. Perhaps most importantly, SportSuds

contains no dyes, phosphates, perfumes or bleach; it’s formulated to be safe for those with sensitive skin (even infants), and is biodegradable and nontoxic. The old, “you get what you pay for” adage rings true with SportSuds, pay more; get more! • Vinegar: Approximately $2 per 32 oz. bottle at your local grocery store. Ranking as the cheapest, most versatile, and plainest cleaner in the group, vinegar can be used to clean pads in any capacity: dishwasher, sink, or washing machine. This household product is notorious for its odor eliminating value. A word to the wise, use vinegar sparingly. A quarter cup mixed with water is sufficient for cleaning standard pads. Using too much vinegar will leave you and your pads with a long-lasting and bitter stench. Used appropriately, vinegar is effective at killing foul odors deeply embedded in your derby pads. Wayne Davis, | Winter 2012 | 11

health and fitness

Jules Doyle

• Tide Stain Release Boost: Febreze Sport: $8.99 for 18 count at your local grocery store. Tide Stain Release Boost can be added to any load of pads washed in a washing machine in ADDITION to basic detergent (do NOT use Tide Boost with vinegar or SportSuds). These Tide Boost action pacs are placed directly onto derby pads in the washing machine and allegedly aid in removing stains and odors, while prolonging the life of fabrics by preventing color loss and dullness. I did not notice any difference in my pads after using the Tide Boost pacs other than an extra strong scent. Bottom line: save yourself the added cost, I found no real advantage to pad cleanliness when using this product. HOW do I keep my pads clean between washes? Forgive me for overstating the obvious, but here’s some final important tips to keep your pads fresh longer:

• Air out pads whenever possible. • Never leave pads in the trunk of a car for an extended period of time. • Let pads dry completely before storing them in an enclosed space. • Don’t store pads in an overly hot or overly cold location. • Keep half of a fabric softener sheet in the bottom of your skate bag. It will provide a fresh smell and absorb excess. • Use a spray fabric refresher when possible. • Febreze Sport Fabric Refresher: $1.99 for 4 oz. spray bottle at your local grocery store. The Febreze Sport Fabric Refresher works wonders by helping to manage bag mildew and prolong pad life between washings. The travel size Febreze Sport is a lifesaver on derby trips and can be used to refresh pads, uniforms, bags, socks, and helmets.

• Stink Out Fabric Refresher: $6.95 for 4 oz. spray bottle. Available online at Stink Out provides less of a perfume scent than Febreze. I personally don’t care for its fragrance, as it’s a bit too sterile. Stink Out didn’t feel as effective in eliminating foul pad odor, though this opinion may well be attributed to my personal preference in scent, as I know many skaters that swear by this product. Pads are an important part of roller derby, they provide much needed protection of our limbs and joints. They take a beating from other skaters and from all the sweaty bacteria that builds up inside them. While stinky pads can be a rite of passage, at some point you’ll need to give them a good ole cleaning. When that day comes (hopefully every three weeks) you’ll be a step ahead of the game, having picked up a tip or two from my excessive pad cleaning enterprises!

“You don’t get anything clean without getting something else dirty.” Cecil Baxter

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Winter Udon Bowl Catholic Cruel Girl, Rocky Mountain Rollergirls photo by Jean Schwarzwalder

This soup was created with the immune system in mind. Whether you are looking to keep the cold or flu at bay or you already got a lil’ bug, you will benefit from the immune-boosting herbs and spices. It is also delicious and easy to make! ingredients: 4 oz. udon noodles* 8 cups vegetable broth ¾ lbs. shitake mushrooms, washed and cut into medium chunks 1 medium white onion, cut in half and thinly sliced 5 cloves minced fresh garlic (about 3-4 tablespoons) 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger 1 tablespoon black pepper 3 thai chili peppers, minced (about 1 ½ tablespoons) 3 tablespoons diced lemongrass Cheesecloth

Place lemongrass on a swatch of cheesecloth large enough to make a pouch. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth and tie a knot at the end to keep it closed. In a large saucepan, bring vegetable broth and lemongrass to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lemongrass and discard. Add noodles, mushrooms, onion, garlic, ginger, black pepper, and chili peppers. Simmer for 30 minutes. Because this recipe was created as an immune-building, cold busting concoction, it is worth your effort to use fresh garlic and ginger to maximize flavor and health benefits. *rice noodles pictured | Winter 2012 | 13

games and coaching

defensive play: agitators and enforcers A N DY F RY E A K A L E B R O N S H A M E S , C H I C A G O B R U I S E B R OT H E R S

I’ve watched a lot of derby, but every once in a while I catch something out of the ordinary. It was just a few hours shy of April Fools’ Day and the Windy City Rollers were hosting their regional rivals, Naptown, at the start of the Chicago club’s travel season. I could have been the April fool in the room, but I’m pretty sure I saw what I saw. Windy City’s captain, Old Drrrty Go-Go, primarily a defensive player, was shoring up a 3-wall with her fellow All-Stars, Sargentina and Bork Bork Bork, anticipating the opposing jammer coming round the apex while instigating her sidewinding “I wanna hit someone” stride. And in an instant, she broke off. Go-Go hit the jammer on her left side and ten feet later hit the same player on her right side, forcing Naptown’s star cap to track cut the track. Then she did it again and again. I watched one of my favorite players transform into a human fly swatter, battering her opponent like a pest on the run. Seeing Go-Go’s moves made me notice different roles defensive players take. What I noticed wasn’t simply technique. At the highest level of roller derby, no matter what the position, players employ a wide range of more-or-less the same skills as everyone else. What caught me was how Go-Go battled the opposition versus the way other defenders do. Some blockers, like Old Drrrty Go-Go, could be described as “agitators.” They are the ones who move throughout the pack with the goal of unsettling opposing players while becoming a hell-raising distraction. Their style and finesse almost suggests that agitating is in the player’s DNA. Others, “enforcers,” as I describe them, have a natural tendency to lead with positional blocking, while reading the opposing team’s chemistry as it unfolds every second. While an agitator picks out an opposing player to bully, her enforcers take up track space, while moving to thwart and barricade any successful moves from the other team, protecting their own jammer. Whether or not these are recognized roles, or simply an organic phenomenon, the key is that enforcers and agitators can be identified by their behavior on the track. In an ever-changing sport like derby roles change. Similarly, sports like football and soccer have grown and evolved over the last hundred years. Just

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the same, positions have changed and the types of players who make a mark on the game change over time. As an American sports fan, of course I try to draw parallels. “Agitators are like defensive backs, and enforcers are like lineman,” I say, with a less-than-convincing football analogy. Then again, what we know about derby is she’s an entirely different animal. In order to make sense of this, I sought the help of two of Go-Go’s long-time Windy City teammates. Bork Bork Bork is a dedicated blocker and a strong enforcer. Then there is Wreck N’ Shrew, a lifelong skater and self-proclaimed roller derby agitator who can jam, pivot, and block as well as anyone. My first inclination was to make sure I wasn’t living in my own little derby world. “Do teams purposely put an enforcer and an agitator out there as a part of strategy?” I asked. “Not specifically, but we probably should,” said Wreck, noting experienced players like Go-Go bring different skills to the sport. “Often, some blockers – the agitators – take up a sniper’s role. We can hone different skills from other sports. That’s what makes derby in its own right so amazing,” Wreck said. But she also added some color about the enforcer’s role. “What I love about watching Bork is her sense of timing,” Wreck said, “and the way that blockers like her can play the bully but protect their buddy at the same time. On a normal day, you can always rely on Bork to hit hard, get opposing players out of play, and come up big on the penalty kill when the other team has a power jam.” Elaborating on her own role, Bork said she feels like her purpose is not only to be a positional blocker, but also a protector. She laughs when I mention that most of the photos I see of her in action show her “on the prowl,” looking over her shoulder. “We do try to create fear and a deer-in-headlights moment for the other team’s jammer,” Bork said. “I try to be an enforcer by patrolling the track, enforcing zone coverage, and by setting picks,” she said. Bork also hints that enforcers are more effective in multiple numbers, and that the Windy City All-Stars have their best defensive games when she can buddy up with other blockers of similar mindset, size, and skill like Hoosier Mama and her Argentina All-Star teammate, Sargentina.

But, Bork admits that while playing the “tough guy,” she aims to raise her game and match the agility of nimble agitators like Wreck, who she admits is a better skater than she is. Wreck, in turn, elaborated on her own mindset in the game and the alacrity of it. “Being an agitator on the track is sort of like being the court jester at an execution,” she says, and I laugh and we joke about how neither of us has yet witnessed a public execution. But Wreck pushes her point. She also points out that the game is a constant push and pull in which your team attempts to make the other team adjust to your style. And that, Wreck said, “is where, if you can knock a great player off her game, even for a few seconds, the momentum of the game swings in your team’s favor.” Perhaps it is in between these nimble seconds that an agitator disturbs the other team’s flow, either to open a hole for her jammer or play the swatter role, while enforcers hold opposing jammers within their grasp. Attitude has everything to do with approach, points to a team’s strategy and the single player’s role within. For another angle, I spoke with two skaters from The Chicago Outfit, Bloody Elle and photos by Travis Taylor / Heyman Neisshot Lady K, who emphasized the emotion in the game and the momentum that each role plays in defense. “My job is to demoralize the jammer,” said Lady K, a 5 foot 10 blocker and enforcer in her fourth season with The Outfit. “The key is to never let opposing jammers get out of the pack. To frustrate them, hit them, make them fight our wall, and make them cry. That’s my main job.” Lady K also says she loves her role and is a happy camper if she gets to focus on blocking only.

Bloody Elle, also a triple-threat player like Wreck, notes that defenders who clock hours in the jammer cap tend to have a quicker on/off switch. As a result, the breakout speed she’s gained in her jamming makes for its own remarkable defensive skill when coupled with agility and the ability to read the game and predict the opposing jammer’s moves. “K communicates well, and that’s very important” said Elle, elaborating that good enforcers not only read the game well, but also free up their more versatile defensive skaters to raise hell. “If you’ve got a jammer on the other team who moves and can really rack up points, it makes sense to hit them. Playing with K, I listen to her cues to help me play my part as a defensive player.” In turn, K points out that Elle, because of her athleticism and mobility, might be up front one moment and slide back the next to put lateral pressure on opposing defenders. “It’s important to use your lateral movement to move the jammer out of place,” Elle said. “But on defense, I feel you get just as much mileage out of using lateral movements to put their defensive players out of place, scrambling their pack.” In the mix, enforcers add pressure through resistance, while agitators add pressure by creating disarray. Whether or not the history books about roller derby will lend any credence to the idea that these different roles – agitator and enforcer – will evolve further is yet to be seen. Still, the aim of playing roller derby remains the same. “Roller derby makes me happy, and is a sport that everyone involved should really enjoy,” Wreck puts it. “If you can't smile after hitting someone, and hitting them hard, then you should probably go find something else to do.” | Winter 2012 | 15

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games and coaching

coaching and the wizard of oz M A G N U M , P. I . M . P. , A R C H R I VA L R O L L E R G I R L S

There are coaches who tell you what to do, and those who tell you how to do it. There are coaches who want grandeur for themselves and others who pursue success for their team. Some coaches just tell their skaters what they are doing wrong and others tell them how to improve. The Wizard of Oz had two sides: One that relied on intimidation to get his way and another that looked into the eyes of those seeking help and performed true magic. smoke and mirrors When we first meet the Wizard of Oz, he is unapproachable and put on a pedestal. His persona is much like many coaches who create a façade to maintain control and promote an image of superiority. They bark orders down to their skaters without having a real dialogue. Direction is limited, due to one-sided communication. They rule using fear due to their insecurities about their skaters finding holes in their strategy. They think to themselves, “If I do all the talking, they will think I know what I am talking about and won’t question me.” The problem with this coaching style is that it does not breed independent and creative thinkers. In derby, there are the situations you know are going to happen, (starts, jammer up/down, blockers up/down, etc.) and then there is the rest of the game. Derby is similar to aerial dogfights. The best players are those who can be improvisational when the crazy stuff happens... and it will. Just telling people what to do without giving them the why will result in incomplete

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players who end up at the losing end of huge jams. If you ever ask yourself, “Why does our team do so well until the shit hits the fan? When that happens, we fall apart.” It is because they know what to do but not why they are doing it. When everything is going well, they execute the strategy. When odd situations arise, they completely fall apart. If this is your team, you are telling them the what but not the why. Educating your players on why they are doing drills and strategy is crucial for having a team that can recognize and respond to all situations. Will this newfound knowledge allow them to question your teachings when your strategy has flaws? Yes, it will. However, in order to have a strategy with staying power and cohesion, it needs to be constantly reexamined and dissected. Strategies are works in progress. You should always be evaluating the efficiency of your actions on the track and evolving your game plan. Educate your players, have open discussions with them about your tactics, and encourage feedback. Otherwise, at the end of the day, you’ll be convincing yourself how brilliant your strategy is and your team just won’t do it right. don’t be a humbug Pay attention to the (wo) man behind the curtain. The real Wizard of Oz was just a normal person found behind the curtain. His true magic and contributions were given by understanding those who were seeking help and connecting on their level.

Knowing each person’s shortcomings allowed him to give them what would benefit each individual the most. As a coach, knowing your team’s strengths and weaknesses is essential to giving them the tools to succeed and creating a winning approach. Often times, the hot new strategy on the scene won’t match with assets of your team. Do you have talented and self-reliant jammers to run a totally defensive four-man wall? Are your blockers strong enough, defensively, to execute a two-man wall? Knowing the answers to these questions will unlock the true potential of your squad and determine what to focus on at practice. Take an inventory of the skill you have at your disposal. Know your team and you will know your potential. As a coach, the best way to help your team is to step down from your pedestal and wade in the trenches with them. Try things out, solicit feedback, and try asking your team what works and what doesn’t. Involving them in the learning process will give them the understanding to execute your strategy when thing go awry. The true Wizard of Oz was approachable and caring. A true coach is vulnerable because they are on the same level as the team and have a constant dialogue with skaters. This coaching style will result in respect from the skaters, and they will value the learning process. be an equal The Fellowship of the Slippers Athletic skaters with potential are like

Bob Dunnel aka Mr. McWheely

Coaching is an interactive and engaging process that takes time, patience and dedication. Dorothy with her ruby slippers. These skaters have what they need to do great things but if they aren’t astutely told how to use their assets, they will not reach their true potential and unlock their concealed power. Just like your team, each member of Dorothy’s crew needed something. The Wizard of Oz gave each character something that represented what they already possessed but didn’t realize. Through hard work, each one of your skaters can be a contributor. They hold this potential already. You just have

to teach them how to accomplish it. You must give your skaters the tools to succeed at derby. Focus on why you are doing each drill and you will increase the derby IQ of your team. Coaching isn’t “I say, you do.” Coaching is an interactive and engaging process that takes time, patience, and dedication. Being a derby player is a journey. It begins with obtaining your very own slippers (skates). It progresses by finding cohorts to go on this adventure with you. And inevitably, you’ll come across a

witch who wants to destroy you along the way. Derby tests the will and determination of each individual. It’s easy to be distracted by the poppy fields of drama, injuries, and parties. Skaters destined for greatness will push through these diversions and maintain their path. Remind your skaters of the team’s objectives and their role in achieving those goals. Everyone is on this journey together. Avoid trying to be All-Powerful. Instead, be an enabler of greatness. | Winter 2012 | 19

games and coaching

2012 championships J U S T I C E F E E L G O O D M A R S H A L L , D E R B Y N E W S N E T WO R K

November’s sixth annual WFTDA championship tournament – this time held in Atlanta, GA – proved to be a fitting final chapter to the current era of WFTDA play. With the organization preparing for profound structural and ruleset changes in 2013 that will wipe away the four-year-old regional system and likely usher in new game strategies, the 2012 finals proved to be both a distinct and distorted echo of championships past. In distinct echoes, 9 out of 12 participating teams had qualified in 2011; host team Atlanta was the only team making their first-ever appearance at Championships. In a distorted echo, a dramatically new-look Oly team, featuring three ex-stars from longtime rivals Rocky Mountain, reached the final. The final echo, though, was identical. As in 2011, Gotham completed an undefeated season by besting the also undefeated Oly in the championship game. With the victory, Gotham became the first team to win consecutive Hydras. Friday – Opening Round Friday’s action began with a meeting between Denver (2W) and Baltimore’s Charm City (3E); Charm bounced back from an early 24-0 deficit in the first three jams to lead 52-47 after 11 minutes, but that was the last time in the match that Charm looked like they had a shot at the win. Denver’s Sandrine Rangeon answered that lead change with the first of many big jams over the weekend – a 28-4 – and Denver never trailed again on the way to a 268-141 victory.

The meeting between 2NC Minnesota and 3SC Kansas City went more or less according to script. Though Kansas City was able to make the very most of their power jam situations, they were unable to handle Minnesota when both jammers were out on the track. Minnesota was up 117-50 at the half and flirted with a triple digit lead for most of the second half; a brutal 51-8 three-jam sequence from Minnesota sealed the deal late. The final score had MNRG on top 224-148. That was followed by 2E Philly facing off against 3W Bay Area in a rematch of a last-jam Philly win from the 2008 Nationals. This time, though, Bay Area was up to the task. Philly was held to just 9 points in the opening 9 jams; while they were never quite out of the game, they hovered between 20 and 60 points down for nearly the entire run time and could not break any big jams. Bay Area allowed only two double-digit jams for Philly in the whole game and won by 50, 169-119. Friday’s closing bout between hosting 2SC Atlanta and 3NC Naptown was easily the most exciting match of the day – although it opened up looking like it might be the day’s biggest blowout. Atlanta burst out of the gate with a 50-0 advantage after six jams, but Naptown showed exceptional poise under pressure. They dominated lead jammer status after the opening salvo and by the half, they’d whittled the lead all the way down to 18 points at 88-70.

Jules Doyle Jules Doyle Jules Doyle

20 | Winter 2012 |

Tom Klubens

Naptown finally went ahead at 112-109 with about 16 minutes left; the teams traded the lead again before the final lead change went to Naptown with 3:30 on the clock, 142-134. But it was a thriller to the end. A spectacular defensive stand from Cereal Killer, Enya Grave, Asian Sinsation, and Ima Hurchu saved the game for Naptown in a final jam that went 17-7 NRG; they escaped 169-153 to close Friday’s action. Saturday – Quarterfinals Saturday’s opener between Bay Area and 1SC Texas looked like it would turn out similarly to Bay Area’s solid 159-88 win over Texas in August – for most of the first half. Bay Area was in control early and led by a seemingly comfortable 107-39 after twenty minutes, but Texas charged back with the help of a latehalf 25-0 power jam for Killbox and trailed 113-87 at halftime. Texas finally went ahead 150-143 with about 15 minutes to play on another enormous Killbox power jam. From that point, Bay Area seemed just one big jam away from getting back in front, but it never came as they remained mired in blocker penalty trouble. Texas shut the door in the final sequence, ending the game on a 37-3 run to beat Bay Area for the first time in their last three tries, 216-161. The matchup between 1W Oly and Minnesota didn’t have any similar surprises in store. Minnesota had previously lost to Oly 212-152 in August, and since then, Oly had dramatically stacked their team, picking up Team USA captain Joy Collision (ex-Charm City & Arizona) and re-adding Atomatrix, Hockey Honey and Tannibal Lector (in her first game back from a pregnancy, having given birth less than a month previous). On top of all that, they were finally skating with DeRanged, who’d transferred from Rocky Mountain early in the year but hadn’t played on Oly’s roster

yet. Oly broke out to a 40-0 lead to start, and although Minnesota rallied to trail by just 11 with ten minutes in the first half, Oly put their foot down from there. They reclaimed the 40 point margin by the break to lead 97-49, and established a triple-digit advantage with 16 minutes still left to play before winning 218-125. Saturday’s third quarterfinal proved to be the latest chapter in a frustrating narrative for 1NC Windy City. For the fourth year in a row, they entered the championship tournament with a firstround bye after winning their region, and for the fourth year in a row they were solidly beaten in their first game. Once again the loss came against Denver – who had notoriously started the WCR streak in 2009. Denver led from the start in this one; Windy City stuck with them for most of the first half to a score of 94-69, but after Windy was blanked for four in a row while Denver moved it to 126-69, Windy City never again threatened a comeback. The tight Denver defense particularly shone in the second half, as they shut out Windy City on 15 of 16 straight jams; in the end Denver won big, 212-125. The last quarterfinal match set overwhelming tournament favorite 1E Gotham against 3NC Naptown; as expected, Gotham steamrolled the Indianapolis crew, opening with a 59-0 lead and up 141-28 at halftime. Naptown got strong support from the underdog fans in the audience and scored a moral victory by breaking triple digits with about 5 minutes left in the game, but Gotham still won the most lopsided game of the weekend with a final of 316-111. Saturday – Semifinals The quarterfinal action left four teams alive for Saturday’s final two games – 1W Oly, 1SC Texas, 1E Gotham and 2W Denver.

Jules Doyle Jules Doyle Jules Doyle Mike Butler – IGP Photo | Winter 2012 | 21

games and coaching Oly and Texas went at it first in a game that was the roller derby equivalent of a first-round KO. Though Texas won the opening jam 3-0, they were rocked by three jammer penalties in the next five jams. Ten minutes into the game, Texas was 70 points down at 73-3. For a bit, it looked like Texas might have another big comeback in them as they took lead on 4 out of the next 5 frames and closed it to 77-38. But Oly wasn’t having it, and that was as close as the game ever was; going into the last two jams, Oly led 221-102, but two big closing power jams from Texas allowed them to make the final a bit more respectable at 224-147. The second semifinal between Gotham and Denver was very much the tale of two spectacular defenses – and one jammer on each team who confounded them for most of the game. Gotham led from the third jam on against Denver, but repeatedly had great trouble with Denver’s Sandrine Rangeon, who lit them up repeatedly; Rangeon handily outscored the rest of the Denver jammers put together with 70 points. However, on the Gotham side, Bonnie Thunders was more than an answer, playing much the same role. She accounted for over 60 percent of Gotham’s points and outscored Denver all by herself with a 139-point performance. Denver was still in the game late in the first half, trailing just 79-67, but a devastating 35-0 from Bonnie put Gotham in the driver’s seat for good. Both defenses seemed to get their respective nemeses locked down with about ten minutes left in the game, but with Gotham up 190-117 and claiming lead jammer status on 10 of the game’s last 11 jams, there was absolutely no daylight for the underdogs, and Gotham proceeded to the final on a 221-120 win. Sunday – Third Place / Championship 2W Denver came into Sunday’s third place game with 1SC Texas looking like a solid favorite based on their recently shared

opponents – Denver had fallen just 7 points short against Oly at Westerns – but Texas didn’t get the memo. Texas outplayed and outhustled Denver for almost the entirety of their matchup, leaving Denver needing – and getting – a late game miracle to come back. Things were back and forth early, with the teams trading the lead three times in the first five jams before a 35-0 bomb from Texas’ Olivia Shootin’ John gave Texas a lead it looked like they would hold all game long. Although Denver was solidly winning the lead jammer battle, they were incapable of transforming it into scoreboard advantages. Texas led 126-72 at halftime, and though that was the peak of their lead, Denver was outside of single-jam scoring range for almost the entire half. Things were looking bleak for Denver at 190-162 with only six minutes left to play, but that was when Texas got buried in blocker penalty trouble just as Denver sent their ace jammer to the line. Rangeon swept to a Championships-record 44-0 power jam as Texas had only one or two blockers on the track for nearly the entire jam; that venue-exploding run gave Denver the lead for the first time since the first 10 minutes at 206-190, and they hung on for four more jams to take a highly crowd-pleasing 210-199 victory. In addition to taking third, Denver boasted both the official blocker MVP (Shania Serelson) and jammer MVP (Sandrine Rangeon) – both in their first season on Denver’s all-star team. The championship match between 1E Gotham and 1W Oly was a rematch of the previous year’s final – and although Oly’s roster looked much different, the general feel of the matchup was remarkably similar. Once again, Oly had the talent, but Gotham had the discipline, and the game turned on a dramatically lopsided penalty count. Oly lost their jammer 8 times against 2 for Gotham, spent 46 minutes in the box total against 30 for Gotham, and – most critically – gave up 68 points on power jam in the last ten minutes alone.

Jules Doyle Tom Klubens

Jules Doyle Jules Doyle

22 | Winter 2012 |

Tom Klubens

Jules Doyle

But even with all of Oly’s penalty problems, they might have still won the game if not for an even more heroic performance from Bonnie Thunders, who somehow improved on her performance against Denver by scoring a phenomenal 178 points – this time, over 75 percent of Gotham’s points. Oly came back from a 51-0 deficit after four jams to take the lead just eight jams later at 70-67; they’d sit at a near stalemate with Gotham up 84-81 with 5 minutes to play in the first half. Gotham took control of the lead for good there, though,

up 104-81 at halftime. Though Oly was right on Gotham’s tail through the first 20 minutes of the second half, it all came undone on penalties in the final ten minutes of the season. Down by 22 points at 147-125, they gave up a crippling 29-0 power jam to Bonnie Thunders on a 4-2 pack; two jams later, Oly again only had two on the floor and no jammer as Bonnie racked 19-0. Fittingly, the game ended on a another Oly jammer penalty and a final big 20-0 for Bonnie, giving Gotham their second championship win in a row, 233-130. | Winter 2012 | 23

games and coaching

coach’s corner by coach pauly

know your roll

part 18: what’s your number?

One thing we all have in common is numbers. Whether it’s your credit rating, identification, or shoe size, everyone has a unique number that defines you. In the beginning, I faced some opposition to evaluation, rating, or ranking. People felt that it should be a private thing. No matter who you are or where you are in life, you have been graded, marked, or weighed. In the end, it is what you do with that information that is most crucial. Over the years, I have used and seen many different systems to rank a skater’s abilities. Some are very simple with few categories in which to clearly give an accurate picture to the training staff, captains, and skaters. On the other end of the spectrum, I have seen some that are so complex, it would take years to compile the data and render it down to a usable form. In my experience derby is very transient by nature; skaters come and go so quickly that definitive evaluation is key. I have come up with an evaluation system that provides the training staff and the captains a way to manage each skater’s progress, as well as give everyone a baseline as to where they stand in relation to their teammates. The evaluation is comprised of 10 specific categories that capture the base elements of each skater’s abilities. Each category is scored on a 1 thru 10 value, 10 being excellent and 1 being poor. Pack A/C: Pack: Pack awareness and communication is a key element to a skater’s evolution. In a pack, a skater has to be aware of where they are in relation to the pack itself, their teammates, and the strategy that their team is trying to execute. They also have to be able to communicate with their teammates as to where they are and what they are doing in that pack. Speed: Speed is not just flat out sprint speed. It can be lateral, stepping or jumping speed. The ability to make the opposition miss with quick evasion is a key element to any skater repertoire. Stride: Stride is power that goes hand in hand with speed. Smooth confident movement joining physiology to the mechanics of the skate and applying it to the surface to render stability. The ability to adjust stride to compensate for surface conditions also falls under this category. Sight A/A: Sight, angle of attack is a two-pronged look at a skater’s ability to see what the opposition is doing and be able to see the best path to action. Some skaters can see the pack strategy but they are not able to do anything to change it. Other skaters can see the jammer going outside and adjust their trajectory and speed to move through the pack and meet their target, hit them out, or suck them back into the pack. Lateral: Our game is played between two ropes and the faster you can cut in between them the better. The ability to cut between boundaries without the need to advance forward on the track is 26 | Winter 2012 |

key. If a skater can maneuver from the inside line to the outside and back faster than her opponent the more effective she will be. A mobile skater can cover larger parts of the track and free her teammates up to do their jobs more confidently. Stamina: Looks at a skater’s ability to recover after multiple jams. Can a skater go from jam to block then jam again? Can she be knocked down over and over and still get off the ground and perform at the same level? In some ways this category measures a skater’s heart. Can they perform and give their all even though they are spent? PBJ: Has the skater mastered the idiosyncrasies of playing as a pivot/blocker/jammer? Some skaters are great blockers but they don’t have the leadership qualities to direct the pack. Some skaters are born leaders and have the ability to take control of any situation. Others jam and don’t really care for blocking or leading. Meanwhile other skaters can transition between positions seamlessly. Recovery: If a skater gets knocked out or down, does she get up and get back into play quickly and effectively? Or does she get knocked down and become an easy target for the opposition to goad her or leave her team down a skater? Stops: Can the skater stop quickly and effectively? Can the skater use stopping and slowing tactically? Is the skater able to use stopping to evade opposition? Coachability: Can the skater take training feedback from the captains or coaches and use it to change her game? Is she able to retain what is being discussed at practice? Or is all the info lost by the end of practice? Each category has depth and value. I like to use drills and game play to evaluate players. Some people set up specific tests to get their numbers. Others draw from the experience each of their teammates has with each skater to get their data. No matter what method you use, take the time to find the numbers. Each skater should be evaluated based on what they can deliver today not what they have potential to deliver or what they did yesterday. Lives change and so does their status as skaters. So make sure you focus on the skater as she is today. For instance, I have a skater on my team that has had an injury that has prohibited her from hitting. If I was to evaluate her today, I would not be able to give her the numbers that she had before she hurt herself, even though I know she will back to kicking ass and taking names when she has recovered.

With your data compiled, you now have a tool that will allow the coaches and captains to discuss each skater’s growth and development. It allows you to spotlight all accomplishments and give feedback on any deficiencies. It gives the skaters simple goals for advancing their game. When I moved to Edmonton, I introduced this system to my new league. We use the evaluation numbers for multiple purposes, which allowed us to engage our skaters as soon as they enter the league. As soon as the skater has passed all requirements for league membership, the training head assesses her and gives her her number. That number is used when they are drafted to a team. It is used to determine the teams total skill number by adding each member’s evaluation number together. Once we get the team number, we can set the draft order. If a team has a total skill number of 560 and that is the lowest number they get to select first in the draft. The number is also used for our sub pool. Sub pool is something I picked up in LA. They had a sub pool process that I tweaked and introduced to the league. We all know that sometimes our real lives can destroy roster strength. Some leagues find themselves with seven skaters on one team and ten on another; what do you do? In our case, we have skaters that are waiting to be drafted and have passed all league membership requirements, but because of when they came into the league or if they have transferred after the draft, they are

in sub pool and can be picked up by roster deficient teams to replace missing skaters. The evaluation number is used by the captains to add players of equal value to the ones they are lacking. If there are not players of equal value, they are able to add additional players to bring the team into a par standing with the opposing team. Captains can also use the number to govern their teams. If a skater dips below a set number, they are told what they need to improve, and if they don’t change, they are removed from the roster and have to retry out for the team or are drafted by another team. It’s funny, I just realized that I now have to write an article explaining draft policy and sub pool process, so keep your eyes open. I have an excel spreadsheet that displays the fields and totals each category, as well as a generalized rubric one of my captains put together. If you would like these files, please email me. I know some might say that this is subjective and they would be right in some regards. The point is you have to know where you are on the map before you can figure out how to get to your destination.

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

DRILL drill: road block

Set groups of three blockers with one opposing skater to act as a blocker that is being trapped or a jammer that is being stopped. Have the individual skater try to break through or get around the wall. The three blockers are at a standstill and must get moving to stop the sprinting target skater before the next ten foot marker. This drill is to help your pack stop and slow rather than race. It is crucial to include your refs if possible so they can call when they have passed that 10 ft. marker as well as call any other blocking penalties. Generally a lot of dumb penalties occur at slow speeds as the result of scrum or slow derby. This drill helps everyone on the track learn distance and how to adjust for speed and do it in a quick controlled manner. Mix and match to include more or less players to customize to your teams needs.

Preflash Gordon

purpose: speed and distance control | Winter 2012 | 27


common questions and misconceptions, part 2 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

Here is another set of commonly asked questions, as a continuation of my last article. Please, keep the questions coming! When I take my skate off and put it on a flat surface, all four wheels don’t touch. Is there something wrong? Not likely. Having four wheels touch evenly only matters when your weight is on the skate. This is common with skaters who have inexpensive, nylon plates. An inexpensive nylon plate can be great for many skaters, but it is not made under the same exacting specifications as a $500 (usually metal) plate. So this often happens with a new skate/plate or with trucks coming from the factory. A new skate can slightly deflect a more flexible nylon plate due to the stiffness of the boot. Overly tight trucks can maintain a certain canter without weight on them. Both issues resolve under even a small amount of weight and often resolve altogether after a little break-in or adjustment. Unless you have your trucks overly tightened, all four wheels should be on the ground when you are wearing your skates. It is very rare for your plate to be twisted or bent in such a way to cause the wheels to not all touch the ground when weighted. When I look down at my skates, I can see more of my wheels on one side than the other, or the toe stop is not under the toe seam of my boot. Is the plate mounted incorrectly? Not necessarily. Remember, your boot is curved to go with the shape of your foot. Your plate is more of an exact rectangle. When you put them together, it’s kind of like putting something half kidney 28 | Winter 2012 |

shaped on top of a rectangle. Also, the center line of a boot is determined by a triangle on the bottom of your foot. The center of your heel is one point, and either side of the ball of your foot are the other two points. If you dissect the triangle down the center, the line comes out just to the outside of the toe seam of your boot. At first glance, the toe seam looks like it is the boot’s “center,” but it is not. Placing the plate along the actual center line is what the skating industry has long considered a “standard” mount. However, it can be adjusted right or left of this line depending on your experience and what type of skating you are doing. For example, many speed skaters place both of their plates to one side because they consistently turn to the left, and this plate placement makes it easier for them. Some roller hockey players place their plates to the inside of the center line on both boots so that the toe stop is indeed under the toe seam of the boot. These are preferences not hard rules, and therefore not necessarily right or wrong. It works for some skaters and types of skating, but not others. That’s why there is an industry “standard” mount, which is a starting point. This is also how most skates that come from a factory already put together are mounted. And some plates are “curved,” meaning the toe stop is off-set to the inside on both boots, so when the plate is mounted on the center line, the toe stop is still under the toe seam of the boot. The revenge plate and the triton plate from Riedell are both examples of this type of plate. Needless to say,

there are lots of factors that influence mounting, but any qualified mounter should be able to break down the ins and outs of any particular set up. Should you have questions about your set up or mounting, get a hold of the shop that sold you the skates. If they mounted the skate, they can run through their methods/reasoning with you and determine if your particular skate/plate combination needs adjusting. If your skates were factory mounted (you bought them as a package from a single manufacturer), the retailer should also be able to help you determine if a standard mount is right for you and your skating style. I have had more than one plate mounted to my boots, are all the drilled holes going to affect the integrity of the boot? Usually no. Very few plates have their holes in the same place as other plates, so when you put a new plate on your boot, there is usually fresh material to drill into. I personally have several plates’ worth of holes in my boots, and it has never been a problem. That being said, sometimes the holes drilled can wind up quite close together from plate to plate, and/or if the holes become too big, they must be repaired. Without relasting the boot, which can be very expensive, several things can be done to address this issue. Epoxy can be used to repair the holes and create fresh drilling material. There is also a metal “cup” that can be placed around the mounting bolts that makes the head of the bolt bigger, thus filling the larger hole more adequately. It all depends on the situation, but a qualified mounter should be able to determine what is best for you, your budget, and your safety. When I turn my skate over and “roll” the wheels, some don’t turn for as long as others. Are my bearings bad? Potentially no. Again, it is more important how they roll when your weight is on them. If you are experiencing sluggishness while skating, or hear a high pitched squealing or crunching sound, yes, something might be wrong. First, isolate which foot it is by coasting on one foot, then the other. Then, try to isolate

front wheels and back wheels by only putting those wheels on the ground when rolling. (For instance, put your weight on your right foot and coast, and gently put the front wheels of your left foot on the ground to see if the noise or feeling reoccurs.) Once you have narrowed it down to two wheels, take off your skate, remove those two wheels, take out the bearings and inspect them. Are they rusty? Caked with dirt? “Crushed” – the seal or shield is dented and pushed into the ball bearings? Sometimes you can do a field repair for a crushed bearing by removing the shield, flattening it back out, and replacing it. Sometimes chucking a completely ruined shield altogether can get you some more life from your bearing. Some skaters even run their bearings without shields. Keep in mind this does make them more susceptible to dirt. Dirt is the enemy of rolling parts, and should you roll without shields, make cleaning a priority. Another misconception is that how loud a bearing is impacts its performance for good or bad. Many times, loud bearings are merely dry. Some skaters prefer them that way. Depending on the bearing, they can roll faster but can also suffer more wear because they are not lubricated. Someone told me there must be two fingers of space between my toe stop and the floor. Not always. That has long been an industry standard starting point. Where you wear your toe stops is personal preference. Do you like them low and near the floor so they only take a bit of a tilt to hit the floor and stop you? In certain situations, that could be very useful, but they might also get in your way while crossing over. If you like your stops way up high near your plate they won’t get in your way while rolling, but you’ll have to tip further and dig harder to get adequate stoppage. Most skaters will wind up somewhere in the mid-range. Also remember, the type of toe stop (hardness and diameter) and placement of the plate (see above) and even skating surface all make a difference in how your toe stop performs. This is the reason they are adjustable, and why there are so many on the market today. Start with two fingers and adjust to your skating preference and skill level. As always, feel free to email with any questions regarding skates and gear at | Winter 2012 | 29


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

Sorry, but I just have to start this new wheel review by reminiscing about the early days of derby when we all wore what Austin skaters recommended (Hyper Witch Doctors). There weren’t many wheels to choose from, and they’d been skating a few months longer than anyone, so they were the only experts available. Fast forward almost a decade into DIY derby and you’ve got the legacy manufacturers pumping out new wheel models every few months marketed solely for derby, alongside boutique brands launched by derby skaters, and literally hundreds of options and experts telling you which ones you should like. A few years makes a huge difference! With exponential choices in wheel brands, models, colors, shapes, and sizes, it can be hard to sort through them all, so here are some points to compare on a selection of the newest I’ve tried.

Sure Grip released Zombie Wheels just in time for Halloween. I don’t normally pay much attention to the look of wheels, but I have to admit, these are sharp: all black urethane with sleek anodized aluminum hubs. The wheels come in three urethane hardnesses and three shapes, including “max” 62x42mm, “mid” slimmer 38mm width, and low, which is both slim and shorter diameter, 58mm x 38mm. I skate on a very grippy cement track and prefer firmer wheels, so I tried the lows with the red core in 95a and I love them. They offer nice controlled slide and are good looking wheels, and at $99, they’re priced on the low end of high-end wheels. Highly recommended, especially for skaters that are interested in the kind of roll you can only get from aluminum hubs. This recent generation tends to be a lot lighter than what was available in aluminum even just a couple years ago. The short mid weight rivals similar nylon-hub wheels!

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Sure Grip also let us redesign the Sugar wheels! Sugars kicked off the hybrid craze a few years ago with blue and orange Sugar wheels in 62x44mm only. However, Sure Grip has discontinued the first generation blue and orange full size ones, and have released new sizes, shapes, and colors to complete the Sugar line. The next generation full size Sugar is now (appropriately) clear white. The small diameter, slightly slimmer Sweet N. Low is, of course, pink and 59 x 38mm, and the Equalizer comes in 62 x 38mm slim blue. Forgive me, I can’t help myself – but the graphics really are sweet. But in spite of the changes in color, shape, and graphics, the urethane is still the same super high-rebound outdoor formula on indoor shapes with a lot more traction. The Sweet N. Lows in particular are flying off our shelves already. Radar has also discontinued their old hybrids and released a new model. Goodbye Ghost, Phantom, and Shadow; say hello to the new Villain wheels. The Villain features Radar’s new “Shark” hub, a lightweight nylon hub with graduated fin thickness to keep the wheels stiff. The urethane is still super grippy, though it rolls like a really grippy indoor rather than super bouncy outdoor urethane like most of the rest of the hybrids, in my opinion. The Villain is only available in short diameter, but both wide (43mm) and slim (38mm) and 84a durometer. If you’re looking for the most grip, you’ll want to choose the wider version with the soft lip. I skated on this for several practices and found these wheels to be surprisingly durable (I can cone a wheel in one practice, practically, on our cement track), and also – the white actually stayed white – not bad for an outdoor track!

Radar’s newish Bullet wheels also feature the convex fins of the Shark hub, and with the firmer indoor urethane, I could really feel the extra roll. They’re FAST. These wheels are also only available in smaller diameter shape, 59 x 38mm, and they don’t offer a wide version at all. They were initially released in four variations of pinkish neon shades and only recently joined by a grippier neon yellow. I tried the neon red and loved them. They were fast and firm and I could do single-foot plows from a sprint to a dead stop in fractions of a second in them. Though the red claims 95a durometer, I thought they felt even grippier – but of course, the downside is that I was able to cone them out pretty quick, probably because I was having so much fun with those plows. They performed outstanding for me, and don’t be scared about the durability – I would expect them to last a lot longer on a more forgiving track than mine.

(59 x 38mm) and 3 flavors of durometer. I stalled writing this article for an extra week because I like the Play wheels so much I didn’t want to take them off to try other wheels. Like the Bullets, the 93a Play in short & slim features a squared off no-lip. The lime green hub has fewer fins but a similar lack of flex. The combination of stiff hub, firm shape and grippy (neutral colored) white urethane hit a sweet spot for me, though. Another set of wheels that makes hockey and plow stops feel like a fun game I don’t want to stop playing, with the best screech of all the wheels I tried. The downside is, again, fast coning, but that’s because I was screaming to a halt then leaping into a sprint like every ten seconds, and our cement track eats wheels and spits them out. These wheels made me feel and skate like an action movie version of myself. Super highly recommended!

Reckless have also hit the derby market with a hybrid, now, and their aqua-colored Envy comes in three shapes – slim (62 x 38mm), slim and short (59 x 38mm), and full size (62 x 44mm). The spandex wearing dudes at GRN MNSTR are proud that Neal Piper designed the urethane, so in a way, these wheels bring us full circle back to the old days (Mr. Piper is also the chemist who gave us Witch Docs). I gave the 59mm version several miles on a long-distance blacktop skate in 100 degree weather and they performed well (and I, myself, recovered just fine after drinking a whole lot of chilled Sauvignon Blanc). They did pick up a lot of the blacktop blech, but performed great outdoors on all but the worst, gravelliest bits of road. They also work great on a slippery indoor track, as well, and they’re easy on the eyes, too.

RollerBones wheels. Trish was nagging me for months to try out all these other new wheels, but I just didn’t want to take off the RollerBones Snakes in 96a. These were the first tall & slim (62 x 38mm) wheels that I wasn’t (at first) annoyed to try. I have been lucky that my pals are willing to cut wheels down for me, so I’ve always leaned towards 59mm wheels as wide as I can get them. But I skated on the 62mm stock Snakes for months before I could talk RollerBones into trimming some down to 59mm (which I love even more, if that is possible). Like the Bullets and Play wheels, the 96a flavor is fast but still grippy – offering just the right amount of traction on the curves and lightning speed when you want it without sacrificing quick stops and that beloved screech of a single-foot plow and fast hockey stop. They’re also in a nice neutral color (white) and feature really kick ass tattoo-style graphics – recently re-released with even more awesome Day of the Dead graphics, as well. But – get this: I just can’t wear them out. I’m serious. These. Wheels. Will. Not. Cone. Or at least they haven’t for me and not for lack of trying! Hard to believe, I know, but after grilling legendary skateboarder and Bones founder/engineer Stacy Peralta about it, it is abundantly clear that they figured out some magic formula because they had to – they’re a skateboarding company first, and skateboarders

Industry newcomers Crazy Skates have also just released a bomb new wheel line. Their RWD, Play and FFWD wheels come in both slim (62 x 38mm) and slim and short

I know I’ve been dealing in a lot of superlatives, but I really can’t say enough about how much I love the | Winter 2012 | 31


almost exclusively use wheels outdoors. Their market will not tolerate wheels that bald out fast, period. These are by far my favorite wheels. If you love aluminum hubs, check out the Turbo version of their derby wheels. A skater on my team calls them the Jesus Wheels (with the proper amount of reverential respect, so if you’re religious, please don’t take offense). The Turbos are also 62 x 38mm, but feature a light, big diameter black anodized hub and low profile urethane – as light or lighter as comparable sized nylon hub wheels. Like all the wheels I’m reviewing, these are made in the USA, and as a nice extra touch, they’re also made in a state-of-the-art, ecologically safe factory by people who make you proud to share an industry with. Sorry for the starry eyes, but I like everything about RollerBones as an ethical and admirable business, and I’m so glad their wheels are just as awesome as they are. Definitely recommended.

And that ends the sort of traditional new wheels. Time to talk about Faster separate-component wheels. The brainchild of the derby skater formerly (and maybe recently again) known as Killbox, Faster wheels feature a really cool new removable hub system designed to make it so you can just replace the tires when they wear out, rather than buying an entire new set of wheels. We tried the Demi-Urge multi-durometer in white and green – hang on, I’ll explain in a minute – and the yellow Starr tires. As exciting as it is to see thinking outside the box, I found the component hubs to be surprisingly heavy, unfortunately. The Starr tire’s rounded outdoor-wheel type shape is not my taste at all – I like a nice square or beveled lip, personally, so I handed those off to Trish to try. She liked them, but also thought they were pretty heavy and not really ideal for most derby players (though obviously Killbox is kicking all kinds of track ass in them). The Demiurge tire, though, was more worth the heavier weight. After wearing short diameter wheels for so long, they just look huge! But the more traditional wide,

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squared off shape worked much better on the track, for me. Measuring in at 62 x 45mm, they’re only a tiny bit bigger than full-sized speed skating wheels, so it must be that white makes them look fat (har har). The shape and urethane are super grippy. And now to explain the other revolutionary design feature: the dual durometer. The white urethane that makes up the bulk of the tire is 96a and the thin green stripe around the inner hub is a 93a “grip strip,” which is a super interesting idea. I would have expected the grip strip to be on the outside lip of the wheel, but even on the inside, I found these to be super grippy considering they were mostly 96a. If you’re looking for solid grip from indoor wheels and want the option of swapping tires rather than your whole wheel, you should check these out. I honestly can’t figure out how they prevent the tires from slipping on the hub, but so far they don’t seem to. Very interesting. Since they’re hand-machined and not massproduced, they’re not cheap; the Demi-Urge tire and hub combo retails for $160 for 8 wheels. That said, these first few models show very creative thinking, and it will be very interesting to see where they go from here. Adonis Micro Wheels are a whole different animal, as well. Not content with a mere 3mm smaller diameter wheels, the maniacs at Adonis say that their race car automotive experience inspired them to release their micro line. The most striking and noticeable – both when looking at them AND skating on them – feature of the Adonis wheels is the size – they’re only 50mm tall! They also have hollow core hubs and are proud to be super light (primarily because they are so tiny). But boy, they take small to the extreme. I was extremely eager to try these wheels because I’ve always liked small diameter, and until these 56mm was as small as I’d ever use. Smaller wheels, you probably already know, are like drag racer cars – they accelerate fast. But smaller wheels also require more effort to keep going fast. So these are pretty great when you’re in the pack, especially if your packs enjoy dynamic speeding and slowing. But the flipside is that on a long lap or during endurance drills – oh, man. You have to work your butt off just to keep up with people on more traditionally-sized wheels. You should have heard Trish cursing us (as we passed her) during sprints when she was wearing them. Other

downsides are that they’re so small you almost have to switch to short-stem toe stops even if you like your stoppers close to the ground, and I only had 3mm clearance from my kingpin to floor when I had them on. But if you find weight to be a big factor in performance, there are no lighter wheels than Adonis Micro Slim, period – they almost float off the scale. They can perform really amazing for blockers that never ever jam – but these wheels are not for the faint of heart!

It’s an exciting time to be playing, especially in these boom years when so many manufacturers are experimenting with new products, formulas, specs, and technology. And it is extra exciting to see people who play derby getting involved in production, thinking super creatively, and working on the inside and outside the big manufacturers. Until next time, I still recommend you try everything! Borrow people’s old wheels, loan people yours, check it out and decide what’s best for you. Then tell me all about it. See you on the track! | Winter 2012 | 33


WFTDA’s growing presence in Europe LOIS SLAIN, DC ROLLERGIRLS

While some Americans may still slip up and call the WFTDA Championships “Nationals” from time to time, developing the sport of women’s flat track roller derby outside of North America has been a key area of focus for the WFTDA since 2009. Late that year, the London Rollergirls became the first WFTDA-affiliated league in Europe when they joined the Apprentice Program. With London blazing the trail, European women’s roller derby is now booming. There are nine full WFTDA members in Europe and more than a dozen apprentice members, as well as many other leagues that compete under WFTDA rules. “The pace of growth is awesome right now,” said Bette Noir, a skater and WFTDA representative for the London Rollergirls. “The first few years it was really slow, and then there was a second phase where a lot of new leagues sprung up but the competitive level didn't advance super fast. Now we seem to have reached a point where it has spread to most major European countries and now leagues are able to focus on upping the game and the competitive skating level.” In November 2012, Bear City Roller Derby hosted the “Track Queens: Battle Royale” tournament in Berlin, Germany, designed to give European leagues a taste of the WFTDA tournament experience. While not officially part of the WFTDA Playoffs system, the bracket for the tournament followed the model of the WFTDA Playoffs bracket, seeded with WFTDA member and apprentice leagues. Given the growth of the sport in Europe, this year was a good time to launch a tournament there, said WFTDA Executive Director Juliana Gonzales.

James Calder Photography

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“It's the appropriate time, in terms of strategic growth, to support our European members with a competitive opportunity that's geographically accessible,” Gonzales said. “Hosting a sanctioned tournament also helps WFTDA in its mission to create and establish games standards internationally. With a WFTDA-sanctioned tournament on European soil, we can start to better ensure consistency in officiating and develop the sport in a way that's consistent with a worldwide standard.” WFTDA Managing Director of Games, Karen Kuhn, attended the Battle Royale to train European affiliates on WFTDA games standards and to meet with them about the future of the sport throughout Europe. “A 2013 European tournament is already in the works,” Kuhn said. The goal for 2013 is to allow European teams to play sanctioned bouts ahead of the WFTDA Playoffs, as well as continue the training opportunities. “After 2013, we will look at how best to fit Europe's growth into our overall divisions and worldwide competition and growth plan,” she said. “I only see roller derby expanding in Europe, so tournaments will naturally grow with that.” Getting WFTDA’s European membership to this point required the organization to examine its requirements, systems and internal processes with an open mind, as the WFTDA was founded as a U.S. organization. The challenge was to adapt things, such as the Referee Certification system, to accommodate overseas members “without losing sight of the values our systems are meant to support,” Gonzales said. “Being an international body has meant we have a greater responsibility to make sure every standard we publish for the

James Calder Photography

Manish Gosalia

Kelli Catana

sport is strategic and functional in a worldwide context, and sustainable long-term as we grow,” she said. One example of this influence is the WFTDA’s recent announcement that it is shifting to a Playoffs qualification system that is based on organization-wide rankings, rather than region-based ones. While the London Rollergirls have qualified for the East Region Playoffs – and had a good showing there – in each of the last two years, the WFTDA believes the new structure offers a competitive structure that can more readily encompass member leagues in Europe and other corners of the world. There are also smaller signs, like the bilingual announcing during Montreal Roller Derby’s bouts at the 2012 East Region Playoffs, that the WFTDA community is embracing its international identity. Another notable project underway is the release of the WFTDA rules in languages other than English. Shortly following the release of new WFTDA rules, which will go into effect January 1, 2013, the WFTDA is working to release official translations in German, French, and Spanish. Creating an accurate translation is not as simple as running the text through Google Translate, Kuhn said. It requires language experts who not only understand both languages, but truly understand the sport and its terminology, as well. “The goal is to provide a translation that most accurately reflects the game in the destination country, but

also accurately represents the game around the world so that we all are playing the same sport of flat track roller derby, whether it be in Berlin, Bogota, Brisbane or Biloxi,” Kuhn said. Spreading the gospel of flat track roller derby to other countries and cultures will take more than just translating the rules, Kuhn notes. There must be a support network within the WFTDA that encompasses skater and officials training, mentorship, and certification. In January, the WFTDA will again have a chance to connect with the European roller derby community at the fourth EROC, European Roller Derby Organisational Conference. There, the WFTDA will have conversations and offer education about some of the recent WFTDA changes in rules and playoffs structure. “We're excited to work with the community there on continuing this strategic growth in Europe,” Gonzales said. The growth in numbers and skill of the European roller derby community is expected to continue in coming years. The challenge for the WFTDA is to continue to keep the different branches of the family tree healthy. “The WFTDA membership has really seemed to embrace the idea of us all being one global community,” Kuhn said. “We need to continue to support the growth of our sport in Europe and continue to grow those communication links, training opportunities, and most importantly, bouting opportunities for European leagues.”

Manish Gosalia | Winter 2012 | 35

junior derby

excellence in coaching S W E E TA RT, S P O K A N N I BA L S

“I don’t think I’ll ever quit.” -Funky Monkey, age 12 Being involved in junior roller derby can have an important influence on a skater’s self-esteem and social development. But the benefits don’t happen magically. Here are some ways coaches must learn to make junior roller derby a positive learning experience. build self-confidence

“I love seeing girls go from not believing they can do a drill to not only being able to do the drill but being able to teach someone else how to do the drill.” -Coach Bam, Snake Pit Junior Roller Derby An increase in self-confidence is the number one positive change that rollergirls of all ages identify. Self-confidence in sports is the belief that you can successfully get the job done. Coaches can influence a skater’s performance which in turn influences the skater’s self-confidence. Some coaches form expectations about a skater’s potential ability – the coach may have high or low expectations of certain skaters. This can be a problem when the coach: • spends more time at practice on “high expectation” athletes. • shows more warmth and positive emotions to high expectation athletes. • lowers expectations of what skills some athletes will learn, creating a lower standard of performance. • is less persistent in teaching difficult skills to low expectation athletes. • provides reinforcement and praise for high expectation athletes after a successful performance but gives less helpful feedback to low expectation athletes, such as praise after a mediocre performance. • gives high expectation athletes more instructional and informational feedback. The skater who receives more positive and instructional feedback from coaches will show more improvement and enjoy the experience more. But what happens to those other skaters?

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Low expectation skaters will show poorer performances because they receive less coaching time and less helpful reinforcement. Low expectation skaters will have lower selfconfidence and may blame their failures on a lack of ability instead of lack of effort. This will support their ideas that they aren’t any good and have little chance of getting better. It is important for coaches to be aware of any bias they may have so they can guard against treating skaters differently. If they can be aware of how their own attitudes and actions help produce these results, they can avoid creating a self-fulfilling prophesy. make mistakes OK

“It was important to us that our children understood that they need not freeze like a deer in the headlights when under threat, and that they could, indeed, be knocked down repeatedly and get up again.” -Jason Wiebe, parent of Patty Piranha, age 15 Fear of making mistakes can limit a skater’s performance. The way that coaches handle their skaters’ mistakes may be the single most crucial thing they do. Coaches can have skaters come up with a physical ritual to use to get past a mistake so they can focus on the next play. For example, skaters can pretend to dust off their uniform to “brush it off” or make a fist and then open it to “let it go.” Rituals remind skaters that mistakes are going to happen, and the most important thing is how they react right after a mistake. Sometimes a skater’s fear of mistakes comes from an over-emphasis on winning. Too much focus on winning increases a skater’s anxiety. Too much anxiety decreases self-confidence, negatively affects performance, and takes away the FUN. Focusing on being competitive for upcoming bouts is great for keeping skaters working hard and motivated at practice, but come game day, the team should have another goal besides winning. This can be anything from limiting trips to the penalty box to keeping our game face on the whole time to executing a certain play. This way a team can feel like winners regardless of the scoreboard.

Emphasize the constant learning process. Turn every game into a positive by pulling out lessons that can be applied to the next one. Don’t allow skaters to dwell on losses or gloat over wins. Begin preparing for the next bout at the very next practice. maximize motivation

“I hate running and breathing hard and sweating. But with roller derby you don’t think about it because you’re focusing and having fun.” -Ginger Slap, age 12 Sometimes an athlete feels they are going to fail no matter what and there is nothing they can do about it. This is called learned helplessness. Learned helplessness can develop in athletes who believe their actions have no effect on what they are attempting to accomplish. Failure is attributed to their abilities and success is attributed to reasons such as luck. This could be the skater who doesn’t like trying new skills and always starts in the back of the line. Or the skater who gravitates towards extreme competitive situations, like racing against the fastest or slowest skater on the team – success or failure is almost certain in these situations. Coaches can help a skater overcome learned helplessness. When the skater is successful: • Tell them it was because of their high effort • Tell them it was because of their ability • Don’t tell them is was due to luck • Don’t tell them it was because the task was easy • Don’t give insincere or false feedback develop good sporting behavior

“I have a totally different attitude. I don’t yell at everyone like I did in the beginning. Now I either tell the coaches or I leave it alone until I get home and then I calm down.” -The Crusher, age 12 While there isn’t a single definition of what good sportsmanship or sportswomanship means, it has to do with what we believe is right and wrong behavior in sports – sports morality. Turn this general term into actions by defining for the skaters specific ways they can demonstrate this:

• Respect the rules and officials • Shake or slap hands with opponents after a game • Acknowledge that an opponent did a good job • Lend equipment to an opponent if they need something • Refuse to take advantage of injured opponents • Don’t lose your temper after making a mistake • Help a downed opponent with a hand up after the jam has ended In essence, being a good sport means that winning comes second to fair play. A coach can capitalize on teachable moments to point out positive or negative examples of good sporting behavior as they occur. Children learn from observing others, so coaches need to be sure to demonstrate good sporting behavior, as well. give kid-friendly criticism

“I try to learn what works best for our skaters. At the end of the day that’s what it’s all about – what’s best for the girls.” -Chris Hunter, Coach for I-5 Rollergirls Feedback from coaches should be genuine and specific. Don’t say “Good job!” when the skater knew it wasn’t. Give skaters encouragement combined with technical information on how to correct their mistakes. Instead of “Focus!” say “Look at the jammer.” Coaches can use a positive sandwich method when correcting errors. The sandwich method cushions the correction, or the meat of the message, between two positive messages. For example, say, “You had great enthusiasm and couldn’t wait to get going. Next time wait for the second whistle so you don’t get a false start penalty. You’ll get it!” Reward a skater for correct technique regardless of the outcome. If they do everything right but miss the block, give them positive reinforcement. Making a hit when the form is incorrect is not helpful in the long run. Try using the 5:1 Magic Ratio of five praises to one criticism. This ensures that the skater’s emotional tanks are being filled. If you try to catch them doing things right, this becomes easier to do. A junior derby skater’s experience can have lifelong effects on their psychological development. They are the future and coaches must ensure that our future is bright. | Winter 2012 | 37

junior derby

age differences P I N K E , TA M PA BAY D E R B Y C H I C K S

Think about the differences – physical, mental and social – between a 9-year-old and a 17-year-old girl. The 9-year-old probably weighs 65 lbs, while the 17-yearold is about twice that, around 130 lbs. The 17-year-old stands about a foot taller. The 9-year-old is still in elementary school. The 17-year-old is almost ready to go off to college. The 9-year-old can’t ride in the front seat of a car, while a 17-year-old probably owns her own. Now think about the differences between a 29-year-old and a 37-year-old woman. Can you really come up with that many? They are probably the same size and at the same level of maturity. In junior derby, age differences are more pronounced than those in adult leagues; sometimes adults can seem decades younger or older than they actually are, but with young girls, a slight gap in age means the difference between being a small child and a young woman. This is not to say that junior leagues shouldn’t be composed of a wide variety of ages (that’s part of the fun), but age can be the source of some issues. Here are five common problems caused by age differences in junior teams and how to solve them: 1. It’s hard for advanced girls to advance further Problem: Playing with less-experienced girls can keep skaters from getting better, since they will be focused on the others’ development instead of their own. Solution: Separate your team into lines based on skill and size. This will ensure that players are skating with the people who will force them to push themselves and improve. 2. Little girls can be at a disadvantage Problem: Tinier skaters will often complain that they’re too little to compete with larger girls. Solution: As in #1, the best way to resolve this is to separate your teams into different lines based on both size and skill. Remind your little ones, though, that they can use their size to their

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advantage; instead of feeling weakened by their small stature they should feel empowered. They can become more agile than bigger girls and slip through the pack with ease. 3. Little girls can be immature Problem: Younger girls are often immature, which is fine since they’re just kids, but their love of goofing off can turn practice into a gaggle of giggling girls instead of an athletic training session. Solution: While derby should be fun, horseplay shouldn’t distract from gameplay – separate the skaters who are disrupting practice and have them stay in plank or skater position for a minute or so. It always works. 4. Older girls are too mature Problem: Some of the older skaters are bound to do things that pre-teens shouldn’t be doing. While what they do outside of the rink isn’t exactly a coach’s business, they shouldn’t be talking about it around little girls. Solution: Remind them of the influence they have on the other girls. Sometimes they forget that many of the little girls look up to them. Also, institute a team policy that forbids swearing and talking about illegal activities (underage drinking, for example.) They’ll be after-partying soon enough, but while they’re still juniors, they need to act like it. 5. Cliques Problem: While derby girls tend to be very accepting of each other, age differences can result in cliques within the team. Solution: Have team bonding activities throughout the season like a day at the beach or a sleepover where girls can interact with all of the other skaters.

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the dos and don’ts for newbies

a survival guide for the new girl on the track AMBER RUSSELL, BOULDER COUNTY BOMBERS

Welcome to the exciting world of roller derby! I know it can be scary to lace up your skate boots for the first time, but trust me... in a matter of weeks, you won’t want to take them off. I started roller derby only a few months ago and it is now a significant part of my life. What started as an outlet for stress soon led to new friendships, better health, and the development of my inner derby goddess. It isn’t an easy journey, but if you can hang in there, the payoff is life changing. So here are some tips, from a fellow Newbie, to make your transition into a derby rock star a little easier.


DO: show respect Volunteers are the heart of roller derby. Without them the sport would not exist. Referees, coaches, trainers, you name it, are all in this for the love of the sport. It is important to show respect for their time and dedication to your league. It may seem like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how often we forget common courtesy. Always show up to practice on time, with all of your gear, ready to skate. During practice, keep chatter to a minimum – you can’t listen to your trainer if you’re talking to your neighbor (don’t worry; there will be plenty of time to socialize at all of your awesome derby events). Remember, your trainer is volunteering their time so you can learn and become better; so give it your all. You don’t have to be perfect, but you are expected to try your best.


DO: stay positive This is not an easy sport. Most women haven’t been on skates in decades; it takes a while to get over those baby deer wobbles. It’s totally normal; we have all been there. It is easy to get frustrated and get down on yourself, but this won’t make you feel better and it won’t make you a better skater. Instead, stay positive. You are learning a new skill. It will take time. Celebrate the small accomplishments along the way! Whether it’s your first crossover or a successful t-stop, be proud!


DO: pay attention to your body Derby is intense, especially your first practice. Pay attention to your body and know your limits. We do not want injuries! If you are struggling with a drill, communicate that to your trainer. Chances are they will be able to modify the drill to fit your

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needs. If for some reason you can’t continue, tell your trainer and skate at a mild speed around the track until you are able to rejoin the group. Watching from the sidelines is typically not appreciated unless you are unable to skate. Also make sure you hydrate before, during, and after practice. You will sweat a lot!


DO: reach out

You’ll quickly find out that roller derby is more than a sport, it’s a community. If life starts getting rough, don’t hesitate to reach out to your league members. From helping with health issues, child care, or just being a shoulder to cry on, these women are great! Many leagues have a committee specifically designed to help members going through tough times. As contradictory as it sounds, derby is an incredibly nurturing environment; so don’t be afraid to reach out and hug your derby ladies.


DO: check your ego at the door As a “Newb” in the derby world, it is important that you present yourself and your derby skills humbly. You may have seen “Whip It” a hundred times, but trust me, this does not make you a derby expert. If you strut into your first practice swinging your spanking new Ridells in the air like you own the place, you will definitely rub some people the wrong way. Instead, be honest and be yourself. We all start from the bottom. As long as you show up to practice with a level head and a desire to learn, you will be absolutely fine.


DON’T: claim a name It’s time to talk about the all important “Derby Name.” Every league has their own policy, but in generally it’s wise not to walk into your first practice demanding to be called, “Hot N. Bothered” (or what have you). This is a surefire way to upset your future teammates. Derby names are a lot of fun, and to be completely honest, we all fantasize about the perfect derby name months before we are WFTDA... but wait on announcing it. Typically you get your name after you pass your WFTDA test. Hang on to that perfect name until you’ve earned your place in the league. No one likes to wait, but think of how great it will feel when you pass WFTDA and you can proudly say to your fellow teammates, “I am Hot N. Bothered.”


DON’T: be a drama mama Yes, the estrogen is flowing, but that is not an excuse for bringing excessive drama to the track. It is normal for any team-based sport to have frustrations between teammates, but it is important to keep things civil for your team and for the sport of derby. Remember, we are all adults, and should act as such. Avoid bad mouthing other players, teams, referees, etc. We are all here to have fun and enjoy the awesomeness of derby. So keep it clean, positive, and fun for everyone.


DON’T: be afraid to ask questions No one expects you to enter your first practice with an extensive knowledge of roller derby. There are a lot of skating techniques that you have probably never seen, let alone attempted. The biggest concern of a trainer is to make sure you learn how to play the sport safely, so if you don’t

understand a specific drill or one of the rules, ask them. You will learn the skills better, gain a better understanding of roller derby, and keep the game safe for yourself and everyone else.


DON’T: skimp on the knee pads Seriously! You will fall a lot. This is an important place to invest a little extra money to make sure you are getting good equipment. It may cost a little more up front, but in the long run, your knees will thank you! DON’T: give up There will be days when you’ll question your sanity. Derby is challenging, time consuming, and at times, painful. But if you can stick with it and push yourself, you will find it is worth it. Not only will you be part of America’s fastest growing women’s sport, you’ll gain friendships, confidence, and a rocking derby bod. | Winter 2012 | 41


crash course B E T T Y B E R E T TA , D E T R O I T D E R B Y G I R L S

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and signals the start of a “partial” or “grand mal” seizure. This was all a result of my concussion injury the previous year. This news was like a bomb. I have had to ease back into school, work, and social activities. I learned very quickly I was not allowed to drink any more when I had a seizure prompted by alcohol consumption. I have to get sleep and eat well. I have to wear my glasses at night and when reading. I am not allowed to drive. I am nervous at work and in social situations, wondering if I will have a seizure. I take ten to fourteen pills a day for Epilepsy and the side effects of all the medication. However, I have been seeking and integrating holistic care into my maintenance routine. It has been a rollercoaster of emotion that cycles through regret, guilt, anger, frustration, and sadness. Retiring from derby has been the biggest heartbreak. Derby taught me that I am capable of attending college. I learned the meaning of perseverance by pushing through mental weakness. The derby community has provided a safe haven in which to grow. I felt the need to protect my jammers as a pivot, not just for points, but because I sincerely care for them. Being on the track with the Devil’s Night Dames embodied teamwork. I wanted to be good for them. I was never All-Star quality, but gave my all to my team. I should’ve made better choices, starting with helmet replacement and safety awareness. I should’ve rested after minor concussions. It took almost a year to inform my doctor of my new, more intense symptoms. I know that feeling of determination to get back out there, no matter what our bodies tell us. I also know how hard it is for coaches, officials, and leaguemates to bench an insistent player who simply wants to skate. I hope you read this, think about my situation, and exclaim, “I would never!” If you can relate to my behavior, I urge you to choose a different course. Even though concussions are a current focus of the WFTDA and gear companies, the most important protagonist for responsibility of our health is self. Find me on the ole’ book of faces under “Betty Beretta” if you want to chat!

Joe Schwartz /

In 2010, my league temporarily moved from a practice space with springboard wooden floors to one with concrete floors. While practicing with my home team, I took a well-executed hit to the chest and fell, slamming my head into the ground. Everything went blurry and I felt nauseous and dizzy. Like many derby skaters, I balance college, work, skating, and league commitments. The week after my injury, my workload became unmanageable. It was difficult to concentrate and focus. My roommate is a doctor and suggested I see a Neurologist for an evaluation. I begrudgingly went two weeks after the incident and was diagnosed with a concussion. The doctor gave me some pills for the side effects and told me to rest. After another three weeks, I was able to go back to school and received the “all clear” to return to the track. Over the next year, odd things began to happen. I experienced deja vu and anxiety attacks. It was terrifying. I felt like I had been in the moment and something horrific was about to happen; an inexplicable impending doom. I continued to have a hard time focusing in school and my grades were reflecting this. Again, my roommate suggested I see a neurologist to have an EEG. The test results came back normal. My primary doctor thought treating me for anxiety would help. Three months later, I had my first seizure in class. It was finals week and I was stressed, sick, and sleep deprived. During the first five minutes of class, the deja vu returned. It felt like being in a horror movie. It was intense, and I felt like I had to run from the room. My heart was racing as I stood up and that’s all I remember. I woke up in an ambulance. I was trying to tell the paramedics I was okay, but they couldn’t understand anything I was saying, which is a common occurrence with seizures; one becomes incoherent to the listener. The neurologist scheduled a Long-Term EEG, which is similar to a normal EEG but requires hospitalization for testing over a longer period of time. Many times, the outpatient tests come back normal due to time restraints. I had to shave my head for the sensors to be attached. Visitors were to alert staff of seizure activity. My friends and family scheduled visits in four-hour shifts. If a visitor wasn’t available, I had to be restrained with leather straps for my safety. On the fourth day, I was diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. The deja vu was actually an “aura” | Winter 2012 | 43


how to build a team bond FEIST E. ONE, BOULDER COUNTY BOMBERS

There are only a few sports where you depend fully on your teammates for your safety and well-being. We all know the dangers of roller derby; every skater has signed a waiver at one point in her career that states that the activities of roller derby are very dangerous and can result in the risk of serious injury or death or property damage. Who would do this sport if you didn’t trust your teammates? Probably no one. Team bonding is about more than getting all the skaters on the league to like each other. In fact, there are probably some skaters on your team who would describe each other as “frenemies.” Although you may not always want to be around every single skater on your league, a bond still needs to be formed so skaters can trust that their physical (and sometimes mental and emotional) health will be in good hands. And once that bond forms, skaters usually end up genuinely liking each other. Bonding is also important to the success of a league. Godjammit said there are many ways success is defined for her league, Duke City Derby of Albuquerque, New Mexico. “I feel that my team defines success not only by how well we play together (win or lose) but how much fun, trust, and encouragement we feel from one another, as well,” she said. Sports are more than just winning and losing, and a lot of skaters will attest to the fact that the bonds they have formed with teammates have helped them with more than just

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winning or losing a bout. “I think there are also more subtle definitions of success: beating a team you aren’t supposed to beat, experiencing a level of cohesion not yet felt before, and seeing your teammates put in the extra effort to meet their goals are all measures of success,” said Hippy-Ki-Yay from the Nashville Rollergirls.

The greater the loyalty of a group toward the group, the greater is the motivation among the members to achieve the goals of the group, and the greater the probability that the group will achieve its goals. - Rensis Likert Here are five team bonding activities your league can do to build relationships, increase cooperation and help skaters gain each other’s trust. 1. host social activities off the track Getting to know a person helps to build a bond. Something like a love for cats or being a parent or loving the same music can create a bond between two people because they have something to share. Social activities, away from the track, are a great way to get to know skaters on your league and find these commonalities.

“My home team, the Dooms Dames, had a party at a teammate’s house where we barbecued, went swimming, and played Rock Band. We also let the home team, The Hobots, crash the party. It was a fun filled night,” said Kell’s Inferno of Duke City Derby. Some leagues enjoy karaoke, some enjoy hanging out at a local restaurant, and some like dancing. Movie nights and bowling are also fun activities where skaters can have time to talk with other league members. 2. hold non-skating competitions Derby players play derby because they are competitive. So have competitions – but off-skates. This will give skaters the opportunity to show off their other skills (we all know that skaters like to show off). And it will help build teamwork. So have that dodgeball game, water balloon fight, board game tournament, scavenger hunt, or softball game. The winner may be someone who doesn’t usually win the on-skates games, giving her a little confidence boost. 3. create team rituals No, not hazing the newbies. Hazing is illegal and there have been many instances of collegiate athletes being charged with crimes because of hazing incidents. Hazing has also been proven to have a negative effect on the cohesiveness of a team. However, bonding does need to start with the newbies. When a newbie is invested in the league, either by contributing to a league committee, finding her derby

wife, or by having a veteran mentor her, it is more likely she will continue to skate. “We have a Big Sister program that helps newbs assimilate into our league and our culture. It’s basically a mentoring program so that each newb has someone who

or humane society, or gathering up donations for children and families in need, will reinforce the feeling that “my fellow skaters are genuinely good people” and will increase the respect league members feel for each other. Not to mention, the league will

is personally invested in their success and [is] keeping an eye on their progress. We pair a newb with a vet, and while there isn’t a requirement that they bond socially, it Danyel “Shoot To Kill” Duncan does often happen that do skate maintenance, so why not do way,” said Hippy-Ki-Yay. it as a team? Not only is the whole One important ritual a team can team together for this, but it also create is a rules clinic. This will give gives another chance for the team

get credit for doing good in the community.

veterans an opportunity to interact with newbies while off-skates. Godjammit, the newbie coordinator for her league, invites newbies out after their practices so they can learn and discuss rules. Eating before a bout is essential and something that the whole team will enjoy. Even though preparing for a bout is different for every skater, a carb-loading meal a day or two before a bout can help all skaters get mentally prepared for a bout. Skaters who like to talk derby before a bout can strategize together through the whole meal, while the others can talk about work/family/kids/life, help prepare the meal, or play Wii or Xbox. This gettogether will also allow the coach and captains a chance to give a motivating talk and get everyone thinking about what they need to do together. Plus, who doesn’t like food? Before a bout is also a great time to

to be together off the track. And what is more of a ritual than an afterparty? At bouts, the announcers are always inviting friends, family, and fans to join the skaters at the afterparty. The afterparty gives the veterans, newbies, NSOs, referees, announcers, and volunteers a chance to eat and drink together. The shenanigans that happen at after-parties will, at the very least, give everyone a common event they enjoyed together. 4. volunteer together Most leagues are civic-minded and like to give back to the community. “We [Nashville Rollergirls] do community service and charity events, as well, which is a fun way to bond while giving back to the community,” said Hippy-Ki-Yay. Organizing an event for all league members to attend, such as working at the local homeless shelter

5. spend the night together Nothing makes you get to know another person better than spending the night with them. This could be at a weekend tournament, an away bout, or a league retreat. When you have to spend almost every moment with someone for 24, 48, or 72 hours, you will probably have a lot of different feelings about that person. Most importantly, you will get to know them better. And, if at the end of the trip, you realize you still aren’t best friends, at least you know you haven’t killed them. “Going through the process of traveling together, being in a new place, and keeping an eye out for each other has definitely brought people closer. One of my favorite moments was at an away bout when our captain at the time told us that no matter where we were, we were home because we had each other,” said Hippy-Ki-Yay. So start your league’s season off right and set up a team bonding event. Get to know a newbie or sit down with someone on the other home team of your league. You will find that the increased bond between skaters off the track will transfer over to teamwork on the track. | Winter 2012 | 45


derby burnout part two 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

STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING DERBY BURNOUT Mitigating the physical, emotional, and mental demands of roller derby In the last issue of fiveonfive we discussed burnout and the ways to recognize it. Here are some ways to prevent and reduce it! Part 1: Physical Burnout – Chronic injuries, over-training, skate fast /turn left Pre-determined off-season for rest and recuperation. This is often a hard sell because most leagues are driven to be more competitive. New skaters want to get on a team. Veteran skaters want to be on the all-star team. All-star veterans want to protect their roster spot. There are endless reasons why skaters often refuse to take a break. Yet, even professional athletes take time off from training at certain points throughout the year because their bodies need a break. When overtraining, the body cannot repair itself fast enough. After a long season the body needs a real break for healing. Take home message: Sit down with your league’s annual calendar and pick at least a few weeks that makes the most sense for your league to take a break. Using the league’s official calendar gives authority and “freedom” for skaters to feel okay taking a break. Remember, a break means no practice and (sometimes) no planned events. Emphasize or provide opportunities for cross training. Opportunities for cross training – such as yoga, cycling, and swimming – vary greatly depending on your league’s location, climate, and resources. Cross training options are endless; the point is to spend time on a regular basis doing physical training that is not skate fast / turn left. Cross training helps to balance the inequities in the body from our uni-directional sport, maintains an overall higher level of fitness and strength, and critically, helps with injury prevention. Virtually every top-ranked derby league in the world makes cross training a priority; the proof is in the pudding Coaching staff includes certified athletic trainer (or equivalent) to ensure safe and appropriate training program. A lot of leagues, especially newer ones, rely heavily on the internet for information about physical training. The internet can be a great resource but it can also create or

46 | Winter 2012 |

contribute to injuries and physical burnout if a league’s training program doesn’t have guidance or oversight by a certified athletic trainer or other sports medicine related professional. This is especially true for skaters with injuries since they need periodic adjustments to their workout to prevent further injury or complications. Also certified trainers and other professionals are able to provide sound advice about preventing injuries through proper form and technique. So how do you get an athletic trainer? Chances are high that your league is relatively close to a school with organized sports of some kind – whether it’s a university, community college, high school, or even a YMCA. Any facility like this with a sports program has coaches and trainers that must have a minimum level of experience and education in athletic training or sports medicine. Introduce yourself, make friends with their trainers or athletic director, and invite them to one of your league’s practices. Inspire them to volunteer as a trainer or coach, or perhaps lead a weekly off-skates practice. Incite them to contribute by offering free season tickets, appearing at their gym, or volunteering your league for a “clean up day” if the trainer works for a school. Part 2: Emotional and Mental Burnout: Overloaded, derby is a chore instead of being fun Adequate resources to manage complaints and conflict resolution among members. Most leagues have a grievance committee of some kind. The purpose is for league members to feel empowered to ask for help when things get heated rather than letting things stew and eventually blow up. It fosters a sense of positive communication and community building, which is a great strategy for increasing everyone’s resiliency to burnout because league members are committed to helping each other. Pre-determined off-season for rest and recuperation. Determining an official off-season isn’t good for preventing just physical burnout, but emotional and mental burnout, as well. Being part of derby is more than just skating; it’s also being a part-time community organizer. An off-season provides

non-skating volunteers time off as well. Because most leagues

and ride my bike to at least one practice a week. Can I do that?

have a home and travel team season, if there is no scheduled break, referees and NSOs could be working year round. The same goes for other non-skating folks who volunteer as league committee members, errand runners, merch table wranglers, and the myriad others. The easiest way to include these folks in your leagues’ off-season break is to block out a single chunk of time where the entire league takes a break. No practices, no events, no fundraisers, just time off. Even with a pre-determined break, there are still a few league jobs – like the board of directors – that don’t get to “check out” during that time. If starting to feel the symptoms of burnout, individuals in these positions need to speak up and ask for a limited time off from their duties (say, a month off once a year) to recharge. As a board member (F-Bomb) of the largest derby league in the world, I’ve definitely hit the wall a few times and needed to take a step back. Without these breaks, I probably would have quit all together from exhaustion. Which brings us to our next prevention method: Set boundaries and realistic expectations Setting boundaries starts with knowing yourself. After some time in the derby world, we get a sense of what can be our derby-load level; pick the jobs you can reasonably take on and adequately manage (in addition to your skating schedule), and stick to them. Know when an additional task (or practice) is too much, even if it’s difficult to tell the person asking you to take it on “no.” Set realistic expectations. Don’t let them be free-floating vague ideas. Make them concrete and even write them down. It will be easier to check in with yourself if you have determined what your expectations are. I (Pistol) would like to do a hundred extra things than required practices to train for derby, from going to yoga five times a week to reading books on sports psychology. If I constantly approach derby from that angle, I get overwhelmed (because of course I can’t do all that, or at least not for very long) and quickly burn out. So I return to my baseline expectations: what can I almost always expect of myself that is reasonable but still pushes me? My baseline expectations are to go to every regular practice (three a week and no extras), push myself within practice,

Yes. Does it still push me? Yes. This is my baseline. I often do more, but when I feel overwhelmed, run down, or busy with work, I return to these expectations and can feel satisfied that I’m doing what I reasonably can while pushing myself. Many derby folks struggle with the idea that we need to stay on top of everything all the time. Know that when you need to, for a couple weeks, just show up and skate (or show up and ref, or show up and NSO). The team will not fall apart if you can’t read and respond to every email. If it’s something urgent, someone will remind you. By no means is that license to be the teammate who never reads email or picks up a spare job. But when you need to take two or three weeks to take care of life, understand that your team will be there to help keep things running. This goes in cycles, so when you have the time to stay on top of everything, do it, because someone else is taking their step back. Be kind to yourself. Have a creative practice. We all have those days: work was rough, you started your period and there’s a ring of water weight around your belly, it’s raining, and god damn it you just want to curl up on the couch and eat some cookies. Is your attendance 30%? Then there’s a problem. Is it 98-110%? Take the night off. Derby is a delicate balance of always pushing ourselves – physically and mentally – without spilling into a rigid burden. Being kind also means not comparing yourself to others. There will always be someone who skates faster, hits harder, and jumps higher. So forget them, and set your expectations for yourself. Set your own goals, determine those reasonable expectations, and plug away. It can be so easy to get consumed by the wonderful world of derby. It provides us with so much: community, opportunity, and a continuous way to build our inner strength. But it is important to keep other outlets to stay content and healthy, especially for those days when you’re having a hard time with derby. Keep a minimal-effort daily creative outlet, like journal writing, knitting or crafting. Find something that you enjoy that can turn your brain off a little bit and center you. It will help keep you sane and skating! | Winter 2012 | 47

remembering those we have lost Chola Loca #1/2

Cheapshot Dot #K0

Two Bit Score #11001

aka Toni Torres 1975-2011 River City Dames of Anarchy

aka Dorothy Woods 1966-2011 Saskatoon Roller Derby League

aka Phil Tyre 1973-2012 Tallahassee RollerGirls

Mama Mash Bash #594

Jennacidal Tendencies #28

Half Pint O'Rage #13 ½

aka Alicia Teare 1975-2012 London Rollergirls

aka Jen Girtman 1975-2012 Cherry City Derby Girls

aka Amiee Bernard 1981-2012 New Hampshire Roller Derby

Ref D’Mona

Fojammi #9

Silent DisASHter #911

aka Joanne Hall 1970-2012 Fair City Rollers

aka Dan Stefacek 1958-2012 Arch Rival Roller Girls

aka Ashleigh Villagomez 1985-2012 Angel City Derby Girls Derby Revolution Bakersfield Bakersfield Junior Roller Derby

you will never be forgotten!

Thank you to Oscar the Roach for creating “the final jam” yahoo group – If we’ve missed anyone, please let us know.

48 | Winter 2012 |


dynamic sports academy C OA C H A D R I A N K L E M E N S , DY N A M I C S P O RT S A C A D E M Y

Since February this year, the London Rollergirls have been taking part in a different kind of off-skates training. We are the Dynamic Sports Academy (DSA), based in London, UK, and we have created a special program designed specifically for roller derby. At DSA, we work with athletes of all levels and from all sports. We were approached by the London Rollergirls who had heard of our training programs and wanted to work with us. This has formed an amazing relationship producing excellent results and has now lead to DSA working with roller derby athletes from all over the world through our Long Distance training programs. Stefanie Mainey, LRG’s head of training and current captain of Team England, has been attending the sessions since they began. “DSA’s roller derby-specific training program has caused a seismic change in how the London Rollergirls approach training,” she says. “In just a short time, we are stronger, faster, and more agile thanks to the program.” what DSA felt was missing in LRG’s physical capability Prior to beginning work with LRG, the DSA staff did a lot of research by attending training sessions and bouts, and reviewing footage online of both LRG and their opponents. This allowed DSA to understand the movement patterns and physical requirements for the sport of roller derby, and what elements would need to be worked on, so LRG could become the best roller athletes possible. It was established that there were an inherent weakness with nearly all roller derby players; by going in only one direction, all athletes would have a strong and a weak leg. Also, speed, agility, and power are key to the sport, and the LRG athletes needed, in general, to get stronger and faster. DSA’s initial goal was to even out the leg imbalance to create a solid base from which to work. Creating a solid, even base meant we were able to increase core control and strength, and in turn increase full body strength. This increase in core strength means the athletes are able to withstand contact better and also deliver bigger hits. You can have amazingly strong legs and a great upper body, but if the link between the two is weak, all the power is wasted.

50 | Winter 2012 |

As in any contact sport, there is a high risk of injury, so DSA also works in exercises and movements designed to aid injury prevention and increase the durability of an athlete. how DSA planned to fix this DSA aimed to design something that was highly productive and fun. LRG train onsite with us once a week and many of them are also on the DSA-Long Distance program where they receive weekly strength and speed programs to do in their local gyms or at home. The program designed by the staff combines standard exercises with new ones designed by DSA specifically for roller derby athletes. The strength program uses compound exercises, such as squats, combined with roller specific movements like skater stance speed lunges, tuck lunges, and skater jumps. In addition to normal gym equipment, DSA uses some not-so-common pieces of equipment onsite, such as yolk squat bars (safety squat bars), lifting chains, and viper belts, to get the most out of their athletes. The speed work focuses on fast twitch muscle fiber generation, co-ordination and correction/enforcement of correct body mechanics. This involves straight line sprinting, agility drills, ladder drills, cross drills, plyometrics, and more. We place equal emphasis on strength and speed training in our training sessions, as they are required in equal measure in the sport of roller derby. creating total athletes At DSA, our approach is always to create the Total Athlete. The physical components are only part of the solution, so we brought a new approach to LRG’s derby training that includes mental conditioning, iVision training, and nutritional advice. We hold regular mental conditioning workshops for LRG athletes and cover topics, such as time management, goal setting, arousal/anxiety regulation, and more. Within training sessions, we’ve also extensively discussed the use of self-talk and communication/team work, and actively encourage them in every session. We have multiple mental conditioning staff who walk the room during sessions and help athletes develop these skills.

iVision training is the development of visual abilities and reaction times specific to an athlete’s sport. We are one of the few organizations in the world offering iVision training at present, and the results from this type of training can be directly related to performance improvement. Our iVision training program focuses on visual search development, tracking capabilities, focus, and eye speed, to name a few. It improves a skater’s peripheral vision and allows them to spot jammers, holes in walls, and other tactical advantages while decreasing their reaction time. A nutritional review of athletes has formed a key part of their development. This has ranged from general nutrition and sleeping pattern analysis to increase their general health, to more detailed planning around training/bout nutrition to maximize performance. “Rubbish In = Rubbish Out” is an idea we use a lot to make sure athletes understand that the fuels and rest they give their bodies impact the quality of training and performance. results All the athletes who have regularly trained with DSA, both onsite and via our Long Distance programs, have seen excellent results. The athletes have become noticeably stronger and faster on the track. This was demonstrated in London Brawling’s recent hard-fought bout against Team USA (in which London scored one of the highest points tally of any team who’ve faced the mighty USA) and their excellent performance at the East Region Playoffs – where they finished fourth, two spots above their sixth-place seeding. Kamikaze Kitten, captain of London Brawling, said, “The physical and mental results from training at the DSA have been mind blowing. I didn’t expect the results to be so dramatic, especially as I was already training hard by myself. I’ve found the training to be inspiring and challenging, and the staff really push you to your limits to get the best out of you.” The sessions are for more than the league’s top players, however, and are attended by members of all levels – as well as referees, NSOs, and members of the recreational league. Each individual is able to work at a level that ensures their own personal development. LRG’s results on the track are proof that a well-balanced and properly designed off-skates program can greatly improve an athlete’s/team’s speed and power on the track. DSA have only been working with LRG for a few months, so the rest of the world should be prepared for them in 2013.

photos by Steve Brown (

If you’d like DSA to help you/your team become faster and stronger, contact | Winter 2012 | 51

art and media

good video can help your league TO D D B R A D L E Y, E X P L O D I N G C O R P S E P R O D U C T I O N S

The past few issues of fiveonfive magazine had articles about photography in roller derby. I’m here to talk to you about videography in roller derby. I’m a filmmaker and videographer who became a fan of derby three years ago, and I’ve spent a lot of my time since then on video projects related to the sport and the people who play it. To some, video seems to

scrimmage and practice video I’m lucky to be from Denver, the only city in the world with two Top 10 roller derby teams. During the 2012 season, I did some video work for both of them, including shooting some cross town scrimmages. Skaters from both teams told me how helpful those videos were in focusing their training efforts.

be more mysterious than still photos. On the Roller Derby Photographers forum on Facebook there were about 300 members who do still photography, but only about ten who do video. Let me walk you through the ways good videography can help your roller derby league. If you’re with a wellestablished league, you’re probably already doing many of these things. But for those of you in new leagues, this will be good food for thought at your next public relations or marketing committee meeting.

Throughout the season, I also shot most of the weekly league scrimmages for one of the leagues. One new transfer skater pulled me aside during scrimmage to thank me and tell me what a benefit she gets from the videos each week. Her old team didn’t have good scrimmage videos and she feels it’s a competitive advantage for her new team.

live broadcast Every top 25 team has had bouts broadcast online by, DNN volunteers, or someone else. Why? Because fans love it, of course. For people in remote places, watching derby online is often the only chance to see it. I’ve found that some leagues care more about their remote fans, and some care less. If yours is one that wants your fans in other cities to be able to watch your bouts, put ‘em online. And when you’re traveling, there’s no better way to keep fans at home engaged than to help them tune in to your bouts. Some major leagues like Gotham, LADD, Rose City, and Minnesota have their own in-house video crew to do professional-quality broadcasts. Those take several people and lots of fancy gear. But leagues that don’t have that can still do basic online broadcasts on a small budget. Derby News Network was the pioneer of derby webcasts on a dime, and DNN co-founder Hurt Reynolds loves teaching newcomers how to do it. All you need are volunteers with camera skill, one or more digital video cameras with tripods, a good internet connection at your venue, a modern computer (Windows or Mac), and some software you can download for free. If you can scrounge up those basics, you can broadcast your own bouts.

52 | Winter 2012 |

Of course, the benefits aren’t limited to just skaters. Both skating and non-skating officials can learn from reviewing their performance in scrimmages. Of course, the benefits aren’t limited to just skaters. Both skating and non-skating officials can learn from reviewing their performance in scrimmages. And coaches on many teams I’ve met review scrimmage (and bout) videos to help decide which skaters to roster and which need more work. event promotion and marketing There is a wide world of crappy videos on YouTube, but leagues are also using online video as a way of promoting upcoming events. In some areas, local leagues make a TV ad for their upcoming bout and then post the same ad to YouTube, on their website, etc. But even leagues that don’t advertise on television make promotional videos they can spread through social media. Anyone can do this sort of thing with a basic consumer video camera and software like iMovie. Of course there’s a big difference between just making a video and making a good video. If your league is lucky enough to have a staff

Joe Schwartz /

videographer – either paid or volunteer – then you’re probably already producing promo videos. If you don’t have a league videographer, then why not create a position in the organization for one next season? Then do some recruiting and get someone on board with a background in video, or who has time and motivation to learn. One type of video fans love to watch is what I think of as a highlight reel. This is where a videographer shoots footage of a bout and then edits it to emphasize the most dramatic action and most emotionally-charged moments. Usually there’s music, and sometimes there’s narration from an athlete interview. A videographer working on this kind of project shoots

in a very different style than for live broadcast, and good video of one type really doesn’t work well for the other. The benefit of highlights reels (sometimes called recap videos or feature videos) is they can draw in newcomers to the sport quicker than watching an entire 90-minute live broadcast. Editing is a wonderful tool. A final word to videographers just getting into roller derby: the Association of Roller Derby Photographers also includes videographers. Contact me ( for information about how to join, and you’ll be able to meet and chat with 350 other photographers and videographers. Come learn from our mistakes! | Winter 2012 | 53

art and media

This mosaic is made of 6500 roller derby photos taken over the past 6+ years by Nicolas Charest. The player portrayed on the large image is Percy Galore, an explayer of the Riot Girls, a home team of the Terminal City Roller Girls (Vancouver, BC). The mosaic can be explored in greater details at

56 | Winter 2012 | | Winter 2012 | 57

art and media

“I Know A Girl... Who Skates Roller Derby!" P E LV I S C O S T E L L O , B O S TO N D E R B Y DA M E S

“I am sure plenty of adventures are in store.” When I was sent I Know a Girl... Who Skates Roller Derby, I was told it was a children’s book. Beside the fact that a PlayStation 3 and Wii flank my living room television, I’m not exactly the demographic for the genre and that made me concerned I would be overly critical. In truth, Robert Anderson (who is a fellow announcer, “DeNouncer Dude”) wrote a really cute book. Reading that sentence almost made me cringe, too, but let’s all push our chairs back from the cynical table and think about that. Is “cute” a bad thing for little girls? The book weighs in with a little over four hundred words, with large illustrations from Emmanuel Hernaez doing their part to tell this first-person story from the perspective of the ginger-haired jammer that’s featured on nearly every page. The art has a messy, sketched look to it that I enjoy. But the speed and pace of this book is right for first-year readers. It’s not Seuss, but Anderson does a good job bringing us this upbeat, fun look at roller derby suitable for a young kid’s understanding of the world, and were it not for I Know a Girl... I would have been repeatedly checking my email while waiting for Dread to save her Skyrim game and hand me the controller. Get it for that little girl who wants to be something other than a princess, because there are way more derby leagues than there are kingdoms. available for purchase at

58 | Winter 2012 | | Winter 2012 | 59

60 | Winter 2012 | 1. Belt is missing from red skater in center. 2. Graphic is missing from back of right side skater’s helmet. 3. Skulls are missing from right side skater’s tights. 4. Sock stripes are missing from red skater in center. 5. Red skater #25 is now #26. 6. Stripe on skirt is missing from red skater on left. 7.Sock is now purple on right side skater.

Nicolas Charest



BEST DAMN ARM BANDS – PERIOD! | Winter 2012 | 63

©2011 The Leather Scent

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



November 23-December 21

May 21-June 20

Friends that used to be enemies, enemies that used to be friends – the roller coaster of emotions are enough to make a person want to move to cave. But sadly there is no derby in a cave. This is where your heart is. Roll with the changes. Life will continue to be interesting and fun if you experience with an open heart and mind.

Feeling lucky lately? No? Well good, because all the awesome things happening in your life are a result of your hard work and perseverance. Keep up the momentum. There are more awesome opportunities coming your way. Yes, some of it is being in the right place at the right time, but the majority of it is all you baby!



December 22-January 19

Have you cleaned your bearings lately? You’ve been putting in so much time on the track and just throwing your gear into the bag when done it is starting to feel the wear and tear. By thinking of your gear as extensions of your body you will be rewarded in more than just smelling better, you’ll be skating better too.

June 21-July 22

Just when you think some past business is done and gone, it creeps back out to demand more attention. As easy as it would be to ignore it or let someone else handle it, don’t. It won’t take as long as you are dreading to wrap up the loose ends. Once done you’ll feel mentally much lighter and will be ready to take on a new challenge coming your way.

AQUARIUS January 20-February 19

When was the last time you just sat with yourself and found your inner peace? Now is the time to put you first. It will be hard, no doubt about that. Prioritize the loves and needs in your life, and realize there is enough room for more than one or two things. But don’t forget to put your health – mental and physical – on that list in order to keep your energy up to be able to enjoy the loves in your life.

PISCES February 20-March 20

It’s that time of year – the time when long-time skaters disappear and new faces appear in their place. It has been bothering you more this year than in the past because the feeling of burnout has been creeping its way into your mind as well. Don’t let it get to the point where you get angry at the thought of another practice. Whatever decision you make – be it to stay or to put this part of your life behind you – do it with a peaceful mind.

ARIES March 21-April 19

The communication gap between you and some loved ones has been frustrating for you. They are having trouble understanding what you have been asking for even though, to you, it seems very simple. Not everyone is as observant or as good at noticing the small nuances in body language as you are. Be clear and concise in what you are asking of them and the air will clear again.

TA U R U S April 20-May 20

The goals you have picked for yourself in the past are too easy, and you know it. Place the bar much higher and don’t be afraid to fall. Use your stubborn nature to your advantage and push through the winter blahs that tend to sneak up on you this time of year. You will see progress when you look back on all the work you’ve done. 68 | Winter 2012 |

LEO July 23-August 22

You need to stop hanging on to the bad energy, the obsession to be perfect at every position, the anger at others for being better at something you want to be best at, and the self-doubt that it is creating. Once you accept that you are you and you have strengths others don’t, you will grow into an amazing player that your team needs. Take all the negative thoughts and leave them on the track to be rolled over into oblivion. It might take more than a few practices, but it can be done.

VIRGO August 23-September 22

Go ahead – take on those tasks you have always felt were unworkable. Now is the time to change your thinking and make the impossible a reality. Your naturally analytical mind is perfect for moving that stinker of a project forward. Be careful not to be too ridged in your thinking. That is the only thing that could derail what will be an important project for you.

LIBRA September 23-October 23

Good or bad, you can deal with just about anything thrown your way. It’s the unknown choices that you can’t make yet that are driving you crazy. The decisions will settle themselves in due time. Live within what is happening in the here and now. It will make one less decision to make later on.

SCORPIO October 24-November 22

Enjoy being spoiled for once. Don’t second guess the intentions behind the attention like you normally do. Let yourself be happy in the moment and life will start looking more positive – and being more positive.

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fiveonfive | issue 18 | Winter 2012  

fiveonfive | issue 18 | Winter 2012