WOMENâ€™S FLAT TRACK ROLLER DERBY MAGAZINE ISSUE 20, SUMMER 2013
proud partner of the WFTDA
fiveonfive contents 34-35
ask ms d’fiant and suzy hotrod!
WFTDA Get the inside scoop on WFTDA’s tournament structure changes and find out how the organization is propelling tournament season to a new level.
6-9 business how to make a small league profitable introduction to derby law
derby nutrition a derby girl’s guide to concussion ACL injuries and prevention
10-15 health and fitness
18-23 games and coaching
Research Survey: How Body Image is Affected by Participation
statistic changes with the 2013 rules set teamwork once upon a plateau
Andrea Eklund, aka Professor Pain from Rodeo City Rollergirls and Dr. Barbara Masberg reveal the results of their research survey determining how body image is affected by participation. Some results may surprise you.
how to sell derby... for kids jrda
so many boots
36-39 junior derby
50-51 The Retirement Struggle Someday, you will have to retire from roller derby. Gasp! Find out how Punchy O’Guts of Maine Roller Derby dealt with the life-changing decision to hang up her skates.
40-41 rookie Lisa Burke Photography
how to stand out in the fresh meat pool
52 international derby 56-60 art and media
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 kay oss whidbey island rollergirls miss dee meaner dallas derby devils sonic death monkey rocky mountain rollergirls jenn hronkin, m.d. catholic cruel girl rocky mountain rollergirls cruisin’ b. anthony steel city derby demons harmaknee big easy rollergirls coach j sin east side roller girlz dee stortion boston derby dames la petite mort fast girl skates shelly shankya ICT roller girls nechole culp damzel dolls tanya procknow jrda frisky sour rose city rollers professor pain rodeo city rollergirls lebron shames chicago bruise brothers punchy o’guts maine roller derby master blaster bear city roller derby daniel whitaker nashville rollergirls feist e. one boulder county bombers cover photo nicolas charest nicolascharest.com fiveonfive magazine firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/fiveonfive fiveonfivemag.com The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the contributing writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of fiveonfive magazine.
from the editor Welcome to the 20th issue of fiveonfive magazine!
In May, I had the opportunity to represent fiveonfive at Fort Wayne’s annual Spring Roll tournament, and I was elated to discover how easy it was to rejoin the derby community. When I hung up my skates a few years ago, I was glad I had fiveonfive to keep me connected, but even with the quarterly updates, I felt out of touch. For years, I poured all of my energy into my league and WFTDA. Retirement left me faced with a gaping hole that was difficult to fill. I’m not one to sit around, so eventually that time was filled with new volunteer opportunities, but I missed my derby friends. Being at Spring Roll brought it all back. Sure, the sport has moved forward and people have come and gone, but the same sense of community remains. It was a bittersweet feeling to immerse myself for an entire weekend. Those who have faced retirement can relate. For those who haven’t, I encourage you to check out Punchy O’Guts’ article, The Retirement Struggle, on pages 50 and 51. She eloquently captures the struggle between loving the sport and needing to move on. Though I’ve moved on, a large part of my heart remains with the sport and this magazine, and I am so grateful for that remaining connection. Spring Roll also offered me a chance to connect with the next generation of Roller Derby skaters, as JRDA skaters approached the fiveonfive table. The enthusiasm these young women and girls have for the sport is contagious, and I loved seeing their excitement as they flipped through the pages of our latest issue. I think the future of our sport is in good hands... which also makes it easier for some of us vets to walk away. Roller derby will be okay, folks. This issue is chock full of other great articles. I especially enjoyed the insider views offered in Andy Frye’s article, Talking About the Competition, on pages 48 and 49, in which roller derby stars like Juke Boxx and Jackie Daniels dish about their derby competitors. For Junior Derby fans, pages 38 and 39 outline all the exciting plans in the works for Junior Con, which will take place in my hometown, Fort Wayne, Indiana, July 12-14. Have a story idea? Let us know about it. We’d love to hear from you. Email us at email@example.com. Miss Jane Redrum Fort Wayne Derby Girls Fort Wayne, IN firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks to our contributors who come from all over the roller derby community and share their knowledge based on their countless hours of dedication to this sport! Check out additional contributors at fiveonfivemag.com.
Kay Oss Kay Oss made the transition from super fan of the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls to a derby girl herself a year and half ago. Now she skates for and runs the Whidbey Island Rollergirls out of Washington State. While her time on skates has been short, she brings to the track a lifetime of freeskiing and snowkiting and the organization involved with running sports events.
Dee Stortion Dee Stortion has been skating since she was a little girl. In 2007, her love for roller derby started while watching the Boston Massacre skate. Watching them, she dreamed to one day skate like that. At the time, she lived in New Hampshire and there were no roller derby teams around so she founded the NH Roller Derby league. She was head coach of the NH Roller Derby League from its beginning until she transferred to Boston in 2010 and began her dream of skating and coaching with the Boston Derby Dames.
HarmAknee HarmAknee joined the Big Easy Rollergirls in 2010 and is now skating on the All Star team. She is the sponsorship manager, as well as WFTDA rep, with a job maintaining the stats repository. As a math and statistics teacher, she is fascinated (some would say obsessed) with the numbers of derby.
Coach J Sin Coach J Sin has been involved with womenâ€™s derby for three years. He started as an NSO and moved into coaching and currently coaches the East Side Roller GirlZ from Auburndale, Florida. He is also an NSO with Tampa Roller Derby. He has a passion for watching this sport become huge in the near future and hopes to still be coaching the next level of skaters.
Professor Pain Andrea Eklund, aka Professor Pain, is a coach for the Rodeo City Rollergirls in Ellensburg, Washington. She started with the league as a skater and after a major ankle injury, became a coach. Andreaâ€™s research background is in apparel design and body image. She is a professor at Central Washington University in the Apparel, Textiles and Merchandising program.
Gotham Girls Roller Derby New York, NY
Angel City Derby Girls Los Angeles, CA
DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, We have a few skaters who are very vocal at practices, giving instruction to our skaters that sometimes interferes with our coaching staff. How should our coaching staff and/or team captains approach these skaters and prevent future disruptions? -BAFFLED BETTY
DEAR BAFFLED, Tell them politely to keep their input to themselves. We have a rule for all practices: The only people talking, leading drills, and giving feedback are the two coaches leading practice that day. Our practice is really quiet when a drill is not happening. Skaters in attendance should just be listening. A lot of times other coaches are “off the clock” and attending practice and will offer their insight and opinions to the coaches leading practice discreetly while a drill is taking place. A hard rule like that will help immediately with nipping the too-many-voices thing in the bud. If you specifically have issues with someone who is not on the coaching committee regularly disrupting practice with their “expert” opinions, you may want your head of coaching to communicate with them about considering joining the coaching committee! Try to spin it in a positive way. I know our coaching committee has lots of different coaches who have different styles, but the committee works hard to develop a set curriculum and the clear way they prefer things to be taught. That could help with their possible bad habit teaching traits. The likelihood of actually getting the know-it-all to join the coaching committee is pretty slim. Realistically you probably don’t want that person on the coaching committee anyway. In our league, the skaters elect all the coaches. So that’s a great checks and balances to get the right people leading the league in practices. Individually you can make a difference. Be honest with her. Tell her you’re trying to follow the lead of the coach on duty. Or the least you can do is, don’t reject her feedback flat out because she really does mean well and wants to help you. Just make sure that you’re always following the lead of your coaching staff as your guide.
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DEAR BAFFLED, Zero tolerance is how my league deals with this situation. If you’re a skater on a team, you are not the coach and your place is not coaching. We also have a pretty extensive trainer-in-training program, so if you really want to coach, that is the place for you. Skaters interrupting practice is unacceptable. At Angel City, we have a huge banner that hangs over the bench of our practice space with our “Practice Commandments.” If anyone ever forgets, they only need to look up for a reminder. With my league’s permission, here are our Practice Commandments: 1) DON’T be a douche! 2) YOU should come equipped with skates, required safety gear, a water bottle, and a white and black shirt at every practice. 3) YOU are required to be geared up and on the track when practice begins. 4) Conduct all ACDG business before or after practice, not during. 5) NO ONE is to leave the track during drills unless instructed by the trainer leading practice. This includes water breaks. If you need to leave the group, you must ask the instructor for permission. 6) YOU are to at least try to accomplish the skills being taught. Regardless of your skill level, you must do the drills/strategies to the best of your ability. 7) NO side conversations while the trainer is explaining a drill. If you have questions about the drill or strategy being taught, wait for the appropriate time to ask questions. 8) If you have issues, questions, or comments regarding training, trainers, or other skaters (not relating to the current drill), email training AFTER practice. 9) NO talking back to Officials, Trainers, or fellow skaters. 10) NO foul language directed at anyone, including yourself. Maintain a positive attitude at all times. See that number 10? It’s an important one. Don’t even curse under your breath because it’s damaging to you, and your attitude is contagious at practice. We have every skater agree to these terms when she starts with our league and you can be asked to gear down if you’re caught breaking a rule. This kind of program only works if your league has a mutual goal and mission. I strongly suggest discussing with your league and setting guidelines to make practice the most effective and enjoyable for everyone.
DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, Every leagues has its ups and downs, and in some cases, people who love the sport decide to retire when it gets to be too much. Have you ever felt like you need a mental break from the sport? How have you persevered through the down times? -BEATING THE DERBY BLAHS
DEAR BTDB, I started skating in 2004. Most people never do anything that long in their entire life. I’ve done back to back college educations here. My derby career has lasted longer than some people’s marriages. Much like a marriage, your relationship with roller derby will change and grow, and also be put to the test. I have seen the sport go from seven girls in fishnets on brown rental skates, to the fastest growing women’s sport in the world. Talk about learning to adapt to changes. I’ve seen hundreds of great women come and go through roller derby’s doors. Some of them I love dearly as friends, and I miss them. But there are two things that keep me going: the bond I share with my retired league mates that only we understand because we created roller derby together; and second, the bond I personally have to playing the sport itself. Whenever something is upsetting to me, no matter what it is, nothing is so wrong that it wins out over the feeling I get when I actually put on my uniform and play in a bout. Yes, there are times when I really don’t want to be at practice and I watch the clock the whole time. Yes, there are times when I find myself saying, “Remember when this used to be fun?” Yes, sometimes I don’t get along with my teammates, but I have yet to find anything to ruin roller derby enough for me that playing an actual bout doesn’t just erase my mind and put me in a skate of pure joy. Here’s my take on mental health. I live my life knowing that I can walk away. If I chose to walk away, I will have a full and meaningful life in whatever I do. If I chose to walk away, I can look back on what I have accomplished and say, “Wow, I am proud of all the things I accomplished playing roller derby.” I value specific people around me as true friends rather than teammates and know that if I no longer skated, we would still hang out and grow old together. I take pride in my day job. Yeah, sometimes I curse my day job and day dream of playing roller derby for a living, but I am proud that I’m college educated and I’ve been successful finding work I enjoy doing. I take care of my body and do other kinds of exercise when I need a break from derby because I know I will always want to sweat every day no matter what makes me sweat. Finally, a concrete action, I started playing pinball. It is my mental break from roller derby and I look forward to playing it every Tuesday night. Find your own pinball. Be happy.
DEAR BTDB, I bought my first pair of quads in 2005 to start a roller derby league. Since that time, I’ve never once felt the need to walk away. However, I may be fortunate that having two children have forced me to take a step back. In both of those cases, I was very aware of how my priorities were going to change. That seems to be the key to me, what are your priorities? Be honest with yourself. If work or family is very important, it’s okay to step down from your duties. As a matter of fact, the best thing you can do is train someone to do the job you were doing and be there as backup support. The worst thing you can do is pretend you still have the time and energy for a project that you’ve lost enthusiasm over. When my first son was born, I found replacements for my two chair positions with the WFTDA. I knew I had time to keep up with my league, but I was feeling a little burned out after chairing two departments for a few years. The skaters that took my place did more with the committee and were able to grow them in ways that didn’t even occur to me. When the time was right, I came back into the fold of leadership to a well-run ship. The beauty is I didn’t have to go back, but I did when I was ready and wanted to. Also, I didn’t let anyone down in the process by trying to do too much. For my second child, I took even more time off. It’s important to give yourself time and space to live your life. Now, I’m dealing with the realities of not playing competitive roller derby (while physically able) for the first time since I started. I’m not gonna lie, it’s tough. But I’ve found different places to put my energy because right now I am not in a good place to try and make attendance three times a week. I have to be honest with myself about that and I know from experience when the time is right, I can always return.
need advice? email email@example.com fiveonfivemag.com | Summer 2013 | 5
how to make a small league profitable K AY O S S , W H I D B E Y I S L A N D R O L L E R G I R L S
It isn’t easy. Any small business owner |can tell you that the hours of time they put into making their company work is not adequately compensated. This is even more evident in a small town derby league, which at any given time, may have 30 members or less. Unlike with a company, we as a league cannot decide who works for us, we cannot hire and fire – in the traditional sense – and we are constrained by the wants and needs of a group of widely divergent people. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take a page from the entrepreneurs’ handbooks and adapt it to our own unique style. So how do you do it? How do you make sure that a league with a relatively high turnover of members drawing from a limited population doesn’t fold because of funds? 1. know your mission Leagues need to decide relatively early if they are a sports league or a recreational league. While it may seem that this question is only pertinent to the performance on the track, it also represents the influence of the members. If your players have a commitment level associated with a recreational league, the products of your league (bouts, scrimmages, merchandise, and even practices) need to be tailored accordingly. Members’ dues are the driving force that sustains most small leagues in between the merchandise sales, and, for the most part, is the only thing paying for practice time. A member who wants to get together and drop in to play every now and then would balk at paying $100.00 a month in dues to practice.
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If the dues are creeping ever higher, the league needs to sit down and discuss the realistic expectations of practice needed for the type of play they want. Can some of that be accomplished off skates? Does a team with ten viable skaters who may have three travel bouts in a year need to practice ten hours a week? Undoubtedly, the league will never be fully comprised of just athletic or just recreational skaters. It is a luxury that can only be afforded in the larger derby markets where teams exist for every type of skater. Additionally what are the goals of the team, on and off the track? Yes, we all know that playing derby involves volunteering and giving back to the community, but does your league want to be a symbol for the community or an entity in it? If you are a symbol of the community, the community will rally behind you and support you, even if they never attend a bout. We all know the high school football scores in our town, even if we never attended a game. Being a symbol of the community is difficult. You have to win over the hearts of your town. Whereas, being an entity, you have to win over their pocketbooks. 2. decide how to register your business While there are multiple options, the main choices are: a corporation or a non-profit. The non-profit status is ideal for what you want to do with the league, but the league will need to weigh the pros and cons and decide if it is simply a lofty goal. Roller derby is not easy, nor is managing it, running it, and growing it. Most entrepreneurs and business professionals will tell you the advantages of being
a non-profit, and yes there are some really tempting ones, but you should also ask them about the feasibility of maintaining one when it is not your full-time job. In most states it is perfectly acceptable – and legal – to operate as a ‘community interest group,’ which is essentially a corporation on paper and non-profit in action. It is difficult to maintain and run a non-profit. The laws and tax code can be complicated for the uninitiated. If possible, speak with an attorney that specializes in this. Use the resources you have. In a small town, it is likely that you know the folks who run the local little league, the coach of your kids’ after school soccer program, the guy who runs the non-profit animal shelter down the way. They are great resources who should be tapped. 3. get the right team at the top Roller derby teams all run on the corporation mentality, with a board of directors at the top that manages the business side of the house so everyone can skate. (I have only seen one league not like this, and that was due to its micro size). While part of their purpose is to spread the load of work, it is also to make sure the league operates efficiently. This may seem like it goes without saying, but the leadership can make or break any league. Your Board of Directors is not your best skaters, nor your most vocal. When voting to place people in the positions, look into what they bring to the team off the track. Some people are natural leaders, others are not, and more often than not those people who are overlooked
have the skills necessary to grow or sustain a profitable league. Do not simply settle for someone in a position because nobody else wants it. At the same time, do not tie jobs on and off the track with one another. For example, if possible, the Coach should not be the President or the Captain. Understandably, this is difficult in leagues with a higher turnover rate and a limited number of long-term skaters, but the point is that one position should not entitle you to the others. A great skater can lead a team to victory, and can bankrupt them at the same time. Be wary of the overzealous. 4. have a clear strong purpose and ethics This is straight out of business school and ties into the previous point. Not only does the league need to always be aware of its purpose, but so too does the leadership. With each subsequent change in leadership, there is always the feeling that everything needs to be changed, simply because it can be. All changes should be looked at with a critical eye. Do not change something simply because you can, even if you know that things are currently wrong. This might seem counter intuitive, but remember to take a moment as a group, contemplate what needs to be changed, and how it can be changed to suit your purpose. Too many erratic changes cause the purpose to become unclear or questioned, and it is easy to lose focus. Without that, any business will see a loss in profits. Too many hands are pulling things in too many directions and the profits are quickly lost in the gaps. To use a track analogy, your leadership and purpose should be like your walls: strong
and solid, and like liquid metal. You know that it is the death of your team when the opposing team’s jammer sees a hole and slips through. That jammer (and life, and stress, and change) will come up and test that wall, push it, pull it, and throw it every which way till it falls apart. Don’t fall apart. 5. the details matter Ok, so you set up the league, you have a logo, and you have some merchandise. The few items you have sell moderately well, but if you were to account for the hours your members dedicate to selling, sorting, restocking etc... are you making a profit off it? A moderate logo will sell, we have seen it everywhere. We will buy the same tired old logos, the crappy lettering, and the unintelligible stickers, but that is because we are Derby players and we want to show our pride. A bad logo can kill your sales. A design that is even moderately offensive, poorly drawn, or just plain unknown to the uninitiated does not sell. Likewise, poor wording or graphic issues on posters and advertising flyers can turn most people off. Roller Derby, while it is the fastest growing sport, is still relatively unknown. Always assume that your potential fan base is ignorant about what you do. If you keep using the tired cliché of pin-up girls in fishnets and a tutu with a wicked black eye, your fans will be confused when you tell them that, no you are not that, you are athletic. These are the details that define the breaking point in fan base and profit growth. 6. know and listen to your customers Your league has two types of customers: the ones who are already fans and the
ones who are not. Always listen to what your fans are asking for. Do they want more photos? More bouts? Do they want to see more girls on the team? Most of these questions are easy to answer because you can directly ask your fans, but what about those other customers? Get out and make your league known. Let everyone in town know that you exist. Even if this means buying some outdoor wheels and skating at the local skate park or along the sidewalk. People will undoubtedly ask you about your sport. Be prepared to tell them. Be prepared to get them involved. While you tell them, hear what they are asking, listen to them closely and think about what it means. If you listen closely enough you may find a new fan, a new sponsor, a person who can give you a practice space, or someone willing to lend a hand with paperwork. Be the symbol of your community and the community will invest in you. It is not easy to make a league work both on and off the track. Problems will always be there, and when one is fixed another will come along and it will almost fall apart again. Build a support system around you and the risk of financially collapsing will disappear. Use the free lectures at the local University. Get to know the members of the Chamber of Commerce. Use the plethora of information available at the US Small Business Administration (sba.gov ), and remember that every person you talk to is a potential gold mine of information, money, or ability. Now go put your skates on, and let someone else stress about the financials. That’s the Board of Directors’ job.
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introduction to derby law M I S S D E E M E A N E R , DA L L A S D E R B Y D E V I L S
There is more to derby than skating. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to ensure that a roller derby league functions profitably, or at least doesn’t lose any money. Roller derby leagues are businesses just like any other small business: they can sue and they can be sued. This article will provide insight into the small business legal matters that pertain to running a roller derby league. (Disclaimer: this article does not substitute for legal advice. You should retain legal counsel for specific advice for the jurisdiction in which you live.)
business entity creation and maintenance When a roller derby league is founded, the organizers need to decide whether it will be a non-profit corporation, an “S-Corp.,” an “LLC,” or any number of other types of business entities. There are pros and cons to each type of business and various tax consequences. Choose wisely. The actual formation of the business entity is relatively simple: there is a form that gets filled out called a “certificate of formation” and gets filed with the appropriate state office, usually the Secretary of State. A small filing fee is paid. You will need to decide who will be the “registered agent,” the individual who is designated to receive legal paperwork on behalf of the organization. Often that person’s home address will be made a part of the public record, so be sure that person understands and is okay with that. After paperwork is filed, an organizational meeting occurs, where the individuals who filed the business formation document meet to hammer out the details and answer: who will open the bank account and who has the right to withdraw funds from it, who will be responsible for various tasks, such as executing documents on behalf of the organization; how will elections for officer positions be held, etc. All these details, and more, are contained in a document called the “bylaws,” which is a governing document for the organization. Once the organization is up and running, a member or shareholder meeting must occur yearly. Minutes of the annual meetings need to be taken and kept with the corporate records. Keep in mind that there are also numerous tax forms and legal documents to be filed on a regular basis. You will need a licensed accountant to assist the league with taxes and other ongoing business filings. Your league can also request tax-exempt status from the IRS, called a “501(c)(3).”
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waiver of liability Your league should require every skater, referee, non-skating official and other volunteer to sign a waiver of liability. A waiver of liability basically says that the participant can’t sue the organization. Although it would be difficult for a skater to sue the league for a typical roller derby injury due to the obvious risk of injury that each skater assumes by strapping on skates, the waiver of liability would cover any unforeseen injury. If, for example, a toe-stop goes flying off and hits a skater in the eye, causing her to lose her eyesight permanently, would the league be responsible for that injury? It may not be likely, but it is possible. To prevent liability for any unexpected and unforeseen injuries on and off the track, each participant should execute a waiver of liability. media release Derby photographers are wonderful people to have around. Browsing photos and tagging each other on Facebook is a post-bout ritual for most skaters. Permission to be photographed and permission to use those photos in a bout program or in a flyer is not automatically granted. To prevent having to gain permission each time the league uses a skater’s photo, the league should have each participant sign a media release form. A media release form basically gives the league permission to use that skater’s likeness in marketing materials. It specifies that the skater will not be entitled to any compensation for use of their photo. photographer agreement Speaking of derby photographers, there is a document your league may want each photographer to sign in order to have access to the bouts for free and to have access to non-public
areas, such as the inside of the track. The photographer agreement usually contains a waiver of liability, as well as certain agreements regarding intellectual property rights over the photos that are taken during the bout. For example, you could insist that the league be provided with high resolution images for promotional use. You could and should insist that bout photos not be sold to third parties, such as advertising companies, without permission. Although most derby photographers wouldn’t do anything like this, it’s a good idea to get that promise in writing from them in advance. confidentiality and non-compete agreements Each skater should also sign a confidentiality agreement, promising to keep league business private and to not share strategies or other league secrets with anybody outside of the organization. Sometimes, leagues will also ask for a non-compete agreement. This would limit a skater’s ability to create a competing league and to draw other skaters and possibly also vendors and sponsors away. Non-compete agreements must be limited in the amount of time and in the geographical area they cover. interleague bout agreements It is typical when you are hosting another league that you require that league to sign an interleague bout agreement. This is a contract that hammers out the details of when to arrive, what will be provided, what the cancellation policy shall be, and also what costs they will bear if they don’t show up as promised. It contains a waiver of liability and may specify the number of extra tickets the league will be provided for bench coaches and other non-skating personnel. Some agreements include jersey colors and policies on bringing referees and other officials. It’s always a good idea to get expectations in writing in advance. venue agreements Most venues will make the league sign some type of agreement when scheduling an event. The venue agreement will usually contain requirements for the league to have a business liability insurance policy, and for the league to reimburse the venue for any damages that occur. The venue agreement needs to contain all details concerning the event: the earliest time anybody can arrive to begin set-up, what time the clean-up needs to be finished by, what the cost of the venue is, what is included in the cost, etc.
vendor agreements Many bouts have a vendor area, where various merchants provide participants with their products. It’s a good idea to have each vendor execute a vendor agreement. Vendor agreements usually contain a general waiver of liability and all the details concerning that vendor, such as where to set up, when to arrive, and how much they pay the league. There will be many other legal documents that become necessary along the way. Some examples may include: leases, sponsorship agreements, sports court rental or finance agreements, transportation agreements, contest terms and conditions, the league’s code of conduct, operational handbooks, etc. It would be impossible to cover all of these documents in this article. Just like any other business, your league should have a licensed attorney review every contract that is signed on behalf of the league. If your league doesn’t have access to free legal counsel through a skater or volunteer, then perhaps the league can offer a law firm some advertising in exchange for legal assistance. Tap your resources, and if resources aren’t available, your league needs to include these expenses in the budget. The point is to ensure that the business side of the league functions properly, so that those who manage league business can spend more time skating, jamming, blocking, and having a good time.
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health and fitness
derby nutrition S O N I C D E AT H M O N K E Y, R O C K Y M O U N TA I N R O L L E R G I R L S
Healthy eating can help you achieve your derby goals! I have been in the Health and Wellness industry for ten plus years, and for three of those years, I have been playing roller derby. There will always be varying opinions on healthy eating, and the science behind diet is always changing. Add in the latest diet fads, and the world of nutrition can get very confusing. The goal of good nutrition is to practice moderation. Nutritional goals for the derby athlete are a little different. You have to feed your body to excel in your chosen sport and to have endurance, strength, and explosive power. caloric requirements for the derby athlete First, don’t starve your body. Think about everything you do in your day – you may have an active job, skate practice, off-skates training, grocery shopping, chasing the kids, walking the dog and so on. Your body needs a basic number of calories to meet the demands you are placing on it. If you don’t eat enough food before practice, you will not make it through without losing energy, and you may even have a hard time paying attention to the training. This is both unsafe and unfair – to your body and your teammates. After practice, it is recommended that you eat within 15 minutes in order to replenish your body with necessary fuel. This snack can come in the form of a protein shake, recovery drink, or a piece of fruit with some nuts. You want to feed your body post workout with protein, carbohydrates, and fat. let’s talk about protein The subject of protein can be very confusing. Lean proteins are the best and most bioavailable for your body to start to rebuild muscle. For most skaters, pulling a chicken breast out of your skate bag post practice is not that practical. Adequate amounts of protein for athletes would fall in the range of 1.2-1.7 g/kg of body weight. Eat toward the higher end on days that you strength train and lower end on off days. For those who are vegan or vegetarian, it is sometimes a challenge to get enough protein and to eat complete proteins. Proteins supply amino acids, and the amino acids are the building
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blocks of muscle and other connective tissue, hemoglobin, internal organs and your brain. There are some amino acids that can only be found in animal protein sources. These are known as essential amino acids. The only non-animal source of protein that is considered a complete source of essential amino acids is tofu. For vegetarians and vegans, it is extremely important to eat a wide variety of whole grains, lentils, leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, and legumes in order to get enough of these essential amino acids. For my clients who are vegetarian or vegan, I usually recommend a B complex supplement to make sure they are getting all the necessary amino acids. fueling your body Another Macronutrient that is essential for good nutrition is carbohydrates. A low carb diet is nothing but harmful to the body. Eating carbohydrates is the main fuel for your body; the body only stores enough fuel reserves for half a day if you don’t eat any carbs. Your brain only runs off of carbohydrates, not fats and not proteins. Carbohydrates come from both starches and sugars. It is important when making a choice of carbohydrates that you choose complex carbohydrates, not simple. A simple rule of thumb to follow with carbohydrates is the more processed it is, the worse it is for you. When you do your grocery shopping, choose your carbohydrates from the perimeter of the store, whole grain breads, fruits, vegetables and dairy. (I know what some of you are thinking – yes the bakery is on the perimeter of the store. Doughnuts do not count, nor do bagels, cupcakes or brownies!!) Bypass the sweet treats that have all the additional sugar and eat the naturally sweet foods, such as fruit. When it comes to vegetables and fruits, the closer to the natural state, the better
it is for you. Sugar alert ***Dried fruits are very high in sugar and you don’t always get the additional benefit of the water content of the fruit or the fiber. Again, moderation is key. the dreaded “f” word Fats are a concentrated energy source for the body. Again, there is so much information available it can boggle the mind. Low fat, high fat, saturated fat, trans fatty acids, good for you fats. What are they, and what do they mean? Fats are essential to a properly functioning body. They supply essential fatty acids and help to carry fat-soluble vitamins. Eating the right source of fats is the goal of a balanced diet. Most folks get their fats from animal sources, such as meats and dairy. Foods, such as avocado and peanut butter, can also add fat to the diet, as well as plant sources like olive and sunflower oil. As a general rule of thumb, you want the bulk of your dietary fat to come from Monounsaturated sources (olive oil, avocados, and nuts) and Polyunsaturated sources (seeds, fish, tofu). You will get saturated fats from meat sources, so choose low fat dairy and lean protein sources to help reduce the amount of saturated fat. Trans fats should be avoided. These are found in many commercially baked foods, fried foods and fast foods. tailoring to your goals So you have made it this far in the article, and you are saying to yourself “great, tell me something I don’t know.” Protein, carbs and fats are essential components to the diet, but how much should I eat? There is no easy answer to the question of calories. Every body is different, and you need to tailor your daily diet to your goals. • If you would like to get leaner, your daily calories should be lower than your daily needs (including calories burned from workouts/practice). Remember, if your calories get too low, you won’t lose any weight at all. You will instead maintain, if not gain some weight, because your body will go into a starvation mode, and it will hold onto every calorie you eat. • If you want to put on weight (and yes some people want to do this!), you need to eat more than you need on a daily basis. But you can’t just eat anything you want to eat. You need to eat nutrient-dense, healthy foods. • And for those who are perfectly happy where they are, you just need to find the balance between energy expenditure and caloric intake.
plan, prepare, practice... The most challenging part of healthy nutrition is being prepared. You need to plan for your week and make sure you have the available foods in your house. On practice days, have breakfast (no joke – this is a very important meal). Plan your morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack. Invest in some food containers or resealable bags to carry your snacks with you during the day. This will remove the temptation of having to stop anywhere for the wrong type of foods. You may want to have your lunch be a little higher in calories and actually eat a lighter, early dinner, so that you don’t have a huge meal sitting on your stomach. It is also possible to make a nutrient dense protein shake to drink on the way to practice. These nutrients will fuel you through a 2-3 hour practice, and then you are all set up to have a recovery snack or drink afterwards. For those who wake up super starving the morning after practice, you can have a Greek yogurt, or fruit and nuts or even a glass of milk, coconut milk, almond milk, whatever your preference before going to bed. This will keep your metabolism fueled during the night. research and rewards Nutrition is such a vast and varied topic that many folks, myself included, are very passionate about it. If you have questions about how to best eat for your goals, I suggest seeking the services of a qualified Nutritionist – someone who has the educational background and can recommend solid Nutrition advice that will help you achieve your goals for now and the future.
To Good Health!
fiveonfivemag.com | Summer 2013 | 11
health and fitness
a derby girlâ€™s guide to concussion JENN HRONKIN, M.D. It's the hottest bout of the season, and you are having a blast. Two jams after the half and your team is leading. Suddenly the hardest hitting blocker from the other team is coming at you. You try your best to counter block, but she lays you out. You hit the ground hard, and your helmet bounces off the sport court. As you try to get up, you feel fuzzy and your vision doesn't seem quite right. You're a little dizzy and as you head to the bench, you don't quite recall what just happened. You try to shake it off because you're supposed to go in the next jam, but you're having a hard time understanding the strategy that the coach is talking about, and now you're feeling sick to your stomach. Sit tight, sister; you have sustained a concussion. Concussion is a widely feared, but largely misunderstood injury common to contact sports and noncontact sports alike. It's defined as a mild traumatic brain injury and it is caused by direct or indirect forces to the head, causing a disturbance in brain function. You don't have to be directly hit in the head to sustain a concussion; it can result from a jolt to the body that causes the jarring force to be transmitted to the head as well. You can get a concussion even if your head doesn't hit anything, and even with a helmet on. In fact, helmets and mouth guards reduce the risk of dental and skull fracture, but not the risk of concussion. And you don't need to lose consciousness or be 'knocked out' to have a concussion either. How do you know if you have a concussion? First, you must have sustained an impact that struck or at least jarred your head. The most common symptom is headache or a feeling of pressure in your head. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or balance problems. You may feel foggy, have blurred or double vision, or feel sensitive to light or noise. Confusion and memory problems may also occur. Or you may just feel not quite right. An unfortunate symptom of concussion may be disordered thinking or decision making. Therefore, you may need to rely on your teammates or coach to tell you something is wrong. If you had loss of consciousness with the concussion, that is generally easy for others to observe. But they may notice that you seem confused or out of it, and don't remember plays or who is winning. You may move clumsily or answer questions with a delay. Or they may notice you have sudden mood or behavior changes or that you can't remember what happened just before or after your injury. The consequences of concussion are potentially severe. Most concussions resolve within 72 hours, and the majority of symptoms resolve on their own in 7 to 10 days. However, some people will experience postconcussion syndrome, in which concussion symptoms such as headache, difficulty concentrating, ringing in the ears, or mood changes, can last for months. Trauma to the brain can lead to permanent cognitive impairment. The most dangerous outcome is second-impact syndrome, in which
a second brain injury is sustained before symptoms of the first have resolved. This can lead to rapid onset of brain swelling, leading to herniation of the brainstem and death. How do we deal with suspected concussion during derby play? First, if concussion is suspected or presumed, the skater should be removed from play and not return to play that day at all. There are numerous symptom checklists and assessment tools available for coaches and trainers to help with decision making. The CDC has a concussion training tool available online that is free and takes less than 30 minutes to complete; many schools are now requiring trainers and coaches to complete concussion training in order to participate in sports training. In derby, since we are generally adults, the situation may be different. Many leagues have a â€œskater knows bestâ€? policy to injury, allowing skaters to make their own decision about how and when to return to play. However, it is important to keep in mind that, because one of the symptoms of concussion is impaired decision making, there should be different policies in place for this particular injury. Coaches or trainers may need to pull a skater from play if she does not choose to bench herself after a concussion. And even if she protests, this may be the one instance, besides the after party that she drinks too much at, that you may have to insist on your teammate not driving herself from practice. There are certain symptoms that are emergent and require a trip to the E.R. and immediate imaging, such as a CT scan. These include any concern for cervical spine injury or skull fracture, loss of consciousness or seizure, trauma above the clavicle, or focal neurologic deficit, such as unequal pupils, or stroke like symptoms. However, even in a mild concussion, the skater should be evaluated by a health care professional. Previous concussions or younger age can make the consequences of repeat concussion more severe and slower to resolve. After a concussion, when can you practice or bout again? The newest concussion guidelines recommend a graded return to play. After all symptoms have resolved, the skater is to spend 24 hours on each of the following steps: nonimpact aerobic exercise, such as walks; nonimpact sport specific exercise, such as trail skating; or nonimpact drills, noncontact training drills, full contact practice, and finally, return to normal play. At any stage, if symptoms return with the activity, the athlete is to stop activity and wait until she is symptom free for 24 hours, then return to the previous step and resume training there. Better awareness of concussion symptoms by players and coaches alike can lead to improved outcome and less danger to skaters. You only have one brain... protect it!
The consequences of concussion are potentially severe. Most concussions resolve within 72 hours, and the majority of symptoms resolve on their own in 7 to 10 days.
12 | Summer 2013 | fiveonfivemag.com
Most Righteous Grilled Eggplant Catholic Cruel Girl, Rocky Mountain Rollergirls
ingredients: 1 /3 cup olive oil 2 medium eggplants 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 teaspoon marjoram 1 small cantaloupe Salt Fresh ground black pepper Smoked paprika Apple cider vinegar
Pre-heat grill and rub with olive oil. Cut eggplants into ½ inch thick slices. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Grill eggplant until soft and brown, about 5-7 minutes. Flip eggplant slices and grill other side. Remove from grill and set aside. In a shallow baking dish combine olive oil, parsley, garlic, vinegar and marjoram. Add the eggplant and let marinate for one hour. Turn eggplant over and marinate for an additional hour (at this point you can refrigerate for up to one week). When ready to serve, bring eggplant to room temperature. Cut cantaloupe in half and remove seeds and trim off the rind. With a vegetable peeler, shave thin slices of cantaloupe into two inch long strips (you will need about ½ – 2 cups). In a large bowl sprinkle cantaloupe with a little apple cider vinegar, dust with paprika to lightly, but thoroughly coat. Once the eggplant is at room temperature, place eggplant slices onto a serving dish and top with cantaloupe. Serves 4-6 as an appetizer.
fiveonfivemag.com | Summer 2013 | 13
health and fitness
ACL injuries and prevention C R U I S I N ' B . A N T H O N Y, S T E E L C I T Y D E R B Y D E M O N S
Come, gaze into my crystal ball. You’re female? Hmm, off to a bad start. You play a sport... a contact sport... tell me, how is your intercondylar notch? Your hormone levels? Are you at least keeping up with your ACL prevention exercises? You play derby. I don’t need to tell you that we bust our knees all the time. You probably have friends on the sidelines who can tell you all about how much it sucks to hear a ‘pop’ in your knee and spend the better part of a year off the track. I can’t actually predict if you or I will tear an ACL, but by understanding this injury a little better, maybe we can improve our chances. The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is a tiny rope of tissue inside your knee joint. Along with friends like the PCL and MCL, its job is to hold the joint together as you run, jump, skate, and do all those other awesome things your knees let you do. The problem is the ACL is a weak link. When there’s stress on the joint, it’s often what gives. Of course you can tear it if somebody falls on your knee, but most tears are non-contact. One skater I know tore her ACL executing a snowplow stop on a grippy floor. Another tore hers trying to do a tomahawk turn. Yet another was twisting to deliver a sternum check to the girl behind her. There’s a classic pattern: knee turned inward, upper leg rotating one way and lower leg rotating the other. In soccer players, who have a high rate of ACL tears, this tends to happen when they’re making quick direction changes, pivoting on one foot, or landing from a jump. In derby players? Hard to say – nobody is collecting good data. (Any researchers out there? Hint, hint.) What puts us at risk? Lots of studies have looked at the difference between people who get ACL injuries and those who don’t, and there are anatomical differences for sure. But you have the anatomy you’re born with – good luck doing anything about that. One puzzle is that women (and girls) are more prone to this injury than men. Why? There are probably many good reasons, including smaller ligaments and weaker muscles. Plus, because we have wider hips, the greater “Q angle” of our leg bones results in a different set of forces at the knee joint compared to men. 14 | Summer 2013 | fiveonfivemag.com
But what’s really intriguing is the role of hormones. Ligaments actually contain receptors for several hormones: estrogen, progesterone, and relaxin among them. These hormones vary during the menstrual cycle, leading scientists to propose that we’re more prone to injury during certain days of the month. The only problem with that? None of the studies agree on which time of the month that would be. Likewise, the pill changes hormone levels in your body, but isn’t clearly associated with a change in injury risk. Pregnancy also messes with hormones, including one in particular: relaxin. While ligaments are supposed to be tough and rope-like, one of relaxin’s effects is to let ligaments stretch a little. This probably helps in childbirth, by loosening up joints in the pelvis. Once again, the evidence isn’t super clear, but a surgeon I spoke to, Dr. Robin West at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, says that she sees more knee and ankle injuries in the first year an athlete returns to sports after having a baby. “There’s nothing we can do to counteract the hormones,” she says, “but we can certainly work on strengthening.” She explained to me that there are four key imbalances that affect our risk of ACL injury. First, if you have weak muscles, they can’t protect your knee. What this means is that a movement that pulls on your muscles ends up pulling on your muscles and ligaments. The strain is too much for the ligaments to handle. The fix for this one is simply to strengthen all the muscles around your knee. Second, it’s a problem if our right leg is stronger than the left, or vice-versa. Hello, skating in circles! Dr. West said this would be a key thing to focus on in off-skates workouts. Then there is the muscle imbalance in the leg: are your quads stronger than your hamstrings? If you spend a lot of time in “derby position” (and you do, don’t you?) there’s a good chance this is the case. Core strength is the last major factor. How can a strong core protect your knee? Well, if your legs come to a stop, but your body keeps going, that can put strain on your knee that leads to injury. With a strong core (remember, that includes all the muscles in your torso, not just the 6-pack) lets you steer your whole body as a unit.
The good news – it’s preventable. Sort of. You can’t fix your anatomy, and there are no treatments (for now, at least) to change your hormone levels to prevent injury. But you can strengthen the muscles in your legs and core, and this does actually reduce the rate of ACL injury. What that means: doing a prevention program – typically a 20 minute workout three times a week, which can replace your warm-up before practices – makes it less likely that you’ll get a tear. It’s not a guarantee, but you’ll be bettering your chances. One study had soccer players do the PEP program before practice. ACL injuries went down by 52% in women (and a staggering 85% in men). If those numbers carry over to derby – that’s a big “if” – it means that possibly half of all ACL injuries didn’t need to happen. If your league doesn’t currently use a prevention program, you should probably consider it. There are many versions of these prevention plans: PEP and Sportsmetrics are the two biggest names, but there are others. Dr. West and colleagues designed their own, and turned it into an app called iPreventACL – it lets the athlete play music while getting voice and video prompts for which exercises to do. She said the idea was to help people do the workout in their backyard or living room, if their team’s coach doesn’t do a prevention program as part of practice. What’s awesome is that at least some of these programs improve performance, too – they’ll make you stronger, and better at explosive movements. One study found that Sportsmetrics gave the greatest improvement, but the study was conducted by one of the founders of Sportsmetrics, so take that with a grain of salt. What do these programs look like? Think squat jumps, dynamic stretching, hamstring bridges, planks, and footwork
drills. They’re made with soccer players in mind, and give plenty of opportunity to practice safely and softly landing from jumps and running movements. Nobody knows if they will work as well for derby players, but they’re likely worth a try. So you busted your knee... Take it from someone who’s been there: Abigail Enz-Doerschner returned to the track an astonishing five months after surgery, thanks to good planning, good luck, and good insurance. Here are her tips for the newly injured. Take a deep breath – this is probably NOT the end of the world nor the end of your derby career – if you don’t want it to be. First, get a diagnosis. Formulate a plan in case you need surgery: How much time can you take off work? Does your insurance cover everything related to a knee surgery? Who can take care of you while you are recovering? Research your doctor, if you are lucky enough to have a lot of great orthos in town. And research your options for surgery – I chose a hamstring autograft but there are pros and cons to each option. Write down the questions you have for your doctor. You don’t want to forget to ask them something. Life in recovery: Strap a purse to your crutches. Make a medication schedule. Have your doctor’s phone number handy. Do yourself a favor and google “how to poop after knee surgery.” Accept, or ask for, help from your friends. I appreciated the people who came to visit me, brought me snacks, and swept my floor while I was laid up. Keep involved with your league during your recovery (via email/forum, go to practice, attend games). It makes you feel like you’re still a part of things. Not to be construed as medical advice. See your physician with any health problems.
fiveonfivemag.com | Summer 2013 | 15
games and coaching
statistic changes with the 2013 rules set HARMAKNEE, BIG EASY ROLLERGIRLS
What is the average number of jams per game? How long is the average jam? What are the top three most common penalties? Undoubtedly, some of the best or most devoted coaches, referees, and roller derby athletes could answer these questions, but they would be the minority. Furthermore, there have been prominent game changes recently, so knowledge should be evolving to incorporate the new rules set. This article addresses the effects the 2013 rules have had on basic game parameters and penalties. In order to evaluate this type of data, I needed a large amount of similar games to compare. I chose the Wild West Showdown tournament held in Bremerton, Washington, because I could compare 2012 to 2013, and it was the first tournament held under the new rules set. Thanks to Slaughterhouse Roller Vixens and WFTDA, I had 38 games to analyze, 18 from 2012 and 20 from 2013. With any statistical study, there are limitations to consider. The biggest limiting factor with the Wild West Showdown is that the leagues competing mostly represent what was previously known as the western region. In 2013, only one team was from outside of the western region of the United States (Big Easy Rollergirls, my home league). Additionally, even though all referee crews aspire to standard interpretation
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and application of the rules set, penalties are affected by the composition of the referee crew. This tournament had a rotation of four officiating crews, which would have an impact upon penalties. Finally, no Division I teams were represented at the tournament; half of the teams were in Division II and half in Division III according to 2012-2013 WFTDA division team placement. Despite the natural limitations of any survey sample, there are still ample lessons to be learned from this data collection and analysis. If asked the question, â€œHow long is a jam?â€? many members of the derby community would default to the rules answer of two minutes; however anyone with some derby sense could tell you that is not what happens on the track. A jam in 2012 lasted approximately 61 seconds, while a jam in 2013 lasts 54 seconds. This is not much change, probably due to the fact that knee starts were already starting the jams quicker in 2012. The average number of jams per bout increased from 40 to 44 this year. In 2012, the average team score was 135 points and the average total for both teams was 269. The point spread between the two teams was an average of 97 points. In 2013, the point spread was not far off at 84 points on average, but the average team score raised to 180 and the average total to 359. One of the motivations behind the 2013 rules set
was less slow derby and more skating. This data proves that there are now more points being scored per game, which indicates generally more active game play (patient offense will not be addressed in this article). As of yet, the largest effect the new rules have had on game statistics is penalties. It appears remarkable that the average number of major penalties each team had in one game increased from 19 to 32. However, in 2012, teams also had 51 minors on average, which would theoretically lead to 12 additional trips to the box (1 trip for every 4 minors). This brings the total trips for 2012 to 31, almost identical to the 32 in 2013. In both years, teams received about three majors for every four jams. Considering that jams last about a minute, this means approximately only one out of every four jams has a full pack. Of course this varies, but the lesson to be gained is that full packs are fielded much less frequently that short packs due to penalties. The types of penalties received changed the most dramatically, as was to be expected (see chart). In order to take into account that minors also sent skaters to the box, I listed two different percentages for 2012. The first column is only major penalties, while the second column represents majors plus Âź of the minors, considering it used to take four minors to send a skater to the box. All
numbers are listed as percents for ease of comparison. Out of the 1,288 major penalties called in the 20 games of the 2013 tournament, the top two penalties were Out of Play, Cutting the Track, with Forearms at a distant third. All three of these increased in percent from 2012, but the most striking increase is Multi-Player
Block. In 2012, only one major for all 18 games was a multi-player block at 0.1% of majors, and there were 76 minors. In 2013, the number of multi-player majors jumped to 127, almost 10% of majors. This magnitude of change will certainly affect how our game is played, as skaters will be forced to react and adjust game play to avoid these calls.
More analysis of various types of games would help paint a better picture of how the 2013 rules set is affecting the game. This collection does offer a snapshot that will hopefully spur discussion in many directions. This was mainly a presentation of the data, but coaches and skaters can use it to adjust training and game play to their advantage.
2012 MAJORS WITH MINORS
Blocking to the Back
Forearms and Hands
Blocking with the Head
Out of Bounds Blocking
Direction of Gameplay
Out Of Play
Cutting the Track
Skating Out of Bounds
Delay of Game
fiveonfivemag.com | Summer 2013 | 19
games and coaching
teamwork C OA C H J S I N , E A S T S I D E R O L L E R G I R L Z
Several times a week, all over the world people put on their pads, lace up their skates, and strap on their helmets. They don’t do it for fame. They don’t do it for glory. They do it for the love of a sport. They do it for this crazy mix of speed, agility and bone crushing hits the rest of the world calls ROLLER DERBY. As the average person watches these bouts, they see one thing over and over. Two teams get together and try their best to out skate, out think and out score their opponent. One thing will always happen, one team will win and another will lose. What is the key to the win? What is the difference between the teams? Some will say skill, some will say strategy, and others will say the refs blew the game. As a coach, I am able to see something that most others won’t. It is what will lead to more victories on the track than anything else: TEAMWORK!!! Anyone who has ever dealt with organized sports has seen teamwork breakdown and the devastating results. Like, coaches who constantly yell at the players when things don’t go exactly as planned, or players who just give up because they feel it’s not going the way it should. Teamwork is the key to winning. This is where it is truly needed the most. When the game is going bad, how do you react? How does your coach react? More importantly, how does your team react? As a skater, when the game is going poorly, it is crucial that you keep calm. Your less experienced teammates are looking to you for guidance. They need to see in your face and hear in your words the encouragement and love of the sport. Your more experienced teammates are looking to you to show your leadership abilities. There will be a day when the vets of the team will have to retire and they need to know they can entrust someone to take their place. Look at the person to your left and right and let them know what a good job they are doing. Give them that friendly pat on the back to let them know you are proud of the work they are doing. You are the first step to making a group of people that have a common hobby into a team. As a coach, your job is even more troublesome. I coach an all- women’s team right now. I put ten women together from different walks of life and just as many mindsets. They all have two things in common. First is a love for this sport. Second is a very dominant personality. A coach must be firm in their
20 | Summer 2013 | fiveonfivemag.com
words, yet always encouraging. That is harder than it seems sometimes. When a game is going bad, a coach must be able to turn toward the team and show them that things are not as bad as they seem. They must encourage their team to push forward even when they feel like they have no hope. Don’t ever be afraid to call that timeout, gather them on the sideline, look them all in the eye, and remind them that this is for fun and that when the bout is over they will still be a team win or lose. Let them know how proud you are of even the smallest accomplishment they have made, which may be just putting points on the board in some cases. Make sure they know the only way through the tough times is by leaning on the person next to them and pulling from their strengths and weaknesses. A coach is a leader of the team, whether they know it or not. Each of those skaters looks at you as the person to make that tough call when the game is on the line. Keeping yourself calm, cool, and focused will show your team how they should feel. This is not just about when things are going wrong at a bout though. We spend more time together as a team in practice where we build a true team mindset. At practice, I have witnessed people who are able to pick up skills very quickly, while others continue to struggle. Those who struggle, will skip a water break in order to stay on the track and practice a skill in an attempt to improve. How many of you have seen these people out there practicing a little more? How many of you have even said to yourself or heard others say, “Well if they don’t get it then it’s not my fault.” Wrong, if you are not out there helping them to better themselves then you are at fault. This is part of teamwork. The person who is struggling needs words of encouragement and friendly faces to show them they can do this. Take the time to get to know those new faces at practice. They just might be that one who is there to help you get through the pack and turn even the worst bout around. The biggest team fault seen time and time again is infighting. This is basically a complete and total meltdown of one or more members of the team. This does no one any good. Feelings will get hurt and inevitably things will be said that cannot be unsaid. If you catch yourself doing this then stop and ask yourself, have I done all I can do? Also, what can I do to help the person who I
think is messing things up to become better? The person you
and has a good time. Show your players there is life for them
are mad at may not be able to do the job they need to do because you arenâ€™t doing the job you should be doing. Coaches should recognize this as a time to take a break and get some water at practice. Pull those who are arguing aside and be the moderator. Find out what the problem is and see what can be worked out. Make sure they return to the track with no hard feelings. This would also be a good time to think about changing what is going on at practice. They may be pushing themselves to the breaking point. Sometimes, we all need to remind ourselves why we do what we do. If you are on a board, or are a coach you should help to plan team functions. No, not those that are required to promote your league. The ones where the team gets away from derby
off the track. This can be as simple as taking the time to learn a new team chant to say before each bout or a dance to a certain song. You can go as far as taking a day every month and meeting somewhere away from the rink for some social time. I am not claiming to be a super coach. I have been guilty on more than one occasion of not listening to my own advice. I have learned from my mistakes and have done my best to correct them. I am still a work in progress and always will be. I do believe that through teamwork, this sport only gets better. If we cannot work as a team, there will be no team. With no team there would be no derby. With no derby, well letâ€™s not even begin to think of how horrible that would be.
DRILL drill: Gruesome Twosome
purpose: teamwork; self-confidence booster; blocking practice
This drill is like a mix between a game of Tag and Queen of the Rink. The trainer selects a pair of skaters who function as IT. They have to work together to tag other skaters. They can never be more than two strides away from each other. To tag a skater, IT must push the skater out of bounds or knock her/him down. The pair has two minutes in which to tag as many of the other skaters as possible. If you have a large group of skaters (or just as an added challenge), you can chose TWO sets of ITs and the two pairs can compete for the most tags in a two minute period. drill courtesy of allderbydrills.com
Punk Blocker and A Boy Named Tsunami
fiveonfivemag.com | Summer 2013 | 21
games and coaching
once upon a plateau D E E S TO RT I O N , B O S TO N D E R B Y DA M E S
OK, kiddos! Sit down. It’s story time... Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess, and her name was Princess Bruiseybum. When Princess Bruiseybum first strapped on a pair of sweet new roller skates, she wanted nothing more than to skate all day every day... and so she did. She sweated, she got better, she passed assessments, she learned to scrimmage, she sweated some more, and FINALLY, she made a team, played in her first bout and everyone thought she was on her way to becoming the coolest princess in all the land. Then one day she skated into the deep woods and met a horrible witch who placed a curse on her athletic performance. Sound familiar? Then you’ve hit a plateau, and no matter what you do, you can’t seem to get out of the funk and get back to making progress and upping your game. Here are my top five hints for overcoming the common curse of derby: The Plateau.
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1. cross train There is no worse thing than hitting a plateau and watching all the fresh meat (some of whom you have even trained or helped along the way) catch up to – or worse – surpass your skills. So you roller skate more, add in your own skating days, and you still don’t seem to get better. I have a hint for you. One of the best ways to become a better skater is to do something other than skate. Why? It will allow your roller derby muscles to recover. It will challenge your muscles to develop in different ways that will actually make your derby training more effective! Try adding things like jogging, weight lifting, yoga, plyometrics, or core workouts or better still, add all these things into your normal skating regimen and you
will see a change. Don’t be overwhelmed by adding cross training into your normal schedule. Try doing fifteen minutes a day to start, and soon your skating will improve. 2. rest Cross training is not a huge revelation. You know you have to work hard to improve in sports, but this one might blow your mind. Did you know that you can work TOO hard? Yes, I said it. Your coaches encourage you to continuously work harder, and I’m telling you to rest. Your muscles recover and improve in the rest period following hard training. If you don’t have sufficient rest, then you will hit a plateau. You may even notice your performance taking a backwards step. This is often called “burnout” or “overtraining” and this can be the most frustrating plateau for a derby girl or guy. Before you use this as an excuse to get out of practice, how do you know if you are overtraining? Some of the symptoms I have noticed when I do not get adequate muscular rest are fatigue, stress, crankiness, underperformance, loss of enthusiasm for the sport, and persistent muscular soreness. There may even be increased risk of injury that can occur with overtraining, so it should be taken seriously. This is a fine line we walk between pushing ourselves to perform above our standards and not overdoing it so that we do not perform below our standards. Make sure you allow time during the week for rest from your workout regimens. If you only skate two to three times a week, with no cross training, this is probably not happening to you. If you are the type to overdo it: running every day, going to the gym twice a day, and skating five days a week, this is probably you. I empathize because this is my
personality type as well. All I can say is: we get it. We know you are a badass, now show us you are a disciplined, serious athlete and rest.
3. change your diet and take care of your body What you eat fuels your muscles. Clean fuel in, clean performance out. Twinkies in... Well you get it. If you want to train like a serious athlete, you must eat like a serious athlete and you will notice how your body responds. Eat a lot of quality protein, healthy fats, fruits and veggies and whole grains. You can find a lot of great diets for athletes online, or you can ask your gym if there is a nutritionist you can talk to that specializes in sports performance. 4. change your mental outlook This is a simple one. Focus on something different in your training. For example, if you are a blocker, try to learn some sweet jammer moves that you can incorporate into your blocking. You can also visit another league’s practices and learn new skills or go to a bootcamp for a weekend and come out with a refreshed outlook and with new goals. Challenge yourself during practice to up the ante by doing the drill lower, faster, harder, on one foot, backwards, or in the opposite direction. This can turn a boring drill you’ve done a million times into something that will change your mental outlook, and you will be surprised how quickly you break through that plateau. 5. set quantitative goals, not qualitative goals This is the important one. Let’s look at the words quantitative vs. qualitative first. Qualitative goals (“dream goals”): These are goals based on a quality and are subjective or based on feelings. For example: I want to be better at roller derby, I want to be a better jammer/blocker/teammate, I want to have better footwork or
more endurance. You will usually find words like more or better in these goals. These words are relative. You will always want to be more and better forever and ever. These are not especially helpful in your training, but they may help define your quantitative goals or “Go-get-‘em goals” – so let’s move on to those. Quantitative goal (“go-get-‘em” goals): These are goals based on a quantity of achievable things and are objective and attainable. If your dream goal is to be a better jammer, you need to look at the skills you think would make a better jammer. Maybe you think jammers should be fast, so your quantitative “go-get-‘em” goal may be: I want to do 27 laps in 5 minutes. You may even take it a step further and define the goals that would help you achieve this like running twice a week or doing sprint laps every Thursday in the parking lot on your lunch break. Making your goals attainable and definitive will give you a goal to reach instead of a dream to hope for. You are actively defining what it is that makes a jammer better and you are going out there and becoming it. It also allows you to know when you’ve reached that goal and when to move forward to the next one.
So, this is how I am continually working on defining and achieving my own goals, and have pushed through very difficult plateaus in my six years of playing roller derby. Recognize the signs of plateaus and try different methods to get through them. Soon you will find yourself on the path to greatness once more. Thus Princess Bruiseybum defeated the evil witch and the clouds lifted and the princess knew that she would become more beautiful and stronger than ever before. She skated out of the woods and scored a million points and her team won everything and they high fived forever and ever. The end.
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so many boots! J E N N I F E R S AVA G L I O A K A L A P E T I T E M O RT, FA S T G I R L S K AT E S
So here’s the good news. There are now several brands of skating/derby boots to choose from and some are even designed specifically for derby. The bad news is that you probably aren’t near a derby retail store so it is still very difficult to determine your size in boots, and therefore the corresponding plate. Don’t despair, dear derby comrades, for in this article, I will attempt to assist you with this very difficult, and sometimes frustrating, endeavor. I have not only worn and tested boots from each manufacturer, but my business partner and I happen to own one of those elusive derby retail establishments and have gathered copious amounts of information over the years by talking to every kind of roller skater about their boots, and we’ve fit hundreds upon hundreds of skaters over the years. Let’s start with some basic boot information, and we’ll discuss plates and plate sizing in the next article. Proper boot fitting: If your boots don’t fit, you will not want to put them on. A correct fit is when the ball of your foot (front of foot right behind your toes) sits in the widest part of the boot, and the arch support sits under your arches. The heel of your boot should hug your actual heel. Your toes can touch the front of the boots, but they should NEVER be curled! Ideally, when the boot is new it should be snug while wearing thin socks because a boot only gets larger as you wear it. In soft toed boots, your toes should feather (read: barely touch) the front so the foot cannot slide forward and thus the heel cannot come out of the back of the boot. In a boot with a hard toe box, the snugness around the ball of the foot is critical, so as to not allow the foot to slide forward. Some skaters may find the toes touching the front of this type of boot painful. After these conditions are met, it is up to a skater’s personal choice regarding how tight they want or need their boots. Let me say that again. It’s your choice. Your retailer, online or in person,
TO MEASURE WIDTH: This is unnecessary for most skaters, but here is how to do it if you are unsure. Ask your local retailer to help you determine your proper width after you have determined it. Most skate boots are appropriate for most widths, but in extreme cases of wide or narrow feet, a different width can be ordered from most manufacturers, including Riedell, Antik and Bont. 1. Using a sewing tape measure (flexible plastic or cloth), wrap the
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should be helping you find your balance between performance and comfort. You should never feel pressured into a fit you can’t tolerate or you know isn’t right. TO MEASURE LENGTH: 1. Get an old fashioned wooden or metal ruler and put the short end against a stair tread. 2. Sit on the stair above with your heel against the back of the stair tread and your foot on the ruler. 3. Note the length of the longest part of your foot (for some of us, it’s the second toe), then STAND and see if the length changes. Go with the longer length. 4. Do this for each foot and write it down. OR 1. Trace your foot on a piece of paper, making sure to trace the line consistently. Try not to mark the line too far under the foot or too far away from the foot. Keep the angle of the pen or pencil as straight up as possible. 2. Measure the longest part of the tracing to determine length. TO DETERMINE SIZE: 1. Check these measurements against the chart on page 29 to see what size boots you end up in. 2. As a general rule, a woman goes down roughly 1 ½ to 2 sizes from her street shoes to snug fitting boots. 3. Every boot is different, so please check the sizing recommendations for each to ensure you are getting the right size in the boot you choose. 4. Keep in mind that the best way to tell is to find someone with that boot/size and ask them to let you try them. There simply is no substitute for trying on stuff. That is the primary reason we opened a brick and mortar first before even opening an online store. We believe in hands on feet on skates.
tape measure around the widest part of your foot. This is usually the ball of the foot on the inside, and the wide part under the pinky toe on the outside of the foot. 2. The tape measure may be at an angle. That is ok. Do this while sitting and then stand up and put weight on the foot, as it may spread once weight is upon it. 3. Write down this measurement per foot and advise your retailer so they can determine if you have special width needs.
Quick rundown of boots currently popular for derby, and how they fit: 1. Riedell. The one and only, the oldest, and some insist, the very best. Riedell boots popular in derby are as follows: • 122, 125, 126, 265, 495, 595, 695 and blue streak: These boots are soft toed, and meant to be an extension of the leg, fit like a glove with the toes barely touching the front and mold to the skater’s foot over time. They lace all the way to the toes so that the skater has more control over the width. • 395, 965 and 1065: These boots have a hard toe box as mentioned above, and require the snugness to be in the ball of the foot. The hard toe box is great for skaters that are hard on the toes of their boots and need extra room and extra protection for their toes. • The 122, 125, 126, 395, 595 and 695 run true to Riedell sizing in the chart on page 29. • The 495, blue streak, 965 and 1065 run ½ size large. So find your size in the Riedell column and go down ½ size. (i.e., if you are a 5 on the chart, order a 4 1/2) 2. Antik. Modeled after a hockey boot with a ¾ high ankle and heat moldable inner reinforcement, Antik boots are designed to give the skater additional support when skating, particularly when moving laterally. They are leather, have a hard toe box and are lightly padded. For most skaters the break in period is minimal to non-existent. • AR1: This boot is leather, with a heat moldable counter and leather sole.
• MG2: This boot is suede with a microfiber sole. It is not heat moldable. • Spyder: An economical, entry level offering, this boot is leather with a rubber sole and comes in whole sizes only. • The AR1 and MG2 run ½ size large. So again, find your size in the Riedell column, and go down ½ size. • The Spyder runs true to size. If you are a half size, go up. So if you measure at 4 ½, you would get a size 5. 3. Luigino. A completely new type of technology, these boots are made entirely from microfiber, and are heat moldable using hot water. • Q6, Q4: These boots feature the all new “Barefoot Technology”, which briefly means that the boot is shaped more like the foot’s natural shape, and has a hard toebox. The footbed is where much of the technology and benefit lies. The metatarsals (the long bones of the feet) are supported in such a way that the foot is made to relax, and the skater is able to maneuver simply by leaning into the footbed. Barefoot Technology does NOT mean the boots are meant to be worn barefoot. These boots can feel stiff at first until they are heated. The difference between the Q6 and the Q4 is simply that the Q6 has a lace cover. (Again, that is a very brief overview.) Consult chart for sizing info. • F1: This boot is also made of microfiber, and does not have the barefoot technology mentioned above. Instead, it is meant to be a more traditionally fitting boot, like the 595, with a soft toebox and lacing all the way down. • The F1 is sized very much like a Riedell boot. (Meaning if you wear a size 5 Riedell, you’d be a 5 in this boot.)
Heat molding is useful for quickly molding a section or sections of the boot around the skater’s particular foot shape. It can be used to narrow the boot such as in the heel, or widen the ball, or push out a spot that is causing pain. You simply heat the heat moldable material in the boot and work it into the shape you need.
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gear 4. Crazy. The new kid on the block especially in the US for the past few years, designed from the ground up specifically for derby, boasting extremely durable and comfortable boots in several models to choose from. These boots are heat moldable, and can feel quite stiff until heated up. • DBX 1, DBX 3: These boots are microfiber or “vegan”. • DBX 5, DBX Pro, or 7: These boots are made of leather with a microfiber lining. All boots from this manufacturer have a hard toebox, and feature padding that will not deteriorate over time, extra support in the heel using HLT or Heel Lock Technology. This HLT system utilizes Memory Foam to lock the Heel into the Heel Pocket, and a fastening system that allows for a very secure fit without being so tight as to be uncomfortable. The IFS (yes embrace the acronyms dear skater) or Integrated FootBed System provides three (3) levels of Arch Support, and the tongue conforms to the Foot and allows for both Narrow and also very Wide Feet. Refer to chart for sizing information.
REMEMBER: The following chart is meant to be a guideline, or a starting point. Everyone’s feet are different, and every skater has their personal preference as to how tight they like their boots. To help narrow down your choices, you can also ask yourself the following questions: 1. Do I need my skates to be extremely tight so there is absolutely NO movement while skating? 2. Do I need extra support to help me move laterally or be maneuverable? 3. Does it bother me to have something touching my toes? Do I need to have room to wiggle my toes and have nothing touch them ever? 4. Am I hard on the toes of my boots and my skates and gear in general? 5. Am I OK if I lose my toenails, as long as my boot fits snugly even after being broken in? 6. Do my feet swell or retreat so much that a boot with lots of adjustments would be useful? 7. Is it within my means to replace my boots every few years so I can always have a tight fit?
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5. Bont. Known traditionally for inline speed skating boots, Bont is also relatively new to the derby market, combining years of competitive sport boot making with the needs of derby players. Bont boots are shaped so that the skater’s foot is in a more anatomically correct position. They are all heat moldable. Refer to chart for sizing information. • Leather Hybrid and Hybrid Carbon: These boots are leather with a microfiber lining, and lace all the way to the toes. They have a soft toe box and are meant to fit like a glove. They are so incredibly lightweight that skaters often feel like they are wearing slippers. The leather hybrid has a fiberglass base, and the hybrid carbon has a much stiffer carbon fiber sole and heel that gives the skater more support. • Quad Racer: Similar to the two hybrid models, this boot is made from microfiber inside and out and also has a fiberglass base.
After determining the answers to these questions, use the information listed above about the different kinds of boots to narrow your selection. And again, there is simply no substitute to having your feet in the boots to see how they feel on your feet. I know that is hard for many skaters who do not live near a store, but your boots and how they fit can seriously affect your skating, comfort, and overall happiness. I’d personally rather spend the money on shipping two pairs of boots to myself at home and returning what doesn’t fit or isn’t right for me. If you are travelling personally or with your league, I also highly suggest seeing if there is a derby store in the area. Retailers have been known to even set aside special hours, open early or stay late for out-of-town skaters. If you can get several league members to come all at one time, we tend to be even more flexible since that really makes it worth a retailer’s while. Next issue will feature a corresponding article with another chart to help you determine which size plate from which manufacturer will fit on which boot. And lastly, a very simple reminder I give to each skater I fit: “After break in, you should be excited, happy, and looking forward to putting your boots on at each practice. If not, it could be a red flag that you are not in the right boots.
STREET SHOE SIZE
WOMEN’S WOMEN’S WOMEN’S US UK EUR
SIZE ON MEASURING STICK MEN’S US
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division 2 playoffs: ambitious AND awesome! S H E L LY S H A N K YA , I C T R O L L E R G I R L S
As the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) approaches its seventh tournament season, the organization will launch a new tournament structure for 20 additional teams. The WFTDA restructured its competitive system to introduce Division play in January 2013, dividing the 170-plus WFTDA-member leagues into three divisions based on ranking. Divisions are set once per year following the WFTDA Championships. Division 1 includes teams ranked 1-40 at that time; Division 2 includes teams ranked 41-100; and Division 3 is teams ranked 101 and above. “When we split into four Playoffs in 2009, we had 78 members,” WFTDA Executive Director Juliana Gonzales said. “We currently support 176 member leagues, which represents a huge diversity of competitive experience and skill. For those members who are ready to play WFTDA tournaments, Division 2 tournaments add opportunities for 20 more leagues to compete.” Seeding into Playoff tournaments will be based on June 30, 2013, rankings, with the teams ranked 41-60 playing in one of two Division 2 Playoffs. Division 2 tournaments will each feature 17 games in a single-elimination bracket and consolation games, similar to the Division 1 Playoffs. Seeding at the Division 2 Playoffs will also mirror Division 1, using an S-curve based on the June rankings.
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Caitlin “Dusty” Watson said. “Given our current WFTDA ranking, our chances look pretty good. We know that if we keep practicing, keep pushing our limits, and keep getting better, we can compete against anyone. There are many teams out there just like us, pushing their limits and practicing their asses off to get one of the coveted tournament spots.” The Division 2 Playoffs will be hosted by Des Moines Derby Dames
“This is part of an ambitious plan for the future to continue ramping up and adding competitive opportunities in WFTDA tournaments for our members as we grow,” Gonzales said. “The Division Playoffs model is built to accommodate more teams and another level of competition. The WFTDA is also cultivating tournaments outside North America as our membership balances in those areas worldwide.” As the new playoff tournaments offer lesser-known and newer squads a chance to compete, many of the leagues presently ranked 41-60 have upped their practice and play to vie for an opportunity to challenge leagues on a WFTDA-wide level. “Our whole team is hungry to earn a spot in the D2 tournament,” Toronto Roller Derby’s CN Power Co-Captain
in Des Moines, Iowa, on August 16-18, and Killamazoo Derby Darlins in Kalamazoo, Michigan, August 23-25. Selected through the same competitive bidding process used for all WFTDA tournaments, both Des Moines and Kalamazoo offer proximity to various WFTDA and non-WFTDA leagues to allow for a diverse audience. “Killamazoo and Des Moines both have the potential to bring in many athletes and increase the visibility of women’s flat track roller derby in their respective areas,” WFTDA Tournament Director Alisha Campbell said. “Although much can happen in the rankings over the next several months, when you look at the teams currently ranked 41-60, many are located within a day’s drive of these two locations, which has the potential of athletes bringing their friends and families.” The leagues working to earn a spot for these two tournaments have the additional motivation of a trip to WFTDA
Championships and a chance to play at an entirely new level. After the Division 2 Playoffs, the top two teams from each tournament will play for the top spot in Division 2 during the WFTDA Championships in November. The top finisher from each playoff will meet in a final game to determine the champion. The second-place teams from each playoff will meet in a third-place match. “The addition of the two Division 2 games at WFTDA Championships makes for a total of 14 games, and extra games means extra action!” Campbell said. “The Division 2 Playoffs and their spot in the Championship Tournament will add such an exciting element to the 2013 WFTDA tournament season. Introducing 20 additional teams and their fans to WFTDA tournament-style play will be an awesome experience on so many levels.”
“It’s really exciting for leagues like ours, that have fallen shy of regional tournaments in the past, to get the opportunity to bout in a division tournament,” Oklahoma Victory Dolls’ All Star Squad Captain Heather “Dolly Dynamite” Brandenburger said. “It would be an honor to compete for the first-ever D2 Championship. Our league has grown so much in the last few years, both in size and skill.” For those who can’t make the trip to watch history in the making at the first ever Division 2 Playoffs, both events will be broadcast on WFTDA.tv. To introduce WFTDA fans to these new events and teams, the Division 2 Playoffs will be supported by a donation-based funding model in 2013. Viewers can support the broadcast programming via taxdeductible donations. “We’ll be providing quality live event coverage for D2 tournaments to viewers and encouraging fans to contribute to
help defray our production costs, at whatever level they feel comfortable,” WFTDA Head of Broadcast Operations Erica Vanstone said. “We recognize that skaters, support staff, and fans work hard for their dollar and for our community, and we’re hoping they come on that journey with us – helping to build the Division 2 tournaments video coverage from the ground up.” All proceeds from WFTDA.tv are reinvested into the WFTDA-owned broadcast program. “We want to do whatever we can to strengthen the mission of growing the sport of flat track roller derby, and that means we’re making the D2 Tournaments a priority, to introduce those teams to a wider audience,” said WFTDA Director of Marketing Leanne Terpak. For additional information on the 2013 WFTDA Tournaments, please visit wftda.com/tournaments. Derby Nexus
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how to sell derby... for kids N E C H O L E C U L P, DA M Z E L D O L L S
When looking to promote your junior roller derby team you have to start with one simple question. How do I sell derby... for kids? Derby is a rough contact sport and most people equate it to football on skates. Throw in a herd of little girls and you may only get some confused frowns as you seek sponsors. So here we will explore, how to sell derby... for kids. #1 Mission loves it? Everyone loves it, the fans, refs, sponsors, and skaters. Consider roller derby as an item you are selling. You are looking We get more compliments on those shirts than anything, why? for the highlights of your junior team, your experiences, and They are... easy to say, easy to spell, easy to read, and easy your selling points. To identify these areas it is important to to remember. establish the team mission. The team mission defines the We did not forsake our artistic side. We sell plenty of the purpose of the team. It should state who you are and what fun full logo derby girl shirts at our merch table. We also sell you do. Everyone knows you are derby, shirts with only the team name. By but what lies behind that? There are offering both, our fans buy both. It many areas where a team can focus helps team branding and finances. purpose. Find the purpose that fits As we establish our brand, we also your team best. Some teams value offer generic roller derby apparel at and build strong self-image and our merch table to boost sales. These sportsmanship. Others may focus include shirts that say things like on strong ethics and service to others, I Love Roller Derby, Skate Derby, Derby and yet another, may place strong Strong, and Support your Local Roller value on community or accountability. Derby, and hats that say Derby Dad Define the mission statement for your or Derby Mom. Be consistent in junior team, make it strong and true, advertising, build awareness of what and promote it. you are doing and why, and convince Danny Ngan Photography, photography.dannyngan.com others to support it. Do not underestimate the power of branding. #2 Branding Use every avenue possible to get your team name out there. Create value for your team. The best rule is... Easy to say, Easy Here are a few ways to promote your team: Push Online to spell, Easy to read, Easy to remember. In roller derby there and Direct Marketing â€“ Create a website, maintain an online are some crazy names, plays on words, and ridiculous sayings. event calendar, utilize social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, They are all fun at the right time. When selecting your team You Tube, Google+, Blogs. You can also send emails, build name, remember KISS, a common marketing term, Keep It partnerships with other teams, pass out printed material, send Simple and Stupid. For our junior roller derby team we had an direct mailings, and post signs and displays in local businesses. amazing artist draw up a sweet roller derby chick with all the Create a Media Kit â€“ A Media Kit includes a fact sheet, jazz. It is colorful and fun and the girls love it. We sell a one recent press releases, team background, high resolution color shirt of the girl logo and many people love it. We have the photos, and logos, as well as skater bios and a team bio. full color logo girl and many love it. On the team uniforms and A well written media kit will help you acquire sponsors scrimmage shirts, we elected to put only the team name. Who and develop a relationship with reporters.
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#3 Target The target market creates your cash flow and fan base. There are four targets and it is essential to approach them a little differently. A junior team needs skaters, volunteers, donations, and sponsors. Create a fun skater invite that is simple, informative, and catchy to recruit skaters. Hold a donation skate at a local rink, send home flyers in the local schools, or host a car wash on skates to spread awareness. Skaters can also skate door to door collecting pop bottles as a fundraiser/recruitment activity. The skaters can be taught to have recruitment as a priority, leaving invites, business cards and smiles to promote the team. Include monthly dues for skaters because this helps build the team and create a foundation of funds for team purposes. Every youth sport needs volunteers. Parents get exhausted chauffeuring their multiple children to and fro. Seek outside volunteers as much as possible. The more people you have involved in your team the better. Ask skaters to invite a grandparent or teacher to come run the concessions or merch table. Recruit local business owners to come time the girls’ eval laps and grade eval quizzes. Invite the local boys’ basketball team school to paint up in your team colors and have a bleacher section to cheer on the team. The avenue for volunteers is endless once you get people involved. Targeting volunteers is an important part of keeping your team, coaches, and parents from getting burned out on their children’s sports. Volunteers can increase the team cash flow by running errands, watching for discounts, monitoring the merch or concession table, increasing ticket sales, promoting the team at events, and supervising outings. It is vital to target donations separate from sponsors. There are many people who love to give to youth sports. They only
need to know and understand your mission. Offering incentives for donations is a great way to get people giving to your vision. An example would be to draw a large poster board skate chart and track donations by coloring in the skate at monetary values. Create key chains for each level of giving; bronze, silver and gold and assign monetary amounts to each level. People will get excited to give. Donors could receive a key chain right away or wait and receive one based on all their giving once the campaign ends. Make sure to set an end date for the campaign and watch as donations flood in for your team. Everyone will see the progress and receive the incentive for participation. Define your goal, promotion, cost, timeframe, and incentive, and you are on your way. Youth sports can provide a simple way for sponsors to build value for their brands, increase sales, and provide consumer services. Painting your team with a brush that business owners can relate to is essential to recruiting loyal sponsors. Youth sports engage the whole community. The more the team reaches out to the community, asks for sponsors, and promotes the sponsors that they have, the more sponsors will want to get involved. It may be beneficial as practice to take on a very small sponsor and promote them to the best of your ability. Go overboard in your community and with your team supporting that sponsor. Create an event that is sure to get your team and sponsor notice. Practice makes perfect, so when all those big sponsors come along, you will have a foundation to offer in return. Beef up your public relations; this is communication to persuade other to join you. Create videos to introduce yourself, send thank you cards, and stop in and chat with possible sponsors of businesses. Always highlight the unique benefits of your team; you are competing for their attention so be relevant.
Here are a few questions to answer for sponsors: How does this team compare to other teams? • Why support this team? • What is the main passion of this team? Website template and host recommendation: weebly.com • shutterfly.com • eteamz.com • bludomain.com Book recommendation: Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk
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JRDA TA N YA P R O C K N OW, J R DA
The Junior Roller Derby Association (JRDA) is a public non-profit educational and amateur sports organization that is dedicated to advancing the growth of roller derby through the standardization of rules and goals for existing and new leagues. The mission of JRDA is to nurture bold self-confidence in youth by developing teamwork and athletic ability, while treasuring individuality within a culture of integration, encouragement, and service to others. JRDA partners with competitive and recreational junior leagues, communities and schools, mentors and families to empower youth through the international sport of roller derby. The JRDA brought the “Eight Wheels for Education” college scholarship to the forefront in 2013, more organization to the Junior Roller Derby regions, and introduced two Regional tournaments. JRDA also has a more structured JuniorCon schedule and some regional training camps being hammered out as we speak!
JRDA: Eight Wheels for Education When fully realized, the JRDA’s Junior Roller Derby Scholarship will be able to fund ten $1,000 scholarships to deserving Junior Roller Derby skaters. With the help or private donors, the JRDA has funded one $1,000 scholarship. The JRDA selected the first-ever recipient of the $1,000 scholarship June 1, 2013 to forever be in the record books! Applicant Criteria • Must be a High School Senior • Must have skated at the Junior Roller Derby level for six months (need contact information to verify)
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• GPA: 3.0 (need high school report card(s) from August – December) • Community Service Hours: 20 (Need written proof and contact information to verify. Dates should fall within the Senior School Year) • Submit a 100 word essay answering the question, “How will the skills I learned in Junior Roller Derby help me be a better student?” Support the future of Roller Derby by donating to the Eight Wheels for Education Scholarship! juniorrollerderby.org/jrda-college-scholarship.html
JRDA Regional Tournaments JRDA Great Lakes Region consists of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Come see the largest regional junior roller derby tournament in the Great Lakes states! Lansing Capital Roller Derby and the Cap City Wild Childs are proud to host the 2nd Annual Great Lakes Cup on June 22, 2013. The tournament will be held at Aim High Sports located at 7977 Centerline Drive, Dimondale, Michigan, home venue to the Lansing Capital Roller Derby league. This is a full-contact regional tournament sanctioned by the Junior Roller Derby Association (JRDA) for Level 3 teams. JRDA Southern Region consists of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The Florida Junior Rollergirls are proud to host the inaugural junior roller derby tournament in the Southern States on June 29-30, 2013. The tournament will be held at the Volusia County Fairgrounds, home of the Thunder City Sirens in Deland, Florida. This is a full-contact regional tournament sanctioned by the Junior Roller Derby Association (JRDA) for Level 2, Level 3 teams and individual skaters.
JuniorCon JuniorCon 2013 will be held in the heart of Fort Wayne, Indiana, July 12-14 at Canlan Ice Arena. Canlan has many amenities to offer our campers and parents (even siblings not participating) for a maximum derby experience. Upon registering July 12, you won’t have to leave the facility for any of the events or drive to a hotel; it’s all located on the same campus! Canlan has 16 locker rooms with showers and restrooms, a full-service restaurant and bar that overlooks the arena your child will be training on, open sessions for ice skating, kids play area, media rooms for bout reviewing and breakout sessions, and it’s air conditioned! With your camper’s ticket, we’re including Junior Prom, two lunches (one per training day), snacks and water. We have some of the most sought after, elite derby trainers this year! Bonnie D. Stroir, Smarty Pants, Pia Mess and Teflon Donna. We will have parent clinics, coaching clinics, skating clinics and challenge bouts! Get your tickets today: juniorcon.com. As 2013 is half-way done, the JRDA is working toward making it possible for all nine JRDA regions to participate in tournament play at multiple skill levels in 2014. We are looking to the future of junior roller derby by working toward the first EVER Junior Roller derby national championship by 2015! If you are looking to host a regional tournament, JuniorCon, or our inaugural National Tournament, please contact the Junior Roller Derby Association today at juniorrollerderby.org!
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how to stand out in the fresh meat pool FRISKY SOUR, ROSE CITY ROLLERS
show off your strength Being an all-around good skater and a good team player is an asset, but it won’t necessarily catch anyone’s eye if they’re busy watching 20 skaters and running a practice. Become the fastest, or the hardest-hitting in your group, or the one who can really hockey stop, or the one who does that cool spin move. Rose City lore says that White Flight jumped over someone in her first team scrimmage. You’ll be noticed if you knock down a sturdy veteran blocker, jump the apex, or beat your league’s fastest skater during a set of sprints. tell a team captain that you’d like to be on their team Please don’t kiss up. However, a text, email or face-to-face conversation saying, “Yo, I had a great time skating with you, thanks a bundle lady, I’d love to be a Farm Fatale/Break Neck Bettie/Furious Truckstop Waitress if that works out,” is friendly. Don’t tell all the home team captains in your league that they’re your first choice or anything dumb like that, okay? They talk. be visible The kiss of death is when a captain sees a list of available draftees and asks, “Who is this? I’ve never seen this girl
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before.” It happens more than you’d think. Put your name on your helmet. Smile. Be personable. Volunteer in the league and go to events – not everything, but don’t be a hermit. Don’t skip league practices. There’s no need to go to the bar after every practice, but stopping by every once in awhile couldn’t hurt. (Just be responsible if you drink, okay? Nothing will hurt your chances faster than a little drama at the league-sponsored bar.) Stop acting like you snuck into league scrimmage, and act like you belong there. You do. be coachable Most people – us schlubs who didn’t grow up playing hockey – are drafted for their long-term prospects. Listen carefully to feedback. If you don’t like it, let it soak in for a day or two before dismissing it. Be positive. If someone asks you to jam, you take that helmet cover with a smile and do your best. ...but be yourself You’re (probably) awesome the way you are. If you try to conform your personality or your skating style to what you think others want, you’ll be miserable in the long run. My personality is far from the stereotypical “derby personna” – I don’t swear that much in non-derby situations, I don’t have any tattoos or piercings, and I just want to be nice most of the time. I’m a nerd who reads the rules. So what? What matters is your skating and your willingness to work hard to get better. don’t stand out for the wrong reasons The “wrong” reasons may include, but are not limited to: drunken antics, smack-talking on Facebook, excessive intraleague dating, and loud or infamous skater feuds. take bout tear down shifts You think I’m kidding? If it’s between you and another girl who doesn’t seem to want to do her share of required team duties – that team will take you. In a HEARTBEAT.
Karl McWherter, KARLMCW.com
So you’ve tried out and you’ve made Fresh Meat. Ta-da! You made it, right? Well, not really – in most cases, it doesn’t necessarily feel like you’ve made it very far. While some leagues have blind drafts, or another system of placement, many leagues have their team captains and coaches make skater selections based on perceived skaters potential. How can you stand out among the crowd of eager freshies? Disclaimer: This article explains what will make you stand out to me and to the team captains I happen to know. I have no idea what goes through some captains’ minds when they’re drafting. Great skaters get left on the table and sometimes so-so skaters get picked up and the rest of us end up scratching our heads.
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size AWESOME: participation in roller derby and the effect on body image A N D R E A E K L U N D A K A P R O F E S S O R PA I N , R O D E O C I T Y R O L L E R G I R L S A N D D R . BA R BA R A M A S B E R G
Walking into the orientation meeting the day our league began was the start of this project. Looking around at these strangers who are now my closest friends, I noticed how everyone was different in height, shape, and personalities. I instantly thought I would love to do research pertaining to participation in roller derby and the effect on body image. Through my time as a skater and after a major injury and then becoming a coach, I have seen the changes in these players physically and mentally. They started to love their curves, see themselves as athletes, and admire each other’s bodies and assets. Previously I researched body image from other perspectives but never for roller derby. I had not seen any research on roller derby much less body image and roller derby. Fast forward two years later, a colleague and I started the research process. A list of roller derby leagues was obtained through Roller Derby Worldwide, and at the time of this study 1,171 leagues were listed. English speaking leagues were contacted for ease of analyzing the data. We sent an email to league contacts with the link and a request for assistance in contacting their members. 841 emails were sent to league contacts, 3,971 league members responded to the survey and 2,417 fully completed the survey. The survey included questions on general roller derby participation, body image, purchasing, and demographics. So who were these women? Respondents were from the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, England, New Zealand, Sweden, South Africa, Scotland, Japan, Germany, Finland, The Netherlands, Ireland, and a few from a handful of countries. 87% of the respondents were Caucasian, with Hispanics, Asians and African Americans each making up four percent. The age range was from 18 to 59 with the average in the late twenties and early thirties. 76% were heterosexual, 14% bisexual, 7% homosexual and 3% other, other meaning “pansexual”, “heteroflexible”, “celibate”, or “I don’t do labels”. Half were married or in a domestic partnership, and one quarter were single. In third place was cohabitating with separated or divorced making up a small percentage. 93% had a post-
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secondary degree. The majority had professional or technical careers. The average skater practiced three to four times a week and played with a local league or with a WFTDA or WFTDA apprentice league. Almost half learned about roller derby through friends and the others through documentaries, advertising, and marketing at skating rinks and in their community. Respondents were given a list of reasons for initially deciding to join roller derby and were asked to rank this list. The top reason was the competition, followed by exercise, to improve their health, meet new friends, and roller derby fit their personality. Many “always wanted to do roller derby,” or it looked like fun. Stress reduction and wanting to hit people was mentioned along with respondents having some type of connection or need for connection, such as a friend was trying out, involvement in the community, looking for social interaction after moving to the area, or just attention. Respondents also identified why they continued to participate. Competition was the top choice followed by the support of their team, the added richness to their lives, and the social interaction. To further explain the attraction of roller derby to members, we asked “What makes roller derby different from other sports?” The play and league, the self, relationships, inclusivity, and perceptions of the sport were noted. The more concrete aspects of roller derby were mentioned most often; full contact, complexity and strategy of play, playing offense and defense at the same time, the persona, league development and support, and skating. The persona allows for women to be aggressive and feminine, thus the attractiveness of the persona and full contact. The league is managed by league members and the aspect that it is run by skaters for skaters was identified. Learning new skills is something different, as well as having the opportunity to further develop those skills and become good at it. Roller derby adds enriching experiences and becomes a lifestyle. Relationships were a keystone and qualified many of the other comments. The depth and scope of these relationships ranged from a friendship, social circle, sisterhood, family, and team accomplishment.
Forming roller derby relationships was mentioned and is important, but how does participating in roller derby affect their own families? As we know, roller derby takes a lot of time. Respondents provided statements describing affected family interaction and activities. Several mothers indicated the “me time” offered by roller derby provides an outlet that results in better interactions at home. Roller derby has become a focus of family activity, as daughters have joined junior leagues, husbands have become referees, and other friends and family have become fans. Self-confidence has been noted as beneficial in careers, however, it has caused problems within some families and has strained non-derby relationships. Some mentioned problems with the marriage after joining (my husband resents me for getting out), but others say roller derby has improved their marriage. Besides the strain on relationships, the respondents revealed negative effects on their lives like putting strain on their work, time, financial resources, and their bodies with injuries. Roller derby takes over their time and time demands are further intensified by league management duties. Many recognized the time commitment but are OK with it. Others noted problems but do not seem to want to give up roller derby. Some have cut back on their time given to the sport. Respondents were asked to indicate their worst injury. Every area of the body had been injured by someone. A large majority of the respondents had
either a major or minor injury (major=break or tear; minor=sprain or bruises). However, injuries and physical pain affected the lives of very few and the majority had no time off skates or a brief non-skating interlude and went back to skating with little time off. It was found that participation in roller derby does affect body image. The majority of respondents, 96%, indicated roller derby participation had a positive effect on their body image. Three themes emerged: 1) The Athletic Body, 2) Body Acceptance, and 3) Clothing Choices. the athletic body The Athletic Body was a theme that emerged with the idea that it could be a tool: “I now see my body as a TOOL for the sport rather than an object for display.” “I just think about how I can make my body stronger to become a better athlete and do better.” One respondent mentioned letting go of her body image issues, “... my goal is to be a good athlete so I have let some of my body issues go.” Many comments were focused on the improvement in physicality and athleticism. Further groups emerged addressing developing muscles and having a healthy and active lifestyle; “... Whereas before I just wanted to get THIN, now I want to be a muscle-bound powerhouse of strength!” and “I was in shape before, but now I’m more muscular.” “I see my body as more than something to
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feature A negative effect on body image and a higher awareness of weight and fitness were noticed but respondents were cautious, “While I think that roller derby is overall positive for women’s body image, personally I have taken my athletic career very seriously, and I know that I need to be more conscious of health and weight in order to be more competitive” and “I have developed more strength and the tools to live a healthy lifestyle, but I am able to obsess more about my weight and fitness now to the detriment of other areas of my personality because it is supported by the fact that I play a sport and am supposed to be athletic and competitive.” body acceptance Body Acceptance was typified by “acceptance of my body— (and) not afraid to show it.” Body acceptance was reinforced by teammates, which affected the individual’s attitude. Through skating, respondents indicated they accepted parts of their bodies they had previously criticized. Roller derby made me feel SO much better about my body. I always thought my butt was too big before, but all the girls on my team compliment it ALL the time. And that’s just one example! I’ve also grown more fit and thus feel more comfortable in my body.
look at. What it can DO is important now too...” One comment indicated that the muscle development and the changes in their bodies were a topic of discussion; “... one of my derby sisters and I talk about this regularly. We suddenly have muscles in places we never had them before. We find ourselves acting like 16-year-old boys, flexing in mirrors and asking people to feel our muscles. It’s silly, but I have found a new love for my body that I never had before, and it’s really nice.” Respondents discussed focusing on a healthy and active lifestyle with weight loss being less important “I have become focused on a healthy, active lifestyle, rather than simply trying to lose weight...” and “It also has made me aim for health for health’s sake, not because I’m thinking about an unhealthy road leading to me getting fat. My motivations for eating well and taking care of myself are POSITIVE instead of NEGATIVE.” Additional respondents indicated major improvement in health. “No more asthma” and “I’m no longer borderline diabetic after being in derby for a year,” are illustrative of two ailments identified as improving or gone due to roller derby activity. Individuals noted how their depression and panic attacks have been alleviated or in one case she “ceased taking anti-depressants.”
Some respondents acknowledged that they are more critical of their bodies but it was from a positive health conscious perspective; “Even though I am more critical of my body now, it is in a GOOD way...” and “Though I do obsess about my body image more now... I’m following through with my half-hearted efforts at health and fitness that I previously hadn’t.”
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I have let go of unrealistic body images I had for myself and had to accept and like that even when I get the tone and lose the fat I want, I will still be a “big” girl and that there isn’t anything wrong with that, I can still be beautiful and not be this skinny mini miserable girl.
Specifically respondents commented that they did not want to be skinny, as it is not beneficial to the sport. I feel like I don’t have to be super skinny because that is not gonna help me with my game. I like the fact that I am a bigger muscular girl. I used to hate my body, specifically my arms...I have huge shoulders and arms, but I am as strong as an ox and I LOVE that about me now. ... It also made me realize I don’t want to be thin if it means losing my shapely body. Respondents acknowledged the sport and teammates are accepting of all body types; “...Derby is the ONLY place I have ever been where I walked into a room full of strangers the first day and did NOT feel self-conscious about my body. Acceptance of all shapes and sizes was apparent before I even spoke to anyone.” Seeing other women of various sizes and shapes in their league was cited in improving acceptance of their own bodies. “We have women of every shape and size on our team... They are beautiful. They are inspirational!” and “It has given me a group of supportive women that encourage, rather than judge and discourage me in my good body image.” Respondents often discussed admiring their teammate’s bodies and focusing on the positive aspects rather than criticizing. “Roller derby has completely changed the way I look at my body and the bodies of other women. I do not criticize anyone’s body any more, but instead started finding the good things about people’s bodies...” and “Seeing all these women with different body types still able to do amazing things that I cannot, or that ‘healthier’ girls cannot, allows me to understand that it doesn’t matter that I don’t look like a model, because I’m HEALTHY.” With many positive views there were women who were critical of themselves; “Despite seeing others with different body shapes, I need to be in better shape to be more competitive” and “I know I am in better shape than I have been, but being around younger more athletic women who are thinner and have better muscle tone, I feel I am even more concerned about how I look.”
during derby practice and bouts and in their daily lives. Individuals noted that wearing revealing clothing during practice and bouts gave them increased confidence; “I feel more powerful and sexy standing on the track in skates, spanx and fishnets than I ever could have imagined!” and “I can wear skimpier outfits and boutfits without feeling embarrassed about my size.” Additionally roller derby dress had impacted clothing chosen for daily wear, “Roller derby have given me the confidence to wear what I want more often and not be as afraid,” and “I’m willing to wear clothes that fit more closely after pretty much a lifetime of hiding under shirts that are much too big.”
“We have women of every shape and size on our team... They are beautiful. They are inspirational!”
clothing choices Participation in roller derby affected the respondents’ choice in clothing. Clothing choices reflect a more form fitting dress
With increased muscles and subsequent change in their bodies, some commented on the adverse effect on clothing fit; “My thighs are bigger which makes my pants too tight,” “hard to find jeans that fit muscular thighs,” and “I’ve gone up in pant size and they don’t look as nice on me. However, I do like having a shapely ass, but there are just not the clothes for it.” It is clear from this research that participation in roller derby affects body image. The environment of roller derby challenges the cultural ideal, promotes a healthier body image, and shows an acceptance of a variety of body sizes and types. The athletic body was emphasized by many participants; many discussed the body as a “tool.” In roller derby, the tool needs to be muscular, in any size, and as indicated by participants, healthy. Looking at the results, it seems participants are developing their own derby body based upon encouragement from the sport and teammates. Respondents expressed an increased respect for their body, an appreciation for a variety of body types, increased feelings of self-esteem, and a healthy respect for the body. Roller derby affects body image and for many comparing themselves to others had a positive effect. With roller derby gaining popularity and junior roller derby continuing to grow, it will be exciting to see the impact of participation in junior roller derby on the body image of young girls. Looking into this aspect of roller derby would be beneficial considering young girls are the most influenced by the cultural and media images.
Questions or reference information contact Andrea Eklund at firstname.lastname@example.org
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talking about the competition 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
Sportswriters – the good ones that is – are genuinely curious about what plays inside the athlete’s head. That said, as a sports fan, it’s probably in my nature to try to elicit trash talk from both fans and the athletes themselves. In the mix, I’ve always wondered what the top players in roller derby think and say about the individual competitors that they’ve
Who has delivered the hardest hit you’ve ever taken? Annie Maul: Holly Gohardly from Charm City. During a season game in Kansas City in 2009, Holly nailed me and sent me flying onto the floor with a thud, and I actually heard the crowd bellow “ooooooooooh.” I remember responding in my head: “that’s right.” I did not get up right away from that one.
blocked and knocked heads with. So, why not just ask? I reached out to some players who are pretty much household names in Derbyland. For starters, there’s Team USA wunderkind and Minnesota Rollergirl Juke Boxx, along with Mick Swagger, star blocker with the two-time national champs Gotham, both of whom had a lot to say. Also shedding light on the subject of hard hits were Windy City All-Star Jackie Daniels, and her fellow Riedell Superstars teammate Annie Maul of the Kansas City Roller Warriors. Rounding out the sounding board, I also caught up with Genniferal of the Detroit Derby Girls, along with her Midwest MEGA all-stars teammate Bloody Elle, who just joined Windy City after years with The Chicago Outfit. And for some west coast rep and flavor, Kamikaze Kim of Rat City and Denver Mile High Club starter Julie Adams graced us with their good humor and guidance.
Genniferal: During a practice with my former home team, I remember Zombea Arthur (Windy City) delivering a pretty nasty double dead leg in one practice that had me barely able to walk for a week. Juke Boxx: Shelby Shattered, who played for the Boston Massacre, knocked the wind out of me with a can opener hit and sent me flying into the crowd. It was just one of those hits you don’t forget. Julie Adams: Tannibal Lector (Oly) hit me so hard I swore I was bleeding internally. Kamikaze Kim: In my first interleague bout with Duke City in 2006, I got a fierce hit from Trish the Dish (then Sin City, now with SoCal) that sent me flying. I got pummeled like a rag doll in that game. Mick Swagger: Bork Bork Bork from Windy City cut off my path with her hip. The impact tore a hole in the butt of my pants and hurt my pride just a little bit. My teammate Donna Matrix drew
The interesting thing is all I had to do was put out a few questions and these women had much to share about their derby experience and their challengers.
a smiley face on the exposed skin. Who, technically speaking, is the most gifted skater you’ve
Who is the toughest competitor you’ve faced? Juke Boxx: Malice w/ Chains (Windy City), who I faced in 2009 at North Central Regionals, the Brawl of America. She was just a constant pain in the ass. Bloody Elle: I think that some of my fiercest opposition has come from people who are just entirely relentless, and don’t give you any room to move. Three players have done this most to me: Ima Hurtchu (Naptown), Shimmy Hoffa (Arch Rival), and Carrie A Hacksaw (Brew City). Jackie Daniels: Bonnie Thunders and Gotham, who are amazing top to bottom. Statistically, the points that Bonnie puts up for them destroys scoreboards. Most times, it doesn’t feel as bad as it looks, but pretty soon you are looking at a large deficit.
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faced? Jackie Daniels: As far as on-skates talent and athleticism, Sandrine Rangeon of Denver Roller Dolls. Her quickness, agility, and transitions are really spectacular. Bloody Elle: Bonnie Thunders (Gotham). I am convinced that she is made of rubber bands and steel plates! She has amazing footwork, is incredibly patient, plays very smart, and can muscle her way through a wall that looks impenetrable. I couldn’t even remotely get a hit in on her. Juke Boxx: I would say Heather Juska (Denver). No matter what position she ends up in she’s unbelievably fast and so hard to knock over. You think you’re going to get a solid hit on her and she’s like jelly slipping past you.
Who do you consider your main rival? Julie Adams: The Rocky Mountain Rollergirls... We have a very supportive, symbiotic relationship with our crosstown rivals, scrimmaging each other regularly, and sharing in the hosting of visiting teams who typically play both leagues when in town. Bloody Elle: When I was with The Chicago Outfit, we had some really great bouts against Arch Rival and Brew City. Those two squads really were close in competition with us over the last two years. Juke Boxx: This is the easiest question you’ve asked so far. The Windy City Rollers. Do I need to say why? If you haven’t watched our tie game you are missing out. Who has the best venue or fans? Juke Boxx: I’d say Montreal. They can gather support and have such a quirky and fun team that results in quirky and fun fans. Neon looks good on everyone. Jackie Daniels: I would say the Minnesota Rollergirls at Roy Wilkins – that’s a great crowd. I am a huge fan of belly paint myself, so I gotta give it to them. Also, B.ay A.rea D.erby makes a pretty good fan section themselves. Julie Adams: Rat City and Minnesota Rollergirls. These leagues both have great venues and tons of great, supportive fans! We’ve visited each team once and were blown away by the lines of people waiting to get in and the enthusiasm of the crowd during the bout. One team I respect but love to hate: Mick Swagger: New York Shock Exchange (men’s derby team). I feel my most aggressive when I play against them. They are a tough team to play and I always learn a lot. Annie Maul: The Texecutioners. I’ve been getting beat down by that team since 2007. Texas doesn’t quit, they work as a unit, and they are very smart. I pity anyone who overlooks them as a force to be reckoned with. Genniferal: Personally, Windy City. I started derby with them, and it’s hard cheering them on because I feel like they are unstoppable in our region. Who wants to root for the team you know is going to win? But, when you know how hard they work, it’s easy to respect them. Julie Adams: In the past few years we’ve developed quite a history with B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls and we really enjoy the intensity. It’s always a very physical game and their fans love to boo us. Kamikaze Kim: Bay Area. They always get the best of me!
Name one player you’d love to face, but haven’t yet Kamikaze Kim: Jackie Daniels (Windy City). We’ve been playing for about the same amount of time and we still have not skated against each other. Annie Maul: Anya Heels from Rat City Rollergirls. Her agility is amazing. I would like to see how I would attempt to control her. It seems like it would be a major challenge. Name one competitor you’d love to have on your team Genniferal: Rebel Rock-it from Toronto. I skated against her when I played on Vagine Regime Canada. I pretty much just bounced off of her whenever I tried to hit her. Lesson learned: positional blocking, duh. Annie Maul: I’m taking two: Demanda Riot (Bay Area) and Jackie Daniels (Windy City). Both players have ultimate heart and are extremely smart with strategy. They also make me laugh. In my opinion, you can’t ask for a stronger skill than that when going into a game. Mick Swagger: While traveling internationally I met some amazing derby players from Australia and New Zealand I’d love to draft. I’d keep Ruby Ribcrusher (Victorian, Team Australia). She is a great blocker and makes smart decisions on the track and is a wonderful person all around. Kamikaze Kim: Fifi Nomenon (Texas). She’s so fun to watch; a very dynamic player. Good combination of size, speed, and agility. She skates like a CHAMP!!!! I’d really love to beat… Juke Boxx: Gotham, because no one has done it in quite some time and I’ve got my eyes set on the best. Julie Adams: Gotham. Because somebody needs to. They demonstrate teamwork, solid strategy and discipline and it will take even more teamwork, strategy and discipline to beat them. Mick Swagger: I’m dying to play The London Roller Girls! They have a deep bench and are incredible skaters. Bring it London! Or, in an alternate universe, I’d like to play Team USA and Team Bionic on the banked track. I think Gotham could take ‘em! Jackie Daniels: The aging process. Then beat everyone. And then win the Hydra. The other way around is fine too.
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the retirement struggle PUNCHY O'GUTS, MAINE ROLLER DERBY
Sure, you can’t play derby forever, but I was going to play derby forever. My passion for the sport would spawn an ability to stay young and never become injured. I was convinced of it. Retirement was not an option for me. Ever. For more than half a decade, I’d worked just about every single position, done every single job, and trained just about every single skater on my small league. In regard to skater turn over, among other issues, I can say that without a doubt I’ve recognized some reoccurring patterns. Without fail, the same issues repeated year after year, regardless of how hard the leadership worked to develop new policies and plans. Each year, the league evolved with the improvements, and each year the same issues occurred, regardless of what we considered revolutionary changes. My love and loyalty for the league kept me afloat during the growing pains and the retirement of many beloved teammates. A few years into my derby career I realized that the challenges of operating a small league would always exist. Sure, we evolved and became more productive and efficient, but when the old meat retired, the league was left to skaters without the experience and knowledge to run the business. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Fresh perspectives are often what keep the sport of roller derby moving forward. In my sixth year with the league, there were only two skaters who had been with the league since its inception, three skaters with four or more years of experience, a handful with two to four years, and almost half the league having less than a year’s experience. Most of the women in positions of leadership had not experienced the growing pains I had, and when the same issues resurfaced, the younger skaters naturally felt an urgency to deal with them. After years of participating in the same discussions, I had far less patience for devoting energy to countless hours of email threads and all-night meetings on topics that had been hashed out. I viewed them as the regular old, never-ending challenges
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of operating a small league and my tone, when dealing with those issues, came off as cold and dismissive. I desperately wanted to spend time on what I considered higher priorities like developing a training program for officials, or finding a cheaper practice space so the league didn’t struggle to pay the rent, or finding sponsors to help with travel and uniform costs or to afford guest coaches or send our trainers to derby camps. I felt as though we were wasting valuable time discussing how to appease the lower-skilled skaters who felt less important than the all-star skaters or how to manage skater turn over. To me, it was just a simple fact that no matter how much attention you give the skaters at the bottom tier of the skill level, they would still be unsatisfied, and that skater turn over occurred despite all the revolutionary changes we’d made. I recognize that won’t sit right with some skaters. That’s fine. We all have different perspectives and responses. As long as we can speak to each other respectfully, we should be able to find a place of compromise. I, however, wasn’t so graceful at the time. My dismissive responses put skaters on the defensive and created a difficult working relationship. Regretfully, I wish I would have handled myself more professionally, but I’m human and I mess up like everybody does. I recognized the connections and decided it best to remove myself from the board of directors. The problem was that I couldn’t stay out of league business. I couldn’t skate by and not interject with “hey, we dealt with that before and here’s all the research we did and the 700-email thread discussion when we had this conversation five other times.” No one needs Grandmother Roller Derby chiming in on everything they do. They are overworked and trying to do their best. I think some skaters resented me, rightfully so, and it led to me feeling that I was no longer an asset to my league. It may seem ridiculous (and maybe it is), but I felt unwelcome at practice. No one looked at me with a get-thef*%k-out face, and no one told me I shouldn’t be there, but I felt it, nonetheless. I was heartbroken, but tried to muscle through it. Maybe I was imagining it. Maybe I was being a big ole baby. Maybe I lacked emotional intelligence. Regardless of the maybes, I couldn’t shake the feeling. I decided to leave for my own well being and the betterment of the league.
Walking out of my last practice, I felt like I’d taken my baby child, threw it in a dumpster, and said, “I don’t love you anymore, dumpster baby.” I knew it was a dramatic reaction. The league doesn’t need me to thrive and I, alone, did not create it. Even still, I felt alone and a little lost. It doesn’t help that when you retire, you kind of disappear. Or at least it feels like you’ve become invisible to your league. No one cares if they don’t see you several times a week, if you have a cold, if you like purple more than green, or if you ate a burrito at 5 pm. You simply don’t exist unless you make yourself exist. I don’t think anyone sets out to ignore you; it’s just that the derby community is insular. If you take yourself off the island, well, you’re off the island and that’s that. Over the months of my retirement, I created my own island. I had begun guest coaching before I retired and with all the time in the world, I dedicated my time and directed my derby passion to coaching whoever wanted me and writing about derby. I’ve learned so much from the skaters I’ve coached and experienced incredible joy from sharing everything I ever knew about derby. I coached a dozen or more small leagues and found that many of them struggled with the same issues my league had. It was disheartening to learn, but being able to share my experience and feeling like I was able to spare a younger league from the same pitfalls gave me a lot of satisfaction. Still, though, I missed the thrill of competing, the connection with a team, the exhilaration of learning a new skill and implementing into game play.
Lisa Burke Photography
I continually contemplate coming out of retirement. I visualize how that would play out and most often come to the realization that I should stay away. I love traveling to coach and perhaps I need to recognize that this is now my contribution to the derby community. The need for competition swells in my bones and tells me otherwise. I think about it every day. I bout in my dreams. I miss my teammates. There’s no escaping the call of derby. Nothing fills the void. Maybe I’ll come out of retirement someday. Maybe I needed some time away to find a new role in the sport. Maybe I’ll return and realize it was a mistake. Maybe I think too much. Maybe if I keep maybe-ing I will become a full-on crazy person. Whatever happens, I love roller derby, and I will passionately contribute to the growth of the sport for as long as it will have me. I hope to develop the wisdom to know when to share and when to quietly listen. Above all, I just want to be an asset to the derby community.
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the global revolution MASTER BLASTER, BEAR CITY ROLLER DERBY
“Why would you want to be a part of an American organization?” “I don’t want a bunch of Americans telling my league what to do.” “Why should we join, when we’re always going to be second best?” These are some of the most common questions that European member leagues of the WFTDA face when talking to neighbor leagues about joining the WFTDA. While the WFTDA may have its roots in the USA, it is very much an international organization. The WFTDA has member and apprentice leagues on five continents and in 18 countries with enough European teams to facilitate a regional tournament. This phenomenal growth and openness to membership outside of the U.S. is because the WFTDA’s core values have nothing to do with America. “For the Skater, By the Skater” rings true all around the world, and leagues are choosing to join an organization like no other in the world: an organization that gives each league a voice, regardless of where it comes from; an organization that is true to skater’s values, because it is the skaters who build it. The skaters of the WFTDA member leagues have said loud and clear “we are international.” The WFTDA holds its annual business and planning meeting every year in the spring. 2012 saw the first European and
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Australian representation, with the London Rollergirls (London, UK), Bear City Roller Derby (Berlin, Germany), and Victorian Roller Derby League (Melbourne, Australia) all in attendance. This year, the 2013 meeting saw European representation double with the attendance of Crime City Rollers (Malmo, Sweden) and Stockholm Roller Derby (Stockholm, Sweden). With a core group of skaters and officials, the international and European perspective was brought to the broader membership of the WFTDA. Over the course of the meeting, plans were made to move forward more effectively in the European roller derby community. The European member leagues have, in the past, been able to individually explain why they choose to be parts of the association. The WFTDA has often sent staff and representatives from the U.S. to field questions and provide answers. This two-pronged approach still left the direct representation of the WFTDA coming from Americans. Since the European leagues on the ground are just as much a part of the organization as any other, it was time to make a change. Going forward, the WFTDA has approved a group of Ambassadors who will be representing the WFTDA from its European member leagues. These ambassadors will be able
to supply information about the association, talk about membership requirements, explain the apprentice program, and answer other questions the European community might have. Having people on the ground in Europe is a huge development that will bring the European voice and perspective right back to the association. With clear communication lines more is possible, and we are excited about what the future holds. “My league is not good enough to be WFTDA.” “Why should we be a member? We get the rules for free?” “Isn’t it just an exclusive club for the elite?” “It seems like a lot of paperwork and hassle.” Confronting and answering these questions are often doubly challenging in Europe because we are dealing with different languages and different cultural values. While DIY might make sense in the UK, it does not in Germany. While paperwork is standard in Germany, it is not in France. Membership might be a no brainer in Belgium, while belonging is different in Sweden. As the WFTDA pushes for a greater awareness and understanding of how to embrace the cultural difference of the vast roller derby community, each perspective helps to make the picture clearer. My own league, Bear City Roller Derby in Berlin, has been pushing and facilitating European development since 2009. Through the European Roller Derby Organizational Conference (EROC) and constant contact with leagues we want to advance the sport, raise the level of play, and strengthen league
autonomy. Europe is a tight knit community with most of our travel spanning countries instead of states. The new Ambassadorship in our leagues will allow us to communicate more effectively with non-member leagues about what the WFTDA is and how to become a part of it. We are excited to have the ability to clarify misconceptions and describe the realities behind membership. Educating and offering information about the WFTDA to leagues outside its membership is the goal of the Ambassadors. It is not about active recruitment or getting leagues to sign on to an ideology outside of their own. It is about providing the resources so roller derby leagues the world over can make informed choices about their futures and development. I have written mostly about Europe because that is my point of reference: the largest grouping of affiliated leagues outside North America. Australia and Asia are close behind, and we are excited to have their Ambassadors in place as leagues continue to spring up and interest themselves in protecting their skater representation. So should your league find itself outside America and with questions or concerns, you’ve got some new and attentive open ears. Get in touch with your local WFTDA member league for the Ambassador contact or come check us out at future events in Europe and across the globe. We look forward to hearing from you!
Ken LeBleu, lebleuphoto.com
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art and media
trends in derby photography DA N I E L W H I TA K E R , N A S H V I L L E R O L L E R G I R L S
Being a photographer is an adventure. Being a derby photographer is so much more. This year, in roller derby, there is a new rule set. Since the game has that “new car” smell, what is new and trending for derby photography? New cameras now have more megapixels and better video. These are popular with photographers looking to upgrade their cameras. There are a few other things derby photographers should watch. “Smart” phones are increasingly popular for taking photos at bouts. Just shoot, edit, upload, and share all with an eye movement, voice command, or waving your finger somewhere near the screen. It’s hard to compete with instant uploads. Camera manufacturers are introducing apps to cameras so you can customize features as new trends evolve. Trackside may never be the same. The mobile/tablet market for video capture is on the rise. These plug-and-play devices make recording and streaming video easy. Streaming video is largely underused by advertising markets for now, but that is changing and could have implications for access to streaming video in the future. Also tagging video with comments at different points within the video still hasn’t caught on, but that’s been around for a while. While getting a TV network deal may have been a goal at one time, it is possible to build your own channel online. The latest trends are just the old stuff wrapped up in a new package for users as they learn new ways to use them. Photos and video have been around a long time, it’s just easier to find them online today thanks to algorithms and hash tags. To get a bunch of fans with cell phones to get usable photos for a league is still like herding cats. Leagues are still going to need the services of photographers that the general public just can’t do. It’s as good a time as any to get creative. Speaking of hash tags, leagues should make use of those handy little tags. They are used online everywhere, and are
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about to be introduced for the first time to one major social media site. A photo and a hash tag says it all, especially on a budget. Build some buzz by posting them around the arena or in the printed program. People know what to do with them so why not take advantage of the technology and get a trending status. There is a myth floating around about getting a fancy camera. Some think that the camera makes all those pretty pictures. A camera is just a tool to make the images you want to create. Remember, the best camera is the one with you. Now forget about the camera for a moment. Leagues should encourage photographers to keep up their art or even get started in derby. Photographers don’t usually wake up one day craving the smell of grinding polyurethane and knee pads, and think “hey, roller derby.” Who in their right mind takes a thousand photos of anything, spends a fortune on equipment, and does all that with little to no pay on purpose? Sometimes it’s after a bout or two that a few will realize they may have a problem that needs its own 12-step program. Any given league will need a variety of photographers to cover a bout. No one person can capture it all. It takes some work to build and keep up a team of photographers as part of the production team. You’ll need anything from full on volunteers all the way to paid professionals. Take the time to work with your photographers; they will be doing a lot of editing, uploading, watching for copyright infringements, networking with each other, and more. I don’t think you can be a real derby photographer until you shoot a junior bout. Well, maybe an expo. OK, it’s a shameless ploy to recruit junior derby photogs, but don’t underestimate the action. Full bouts are worth the shutter time. You have to get low for the adults, and a little lower for the juniors. Of course, a junior will pull off some sick moves. Just keep an eye on the jammer, she can jump an apex or slip under the arms of blockers with the greatest of ease. And it never fails, Dad loves it when you get the apex shot of the one who just happened to miss the team’s first ever apex practice. Random little moments never get old. At a preseason bout, I saw a junior with a point-n-shoot screen to her eye like it’s
a DSLR view finder. I’d like to think she was copying my technique. Thankfully, her mom was right there, so there could be an impromptu photo lesson. The future will rock when the juniors start invading the adult leagues. For now, I see a need for a lot of photo workshops. Even with the future of skating on its way via junior leagues, recreational leagues springing up, and maybe the Olympics, there are still some challenges for photographers of all levels. We’re not talking drastic changes in technology. It’s more along the lines of photographer ethics and photo usage etiquette. Most of the behind-the-scenes work for photographers is about
meeting the needs of the team. That is a challenge all its own. A league demanding photos is a great way to turn off new and seasoned photographers from a team. So a good league photo policy will usually help in understanding what is needed from photographers as the sport grows in popularity. Keep in mind, derby photographers are just as excited as the leagues to see where the sport is going. We’re right there in the action just wanting to show off derby to the world. While the players train, the photographers are navigating changes in technology, following the trends, and watching out for each other all while capturing the sport we all love.
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art and media
Talking Derby: Stories from a Life on Eight Wheels FEIST E ONE, BOULDER COUNTY BOMBERS
Choosing a derby name, finding a derby wife, saying goodbye to old gear, getting new gear, the questions people ask about derby – these familiar derby topics are just a few of the chapters in Kate “Pain Eyre” Hargreaves’ book Talking Derby: Stories from a Life on Eight Wheels. The book is written in a perfect mix of stream of consciousness and poetic language, which made my own experiences during my derby career pop into my head or made me feel as if I was experiencing moments with Pain. The descriptive writing brings about the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of derby. It also highlights the fact that roller derby players are always thinking about derby – at the grocery store, when uncomfortably sitting on a bruise at work, while job searching, or on vacation. The accounts of her raw experiences – from skating in a warehouse to fundraising for practice space rent – give derby the grassroots feeling that most leagues experience at one time or another. And it allows readers who may not have experienced this to understand the labor of love that is involved in roller derby and why so many people become addicted to this sport. Pain, like every derby skater, experiences the closeness of the derby community and shows the camaraderie between her bazphotography teammates. She talks about trading rides to practice for food, sharing bathtubs for cleaning gear, and her vows to her derby wife. One experience that Pain included in this book is skating with a deaf teammate. I particularly liked that she included the stories of translating skater language to American Sign Language, because it is not something that every skater knows about, but it also reminds us that anyone can (and does) play derby.
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The 88-page book is a quick, fun read that will get you in derby mindset if you are traveling to or relaxing before a bout. It is also a good read for friends and family to get an understanding of a skater’s intense love for the sport. Although there is an appendix at the end of the book that includes an explanation of the sport and a glossary, there are some stories in the book that may be confusing to people who don’t have derby experience. Cleaning bearings and strategies such as “eating the baby” and “getting a goat” may be too technical for readers who do not have knowledge of these common derby activities. But readers who are not versed in these parts of derby will be able to skim over these chapters and still respect the relationship skaters have with this sport. I enjoyed that this roller derby book truly was Pain’s “love letter to roller derby” and was different than other derby books that have been published in the last decade. Instead of writing about the history of derby or the how-to of derby, Pain’s book is loosely based on facts and reflects her true experiences in derby. The chapters are divided into vignettes about different aspects of the sport – from scrimmages to explaining roller derby to strangers who look questionably at bruises. This book is a great read for skaters if they want to daydream (even more) about derby. Pain Eyre has skated since 2010 and currently skates with the Border City Brawlers in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She has a master’s degree in creative writing. Talking Derby is available through Black Moss Press for $15.
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art and media
Bay Area Roller Derby To today’s sports-savvy audience, roller derby is the fun rough and tumble, wild-mannered game evolving constantly at local warehouses and worldwide sports pavilion. Yet for many Americans, the name roller derby brings up fond memories of an earlier attraction, an actual family business running from 1935 through 1973 (with countless imitations following), where sports and theatre combined to make a passionately loved spectacle that thrilled millions in arenas, and stadiums, and on television screens all over the country. And... it was always co-ed, the unusual sight of women competitors bringing the curious to the tube and trackside. The attraction’s centerpiece were the beloved champion Bay Bombers, who energized crowds not only in their California home sites but on cross-country tours that took the team and their rowdy opponents coast to coast virtually year round. While the game’s zenith had been explored earlier in a photo history called Roller Derby to Roller Jam by Keith Coppage, that book ends with an ultimately doomed revival somehow more theatrical than ever. A new book, Bay Area Roller Derby, (Arcadia Publishing) available on Amazon.com and in bookstores, lovingly embraces roller derby’s beginnings and humbling ups and downs in the Bay Bombers’ home ground of the San Francisco Bay Area. Written by Coppage with original Derby Commissioner/ Impresario Jerry Seltzer, Bay Area Roller Derby gives a brief
Promotions were legion in Roller Derby’s early days, somewhat similar to the events surrounding today’s bouts. Here, two Bay Bombers (“Peanuts” Meyer, left, and Dewitt Quarles) participate in a “twist” dance contest at halftime.
Charlie O’Connell, #40, was the original game’s male superstar, longtime coach of the Bay Bombers, going at it here with the Midwest Pioneers’ Jerry Carrell in the 1970 Championships
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history of the game’s marathon-like beginnings in Depression-era Chicago, its slow pack-it-up, move-itout progress across America, “overnight” success on television and ultimate overexposure in the ‘50s, before a thorough tracing of the Bay Bombers long rise to stardom in tiny gyms and auditoriums, eventually establishing itself in the best arenas and stadiums. Through commentary from Seltzer, son of Derby creator Leo Seltzer and the architect of the game’s success in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and a wealth of rare photographs of the game’s forgotten but charming past, plus some glimpses at some of today’s bouts, the book makes a strong case that the spirit of the original Derby – contrived as it may have been – fits in nicely with the enthusiasm and dedication of today’s skaters. Once Derby, always Derby.
The Bay Bomber girls escape their tormenters in a 1961 “pullaway” maneuver.
In 1963, the tempestuous Roller Derby icon Ann Calvello, right, wages war agains the Bombers’ first women’s captain, Annis “Big Red” Jensen in San Francisco. Both were among the Derby’s most beloved female skaters.
62 | Summer 2013 | fiveonfivemag.com 1. Helmet on skater #7 is missing X. 2. Bandaid is missing from skater’s middle finger. 3. Logo is missing from #42’s wristguard. 4. Skater on right’s helmet is now a darker green. 5. Skater #F16 on right is missing C on her arm. 6. Girl on far right’s badge is missing. 7. Light is missing from background.
THERE ARE SEVEN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE PHOTOS – FIND ‘EM!
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Castle Rock, CO
Essex Junction, VT