WOMENâ€™S FLAT TRACK ROLLER DERBY MAGAZINE ISSUE 21, FALL 2013
proud partner of the WFTDA
The Hits Are Real. The Moments Are Unreal. It’s the classic tale of the underdog. A Cinderella story. Going from an unknown to a favorite in the blink of a power jam. On WFTDA.tv, the impossible becomes possible two minutes at a time. Every star pass, every assist, brings each team one whistle start closer to their quest for the Hydra. And you won’t miss a hit with WFTDA.tv. You follow the stories, the athletes, the stats. Now you can follow it all on WFTDA.tv. Proudly delivering the action you crave, WFTDA.tv will be there, broadcasting live from the Division 1 Playoffs and Championships in 2013.
Bringing you moments you won’t see anywhere else. UPCOMING BROADCASTS:
FOR T W AYNE, INDIANA
ASHEVILLE, NOR TH CAROLINA
MILW AUKEE, WISCONSIN
fiveonfive contents 34-37
ask ms d’fiant and suzy hotrod!
WFTDA This year’s tournament season brings many changes. Find out what you can expect and which match-ups are must sees.
6-7 business free and inexpensive marketing techniques
yoga on skates athlete nutrition derby fitness: staying on track
8-15 health and fitness
18-21 games and coaching
what retired derby players want their former teammates to know
40-41 junior derby 12 step program for parents to be better sports parents
James Calder/ShutterThug, shutterthug.net
order of operations balance in derby
44-47 Retired skater Red ‘Stang makes a plea to the roller derby community.
50-51 in pursuit of the Hydra
Many have sought the Hydra but few have claimed her since 2008. Will it return to NYC again this year?
I didn't pass the skills test, now what?
54-55 international derby 56-62 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 drew grit windy city rollers
from the editor Welcome to the 21st issue of fiveonfive magazine! Tournament season is the best season and what an incredible season it has been so far. WFTDA hosted its first ever Division 2 tournaments and rolled out its new Division 1 structure, creating some killer match ups and spectacular upsets. This is what we live for folks. This is why we show up to practice and devote so much of our lives to this sport... all in pursuit of the Hydra. In November, the best of the best will converge
krissy krash angel city derby girls
in Milwaukee to duke it out on the track for the right to bring her home.
catholic cruel girl rocky mountain rollergirls
Will it be a repeat champion? Or will a new leader emerge? I can’t wait
booty quake terminal city rollergirls
to see what happens.
shocker khan rage city rollergirls
If you can’t make it to Milwaukee, be sure to get your WFTDA.TV
the quad father small town roller derby
event pass for just $20, a small price to pay for the best derby on earth.
la petite mort fast girl skates shelly shankya ICT roller girls
WFTDA’s tournaments may showcase the best derby on earth, but we have the best derby writers on earth! Special thanks to our contributing
tanya procknow jrda
writers, both in this issue and in previous issues. This magazine wouldn’t
feist e. one boulder county bombers
be possible without you. Thank you!
red ‘stang circle city derby girls elektra highvoltage tucson roller derby green hell-ana central ohio roller dolls
If you’d like to contribute, please let us know. We are always looking for unique and interesting story ideas. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
david drewery london rollergirls lebron shames chicago bruise brothers moneyshot castle rock ‘n’ rollers cover photo David B. Vernon eScapesPhoto fiveonfive magazine email@example.com 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.
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.
Andy Frye Andy Frye started his first sports blog in 2009, which had eight readers, all of whom were friends from home he had begged to read his posts. Since then he’s stepped it up a bit, writing for various publications about sports, including ESPN.com, where he’s covered prep football, fistball, and roller derby, while also interviewing rock stars about their sports hankerings for ESPN Music. In the mid ‘90s, Andy moved from Philadelphia to Chicago’s North Side, where he stays involved with the Windy City Rollers, while also skating with the Chicago Bruise Brothers as LeBron Shames.
Krissy Krash Krissy Krash has been involved with roller derby since 2006. She skated several years of banked track before finally finding her way to the world of flat track with the Angel City Derby Girls. In 2009 she started her roller derby nutrition business, Derbalife. Since then she and her coaching team have been teaching skaters worldwide how to eat and train like athletes.
Red ‘Stang Red ’Stang (aka ’Stang, Auntie ’Stang, Red and Istangbul-not-Constangtinople) has skated all her life. She started playing derby in 2006 and was a founding member of the Circle City Derby Girls in 2008. Retired from derby but not skating, ’Stang is a graphic designer for hire and kind of a loudmouth.
the Quad Father JP the “Quad Father” has been coaching derby for 3.5 years. He started his coaching career with the Traverse City Toxic Cherries in 2010 and is currently the coach of the Small Town Outlaws in Kalkaska, MI. He is also a frequent on the coaching staff of the Mitten Kitten All-Stars, which is an All-State team in Michigan. He skates under the name JaYO #.22 for DETriot Mens when they are active and he recently made his announcing debut at Golden Bowl.
La Petite Mort A skater since childhood, Jennifer Savaglio (La Petite Mort, Rat City Rollergirls) fell in love with roller derby at first sight, opening Fast Girl Skates in 2007, the very first derby storefront in the world. She is a highly regarded authority on skates and gear, regularly collaborating with manufacturers worldwide and educating skaters at every level.
Gotham Girls Roller Derby New York, NY
Angel City Derby Girls Los Angeles, CA
DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, What skill did you find the hardest to master in your earlier years and how did you master it? -FOCUSED ON FUNDAMENTALS
DEAR FOCUSED, STOPPING. I remember when I first learned to roller skate when I joined roller derby. I had no idea how to stop. I was one of the crash-into-the-wall types. I started small. I learned the T stop. I had no idea how to get my one leg to bend that way to make a “T.” I had to practice picking up my foot and making my hip swing open and turning my leg that way off skates first. Similarly with opening my hips, I remember how hard it was to learn to skate sideways, like with the heels of both skates lined up and you roll forward. We all had sore inner leg muscles and couldn’t walk for a few days after. Our inner leg muscles were so weak! After learning T stop, I couldn’t plow stop. Learning to plow stop took a really long time. It’s funny because I have a very specific style of teaching plow stops now and none of it was the way I learned. Well, I learned to plow stop in 2004 when there were like four derby teams in the world. Now you young whippersnappers can watch all the how tos you like on YouTube! Flash forward to 2013. I don’t like face-to-face blocking. I have to always force myself to do it because it’s not comfortable. But I have to learn how to do it, because it’s now part of our game. Getting hit in the face, hurting my collar bones and shoulders, sucks. But it’s part of what we do and I need to improve. I need to get lower when I do it so I don’t get damaged. I need to improve agility and footwork for that direction. I practice skating backwards as much as possible because I hate knowing that I can’t skate backwards as well as I can skate forwards. I see hockey players agility and hope one day to be agile both forward and backwards. I know that’s only attainable by practicing it constantly. Anyway, I still practice plow stops weekly, and yeah... my left plow could still use some work. Haha.
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DEAR FOCUSED, Honestly, the skill that has taken me the longest to learn is how to let go. When I started in roller derby, I was the founder of my league, president, insurance administrator, bookkeeper, training head, sponsorship head and coach. That’s not me just being a control freak (though it kinda is), that was what all of us did when we started leagues. We did it all. Before too long, I had to move away and let go of my league responsibilities. Of course, it’s a lot easier to let go when you move a couple hundred miles away. When I transferred to Angel City, I promised my husband I was only going to keep attendance. In six months, I was running gaming, captaining a team, heavily involved with training, and writing the handbook. People like me think – “it’s just so much easier if I do it myself” or “it’s just so important, I want to know it’s done right.” That works when your league is 30 people. When you have 130 people, suddenly you can’t do it all anymore. Having children helped me put some things in perspective. What do I love about roller derby? Playing. Visioning my league’s big ideas. The WFTDA. So, that is where I put my energy (YAY!) and I found people to fill my old jobs. But then, there’s this lingering feeling when I see someone else scheduling games. Maybe it’s jealousy, maybe I think I can do it better, or maybe I see them not doing something I would’ve done and want to rush over to help out. Same thing happens in parenting when I see my son struggle to make the blocks fit. I can go over there and do it for him, but if he figures it out himself he’s going to have pride in his work and improve on the skill. What’s worse, sometimes we want to sabotage our successor too, right? They’ll come up with an idea and you’re the first to respond – “NOPE! We absolutely cannot do that! Trust me, I have tried.” The truth is, they might have a better way to do it. Or the landscape of your league may have changed and this idea might be a perfect fit now. In a democratic league, tides change quick and sometimes a fresh approach can achieve something really amazing. After watching my league (and my former league) blossom and grow in new and incredible directions by the hard work of my league mates, I know deep in my heart that letting go is the best thing I could’ve done. However, today, right this minute, I’m in a new role and having a heck of a time letting go of the old responsibilities. I’m not sure how I’m still facing this problem after seven years of roller derby, but there it is. The difference now is I have the ability to recognize myself wanting to control a situation and most days have the good sense to shut up and watch it grow. Would I say I’m a master of this skill? Not by a long shot, but I’m trying.
DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, What makes a good captain? -CAPTAIN CURIOUS
DEAR CURIOUS, At the heart and soul of the captain’s role is to be the leader. It’s easier said than done, as roller derby is typically a large group of alphas. The best type of alpha to be a team captain is the one who doesn’t need to fight to be in control. It is someone who others choose to follow. The leader needs to be both respected and trusted. They have to earn that from their team. First the leader needs to earn these by example. They should have strong attendance at practice. They should work hard at practice. They should keep a good constructive attitude about the team. The leader needs to be genuine and have a dedicated heart to the team. Honestly, the captain doesn’t necessarily need to be the best skater on the team skill wise, so long as they are a strong example for the team and believe in themselves (and it’s crucial that others believe in them as well.) A good leader has to be the cheerleader and not in a cheesy, insincere way. Many skaters can see right through that crap. You have to genuinely believe that the team can accomplish anything. Otherwise, how else is anyone supposed to believe the team can do it? The leader has to be prepared to keep cheering when the team isn’t doing well. The team will fail, you will have doubt, but you can’t stop. The captain is responsible for the team’s momentum. She needs to listen to upset or negative skaters and help get them back to the positive side. One negative skater is far more influential than a positive skater and in a destructive way. Also the captain, along with all the team leadership, needs to keep the skaters engaged in personal momentum by providing feedback about how they can improve and how they can challenge themselves to achieve. A good leader needs to know how to delegate and challenge others skaters to lead, as well. In my own home team, I have been around a long time. Every few years, I try hard to encourage a new skater to step up into a leadership role within the team to reward them for setting a great example as a teammate and instilling in them that they can be great leaders. They are always elected to their position by their peers with flying colors because they have earned it already. I have new skaters help with being co-captains, practice leaders, or administrative tasks. Much like a company, we promote from within and want those who will take over the team in years to come to be shaping their role over the years. Avoid the roller derby captain burnout where one person does everything so much that they implode then the group is left with nervous gals who are not sure where to start. A good captain is leading today and planning for tomorrow. I personally would love to see everyone in roller derby do one job and do it the really well. In a perfect world, we would avoid the stereotypical roller derby situation where the same people take on EVERYTHING. As someone who has been a team captain for almost ten years, I have to take this opportunity and say this: There’s another side to the deal. As a teammate under a captain, please be realistic with the expectations you have of your captain. Roller derby is a volunteer organization and sometimes it’s just not possible to do it all. I think the key to being realistic is that the leadership is not just about that one person of the captain, but it’s more about finding a group of people in the leadership positions that each traffic a piece of that role to give the team what it needs (captains/managers/ trainers). A good cop, a bad cop, a by-the-book person, a passionate motivator, a motherly type, to name a few of the many styles of leadership puzzle pieces we’ve linked together over the years.
DEAR CURIOUS, The first mistake I think every new league makes is to vote the best skater as the team captain. Personally, I think this is a mistake. Sure, there are exceptions like Bonnie Thunders, but boy, if you’re only used to being jealous of her skating let me tell you first hand you can also be jealous of how meticulously organized Bonnie is as a leader. So, for purposes of this conversation, let’s exclude the Bonnie’s of the world. Often, your best skater/super jock is really not cut out to be the captain of the team. Here are some qualities I look for when I vote for a captain: Organization and Delegation – Captains are responsible for running the team and there are so many facets of that they need to be able to delegate. Setting up practice schedules, try outs, submitting charters on deadlines for sanctioned games, game sanctioning applications or contracts (if you don’t have a Gaming Director), travel arrangements, and so on! The captain oversees the arc of the season so that skaters are balancing learning new skills, rule set intricacies and team strategy between games, practices and fundraisers. It also usually falls to the Captain to work with the Coach to meet team goals. Communication – Captains get inundated with emails from players on their team and many from players who aren’t on the team. This person needs to be capable of being honest with players about their areas of improvement without being discouraging. They need to be firm and resilient, but also flexible when it’s necessary. Captains also deal with all of the feelings, derby-related and not. Then during a game, they need to be a cheerleader and inspire players. While balancing all these hats, the captain also likes to be a friend and teammate. Rule Savvy – Remember, the captain is the girl/guy with the “A” on their arm. This is the person that goes out into the inner circle at the game for reviews or any communication with the Officials. Again, this is a good time to have a level-headed communicator leading your team, but you also need someone who really knows the rule set. Representation – The captain represents your team. Minutes ago I was writing an email to see if my team is comfortable with a sponsor. The league leadership isn’t going to write the entire team, they’re going to write the captain. Also, other leagues look at your captain as a reflection of the team, so choose a person you are proud to stand behind. Looking over these characteristics, what’s not in here is a great derby player. If your captain happens to be a great derby player, lucky you. There are Bonnies in this world. But being a great derby player does not make a great captain. Great captains are a magical combination of leader, friend, derby nerd, and cheerleader. So when you find a good one, hold on tight and remind them often how much you appreciate their work.
need advice? email email@example.com fiveonfivemag.com | Fall 2013 | 5
free and inexpensive marketing techniques M I S S J A N E R E D R U M , F O RT WAY N E D E R B Y G I R L S
Any derby girl will tell you that marketing is important (almost as important as practice). It’s how you get butts in seats. But that same derby girl will also tell you it can be expensive once you start getting into branding, graphics, advertising, and strategic market planning. But, no matter the size of your city or town, there are FREE or ridiculously inexpensive marketing opportunities that you can take advantage of while you build your marketing budget. community calendars Most local newspapers, entertainment publications, and public television stations have community calendars and accept submissions (they want content after all). To capitalize on these opportunities, dedicate a member of your league to submit your event information, which can usually be done via email, on a regular basis. Most cities have community information websites that contain community calendars, as well. A quick Google search can help you find these opportunities. radio interviews Roller Derby and Rock ‘n Roll often go hand in hand, so why not capitalize on that? Although radio interviews may be harder to get than community calendar listings, it is not impossible. Many times all it takes is some initiative. Radio DJs are looking for content for their shows, and there’s nothing better than a couple of roller derby skaters talking about an upcoming event or bout. Reach out and contact your local stations; you might be surprised how easy it is to score some free on-air time. Many will be interested in in-kind sponsorship opportunities as well. radio remotes Any time a radio station sets up camp at a remote location (car dealership, the mall, cell phone store, etc.) it’s a good opportunity to partner with them for an appearance. Not only will it add interest for the radio station’s benefit, it garners exposure for your league, as well. Remotes offer opportunities to talk to potential fans, answer questions, pass out fliers, and most importantly, score a mention on the air every time the station breaks from the music. 6 | Fall 2013 | fiveonfivemag.com
fliers This might be a no brainer, but fliering is a cheap way to get the word out about your events and bouts. Many local businesses will allow you to pin up a flier on their bulletin board or community events wall. Check with grocery stores, coffee houses, bars, and liquor stores. The possibilities are endless. press releases Anytime your league hosts a bout, fundraiser, or other event, let local media outlets know by submitting a press release. See the side bar for tips on how to write an effective press release. business sign campaign Many businesses, if not able to provide a sponsorship, are willing to provide an in-kind sponsorship. A unique way to capitalize on this is through a business sign campaign. Reach out to local businesses and find out if they’d be willing to promote an upcoming event or bout on their sign or marquee in exchange for a small ad in your bout program or logo on your event flier. Not only will hundreds, even thousands, of passersby see your event promotion, but the business gains the opportunity to tap into a new market in your fans. charity volunteering Non-profit organizations are always looking for volunteers for their events. A great way to gain exposure for your league is to volunteer for a charity event, walk, fundraiser, etc. Ask the organization if you may wear your league shirt and set up an information booth. A mutually beneficial arrangement like this is rewarding.
how to write a press release A press release is a written statement distributed to the media that may announce an upcoming event/bout, results from your previous bout, charity involvement, league news, etc. If you’d like a local media outlet to cover your league, it’s a good idea to send regular press releases. Get your league’s name in front of the right people and be persistent. compose a headline Make sure the headline will grab the reader’s attention, yet, is brief, clear, and to the point. It should also contain your league name so there’s no mistaking what the press release is about. For example: Fort Wayne Derby Girls expect record crowd on February 14. write the body copy Start with the date and the city in which the press release originated. Make sure the text to follow contains all pertinent details (the who, what, when, where, why and how). Journalists and other media employees don’t have time to sift through your press release for the details, so put the important stuff first and follow it up with a longer explanation if necessary. It’s a good idea to avoid using long sentences. The press release should be compact and straightforward. provide information about your league/organization Title this section of the press release About (Your League Name). This social media This should go without saying, but free social networking sites abound. These sites not only allow you to post information about your events or bouts, but allow you to invite people to events, send updates, and send messages to thousands of people at the same time. If your league doesn’t have a presence on social media, I’d suggest you establish one immediately. newsletter and mailing list software There are many free or inexpensive web-based programs that allow you to gather email addresses and distribute text-based or html-based newsletters to the emails stored in your account. Here are a few you should check out: Constant Contact, Mail Chimp and Vertical Response.
section will give journalists the background information needed if they choose to run a story about your league. Make sure you direct readers to your website at the end of this section. provide contact information Who can the journalist contact if he or she wishes to pursue a story or needs further information? Make sure you list the contact name, title of the contact, and their email address and phone number at the top of the press release. If a journalist has a hard time tracking you down, chances are, they’ll forego the story. other tips • Include a print-quality photo • Make sure the release includes your logo – this helps generate brand awareness • Follow up the press release with a phone call • Send press releases via email • Use formatting sparingly – avoid using many colors and fonts • Avoid jargon or specialized terminology that the typical reader may not understand
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health and fitness
yoga on skates D R E W G R I T, W I N DY C I T Y R O L L E R S P H OTO S B Y S T E V E J U R KOV I C AT B I K R A M H OT Y O G A - PA L AT I N E
As an athlete on the Hell’s Belles team for Chicago’s Windy City Rollers, I spend numerous hours a week working on my strength, endurance, agility, and speed at league and team practices. To improve my performance, my overall fitness and to hopefully prevent injury, I also cross-train on a regular basis – something that I think is completely necessary for a total body tune-up. For me, yoga fits the bill and yoga on skates is even better. Below are a few basic Hatha yoga poses that are beneficial to the whole body, as well as intriguing to try while wearing roller skates.
tree pose: tadasana This balancing asana requires a strong mental focus and a solid core, and it might be a little tricky to get right away, especially on quads. Once held, this pose will strengthen and tone your legs and feet, open up your hips, and improve your awareness. Stand with your feet apart, then lift one foot up and rest it on your thigh, wheels facing up. Once you feel steady, tighten your abdominal muscles and bring both hands together at the center of your chest. Try to balance for one minute, taking several breaths, then switch to the other leg.
standing bow pose: dandayamana-dhanurasana This posture is super fun to try on skates and it’s great for circulation, balance, concentration, and determination, and it really strengthens the thigh muscles. Balance on the engaged left leg, grab your right foot just below the toes with your right hand, lift your left hand up to the ceiling, kick the right leg back and up while keeping a firm grip. Pivot the upper body forward and straighten out the left arm parallel to the floor. Slowly release and try the other side.
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triangle pose: trikanasana This standing pose is fantastic because it strengthens the abdominals and obliques, as well as the muscles around your knees, ankle joints, hips and groin-body parts that are all used in the sport of roller derby. Stand about four feet apart in the middle of your mat with your feet parallel then turn your right foot toward the right, 90 degrees. Align your right heel with your left heel. Stretch your arms out parallel to the mat then bend your right knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Make sure that your knee doesn’t go past your ankle. Bring your right hand down to your right toes and your left hand up to the ceiling – open your chest away from the floor. Keep your arms straight and don’t rest your right fingers on the floor or your foot. Turn your head to look up your left arm and use your right elbow to push your right knee back. Repeat on the other side. This pose is a challenge on wheels because your right foot might slide but if you keep your legs and core tight and strong, you’ll succeed.
crow pose: bakasana This is my favorite arm balance pose. I love the upper body strength it requires to stay poised on my arms and wrists plus it takes a bit of bravery and focus to pitch yourself forward enough – face close to the ground – to make it work. Squat on your mat, with your feet apart, then open your knees past your hips. Lean your torso forward and firmly plant your hands on the floor in front of you. Bend your elbows and lift onto your toe stops. Put one shin on one elbow and then follow suit with the other shin. Pitch forward until your feet lift off of the floor and sandwich your inner knees to your outer upper arms. I’ve found this pose to actually be easier while on skates because of the added weight on my feet.
downward-facing dog: adho mukha svanasana A great follow up to Tree Pose is Downward-facing Dog, which has many health benefits. Most notable for any derby girl are the low back, hamstrings, calves and Achilles tendons strengthening perks. Begin on the floor on your hands and knees. Put your toe stops on the ground, lift and push back your knees, being careful not to lock them. Keep your head between your straight arms and press your palms into the floor with purpose.
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health and fitness
athlete nutrition KRISSY KRASH, ANGEL CITY DERBY GIRLS
Whether you have been doing derby for six months or six years, the idea of eating like an athlete may seem like a daunting task. The majority of us have jobs, families, and millions of other things to work around. The high level of stress often means that our nutrition falls to the wayside; we expect our bodies to perform like high-level machines, but do not fuel our bodies so that they can do so. Seven years ago, when I discovered this amazing obsession called roller derby, I was no different. During my first few years of derby, my eating habits were awful. My day consisted of AMPM’s tuna pita pocket for breakfast on the way to work, an entire box of Cheez-Its for lunch AND snacks (unless I went wild and got some Carls Jr). Then, before practice, I would run home. I would dip a spoonful of peanut butter into a bag of M&M’s and shove that in my mouth as I was running out the door. And hydration was a joke. I did not drink water, but I DID average 2-3 double caffeine blue Rockstar energy drinks per day because I was mysteriously so tired all the time. Sound familiar? The reason I share this is to show you that eating healthy is not as difficult as we tell ourselves. I promise you: if I can go from THAT girl to the beast that plans out six meals plus her gallon of water daily, so can you.
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While nutrition in our society has gotten complicated, I want to assure you that eating healthy and providing your body what it needs to perform optimally is anything but complicated. The key is designing a template for a perfect day and then simply inserting in foods that are yummy, quick and as portable as possible to support your lifestyle.
the basics Each day plan on eating three meals, two snacks and a recovery snack after your workout or practice. These meals and snacks ideally should be comprised of 1/3 protein (lean meats or veggies protein sources) and 2/3 complex carbs (fruits, veggies, whole grains). Healthy fats are also important so adding in snacks or meals that include some nuts and fish will help you easily reach a healthy fat intake without thinking too much about it. The key is to keep the machine fueled at all times. Waking up, skipping breakfast, and holding out till lunch is like jumping in your car for a road trip, notice the gas tank is empty and
thinking, “Eh, I am sure we will get there anyway.” The difference is your car will just stop. Your body, on the other hand, is pretty resourceful and will find other ways of accessing energy sources. It will begin by using up the muscle glycogen stores that your body was saving for practice later that night. After that, it goes for the next most available energy source: your hard earned muscle. Eating every 3-4 hours will help you provide your body with the easy access fuel it needs to keep running without going for these back up energy sources. If you walk out the door each morning knowing what you are eating that day, you will be setting yourself up to feel great by the time practice rolls around that night. Here is a quick cheat sheet you can create for yourself to plan out a great day. Use the structure below to fill in your meals from the guidelines from The Basics above. Breakfast: Snack: Lunch: Snack: Dinner: Post Practice Recovery:
3 tips for success: 1. keep it simple If you haven’t cooked a meal for yourself in the last year, and now you plan to make three meals, two snacks and a recovery, don’t be afraid to eat similar things all week long. I pre-cook enough chicken breasts and egg cups (ham slices in a cupcake tin and filled with eggs and veggies then baked) to last a week. I also stock the fridge with spinach, broccoli, and precooked brown rice packets and other ingredients that, depending on how I mix them, can be used to make salads, stir fry, or wraps. You do not need to have a festive unique meal every single night! Keep yourself sane and set yourself up for success by eating similar things all week, then if you feel so inclined, switch it up for the next week.
2. give yourself 21 days It takes 21 days to form a habit. Will the first 3-5 days feel like you are thinking a lot about what you are eating? Probably. By the next week will it feel a bit easier? Absolutely. By the third week it will start to feel normal to preplan, precook, and prepack your meals. Plus the extra energy you feel will make it all worth it. Just like learning to powerslide, repetition is the key to success. If you fall down, get back up and try again.
with a Timeline (SMART) is a perfect way to go from fast food queen to fueling like an athlete. This week, preplan breakfast and set the goal to eat it every day. Next week, shoot for half your body weight in ounces of water each day (e.g. 80 oz for a 160 pound person). The week after, focus on getting a lean protein source in every meal or snack. Before you know, it you will be preplanning meals and making healthier choices that are in line with your goals without a second thought.
3. set SMART goals I didn’t make the transition from CheezIt Queen to Healthy Eater overnight, and you probably won’t either. Setting small goals for yourself can help you make big changes over time without feeling like you are flipping your life upside down. Coming up with somes Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant goals
Most of us join roller derby as a fun hobby but very quickly realize that it’s a community and a lifestyle we want to be a part of for a long time. The bottom line is if you want your body to hold up over years of being knocked down, you have to put the right fuel in to allow it to perform optimally. Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live!
fiveonfivemag.com | Fall 2013 | 11
health and fitness
bad reputation Some people seem surprised to learn that skaters often eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches right before practices and bouts. “Isn’t peanut butter super-fattening?” they ask. “And the jelly, isn’t it just pure sugar?” Yes, peanut butter is high in fat but that doesn’t mean it’s fattening, jelly does contain lots of sugar, so what? Calories in, calories out, I’m going to exercise. That said, peanut butter is a concentrated source of calories, so you don’t want to go overboard. But you don’t need to eat tons of the stuff to feel satisfied: just a tablespoon (90 calories) or two of peanut butter goes a long way. It tastes so good and it’s really nutritious. Peanut butter provides protein and folate, a B vitamin important for the healthy development of new cells. Some people fear healthful foods because these foods have somehow gotten bad raps they just can’t shake. Peanut butter is a common one. Here are four more “misunderstood” foods and why you should eat them – in moderation, of course. eggs The bad rap: Too much dietary cholesterol, egg yolks are bad for those concerned about heart health. The good truth: Medical experts now emphasize that saturated fats and trans fats are bigger culprits in raising blood cholesterol than dietary cholesterol is. Plus, eggs are super-satisfying: in one study, people who ate a scrambled-egg-and-toast breakfast felt more satisfied, and ate less at lunch, than they did when they ate a bagel that had the same number of calories. beef The bad rap: Beef is full of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, so people who care about their hearts should avoid it. The good truth: Lean cuts of beef are a low-fat source of protein and iron, a mineral essential for getting oxygen from the lungs to cells throughout the body – and one many women of childbearing age are deficient in. There are many lean cuts of
12 | Fall 2013 | fiveonfivemag.com
steaks: filet mignon, sirloin, strip steak, and flank steak. If you can’t remember the names, pick steaks that are deep red with a relatively small amount of marbling – a fancy name for fat – to find lean cuts. chocolate The bad rap: Chocolate has lots of fat, lots of sugar – and it tastes amazing, so it must be bad for you. The good news: Dark chocolate contains flavanols, antioxidants that seem to have a blood-thinning effect, which can benefit cardiovascular health. And, recently, researchers in Switzerland reported that eating dark chocolate (1.4 ounces of it) every day for two weeks reduced stress hormones, including cortisol, in highly stressed people. But be sure to account for the calories (1.4 ounces delivers 235) – or you may be stressed to see extra pounds creeping on. potatoes The bad rap: Potatoes rank high on the glycemic index, which measures how quickly different foods raise your blood sugar. Foods with a high GI value tend to cause a higher spike in blood sugar – and in insulin, the hormone that helps glucose get into cells – which can be a problem for some people, particularly those with diabetes. The good news: Potatoes are a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C. And unless you’re eating an absolutely plain potato all by itself, its GI value doesn’t matter. (It’s also worth noting that the glycemic index is an imperfect and controversial scale.) A high-GI potato becomes a low-GI meal if you simply add a little olive oil, because the added fat helps slow the absorption of the potato’s carbohydrates.
Tacos and Margarita Catholic Cruel Girl, Rocky Mountain Rollergirls Tacos: 1 15oz can black beans 1 large sweet potato 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into ¼-½ inch half moons 1 small pineapple 1 habanero pepper 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce 1 tablespoon chili powder ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper Olive oil Pinch of cumin Corn tortillas Yogurt crema: Plain coconut milk yogurt Handful chopped cilantro 1 cup grilled pineapple Pinch of arrowroot
Bitchin’ Maragarita: 1 ½ oz El Jimador Blanco tequlia 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice ¼ oz clover honey 2 thin slices habanero pepper
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized bowl whisk together ½ teaspoon minced habanero pepper, chili powder, cayenne pepper and cumin with enough olive oil to create a paste. Set aside. Wash sweet potatoes and (leaving the skin on) chop into ¼ inch chunks. Toss sweet potatoes with spice mixture until thoroughly coated. Lay sweet potatoes out onto a cookie sheet. Once oven is pre-heated roast sweet potatoes for 15ish minutes (until just tender when pierced with a fork). In a medium saucepan combine black beans (with liquid), chipotle pepper and thinly sliced yellow onion. Set on low heat and simmer while sweet potatoes roast. *Remove chipotle pepper before assembling your tacos. Next, remove stalk from pineapple and trim off outer layer. Cut into ¼-½ inch slices. *Grill pineapple slices until they soften a touch and have nice grill marks on both sides. Remove from heat and cut into small chunks. Set aside. *The pineapple is best on a grill but if you do not own a grill or a grill pan for your stove just heat up in a frying pan. In a blender combine yogurt with a little of the pineapple and cilantro. Continue to blend and slowly add more pineapple and cilantro until you are satisfied with the flavors. The crema consistency should be similar to that of thin-ish sour cream. (If your mixture is too thin add a small pinch of arrowroot until it thickens up. If it is too thick add a little water). Place crema into a clean squeeze bottle. Building your tacos: Remove sweet potatoes from oven and place into a bowl on the stove next to your beans. Place your chopped, grilled pineapple next to your sweet potatoes. Have your crema squeeze bottle nearby. Now in a medium skillet heat a little olive oil and warm your corn tortillas until pliable (you may need to add a little more oil as you go). Place your tortillas onto a plate. With a slotted spoon scoop some black beans and onions onto your tortilla. Next, place a small handful of sweet potatoes over the bean and onion mixture. Sprinkle with a small amount of grilled pineapple and then squeeze your crema over the top. And YUM!
Wet the rim of an 8 oz rocks glass with a lime wedge. Fill glass with ice. Set aside. In a pint glass muddle habanero pepper. Fill glass with ice. Add tequlia, lime and honey. With a shaker, shake it like you mean it. Strain into rocks glass and rejoice!
fiveonfivemag.com | Fall 2013 | 13
health and fitness
derby fitness: staying on track B O OT Y Q UA K E , T E R M I N A L C I T Y R O L L E R G I R L S
Roller derby consumes every waking breath for the hard-core derby devoted. For these athletes, training for derby is job one, and they rarely miss an opportunity to do so. For the rest of us (mere mortals), derby is one of many interests and commitments in our lives, and we must navigate a series of daily trade-offs to stay on track with our derby goals. Surprisingly, the secret weapon in this daily battle is not better commitment or even willpower. It’s a little administrative effort (with a sprinkling of time management). I can hear the chorus of wailing already from those of you drowning in league business and oceans of derby-related email. “More admin work?” Yes! Planning and tracking your fitness activity using a fitness diary is a simple, effective way to fast track your derby goals. I encourage all the athletes in my programs to complete a weekly workout planner and journal. At the end of just two months of training, their workout journals speak volumes about their challenges and improvements. For many it becomes a new fitness habit, and marks a dramatic change to their approach to training. HOW TO DO IT: The basic steps are to target, plan, record, and review. 1. The art of goal setting and fitness planning could fill three more articles, but they are the most basic first step. Use “SMART” goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-based*), either personally or as a team. Then set minitargets that are designed to help you get there. Run hills twice a week, do your physio exercises daily, etc. 2. Next, sit down with a calendar and schedule in your minitargets. It can seem daunting to wedge yet another activity into your week, but you’ve made a commitment to yourself and your team. Be creative about how and when you can find opportunities to meet your goals. Leave some wiggle room in case things change as the week goes on. 3. Keep track of what you accomplish by entering your workouts into your fitness journal. One word and a time duration can do it (“Weights, 40 min”), but if you love data and analysis, write down everything from how you felt to
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how much sleep you got the night before, to what you ate beforehand. Use the data to learn more about what makes you tick and what makes you tank. 4. Periodically review your journal entries. Find patterns, observe the gains, reflect on how far you’ve come. Reward good behaviour and celebrate successes! Reflect on your goals, revise, and update them. WHY IT WORKS: data is gold To borrow a phrase from the business world, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” As a first priority, a fitness journal allows you to track your activities and progress over time. It identifies success and gains (allowing for rewards if that’s what motivates you). With a little analysis applied, a journal can also identify a training plateau, and, potentially, its source. Armed with that knowledge, you can adjust your training accordingly to get the heck off that table top and back on an upward trend. plan to win To co-opt some more business wisdom, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” It takes time and effort to make space in your life to achieve your goals. Vast windows of free time for doing nothing but skating or dryland training don’t just spontaneously open in our busy lives. Only with a plan will you be able to find the opportunities to fit in the steps you’ve agreed to take towards your goal. When things come up (as they invariably do), you’ll be able to adjust, prioritize, and ensure that your plan doesn’t fall apart.
keep it real When it comes to virtuous behaviours, human beings are chronic exaggerators. “I volunteer regularly!” “Yes, of course I floss daily.” “I’m a big runner. Always running, that’s me!” But when asked to identify the number of times they actually perform, most people realize they don’t truly do as much as their brain would have them believe. A workout tracker keeps you accountable, preventing the self-delusion that you’re training harder than you really are. A whole lot of blank spaces in your journal speak volumes. don’t be a victim Everyone knows a teammate who has an excuse for everything. She doesn’t make it to practice, flakes on team dryland commitments, and always has a ‘poor me’ excuse. Then she complains that she’s not getting to play as much as she’d like to! If you don’t know someone like that, then I’m sorry to be blunt, but the chances are it’s probably YOU. You need this tool more than anyone! Your fitness diary will keep you honest about who or what is holding you back. Start recording your excuse every time you bail on a workout or practice. See the pattern, and ask a coach or teammate to help you find solutions and take ownership of the issue. guilt is good Most people are more strongly motivated by the avoidance of loss or shame, than by the promise of reward. If you’re the guilty-conscience type, let that be your motivator. Make bold checkboxes next to your planned workouts and practice sessions in your fitness diary. Instead of counting and tracking the completed ones, keep track of the commitments you DIDN’T keep. Give $100 to a teammate and tell her she gets to keep it if you have more than X missed workouts in Y weeks. Or do as author Tim Ferriss (The Four Hour Body) recommends – take ‘before’ pictures in your sports bra when starting a new fitness program. Give them to a friend, and instruct her to post them online if you don’t stick with it! Yikes. a for effort If, on the other hand, you’re more of a box-ticker, you can turn this accountability in your favour too. Did you do all your workouts for the week? Gold star, girlfriend! Did you miss one or two? OK, not bad. Pat yourself on the back for the ones you
completed, and redouble your efforts for next week. Add up all your checkmarks at the end of the month, and celebrate your improvements on the track. stay focused The practice of recording food intake in a diet diary has been shown to make dieters lose up to three times as much weight as those who don’t. Likewise, recording derby fitness activities will help you stay on track. Are you the type that starts a lot of projects with gusto, but gets distracted by the next new project? The simple act of checking in with yourself on a daily or weekly basis keeps your goals top of mind and prevents you from forgetting that promise to your teammates you’d lift weights once a week. CRUSH YOUR ROADBLOCKS The biggest impediment to maintaining a fitness journal is inconvenience. It’s too time-consuming or awkward, or it duplicates something you’re already doing in another format. So, use a format you already like, like a day planner, your Outlook or Google calendar, or an app on your smartphone. Keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate the tool if you feel you might have a hard time keeping up the practice. Tim Ferriss recommends that dieters simply take a photo of each meal with their phone as their food diary. Bonnie D.Stroir started Shiny Happy Faces on Facebook, where you can submit your post-workout selfie, complete with sweaty glow. It could be as simple as that – anything recorded is better than nothing to get you started. Don’t be afraid to pick it back up if you fall off the tracking bandwagon for a while. Even if you’ve got two un-recorded weeks in your book, you’re still better off to just refocus and start fresh on the journaling habit from today forward. Better to leave some blank spots than a completely abandoned journal. TAKE IT FROM THEM The idea of fitness logs and workout diaries is certainly not my own creation. Virtually every successful Olympic or professional athlete and coach uses some version of this tool to monitor, adjust, and make progress in her game. If it’s worked for 8-time World Ironman Triathlon champion Paula Newby-Fraser, then it might just be a game-changer for you.
fiveonfivemag.com | Fall 2013 | 15
games and coaching
order of operations SHOCKER KHAN, RAGE CITY ROLLERGIRLS
Let’s start this article off in an unusual way... with a math problem. Solve the following problem: 4 – 3[4 –2(6 – 3)] ÷ 2 = X If you got anything but 7, you probably need a refresher course on the mathematical order of operations. Now, you’re probably thinking “what the heck does this have to do with roller derby?” Let me explain with an example. A coach brings a new strategy drill to practice and, after verbally explaining it once, she blows the whistle to start and all heck breaks loose. Half the skaters are looking around trying to figure out what they are supposed to do, a few of the skaters think they know what they need to do so they do their own thing, and a couple have already figured out how to counteract the strategy and are doing their best to stop it from happening in the first place. So what went wrong? Just like with the math problem above, if the skaters don’t have all the necessary information, start from the wrong place, or are already on the next problem, the outcome will be less than ideal. Instead of everyone starting off going balls to the wall, first ensure the skaters involved have all the necessary skating skills to perform the drill then have them perform the drill according to a “best case scenario.” Also, the drill needs to be broken down into easily digestible parts so if the drill is complex, with skaters focusing on different goals, practicing one goal at a time then bringing them together helps skaters better understand what they should be doing. People have different learning styles so just verbally telling a group what the drill is or having them read a description of the drill on a website is not going to be helpful for everyone. The best way to show skaters what they should be doing is to ease them into actually doing the drill by taking baby steps. Now, let’s look at this scenario: A brand new league is participating in their first ever boot camp. None of the skaters have been skating for very long and some even have trouble at the beginning staying on their feet. The instructor first demonstrated, then taught basic skating skills, such as stance, stride, and crossovers, stops, and falling/recovering then eventually worked on skating in
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a pack. The instructor then told them they were going to be assigned numbers, and while skating in a semi-tight pack, if their number was called, they were to immediately perform a double knee fall and recover as quickly as possible. Suddenly, there was fear in their eyes. The instructor explained they had already performed weaving, cutting, correctly falling/recovering, bumping each other’s wheels whilst skating, and had skated in close proximity as a pack. All they were going to do now was just put it all together. The fear went away (for the most part) and after they did the drill, a lot of them said it wasn’t as bad as they thought it was going to be. If they hadn’t practiced all the components of the drill prior to combining them, they may have had a different experience. Here is how I recommend introducing new skills and drills: 1. Why: Verbally tell them what the skill/drill is supposed to accomplish and use examples of when this would be used in a real life situation.“Today we are going to do the sniper drill. This drill is used when your jammer is being messed with by one opposing blocker and one of your teammates has to break away to help. Your jammer will call out SNIPE when she needs help and her blockers must assess the situation and quickly figure out who is in the best position to aid the jammer.” 2. Details: Verbally explain where skaters will start the drill, what they will do during the drill, and where they should end up when the drill ends. Basically, the who, what, when, and where. “We will have a full compliment of blockers and jammers on the track. The blockers will line up at the pivot line and the jammers will line up at the jammer line. The blue team will designate a blocker who will be the jammer hunter, the rest of the blockers stay in a pack until the red jammer yells “SNIPE.” At that point, one of the red blockers (preferably not one already blocking the blue jammer) will break off from the pack to help get the jammer hunter off of the red jammer. The red jammer lets themselves get caught by the jammer hunter.” a) A white board or figurines can be very helpful to visually show step 2. b) Ask if there are any questions.
3. Slow Shows: For skills, start from a stopped or slow roll. For drills, line up the first group of skaters and explain that the first jam will be done in slow motion. This is not only helpful for the skaters in the jam, but also those watching who may not completely understand all the components. a) Blow the starting whistle and verbally guide the skaters through the drill. “Blockers and jammers go at half speed. Jammer hunter, break off from the pack when the opposing jammer enters the engagement zone and try to impede their advancement. Red jammer, once trapped by the jammer hunter, call out “SNIPE.” Now one of the red blockers needs to come back to help their jammers...” and so on. b) Once again ask if there are any questions. 4. GO!: Now it’s time to do the drill at full speed. Ensure if any players are supposed to be playing dumb, that they are still doing so at full speed until the skaters really understand what they are doing. a) Once players are comfortable with the drill, introduce counter-measures and alternate scenarios. So really, this is broken down into four easy steps (or operations)... Why, Details, Slow, and Go. I like to start with the “Why” because that’s what is going to motivate skaters to learn something new. If skaters can see the end benefit, they are more likely to be responsive (and even excited!) to what is about to come. Details give the participants the tools they will need to perform the skill/drill helps those auditory learners in the group. Slow shows helps the visual learners whilst actually physically performing the skill/drill. It is at this point where it finally clicks for many of the participants and everyone is
(hopefully) now on the same page. Go has skaters performing the skill/drill at full speed and, if the previous steps were accomplished, there shouldn’t be too many blank stares or tears. Other examples of skills where breaking down individual components is helpful are crossovers, creepy octopus, sideways skating, and one of my personal favorites, stopless skating (part or all of a practice dedicated to skaters removing their toe stops). Some skaters/coaches may think this is something only beginner leagues could find useful, but I disagree. If skaters in a league are on a higher level or have been skating together for a long time and know every skill and drill perfectly, then you probably haven’t gotten this far in the article anyway. For the rest of us, I’m sure you can think of a skill/drill your league has done where skaters dial it in. They end up gravitating to the same place for each drill or only turning towards their good side or hitting to their strong side because that is where they are comfortable. A vigilant coach will ensure skaters are properly performing the skill from both sides, going backward and forward and will encourage skaters who are great at one side/position/action to work on actions they are weaker at so they not only become more rounded skaters, but they also become able to deal with any situation in which they find themselves. Now that I’ve explained the Skater’s Order of Operations: Why+Details+Show=Go! I would like to hear if it works as well for you as it has for me. You can post comments on the 2N1 Skate Shoppe FaceBook Page, Shocker Khan’s G Spot blog, or by e-mail to 2N1SkateShoppe@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
fiveonfivemag.com | Fall 2013 | 19
games and coaching
balance in derby T H E Q UA D FAT H E R , S M A L L TOW N R O L L E R D E R B Y
I have always loved sports. When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to stay up and watch the Red Wings, or catch the day game at Tiger stadium with my dad. When I look back on all I have done and accomplished, I realize that not a day has gone by that I didn’t think about some kind of sport or competition. When I was playing travel hockey, I dedicated my heart and soul to the sport and to my team. That’s just who I am and there is definitely no changing that. As a coach, I employ the same philosophy... I do my best and stay true to the commitments that I’ve made to the sport and to my girls. I want nothing more than for derby to be recognized as a legitimate sport and for people to see what an awesome sport it is! Meanwhile, I also want my girls to have the time of their lives! This is what it’s about for me. Hearing the roar of the crowd and seeing the smiles on my girls’ faces as they come back to the bench after picking up a couple of grand slams or drawing a track cut on an unsuspecting jammer brings me indescribable joy. When people ask me how I became involved with coaching roller derby, the story is long, and every time I enjoy every minute of telling that story. But when it comes down to it, without going into detail, the start of my roller derby career can be described in three phases that happened within the first couple of months after I met the sport. The first phase was an intense fascination with the movement associated with derby. Roller derby is a lifestyle and regardless of what these girls do in their everyday life, they are derby girls and you can’t change that for nothing... not even after retirement. I think the old motto goes, you can take a derby girl out of derby but you can’t take derby out of a derby girl. The second phase was an extreme desire to learn the sport. Not only the rules, but I wanted to understand the concepts and strategies in derby, as well as why and how plays were developing. From there, I started to study film and read the rulebook, constantly trying to stay on top of the newest playing styles. The third phase was inevitable for me with the culmination of the first two phases. I realized that the lifestyle in combination with the sport had become a passion. As a coach, I want to help my girls be strong and accomplish their goals. I want to show them how to go outside of their comfort zone to achieve their
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goals. I also want my girls to understand derby from all angles as well as they possibly can. I want to teach them what it takes to win a bout, and more importantly, I want to teach them what it takes to lose a bout. Roller derby, as with most things in life, takes great balance, and finding the right balance is essential to successful coaching. First, it is first important to understand your players and how they balance their life with their derby life. I’ve coached women from many different backgrounds. Some are busier than others, some have schedules that can conflict with team obligations, some have a husband and kids, some like to drink, some work too much and use derby as an escape, some don’t do anything but derby, some listen to Garth Brooks, some listen to Skrillex, some really dig the lifestyle, and some have been athletes their entire lives. Either way, every derby girl has a life away from the track, and they also have a reason why they play derby. Early on, it is critical to identify these factors. When it comes down to it, one team might be more suited for a rec league and one team might be more suited to play Gotham. It’s all about the way a group can balance their lives and derby coupled with a desire to achieve common goals. Schedules can often be the most difficult factor when dealing with derby, especially on a more competitive team. Since this is not a professional sport and these girls are not getting paid, they have to work, they have to go to school, or they have to take care of their kids. There is absolutely no way to get around that. This is why you see many leagues with somewhat lax attendance policies. I think that 66-70% is probably average for most leagues. With all of their responsibilities, in some cases, girls can only make the minimum requirement. Because their practice time is limited, it is increasingly important for these players to push extra hard at practice and take advantage of the time they do have on the track. As a coach, you must also find balance. In the previous case, you need to become familiar with the various schedules so that you can create the most effective practice on any given day. On a day that you know a lot of girls will miss, plan drills that focus on individuals or smaller groups, and on days you are expecting a large turn-out, plan drills that will incorporate everybody. In any case, you need balance in your training too. My practices
usually all contain at least 45 minutes of scrimmage because my philosophy is that if you’re not playing derby regularly it’s very hard to become good at it. On the other hand, if you scrimmage all day every practice, you are ignoring other aspects that may need work. Pick a focus area or two for each practice and put together a drill set around those focus areas. These focus areas could include agility, endurance, skating form, basics, hitting, whips, starts, powerjams, off-skates training, sprints, wall building, pack work/strategy, bridging or controlling pace. When you are choosing drill sets, remember to keep it fresh, keep it focused, keep it applicable to the needs of your team, and most importantly, keep it balanced. Modern roller derby has seen an increase in highly competitive play. I think this is a huge step in the right direction for the sport and for the athletes who play it. However, I think there is a common misconception within the sport about competitive derby. Some people are scared that as teams get more and more competitive the sport will get less and less fun. I couldn’t disagree more with this disposition. I understand that to play at the highest level it takes hard work and dedication. And sure, emotions can run high when both teams want to pull a win. But that’s sports derby peeps! The bottom
line is that, win or lose, derby is fun! As the coach of a competitive derby team, I think it is most important to find balance in the competitive aspect of the sport and the fun aspect of the sport. I coach to win and I couldn’t imagine coaching any other way but my girls know how to lose, as well. They have fun, keep their smiles going, shake the other teams’ hands, go to the after party, and come to practice the following Tuesday ready to improve upon the loss. As an adult, I still love sports. I still stay up late to watch the Red Wings, and I cherish the days that I can make it to a Tigers day game. Now I also have an enormous passion for roller derby and not a day goes by that I don’t think about it. When I’m coaching derby, I dedicate my heart and soul to the sport and my team. I can’t wait to get to practice and help my girls develop into the athletes they have the potential to be. I love the feeling I get before, during, and after bouts. Be it the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat, I love every second of it. But in the end, it all comes back to my girls and seeing them smile as they balance atop the world. Life and derby can be a constant balancing act; it’s just a matter of figuring out which method works best for you.
DRILL drill: hands-free scrimmage
purpose: focus on strategy and positional blocking
This is a very simple drill – all you do is play the game of roller derby like you normally would EXCEPT skaters are not allowed to use their hands. All the skaters should put their hands behind their backs and keep them there for the entire duration of each jam. They can hold their own hands, put them in the backs of their pants, or just keep them loosely on their Marko Niemelä back so that there isn’t a big injury risk in case they fall. Skaters should rely on VERBAL communication and should focus on moving their bodies to the right place at the right time (aka strategic places). They should find ways of working with a partner (or partners) in the pack without having to rely on the use of hands. Blockers should be able to build effective walls without the use of hands. Jammers should work on their footwork/agility and moving through the pack without the help of traditional assists. Playing roller derby without the use of your hands makes the game much more difficult, but you will notice that it involves your brain a lot more (or rather, makes skaters use their brain a lot more than they normally might; derby is naturally a very brainy sport). For the purpose of this drill, there should be minimal hitting. Skaters don’t rely on hitting as much during this drill and the few times that they DO hit, they are doing it for a purpose (which is what effective hitting is all about). drill courtesy of allderbydrills.com
fiveonfivemag.com | Fall 2013 | 21
plates 201 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
Awhile back I wrote an article entitled “plates 101,” which was a basic overview of plates, i.e. – metal vs. nylon, single vs. double action, and the king pin degree. I’m going to take it one step further this time and try to give y’all the information to decide which plate is right for you. I think knowing why plates are sized the way there are and why they are placed on the boot in a certain way is helpful in making a decision about choosing the component your wheels are attached to. Let’s start with some basic plate information: What the plate numbers/sizes MEAN: Some plates are numbered so that they correspond with the size of the boot. Riedell’s plates fall into this category. Therefore, a size 7 boot would take a size 7 plate. Other manufacturer’s plates are numbered what we at Fast Girl call the “old school” numbering system. What that means in the real world is there is a chart that must be referred to in order to find the manufacturer’s recommended size. Sure Grip’s plates (Invader, Avenger, Probe) are numbered using this system. Still other manufacturers size their plates by wheel base. The wheel base or axle spread is the distance between the center of the front axle to the center of the rear axle. This can be taken in millimeters or inches.
Basically, manufacturers number their plates using a system that works for them. Typically, they try to use one plate size for two sizes of boots, sometimes three. Keep in mind that most skaters can wear more than one size plate. It is personal preference. You have heard me say it before and I will repeat it now: the manufacturer’s recommendation is just that, a recommendation. That goes double for the person at the rink or on a blog who says they have unlocked the mathematical secrets of plate size and orientation. You are the final arbiter of your own derby fate – do what works for you. For example, a less experienced skater may need a longer wheel base for more stability, whereas an advanced skater might want more 26 | Fall 2013 | fiveonfivemag.com
maneuverability and not need as much stability, so when faced with the choice of a shorter or longer wheel base, they might choose the shorter. Why does the placement of my wheels matter? The back wheels on your skate are for stability, the front wheels are for agility. This is why the manufacturers’ recommendations on where the wheels sit are to place the rear wheels under the ankle bone (stability), and the front wheels under the ball of the foot (agility). As always, there are exceptions. There are many types of skating and skaters, jam, speed, rhythm, artistic, roller hockey, and flat and banked derby, to name a few. The manufacturer’s recommendations are a point of reference. Teammates and coaches might advise a skater that a certain plate or type of mounting is best, but no one thing is best for everyone. If someone tries to tell you it is, that is a red flag. Your goal should be to figure out what works for YOU as the skater. The ways in which my experience has helped me determine this are listed below. But first let’s talk about some actual plates. In the last plate article (Plates 101), we went over the differences between the features of a plate. Now let’s talk about the functions of plates and why or why not they might be right for you: Remember: 10 degree kingpins help with stability and power/acceleration at the end of your push, 45 degree help with agility, 15, 16 and 20 degree are right in the middle, giving you potentially both. SURE GRIP: One of the oldest plate makers still making plates today – their three most popular for derby are: The Invader/black Avenger – aluminum, 45 degree, double action with adjustable pivot pins and pinch toe stop housing, $120 The white Avenger – magnesium alloy – lighter than the black aluminum version, 45 degree, double action with adjustable pivot pins and pinch toe stop housing, $189
The Probe – nylon, 10 degree double action, nut and washer toe stop housing, $60
All three plates come standard with 8mm axles, but can be ordered with 7mm if desired, and all come with U.S. standard sized 5/8” toe stop housing. They are sized “old school” chart style.
Huh? What the heck are adjustable pivot pins and pinch toe stop housings?? An adjustable pivot pin is for the skater to get a very precise adjustment on their trucks. Simply put, the ball of the pivot pin needs to sit in the cup so that it is all the way down to the bottom. This enables it to not only be secure, but able to properly maneuver while skating. If you loosen your trucks too much, that ball will not be all the way to the bottom of the cup (as you loosen the trucks, it pulls the arm of the pivot pin and ball up), and thus it will not work to its maximum potential. One of the ways it doesn’t work is to pop out of the pivot cup and send you careening either out of control or to the ground. This is an avoidable circumstance. The actual intention of the adjustable pivot pin is to allow you to be able to adjust the angle of the pivot pin in relation to the king pin and the plate. It’s somewhat technical, pretty fussy, and not always necessary for most of us playing derby. However, there are some skaters out there who come from an artistic or speed background who appreciate this very precise adjustability. As a retailer, coach, teacher, and retired player – I advise any skater with this type of pivot pin to be sure if they loosen their trucks significantly, they check the ball at the end of the pivot pin to be sure it is fully seated in the cup. A pinch toe stop housing typically comes on an aluminum plate and is usually more reliable than the standard nut and washer toe stop housing. It works by tightening a nut with a hex key/allen wrench. As the nut is tightened, the housing (the part of the plate that hugs the toe stop stem) gets smaller or pinches the stem, keeping it in place. In contrast, a nut and washer is usually found on a nylon plate to keep the toe stop in place. It works by tightening the toe stop stem threads into the plate against a lock washer. Repeated vibration (such as sport court or outside terrain) has been known to loosen this type of fastener. So if you have this kind of system, always check your toe stops before skating on sport court or outside, and again after. And why do I care if it is U.S. standard size 5/8” housing? Because not all the world adheres to U.S. standard threads. In layman’s terms you can’t screw every toe stop into every plate. If you have a metric plate (most European plates are metric), your toe stop housing/threads are sized for a metric stem and you must use a toe stop that is also metric. A Gumball, Bionic, Moonwalker or Big Bloc will not fit in these types of metric plates. RIEDELL: We know they make fantastic boots, and they are also making great strides with their plates these days. They offer: The newly redesigned Reactor – extremely lightweight aluminum, 10 degree kingpins, double action, pinch toe stop housing, $299 The Revenge – very lightweight aluminum, 15 degree kingpins, double action and pinch toe stop housing, $199 The Rival – lightweight aluminum, 15 degree kingpins, double action, pinch toe stop housing, $159
And finally the Triton (aluminum $89) and the Thrust (Nylon, $45). These last two plates come with 15 degree kingpins, double action and nut and washer toe stop housings. All Riedell plates come with 8mm axles and U.S. standard toe stop housing size of 5/8”. They all come sized to correspond with your boot size. Riedell also unveiled a super duper fancy schmancy plate, Arius, at RollerCon and Division 1 and 2 playoffs this year. Explaining it would totally derail this article so stay tuned for a future installment!
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gear ROLL LINE: Out of Italy, this company has been making the “Cadillac” of plates for many years. And yes, they are metric and yes you will pay handsomely for the fine engineering and craftsmanship. However, in seven years of being a retailer, I’ve seen ONE broken truck, and that is it. That is saying something. These plates have long been the favorite of artistic skaters and roller hockey players, probably due to the super fine adjustability, durability and best of both worlds 20 degree king pin angle. The two we recommend most for derby are: The Variant – lightweight aluminum, 20 degree kingpin, double action, $215 The Mistral – very light aluminum, 20 degree kingpin with click action, $400 Again all Roll Line plates are METRIC, have 7mm axles, metric pinch toe stop housing and adjustable pivot pins. They are sized by wheel base length, in millimeters. There are a few other plates we see in derby that are less mainstream, one is the Labeda Pro Line (lightweight aluminum, 5 degree king pins, double action with click adjustment, pinch toe stop housing and 7mm axles $400). This plate was extremely popular many years ago, and then it went out of production. It is again being produced, but there is some controversy about whether or not they are being made like they used to be. CRAZY: Plates from this relative newcomer have been in the field now for well over a year and a half, and I am really pleased with their plate’s performance and durability. Not unlike the Roll Line: The Venus – very lightweight aluminum, 20 degree king pin, double action and pinch toe stop housing. Silver $199, fabulous metallic colors $219 The Apollo – Ultra lightweight rigid FiberGlass based Resin Composite, 20 degree king pin, double action and pinch toe stop housing. Right now, the Apollo is the only nylon plate on the market with this kind of housing, and it comes in many great colors. $89
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Crazy plates also have 8mm axles and U.S. standard 5/8” sized toe stop housing. They have their own sizing system, and the sizes are all in 13mm increments. NISTEVO: The Pilot plate system: The latest company to throw their hat in the ring for plates. You may know them as Atom or Luigino. They have come out with an interchangeable plate system that allows the skater to pick and choose the components that work for them. In my experience, these plates so far have performed beautifully and are quite durable. Falcon Plus: Anodized black or polished extremely lightweight aluminum, 16 degree king pins, double action with click adjustment, pinch toe stop housing and adjustable pivot pins. $270 Falcon: The same plate and features as the plus, with the exception of featuring a one piece truck that does NOT have adjustable pivot pins. $220 Eagle Plus: Zytel (like Nylon), 16 degree kingpin, double action with click adjustment, nut and washer toe stop housing and adjustable pivot pins. $150 Eagle: The same plate and features as the Eagle Plus, with the exception of featuring a one piece truck that does NOT have adjustable pivot pins. $100 Viper: Zytel (like Nylon), 16 degree kingpin, double action, nut and washer toe stop housing. $80 All Pilot/plates come with 8mm axles, and standard U.S. sized toe stop housing. They come sized to correspond with wheel base measurement in inches. And what is click action? Click action or micro adjustment style fasteners for trucks is the adjustment mechanism on the end of the king pin that has ridges on it that correspond with ridges on the cushion retainer so that when you turn it, it clicks as it passes over each ridge. This can help the skater get a more specific adjustment because they know they have gone 3 clicks, each being say, 1mm. This way you know how far you’ve gone, and how to adjust the other king pins. On the Roll Line, the nut has numbers on it for even further precision of how far each have been turned.
REMEMBER: The following chart is meant to be a guideline, or a starting point. Everyone’s needs are different, and every skater has their personal preference as to how they like their plates.
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How to use the chart: A. Use the boot sizing chart in my previous article or on the Fast Girl Website under sizing/boots at fastgirlskates.com/roller-derby-
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3. If I were to take a hard sternum block or stand up quickly while skating, would I probably fall over backwards? 4. Am I a very technical type person who wants to know about each little
skates/pc/Skates-d10.htm to determine your Men’s U.S. size on
adjustment that can be made on my plates, and I know why and when
either your current boots, or new boots.
to use said adjustments?
B. OR – Using your current skates, measure the distance from the center of your front axle to the center of your back axle to determine your axle spread in millimeters. C. Do your boots fit you snugly and are you happy with the length of your plate? Are you both stable and agile? Want to improve one of those? Depending on these answers, you might want to go up or down one size. D. Use the chart to find the correct size of the plate you are buying as a
5. Am I very petite and concerned about the weight of my skates? Am I very strong and concerned about the durability of my plates? Have I broken a plate already? Do my plates feel heavy? 6. Does colored gear make me happy? 7. If I drop lots of money and my plate breaks or is stolen, can I honestly replace it? 8. Can I find a skater who is similar to me in stature, style, experience and look at what he/she wears? Ask them why and how they like their plate.
starting point. Check your work by cross referencing the wheel base/axle spread, indicated on the chart next to each manufacturer’s size column.
After determining the answers to these questions, use the information
I know that is a lot. It’s hard, but that is why we retailers have spent a good
listed above about the different kinds of plates to narrow your selection.
amount of time to become knowledgeable in this field. Visit Fast Girl Skates
Retailers are there to answer your questions and help guide you toward
or your favorite retailer or give us a call to help you. You can also narrow
the gear that is right for you. If your particular retailer is not helpful, call,
your choices by asking yourself the following questions:
email or go to another one until you find one willing to listen and help you.
1. Do I need stability or maneuverability/agility? 2. If I look down upon the skates I have now, is the front inside wheel under the ball of my foot? Yes? Do I still feel stable? No? Do I still feel agile?
Bottom line: it can take years to find your dream plate (and boots for that matter). Arm yourself with as much information as possible and try as many other people’s skates as you can.
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a fan’s guide to the 2013 WFTDA D1 playoffs 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
After six months of practicing, bouting, and vying for a spot in the top 40, teams who made the cut for WFTDA’s annual playoff tournaments have everything to celebrate. Sure, the teams are excited. Of course, the skaters are packing their bags. And the folks making the Bracket Bonanza have made this year’s bracket contest better than ever. But the fans present at this year’s playoff tournaments win the chance see the best in what modern roller derby has to offer. This year’s WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs are tournaments that you won’t want to miss. With the updates to the competitive play structure, this year the match-ups will feature some never-before-seen, head-to-head derby action with teams from across the world. “All of the playoffs are pure athletic competition,” Alisha Campbell, WFTDA Tournament Director, said. “With the removal of region-based play, the D1 playoffs are no longer limited to just the top ten teams in a region. This means we’re seeing 2013 as many teams’ entry into this level of play.” With the advent of the new Rankings Calculator, no longer will Playoffs merely represent a snapshot of the best one region has to offer. Instead, the Playoffs will feature bouts sizing up teams from different points on the globe. And you can be trackside to enjoy these bouts for glory, all leading to Championships in Milwaukee, Nov. 8-10, 2013. With the changes in rankings and tournament organization, this year also marks the first time that five teams from outside the United States will compete in D1 playoffs, and one team in Division 2 playoffs. “Oh, Canada! In addition to Montreal in the D1 playoffs, we’ve also got Toronto and Terminal City [Vancouver] making their debuts in D1,” Campbell said. “Will this be the year that London makes it to Champs? Our friends across the pond sure hope so. And let’s not forget about the Victorian ladies – with a 17-hour time difference from Salem, the team from Melbourne [Australia] definitely has the farthest to travel.” Here are just a few highlights of what the weekend warriors of flat-track (that’s you, mega fans) can be prepared to enjoy.
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Sept. 6-8, 2013: Fort Wayne, Indiana War Memorial Coliseum Hosted by the Fort Wayne Derby Girls
Bracket Highlights The seeding for the centrally located Fort Wayne tournament brings together teams from three countries and all regions of the U.S., making it likely to produce some lively matchups that the derby world has never seen, as well as rivalries many fans would love to see again! The bracket includes tournament veterans like the top-seeded Denver Roller Dolls and Montreal Roller Derby and an up-andcoming team qualifying for Playoffs for the first time – the Bleeding Heartland Rollergirls. Those who caught the live WFTDA.tv Presents broadcast of the Rose City Rollers vs. London Rollergirls earlier this year already know that Game 3 of the Fort Wayne tournament should not be missed! In June, the lower-seeded Wheels of Justice were able to come away with a hard-fought win against London Brawling, 198-150. But you can imagine that London isn’t going to travel all the way to Fort Wayne to be moved to the consolation bracket after their first game! Visiting Fort Wayne Aside from hosting a killer roller derby tournament, Fort Wayne is home to one of the top-rated zoos in the United States and lush botanical gardens where you can explore a two-story waterfall! Check out the pirate-themed battle arena at the Crazy Pinz entertainment complex for some family fun with your derby family. And, of course, there is plenty of great dining around the city! Learn more about Indiana’s second-largest city in our tournament hospitality section at wftda.com/tournaments/2013/fortwayne.
Sept. 13-15, 2013: Richmond, Virginia Greater Richmond Convention Center
Sept. 20-22, 2013: Asheville, North Carolina U.S. Cellular Center Asheville
Hosted by the River City Rollergirls
Hosted by the Blue Ridge Roller Girls
Bracket Highlights Can the Angel City Derby Girls Hollywood Scarlets, the No. 1 seed in Richmond, continue their ascension to true stardom, or will one of the other leagues visiting Richmond knock them off of their pedestal in a battle for the three tickets to Champs? It won’t be an easy battle, that’s for sure. Some of the perennial favorites of the flat track will be in Richmond: Texas Rollergirls’ Texecutioners, the Philly Roller Girls’ Liberty Belles, and the Kansas City Roller Warriors. Texas and Kansas City are both former WFTDA Champions (Texas in 2006, Kansas City in 2007), so the Scarlets have their work cut out for them. Fans from the former South Central region will find this tournament especially appealing, with 5 of the 10 participating teams coming from South Central areas.
Bracket Highlights Gotham Girls Roller Derby haven’t been defeated in recent memory. Or in anyone’s long-term memory, for that matter (WFTDA Championships in 2010, against Rocky Mountain). The ladies from New York, and the three-time WFTDA Champions (2008, 2011 and 2012), are looking to take the WFTDA title a fourth time. They’ll begin their journey to Milwaukee in Asheville against some solid competition. Also playing at the third of the D1 playoffs are the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls. Don’t misjudge these ladies in red; they’ve been known for some colossal comebacks. And new to the playoff scene are the Oklahoma Victory Dolls and the Columbia Quad Squad. They’ll get their first taste of playoff game play against some stiff competition: the Nashville Rollergirls and Houston Roller Derby, respectively.
Visiting Richmond There is quite a lot to see and do... and eat, in Richmond. The Poe Museum boasts the world’s finest collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s manuscripts, letters, and personal belongings. Want to get your science on? Visit the Science Museum for hundreds of hands-on experiences. Looking for a short road trip? Busch Gardens is located in Williamsburg, just about an hour away. Check out the Richmond tournament hospitality section for more info on stuff to do and the myriad of places to grab a bite to eat: http://wftda.com/tournaments/2013/richmond
Visiting Asheville Asheville has a reputation as a fun, artsy town, and hosts the Blue Ridge Rollergirls assure us this is true! An afternoon walk downtown will reveal a colorful menagerie of street performers who might offer to juggle the contents of your purse or serenade you with an Appalachian fiddle tune inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains. Visitors will want to stop by the Grove Arcade to shop for local arts and crafts or to sip some of Asheville’s finest wine. Commonly described as a “foodtopia,” Asheville is home to more than 20 farmers markets and nearly 250 local restaurants for locals and visitors to enjoy. Learn more about Asheville in the hospitality section of wftda.com/tournaments/2013/Asheville.
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wftda No matter which tournament you plan to attend, or even if you plan to attend all of the D1 Playoffs, be ready for each to have some jaw-dropping competition. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of seeing it all LIVE. You’ll be right up close and personal with the upcoming stars and the old favorites of the flat track. Sept. 27-29, 2013: Salem, Oregon OR State Fair & Expo Center Pavilion
For the love of the flat track. Be there.
Hosted by the Cherry City Derby Girls
Bracket Highlights The final playoff tournament on the road to WFTDA Championships will be in Salem, OR, and will feature the team who has the farthest to travel: Victorian Roller Derby League from Melbourne, Australia. The team had a tear through the Western U.S. at the Big O Tournament in May 2013, defeating Wasatch, Arizona, and Sacred City. And they’ll have to continue their fight if they plan to make it out of their #8 seed at Salem and on to a try for the WFTDA Championships in Milwaukee. VRDL will have to work through both the Chicago Outfit and the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls to win a ticket to Milwaukee. The other first-time Playoffs qualifiers, Toronto Roller Derby, will be working through a bracket that includes Playoffs stalwarts like the Charm City Roller Girls, Atlanta Rollergirls, and Rat City Rollergirls. Most of the 2012 playoffs saw the #10 seeds pulling off upsets of higher-seeded teams, and Toronto will be working hard to do the same! Visiting Salem Oregon’s state capital offers ample attractions in town and easy access to the state’s beautiful vistas. The Willamette River, the largest river in the state, runs through Salem. There are wildlife refuges, hiking trails, local wineries and more to explore in the surrounding areas. The state capitol building itself is considered one of the state’s top attractions, where you can take a tour that leads you near the top of the dome. Learn more about visiting Salem in our hospitality section of wftda.com/tournaments/2013/salem.
David Van Deman
EVERYTHING YOU Can’t be at the greatest events ever hosted by WFTDA? That sucks. But you don’t have to miss out. You can host a Mega Fan Watch Party and enjoy every hit with our WFTDA.tv Watch Party Pass! 1. WFTDA.tv/Live Hosting the greatest watch party ever at the bar down the street? Like, ever? Looking to raise funds for your league? Grab our WFTDA.tv Tournament Watch Party Pass and get cool benefits like shout-outs, social media mentions and more! Expecting a giant crowd? For $100, you can have as many derby fans as you can manage to fit into your favorite bar/restaurant/drive-in movie theater and you'll get: • Watch party mentions during the bouts for your team.
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NEED FOR YOUR MEGA FAN WATCH PARTY • Social media tags and mentions of your party – Tweet, Instagram or Facebook us your photos and we'll let the derby world know how awesome your watch party is for supporting WFTDA.tv.
3. Bracket Bonanza Make your Mega Fan Watch Party even more interactive, and fill out your Bracket Bonanza. There are brackets for each playoff tournament.
• Receive a special discount code for watching Championships as a super-special thank-you!
4. Friends You can watch derby alone. We won’t judge you! But, like most things, it’s a lot more fun to share the experience with your friends. We bet you’ll be starting stories, “Remember when...” for some time to come!
2. @WFTDALive This feed is a must-have for true mega fans to go along with your watch party. Feel free to share your thoughts about game highlights as the action happens. Use #Talk2WFTDA to speak directly to the announcers. And keep #WFTDAPlayoffs handy so that everyone in the derbyverse remembers we’re live during the month of September and on into Champs in November.
5. Food If you’re watching from home, you’ll want to keep a list of delivery menus handy so that you don’t miss a hit. Or gather some recipes from past issues of fiveonfive for tasty, derbytrusted treats. With potluck and derby, you just can’t go wrong!
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12 step program for parents to be better sports parents TA N YA P R O C K N OW, J R DA
Roller Derby is addicting, as a skater, referee, NSO, and yes, as a parent. It’s sometimes hard to remember that this is a youth sport. Children are not miniature adults (even when they are teenagers and think they are), so what you do as a sports parent matters to them and may affect their enjoyment and success as a junior roller derby skater now and as adults. step 1: get interested Learn a little about the history of roller derby together and share some thoughts on what that means to the sport today. step 2: get real Be realistic about your athlete’s abilities. Know your league’s policies on fair playing time versus equal playing time. If you are unhappy with how little time your athlete is on the track, take some initiative and speak with your child about what they think they need to improve at practices so they can get more track time during bouts. step 3: get to practice If you get your skater to practice, he/she will get better as a skater and as a teammate. PERIOD. Your skater will provide the team with the confidence that they are there for the good of the team by improving personal skills and giving the team a competitive edge with everyone being on the same page because they paid attention at every practice. step 4: let coaches coach, let officials officiate Screaming or lecturing coaches and officials in a derogatory manner doesn’t help anyone. It distracts your athlete from the bout he or she is playing, maybe even to the point of them NOT wanting to participate next season. If you want to coach or officiate, teams are always looking for volunteers to get more involved! If you don’t want to coach or officiate, there are plenty of off-skate things you can do to help the team, and staying involved may curb your desire to be heard in a negative manner.
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step 5: learn the rules Learning the rules reduces frustration and provides a better appreciation for the fun game of roller derby. You don’t have to be an official to learn the rules. Maybe read through the rules with your athlete and take the same rules test they do so you can both learn! step 6: speak with the coach If you have issues with the coaching staff in any way, you do have the right as a parent to set up something similar to a parent-teacher conference, away from practice or bouts, and away from the athletes – especially your child. step 7: advise the coach about absences The coaches expect everyone at every practice. If your athlete does not show up, it doesn’t help the team dynamic when it comes to bout play. It may effect playing time, and the athletes cannot work on his or her individual skills. Know your attendance policy. Let the coach know if you are not able to make practice so he/she can adjust the practice plan accordingly. step 8: provide good pre-bout meals Having the athletes eat sugary or fatty foods before a practice or bout is not conducive to performing at their peak levels. Providing a good pre-bout meal will help your athlete maintain energy levels throughout the bout or tournament. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Most athletes arrive to practice or a bout already dehydrated. Make it part of your junior roller derby culture to arrive early and have some protein bars and water and/or sports drinks before the activity begins.
SPORTSMANSHIP 101 What is sportsmanship? Sportsmanship is defined as: • playing fair • following the rules of the game • respecting the judgment of referees and officials • treating opponents with respect Some people define good sportsmanship as the “golden rule” of sports – in other words, treating the people you play with and against as you’d like to be treated yourself. You demonstrate good sportsmanship when you show respect for yourself, your teammates, and your opponents, for the coaches on both sides, and for the referees, judges, and other officials. But sportsmanship isn’t just reserved for the people on the field. Cheerleaders, fans, and parents also need to be aware of how they behave during competition. Sportsmanship is Rudechix.com
step 9: be on time Please be on time. This shows respect to your facility, coaches and teammates.
a style and an attitude, and it can have a positive influence on everyone around you. (kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/sports/sportsmanship.html) Parents – please make sure when you are saying things on the sidelines that they are
step 10: curb your habits We know this is roller derby but it’s not ADULT roller derby. Your actions and habits can be passed on to your children. We would like that to be the case with POSITIVE Actions and GOOD Habits. Please refrain from the use of tobacco and/or alcohol at your child’s events. Would you take these things to their school?
POSITIVE THINGS towards all team members on each team and towards the volunteer refs, coaches, etc. Spouting negative comments is not acceptable behavior from anyone. Please be aware that you are setting an example for the children. We’d like that to be a positive
step 11: cheer for both teams Be a super fan and cheer for both teams. A lot of these leagues play each other quite often, and you never know when the situation may arise that you move to that area and become part of that OTHER team. If so, you want to be remembered as a positive parent and be accepted rather than viewed as one of THOSE parents causing your child(ren) to suffer by not being allowed on the team. step 12: support your coaches They are volunteers and have given up their time to teach your child. They deserve your support and appreciation. Even if you don’t agree with everything they do, have faith they are looking out for the best interests of ALL of the athletes under their direction.
example! Players – You are here to PLAY THE FUN GAME OF ROLLER DERBY. You are not a coach. You are not a referee. You will respect those around you and be a team player by: A. Not arguing or yelling at the referees, coaches, or players on any team B. Trying your hardest every time you are on the track C. Win or lose, you will shake the opposing team’s hands and say “GOOD GAME” and nothing negative.
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I didn’t pass the skills test, now what? FEIST E. ONE, BOULDER COUNTY BOMBERS
The day you have been waiting for since you attended your first roller derby practice has arrived – your WFTDA testing day. Today is the day you will put everything you have learned and practiced into action. You will think about perfect derby position, hitting and blocking, stopping and falling. You will think about all the falls, the bruises, the sore tailbones, and the sweat you have produced over the past few months. You test. And then you find out the results: you didn’t pass. “Now what?” you think, when you get the text/call/email with the bad news. “I have worked so hard, and now I have to go through practices with another group of newbies. Am I going to be the permanent newbie on my league?” Your choices are easy: quit or take the test with the next group. OK, maybe not that easy. It won’t be easy to keep going and practice skills you may have already mastered. It won’t be easy to look at the new WFTDA-passed skaters, some of whom you have already become close friends with, and think, “that should be me.” Choice One: quit. That’s easy. You could give up and go on with your life, having more time and money to do other things. After you evaluate your choice to become a derby skater and have decided that you are definitely going to put in the time and effort, there will still be obstacles in the way. But congratulations – you picked Choice Two: keep going until you pass! Picking choice two means you are a real derby skater. And that you will pass that test and be on a team, no matter what. Here are some tips on how to keep going. Get back up. One thing everyone does in derby is fall. Sure, it’s not something you want to do much (or at all), but notice how a superstar quickly bounces up right off the track when she falls and keeps skating forward, determined to get back to where she was in the pack. If you get back up from a fall, a setback, or a frustration right away, you have the attitude and determination that is part of every derby skater. “I kept skating because it was my favorite form of exercise and I love a good challenge,” said Rockit Bruise-ter from
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Crossroads City Derby in Las Cruces, NM, who took the WFTDA test twice before passing on her third try. Focus on the little things. Yes, your ultimate goal is to pass the WFTDA test. But think about all the skills that will get you there and master them all. Review what you have already learned and what you still need to work on. Every new skill that you master and every old skill that you perfect will help you to become a better, more skilled skater once you do pass the test. What did you have a hard time with during your most recent test? Was it the twenty-seven laps in five minutes? If so, your biggest challenge is speed and cardio. To increase speed, you may need to work on your form and how you are pushing through as you skate around the track. Ask your trainer, coach, or a veteran skater to watch your skating position and give you tips. If your endurance is not enough to make those last few laps, doing cardio exercise outside of derby practice may be what you need to keep going. Did you have difficulty doing a T-stop? Remember, perfect practice makes perfect... not just any practice makes perfect. So start practicing those skills perfectly. Think about your commitment level: Did you only make the minimum amount of practices this month? Were there things outside of derby you could have done that would have helped you? Do them this time around. Are you willing to pay the price? “After the second time I didn’t pass I thought, ‘This is ridiculous. I can do this.’ So I started going to all the practices they offered even if it wasn’t mandatory,” Rockit Bruise-ter said. Doing things outside of practice, whether it be cardio workouts, lifting weights, yoga or stretching, will help your body to be more prepared for the strenuous exercise you are doing as a skater. Servin’ Justice from the Brew City Bruisers in Milwaukee, WI, has been coaching fresh meat since the league’s second season. The Bruisers give skaters ideas of exercises to do outside of practice. “We also provide offskates muscle training and stretching tips and suggestions for skaters to work on their ‘derby muscles’ between practices,” said Servin’ Justice.
Jason Bechtel, Cincinnati Rollergirls
Learn from the veterans. Every derby player started derby from scratch. Today’s skaters haven’t grown up with this sport. Talk to your teammates and trainers. Every skater has a different background, be it speed skating, hockey, soccer, ballet or band. Ask different skaters what they have done to improve at a certain skill. You have a wealth of derby knowledge right at your fingertips, so use it to your advantage. “Sometimes if a skater is struggling with a particular skill, I like to have a different coach spend some time with them. It’s weird, but I can tell a skater how to do something a million times, but when someone else takes some time to explain it in their words, it clicks,” said Servin’ Justice. The Brew City Bruisers also offer many opportunities for their skaters to learn and practice with various skaters on the league. “We provide so many resources – five to six Boot Camps per year, Bootleggers/Rec League sessions, and speed coaching – and as a result, the brave women entering our league are stronger, smarter, and more ready than ever for some roller derby!” Servin’ Justice explained. So take advantage of those extra resources to quickly learn all you can about roller derby.
Be accountable. Find the skater who you started as fresh meat with or a veteran mentor and report your progress to her. Ask her to check in with you on what you have been doing this time around. Find other skaters to skate with outside of practice or go to the gym with. You are not only supporting your goal of passing the test, but also encouraging teammates to become stronger. Stay positive and visualize. Think about yourself as a derby skater. Say it out loud to yourself, “I will pass the WFTDA test.” When you think about something as though it has already happened, you are more likely to reach that goal. Staying positive includes having support from those you love, inside or outside of the derby circle. Remember to surround yourself with skaters who are on the same path as you and your loved ones who believe they will be watching you bout someday soon. “My husband was really supportive and the women in my league were very encouraging,” said Rockit Bruise-ter. And when you pass your WFTDA test, you can feel as proud and excited as Rockit Bruise-ter. “I almost cried when I finally passed my test this past May. I was ecstatic and relieved to have officially made it to skate with the league.”
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what retired derby players want their former teammates to know C H R I S T I N E A K A R E D ‘ S TA N G , C I R C L E C I T Y D E R B Y G I R L S ( R E T I R E D )
Dear Active Roller Derby Players, Once upon a time, I was just like you: my world revolved around roller derby. Every single day my body and brain were obsessed with practices, gear, strategy, stats, travel plans, committee work, and boutfits. I ate, slept, breathed, and lived derby... it was fitness, fun, camaraderie, and therapy all rolled (pun intended) into one incredible package. Like you, I gained so many valuable things from derby that I couldn’t imagine ever quitting – ever! Then things changed. I retired and found that derby still had some very important lessons for me to learn. With much love and respect, on behalf of all past and future retired derby players, I’d like to share them with you. things to remember about your retired derby brethren we needed to retire We don’t want to retire! But for whatever reason, we’ve been forced to make that decision. Some of us suffer injuries that prevent us from playing – some so early that we never even get to bout! Others realize that we just aren’t cut out for derby due to health problems, lack of skills, or emotional reasons. Still more just find that life has intervened and needs more attention than derby can allow. Jobs change, babies are born, finances shift, and bodies protest in pain. Regardless of our reasons for retiring, remember that we had to make that choice based on our own lives, not yours. We spent long hours reflecting and weighing the pros and cons, and many of us feel guilty for leaving vacancies in the league, especially if we handled a lot of tasks. It hurts – a LOT, physically and emotionally – to say goodbye to such a huge part of our lives. Some of us even retire, return, and retire again.
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Ever notice that sometimes even bigname pro athletes do this too? There’s a good reason. We’re not trying to be a pain, truly... it’s just such a tough decision to make that we may need the comparison in order to truly commit to retirement. We aren’t wussies or quitters! We’re intelligent people who are aware of our own need to re-prioritize when necessary. Please support us for caring about our own well-being, and don’t spread gossip about our reasons for retiring, even if we don’t share them with you. we didn’t quit you It's not personal. (Well, usually.) Derby demands huge personal investment, and staying on your game safely and skillfully means being able to focus without distraction. There comes a time for each of us when that just isn’t possible anymore. Please don’t take it personally. We miss you! (Sometimes we even miss those we didn’t like, because you challenged us to grow.) Very few of us wish to leave our derby families
permanently. If you miss us too (and you know you do!), invite us to skate at public sessions or open practices, call us up to have dinner or a few beers, or just to chat and share the derby love. OK, maybe it was personal Nobody wants to admit it, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Shove a bunch of alpha types into a DIY outfit that requires working, competing, traveling and just plain getting along together six or seven days a week while playing one of the most violent sports ever invented and well... shit happens. Not everyone can handle the stress and strain, and people erupt like volcanoes. In extreme situations, sometimes a skater is asked or forced to retire, and that’s hard on everyone. Maybe we’re able to smooth it over and continue contributing in some other way, or maybe we have to remove ourselves from derby entirely, at least for a while. We don’t hate you, and really hope that you don’t hate us. Try to keep league BS to a minimum and prevent this from happening, but when it does
trite, respect your derby elders. We skated the same rough trail, and being acknowledged means a lot to us.
(and it will, unfortunately), take the high road. We didn’t join the league to cause trouble, and we’re sorry for how it turned out. Bad-mouthing any player, ref, or league isn’t OK, ever – it hurts us all – and don’t we have enough bruises?
we aren’t “in the loop” anymore We aren’t on the league forums and
we’re still the same awesome people Quickly list the shared traits of your teammates. Did you use the words strong, smart, confident, and talented? Well, guess what? Retiring from derby takes the same amount (or more!) of those traits as playing does, and we are not the sorts of people who make frivolous decisions or allow ourselves to
aren’t privy to what’s going on all the time. We might not be as interested in rankings, scores, or stats as much as we used to be, and probably have other things we need to do besides gluing ourselves to DNN. Please don’t be offended if we don’t realize that you had a bout last weekend or a big event coming up, or even if you got hurt – we can’t know unless you tell us. Include us
the track and sometimes it’s just easier to stay home rather than put ourselves through the agony of wishing we were still out there with you. Please keep inviting us, even if we don’t always show up. We’re your staunchest fans and we’re still rooting for you, if only in spirit. And eventually we’ll be able to attend bouts without wanting to fling ourselves into the abyss... cut us some slack, and know that it’s an internal struggle that can last a really long time. our identities are important to us We all choose our names and numbers with great care and attention to who we
If you’ve ever been injured and forced to watch from the sidelines while your teammates kicked ass, you’ve had a taste of what it’s like to retire. stagnate. Retiring frees up enormous amounts of time that we can now use to attend to things we may have neglected, and also to tackle new and different adventures. We’re proud of our derby careers, and hope that you’re proud of us, too, whether we were MVPs or second-stringers, refs or volunteers. Have your league founders retired? Know that we sacrificed our own time, money, reputation and sanity in order to get those wheels rolling, likely long before you joined. Whatever our roles were, please let us know you appreciate our contributions: list retirees on league websites, give us a shout-out when we attend bouts and events, remember us in league histories. At the risk of sounding
on the invite lists, and when we can, we’ll come cheer you on. When we can’t, we’ll appreciate the thought. And when you’re laid up in traction while all your teammates are at RollerCon, call us! We’ll bring you ice cream and walk your dog and listen to you whine, because we know what it’s like, and we still care about you. sometimes it’s just too painful If you’ve ever been injured and forced to watch from the sidelines while your teammates kicked ass, you’ve had a taste of what it’s like to retire. Our feet want to duck run, our bodies want to smash, and our brains want to call out strategies to the pack. We yearn to be on
are. Some of us love being remembered and called by our skater names, and others need to lay those names to rest. Ask us which we prefer, and respect that. We understand that our names won’t be protected on the master roster anymore, and that new skaters may adopt our old numbers after we’re gone, but those names and numbers were (and still are!) a part of who we are, and we cherish them as our own. we like to toot our own horns We have piles of derby gear and clothes that we refuse to part with, and many of us still love to wear our old jerseys. Why? Well, they’re practical exercise garb. But really it’s because we miss the feeling of
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feature being part of a team, the recognition of fans and the pride of having those logos on our chests. Remember that we earned our jerseys with blood and sweat just as you did, and understand that by wearing
skating?” Sigh. We know you mean no harm, but the vast majority of us love skating and should still be called skaters. Many of us have skated all our lives, and if we haven’t, we’ve likely gained a love
fitness regimen, and most of us look for ways to keep up the strength, stamina, and hot bods we gained from all that hard work. Derby Lite was invented by players who recognized the benefits that
“It’s not you, it’s me.” A shoddy way to break up with a lover, but it’s so true. It just can’t be said enough: we miss you so much! them we aren’t trying to pose as active players or disrespect those who are. We’re just proud to have been a part of derby, and like to show it off once in awhile. Besides, it’s excellent marketing – when people see those jerseys, they ask questions, and we answer – in your favor! our game wasn’t your game Modern derby is still in its infancy, and the rules and strategies will continue to evolve as the sport grows and matures. We played by the rules that were current while we were active, and we may not be up to date on the latest WFTDA revisions. We might innocently yell dumb things at bouts, or ask questions that seem silly to you. Treat us like you would your cool grandma who doesn’t realize that cars now have remote door locks. We don’t mean to be ignorant; we just aren’t as aware of all those details anymore. Please don’t laugh when we make a mistake, and clue us in (gently!) on the new developments if we make a bungle. we are still skaters We all get asked, “Why did you quit
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for skating that will never die. We just aren’t derby players anymore. Ask us why we retired, and if we still go skating (unless you know we can’t due to injury or health, please). Let us know when you’re heading to an open rink session or an outdoor trail – we’d love to come skate with you! Some leagues even hold special practice/fitness sessions that are open to retired skaters. If your league has the time and space, please consider doing this! Retired skaters are often willing to sign waivers, keep up their insurance and even pay a little extra for this privilege. We can offer a lot to newbies who need help, and we miss skating with folks who understand our derby love. Ask if we’d like to help coach, or run a skills workshop – we really appreciate being known for our skating skills, and now that we aren’t active players, we might have more time to share them than you do. we want to stay in shape We’ve all literally busted our asses to gain the skills needed to survive and conquer on the track. Skating is great exercise! Retired players miss that
a modified version of derby could offer retirees and those who can’t or don’t want to commit to a regular league. Please don’t make the mistake of labeling Derby Lite or any other sort of skating for fitness as less “respectable” than being on an active roster. Remember that we retired due to lack of physical ability and/or available time to handle all those practices, and respect whatever method we choose to stay in shape post-retirement. And please... don’t tease us if we aren’t quite the muscle mavens we once were. Derby teaches us all to love our bodies, whatever their size and shape, remember? That’s a valuable gift and we aim to keep it! we still want to be friends “It’s not you, it’s me.” A shoddy way to break up with a lover, but it’s so true. It just can’t be said enough: we miss you so much! Derby builds amazing friendships, and we miss seeing our special pals. We know your time is limited (do we ever!), and we understand how hard it is to see outside the derby bubble when you’re still on the inside.
James Calder/ShutterThug, shutterthug.net
But please, make time to hang out with us when you have a few hours. Keep in mind too that we enjoy league news, invites, and even a little gossip, but... you know how your non-derby pals complain that it’s always “derby derby derby”? They’re right. Tone it down a little, and remember that we’re all made of other
things besides who we are/were in derby. Foster those friendships in and out of the league so they’ll remain strong long after retirement. Many thanks to all the retired derby players who divulged their personal feelings in the hope of helping active skaters understand them a little better.
Someday you’ll be a retiree too, and I promise you... the impact is no less jarring than being knocked ass-overteacups by a 250lb stack of Amazonian power blocker. In fact, I think most of us would rather take the hit. Happy retirement, ladies! You’ve earned it.
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in pursuit of the Hydra E L E K T R A H I G H V O LTA G E , T U C S O N R O L L E R D E R B Y
A lone skate of chrome sits atop a twisted swirl. At its base is the shrunken replica of our beloved flat track. The trophy silently speaks large volumes of glory with its majestic figure; the kind that is most profound to the modern rollergirl. It’s not the heaviness of chrome nor its peculiar aesthetics that makes it so desirable, but rather, it is the validation given through being the ones able to claim it. It represents the limits they pushed and the gallons of tears, blood and sweat they’d shed for it. What is the Hydra? “Blood, sweat, tears,” said Wild Cherri with the Atlanta Rollergirls, and also a former competitor with Gotham Girls Roller Derby at the time of their second claiming of the championship trophy. This is the story of Hydra, a trophy named after a forerunner in modern roller derby. The skater to which the trophy owes its name, Hydra, formerly of the Texas Rollergirls, was a founding member and the first president of the United Leagues Coalition, a predecessor to the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. The story begins with a girl – any girl who strapped on a pair of skates – who was curious enough to attend a bout, practice or a tryout, with little to big hopes at first of finding some shape or form of exhilarating entertainment to pass her free time. Maybe physical challenge wasn’t the initial attraction or the glory of the most prestigious trophy in the roller derby community, but whatever drew that girl to the local rink or a warehouse in her town, will incline her to stay and hope to, one day, compete in the WFTDA championship tournament. Roller derby is an addiction, bordering the boundaries of narcotics. Bodily harm, to a certain extent, isn’t a good enough reason to back out, and when it becomes clear that the addiction has put her past the point of no return, metamorphosis happens. A derby girl becomes a derby skater and the derby skater transforms into an athlete with true dedication and the motivation to sweat and cry to achieve a common goal that she and her teammates share.
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For Sexy Slaydie of the Gotham Girls Roller Derby All-Stars, that common goal was taking home the Hydra for the second, now third, consecutive year. “We’ve had one goal all year,” said Sexy Slaydie before the 2012 WFTDA Championship Tournament. “To reclaim the Hydra.” Gotham Girls Roller Derby All-Stars successfully reclaimed the trophy there and will be aiming once again to keep the trophy in New York City this year. “We have taken that more seriously than ever,” Slaydie said. The history of Hydra began in 2008. There were championship tournaments prior to that, but the Hydra was debuted that year. GGRD All-Stars won that year, taking the trophy home to New York. Since then, the trophy has traveled to many places, including Olympia, Washington, with the Oly Rollers, and Denver, Colorado, with the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls. In 2011, Hydra returned to New York, and after its brief travel to Atlanta, Georgia, where the 2012 WFTDA Championships occurred, it returned once again to New York with the GGRD All-Stars. The Hydra is currently resting in New York, awaiting this year’s championship tournament where a new (or a good old friend) champion will claim it. Sacrifice of varying degrees is not uncommon in the derby community. At some point in one’s derby career, the amount of dedication put in by a skater exceeds the limit of physical, financial, social and/or other capabilities. The fact that modern roller derby is a volunteer sport adds to the burdens. It’s not easy to ask a whole team or a league to contribute more than their personal limits. But there are those who do, and perhaps that’s a big contributing factor to seizing the Hydra. “Gotham All-Stars was and still is a really focused and driven team,” Wild Cherri said. “Off-skates workouts are required of the team.” Her current team, the Dirty South Derby Girls of Atlanta Rollergirls, participated in the 2012 Championships. She said DSDG also incorporates off-skates workouts into their program so that when it comes time for game play, the team can focus on strategy and “not worry so much about endurance.”
And the hard work pays off in
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more ways than one for any team that worked hard during the season. But there is something to be said about being the champions who earn the honor of holding the heavy chrome trophy. Hydra is an insignia. The object itself does not have significance to the skaters’ hearts and souls, but rather, it is what the trophy represents. “It was a high point in my life (to win the Hydra trophy),” Slaydie said. It was a moment when all the sacrifices – including missing out on hanging out with family and friends, and also building her career more – she made to prepare for the tournament felt validated. “It’s really heavy,” she joked. So who will it be this year? Will it be the Gotham Girls again? All we know is that it is up for grabs to the best women’s flat track derby team.
Joe Schwartz, JoeRoll erfan.com
s Tom Kluben
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small town derby GREEN HELL-ANA, CENTRAL OHIO ROLLER DOLLS
Roller derby isn’t only for the big city. Being a derby girl takes ferocity, courage, and hard work, which can definitely be found in small towns across America. “These women aren’t playing for national attention, or simply because they need something else to do between work, school, and family. The skaters take the track because they love the
as we would like to think anyone can do it, that’s not realistic. You have to want it and you have to push yourself to be a great player. You need that drive that separates the good players from the bad. With a small talent pool to delve into, this can be a serious problem. Recruiting and keeping skaters is the number-one priority of small-town leagues. Other times, you
sport,” says Inspector Muffin from Ohio Roller Girls. He is absolutely right. When it comes to small town derby, it takes dedication and a passion for the sport to make these leagues work. Anyone who is playing roller derby is doing so because they love the sport. However for several leagues across the country, it takes a lot more than a love for roller derby. It takes every bit of your spare time, money, and energy to grow a league of your hometown with a population of about fifteen thousand or less. As one of the founders of a league in rural Ohio, I have firsthand experience in the ups and downs of starting a league and keeping it running successfully past the first year. We have all seen the documentaries giving an inside look into workings of new leagues and those show us it’s not an easy path to follow. Add a sparsely populated area and a very limited choice of facilities, and for many leagues, it can be over before it starts.
can lose skaters due to injury. That cannot be avoided as injuries happen in a full-contact sport like roller derby. This makes having enough active skaters a must. Another issue leagues confront is funding. With the economy in its present state, it can be difficult to secure sponsors to help pay the costs of running an organization, primarily in the first two years when leagues may not have the resources to host bouts, which is where most financing for the leagues come from. League members can often spend thousands of dollars trying to keep everything running. Larger organizations have a bigger fan base, so potential sponsors are more likely to invest. With a smaller number of fans, it can be challenging to persuade sponsors. Most sponsors for small-town leagues exchange services for sponsorship. This can be very helpful as leagues needs photographers, after party spots, and DJs, along with many other useful services.
What drives these leagues to form? Distance. Not everyone wants to travel over an hour three nights a week. This isn’t always the case, but is the most common. Roller derby requires a lot of traveling to other teams in the state. When you also have to drive to every practice and after party, every team activity and fundraiser, it can add to the cost you already pay as a league member. Plus it takes more time out of your normal life. There may not even be a league anywhere near you. The passion, the drive, and the commitment is there but the nearest team is three hours away. So you ask around and see who else even knows about roller derby. You find eager ladies who want to be involved and then the idea is born. That’s the easy part. Next comes a year of stress, countless county fairs, hours of passing out fliers, and not to mention sweaty, intense practices trying to get yourself in shape and passing your skills test. What exactly are the problems these leagues face? First: Skaters. Let’s face it, roller derby is not for everyone. As much
Training is another matter that requires a lot of extra attention. If there are not any vertebra skaters or experienced members of the derby community, it’s hard to learn everything that is needed to play. There are a lot of rules and skill involved and if there is no one to teach, then where are these teams supposed to start? Many teams offer skating clinics where inexperienced skaters can learn the basic skills. However this is not always available to rural teams, as traveling is one of the reasons these small leagues are started. Dedication is one of the most important problems faced by these small-town leagues. With all the work that goes into an up-and-coming league, its takes everyone on board to make it run and be successful. It can be very stressful and overwhelming, so every player, coach, or staff member has to play their part to keep the organization moving along. The more time it takes for things to happen the more people will want to drop off. Many leagues lose up to half of the skaters in the first year. It can become a second job with all the work.
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Joshua Morrison photography
The Mid-State Sisters of Skate are a league in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. With a population of 18,000, the city is not a bustling metropolis. Rose Redrum gave me some insight into the individual problems her league has run into. Skater numbers are a persistent problem. They are struggling to maintain enough skaters to field two teams. M.S.S.O.S. were just accepted as a full WFTDA member, so keeping that roster filled will be a challenge. She said they recruit constantly and always have a stream of fresh meat. They do their best to bring them up to speed with veterans but that presents its own challenge. Skaters try to hold high standards for attendance and for community service requirements. The amount of time a skater has to dedicate to derby can be daunting for busy women. On the plus side, some things they have had luck with is the local media and fans. They were welcomed into the town and have generated a lot of interest in the community. I have talked about all the stress, the work, and all the problems, but what about the reward? The good outweighs the bad ten to one. Once it all falls into place, they are left with an amazing group of women who have worked hard to bring something they love closer to themselves and other women will have the opportunity to do something they never thought they could. When they have that first home bout, the team and staff
can look around and say “we did it.” That is the greatest feeling. They have accomplished something that most people could not. Bout production is the staple of a successful league and keeping the crowd coming back for more will keep your organization strong. The more professional things are, the more skaters, staff and sponsorships you will receive. Another benefit to a well-oiled league is the chance to look into junior roller derby. More and more junior leagues are forming in the midst of adult leagues. Watching the young skaters grow up with the same drive is an amazing thing to witness. Once uniforms are donned and the first whistle blows at your first bout, all the hardships that were faced are forgotten and skaters can do what they set out to do. Skate. Because that’s what it’s all about, the love of the sport. The passion that you hear in the voices of skaters telling you about their experiences can never be replaced. We all play this sport to better ourselves and show how strong women of all ages, sizes, race, religion, and sexual orientation can come together and do something they love, to strive for excellence in a very physical and demanding sport. If given the chance to do it all over, I know that I and many others wouldn’t change a thing. Well maybe a few things, but I would do it all over again to have that feeling on the track.
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Anarchy III DAV I D D R E W E RY, L O N D O N R O L L E R G I R L S
“A rising tide lifts all boats” and as the sport continues to grow in the U.S. – the quality ever increasing and the popularity growing – the waves are also being felt on this side of the Atlantic. Auld Reekie Rollergirls, Berlin Bombshells and hosts London Rollergirls provided some of the finest skaters in Europe as the water level rose that little bit higher thanks to the visit of the Windy City Rollers All-Stars, who, ranked as high as 6th in the world, came to England for the third installment of the annual Anarchy event in April of 2013. Anarchy has become the centrepiece of London’s home season, often providing an opportunity for teams to test themselves against higher ranked opponents. The bouts often provide a benchmark of how far teams have come and, crucially, for these determined women, how far there is to go. Relocated to the Guildford Spectrum, the bleacher-seated crowd were treated to four bouts of highly competitive derby over two days in which London wouldn’t be the only lower ranked team looking to raise their game against tough opposition. Berlin Bombshells v Auld Reekie Rollergirls Saturday’s double header kicked off with teams from Berlin and Edinburgh looking to make their mark on the weekend’s proceedings in a sanctioned bout that could see a serious shift in the rankings. With that in mind, Auld Reekie came flying out of the blocks and after giving up four points in Jam 2 managed to hold the women from Bear City scoreless for seven consecutive jams. Using this as a platform, jammers Admiral Attackbar and Skinner Alive began to build up a lead for ARRG, a lead that was emphatically increased when good work from Crazy Legs set up a 25 point pass on Jam 9. Finding themselves down by 42, the Bombshells needed to readjust and unsurprisingly a time-out was called. Whatever was said in the huddle had the desired effect as a renewed team took the track. Heavy Rotation began to dictate the proceedings in the pack and Master Blaster and Resident Shevil started to pick up some more lead jammer opportunities. Edinburgh wasn’t about to lie down, and they traded blows back and forth with Berlin on the back of an excellent jamming performance from Admiral Attackbar who was displaying power and speed and an ability to read the pack ahead to pick the right line of attack. This kept Berlin at arm’s length until the very last jam of the half. Part of their success in the opening period was that Auld Reekie had been relatively clean with their penalties and they went into the last jam 27 points ahead and without having given up a single power jam. A lot can change in one jam, and after a confused pivot line start, Lilo & Stitches was sent to the box handing Master Blaster an opportunity she did not pass up. Hard skating from her and more
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excellent work from Heavy Rotation saw Berlin rack up 21 points to close the half only six points down at 56-62. Despite still having the lead, that last jam before half felt like a real blow for Auld Reekie. There was a sense that the momentum had been lost and the higher ranked team would take control in the second half. These fears seemed to become reality as Berlin came out the stronger team and swiftly clawed back the point deficit and began to build a lead of their own as Master Blaster started to find her groove, including some jammer on jammer action that resulted in a negative pass for Lilo & Stitches. Auld Reekie were down but not out, and just as a power jam for Berlin had swung momentum away from them, one for ARRG would see it swinging back. Resident Shevil hit the box and Admiral Attackbar posted 15 points for the third lead change of the game. The lead stayed precariously around ten points until the final eight minutes of the bout when, with the crowd in good voice, the ARRG seized their chance of an upset and made sure that third lead change was the last. Despite a solid defensive effort from Emmazon, great jamming from Lilo & Stitches saw Auld Reekie rack up 47 points in the last six jams as the bout slipped away from Berlin. Auld Reekie should be delighted by their performance. Not only did they win, but tight defense from Crazylegs and Minnie Riot meant they also restricted their opponent to under 100 points. Final score: Berlin Bombshells 99-148 Auld Reekie Rollergirls. With one upset already witnessed, the crowd was keen to see the hometown team take on the might of Windy City. When their compatriots Montreal, Charm City, and Steel City visited these shores for the first Anarchy tournament in 2011, London received a lot of plaudits for how well they performed but they won. Two years of hard work and subsequent trips to the Eastern Region Playoffs later, and there was a real hope that London has ceased punching above their weight and simply moved up in class. London Brawling v. Windy City Rollers Roared on by home team support London came out swinging. Great work by Stefanie Mainey who punched a hole in the defensive line of Windy, and Rogue Runner was through for a five point pass that quickly became 25 when it turned into a power jam. The next three jams saw Juicy Lucy, Flamin’ Aggro and Kamikaze Kitten all get lead jammer before Rogue Runner again was presented with a power jam. A big hit from Shaolynn Scarlett aided Rogue in putting up another eight points. After only six jams Brawling had claimed lead jammer five times and raced to a 46-7 lead. Two consecutive power jams helped the Chicagoans to settle and KonichiWOW dominated the pack whilst Jackie Daniels
and Thievin’ Tyler began to hit back and slowly shift the momentum. Brawling, though, were making them fight for every point. Kitty Decapitate single handedly held the jammer back on a long trip down the back straight and Shaolynn Scarlett was taking no prisoners as she sent jammers and blockers alike out of bounds before recycling them back as far as she could. After jam 15, London was still holding their own, as well as a nine point lead. The pressure was beginning to mount and so too were the number of penalties. Brawling weren’t necessarily getting more penalties than Windy, but they were getting them in bunches. Three people had hit the box in Jam 11, resulting in 25 points for Windy, and when this happened again five jams later, the lack of numbers would be even more ruthlessly exposed. With Juicy Lucy being kept company in the box by half her pack, Ol’ Drrrty Go-Go cleared the way and Athena De Jason Ruffell Crime posted a crushing 39 points for Windy’s first lead since jam 1. Both teams traded power jams in the final jam of the half and they went to the locker rooms with Chicago up 114-93. The first half was something of a slug fest. Two teams going toe to toe, trading blows. For every hit from Bork Bork Bork or Moby Nipps there was one in return from Stefanie Mainey or Olivia Coupe. It was a very physical, evenly matched contest, with both teams playing so hard that the question at half time was: Could they keep it up after the break? The answer was a resounding yes. Athena De Crime immediately picked up another twelve points – she would go on to score nearly a third of her team’s points in only three jams. Down by 33, the competitiveness of the match was on a knife’s edge, but London dug deep. Jason Ruffell They responded first with points from Kamikaze Kitten and then more from Rogue Runner after a big route-clearing block from Hell Vetica Black. Much like the start of the first half, London had a spell where they
took lead jammer five times in only six jams. The highlight of which saw Flamin’ Aggro burst through for a 23 point haul, which gave Brawling the lead and then push it out to 145-134 after 24 jams. With every inch being fought over, it was no surprise to see the penalties continue, and what followed was a series of power jams, the majority of which went to Windy City. Jammers Thievin’ Tyler and, in particular Killa Nois, began to turn the screw for Chicago. Their pack was fantastic at getting in between the London skaters, keeping them divided and thus making them easier to contain. Chicago scored 47 with only 11 in reply from London and it could have been even more if it wasn’t for strong defensive work from Frightning Bolt and Grievous Bodily Charm to neutralize a power jam. London was down by 25 points with time running out, but once more they found the resolve to go again. With a 14- point pass by Kamikaze Kitten and four more from Rogue, suddenly the gap was down to seven. The crowd was now at fever pitch as what had started as a hope of beating Windy now looked a very real possibility. Yvette Yourmaker dented those hopes with some calm, time eating jamming and then all hopes were lost when on the penultimate jam, London attempted a star pass that backfired. The initial jammer was ruled out of bounds when the pass was made and the receiving skater also picked up a penalty, sending both to the box. Windy picked up eight points and finally closed out the bout 176-193. If it were possible for a bout to end in a draw, then this one probably deserved to. The roller derby tide may still flow from the west of the Atlantic but performances like this suggest the tide could be changing. With a short American tour coming in June this eye-catching display would have had fans of teams in the Pacific Northwest doing their own ‘Revere’s ride’. Make no mistake, the British are coming.
fiveonfivemag.com | Fall 2013 | 55
art and media
in the present moment through art 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
Everyone who plays roller derby knows how important being in the moment is. Michelle Graves, a jammer who skates for the Chicago Outfit, also spends time off the track as a visual artist with a catalog of brilliant work. And much of her work, she says, is about capturing the present moment. Graves considers herself a text-based interdisciplinary artist who is innately passionate about existence, language, the human anatomy, and explorations of the world. Creating her art out of a variety of different media – including paint, photography, graphic type, and other materials – Graves aims to make bodies of visual work that examine what she calls “an existential and physiological stream of consciousness”. Graves, who joined roller derby in 2007 and is a co-founder of The Chicago Outfit, has been making art long before she ever put on skates and almost as long as she could walk. “One of my first memories is of a drawing I made in marker, probably Crayola, in 3-year-old pre-school.” Graves said. “It was a drawing of my parents’ house, with a flower that was turned into a dinner plate. I remember holding the plate, looking at it in awe and thinking, ‘I made this.’” SteveJurkovicPhotography.com One series of work in which Graves both captures the moment and explores the use of language is in her work that she calls “Design Aesthetic Freestyle Writing,” which combines color, words, and their placement to elaborate different emotions and states of mind. In this set and in works like “Two Dots,” Graves puts to paint and surface visual ideas about existence, the modern daily grind, and being human in a swirl of words and colors that describe her subject and perhaps what is going on in her head. In simpler fashion, her freestyle piece entitled “To Know To Be,” Graves assembles words and color in a calmer arrangement, setting the visual pace. “Writing in a non-linear fashion gives me the freedom to design an intricate drawing and also allows me to emphasize specific words and phrases, giving the drawings a certain tone,”
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Graves added regarding her work. “The tone can become different for viewers who read the drawings and bring their own associations to powerful words like acknowledge.” Graves also said that her stream-of-conscious work is deeply influenced by Alzheimer’s Disease that her grandmother passed away from. “While helping care for my grandmother, I realized that all she had left was the present moment,” she said. “It was a challenge to interact and communicate with her only dealing with the present. My way of facing the fear of this hereditary disease, besides helping take care of my grandmother, was to interpret dwelling in the present moment, to absorb the atmosphere around me and simultaneously output my thoughts on paper or a wall. I found this very similar to being in the zone. Or, the quiet moments where your body and mind move simultaneously in a meditative flow.” One other side of Graves’ fine arts repertoire consist of her “In A Box” compositions, which are a sort of threedimensional collage, assembled of photos and mementos, electric wires, words, and other graphics, arranged and framed within wood boxes. One work of the series, “Overanalyzation of an Experience,” depicts loose associations linking the loss of her brother at age 13 with the passing of her grandparents. “Acknowledging death is a form of acknowledging life, which makes being alive, experiencing and processing it to the fullest, the core of who I am.” Graves said. “Art has become the philosophical output of my processed experiences.” Photography and its applied use are also important to Graves as an artist. Retelling stories is as much a part of Graves’ interest as an artist as is the use of colorful words in her compositions. She became interested in black and white photography in middle school and, as she put it, “lived in the dark room in high school.” While Graves herself is just one example in the wide world of roller derby in which a player finds personal expression through art, her works stand as a compelling statement about the power of creativity and artistic drive.
â€œAcknowledging death is a form of acknowledging life, which makes being alive, experiencing and processing it to the fullest, the core of who I am. Art has become the philosophical output of my processed experiences.â€?
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art and media
a day in the life M O N E Y S H OT, R O C K Y M O U N TA I N R O L L E R G I R L S A N D C A S T L E R O C K ‘ N ’ R O L L E R S P H OTO G R A P H E R , D E R B Y L I F E P H OTO E D I TO R
A roller derby photographer’s experience at RollerCon can vary greatly depending on his or her personality and what he or she makes of the experience. A photographer can work 18 hours a day shooting bouts, training sessions, and social events, or can shoot a bout and spend the rest of the time at the pool drinking fruity alcoholic drinks. I am sure this is not much different from the choices a skater makes at RollerCon. I documented my experience at RollerCon so you can see it through my eyes. This was my third RollerCon, and I wanted to prioritize Rocky Mountain’s WFTDA sanctioned bouts. I failed to photograph the zombie crawl, a strip skate, and a skatepark night despite really wanting to do so... just shows how easy it is to get distracted by the fantastic skating going on inside the building. Wednesday 0400 wake up 0500 depart for airport 0615 fly to Vegas 0900 arrive in Vegas 1000 check in at Riviera (no lines!!!!!) 1030 check in at RollerCon (long lines!!!!!!!) 1130 scout tracks, check lighting, find other photographers 1200 lunch at fast food place in hotel 1300 unpack bags, organize photography gear, charge batteries 1500 shoot first RollerCon challenge bouts – Buffy vs. Trueblood, Corpse Corp vs. Team Techno, Hello Marys vs. Cigar City, Jhorts vs. Short Shorts 1800 run to room to dump photos to laptop and check color 1900 drinks with Derbylife and DNN 2030 run to next bout (NM vs. Utah) 2045 realize I probably missed the zombie crawl... dang it! 2115 stay for next challenge bout – Stink Out vs. Funkeze 2200 tired... head up to try to process photos 2300 frustrated at slow hotel internet, decide to sleep
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Thursday 1030 wake up 1200 Riedell vs. Antik bout 1330 wander around the booths, talk to vendors 1415 shoot Gramercy Refs vs. Coed Cripplers 1500 scavenge for lunch, process photos 1630 shoot Irish gang vs. Italian Mafia 1715 back to room to recharge batteries 1845 shoot Chupacabras vs. Team SeXY (WOW!) 2030 head still spinning, attempt to shoot Surf vs. Snow until skater is injured 2100 back up to process photos and wrestle with slow hotel internet and charge batteries
Friday 0200 go to bed... 0900 wake up 1000 photographer's breakfast 1100 setup on track 1 1115 shoot Taurus vs. Scorpio challenge bout 1200 WFTDA sanctioned bout (RMRG vs. DRD) 1345 run up to room to dump photos 1400 process pictures from bout, update derbylife.com 1800 run down to track to shoot juniors challenge bout 1845 WFTDA sanctioned bout (RMRG vs. Arch Rival) 2030 shoot challenge bout Brits vs. Colonies 2100 head up to process photos and charge batteries 2200 miss the derby wedding for the first time since attending RollerCon in 2011
Burger Queen of Florida enjoyed her first day at RollerCon!
Rocky Mountain’s Casstrator scored the winning point against the Denver Roller Dolls
Saturday 0130 go to bed... 0930 wake up 1000 eat yogurt and fruit while processing photos and updating derbylife.com 1130 late to Vagine Regime Gray vs. Orange bout 1200 stay for the boisterous team Vagine vs. Caulksuckers 1330 pack up and head up to process photos 1400 realize I haven't left the Riv since Wednesday 1430 take a cab to Mandalay Bay for lunch, followed by Bellagio for gellato 1730 head back to the Riviera, grab gear 1800 run down to shoot my first all male derby bout – Chippendales vs. Magic Mikes. Wow. 1845 stay for WFTDA sanctioned bout (DRD vs. Arch Rival) 2000 leave early to work on Rocky Mountain photos from the previous day 2100 continuously visit to balcony to see if anyone is going to the ball 2200 get multiple text messages from Castle Rock N'Rollers skaters about Black n’ Blue Ball 2230 have a major conflict between going to ball and shooting Rocky Mountain vs. Down Under 2235 realize I have not finished photos from Rocky bouts, and go to ball instead 2330 chat with Hurt Reynolds and Axle Adams, separately
Sunday 0100 decide to call it and head up to the room to spy on ball from balcony 0200 processing photos and spying continues 0230 eyes are red and tired, music stops, think about going to bed 0300 still thinking about going to bed 0330 reluctantly drag my tired butt to bed 1000 wake up 1100 pack suitcase and camera gear for check out and final day of shooting 1200 check out and setup for WFTDA sanctioned bout (Sin City vs. Tampa Bay) 1330 look for Assaultin’ Pepa to discuss fiveonfive ideas 1400 shoot Vipers vs. Toasters, Balls vs. Chains challenge bouts 1500 pack up, look for Assaultin’ Pepa, find Triple Eight Booth and my photos in their catalogs (YAY!) 1600 retrieve bags and look for taxi 1630 find taxi and invite two roller derby girls to ride along 1645 introduce myself (Moneyshot), say I post photos on Wicked Shamrock Photography. Windy City skater goes from polite to enthusiastic in 1.12 seconds. Most awesome moment of the weekend. Do not underestimate the power of appreciation and recognition. 1700 arrive at airport 1800 leaving Las Vegas with a grin, knowing that someone likes what I do
An all-male challenge bout drew quite a few fans
Plenty of star passes at RollerCon
Vagine Regime vs. Calksuckers also featured all female referees
fiveonfivemag.com | Fall 2013 | 59
art and media 27
6 1 Evilicious Diva, Richter City Roller Derby 2 Star Spangled BAM-Her, ROC City Roller Derby 3 Tankerbell, Nantes derby Girls 4 Hellvira, Hidden City Derby Girls 5 Sharon Misery, Omaha Rollergirls 6 Polly Nucleotide, Durham City Rolling Angels 7 Dispy Ruinya, Taco Kicker Roller Girls 8 Moxie Horror, Cornfed Derby Dames 9 Annevel Knievel, DuPage Derby Dames 10 Colt 45, Sacred City Derby Girls 11 Strat, Arizona Derby Dames 60 | Fall 2013 | fiveonfivemag.com
11 12 Lola Frequency, Saint Cloud Area Roller Dolls 13 Emilay-Her-Out, Tallahasee Roller Girls 14 Puddin-N-A-Shovinâ€™, Crown City Rollerz 15 Green Hell-Ana, Central Ohio Roller Dolls 16 Stevie Nicks and Licks, Assassination City Roller Derby 17 Wendy PigsFly and Zelda Hitzgerald, Skyland Rollergirls 18 Knockout Nelly, Bay State Brawlers 19 Meaniac, Crown City Rollerz 20 ILLSA and Wilma Fingerdo, Fox Cityz Foxz 21 Helluva Kitty, Muddy River Rollers 22 Daq in the Box, Rolling Hills Derby Dames
17 23 Lolo Beach, South Central Roller Girls 24 Red E Krueger, Stockholm Roller Derby 25 Daisy Mayhem, Omaha Rollergirls 26 Stoop Solo, London Rockin Rollers fan 27 Titty Kitty, Ventura County Derby Darlins 28 Mike Gayette, BisMan Bombshellz and Bomberz 29 Lisa LoeBlow, Pueblo Derby Devil Dollz 30 Polly Nucleotide, Durham City Rolling Angels 31 MellFire, Central NY Roller Derby 32 domiKNITrix, Burning River Roller Girls 33 Happy Feet, Lehigh Valley Roller Girls (retired)
34 Vicious Ticious, West Coast Derby Knockouts (retired) 35 Shreddy Krueger, 709 Derby Girls 36 Princess of Pain, Terminal City Rollergirls 37 Kat Skinner, BisMan Bombshellz 38 Manda Tori Chaos, Crown City Rollerz 39 DisChord, Skate club 40 Doc Skinner, Kansas City Roller Warriors 41 BACON, Harbor City Roller Dames 42 Drew Grit, Windy City Rollers 43 Bruise Wayne, Jerzey Derby Brigade 44 Spacey Lords, Battle Born Derby Demons
52 45 Sistah Viberosis, Rated PG Rollergirls 46 Demi Lition, Kent Roller Girls 47 Pink Rogue, Aloha City Rollers 48 Rox ‘N’ Rolls, Red Rock N Roller Derby 49 HackSAW, Devil Dog Derby Dames 50 Brownie Hero and Dill Hero,
Naptown Roller Girls and Demoliton City Roller Derby
51 Zombie StompHer, Devil Dog Derby Dames 52 Heart of Ice, South Central Roller Girls 53 Ted Nuisance, Harrisburg Area Roller Derby 54 Dirty Berg, Sick Town Derby Dames
55 Casstrator, Rocky Mountain Rollergirls 56 Shunami Bomb, Angel City Derby Girls 57 Sneaky Sweetheart, Dom City Dolls 58 Square Peg, Aloha City Rollers 59 The Con, Rated PG Rollergirls 60 Wicked Red, Team United 61 Philly MeCrackin’, Hidden City Derby Girls 62 Raven Von Kaos, Santa Cruz Derby Girls 63 Bette Mangler, Grand Raggidy Roller Girls
fiveonfivemag.com | Fall 2013 | 61
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64 | Fall 2013 | fiveonfivemag.com 1. Bench manager on left’s belt is blue. 2. Skater on left is missing tattoo on shoulder. 3. Skater in center is mising logo from helmet. 4. Skater in center is missing a rip in her leggings. 5. #480 on right is missing white sock. 6. Skater on right’s laces are orange. 7. Skater on right is missing number on sleeve.
THERE ARE SEVEN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE PHOTOS – FIND ‘EM!
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