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proud partner of the WFTDA

fiveonfive contents 34-35

4-5 advice

ask ms d’fiant and suzy hotrod!


6-7 business

Lois Slain explores changes to the rankings system and WFTDA’s plans to improve its results, which will be an ongoing project.

getting involved in the community

ankle rehab rocker and balance boards sports bra review

18-23 games and coaching

Jules Doyle

8-14 health and fitness

42-45 navigating RollerCon

coaching and communicating order of operations: going stopless

The mother of RollerCon, Ivanna S. Pankin, provides tips and tricks for making the most of your experience.

26-29 gear plate research water bottles

36-37 junior derby


aging up

roller derby fashion

38-39 rookie

Since the early days of the roller derby resurgence, fashion has been an important aspect. Check out the fashion trends that have helped shape our culture.

tryouts: conquering nerves and getting ahead

Gregory Baxley

50-53 international derby 54-61 art and media

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

from the editor Welcome to the 24th issue of fiveonfive!

Roller derby has come a long way since I first strapped on skates in 2005, and so has the quintessential roller derby convention, RollerCon. The first time I heard about the event, it was a gathering

suzy hotrod gotham girls roller derby

of a few hundred skaters, a handful of vendors, and a series of

katie stebbins pair o’ dice city rollers

pick-up games. This year, the four-day event features over 500

dr. bob kilroy la derby dolls

scheduled events, thousands of skaters, hundreds of vendors, and

catholic cruel girl rocky mountain rollergirls

so much more. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran skater, there’s

triple shot misto rocky mountain rollergirls

a place for you at RollerCon, and Ivanna S. Pankin provides some

petri phi st. albert’s heavenly rollers derby league

insight on pages 42 to 45 to help you navigate the event and make

shocker khan rage city rollergirls

the most of your experience. Have you purchased your tickets yet?

stacey chicora cape girardeau roller girls

Visit for more information.

conan angel city derby girls lois slain dc rollergirls

The WFTDA Ranking System is another aspect of the sport that has

rocky horror rocky mountain rollergirls

come a long way since 2005, and Lois Slain outlines a detailed

serena royal city roller girls

explanation of the impact and plans for the continued tweaking of

lebron shames chicago bruise brothers

the new system. Check out her article beginning on page 34.

ivanna s. pankin socal roller derby red plague jblm bettie brigade jam buster bonebreakers roller derby bern strawbs london rollergirls gregory baxley seattle, washington helen wheels rocky mountain rollergirls cover photo nicolas charest fiveonfive magazine The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the contributing writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of fiveonfive magazine.

As always, our advice columnists Suzy Hotrod and Ms. D’Fiant dish out their off-the-cuff and valuable guidance. If you have a derby-related question for them, email and it could be featured in a future issue. Have a story idea? Let us know about it. We’d love to hear from you. Email us at Miss Jane Redrum Fort Wayne Derby Girls Fort Wayne, IN


Many thanks to our contributors who come from all over the roller derby community and share their knowledge based on their countless hours of dedication to this sport! Check out additional contributors at

Robert Kilroy, DC QME (Dr. Bob) Dr. Kilroy has practiced in Santa Monica West LA for over 25 years. His office is general practice, focusing on musculoskeletal injuries, and his nights and weekends are dedicated to athletes. Roller derby, he says, is the one of the greatest things that has ever happened to him professionally. He has been with the LA Derby Dolls’ Doll Repair for five years, helping take care of both the women and juniors. Dr. Bob likes to focus on functional rehab with a low tech approach Aside from roller derby, he works with the Santa Monica Dolphins men’s and women’s Rugby Teams.

Conan Joshua “Conan” Pfenning has been involved in derby since 2005. Currently, he is Head Coach of ACDG’s Hollywood Scarlets, Assistant Coach on Team USA Roller Derby, and Bigwig at Radar Wheels. Follow his musing thoughts on twitter at ThatVest. Cris Dobbins

Petra Phi is a founding member of the St. Albert Heavenly Rollers Derby League in St. Albert, AB, Canada and operates as Vice President as well as the league’s WFTDA Representative. Behind the scenes, she develops the art/merchandise, coordinates promotions, herds cats, is a trainer with the Training Committee and shares duties managing sponsors with her fellow Directors. Professionally, she is an Interior Designer working as an Architectural/Design Representative full time and teaches parttime in the Architectural and Interior Design Technology department at a post-secondary institution.

McQueen Photography

Petra Phi

George Medina

Ivanna S. Pankin

Lois Slain Lois Slain has been a part of the roller derby community since joining the DC Rollergirls as a skater in 2006. She has worked as newspaper reporter and editor for more than 12 years. Lois has volunteered as the Public Relations Manager for the WFTDA since 2009. James Calder

Ivanna S. Pankin has played, coached and captained roller derby since her first day of organized skating, when she founded AZRD in 2003. Ivanna currently skates for SoCal Derby in San Diego, Chupacabras Peligrosas, Vagine Regime and a grip of other long-term challenge teams, and has coached teams all over the world. She is the kingpin of RollerCon, co-owns Sin City Skates, is the co-founder of Derby Owned, a founding board member and current Training Committee Chair for the WFTDA, and is a proud contributor to Derby News Network and fiveonfive magazine.


Suzy Hotrod

Ms D’Fiant

Gotham Girls Roller Derby New York, NY

Angel City Derby Girls Los Angeles, CA

DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, I am starting to get burned out on roller derby and we are only halfway through the season. How do you avoid derby burn out? -BURNOUT BECKY

Nicolas Charest

DEAR BB, Oh derby. It’s been ten damn years, and it’s taken over my whole damn life. It’s been so long, we know each other so well, we’re likely going to walk away from this thing totally hating each other and need a year to remember that we actually love each other. Well, that’s the cost of making something great. To add all the highlights together of this journey far eclipses all the reasons that we wish to kill each other or hate how the game has evolved or hate that we haven’t made career advancements for ourselves. But it’s a liiiiitle unsustainable. When committee head positions open up so many of us say, “Oh I don’t have the time for that!” So that leaves certain people carrying the weight of a league. It’s not good. It’s quite bad. And I don’t see how to fix it, as it seems when a kingpin leaves, we need a new kingpin and we’ve divided our league into five trusted people who lift everything and a lot of worker bees who don’t totally know what’s going on. Any league figured out how to fix this? Gotham is roller derby utopia and we don’t have an answer for this. Someone always steps up (overachieving go getter New Yorkers), but gosh, it’s risky and unsustainable and yields a lot of turn over in the high power positions. So for me, how do I avoid burnout? I tried to stop answering derby email during business hours. Sure, I’ll respond to little things, and I’ll skim email, but I never do heavy lifting email during the day. I have failed, but still try every day to leave derby at derby and talk less about it when socializing with other skaters, particularly with topics that are negative or controversial. Yep, I stink at this but want to get better at it. This is a huge part of my life, so it’s always going to come up in conversation. But small steps, avoid negative stuff or gossip stuff. Or try two drink maximum. Do not talk derby if you’re on to drink number three. No good can come of it. Focus on dancing or tripping yourself or finding tacos. Mmmm tacos. Remember you are a multifaceted person. Cook a real dinner. Go to an art museum. Call your grandmom. Hang out with a retired skater. God forbid, hang out with the one friend you still barely have outside of derby. Book this stuff in your calendar and stick to it. Do something else physical. I joined derby because I hate gyms. But as I burn out on derby, I like the individual freedom and flexibility to pop into a gym on my own. I feel like this is why a lot of derby people start running. It’s accessible. It’s right outside. Ironically I am writing this on an airplane flying to Denver to play roller derby. Someday I could use the cost of this flight to take a vacation...? What? Oh who am I kidding. If I did take a vacation, I would likely try to coach the local team while I’m there. Oh derby.

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DEAR BB, While discussing this with my husband at dinner, I thought – I can’t advise about this. It’s only May and you’re burned out??? I’ve been at it for nine years, don’t talk to me about burn out. And then that guy reminded me of something. The reason I’ve been at it for nine years is I learned how to pace myself. There is too much damn roller derby. There, I said it. It’s imperative that you fill your calendar with other activities. It’s not that I like it. I constantly feel the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) pangs when I don’t go to something really cool, like prom. Even after my surprise nomination to the court (battling with those other eligible four alumni for the nomination), I skipped it and went bowling with my kids. The weekend before was a tournament and the weekend before that all day meetings. I could have arranged a sitter, but I’d miss my family. That makes me lucky in a way that I have these two quirky little people I made to distract me from roller derby. Before that, I think I had friends once. Certainly not in my current city since I was already in roller derby when I moved here. But maybe you have friends, go see them. Or family, go to Sunday dinner instead of scrimmage one Sunday. The other key to avoiding burn out is to volunteer at jobs you like to do with people you want to work with. Cursing whenever you get an email for the committee on track tape selection? Time to quit the committee. I promise there will be tape on the track in the future. If following these two simple rules doesn’t help, it might be time to re-evaluate your role in roller derby right now. Maybe it’s not playing on a team and it’s running the track tape selection committee? That’s okay too. But figure it out. There’s nothing worse than someone half-assing tape selection and skating for a team.

DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, My team is struggling with high penalty counts during bouts. Do you have any advice for drills we can do in practice to help us avoid getting penalties? -PENALTY PRINCESS

DEAR PP, Every game, I get different penalty calls. Some games there are few fouls, and some games are a landslide of box trips coupled with confusion and frustration because I thought I played the same. Officials differ, opponents differ, and you and your team are different when engaged with different playing styles of opponents. There are “worth it” fouls that are directly linked to you blocking the opposing jammer that result in the opposing jammer being reabsorbed or held longer. The best blockers I have played with are regularly visiting the box. I don’t have a magic answer for clean play, so I find focusing on reducing the “not-worth-it” fouls. Focus less on cleaning up individual blocking habits and own team pack formation and staying in play. Penalties come from moments of “passion” so to speak. Being in the heat of an aggressive physical moment blocking a jammer feels like a fraction of a second, then you turn around and see you’ve wandered 30 feet in front of the pack! Spend time with the entire team working on bridging drills, particularly bridging forward when two jammers are in the pack. Your jammer clogs up in the back or gets knocked outs of bounds. Then your team focuses on keeping the enemy jammer in play at the top. Every time you start a jam at the top of the pack say to the entire line, “bridge” to remind yourselves even before you start a jam that you need one at 8 feet. I have never been angry at a teammate for leaving a wall to bridge too early. I’m usually mad at all of us for getting carried away and not remembering to drop one. Don’t get so physically wrapped up in blocking that you stop communicating with the team about staying in play. Also by focusing on staying in play, you will have teammates all talking about pack formation. It adds reinforcement and communication to snap physically involved Tasmanian devil blockers out of their immediate body proximity cloud. So many cheap “not-worth-it” fouls are racked up from being out of play. The out of play calls are usually on clean blocking that’s gone too long. That’s a “not-worth-it” foul. Related to pack formation, another “not-worth-it” way to lose blockers to the box is failing to stay in play when you’re down to three or two blockers. Repeat the above drill with less people out there. We have a tendency to practice drills with full packs so skaters can play as much as possible at practice but how often in a game are we out there with four on the track? Simple enough, but there’s a second level of conservative play needed here. Less blockers means more track to cover and results in more physical crazy efforts to save the day. Focus most on conservative flat wall to catch a jammer rather than trap setting or aggressive blocking. Spend time doing drills with only two blockers where you are positional only. The cleanest play is reading the jammer and keeping her behind you. If you succeed in positionally gumming her up, you kill a little more time until your teammate(s) are back from the box. Cuts are just not acceptable. Everyone individually needs to own that responsibility plain and simple. Play it safe. Redo the entire pack if you have to, but no cutting! Focus on quick stopping or focus on driving up the middle. Never allow cuts at practice. Good habits stick on game day and vise versa. Lastly, do your homework. Read the foul stats. Watch the footage. Do it alone so you can focus. Watching footage as a team is great bonding but can sometimes turn in to a (well needed) social hour. I mean who doesn’t love watching footage with teammates and ripping on the other team like the two old Muppets in the balcony?

DEAR PP, This is an incredibly appropriate question to ask me. After a career plagued by penalties and more than one foul out I can say with confidence – you are my people and we’re in this together. A high penalty count isn’t something to be completely ashamed of. While it’s nothing to be proud of, what I tell myself is this – you get penalties because you are effective. If that clockwise block didn’t have an impact, you wouldn’t be skating around the track right now. Let’s celebrate that small victory for a second. We all know the reality is even though it’s only 30 seconds, you are not helping your team by taking a little time out. I’ve been thinking and talking penalties a lot this year and, in my opinion, it is rarely an out-of-control action on behalf of your body so much as a mental or emotional reaction during the game. For example, most blockers aren’t forearming someone because they don’t know how to hit without extending their arms. I bet you can drill all day long with that sucker glued to your side. The forearm penalty generally comes when a blocker is racing to the front and they feel slight panic that this is the last chance to shut the jammer down. Here’s an exercise I came up with and it might surprise you how little track time is involved. On a quiet evening, with your beverage of choice, sit down with some footage and the corresponding stats. I like to create a spreadsheet with a few columns: penalty time, penalty code, teammates on the track, opposition on the track, jammer location, action and situation. The most important category here is the action and situation, what were you doing when you got the penalty? What was happening/what were you thinking at that time? Do this enough and you’ll see some trends. Here are common things I’ve seen in those columns and a few strategies: • Last line of defense. A situation described above, the blocker is giving it her all before the jammer exits the pack. Terribly hard to overcome and recreate the pressure of being the last line of defense. For this, and for a few other bad habits, I strongly suggest Lumosity (the online learning game). Lumosity can help you deal with calm under pressure. Someone who consistently gets this penalty needs to learn to keep calm, observe the environment and, most importantly, learn when to let go. • The Untrusting hit. Blocker is in the pack but goes for a big hit, abandoning teammates. This blocker needs to dig deep and develop some trust with her teammates. More communication drills, set up drills where it’s called dead when the wall breaks up and set it up again. • The Drawback. Typically breaks the pack by drawing back, but susceptible to any number of penalties. This person is a penalty target because about five stripy eyes are watching them as they draw the jammer back. Which, don’t get me wrong is a great idea, but this blocker needs to skate back to their buddies immediately after ruining the jammer’s life. Give the officials more bodies to look at and take the lone wolf pressure off as a blocker trying to do it all alone. • The Derp. Those stupid penalties that just caught you completely unaware. If you’re like me, these are the penalties where you yell the obscenities, that you immediately hope the official doesn’t take personally (No, no, I wasn’t calling you a fucker!). Things like a cut while your foot dragged over the line or any action that was completely unintentional while your mind was elsewhere. In these cases, I also suggest Lumosity. Focus on attention games that train you to keep track of multiple things. • Offense Penalties. The bane of my existence. As blockers we are such trained defenders that when we play offense, it’s just a weaker skill no matter how good our body is at the physical part. If you notice a lot of these showing up on your tracking sheet, that’s something to straighten up take to the track to work out what you’re doing wrong. There are certainly more, but this will set up some good self-evaluation habits that let you know precisely where to target instead of just saying “skate clean!!!”. Also, remember not to be too hard on yourself. It’s a full contact game, penalties are going to happen, and it’s okay. It’s just because you’re so damn effective, rock star.

need advice? email | Summer 2014 | 5


getting involved in the community K AT I E S T E B B I N S , PA I R O ’ D I C E C I T Y R O L L E R S

Last week at a party, I overheard my husband saying, “My wife is on a pole at the Basketball Hall of Fame.” Not something you would typically want spread around town, however, in this case, he is right. No, I’m not a stripper. Rather, I am proudly featured with my derby team, Pair O’ Dice City Rollers, on every light pole at the National Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. The banners are part of Springfield’s new anti-littering campaign sponsored by the Springfield Business Improvement District. Springfield, Massachusetts is the birthplace of basketball and plays host to the Basketball Hall of Fame. The Hall attracts thousands of visitors from around the world, particularly for the annual enshrinement ceremonies and monthly events with NBA stars. What does that have to do with roller derby? Well, nothing directly. However, because of a little community relations exerted by our team, we can now say

team, the more opportunities you have to develop new sponsorships – and who doesn’t need more operating revenue? Next, if your community is helping to promote your team’s growth, it will be easier to recruit new skaters. Finally, if you are the stars of marketing for your city, your fan base will grow and ticket sales will go up. That makes three solid wins for your team off the track to help keep you skating on the track. The second part of this is having an understanding and being able to articulate why your local town or city hall should care. It’s called economic development and it is all about creating new job growth in your community. The roller derby connection might seem like a stretch, but cities and towns are always trying to package themselves to the outside world as a great place to live, work, and play. The new trend in economic development is to attract the twenty to thirty somethings who are highly mobile, enjoy adult sports,

DIF Design

that roller derby, the fastest growing women’s sport in the world, is featured prominently at the National Basketball Hall of Fame.

Being an active part of your community is important for several reasons. First, the more attention you can get your

Roller derby is just so cool – we all know this. Every roller derby team in the world should be a part of making their host community, well, a little cooler. In addition to skating, I am a city planning and economic development professional. I attended the fresh meat night posted in the paper because I wanted to find out how a roller derby team could be a part of marketing Springfield to a cohort of young professionals. After joining the team, I realized that the members did not know what an asset they could be to the local community’s economic development efforts.

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and like to party. Sounds a lot like derby, right? In order to accomplish this, there are a few initial steps every team should take, regardless of size. First, schedule meetings with the Mayor, Economic Development or Planning Director, Chamber of Commerce President (consider joining the Chamber too), local tourism bureau (if you have one), and any other local business associations. Some others to consider might be a women’s chamber of commerce, Rotary Club, a young professional’s society, or a local arts organization. Next, you have to have a presentation that speaks to their interests. Be prepared to present the statistics on roller derby and its

DIF Design

global growth. Highlight the cities where roller derby is widely

happening and ask if your team can be featured. Lastly, in

supported by a strong fan base. Chances are, your local officials (of the government variety, that is) are trying to find ways to emulate these cities already. Augment that with the history of your team and profile your players. Show them that the people they want to attract are the demographic on your team.

order to nurture these relationships over the long haul, create a community liaison position on your team and ask that person

Once you have developed these relationships, invite the officials you meet to be a part of your games. Invite elected officials to blow the first whistle, give them honorary jerseys, and have some fun with them. This type of fun will attract the media and invite opportunities like a local “Day of Roller Derby,” business sponsorships featuring your team, and partnerships with other adult amateur and professional sports teams in your area. Most cities commission marketing materials or videos to attract new young residents. Find out when the next one is

to network at local professional events. Have cards he or she can hand out and make sure the designated person is comfortable in a community relations role. This is not a role for a shy person who has social anxiety. The best outcome of immersing your team in the fabric of local economic development efforts is that each hard working member of your roller derby organization becomes a symbol of local pride. If your Mayor doesn’t know about your team and doesn’t mention your existence in at least one speech a year, you have work to do. Take the group derby selfie with each local leader you meet and frame it for their office. With any luck, you too could end up on “the pole”! | Summer 2014 | 7

health and fitness

ankle rehab D R . B O B K I L R OY, L . A . D E R B Y D O L L S

Proprioception. No, this is not some skater’s derby name. It is the word for the body’s ability to make the muscles and joints work together to perform a task. The simplest example would be lifting something using your biceps muscle. Yes, your biceps flex and up comes your forearm. For that to happen, the muscle on the other side of the upper arm, the triceps, which works to extend the forearm, has to relax. If not, it will be working against the biceps and nothing happens. Also the muscles of the shoulder have to stabilize the shoulder blade against the body while you lift. Proprioception is the body’s ability to coordinate the firing of all the muscles so they work together to perform a task. Rehabilitation of muscle and ligament joint injuries used to focus on three things: strength, flexibility, and stamina. In some cases this is all that was needed. But with recurrent nagging injuries, it was realized that something else had to be added to the approach. That turned out to be proprioceptive training, which has become an integral part of programs in athletic and rehab clinics. In this article, we will start with the ankle. The motions of the ankle are flexion/extension and inversion/eversion (rolling the ankle under/out). What about rotation you ask? That actually occurs mostly all the way up at the hip. Depending on the severity of the injury, in the acute states of an injury, the focus is RICE; Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. This can be supplemented with some passive physical therapy modalities, such as ultrasound, electrical muscle stimulation, and other techniques. Once the skater can bear weight on the injured ankle and has full range of motion of the joint, it is time to start rehabbing the joint. Ligaments and muscles require time to grow back together. Our job is to help speed up that process and to build up the muscles around the joint so they can provide extra support. I like to start skaters back using a rocker board and theraband. Theraband is used for simple resistance training to help build the

muscles of the joint. Most ankle injuries involve turning the ankle under, AKA an inversion sprain. Inversion is usually the range of motion that is slowest to return, so we start the skater off with just flexion and extension exercises using theraband. The load on the muscle provided by the theraband is a great place to start, as it is much less than weight bearing. As the strength of the theraband is increased and the skater has less pain with movement, it is then time to begin proprioceptive work. We like to start the skater on a rocker board. For those familiar with these boards, we call the boards that move in two planes of motion rocker boards, and those with 360° of motion, balance boards. It is important, especially in the early stages, to take time to ice for 10-15 minutes after each therapy session. On the rocker board, we start the skater with front to back motion. In bare feet on a carpet, so the board won’t slip, the feet are placed at about shoulder width apart in the center of the board. The idea is not to rock back and forth, but to be able to balance on the board. We will start skaters off doing three to four times in one minute. If this is tolerated well, we may increase the time spent on the board or even send the skater home with a board to use. When the skater can perform inversion and eversion, they then work to balance themselves in a side-to-side motion. When the skater can perform both of these motions with no pain, we have them balance front to back with one foot on the center of the board. At this point, they can also return to simple skating. We will often tape the ankle or have the skater wear a brace. When the skater can finally balance side to side on one foot, she should be ready to return to drills and, finally, the track. Depending on the skater and the number of injuries to the region, she may still get her ankle taped or wear an ankle support. Continued proprioceptive work and strengthening are encouraged. These advanced exercises are part of the training regiment we will address in the following article.

a balance board is simple to make You need: • a round piece of wood ~18" diameter. Available at most lumber stores. • a round furniture leg ~5" diameter. Available at Home Depot. • screws, glue / epoxy Jolinda Smithson,

8 | Summer 2014 |

There is a screw in the middle of the furniture leg. Take a pair of pliers and back this out. Cut the furniture leg in half with a chop saw. Glue or Epoxy the halves of the furniture leg to the board, on center, about 3" in from each side. When dry, secure each half round with 2 ~1½" screws. If you want to paint or dress the board up, do NOT use something that will make the surface slippery.

rocker and balance boards, the next step D R . B O B K I L R OY, L . A . D E R B Y D O L L S

So, you used the rocker board to rehab, even strengthen, your ankles. Great! So you, can put this thing away now? No way. The uses for your balance board are just beginning. Muscles need four qualities to perform to their best ability. Strength, flexibility, and endurance are three that have been the focus of training for decades. One more quality that has been mostly overlooked is now part of nearly every training program and that is proprioception. This is the ability of the muscle to work in coordination with other muscles. A simple example of this would be bending the elbow. Contract the biceps and the elbow bends; fast, slow or anything in between. Not so simple. If you look at this more closely, this could not happen if the triceps did not relax in a perfectly timed and proportional amount. A simple stride on a skate requires complex coordination of the movements of hundreds of muscles. Your body’s proprioceptive ability not only moves your body, it helps it to maintain its balance. Roller skating by itself is moving the body on a moving unstable surface. In roller derby you not only do this, you are busy bumping and shoving, while trying to keep track of a jammer and listening to your bench. The body’s proprioceptive

sense is one of the most important skills a skater can develop. Developing this skill is done in the same way that most skills are developed; repetition leading to mastery, raising the bar and then more repetition. A rocker or balance board is a great low tech means of developing one’s proprioceptive skills. When we discussed ankle rehab, the basic exercises were balancing on two feet in a front to back motion on the board and then in a sideto-side motion. From there you went on to doing the same exercises on one foot. Where you take the training from here can be both practical and creative, since exercises up until this point have been relatively static, i.e. attempting to maintain your balance while simply standing. The next step is to add challenges while you balance. I break them down into three initial categories; one where you perform an exercise while concentrating to maintain your balance. One example of this would be performing squats on the board or placing your hands on or grabbing the board while you do push ups. The

second is where you concentrate on an activity that distracts you from focusing on your balance, forcing balance to become more instinctual. Exercises along these lines would include throwing and catching a ball while balancing on a board or hitting a ball with a racquet or broom. The last one is pure derby in its application. You stand on the board and someone repeatedly gives you pushes and shoves, front and back, high and low attempting to cause you to lose you balance. Do this one with some sense of restraint. For most patients, a simple rocker board with its one plane of motion is challenge enough. Many pro athletes raise the bar by using a balance board. This board has a half ball attached to the bottom. Now your body has to control motion in a 360° plane. Yep, just the kind of fun you were looking for. | Summer 2014 | 9

health and fitness

Springtime Rice Noodle Bowl Catholic Cruel Girl, Rocky Mountain Rollergirls photo by Jean Schwarzwalder

Spicy, sweet and tangy – this noodle bowl is inspired by the plethora of Vietnamese restaurants on South Federal in Denver. Using seasonal ingredients makes this dish economical and filled with beautiful color. Makes approximately 4 servings. It is important to keep all ingredients in separate bowls after you prep them. That way you can decide on your proportions. If making ahead, store in separate containers in the refrigerator. This recipe is really easy and so delicious you will crave it all summer long. Truth. dressing 2 Cups cilantro, minced ½ Cup rice wine vinegar 4 limes, juiced 4 Tablespoons olive oil 2 Tablespoons minced garlic (approx. 6 large cloves) 2 Tablespoons hot chile sauce 2 Tablespoons Honey

In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, rice wine vinegar, lime juice. Whisk vigorously with a fork. Add honey and hot chile sauce. Whisk again. Add cilantro and garlic and stir. Set aside.

rice noodle bowl 1 8 oz package thin Asian rice noodles 1 bunch radishes (approximately 6-7 medium size) 3 medium carrots 4 scallions 2 Cups sugar snap peas 2 Cups peanuts 1 bunch fresh spring greens 1. Remove radish greens. Trim off ends. Wash. Cut in half and slice thinly. Set aside in a small bowl. 2. Wash sugar snap peas. Trim ends. Slice into ¼ pieces. Set aside in a small bowl. 3. Peel carrots. Trim ends. Using a box grater, grate on largest setting. Set aside in a small bowl. 4. Wash scallions. Trim ends. Slice paper thin. Set aside in a small bowl. 5. Roughly chop peanuts. Set aside in a small bowl. 6. Wash spring greens. Set aside in a small bowl. 7. Bring a large saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Add rice noodles. Cook for 4-5 minutes. NO LONGER. Drain into a colander and rinse repeatedly with cold water. To assemble the bowls: In a large bowl place desired amount of greens. Add some noodles. Spoon on some radishes, carrots and snap peas. Sprinkle on a little bit of scallions. Top with chopped peanuts. Lightly drizzle dressing over noodle bowl. Ingredients should keep in the refrigerator for 3 days. *Note: If not eating immediately store the noodles, radishes and carrots in separate containers covered with water.

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health and fitness

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

In addition to the girls we try to protect as teammates on the track, most of us also prefer to safeguard our own two “girls” from the many damaging hits, gravity, and excessive bouncing incurred during the sport of roller derby. Yep, you’ve got it, we need to watch out for our ta-tas, melons, jugs, lung protectors, cans, high-beam lights, boobs, boobies, breasts... whatever pet-name you fancy, there’s no better time than now to focus on helping your “girls” out (or rather, up)!

Nicolas Charest

As you probably already know, roller derby is a high-impact sport in more ways than one! Not only are you pushing your body’s cardiovascular limits, throwing yourself around the track and into others at high-speeds with excessive force, but you’re also simultaneously getting knocked around, hit, side-swiped, and taken out, by multiple opponents. These repetitive hits can do a number on the body, and in particular the boobs! There’s no doubt that being on the receiving end of an epic titty-take-out can leave your “girls” aching for weeks. I, for one, prefer my “girls” to be in tip-top functional condition, as such, derby has afforded me some valuable breast lessons learned; mainly that boobie protective gear is essential to a derby girl’s repertoire. Determined to find the perfect blend of support, padding, and of course, appearance (yes, I am a self-professed fashionista), I set out to research and review some of the most touted sports bras on the market. So here’s my good, bad, and ugly (how dare they make my breasts look bad) of booby sports bra tests. All sports bras were evaluated based on the following criteria: comfort, padding, support, ease-of-movement/range of motion, and appearance. Oh, by the way, it’s only fair that I give a proper disclaimer; what works for my 32D, mid-thirties, overly suckled breasts (thanks kids for the six years combined you spent nibbling, nursing, and draining my teats) may not necessarily work for you. As a mid-size breasted woman who’s overly concerned with maintaining some semblance of perkiness and carnal feeling past my skating days, hopefully there are some decent tidbits in this article for every size spectrum, small and large breasted alike.

12 | Summer 2014 |

TURTLE SHELL: KONTAQ: THE BRA Price: $29.99 The Good: Your breasts are going NOWHERE in this sucker. My “girls” were solidly strapped in, like a 5-point harness. No, I take that back; like a straight jacket for the chest. There’s ZERO chance of catching a nipple or breast tissue on anything-wrist guard or otherwise. Boob bounce is practically non-existent. The Kontaq sports bra features wicking, antimicrobial and quick drying fabric. PROTECTIVE and supportive, the Kontaq website features a cool video of this sports bra in action! Endorsed by USA Cheer National Safety, the company’s motto features the phrases “be ready” and “be protected” and comes with a 100% guarantee. If you don’t like their sports bras’ functionality, the company is fully prepared to refund your money and offers free shipping and returns... that’s some nice insurance. The Bad: Your breasts are held in so tightly that it raises a valid concern for breast asphyxiation. I’m also not altogether convinced that this bra wasn’t repurposed from ancient brass chest-plates. Translation, the Kontaq bra is solid, almost rock solid. The removable padding, aptly named “stunt-shield padding,” is both stiff and frightening. It’s important to note, that this bra could be used towards one’s advantage, if you’re going to hit or block backwards on the track, your “girls” are definitely not going to feel the brunt of any impact. The Ugly: Depends on how you feel about uni-boob, because that’s all you’re getting in this sports bra. Forget distracting and appealing cleavage, your boobs will be locked and loaded into a singular uni-teat in this rather dull looking, chastity belt-esque contraption. Broad shouldered ladies beware, with no clasps, this can be tricky to pull on and off; however, the flat seamed, mesh racer back does earn the Kontaq bra some positive points. MOVING COMFORT: JUNO Price $56


The Good: This sports bra features seam-free cup designs with light padding and ample support. The adjustable shoulder straps and back clasps make for a perfect customized fit, while the bra offers a trifecta blend of compression, lift, and freedom. An award winning bra with key functional features and an eco-friendly imprint, this sports bra is widely commended by women for all types of activities. I personally love the interactive website that helps you narrow down your bra choices based on what features are important to you: nipple sensitivity, support, cut, fabric, etc. The Bad: The wide shoulder straps are reminiscent of your grandmother’s old faithful bras from the 1950’s, leaving one to feel as if their shoulders are simply a wrenching point for extra boob lift. Furthermore, the straps tend to dig into the skin after more than an hour of wear, potentially leaving ugly self-inflicted red marks and dents. Regular derby bruises are already bad; I prefer not to add to my weekly collection of random injuries! The Ugly: The Moving Comfort sports bra comes in a variety of colors and features a cute back cut out. If you can get past the wide grandmother straps, it’s not too bad. I should point out that it does not hide well under racer back or thinly cut uniforms/jerseys.

The Good: The Asics Adjust Bra is aimed towards the avid runner, therefore it’s designed to offer support during repetitive high impact activity... yay, roller derby! The soft seam free fabric feels fabulous on the skin. The straps are supportive yet subtle and don’t dig in due to adjustability. There is an option to criss-cross the straps for a racer back or standard fit. The mesh insets minimize excessive boob sweat and light padding prevents your headlights from shining through in the most minimalist way. The Bad: While this bra works well for me, sizing is not cup specific, and I can’t see it offering enough support for those of you with larger than a C-cup. The material simply is not substantial and compressive enough to fully reign in the well endowed. The longevity of the Asics sports bra is also concerning, after only a few washes, the support is already breaking down. The Ugly: The Asics Adjust Bra is only offered in black, earning it negative points for lack of variety BUT the girls are nicely separated into two molded cups! | Summer 2014 | 13

health and fitness

protecting the girls (continued) SHOCK ABSORBER: RUN BRA TOP Price $79 The Good: Scientifically studied to ensure support with minimal abrasion and irritation, it’s comfortable and chest/cup specific. The shoulder straps feature a top and bottom closure in addition to solid notched height specific tabs for your shoulders. There’s no chance of the straps loosening during activity or game play (as can be standard with slip-strap adjustments). The bottom chest band is wide and comfy and reminds me of men’s underwear in the most enticing way. If your nipples are sensitive, this may not be the ideal sports bra; the slick material is thin and can actually irritate, thus turning the headlights on. The Bad: The Shock Absorber is pricey. At this price, I felt like it should wine, dine, caress, and highlight my breasts, not force them into uni-boob submissiveness. The reflective seams are distracting in a way that conjures up robotic images of fem-bots from Austin Powers. The Ugly: The price, the reflectivity, the uni-boob, the lack of color choices (white and black) and the extra annoying rubber (why?!) brand tag that’s strategically placed on the front of the bra between the breasts in a way that ALWAYS pokes through my shirts like a tag I forgot to tuck in or remove after purchase. Meh... I think I’ll spend my $72 elsewhere.

VICTORIA’S SECRET: ANGEL SPORT BRA Price $42.50-$52.50 (depending on color) The Good: EVERYTHING... underwire support, flattering straps, y-back for added support, great colors, adjustable back closure, size and cup specific, breathable, moveable, and comfortable. You’ll actually sport two visible breasts when wearing this bra. Uni-boob be gone! Sexy and supportive, titty-take-outs, chest bracing, apex jumping, spins, striding, jumping, falling; all of this can be done with ease while wearing this fabulous sports bra! Victoria’s Secret scores a grand slam. The Bad: With fantastic support and function, your wallet could take a big hit. It’s hard to purchase only one! The Ugly: Forget that four-letter word, this sports bra is far from ugly. It comes in cute colors and patterns, fits well under jerseys and racer-backed uniforms, and is the most universally flattering sports bra I’ve ever owned. In fact, I love this sports bra so much I’ve practically given up wearing regular bras in favor of these cute, comfortable, and functional sports bras!

Bottom Line: No two breasts are alike, seriously! Sports bras are a bit like cars, you’ve got to take them out for a spin to discern what suits you best!

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games and coaching

coaching and communicating P E T R I P H I , S T. A L B E RT ’ S H E AV E N LY R O L L E R S D E R B Y L E A G U E

Being an educator, instructor, or coach can be a tough and occasionally thankless job. Some are better at it than others. In the case of amateur sports, a Bachelor of Education degree is not required to be a coach and the position can simply be filled by a volunteer who will take on the job when no one else will. I have had many volunteer coaches over the course of my life and for varying levels of competition. Some I treasure because they gave me sport and life skills, which I am eternally grateful for. There have been other coaches who were absolute, soul destroying train-wrecks. They clearly had no idea how to engage, didn’t care to engage, mismanaged players, were unable to convey concise ideas, and did not know how to unify a team. Coaching in roller derby is especially difficult for various reasons: • This sport attracts all walks of life, including many who may not have played organized sports previously. • Not only they may have not played organized sports, but they may not have had a regimen of exercise as a high priority. • For many of us, this wasn’t a sport that you could start out with as a child and continue it into adulthood like hockey or soccer. Nor could you regularly watch it on television to absorb the rules. It is absolutely foreign. • The reasons why people join roller derby vary wildly from wanting to wear pretty bout-fits, to simply getting exercise, using it as a transition in life, or to unleash their inner demon. • Skaters don’t always want the same thing from roller derby. Some want it to be recreational and others are intensely competitive. • A majority of leagues are made up of adult learners, as opposed to being supplemented by junior skaters graduating to adult level play.

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Adult Learners need to be managed and communicated with differently from juniors because: • They come with life experience (some may not let you forget it), which means they expect a certain amount of respect for who they are and want to be treated/coached like an adult, not lectured to as a child. It also means that they likely have many other things going on, and as coaches, we should respect that we may not always get their “A” game. • Life experience can also breed skepticism – these folks often DARE you to teach them something! • If they have been out of the post-secondary school system for quite some time, it means they will have likely developed an experiential way of learning that is selective. They will pick and choose what they want to take away from practice and apply it as they see fit. This used to drive me crazy, but I fully understand now that some people have to compartmentalize to avoid spontaneous combustion. • Many adult lives revolve around reacting to problems. I think we’ve all been there. Sometimes folks who don’t know how to function any other way are accused of bringing “drama” when really they can be easily guided to function within the roller derby realm with less panic by relying on a team. • This one isn’t actually all that different from juniors, but lack of confidence or low self-esteem is often an underlying issue. The difference between adults and juniors in this regard is that for adults, it may be part of their core based on their life experiences. Destructive thought processes can be very difficult to manage and guide into consistent positive thinking. So, how do we effectively coach adult learners? First, we should recognize the different learning types. In the world of education, there are varying opinions about the different types. For the purpose of the article, I will simplify: 1. Auditory Learners: These skaters need to listen to instructions for drills or have the rules explained to them. They are 100% not reading this article right now and they really don’t want to read the rules. They are also the folks who will ask a million questions during your explanation of a drill. Auditory Learners are also

not comfortable with figuring things out on the fly. Be patient with them, they want to do it right but need

types so if you hit all of them, you will likely impart the

to hear ALL of the information first and may need reassurance if you are trying something before

information in a way that they can process effectively. Simply imparting the information isn’t singly going to make

Quite often skaters will have a combination of the learning

completely explaining it. 2. Visual Learners: Once you have explained the drill and

you a successful coach with an adult learner. Here are some things you may also want to consider:

gotten through all of the Auditory Learner’s questions, you have to demonstrate it. These skaters are also your readers, so they will probably have a great understanding of the rules and want you to show them various scenarios they have keyed in on in the rule book. Good day, Visual Learners, you are probably still reading. 3. Kinesthetic Learners: You have explained the drill and demonstrated the drill, but the Kinesthetic Learner will not actually fully comprehend until they DO the drill. These are the ones who appear to be impatient by skating around while you are trying to explain something. You may think it’s rude and disrespectful, but that is how they process. These skaters will be happy to figure things out on the fly as they probably didn’t listen to half of your explanation anyway. Kinesthetic Learners are also the folks who will rewrite the rules by hand as they read them. The movement of the pen and re-iterating the information will help them learn. If they are reading this article at all, they are using their sharpies to highlight areas they have skimmed.

• Be upfront and clear in regards to your league’s philosophy and goals. Adults want to quickly assess how and if they will fit in to your organization. • It takes guts to enter this sport and you can create a better team environment if you develop an empowering atmosphere for everyone. It is a natural, human desire to want to belong, and the challenge for a coach or training team is to find a way to make everyone feel welcome, empowered, and worthy despite differences in skill level or teams. Don’t forget about your team mate with the low self-esteem. They may need more attention but they are worth the effort. • Remember all that life experience? Adults don’t want to be lectured, they want to be included in the process. Most adults are more successful in a collaborative environment. Get feedback from everyone on a regular basis, both on negative and positive aspects of practice. Sometimes drills are complete failures despite best intentions. Ask them why that drill didn’t work for them so you can modify and adapt to fit their needs. They will be part of the process, feel that they are being heard and generally be more interested in working towards a positive outcome.

McQueen Photography | Summer 2014 | 19

games and coaching • Be receptive to feedback even if you don’t solicit it. When I first started teaching, this annoyed me. I would be very

Auditory Learner will bust you on that, but if they’re missing at practice, you were definitely not clear enough. Reset. Adults

organized in what information I wanted to cover and I would see this as a delay, interruption, and a derailment of MY

learn at different rates depending on intellect, education, personality, and learning style. Ask them what they thought you

goals. All the while I was forgetting that it’s EVERYONE’s goal to get the information they need to be successful. Quite often

meant and see if you can clear up confusion. Try to approach your explanation differently if you can. Yelling at them because

the unsolicited feedback can make a practice more effective as others are thinking, wondering, or wanting the same thing.

they are doing it wrong is not productive nor does it promote an empowering atmosphere.

• Don’t be a robot coach and simply bark out drills. Relate to them and share personal experiences of success and failure. I like to share my failure with self-deprecating humor. Many adults want to know that it’s ok to totally suck at something but have hope in getting better. Be the example they can relate to. • Collaboration, inclusion and being relatable contributes towards buy in from your team. A solid team mentality is incredibly productive on the track. Team mentality is usually dictated by leadership with a trickle-down effect. Adults are super sensitive to this. Their life experience has likely taught them how to read people or a situation and if there is a fracture in leadership, they will telegraph that into a fractured team mentality. It’s hard to thrive as a team if everyone is on different pages, working against each other and not working towards the same, clear goals. • Being collaborative and approachable makes you engaging and makes the skaters want to engage with you. It ditches the us and them philosophy and cuts out elitism that can be destructive to team mentality. • Experiential and selective adult learning means that you may have to adjust the amount of drills or modify the amount of time you spend on skills in practice. If it appears that your team is not performing the drill as you would like or they are not understanding, allocate more time for them to get it right. It also means that repetition is better. Real life can get in the way of derby skills retention, so repeating a particularly complex drill at the next practice is the best way to ensure it becomes ingrained in our derby play, as well as muscle memory. We may have selectively forgotten it because we weren’t successful at it the first time or didn’t completely understand how it applies in the game. Hit the drill again until everyone has it down. • Your team may not understand the drill because you have not explained it properly or thoroughly enough. Usually your

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• The skeptics will require you to prove yourself. Possibly over and over. You will have to work hard for respect and trust them. There is a difference between the Auditory Learner asking a question and the skeptic. The Auditory Learner generally believes in your ability and will believe your answer. The skeptic will have doubt in regards to your abilities and will likely double check your information after practice. An empowering atmosphere is a start with the skeptic, but you haven’t sold them yet. Do not bullshit them. They see it coming. If you don’t know the answer to a question, admit it and let them know you will find out the answer. Being a skeptic doesn’t necessarily mean they have a bad attitude either, they just play their cards close to their chest. This relationship may take some time, so be patient, persistent, and approachable. • You may be coaching a team, but every individual needs some personal attention and feedback. I often find that those who are the most quiet in the league get the least attention. I try to remind myself on a regular basis that everyone needs some one-on-one time with a trainer to talk about issues or challenges that are specific to them. Selective learning can be applied to this point as well – adults will tune out what they don’t think applies to them. If a skater isn’t very selfaware, one-on-one time is a great opportunity to hone in on some skills they may not know they need to work on. • Be aware of your non-verbal communication. Again, many adults have become savvy at reading people. Sometimes your facial expression, posture, stance, gestures, or lack of eye contact can be powerful communicators. Make a point to make eye contact because adults are more likely to listen. Having great posture, smiling, and making eye contact also helps with being an engaging and approachable coach. I am confident I have lost the Kinesthetic Learners. I am also sure that their non-verbal communication would be a rolling of the eyes, so I will sum this up by saying that if

Bob “pixel8” Krzaczek, Roc City Roller Derby

you are a successful coach or trainer, you have likely figured out many of these points in regards to effective coaching and communicating. In no way do any of the above suggestions mean that you can’t push your team to their maximum potential or that you should take it easy on them with training. They


are simply tools to help you avoid being a soul destroying train-wreck, streamline some of your efforts, and assist in being more successful at extracting their maximum potential while unifying your team. Happy training to all!

drill courtesy of Shocker Khan

drill: spaghetti weave

purpose: improving transitions, communication, speed control, and awareness

To begin, skaters form a paceline (single file line in the center of the track) moving at a medium pace. This drill can be performed in either counterclockwise (derby) or clockwise direction. Skaters should be a little more than arm’s-length distance away from the skater in front of them. For these instructions, let’s call skaters in the paceline “blockers” and the skater moving her way up the paceline the “Active Skater” for clarity. On the whistle, the Active Skater sprints up one side of the paceline, passes the 1st blocker in the paceline, transitions toward the paceline at the 2nd blocker, glides backward for a second, then uses both toe stops to slow/stop until able to skate behind the 1st blocker. The Active Skater is now on the other side of the paceline. Continuing up the paceline, the Active Skater now sprints past the blocker previously stopped at (think of this blocker as “skipped”), continues to the next blocker, transitions toward the paceline, glides backward for a second, then uses both toe stops to slow/stop until able to skate through the paceline behind the skipped blocker. The Active Skater is now back on the original side and continues through the paceline by skipping the blockers previously stopped at, turning toward the paceline at the next blocker, performing a turn around toe stop, then passing through the paceline behind the skipped blocker. Blockers communicate with the blocker in front and behind them during this drill to ensure they are aware of who is making their way up the paceline, how far away they are, and what side of the track they are skating. All participants talk during this drill. | Summer 2014 | 21

games and coaching

order of operations: going stopless SHOCKER KHAN, RAGE CITY ROLLERGIRLS

How many of you have lost a toe stop when playing in a jam? Did you continue to skate or did you fall over and over again? Did you continue to block or jam like nothing was wrong or did you crawl off the track and call for a wrench? I remember once watching a jammer stop skating in order to replace a toe stop that fell out instead of waiting until the jam was over, and I firmly believe this was because that specific jammer had not practiced without toe stops enough to be able to mentally flip a switch to finish the jam without that toe stop. learning to love When learning how to skate, many skaters despise their toe stops. Skaters end up tripping over them or hit them on the ground while crossing over, which can be disconcerting. When skaters (usually freshies) complain to me that their toe stops are too low due to these issues, I am 99.9% certain the skater is not crossing over correctly or has issues with their stride. If a skater is pushing straight out instead of back, they will have a hard time hitting their toe stop on the track. Once skaters have learned how to skate with low toe stops, they often end up loving them. Running on them becomes super easy and turn-around-toe-stops become second nature. toe stop junkies Just like wheels, bearings, and laces, toe stops are tools that help us skate. However, unlike wheels and bearings (and to a lesser extent – laces), toe stops are not required to be able to skate proficiently. Yes, toe stops make certain skills easier to accomplish, but a skater can sprint, stop, turn, and jump without toe stops. Many skaters began skating without using their toe stops but became reliant on them after prolonged use. Think about it... many roller derby skills don’t use toe stops (plow stops, duck walk, transitions, hockey stops), yet skaters react like junkies desperate for their fix when a toe stop happens to pop out during a jam.

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six stop process Just like any other addiction, the first step to overcoming it is admitting you have a problem. Fortunately for Toe Stop Addicts, there are only 6 steps (stops) to our recovery: 1) Admit you have a Toe Stop Addiction 2) Seek help from a higher power (coach/trainer/YouTube) 3) Practice 4) Practice 5) Practice 6) Put steps in place to ensure you continue to occasionally practice without toe stops. As with any issue, admitting there is a problem is the first step. Without admitting it to yourself and/or others, humans tend to ignore the issue and will find workarounds because, in many cases, that’s easier than actually addressing and working on ways to correct the problem. Step 2 is much easier than the first step, especially if you have any former hockey players/coaches on your league. Hockey skates don’t have “toe picks” like figure skates do; therefore, Hockey skaters skate without toe stops/picks much easier than having huge pieces of urethane a few centimeters off the ground in front of them. If you don’t have someone locally to act as your “sponsor,” YouTube and other online resources may be able to help you out. Practice is step 3, 4, and 5 because I believe you should practice without toe stops at least three times a season/year in order to remain proficient and be able to have that switch in your head to go from skating with, to skating without toe stops.

Jules Doyle

sample stopless practice Since many skaters rarely (if not ever) intentionally practice without their toe stops, it’s up to the coaches to plan stopless practices into their agenda. Here is a sample stopless practice routine to use, modify, or build upon: warm up • Have skaters line up at one end of the room, side by side. On the whistle, skaters head towards the opposite end of the space while performing one of the following skills. Depending on the length of your practice space, either have skaters change skills on each pass or after returning to the starting point: • Knee Touches • Double Knee Slides (one knee at a time!) • Jammer Starts (duck walk/running on toe stops/heel-toe) drills (all performed on the track) • Skaters spread out on the track. On a single whistle, skaters come to a complete stop (plow stop or hockey stop, depending on their skill level). On a double whistle, skaters sprint to return to pack speed. • Still spread out on the track, skaters perform a plow stop on the whistle, then grapevine right and left before returning to skate at pack speed. • Once skaters are comfortable performing this drill, have them partner up. One partner will be the jammer, who performs the same footwork as the previous drill, but now

they will have a blocker in front of them (their partner serves as opposing blocker) and will use the grapevines as a form of juking to get around the blocker. • Creepy Octopus (see Issue 22 for more detailed explanation of this drill) • Skater performs a transition around partner in the direction of the partner, chest wraps around the partner’s shoulder as if suction cupping themselves to the skater, then transitions the rest of the way to face forward in front of the skater just passed. The skater performing this move should be pushing off their partner with their shoulder to help them turn back to face forward and can end up hitting their partner in the chest with their shoulder as they turn (a bit more advanced move, just focus on turning first). A couple of pointers from a coach’s perspective... • Everyone is going to fall at least once, including you (if you are on-skates), so it’s nice to remind them of that beforehand so they don’t get too upset. • Keep drills fairly easy when having skaters go stopless for the first time, even if they are intermediate/ advanced skaters, until they feel comfortable (or at least stop falling every few minutes). • If you get resistance from skaters, point out that toe stops can fall out, break apart, or pop off the stem during a jam and the skater needs to be able to quickly adapt and remain on the track or else they would be letting down their team. | Summer 2014 | 23


plate research S TA C E Y C H I C O R A , C A P E G I R A R D E A U R O L L E R G I R L S

I am a third year engineering physics student at Southeast Missouri State University. This past year, I was an undergraduate research intern in the Ronald E. McNair scholars program. I really thought turning in a proposal to conduct research about roller skate plates would land me a pat on the head and a “thanks, but no thanks� letter. To my surprise, not only was I funded, but also applauded for having a topic so out of the ordinary! In addition to presenting my research in various formats to the academic world, I have educated a great many people about the sport of roller derby. Now, I would like to share the results of my research with the people who play the sport who would directly benefit from it. It is time to upgrade your plates. How do you pick the right one? A search for plate information led me to manufacturers’ websites and opinions of various people. I found no hard solid research or testing that compared one plate to another. As a science major, this bothered me. A lot. Therefore, I spent my internship coming up with a solution to this problem. Since players spend so much money on plates and make a large purchase based solely on the recommendations of sales people and friends, I am giving everyone the benefit of research to make an informed choice. I began my research by conducting a survey of derby people around the world via the internet. I wanted to know the top five plates used to play the sport. I sent an email to 63 roller derby leagues across the world, and posted the survey link on my Facebook page for all my friends to share. Derby players from 72 leagues responded. The respondents represented 26 different states of the United States of America and six countries outside the U.S. Of the 182 survey responses, the top five named plates (in order) were the magnesium Avenger by Sure-Grip, PowerDyne Reactor, PowerDyne Revenge, Labeda ProLine and Pilot Falcon. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a PowerDyne Reactor plate. This is because the manufacturer was in the process of redesigning the plate and had no current stock. The new version of this plate was set to be released after the deadline for my project.

26 | Summer 2014 |

testing For each plate, 27 laps on the track were skated and the time recorded. In addition, cutting drills were performed by timing each cut from beginning to end and taking measurements to discover the angle of cut. I performed Rockwell hardness testing on each plate. The Rockwell hardness test is non-destructive test that determines the strength of the piece of metal without destroying the plate. A high hardness number generally means that the material is resistant to scratching and wear. When all plates were tested, the same toe stops, bearings and wheels were used on each plate. When the plates were weighed, no toe stops, wheels, bearings or axel nuts were included. It was interesting to note that the top named plate ended up weighing the most. Typically, derby skaters say one reason they switched to an Avenger is its light weight. The discovery that the Avenger outweighs the next heaviest plate, the Revenge by 41.2 grams was unexpected. Granted, this is less than 4/10ths of an ounce heavier, but by the way people talk about the Avenger I expected it to be several ounces lighter than most other plates.


Weight (grams)

Pilot Falcon


PowerDyne Revenge


Sure-Grip Avenger


Labeda ProLine


grading scale I compiled the information I gathered to create a grading system for plates. This system will make it easier for skaters to compare plates based on factors such as weight, durability, performance and cost. This grading system will give the derby community something it currently lacks: a method to compare plates.

Overall Score

Individual Scores


Sure-Grip Avenger

Avenger Revenge ProLine 3.25

PowerDyne Revenge

27 lap time





















plate weight





rockwell hardness
















The grading scale contained eight equally weighted factors that included: 1. Time to skate 27 laps 2. Time to cut inside to outside of the track 3. Time to cut from outside to inside of track 4. Angle of cut from inside to outside of track 5. Angle of cut from outside to inside of track 6. Weight of Plate 7. Rockwell Hardness of Plate 8. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of Plate A perfect score on this scale would be a 5.0. It can be seen in Figure 1, that of the four plates tested, the PowerDyne Revenge ranked the best. You can see how the plates scored on each individual test in table 2. Scores of zero are the worst and fives are the best.


cut angles

Pilot Falcon

cut times


Labeda ProLine


outside to inside inside to outside outside to inside inside to outside

conclusion Each plate was put through its paces on the track with timed laps and cutting. In addition, each plate was weighed and Rockwell hardness testing was performed. All this information was used to create a plate grading scale. This scale takes into account eight points of interest and allows people to compare plates before they purchase. Of the four plates tested, the PowerDyne Revenge had the top score in this grading scale. This was not what I expected to find. I expected the ProLine or Avenger to come out on top. However, each plate has strong and weak points. Some plates are better at timed laps and others excel with cutting one way or another. The grading scale goes up to a 5.0, but the perfect plate has yet to be found. acknowledgements All skating and cutting tests were conducted at the A.C. Brase Arena Building in Cape Girardeau, Missouri where a taped flat track set up to WFTDA standards is on the floor and is never removed. Rockwell hardness testing was completed in the Otto and Della Seabaugh Polytechnic Building on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University with the assistance of Tony Miller. This research was funded by the McNair Scholars program at Southeast Missouri State University under the mentorship of Dr. Jai Dahiya, Associate Dean, Professor of Physics and Engineering Physics. RC Sports from Lenexa, Kansas generously donated the use of magnesium Avenger, ProLine and Falcon for this project. Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact me at: | Summer 2014 | 27



Whether you are the starting pivot on your team, an NSO juggling stop watches, or a sweater vest clad coach on the sideline, we all need to stay hydrated. After burning up plenty of hard earned dollars on pre bottled water, I finally decided to take the plunge and purchase a reusable bottle. Naively, I assumed finding a good bottle would be easy, but was overwhelmed by the myriad of choices. It was baffling, so I dove in and started testing bottles. Here are the results of those tests: KOR ONE Size: 750ml Price: $29.50 Material: Plastic Lid: Snap Open Comments: The many associated paraphernalia accompanying the product boasted “This Hydration Vessel Has a Soul” and prophesied “All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.” I already have a bad taste in my mouth, and I had yet to take a single sip. The mouthpiece has a nice curvature, but drinking from plastic feels cheap. The push button snap-open top is quick and handy, but ruined my day when it came open in the car trunk and soaked my gear. Rating: 2.5 of 5 Gulps Verdict: Even when empty, this empty bottle is full... of itself. Bubba Sports Jug Size: 72 oz (huge) Price: $17.98 Material: Plastic with Stainless Steel Lid: Screw on top with extendable mouthpiece The Bubba Jug is good for long days at the track with no access to clean water to refill smaller bottles. The lid is difficult to thread and is prone to dribbling leaks, but Bubba will keep you drinking water all day. I learned that it wasn’t dishwasher friendly when the bottom came partially unattached in the dishwasher. Stainless steel is just for looks. Underwhelming, but better to lug this monster around than drink the disgusting swill that comes out of the tap at our warehouse. Rating: 3 of 5 Gulps Verdict: Holds Lots

28 | Summer 2014 |

brk bottle Size: 500ml Price: $30 Material: Glass with Silicone sleeve Lid: Screw on cap Comments: Nothing beats drinking out of glass. Even room temperature water tastes great. Simple design glass bottle with a silicone sleeve that comes in a zillion fun colors. I want them all! I have no idea how they designed the cap, but it is superb. Quick to open, impossible to cross-thread, and it never leaks. Small opening is inconvenient to refill. Rating: 4 of 5 Gulps Verdict: Small but Mighty!

MiiR Insulated Size: 600ml Price: $17.95 Material: Stainless Steel Lid: Screw on Cap Comments: This bottle is a stunning achievement in manufacturing. Made from stainless steel, the insulated liner keeps water ICE COLD all day, no exaggeration. Opening is a perfect size, and the lid doesn’t leak. Easy to clean. The look improves over time as the stainless earns some dents. A great investment. Rating: 4.5 of 5 Gulps Verdict: A Proper water bottle indeed

Vapur Anti-Bottle Size: .5 L Price: $6 Material: Polyethylene Lid: Screw on cap with Nipple An ugly, functional failure. You can’t tip it into your mouth! Unusable. Lid leaks. Impossible to clean. Looks like something you would find in the emergency kit on a bus. Theoretically, you could trap water vapor in this and drink it if you were lost at sea. Rating: 0 of 5 Gulps Verdict: Useless gimmickry | Summer 2014 | 29


generating the most accurate WFTDA rankings The first major change to the Rankings Calculator sets model for evolution of ranking system LOIS SLAIN, DC ROLLERGIRLS

Last year’s shift to a math-based

were decided by fewer than 20 points –

ranking is based on the average game

rankings system and competitive

essentially coming down to the last jam.

points over the past 12-month period.

divisions marked a momentous shift

“We thought the tournaments were

The Strength Factor was originally

for competitive play within the Women’s

very well seeded by the Rankings

based on a team’s ranking, with the

Flat Track Derby Association. The new

Calculator,” said Teenie Meanie, WFTDA

strength increasing or decreasing by

system was the product of years of

Games Information Manager. “The teams

the same fixed amount with each

work, but the effort didn’t end with

that went to Championships were very

ranking place. There was a 0.01

the launch of the Rankings Calculator.

competitive, so that was definitely

difference in the Strength Factor

Tweaking the Rankings Calculator

considered to be a huge success for

between two teams ranked next to one

to improve its results is an important

the Calculator.”

another, even if there was a significant

ongoing project for the organization. The 2013 Division 1 and 2 Playoffs and Championships presented the first major test of both the Divisions’ system and the Rankings Calculator. By most measures, the changes represented a resounding success. Seven teams cracked the top 40 for the first time in 2013 to compete in Division 1 Playoffs. While that change reflects team development, as well, the shift from voted rankings and

difference in the ranking points average

“The teams that went to Championships were very competitive, so that was definitely considered to be a huge success for the Calculator.”

geographic-based regions to the

For example, Teenie said, the #1 team has an average of 495 and the #2 team has an average of 415. The fixed difference in the Strength Factor “doesn’t correspond to the real difference in their scores,” she said. This method of calculating the Strength Factor also created some odd results, said Loco Chanel, head of Rankings Theory. Beating the #1 team 155-145 would net you the same

Rankings Calculator and skill-based

However, the first year of game

Divisions opened up the playing field.

play under the new rankings system

And, the matchups produced by the

of those two teams.

identified some aspects of the rankings

amount of game points as beating the #35 team 185-115. “Additionally, we saw that competitive

combination of the Rankings Calculator

formula that required review, particularly

games between closely ranked teams

and the new tournament seeding

the Strength Factor. The rankings

could bring both teams’ averages

created some of the most exciting

formula uses the game score and the

down,” Loco said.

tournament matchups in WFTDA history.

Strength Factor of the opposing team

Working with input and ideas from

About 18 percent of D1 playoff games

to calculate the game points a team

WFTDA member leagues, the Rankings

and 22 percent of D2 playoff games

receives for a given game, and a team’s

Theory team developed a new model for

34 | Summer 2014 |

Jules Doyle

calculating the Strength Factor that is

One of the biggest challenges with

to continue to evolve as it is tested

based on a team’s current ranking point

developing a ranking system for the

average. A team’s average is divided by

WFTDA is coming up with something

the ranking point average of the median

that works across a broad range of

and run numbers all day long, but the

team to set the Strength Factor. There is no

teams that are playing different numbers

fact is that our sport is extremely

upper limit on Strength Factor, but a team’s

of games each season, at a time of year

complex with the number of teams

Strength Factor cannot go below 0.5.

of their choosing, said Managing Director

and games that are played, and we

of Games Karen Kuhn.

really need to see it in action for awhile

While the change was approved by member leagues after the start of the 2014 Competitive Season, Rankings Theory thought it was important enough to retroactively apply the change to games dating back to December 1, 2013, the official start of the new Competitive Season. Member leagues agreed with applying the formula retroactively. Teams in all three competitive Divisions, along with the Rankings team, will be closely scrutinizing how this latest change affects rankings

“We can have the best intentions

to make any determinations about

“I think we proved last year that the Calculator was able to send the right teams to Playoffs and we are convinced that this new Strength Factor calculation will improve on what we’ve already done.”

going forward. “The Playoff seeding, again, will

through game play this year and beyond.

how well (or not well) it is working,” Teenie said. Other areas that Rankings Theory is studying for possible future changes include Tournament Weights and calculating the initial Strength Factor for new teams. Unranked teams currently start with a Strength Factor of 0.5. Any future changes will only come after testing, modeling and a robust discussion with WFTDA member leagues, as was the case with the recent change to Strength Factor, Teenie said.

“We do not have a set season in flat

“We will always put these ideas

be an event of note with regard to the

track roller derby, and teams determine

to the test in the public view of the

success of the system. I think we proved

their own season as far as number of

membership, because I feel it is

last year that the Calculator was able to

games and who they play, so this makes

essential to the success to have our

send the right teams to Playoffs and we

the algorithm requirements very unique

membership intimately involved. It is

are convinced that this new Strength

to our sport,” Kuhn said.

more difficult and time consuming that

Factor calculation will improve on what we’ve already done,” Teenie said.

Teenie Meanie said she definitely expects that Rankings Calculator formula

way, for sure, but the end product is better. Much better,” she said. | Summer 2014 | 35

junior derby

aging up R O C K Y H O R R O R , R O C K Y M O U N TA I N R O L L E R G I R L S S TA C E Y C H I C O R A

my derby history I started playing roller derby when I was a Freshman in high school. I was 14 when I first joined. I always hear the term “roller derby saved my soul” and I don’t dispute that. I think roller derby helps women in so many different ways, but it wasn’t a cure all for my pubescent hormone fueled young teenage mind. From when I was about four years old until seventh grade, I played soccer. I stopped playing because the girls on my team took a disliking to me and having to see them outside of soccer was hell. I could chalk up the bullying to why I didn’t mix well in the public school pool, but either way, I liked to get in trouble. When I started derby, it didn’t stop the trouble. I was originally on the I-5 Rollergirls, a junior league that didn’t have any affiliation to a ‘mother’ league in Seattle (technically we practiced in Lynnwood, a town outside of Seattle). My coaches were Nasty Nikki Nightstick and Trixxie Trash’em both from Jet City Rollergirls, and Hockey Honey who was on the Oly Rollers. We rented a skate rink, so we played on a hardwood floor. When I played with them, we won the Northwest Junior Derby Championships. At the end of the season, I got the “Most Improved Award,” and admittedly, I thank I-5 for my quick learning of the sport. Public high school was still not working out. My dad moved to Denver because of his job, and eventually, when it was obvious that I needed a change, we moved out with him and lived in Boulder. I went to an alternative private high school called September High School, and I had finally found an institution that worked. My family found out that the Denver Roller Dolls and Rocky Mountain Rollergirls had junior teams, so my mom emailed them. Rocky Mountain Rollergirl’s Might Club seemed like a better fit for me because they had started up when I just joined roller derby, so they had the same amount of experience that I did. I was 16 when I started with them and my coaches were Dangerous Leigh Azon and TyrAnnasauraus Wrecks. Toward the end of my time with the Rollerpunks (Might Club), I was considered (with a group of other girls who had been playing the same amount of time as I had been) as one of the veteran skaters. I had my last game with the Rollerpunks

36 | Summer 2014 |

and the team had a little ceremony for all the girls about to age up into the adult league after the game. The weeks leading up to my transition, I got help from some of the adult players who were excited for me age up so it wouldn’t be complete culture shock and I think that helped a lot. I wasn’t too nervous. It was questionable of what the adult league age was for juniors to join. There was a possibility that I could stay until I graduated high school if I wanted to, but I knew I was ready. My first practice was on a Monday. It was a normal league practice (so not a newbie practice) and the league had some people watch me to see how I did and then would tell me what practices I was cleared for. I was cleared for every league member practice. From then on (after I completed my skills test and actually became a league member, the process took about a month) I played with the C-Team, Project Mayhem; I was invited to practice with the B-Team, The Contenders; and I was drafted onto a home team, The Sugar Kill Gang. A couple of former Rollerpunks had aged up, as well, but they didn’t stay because of college, and so for a while I was the only Punk on the league until recently when a few more aged up. It was pretty easy for me to continue with the adult league since it was summer time, and I stayed with Rocky Mountain Rollergirls because I started attending University of Denver. advice The biggest thing I would be concerned about for any junior aging up is having fewer friends on the team. This isn’t true for everyone but my experience on junior teams is that our team was relatively small and we all bonded well together. We usually had 15 people at junior practice, but at the adult league we could have 60 people at a practice. Luckily, I aged up with a few other Punks, so we stuck together in the beginning, but like I mentioned before, not everyone sticks around. My advice when you age up is partner with someone you don’t know. I’m not the most outgoing person, so this was hard for me, but once you do it, others will want to partner with you. What helped me make friends was once I started playing, I would bond with my teammates and do drills with them, and we’d get to know each other. That’s how I found some of my best friends on the league.

Dave Wood Photography

Going from being a veteran skater to the newbie can be a little humbling; I like to compare the transition to going from middle school to high school. In middle school you’re finally at the top of the grade, and then when I reached high school, it was back to the bottom of the totem pole again. No matter how good you were on the junior team, there’s going to be someone who completely demolishes you in scrimmage-and that’s a good thing! The reason I was so excited to be on the adult league was because I felt like I wasn’t being challenged anymore, and you get that challenge when you’re playing with people who are a lot better than you. Don’t come in with a cocky attitude; join the adult league and be ready to learn. When I turned 18 I didn’t plunge straight into adulthood. I still had to finish high school, so I lived at home, and my

parents still helped me out with my responsibilities, but then I started attending the University of Denver and I’m currently living on campus. When I moved out (even though my parents are still very supportive and helpful), I had to start taking on the responsibility on my own. This wasn’t only with school and personal life, but one of the biggest things that I needed to be on top of was derby. There were things I never thought about while on the punks; making it to practice on time, making sure I had enough attendance to play in games, and insurance. Not only did all these things apply to the adult league, but I was prompted with a new responsibility-the forum. The forum is an online database that holds all the information for Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, anything you could imagine that has to do with derby. There’s information about upcoming games that you need to sign up for, you have to make sure you get enough volunteer credit per month, and basically you have to check the forum at least once a day. I’m not going to lie, I’ve missed things, I’ve messed up, and I’m still trying to learn how to balance all my responsibilities. If you’re planning to attend school after high school, it’s definitely something you need to take into consideration when you’re playing derby. I used to make five practices a week during the summer, but now that I’m in school, I’m not making that many, but I also don’t want to be overwhelmed. You need a healthy balance between derby and college, you don’t want to start failing classes because you’re going to practice every other day, but you also don’t want to be a flakey rollergirl. I’m still trying to figure out the balance, but I think I’m doing pretty well. The most important thing is your happiness. If that means you need to take a break or come to the realization that adult derby might be not working for you right now, that’s not something to be ashamed of. If you need to focus on your education for a while, do it – you can always easily come back to derby. It’s harder to come back to school. The main things I would keep in mind in your transition are you’ll make friends; it may not happen instantly – but it will. Don’t overwork yourself because then you’re going to burn yourself out of roller derby, and you’d rather take a break than resent the sport. And understand and learn how much responsibilities come with adult derby and apply it to your life outside of derby, as well. This is your sport and you need be there for your league if you’re committed. | Summer 2014 | 37


tryouts: conquering nerves and getting ahead S E R E N A , R OYA L C I T Y R O L L E R G I R L S

Unless you are some sort of cyborg derby machine who doesn’t have feelings, there will always be a modicum of nerves that accompany tryouts, especially when you’re a less experienced skater. While the stress of the experience can’t be entirely removed, there are small measures that can make big differences when it comes to minimizing mid-tryout stabs of anxiety. eat well I am a terrible, lazy eater. If I have a choice between a well-balanced meal and a bag of gummy bears, the instant gummy-bear-gratification will win out over waiting 40 minutes for real food to cook almost every time. With this sort of behaviour on my resume, it isn’t a great surprise that by halfway through the five minute skate at my first tryout, I couldn’t feel my legs. Turns out, copious empty calories don’t do great things for one’s

38 | Summer 2014 |

performance. I ended up being half a lap short and later learned that this was the issue that kept me off the team. And that should have been enough to teach me a lesson. But I have a short memory and it wasn’t. A few months later, there was a surprise re-test, and it fell on an evening when my ‘meals’ for the day had all consisted of caffeine and Marshmallow Peeps. This story has a happy ending; I was successful in the five minute skate and I got a new shot at being a part of a team that I love, but my body fought me every step of the way. It was a stupid and reckless decision, and it really wasn’t worth the risk. Derby is hard enough on the body without adding entirely avoidable obstacles. It’s difficult to strike a balance between too little food and too much food, but experiment and figure out what you need to eat in order to feel like you are in control of your body. Don’t let a lack of energy be the reason you miss out on opportunities to take your game to the next level. mental preparation There’s a reason that derby is so often likened to chess. It is a mental game and without adequate mental preparation, you’re losing out. My first coach taught me to pick three obtainable goals before a game, and then stick with those same goals every game until I achieved them. My first goals were simple ones:

• I will not get in the way of my own jammer. • I will not give up the inside line. • I will get lower. The goals will evolve with your skating abilities, but one of the (many) beautiful things about derby is that there will always, always be something to work toward. Going into tryouts and advanced practices with clear goals in mind is just as important as mentally prepping yourself for a game. The next three goals are as simple on the surface as the goals that I set for myself before my very first bout, but they are the reminders I need in order to do my best. 1. When the drill/skill is over, it’s over. Do not spend another moment thinking about it. The car ride home can be used to think about what was done well and what needs to be done differently the next time. Any brain power spent thinking about a past skill during a tryout is brain power not being put toward succeeding in the current skill. 2. I am not allowed to think about how I look. A short time ago, I hit a plateau in my progress. After a few really frustrating practices, I realized that the biggest difference between the current me and me from six months ago was a fear I had developed somewhere along the way of looking ridiculous. I was worrying about stumbling and worrying about not looking like everyone else and worrying

about other skaters getting less out of the drill than they should because I couldn’t keep up. When I catch myself caught up in how I look during the skill rather than focusing on giving it everything I have, I clench my teeth and change the behaviour. I can’t say that it’s easy, but I can say that it makes a difference. Sometimes, you’re going to look ridiculous. Accept it as part of the journey to not looking ridiculous, and move on. 3. Be a little selfish. This one is probably the most difficult for me, because being noticed makes me uncomfortable and when I feel out of my element, I spend the majority of my time wishing for a cloak of invisibility. It is, however, important to keep in mind. You don’t have to go out there and be a crazy kamikaze jerk on the track, but do

I made the team! Now what? Even once your rookie days are long behind you, you will have the occasional bad practice. And the subjects of attitude and goals that were touched on earlier in this article come full circle when it comes to recovering from an off night on your skates. When one first joins Fresh Meat, the WFTDA Minimums are the recognizable end point. And once the minimum skills test is passed, there comes the realization that minimums are exactly that; a minimum set of skills required of skaters before they can go out into their league and safely begin to build their knowledge of strategy and game play on a deeper level. It becomes increasingly difficult to be satisfied by the small victories. During Fresh Meat, every skater is, generally speaking, equally terrible at derby. The

pass and you’re regularly attending league practices where vets dance around the track like they were born with wheels on their feet, it’s easy to get discouraged by the little voice inside your head whispering, “I should be able to do that.” Once again, you have to learn to move on. It is undoubtedly discouraging to have your best not be good enough, but remember that “your best” is only your best for now. And it’s better than your best was four months ago. Players are defined by their attitude; be remembered as coachable. Ask questions. Try and fail and try and fail some more. And if you need to go home and have a frustrated cry about your performance on a particular night, that’s okay. But don’t dwell on it. Make a list of areas in need of improvement. Go to practice prepared to work on one

Defeatist, negative skaters are not remembered fondly, regardless of how skilled they may become. Be the girl who comes to practices and tryouts ready to learn and ready to try. not worry about how your pace or performance may be affecting other skaters. If they’re good enough to make the team, they’re good enough to move around you during a five minute skate. Your goals may differ from mine, but what is important is giving thought to what tends to hinder you and then strategizing to counter it. Your tryout will be smoother for it, and it will save you some regrets after the fact.

friends you initially make are all in the same boat as you: madly in love with this newly discovered sport and eager to shuffle clumsily around the track. Every small step forward – from getting wheel locked without falling over to gliding for a few brief, blissful seconds on one foot – is grounds for excitement. It takes so much concentration to do the simple things that there isn’t room to consider anything else. By the time a few months

or two of those things, and make a conscious decision to leave the memory of the last practice off the track with your street shoes. Defeatist, negative skaters are not remembered fondly, regardless of how skilled they may become. Be the girl who comes to practices and tryouts ready to learn and ready to try, and everything else will follow. Willing skaters make for willing teammates and coaches. | Summer 2014 | 39


talking idols: men on the women who inspire our game A N DY F RY E A K A L E B R O N S H A M E S , C H I C A G O B R U I S E B R OT H E R S

I’m no historian, but there’s one remarkable thing that sets

What players inspired you to take up derby yourself?

derby apart. Modern flat-track roller derby is the only sport in

Bazooka Joe: My wife and I were inspired to start Pioneer

the history of the world established by women, with men following them into the game. It’s true. Every other game played across the world has been founded by, for, and, often exclusively, for the recreation of men in their original form. Consider some comparisons. Basketball, started by Dr. Jim Naismith in 1890, was played by women in high schools by 1895. But it wasn’t until 1976 that women’s basketball was added to the Olympics, even though Olympic men’s hoops tipped off in 1936. Likewise, the Pro Golfers Association, started in 1907, promoted golf with professional cash prize events for men. Yet it was four decades later, in 1950, before the LPGA allowed ladies to showcase their talent on the links. As I have written before, what we know about roller derby is

Valley by a friend, Sweet Destruction, who joined Providence Roller Derby when they were first starting up in 2005. We didn’t know anything about derby, but once we saw it we knew we had to do it. Jonathan R: Chassis Crass started Gotham to fulfill her dream of playing derby and Bluebonnet Plague founded their travel team, the Wall St. Traitors. Starting NYSE, both of these amazing, visionary women supported me from first idea through the debut bout and beyond. Sutton Impact: Being from the UK, the focal point for Roller Derby was (and still is) the London Rollergirls with players like Stefanie Mainey who has always been a positive role model and force in UK derby.

that she is a different animal. But did you ever ask the men you know who play derby who inspired them to strap on their skates? Well, it’s about time we asked. So I rounded up some of the guys. I reached out to bigger names in the men’s game. From Team USA, starters Magnum PIMP of the St. Louis GateKeepers and Jonathan R. of the New York Shock Exchange stepped up, plus forerunners like Bazooka Joe, founder of Pioneer Valley Roller Derby, and Quad Almighty, the Cincinnati Rollergirls coach who also founded the Cincinnati Battering Rams came to play. Also from the coaches’ corner are longtime Gotham and the women’s Team USA coach Buster Cheatin’, plus Howie Rollson, from Detroit who now coaches at Windy City, and Uncle Jesse McNasty, who coaches Dallas and plays for MRDA’s Dallas Deception. Rounding out the crew, I also got Dee Bags from the Sioux City Kornstalkers and Sutton Impact of London, England’s Southern Discomfort. And of course, I couldn’t resist jumping in myself. Here’s what I asked:

40 | Summer 2014 |

What blocker would you most like to have on your team, protecting your jammers? Quad Almighty: Trauma (Kansas City). She started out with Cincinnati, and we miss her. She is an elegant player who switches from defense to offense more fluidly than any other player I’ve seen. Magnum PIMP: Sexy Slaydie (Gotham) is a big blocker that can clear out space when needed. Also, her size comes in very handy when giving a jammer a safe side. Sutton Impact: Hmmm is Smarty Pants (Texas) too obvious an answer? She’s such a versatile skater with great awareness and ability. Howie Rollson: Mick Swagger (Gotham) is one of the most complete blockers in the game. I especially appreciate her awareness and ability to control a pack.

What jammer would you most like to have on your men’s team?

Who is the most intimidating player in women’s derby and why?

Sutton Impact: Onda Sligh (Oly Rollers), great skills and drive...

Howie Rollson: Ol’ Drrrty Go-Go (Windy City) is one of the

I feel she would really compliment the Southern Discomfort

most intimidating athletes I’ve ever trained with. She is fearless

style of play.

and welcomes the challenge of stopping the other team’s

Quad Almighty: Bonnie Thunders. She is the best jammer on

best players.

the planet. Clean, consistent, dependable, deadly.

Uncle Jesse McNasty: Demanda Riot (B.ay A.rea). When you

Shames: Sandrine Rangeon (Windy City) plays in a deceptive

mix brains with intimidation and talent, you’ll get my vote and

way that strips apart the opposing pack. She jukes to get you

respect every time.

out of play before you can even remotely get a hit on her.

Magnum PIMP: Demanda Riot is super intimidating. From the face paint, to her dreadlocks and on the track persona... she is

Who has taught you something you use in coaching every bout?

a modern day warrior. Dee Bags: The women players I have the most trouble with are

Buster Cheatin’: We’ve tried to emulate skills of many different

the really small ones. At 4’10’’ Funsize (Sioux City) is lightning

skaters from Sweet N. Lowdown (Tucson, now Dominion) to

fast and can literally squat below my knees, so everything

DeRanged and Sassy (both Oly) to Sugar Boots (Your Mom

becomes a highblock on her. Smart, patient female players can

Men’s Derby). Working on those specific skills adds “tools to the

usually give me fits.

toolbelt” that we bring to every game.

Quad Almighty: I have three. Bonnie Thunders (Gotham). Try to

Uncle Jesse McNasty: Gotham, Denver, Rocky, Oly. Top teams

block her. Trauma (Kansas City). Try to fool her. Bork Bork Bork

are worth watching and learning from. I greatly appreciate their

(Windy City). Try to get past her.

use of fundamental, team-oriented derby. Once you have Howie Rollson: Black Eyed Skeez (Detroit) helped me write my

Name the one player who embodies your style and philosophy of roller derby.

first lineups in 2007. Countless hours of practice and over 100

Shames: Snot Rocket Science (Steel City) is an underrated

bouts later, I still consider myself a student of the game.

double-threat. She’s a sneaky jammer and smart and efficient

Magnum PIMP: Watching Amanda Jamitinya (Rocky, now B.ay

as a blocker. She’s also a tiny bit cocky, which I love.

A.rea) at Champs years ago was the first time I saw someone

Bazooka Joe: My first derby crush was Craisy Dukes (Boston).

soul crush or hit a player out of bounds and then skate

She was the first player I saw to utilize that snake-legged,

clockwise on the track. I saw her taking over jams and

sweep-opponents-away style of play.

thought... “If I had a whole team that could do that, we would

Magnum PIMP: I have always been impressed by Joy Collision

be dominant.”

(Charm City, Oly). She can jam or block, and isn’t physically

achieved the fundamentals, you can grow on that foundation.

imposing but can turn any situation into her favor. Joy is Playing coed, who’s the toughest you’ve faced?

a smart player and that goes far in this game. She is also

Sutton Impact: Juke Boxx (Minnesota, now London). She’s

a great person, which is a plus.

a classic double threat that has awesome situational awareness

Howie Rollson: I’ve never seen anyone consistently work

and skills. Scrimmaging with Juke really helps develop your

harder, want it more, or do it with such a combination of power

derby head.

and grace than Athena DeCrime (Windy City). Her understanding

Shames: KonichiWOW, captain of the Windy City Rollers,

of the game and what it means to be a part of this sport are

isn’t a hard hitter but frustrating to scrimmage against as she

admirable. I’m extremely lucky to have this amazing woman

always knows where your center of gravity is. With a hip tap

in my life both on and off the track.

she’ll send you out and will smile watching you go down. | Summer 2014 | 41


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

With so many events in such a huge space, it can be hard to find your way around. Here are some tips that might help. plan ahead Unless you’re excited about the Pool Party Vortex – a scientific phenomenon unique to RollerCon, where people who are overwhelmed with too many options end up drunk at the pool all week – you have to make a plan. The hardest part is figuring out what you most want to do, mainly because there are so many events at the same time. You can start now! RollerCon schedules are created online. Start here: If you have a google account, you can click on any event in these calendars and look at the bottom for the link that says “Copy to my calendar.” Once copied to your own g-calendar, you can set reminders, including SMS alerts to text your cell phone. There aren’t a lot of clocks in Vegas casinos, so phone reminders really increase your chance of getting where you want to be!


42 | Summer 2014 |


Don’t fret if you’re not a g-calendar user, though. It’s still helpful to browse the calendars online before you get to Las Vegas – jot down an interesting event or two (or several dozen). Around the middle of July we publish an excel version of the schedule at the master schedule page online. You can download it and use it to make your own schedule, or you can just print it and take a highlighter to it. I keep a printout in my fanny pack. By the way, it’s a RollerCon rule that you must say the words “fanny pack” anytime you think there might be a person from the UK in earshot. Find out why. Last year our master schedule in June had 433 separate events, with something like ten or so average at the same time – and that doesn’t count things that aren’t on the schedule. The endless pool party, vendor village, nonderby Vegas entertainment like gambling, unofficial things like the Skatepark Tour, and the fun of just hanging out in the hall with thousands of other derby players – none of that is on our master schedule, but all those things are awesome. If you’re prepared with a rough idea of a few events you really want to attend, you will be ahead of the

classroom seminars

game. It also doesn’t hurt to schedule time for eating and sleeping. It is completely possible to forget at RollerCon. hit registration on Tuesday You’re not “missing” anything on Tuesday, so waiting in the Registration line can be a good time. If you register on Wednesday or later, every moment you spend in line feels like you’re missing out on a dozen awesome things – because you are! So get there Tuesday and enjoy the line. Imagine a roller coaster line, but everyone in it is interested in the same stuff you are. You’re likely to run into old friends (over and over as the line moves and doubles back on itself), and make new ones. The Tuesday line feels like happy hour – but in a queue, instead of on a barstool – and it starts at noon. But the very best thing about early registration is that it gives you a chance to get the program and the final schedule before the crazy starts. first whistle at 8:30 am Wednesday We kick off RollerCon with the Zebra Huddle at 8:30. Just about everything else starts at 9:00. The Riviera resort campus is just over 26 acres, but most

bouts and challenges

social events

Geoff Maciejewski,

Geoff Maciejewski,

Masonite Burn

of our events are in the convention area at the back of the hotel.

This year’s theme is the Golden Age of Vegas and feather dealers worldwide are

past Riedell is the Registration desk. The line can be pretty long on Tuesday

RollerCon tour Start facing hotel registration, then look over your shoulder to your right. Your gaze is likely to land on a 20 foot tall Crazy skate – head towards it to find the convention area. Catty corner from hotel registration, you’ll see our Volunteer Check-In desk. Most of our volunteers punch in and out for their shifts at that desk. The VCI Check-In people are happy to answer questions for you (if they know the answers), but they might also put you to work. After you’ve visited the VCI desk, continue down the long, mirrored hallway on your left. Your first stop on the right is Sin City Skates, where all derby gear retail sales happen at RollerCon. Next to them, you’ll find the Crazy Skates store, where there will be a few seminars and meet and greets, as well as lots of friendly Aussies eager to help you find out more about their skates, and (if you ask nice) they might help you learn how to say “No!” in Australian. It’s harder than you think. Across the hall is the entrance to our training tracks. If you have an MVP pass, you could spend a lot of time in there. We roll up a couple of our tracks on Thursday night for the Riedell Party.

already bracing for the rush. Continue down the hall just beyond Crazy Skates and on the right you’ll find the Derby Skinz outlet store – maybe the biggest and best selection of Derby Skinz in the West, including custom RollerCon branded bikinis, compression pants and more. The next set of doors is our East Vendor area. RollerCon Registration is just the other side of that hall, where you’ll find the Riedell Camp ready to show you their latest products and fit you for Riedell, Radar or PowerDyne gear. Just

and Wednesday, but we fuel our Reg volunteers with gallons of coffee and pallets of mini snickers bars, so they work fast! You’ll need your government ID to get registered, so don’t forget it. Across from RC Registration are huge doors to the outside. If you’re a smoker, you’ll probably hit those steps at some point. Please help us remind everyone to throw their butts away. No one wants the volunteer job of cleaning up those steps. Just the other side of the outside doors, you’ll find the RollerCon souvenir

Lawton Howell | Summer 2014 | 43

feature past the RC Souvenir shop, you’ll see the desk for Vendor Check In on your right.

Registration. Retrace your steps and head back down the mirrored hall

we’ll never make again! So the bad news is that RC souvenirs are very

Our vendor managers are also willing to answer questions and give directions.

towards Hotel Registration. TOR – The Top of the Riv – is where we host

limited and usually sell out Friday or Saturday. The good news is that we

At the end of the hall beyond, you’ll find the Capri 111-114 rooms. Most of the

most of the off-skates athletic training, and social events like Karaoke, the

accept credit cards now, though it’s a bit slower than cash transactions. You can pick up charity raffle tickets there, too. We raised almost $7,000 for the Women’s Sports Foundation last year with more than $30,000 worth of kick ass stuff from our Sponsors, including skates and free tickets to RollerCon 2014, and more skate gear than you can imagine. Many people that bought raffle tickets won multiple times! Help us raise even more money AND score some awesome stuff by getting raffle tickets with your leftover ones. Across from RC Souvenirs you’ll find the stairs that lead to the upper Capri rooms and track viewing galleries. Please check the schedules next to the doors before knocking or opening them. If the schedule says “open viewing,” RollerCon pass holders are welcome to relax in the stadium seating to watch the action below. But these rooms are sometimes reserved for private meetings and workshops. Please do not interrupt. There is no free seating in the upper galleries for many bouts, so if you don’t have a ticket, don’t bother heading up there during a feature bout. Back downstairs, if you continue on

classroom seminars are in those rooms. But midway down the hall, look for big double doors on the left that open up on our three Competition Tracks. Vendors North and South are in there, as well, and a snack bar that we keep stocked

Derby Wedding, and the Pants Off Dance Off, but it’s not that easy to find. I recommend doing a little reconnaissance before you need to be there, especially if you want to take a class and you don’t want to be that guy that comes in late. To get to TOR, walk away from the enormous Crazy Skate towards the pool. Turn left at the ABC Store and try to ignore the pool area on your right for now. Turn left again at the end of that hall by the tattoo shop. Walk about 50 more feet until you see a bank of elevators in a hall on your right. Those elevators will take you to the top floor and the Top of the Riv. Remember the pool area? Unless you are from the desert, you’ll probably be shocked by how incredibly hot and dry it is. In daytime hours, water, sunblock and a hat are all great ideas. Sunglasses are 110% mandatory if you ever want to see with your eyeballs again. Beyond the pool – if you stay indoors and head right past the Buffet escalator across from the ABC Store – you’ll find your way to the casino. On the way, you’ll pass a coffee counter and a bank of elevators for one of the room towers (Monaco, I think!). From there on, there

MacGroovy Photography

Masonite Burn

booth. We got stuck with hundreds of shirts in 2012 and that’s one mistake

44 | Summer 2014 |

with fruit and sandwiches. If you look up while you’re in there, you’ll see the gallery seating I mentioned before. Now look down. Are you standing in an area marked off with tape? Those are fire and EMT safety zones that we keep open in case of emergency. With so many people skating so many hours on so many tracks, we have a lot of emergencies, so we take this very seriously. Please move before a volunteer comes to gently bitch you out. The exit doors for Royale Ballroom pop you back out to RollerCon

Lawton Howell

are scattered restaurants and lots of gambling for the next couple acres of casino proper. If you can find your way through the casino to the far southwest corner – just keep heading forward and leftish – eventually, if you’re lucky, you’ll find the foot court. If we’re all lucky, the lobby just before the food court will still host the Las Vegas Pinball Museum.

Okay, deep breath – but not too deep! Recycled casino air might actually be poisonous. Ready to go outside again? If you head outside from the food court, you’ll find yourself on Las Vegas Boulevard; the Strip. NOW you can use your GPS to find your way to other casinos, the Peppermill (lots of food cheap and cocktail servers in formal

gowns), a Walgreens (great if you need to bring back souvenirs), and a Ross for those last minute intentional wardrobe malfunctions you’re going to want to have, and – well, the rest of the world. Or at least the 110° F drunken tourist part we call the Strip. But then again, it might be best to just stay inside! | Summer 2014 | 45



Ten girls met on the tenth day of the tenth month in 2010 at the Joint Base Lewis McChord AFC Arena. They had no idea that they were going to be the start of something big; something bigger than themselves. Being a part of the military is difficult on every level. You finally begin to feel comfortable, like you belong, and a piece of paper makes its way across a desk, and your life is turned upside down. You’re deploying to Afghanistan. Your husband just got orders for Germany. Your entire family is being relocated to Hawaii. Your National Guard Unit is being activated. Your dad's tweak in his knee will medically retire him and end his military contract early. We’ve seen it all. We’ve lived through it.

The women who skate on this league come from all over the United States and even come to us from other countries. Some are active duty, military veterans, spouses, Department of Defense, or even their children. We all join for different reasons, but reap the rewards of being a member of a special kind of family. I was a terrible skater when I started. Looking back at my first practices, I had no sign whatsoever that I would ever make it as a derby player. Fall after fall, these women gave nothing but encouragement. From my very first cross-over to my first legal hit, they were there to assist and support me the entire way. As months went by, skaters came and went. Deployments, reassignments, divorces, and challenges came right and left, including my own. My husband received orders to South Carolina. I was just beginning to feel comfortable, and my life was turned upside down. For two years, I skated with another league. I grew, and I worked as hard as I could. Just as I began to truly come into my own, a piece of paper made its way across a desk. This time, my life was turned right-side up. We were given the news that we would be returning to the Joint Base, the home of my Betties. My first day back at practice was just as warm and welcoming as my very first. There were many unfamiliar players, but the same encouraging and welcoming atmosphere filled the room.

48 | Summer 2014 |

We are the JBLM Bettie Brigade.

The faces of the Betties, though constantly changing, tell the same story. We tell the story of the female soldier, strong and faithful, returning back from war to a league that loves her. We’re the Military wife, working full time, taking care of a home and four children, but still taking the time to come to practice every week. We’re the Army child that went to ten different schools, and felt like she never fit in, until she came here. We are the Veteran that works out their issues on the track, instead of with anger. We are the strongest, hardest, most loving group of women that I’ve ever met. This league gives a sense of family and a support system to people who don't have it. The players may come and go, but we all have one thing in common. We bleed RED WHITE AND BETTIE!

We tell the story of the female soldier, strong and faithful, returning back from war to a league that loves her. We’re the Military wife, working full time, taking care of a home and four children. We’re the Army child that went to ten different schools, and felt like she never fit in, until she came here. We are the Veteran that works out their issues on the track, instead of with anger.

We are the strongest, hardest, most loving group of women that I’ve ever met.

Anthony Vernon Photography | Summer 2014 | 49


returning to derby in another country JAM BUSTER, BONEBREAKERS ROLLER DERBY BERN

I had always thought joining roller derby in 2009 would be the

I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I skated on my own outside

scariest decision I had ever made. Nope. Turns out returning to

when the weather allowed but I think everyone can agree an

roller derby is far more terrifying. I understand I’m not special.

afternoon skate, while nice, isn’t the same as skating with a team.

People return to roller derby all the time. I returned to roller derby

I started feeling like a waste of space and like I wasn’t doing

in the most complicated way I’ve ever heard of: 7286 kilometers

anything that I could claim as just mine. As much as I love my

away from my first league, across an ocean and in a different

husband, I was getting incredibly frustrated with being known


mostly as, “John’s wife.” When I walked away from roller derby,

In June 2011, my husband was offered a job with a special department of the UN in Bern, Switzerland. They wanted us to be

I walked away from one of the few places where I was known for myself, not as someone’s wife or “that girl from Canada.”

there in four weeks. We had 30 days to pack up our life in

I was feeling lost.

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and restart our life in a place we’d

So very, very lost.

only googled. We left our apartment with two suitcases and my bag

Then Bonebreakers Roller Derby Bern popped up on my

full of derby gear. There was no question my gear was coming with

Facebook feed. To this day I have no idea how it happened or

us to our new home.

who I was connected with that even brought it to my feed in the

A month after our feet hit the ground, I traveled the two hours to Zurich to join a Zürich Rollergirlz practice. At the time that was the only place that had derby in the entire country. They did an

first place. It just happened. It was like roller derby had switched on a flashlight and came looking for me. So in July 2013, I returned to roller derby with the

amazing job of making me feel welcome but on that two-hour

Bonebreakers. I gleefully announced Jam Buster’s triumphant

journey home I realized I wasn’t ready to return to derby. I didn’t

return to roller derby on Facebook, as you do with all major

know how to balance that with creating a life with my husband in

life events these days. I finally took my outdoor wheels off

Switzerland. I had to walk away for the sake for figuring out how

and repacked my gear bag. I was doing it; I was going back

to live in a foreign country. We barely had a life in Switzerland

to roller derby!

and the last thing I needed to do was start saying, “I can’t, I have derby” again.

The night of my first practice I couldn’t decide which t-shirt to wear. My whole body was shaking; I was so nervous. T-shirt after

I was heartbroken.

t-shirt hit the floor. My husband was watching me quietly while

I missed derby a lot and I found myself struggling over the next

I fretted.

18 months trying to find something that was mine like roller derby

“What if they think I’m coming in to take over their league?”

had been. Derby was MY thing and now that I didn’t have that,

“What if they think I’m a know-it-all?”

DARIA PESENTI-Flamingo Photography

50 | Summer 2014 |

DARIA PESENTI-Flamingo Photography

“What if they don’t like the fact that I only speak High German... not Swiss German?”

and the sound of wheels on the floor. This roller hockey rink and these women are my new home.

“What if they don’t like me?!”

At the end of that first practice, one of my new league mates took

Tears were rolling down my face at this point. Roller derby had

me aside and said very straight forwardly, “I’m so happy you’re

always made me feel so brave, but now I was a shaking pile of

here to help us.” My jaw dropped. I never saw myself as someone

tears and “what if...” questions. My husband handed me my home

coming to help. They had a trainer, she just happened to not be

team jersey, lightning bolt on the front and my name in white on

there the night I showed up for the first time. I tried to explain in

the back. “This has always made you brave,” he said, “plus Jam

my incredibly flustered German that I was just happy to be a skater

Buster is way braver than Tatiana is sometimes. Just be Jam

no need to make me a trainer. They had a trainer. She just smiled

Buster and you’ll be fine.”

at me and said, “With you and Wreckabella, we’ll be the best team

I realized later that the fear I was feeling came from a deep desire for everything to be just like it was. I wanted it to be just

in Switzerland.” These women have been nothing but incredible to me. They’ve

like had been back in Canada. I wanted to see certain faces; hear

welcomed my knowledge. They’ve welcomed my husband and his

the five minute warning to get on the track or you would be doing

mad track laying skills. They’re not the best team in Switzerland in

bear crawls. I wanted to frantically look for the attendance sheet

any place but my heart, but they work hard. Wreckabella was

so I could sign in, and I wanted to giggle during drills with the

happy to have a co-trainer, and together we built a training

people I had spent my early derby career with. I wanted it to be

program that we’re pretty proud of. These women have been

just like home.

nothing but patient with my lack of Swiss German and my constant

That night in July in a roller hockey rink in Uttigen, Switzerland

habit of just speaking English when explaining drills rather than

I realized it couldn’t be the same as it was because the

German. They’ve brought me into their fold and become my new

Bonebreakers were only a few months old. They were learning

chosen family.

and if it was just like it had been for me in Canada, I would have

Almost a year later I’m still known as “John’s wife” in some

missed out on so much joy; the joy of mastering a transition, the

circles but I’m kind of okay with that because in another circle I’m

elation that comes with a successful crossover and the absolute

known as “Jam Buster” or “Jam” or “Jam Buster... our co-trainer

heaven that is teaching new derby players how to hit. The only

from Canada... we’re sorry she doesn’t speak Swiss German but

thing that was going to be the same was the love of the game

she knows a lot about roller derby!” | Summer 2014 | 51


I want to be at Anarchy K AT E R U S S E L L / S T R AW B S , L O N D O N R O L L E R G I R L S photos by Jason Ruffell

This was the fourth year of Anarchy in the UK – and we’ve come a long way, baby. The first Anarchy back in 2011 was the very first

The first bout, Detroit vs. Rocky,

WFTDA-sanctioned tournament outside of North America. Today,

kicked off the

it’s a regular date in the calendar of our amazing international

weekend perfectly.

community of skaters, fans, and officials.

Both teams came out

Weeks and months of planning and anticipation all came to a head on the morning of Saturday, April 12, and the atmosphere

all guns blazing, but Rocky’s unrivalled

was buzzing. Finding your way through the maze that is Guildford

ability to recycle

Spectrum Centre, pink London Rollergirls T-shirts and a higher-

jammers to the back

than-normal concentration of North Americans served as makeshift

saw the scales tip in

directions. Finishing touches were made, merch, waitress and

their favor early on.

raffle teams were deployed, and the queue snaked the full length

Their style and skill was incredible to see up close – and just

of the hall – it was nearly time.

as fantastic for the people watching the live stream courtesy

The hosts, London Rollergirls’ London Brawling, came into the

of Derby Duck Productions, too, I’m sure – but just as good

tournament with the highest WFTDA ranking at #7 – but the caliber

was the crowd’s love for the underdog. Every lead jammer call

of the incredible visiting teams ensured they’d have to come out

and scoring pass that went Detroit’s way raised the roof!

fighting. Former WFTDA champions and current #9 Rocky Mountain

But Rocky deservedly took it with a score of 312-57.

Rollergirls’ 5280 Fight Club travelled from Denver, Colorado,

For London vs. Toronto, the stakes were similar. From

and Detroit Derby Girls (#29) also made the transatlantic trip.

the start, London showed the game was theirs – they kept

Toronto Roller Derby’s CN Power (#30) represented Canada,

Toronto from scoring for around 15 minutes – but the support

completing a line-up that promised to be one hell of a battle

for the visiting team was unsquashable! Those first Canadian

and did not disappoint.

points on the board, courtesy of fan favorite Kookie Doe, were

It’s the sign of a good crowd when the front row is ordering

easily one of the highlights of the weekend – Toronto made

cider within minutes of sitting down. As the bleachers started filling

a die-hard fan of everyone in the room. The agility of London’s

up, the merch stalls started emptying out – half an hour before

jammers stole the show and drew massive cheers from the

the weekend’s first game, the announcers warned that visitors’

crowd, hyped up by the hilarious non-derby-related

stock was so popular it was already running low! And the points

commentary from the day’s brilliant announcers. A score

for best t-shirts have to go to Toronto – half the audience returned

of 477-41 took us into the day’s break on a high.

for day two wearing their awesome homemade tie-dye creations (myself included).

52 | Summer 2014 |

Bout three was probably the most highly-anticipated game

After their Friday closed-door result of 311-22 to London,

of the weekend – London vs. Rocky. The early minutes of

Detroit was hoping to keep a closer scoreline the second time

the game and showed both teams vying for control, like two boxers

around. But it wasn’t to be. For London vs. Detroit, London never

circling, sizing up the competition. Rocky asserted their dominance

gave Detroit’s jammers an inch, keeping them scoreless for a long

initially, their tough jammers making it hard for London’s sturdy,

time, tiring them out so they were more likely to make mistakes.

practiced walls. But London quickly adapted, bringing the scoreline

Power jams were the natural result, and with jammers like Rogue

level and eventually overtaking. It was a battle of two very different

Runner (who played a blinder this weekend) the score crept up

styles of play – Rocky’s strong, pushy jammers vs. London’s quick

and up. That love of the underdog carried over from day one,

and agile ones, Rocky’s big hitting blockers vs. London’s firm

and Detroit’s first points had people screaming from the bleachers,

control and fast recycling made for an edge-of-your-seat bout.

but London’s win was a convincing 407-36.

A hard fought game between two extremely evenly matched

Rocky vs. Toronto, although amazing to watch, felt slightly

teams turned out a close 205-132 to London and the day ended

fatigued from the start. Toronto seemed resigned to their third

on a high.

loss of the tournament and looked like they were playing more

Some early-bird die-hard roller derby amazoids turned out at

for fun than to win – which actually wasn’t a bad thing at all!

the ungodly hour of 8:30 a.m. on day two for an open scrimmage,

They were a little scrappy, which resulted in two players fouling

breaking all the weekend lie-in rules to pack as much skating into

out, and Rocky asserted their dominance throughout, ending with

one day as physically possible.

a 357-100 win.

As the lie-in masters started rolling in, the sheer amount of

And a special mention has to go to the amazing half-time

sunglasses-wearing going on indicated that the skaters and

entertainment of the day. Day one’s spacehopper race seemed

announcers might have some work to do to get the crowd amped

unbeatable at the time, but a troupe of totally awesome

up again – at least until the day-one hangovers wore off. But we

gymnasts pretty much blew everything else in the world out of

needn’t have worried – the atmosphere was brilliant from the first

the water (in fact, the loudest cheer of the weekend was

whistle, with leagues from all over the UK and even further afield

probably theirs).

excited to take in roller derby at the highest level.

It’s amazing to think that, just four years ago, there had never

Toronto vs. Detroit was always going to be a hell of a game,

been a WFTDA tournament off of North American soil. Thanks to

and with both teams fighting for their first win of the weekend, the

the incredible hard work, dedication, and passion of those people

stakes were even higher. This bout will forever be remembered as

we watched on track and their colleagues in leagues across the

the battle of the biscuits – Kookie Doe and Cookie Rumble faced

world, we’re able to watch the very best roller derby this planet

off on the jam line time after time, and the audience loved it! With

has to offer right here in our backyards, wherever

both teams fielding extremely strong, nippy jammers, this result lay

those backyards may be.

in the hands of both teams’ blockers, and it was Detroit’s strong,

Here’s to the skaters, organizers, officials, volunteers, tiny

slow walls that gave the eventual advantage. The game was as

gymnasts, and the crowd that made Anarchy 2014 what it was –

close as the score shows: 199-159.

bloody brilliant. | Summer 2014 | 53

art and media

derby fashion



photography, production and art direction by Gregory Baxley and Minh Pham

styling by Erin Verlander and Amanda Everly makeup by Bre Diaz photo assistant and additional photography by Keelin Everly-Lang models: Beast Lightning, Ponyo Knees, Kae-Oss, Nana Nana Bruise You, Scara to Death, Nehi Nightmare, Avada Kedavra, J.CREWella, Sirius Mischief, Bresus Christ, Patience Grasshopper, and Shorty Ounce apparel and accessories provided by:,,,,,,,,,,,,,

7 1 Chica Bomb Hot Shorts

2 Fist of Fury Knuckle Ring

3 Getsome Scrimmage Jersey

4 Banatar Blue Stud Shorts

by Pivot Star Track Star Hoodie by Pivot Star

by Bullet Boutfits

by Getsome Athletics Fancy Tooth Necklace by Dotted with Hearts Bones Beanie by Rollerbones Knuckle iPhone Case by Bullet Boutfits

by Roller Derby Kicks Ass RDKA Original Jacket by Roller Derby Kicks Ass Silver Roller Skate Necklace by Derby Jewelery

54 | Summer 2014 |


AP’z Capriz by Derby Skinz Tail Windz 2 Uniform by Derby Skinz Arm Bandz by Derby Skinz Helmet Panty by Derby Skinz Heart Shaped Bearing Necklace by Dotted with Hearts








6 Black Star Sleeveless Hoodie

7 Boom Blast Star Leggings

8 Black Star Sleeveless Hoodie

9 Restyle Skeleton Leggings

by Skate Ink

by Bullet Boutfits Jam Pivot T-Shirt by Skate Ink

by Skate Ink

by Decypher Support Local Derby T-Shirt by Star Pass Sin E Star Sleeveless Hoodie by Pivot Star Sunglasses by Rollerbones Hypno Orange Classic Shorts by Derby Skinz Bout Day T-Shirt by Bullet Boutfits


Capriz by Derby Skinz BlockHer Uniform by Derby Skinz AP’z Capriz by Derby Skinz BlockHer Uniform by Derby Skinz Headbandz by Derby Skinz | Summer 2014 | 55

art and media



8 1

Getsome Pants by Getsome Athletics Booty Shorts by Rollerbones Bloody Star Hoodie by Derby Skinz

2 Getsome Pants by Getsome Athletics Jam, Score, Repeat T-Shirt by Getsome Athletics Winged Skate Hip Bag with removable belt

by Flat Track Revolution Francey Pants Capris by Pivot Star Athletic Uniform Shirt by Pivot Star Heart Shaped Bearing Necklace by Dotted with Hearts Galaxy Headbandz by Derby Skinz Getsome Pants by Getsome Athletics

56 | Summer 2014 |

Chica Bomb Hot Shorts by Pivot Star Rolling Dead T-Shirt by Startle Handcrafted Bearing Necklace by Dotted with Hearts


9 3

Sunny Super Shine Leggings by Roller Derby Kicks Ass I Love Roller Derby Baseball T-Shirt by Bullet Boutfits Jammer Fanny Pack by Skate Ink Handcrafted Bearing Necklace by Dotted with Hearts




4 Sourpuss Derby Print

6 Hypno Orange Classic

7 Chica Bomb Hot Shorts

Dress by Decypher RDKA Original Jacket by Roller Derby Kicks Ass

Shorts by Derby Skinz Arm Bandz by Derby Skinz Bout Day T-Shirt by Bullet Boutfits

by Pivot Star Ladies Skates Long Sleeve T-Shirt by Skate Ink Sourpuss Hell on Wheels Purse by Decypher

5 Pink Leopard Leggings by Iron Doll Eye of the Tiger Sports Bra by Iron Doll Flowy Tank by Iron Doll Neon Lightning Bolt Necklace by Dotted with Hearts




12 8 Blue Leopard Leggings by Iron Doll Signature Series Bonnie Thunders T-Shirt by Skate Ink Support Local Derby Fanny Pack by Star Pass Rockabilly Reversible Cartoon Scarf by Bullet Boutfits Pink Sparkle High Wasted Shorts by Derby Skinz

Bout Day T-Shirt by Bullet Boutfits Smokey Ghost Leggingz by Derby Skinz Sorry I can’t. I have Roller Derby T-Shirt by Star Pass White Leaf Resin Necklace by Dotted with Hearts Smokey Ghost Headbandz by Derby Skinz




9 Booty Shorts

10 American Flag Capriz

11 Compression Capris

by Rollerbones Bloody Star Hoodie by Derby Skinz

by Derby Skinz Getsome Sleeveless Hoodie by Getsome Athletics Jammer Pivot Army O.G. Shoulder Bag by Skate Ink Sunglasses by Rollerbones

by Iron Doll Jammers T-Shirt by Skate Ink Racerback Hoodie by Iron Doll


Rainbow and Unicorn Leggings by Bullet Boutfits FTR Sleeveless Hoodie by Flat Track Revolution

13 Sugar Skullz High Wasted Shorts by Derby Skinz Open Back Flowy Tank by Iron Doll


Getsome Pants by Getsome Athletics Signature Series Demanda Riot T-Shirt by Skate Ink Jam, Score, Repeat T-Shirt by Getsome Athletics Simple Bearing Necklace by Dotted with Hearts Getsome Hoodie by Getsome Athletics | Summer 2014 | 57

art and media




1 Round Butt Compression Capris by Iron Doll Racerback Hoodie by Iron Doll Animalz Classic Shorts by Derby Skinz Bones Beanie by Rollerbones American Flag Capriz by Derby Skinz Getsome Sleeveless Hoodie by Getsome Athletics


8 Chica Bomb Hot Shorts by Pivot Star Track Star Hoodie by Pivot Star

58 | Summer 2014 |


9 2 Bite Size Tank Top

3 Jammer Pivot Army O.G.

4 Rainbow Lightning Capriz

5 Chica Bomb Hot Shorts

by Rollerbones Crystal Lightning Bolt Necklace and Earring Set by Bullet Boutfits Rockabilly Reversible Bloody Scarf by Bullet Boutfits

Shoulder Bag by Skate Ink Jammers Red O.G. Shoulder Bag by Skate Ink Skate or Die Army O.G. Shoulder Bag by Skate Ink Zebra Tote Bag by Startle

by Derby Skinz Ladies Star Long Sleeve Shirt by Skate Ink Support Local Derby Fanny Pack by Star Pass

by Pivot Star Track Star Hoodie by Pivot Star


6 Ivory Skull Print Sleeveless Top by Roller Derby Kicks Ass Crystal Lightning Bolt Necklace by Bullet Boutfits


11 7 Pink Sparkle High Wasted 8 Kreepsville 666 Skeleton Shorts by Derby Skinz Bout Day T-Shirt by Bullet Boutfits

Tunic Dress by Decypher Gold Bone Necklace by Dotted with Hearts


9 Compression Capris by Iron Doll Pink Leopard Jungle Fever Racerback by Iron Doll


13 10

Getsome Pants by Getsome Athletics Getsome Scrimmage Jersey by Getsome Athletics Fancy Tooth Necklace by Dotted with Hearts Bones Beanie by Rollerbones Knuckle iPhone Case by Bullet Boutfits


Restyle Skeleton Leggings by Decypher Sin E Star Sleeveless Hoodie by Pivot Star


Sunny Super Shine Leggings by Roller Derby Kicks Ass Hanging Skates Baseball T-Shirt by Bullet Boutfits Small Skate with Star Hip Bag by Flat Track Revolution Heart Shaped Bearing Necklace by Dotted with Hearts

13 Black Star Sleeveless Hoodie by Skate Ink | Summer 2014 | 59

art and media

skatefresh app H E L E N W H E E L S , R O C K Y M O U N TA I N R O L L E R G I R L S

Asha Kirkby is the founder and Head Instructor of Skatefresh, a skate school located in the UK since 1999, and has created the only current “Skate Tuition” App series called Skate Technique Quads and Skate Technique Roller Derby, which range in price from $8.99-$12.99. This app series is now available for iPhone and Android, offering a 2-part app with individual series of skate lessons in skate technique for roller derby and quad skating. These apps contain step-by-step instructions, with video demos and skill sequencing, which could be useful for those who train alone or are beginning roller derby in isolated regions, without abundant quality training opportunities. Many skills covered in the apps are part of WFTDA's minimum required skills list (stride, stop, transitions, jumps), however there are also some skills introduced that are not part of the WFTDA minimum skills requirements, and in fact one skill in the series (forward skating toe stop dragging to stop), is commonly viewed as an unsafe method of stopping in the WFTDA training.

Derby Apps trailer video:

60 | Summer 2014 |

This app claims to offer Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced skills in a step-by-step instruction format to improve skating technique along with suggestions to fix common problems. Asha uses simplistic language, and builds her tutorial from the basics speaking in an adorable British accent, which is quite charming to listen to from a Yank’s point of view. Her style of instruction seems to reflect a bias toward inlines, and Asha even admits, “I'm coming back to quads after a long absence and am loving them! But inlines are my ultimate love.” While I see the benefit in the app, I do question the need to spend good money on an app when there are resources – as good if not better, available for free on the Internet. In fact, a quick online search discovers Skatefresh – among other submissions, offering free quads and inline tutorials on the YouTube channel. I found these ‘Skatefresh Videos’ to be as beneficial if not better than the apps reviewed for this article. Of note, the apps are not interactive, whereas Asha has responded to queries posted on YouTube.

Free mini tutorials: lunge stop

how to steer



64 | Summer 2014 | 1. Official’s whistle is now gold. 2. Skater #82 is missing PivotStar logo on jersey. 3. Pivot stripe is now pink. 4. Team logo is missing from skater #84’s jersey. 5. Skater #84’s wheels are now orange. 6. Skater #8 on right is missing number on arm. 7. Red and white track rope is missing.

joe mac/midnight matinee


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fiveonfive | issue 24 | Summer 2014  

fiveonfive | issue 24 | Summer 2014