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proud partner of the WFTDA

fiveonfive contents 34-36

4-5 advice

ask ms d’fiant and suzy hotrod!

WFTDA WFTDA and MRDA explore a collaboration that will extend beyond a shared rule set. Vile Love It explains what that means for both organizations.

6-9 business bylaws by the skater, for the...?

10-15 health and fitness 16-28 games and coaching

Eric Korn

the magic stick core

48-49 Bout Braids

2014 WFTDA championships recap order of operations: assists part 2 opening jam strategies

Looking for a new way to tame your mane during bouts? Cat Owta Hell provides tutorials for several bout day braids.

30-32 gear foot pain management

38-39 junior derby


Ann Richards Roller Girls

Skating without a Rink

42-47 rookie

Southern Oregon Roller Girls find a creative space to skate after their local rink closes, proving that all you need is an open space and determination to make it work.

56-58 international derby 60-63 art and media

SWS Rockets Roller Derby League

start-up leagues: first year setup newbies and muscle conditioning

editor miss jane redrum fort wayne derby girls copy editor and content manager vera n. sayne rocky mountain rollergirls

from the editor Welcome to the 26th issue of fiveonfive!

art director assaultin’ pepa rocky mountain rollergirls

Tournament season is over, which means most leagues enjoy a short

contributing writers ms d’fiant angel city derby girls

off-season and start planning for next season. Our goal is to provide you

suzy hotrod gotham girls roller derby sarge cajun roller girls bob noxious brewcity bruisers

with information year round to help your league be successful. In this issue, Suzy Hotrod and Ms. D’Fiant offer advice about avoiding burn out and how

major lil payne rocky mountain rollergirls

to be a penalty-free jammer. Fledgling leagues should check out the article

catholic cruel girl rocky mountain rollergirls

on page 6 that discusses the importance of bylaws. Veteran announcer

dr bob LA derby dolls

Bob Noxious poses an interesting question about our “for the skater by the

justice feelgood marshall windy city rollers

skater” credo – is it time for a change? Looking for a great core workout?

shocker khan rage city rollergirls coach old xchool tsunami sirens la petite mort fast girl skates

Dr. Bob of the LA Derby Dolls walks us through some simple exercises to help build strength on pages 14 and 15.

vile love it queen city rollergirls lois slain DC rollergirls emma foster ann richards roller girls

Did you miss any of the Championship action? Justice Feelgood Marshall’s full recap on pages 16-20 will get you up to speed.

bitches bruze southshire roller derby preditor-in-chief port scandalous roller derby

As the sport continues to evolve, so too does our content, but we can’t do

cat owta hell roughneck roller derby

it without you. Do you have a story idea? Send us an email at

kate runnels southern oregon roller girls We would love to hear from you.

chasing katy auld reekie roller girls rob vida lil chicago roller derby teqkillia windy city rollers 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.

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

Bob Noxious

Tony Bozich

Bob Noxious celebrates ten years announcing roller derby. Though you will find him at events around North America and Europe, his current focus is to apply his business background to helping leagues. The launch of his bi-weekly business tips pulls thousands of readers for each topic. More importantly, these tips are small sections of chapters, which will be posted once edited, on his employer’s site (Brown Paper Tickets). Once chapter are done, expect a full text to follow.

Kace O. DaMondaze Kace O. DaMondaze has been skating with Steel City Roller Derby (SCRD) in Pittsburgh, PA since 2011. She currently plays both jammer and blocker for one of SCRD’s three home teams, the Mon Monsters. Kace O. frequently plays in area open scrimmages, both co-ed and women only. She is looking forward to writing additional articles on roller derby, as well as starting a blog in the near future. Kace O. is a founding member of the Pittsburgh Derby Brats Junior Roller Derby league and has been coaching since February 2013.

Joshua Hudson

Tracy Williams (“Justice Feelgood Marshall”) has been involved in roller derby since 2005 as a referee, player, coach, announcer and writer. From 2007 to 2012, he served as the founding editor of In 2007, he also founded one of the first modern men’s teams in Baltimore’s Harm City Homicide and helped launch the Men’s Roller Derby Association. Currently he lives in Chicago, Illinois, and serves as a bench coach for the Windy City Rollers All-Stars and WCR home team Manic Attackers.

Jim Dier

Justice Feelgood Marshall

Coach Old Xchool Old Xchool started skating when he was eight years old using the outdoor clamp on skates and trained at the Roller Derby Training School in Oakland, California when he was 12. In 1980, he went into flat-track speed skating and became a certified speed skating official. He refereed about seven years until his job took him overseas where he started a beginner outdoor speed skating team on the military base. In 2010, he started coaching the local women’s Roller Derby team the Tsunami Sirens in Crescent City, California.

Jules Doyle

La Petite Mort A skater since childhood, Jennifer Savaglio (La Petite Mort, Rat City Rollergirls) fell in love with roller derby at first sight, opening Fast Girl Skates in 2007, the very first derby storefront in the world. She is a highly regarded authority on skates and gear, regularly collaborating with manufacturers worldwide and educating skaters at every level.


Suzy Hotrod

Ms D’Fiant

Gotham Girls Roller Derby New York, NY

Angel City Derby Girls Los Angeles, CA

DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, I keep hearing people say that derby isn’t as fun anymore. I’m still having a blast! How do I help keep it fun and keep all of my teammates interested? -FUN GIRL

DEAR FG, Hmm... Well how long have you played roller derby? Haha. No that’s not true, you could very well be a seasoned vet and still be having a blast. I have skated for ten ever-changing years and have said goodbye to many league mates as what their idea of “fun” changed, haha. As a person who has played derby a long time, we’re faced with an evolving sport. When roller derby started for me, it was very much a social gathering of non-athletic miscreants, um, and we drank A LOT. Everyone from the early years of derby has at least a few insane stories. Quite honestly, it’s a far more competitive sport now. Current roller derby has a very solid infrastructure. While still being a counterculture rooted scene, it is a real sport, and it attracts more women from athletic backgrounds; women who think fierce competition and winning is fun. The skill bar has been raised and the sport’s quality has improved. That means more demanding tryouts, higher minimum requirements for practices, off skates workouts, larger organized tournaments, traveling teams, rankings, WHEW! I have dealt with my own personal “No Fun” thoughts. Jamming was a lot more “fun” before teams decided to fuse four people’s bodies into a barely moving brick wall for example. But no matter how the game changes it will never change enough for me to not love the thrill of playing an actual game of roller derby. No matter what version of the game it is. It can be a game in front of hundreds of people, but the fun, camaraderie, and even heated emotions at times of a roller derby scrimmage is really what makes the sport for me. Our league’s drop-in scrimmages where we invite neighboring leagues to visit once a month are very popular and super fun. Ok, so on to your question. What can you do to keep teammates interested? Well one thing that is difficult is if you have newer and older career length skaters. It’s a lot easier to get the newbies excited and participating than it is to get the saltier seasoned vets. They’re just at different points in their skating careers mentally as far as time they will give. Try to keep it light and simple with time, don’t go adding three-day weekend camping trips (although some people really do like those, for me though, I’ll sleep on the ground when I’m dead.) Use already allocated derby time and try some alternative practice ideas. Get together to watch game footage and do a dinner potluck instead of practice. It turns into a bit of a social hour, and that’s good for the team to bond. Try an outdoor team skate. Surprise them and end practice early and have beer, pizza, popsicles, watermelon etc., something simple. It shows your skaters you care about other things in addition to winning and it doesn’t require them to have to make another day dedicated to derby. Try a dual team practice where you invite another home team, another level of traveling team or a neighboring league. After our home team season wrapped up, we combined the home team practice to one group and I got to skate with league mates that I rarely train with in a smaller group and it was fun. Basically anything that doesn’t focus on competitive blood lust and instead promotes the supportive aspect of the sport as a whole helps with the fun factor. Other than activities, remind your teammates how much they thrive in the structured training routine. Sometimes when I get cranky with roller derby I remember that I need a schedule I am held accountable to, at a set place where there’s a planned practice for me to participate in. Ewww, treadmill, right? Remind them that they will mentally be unfit for the workplace without the roller derby outlet for aggression! Remind them that this is still a very specialized small world where you have friends you’ve never met in every city of the world. If you’re ever feeling the “no fun” bug, travel somewhere and see how warm you feel when a complete stranger takes you in to their home just because of roller derby. The community and the sport at its heart is still its own culture, a lifestyle, a home, and fun. It’s important to put that into perspective when things get a little too competitive. Stay fun! Crack a joke. Smile at practice. 4 | Winter 2014 |

DEAR FG, This is certainly a popular topic, lately. Well, here’s my take – I feel the only people complaining about fun are the old folk. People like me who have been hanging around this sport for the past decade and like to talk about how great it was “in the old days.” Funny, that sounds a little like the complaints the original roller derby skaters had when some of us thought it would be a good idea to bring back this sport ten years ago. When, with complete sincerity, we spoke of legitimizing a sport while wearing fishnets and spinning penalty wheels. I suggest you do exactly what we did then: give zero f’s. It’s not important to live up to some “golden days” expectations of anyone on Facebook. The truth is, there’s still a place for everyone in this sport. Heck, we even made room for dudes! The important decision now is finding a league that is a good fit for you because there are a lot of options out there. What are your derby career ambitions? Want to skate at Champs? Be prepared to train very hard. Which, I might add, is some people’s definition of “fun.” If you’d rather go out on the weekends and possibly after practice, join a league that has a heavier social schedule. Some leagues will have teams that can serve both types of skater. There are so many leagues in and around most cities that I truly feel skaters can find the perfect fit easier than ever. From the question, I get you’re still having a good time but maybe your teammates aren’t? Perhaps it’s your teammates complaining on social media? In that case, I wouldn’t put tremendous effort into trying to keep someone involved that has burnt out. It’s a losing battle and doesn’t make the fun happen for anyone involved. They continue to get more angsty, while you try harder to make them happy. Like any healthy relationship, sometimes people grow apart. Bottom line is if you’re having a blast, then you’re doing it right.

Kyle Thomson

DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, I want to start being a more “clean” jammer, but I don't want to be so concerned with penalties that I’m not aggressive anymore. Advice? -CLEAN JEAN

DEAR CJ, I never do anything different. I just try to be myself and some games are clean and some games are not. There are many factors at play, including your style, the opponent’s defensive style, and the referee crew. Lots of variables. You are spot on that you do not want to hold yourself back and lose your natural aggression. For a while, my cleanest games vs. my box heavy games wound up similar in scoring. I would be clean, but average effective on points scoring. If I was dirtier, I had radical shifts in big jams and jams where I got no points because I was in the box, a lot of it tied to my aggressiveness. But being that back and forth fouly jammer is not the teammate you want to be. Consistency is the goal. Skate away with +1 point and you win that game. Anyhoo, here’s some things I try to focus on to stay out of the box. Golden Rule: What you do in practice, you will do in a game. Good or bad. You’ll see it again on game day. • Only be crazy and gutsy at practice, or maybe not even then..? Crazily jumping the apex is cool and all, but it is risky. I will try it at practice, but I actually don’t do it too often anymore because it’s not worth the risk of it not working. I try to spend my time focusing on jamming through the pack attacking the walls. The thing with practice is I’ll try crazier things in a fun scrimmage. But the balance needs to be struck where you are really on your “game face” best behavior mode at practice consistently while scrimmaging. If you don’t practice that discipline how can you expect to see it consistently in a game? • No cuts, ever, never. Fine, be gutsy with jumping around trying new things in moderation. But never ever ever ever cut. EVER. NO CUTTING. EVER. You do something where you know you cut, keep your butt out of bounds and fix it. The rules are great now for fixing mistakes like this. I just cannot stress enough, there is no excuse to ever cut. Don’t do it consistently at practice, you’ll do it less in games. Control yourself. Know if you’ve done it. If you are getting called on cuts and totally looking at the referee like they just told you the sky was pink, you’re not aware of your own wheels and where they are along the boundary tape. Always listen to the ref. Even if you didn’t cut, you probably cut. There’s a person whose only job is to watch you jam and they keep their eyes like a hawk on those wheels. When I cut at practice, I know it was a risky move, I know I was experimenting, I know I could have cut and I wait to see if the ref calls me on it. I am never shocked when I get called on one. I may not choose to make that move on game day, but I need to practice it and try it out. • Arms. Focus on keeping them tucked in to your body. Forearms calls can happen a lot. Sometimes they’re legit. Sometimes your arm raised in an upward motion and it looks a heck of a lot like a forearm without the benefit of using the power of the arm... Still gets called a forearm. So keep those arms in control at all times. For me, I press my arms in to my body like it was in a sling. Other skaters keep them straight and pointed down. But control those arms. • Back Blocks: Ya know you should be hitting the cracks between skaters and not the backs of skaters! C’mon now. That’s more of a speed control issue, or a hitting a wall without aiming well enough at the cracks between the players. This is the penalty that I say you don’t want to compromise aggressiveness to stay clean. I think it’s important to keep the same intensity and focus it on the correct location of a wall, rather than take down aggression. Soooooo... Have fun at practice, play around with new things, and balance it with playing in game mode consistently at practice.

DEAR CJ, Boy, this is a fine line to skate. Personally, I noticed a marked uptick in penalties when I became more aggressive on skates. I consider it part of any skaters’ growth chart: 1. Learn to skate 2. Learn to play 3. Suck FOREVER 4. Suddenly, not suck 5. GO DIRECTLY TO THE BOX. FOREVER. Maybe I’m being dramatic. The good news is sometime after forever there is some clarity, but it’s going to take some work to get there. First, scrimmage with officials. Even better, scrimmage with the best officials you can find. The less-than-obvious point here is to be kind to your officials so they stay with your league. Also support their training and development. It will pay off in the end because the more you skate with good officials, the less surprised you’ll be when the penalties happen. Hence, the more you’ll understand what you’re doing wrong, which brings me to my next point. Watch all the footage. Notice the cameras at any games or scrimmages and find ways to get a copy. Reviewing footage is painful, but it’s the best thing for development. There is so much you will learn by watching yourself on camera. And if you don’t understand why something was called as a penalty, before you blame the refs... Read the rules. Then read them again. Read up on every penalty that you get as a skater, and then watch the penalties in your video again. Make sure you truly understand what actions are incurring the wrath of those whistle-blowers on the inside. While you’re in a reading mood, I’d also read the Officiating Manual. Learn about the team inside the track and their communications to have a 360 degree view on the game. Basically, if I continue my list above this is summarized by: 6. Education. Study up on your personal game, spend time tutoring with officials on the track and, very importantly, read those rules and any accompanying materials. There’s no need to be less aggressive, but you do need to be considerably more aware of your actions and the game around you to become less penalty prone.

need advice? email | Winter 2014 | 5



Sometime after there was a decision to form your group of women into

Are bylaws really necessary for my team? We are just a small group.

a roller derby league; after the first loose meetings to decide when and

For many States, there is a requirement that non-profit organizations

where to practice and who is going to be involved in the league and in

have bylaws. The IRS does not require bylaws but they do make this

what way, there comes a need for organization.


The group usually looks for a leader first. It may be the person who

“Bylaws are an organization’s internal operating rules. Federal tax law

decided to form the group or someone who just seems to take charge.

does not require specific language in the bylaws of most organizations.

Then come the questions... Will the leader be called the president? What

State law may require nonprofit corporations to have bylaws, however,

day will we have our monthly meeting? Will we have committees? How

and nonprofit organizations generally find it advisable to have internal

do we decide who will be the coach? What procedures will we use to

operating rules.”

keep our meetings flowing without disruptions? Without organization,

In addition, when your league moves from Apprentice status to Full

the league would not be able to function properly. When these questions

WFTDA status, there is a requirement that you must create bylaws for

arise, groups as large as corporations down to small church groups

your league.

refer to their bylaws.

Under the Full WFTDA league requirements it states: Leagues applying

What are bylaws?

to the WFTDA Apprentice Program need to meet the following WFTDA

Bylaws are a list of rules that govern an organization. They are created

membership requirements: your league must be “Governed by democratic

by and voted on by the members of the organization to suit the particular

principles and practices.” Further, there is a requirement that you must

needs of that organization. There is really no one way to create bylaws,

have League bylaws – please draw attention to the section of the bylaws

as they are as different as the organizations that need them. But in

that cover governance by democratic principles and practices, as well as

general, the bylaws are organized by articles and sections.

your overall management structure.

A common guide that gives a good recommendation for creating bylaws is called Robert’s Rules of Order. If you are unfamiliar with how to

Meetings without rules frequently spin out of control as members try to talk over each other and out of order. In order to keep these problems

run an organization, this is a good place to start. It may also be advisable

from happening, your bylaws should state what type of parliamentary

to seek the experience of someone in the legal field or someone who has

procedure the organization will use. Robert’s Rules of Order is one method

actually been the president of another organization for a while to help you

in use, but there are others. RRoO is sometimes considered cumbersome

set up your particular set of bylaws.

for a small group to use; however, these rules are intended to make sure

When creating bylaws it may also be a good thing to know that bylaws can be a “two way sword,” meaning there are benefits as well as

everyone has a fair chance to say what they want to say. Because WFTDA requires a league to operate under democratic principles,

repercussions when creating bylaws. Bylaws are considered a legal

bylaws are of the utmost importance. One way to ensure this is by using

document, which means you have to adhere to what you create. There

parliamentary procedure, which is a system of rules that a group may agree

are times when it is good to carve your rules in stone, but you may back

to use in order to promote orderly discussion about common concerns and

yourself into a corner that is difficult to get out of as things arise that were

make decisions about what the group should do. It assumes that everyone in

not thought out ahead well enough. A little forethought is prudent at this

a group has equal importance and is entitled to vote.

time, although it is not necessary to try to think of every possible situation that may arise. Later, after the group has been operating for a while, questions

Bylaws also define the structure of the organization, without them there would be total disorder. Bylaws list things, such as the rights that members have, how much power the governing board has, whether

may come up, such as... What happens when someone who heads

the board has power to make decisions or will major decisions have

a committee fails to show up four months in a row? This is a time

to be made by a vote of the members. What power will the board have

when you need to know that you can amend your bylaws. As

in an emergency when it is not feasible to call for a vote from all the

organizations change, bylaws need to change to fit the needs

membership? What will be the balance of power? Under democratic

of the group.

principles, there implies a balance between those who run the

6 | Winter 2014 |

organization and those who are members of the league. Sometimes this

Section 3: Terms of Office. Duties of each office and how long will

means the person who started a league may have to give up some of the

each position serve?

decision making power and cede to the interests of the league. Things

Other items such as Removal from Office and Vacancies

also change over time... What worked when you were an apprentice

need to be addressed here.

league may not necessarily continue into your full league status. Therefore, defining the structure of the organization in the bylaws usually

5. Meetings Section 1: Meeting day. When will it be? Will there need to be

includes the following headings under Articles and sections in this order:

notification of meetings?

1. Name of the Organization

Will a quorum be required? Special meetings, emergencies?

2. Object or purpose

6. Executive Board

3. Membership

Sections: Board composition, Board meetings, Removal from office and

4. Officers

vacancies. Can the board remove someone or should it be a

5. Meetings

membership vote?

6. Executive Board

7. Committees

7. Committees

Create committees and assignments – Membership, Fundraising, Bout

8. Parliamentary Authority

Production, Publicity, Recruitment, Referees, League Liaison, WFTDA

9. Amendments

Liaison, etc.

Depending on the size of your league, you may want to add articles to further define the organization. Next you will create sections under the articles to further define

8. Parliamentary Authority If you choose to use Robert’s Rules of Order... list it here. RRoO is the most commonly used Parliamentary Authority, although there

the criteria that will make your league successful.

are others. By adopting these rules, the particulars of an orderly

1. Name of the Organization

meeting are set up. This is where the rules for when a person

Should agree with all legal documents. 2. Object or Purpose Example: Section 1; create your derby purpose and list it here. 3. Membership Section 1: Will the organization have classes of members? Active, Inactive, Honorary? Section 2: Eligibility for membership. Section 3: Dues or Fees. How much? When are they due? What if they are not paid? Section 4: Requirements. Some organizations have an attendance requirement, etc. Section 5: Disciplinary procedures. May not be necessary, but what happens if you need it... (Be cognizant of the “double edged sword” principle here.) Section 6: Resignation procedures. 4. Officers Section 1: Name the officers in order of ranking. Additional sections should name their duties. Examples: President, Vice-President(s), Secretary, Treasurer, Board Members.Can also include Parliamentarian, Historian

“Having the floor” and “making motions and adopting motions” are set. The president or presiding officer enforces these rules and keeps the meetings orderly. Also be aware that the current up-to-date and official version of Robert’s Rules of Order is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, Eleventh Edition. 9. Amending Bylaws As your organization grows, it will become necessary to change some of the bylaws that were created earlier. The way to do this is by adopting amendments. It is wise to make a note about the date an item was amended. It is also a good idea to make a footnote in the document as to the last time the bylaws were revised to ensure you are using the most up-to-date version of your bylaws. These are the basics of bylaws. When beginning your league, remember to keep your bylaws as simple as possible. With the growth of the league, the need for organization will become apparent and sometimes painfully obvious. Proper use of your bylaws will help ensure the success of your league for years to come if given a little care from the beginning.

Section 2: Nominations and Elections. When will elections be held? What will be the nomination procedure? Will there be a ballot vote? Will there be absentee voting? (There are a lot of questions that can arise... so be careful listing these.) | Winter 2014 | 7


by the skater for the... ? BOB NOXIOUS, BREWCITY BRUISERS

How would you finish that statement? The natural answer is, “By the skater for the skater.” Certainly, early on, this was roller derby’s motto. The idea was to keep the sport in the hands of those who had built it. But, a decade later, has it gone too far? Skaters create the rules and decide if they like or don’t like the game’s play, and if production isn’t considered a big deal, where does catering to the fan come in? A number of skaters LOVE the mental challenge of the current rule set, and downplay the production aspect of the sport, but have YOU looked at the effect it has on your customers; your fans? the honeymoon period has ended For nearly ten years, we had amazing crowds with little marketing. We were a viable entertainment option! So why, in the last few years, have so many leagues fought their budgets, often lost money, or afraid of losing venues, due to decreased income and higher travel expenses? Because the answer has to become “By the skater for the fan.” If Rat City’s use of crowdfunding to save their practice facility wasn’t the wakeup call of all wakeup calls (remember, they likely held the single game attendance record three years ago), it should be. A bit of history. Believe me, the most significant increases in derby’s fan attendance and new skater interest came during the sport’s honeymoon period, which is over. At first, it was A&E’s series Rollergirls that produced a sudden change in the public’s interest. Plus, news outlets constantly wanted stories for the first few years of each league as we were the “hot item” in town. Then, the significance of both the theatrical and DVD release of Whip It far exceeded expectations. Four years ago, still, new leagues were opening to crowds of over 1500 in a number of cases. That moment is gone and isn’t likely to return without a lot of work. Today, our growth is totally on us. proper understanding of business acumen is crucial My role announcing and as a business resource to leagues has shown announcing is not nearly as important as business contributions. Not when consistent messages with “Help!” in the subject line are becoming plentiful. I’ve always been in this for all of you. I’ve cut my mic time considerably to focus on teaching better business practices. My pedigree, a BA in Business Management, followed by years running department 8 | Winter 2014 |

stores, is important. Being in charge of budgets, marketing, and personnel issues for stores that produced millions of dollars annually, I was accountable to superiors daily when sales trends were up or down. Do I get the stress, thinking on your feet, and analysis of business? My career survival depended on it. by the skater for the fan I sound like a broken record, but remember, once you sell tickets, you are a business. There is not a threat of losing your ability to control your leagues. They are YOURS. The company is yours. It’s time to look at fans as customers. Like any business, there are many decisions to be made in order to make a profit. The ONLY ways profit increases is to grow your fan-base, sell more merchandise, or charge higher prices (which could backfire), increase fundraising, or lower expenses. Other than growing your fan base and eliminating less important expenses, the rest is hard to imagine. So, if things are a struggle, what will it be? Putting on a show the fans like? “By the skater, for the fan?” I should hope so. Unless you don’t mind playing for fun behind closed doors, either adapt your production, your outreach for ticket sales, or give them a night to remember, because many are obviously not. fan retention The new word that’s being heard as much as ticket sales is fan retention. The idea that even if we pull in a fair number of fans, why are so many not returning? There is a disconnect between what you offer and what fans hoped for. I can give you solid ideas on how to better increase the fans coming through the door, but if they’re only coming once, your pool of new fans continually gets smaller. Here’s an exercise for you. Have someone use the panoramic option on their phone’s camera to take a photo at the beginning of the night, then after each halftime, and at the night’s conclusion. Many need a visual to understand. This provides it. I’d recommend having someone at the exit doors at the first halftime, and also afterward, and ask why they are leaving. Don’t let them off easy, or you don’t learn anything. Ask them why they are leaving, if they understood the game, if they enjoyed the game, and let them know it’s OK to not just provide the polite answers. Be proactive!

Jules Doyle

so, what are you going to do? Change how you play? First, it’s not WFTDA’s fault for the speed of the game and the way it’s being played. They made revisions to try to better define the game and it only takes one coach to find loopholes that everyone seems to follow. Yes, the passive offense, though you may like it, is so confusing to fans. As an announcer, I have the best seat in the house. My job is to explain what is happening and to do it succinctly. It’s nearly impossible, in a few sentences, to explain why they can stop, the theory of pack destruction, and reformation. I know people are confused, as they approach at halftimes fairly often to ask. That’s only part of it. As a guy who is a fan of the sport, it’s so hard to watch and enjoy. It has a strategic place in the game, but it’s so often played without reason. You have to decide if this stops or not. If you are unsanctioned, play the game you want to. If you are, use it sporadically, when it makes sense. If you hate it, let your WFTDA representatives know.

make the night memorable Don’t kill production value, make it better. Have a fun opening for the teams or videos that can run on screens or jumbotrons. Keep skaters accessible to fans. Have autograph tables on the way in and way out so fans, especially kids, have access to their heroes. Make each half-time short, but memorable with great acts or contests. Make the entire night enjoyable. Nobody wants teams to experience issues that leave them in financial trouble or constant worry that every bout has to be “the one.” You have ways to help prevent this. The answer is giving fans what they want, making it consistent, selling more tickets, and getting them to return. Bob, who works for Brown Paper Tickets, has begun a bi-weekly Business Tips program published in his blog on the Brown Paper tickets site. The success, as far as readership, has been overwhelming. To learn how to sell more tickets effectively, recruiting techniques, the holiday boon, and more, simply find them all at | Winter 2014 | 9

health and fitness

the magic stick! M A J O R L I L PAY N E , R O C K Y M O U N TA I N R O L L E R G I R L S P H OTO S B Y DAV E WO O D P H OTO G R A P H Y

“What’s that?” I often get asked, as I’m bent over rubbing a big, hard stick up and down my legs. “It’s my magic stick!” I tell them. No, not the kind of magic stick Lil Kim and 50 Cent sing about. I’m talking about my muscle massage roller! Although, their lyrics “get a dose once, you gon’ want some more!” is actually quite fitting for this glorious piece of equipment. I use my “magic” stick before, during, and after every practice, and it has been a lifesaver. I grew up cart-wheeling and back-flipping on the gymnastics floor and tumbled my way through high school as a cheerleader. The result? Two foot surgeries and a chronic case of shin splints. Needless to say, below my knees is not a pain-free zone. I tried everything and anything to alleviate the pain; then, a few years ago, a trainer recommended that I give a muscle massage roller a try to relieve the pain in my shins and calves. I was skeptical at first. They look like glorified rolling pins after all. But after a few weeks of use, I was hooked! I’ve been using the same stick for several years, so recently I decided to expand my muscle massage rolling stick knowledge. I tried out four of the top massage sticks on the market, and here is what I discovered:

Hybrid Stick price: $44.50 website: relief: 5/10 The Hybrid Stick attempts to offer large muscle relief and precision relief for tough, smaller trigger point pains. But for me, it did not excel at either one. The small white coverings, designed for large muscles, did not add any extra relief compared to other rollers I tried. I found the red wheel in the middle, designed to target those small trigger point pains, too intense. Even with light pressure, it was painful to use. design: 6/10 The Hybrid Stick is slightly flexible, which is a unique feature, and one that I found really useful. While it doesn’t bend far, it still allows for reaching angles of the muscle for which a rigid stick would have to be repositioned. But the wheel in the middle limits the area that you can roll out, requiring you to reposition often. Also, the small white coverings can catch the fabric of your clothes if you move the stick too fast. verdict: 5/10 Too many bells and whistles. The Hybrid Stick is not a bad product, but it tries to do too much. It falls short in both types of pain relief and its features often hinder more than they help. With a $40+ price tag, you pay way more than you get.

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Pro-Tec Roller Massager price: $29.95 website: relief: 7/10 The Pro-Tec Roller Massager did provide relief, but it fell in between the large muscle relief of the Tiger Tail and the Restore Pressure Point Massager. Using the rounded grips on knots in my muscle did help loosen them. design: 6/10 The Pro-Tec Roller Massager is broken into three raised Vynafoam sections which are supposed to “‘sink’ into soft tissue to roll out tightness. While it did provide relief, the separate Vynafoam sections did not cover a lot of muscle at once. So I had to use it for a much longer than I did the other rollers to get the same relief. For example, while rolling the massager over my thigh, I had to continually reposition it to cover the whole muscle. The rounded grips effectively provide trigger point release on the knots in my muscles. verdict: 7/10 There’s nothing mind blowing about the Pro-Tec Massager. Its touted feature, the Vynafoam sections, does not provide any more relief than its competition, but at the end of the day it works.

Restore Pressure Point Massager price: $14.98 website: relief: 8/10 For trigger point release, the Restore Pressure Point Massager provides excellent relief. For large area pain relief, it’s not very effective, but that’s not what it was designed to do. design: 7/10 The spiked balls provided a more intense release to specific pained muscle areas than the other rollers. It did not take a lot of pressure to hit the injured muscle. A few dings were that it was a bit hard to grip if your hands were sweaty and the spikes on the ball can leave tiny indents if you’re using it on exposed skin. Don’t worry though, the indents faded away. verdict: 8/10 This inexpensive stick offers a deep release of trigger point pain. While it loses some points in a few areas, those are minor. It does exactly what it promises. Great bang for your buck. Added bonus, by putting it on the floor, you can use the curve of the ball to relieve pain in the bottom of your feet. | Winter 2014 | 11

health and fitness THE WINNERS: Tiger Tail AND the Restore Pressure Point Massager! I found the best relief for my shin and calf pain when I used

Tiger Tail-The Classic 18” price: $34.95 website: relief: 8/10 This roller offers the most pain relief to a large area of the muscle out of the four, but it is not as effective when it comes to trigger point areas. design: 8/10 The roller’s simple design allows for the ability to easily maneuver the stick on all areas of the body. Since the material is a solid covering of the whole stick, it distributes pressure evenly, which allows you to make minute adjustments to how deep of a massage you want. The handles are easy to hold even with wrist guards and sweaty hands. This roller is a great combination of a rolling pin and foam roller. Unfortunately, it does not reach the small, trigger point areas as easily as other massage rollers. verdict: 9/10 This product is a popular muscle massage roller for a reason. It allows wide spread pain relief to a large muscle area and it easy for anyone to use. While it’s the 2nd most expensive roller that I tried, it’s definitely worth the money.

both of these products in tandem. The Restore Press Point Massager could reach my small, specific pained muscle areas while the Tiger Tail was perfect for when I needed to quickly release pain in a large area of muscle. To combat my shin splint agony I rolled the Tiger Tail on the inside and outside of my shin and calf and then stood on the Restore Pressure Point Massager and rolled the balls on the arch of my feet. Now that you’ve seen my recommendation, you may have a few questions, such as how do I use a muscle massage roller and how often should I use it? What I love about using a muscle massage stick is that its simplicity allows you to adjust it to meet your needs. You can apply as much or as little pressure as needed depending on the pain. And you can use it for as long as feels comfortable to you. Plus, it’s portable, so you can take it wherever you go and use it whenever you want. Personally, I bring my Tiger Tail to every practice and game. It has been an essential item in my derby bag, although I would recommend packing it in your checked bag while traveling via airplane; as the TSA tends you give quite the look. Whenever I feel my shin splints coming on, I skate off to the side and use my “magic” stick. I start by placing the roller on the outside of my tibia (shin bone) and work my way up from my ankle to knee stopping to spend more time on areas that are really irritated. I have found that successful temporary relief is usually completed in 30 to 45 seconds. Once I have worked on my shins, I immediately massage my calves since the calf and shin work closely together. I now utilize the combination of the Tiger Tail and Restore Pressure Point Massager either before or after skating so I don’t have to worry about the hassle of taking my skates on and off. While it’s not a cure all for shin and calf pain, in combination with stretching, a muscle massage stick can be a valuable tool to help prevent and reduce muscle injuries, improve flexibility and speed up muscle recovery.

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Pasta Puttanesca Catholic Cruel Girl, Rocky Mountain Rollergirls photo by Jean Schwarzwalder

According to folklore, the “ladies of the night” in Italy would prepare this dish to lure men from the streets into the houses of ill repute. “Puttanesca” translates to “in the style of the whore.” Although there are many variations on this classic, the use of garlic, tomatoes, olives, and capers are the staple ingredients. This dish is quick and easy to make and perfectly comforting for winter weather. ingredients 1 box linguine 2 cups eggplant, chopped 5 garlic cloves, minced 1 28 oz. can whole fire roasted tomatoes ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped ½ cup yellow onion, chopped 1 cup fresh basil, finely chopped 2 tablespoons capers ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes ¼ cup dry white wine 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar Pinch of coarse sea salt

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, chop eggplant and sprinkle with salt. Let sit in a bowl for 5 minutes. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and eggplant. Stir occasionally for about 3 minutes. Add onion, garlic, white wine and balsamic vinegar. Continue sautéing for 3 minutes. In a blender, puree tomatoes and add to sauté pan. Add red pepper flakes, olives, capers and salt. Continue to sauté for 3 minutes. Place cooked pasta into bowls and spoon desired amount of sauce. Sprinkle basil over the top and dig in. | Winter 2014 | 13

health and fitness


Core! Core! Core! All around you everyone talks about core strengthening. Many people say core but only think abs. The spinal column rests on top of the sacrum (the tailbone). If it was a structure, it would be a tower or a column, built on a platform with a 33° slope. The core muscles help to keep this tower from sliding down this slope or from toppling forward. The muscles that do this job are the abs and quadriceps in the front, and the glutes and hamstrings in the back. These four muscle groups help work to maintain balance and stability for the spine as it sits on this angled surface of the sacrum. In many ways, the vertebrae of the spine could be considered a bunch of blocks stacked one on top of another. Not only do we need to keep the tower from sliding off of the platform, we have to keep these blocks from sliding off of each other, but still allow each block the ability to rotate, flex and extend. The abs, hamstrings and glutes all help stabilize the platform, but it is up to the back muscles, the quadratus lumborum, erector spinae, lats, rhomboids and more to maintain the stability of the spinal vertebrae. Okay, enough of the anatomy. How do we apply this to sports? Look at a tennis player who is set to receive a serve or a baseball infielder set and waiting for a ground ball. Their knees are bent, their shoulders are back and their back is straight. This is also derby stance! Your knees are bent, ready to spring you into action in one direction or another. For this to be the most effective, the vertebrae have to be locked one on top of the other, otherwise, it's like trying to wave a balloon. You want your legs, hips, and back to move as a unit.

To do so, it is critical that the shoulders are back and the spine is locked and ready to move as the legs drive this stack of blocks left, right, forward, or backward. Try doing a transition without your core engaged. Usually it is a disaster. If your spine is not locked and loaded, you can drive with your legs and hips, but your upper body will only lag behind, making your motion slow and leaving you more unstable. Think again of derby stance: you are bent forward. Your abs are not keeping you from falling forward, it's your glutes and your back muscles. You spend hours and hours bent in this position. Look at the skater that is getting tired. Her hands are on her knees, her back is hunched and her shoulders are rolled forward and down. Her abs may look great, but she'll still go down much easier than someone whose spine is properly loaded and locked. Muscles possess four key qualities: endurance, flexibility, strength, and the ability of a muscle to work in coordination with other muscles. Your training team is hopefully taking care of the stamina and hopefully Joe Mac/Midnight Matinee

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you are all taking time to stretch before and after practice. The ability of a muscle to work in coordination with others is essentially balance. This is important in sports, especially contact sports, but when you do a contact sport on roller skates, balance is critical. A balance board is one of my favorite tools to help train the core muscles to work in coordination with each other. To balance yourself, your core muscle, as well as just about every muscle from the feet to the neck, are part of the process. This constant rapid firing, relaxing and re-firing of the muscles not only improves your balance, it trains you to make those adjustments quicker, as well. Want to take it to the next level? Try one foot, or stand on the balance board and throw a ball back and forth with someone or have someone stand behind you and give you gentle pushes on your hips back and shoulders. Balance boards are easy to make and relatively inexpensive. I tell patients, put it in your living room and use it every time there is a commercial!

Strengthening these muscles is a little more awkward than the arms, the chest, and the abs. A gym ball is a great tool. To strengthen the mid and lower back muscles, you can do back extensions (fig 2). For between the shoulder blades you can use it to do rows (fig 3). If you have a rowing machine, or a rowboat for that matter, you can do both at once. The third muscle group would be the lower trapezius and lats or latisimus dorsi muscles. Without a machine to do pull downs, this muscle group is a little trickier to strengthen. In a team setting, there are also floor exercises to strengthen these muscles (fig 4). These include planks where you transition from face down to side position and back (fig 5). There are many ways to strengthen these muscle groups. The important thing is to make them an integral part of your work out. Now take this information and find a way to incorporate it in to your teams or your personal work out. You will be stronger and more formidable than you already are. Of course, if you have questions, please feel free to email me at | Winter 2014 | 15

games and coaching

2014 WFTDA championships J U S T I C E F E E L G O O D M A R S H A L L , W I N DY C I T Y R O L L E R S P H OTO S B Y J O E M A C / M I D N I G H T M AT I N E E

WFTDA Championships, held in Nashville, TN, once again brought the top 12 WFTDA teams in the world to the same track. Victorian was the only team making a first-time appearance at Championships; meanwhile, Rose City (last seen in 2011) and Minnesota (last seen in 2012) were returning after having missed the previous year. The other 9 teams – Gotham, Denver, London, Windy City, Texas, Bay Area, Angel City, Rocky Mountain and Philly – were all returning from last year’s Championships in Milwaukee. Like every year, the WFTDA’s marquee tournament included some new storylines and surprises – Rose City’s jammer Loren Mutch, a relatively recent graduate of Rose City’s junior derby program, was dominant enough this fall to win MVP at both Playoffs and Championships – and also included some standards, as all top seeds advanced and the topranked Gotham Girls reached the championship game for the 4th straight year. But they wouldn’t be facing the same opponent, and the final jam of the weekend would prove to be a whole new story unto itself. FRIDAY Friday’s action kicked off with a fairly narrow bout between Denver and Philly. Favored Denver came in ranked #8 in WFTDA and had put up a fairly good although eventually unsuccessful

battle against Gotham in the finals of the Sacramento playoffs, losing 193-89; Philly entered WFTDA Champs ranked #10 after taking 3rd place over Atlanta in the Charleston playoffs, 183-116. In Friday’s second game, Rocky Mountain faced off against Chicago’s Windy City in a game that saw the seedings not quite matching up with the rankings. Windy held a 2 seed after handing Texas their first loss of the year, a major upset in the semifinals of

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the Evansville playoffs. Meanwhile, Rocky Mountain was seeded third after defeating Charm City in the 3rd place game of the Salt Lake City playoffs, but Rocky was officially ranked #11 by WFTDA while Windy City was #12. Windy City had beaten Rocky Mountain 195-154 early in the 2014 season, but for the first half of this playoff matchup, it looked like Rocky Mountain would get revenge. RMRG jammers Sweet Mary Pain and Phantom Menace gave Windy City defense fits and the Rocky blockers stayed cleaner than Windy’s in the first 30. The game was back and forth throughout much of the second half, but in the end, Windy City advanced with a 214-192 win.

Next up was Texas against Angel City – another game in which the tournament seedings and official rankings didn’t match up following Texas’ 3rd place finish in Evansville and Angel City’s 2nd place finish in Salt Lake City. Texas came in officially ranked 5 in the world against Angel City’s 9, and clearly came in looking to reassert themselves.

Texas put out a remarkably varied jammer rotation in this one, giving the star to six different players and having Smarty Pants, Olivia Shootin John, Polly Gone and Fifi Nomenon all both jam and block. The Texecutioners never trailed from start to finish and seemed two steps ahead of Angel City for almost the whole time – except for a sequence very early in the second half. Texas claimed a 192-140 victory. Although the final score didn’t fully reflect it, Friday’s final bout between WFTDA #4 Victorian and WFTDA #7 Minnesota was arguably the closest of the day; the teams traded the lead seven times over the course of the game, but in the end, Victorian escaped with a 169-122 victory.

SATURDAY - QUARTERFINALS Much like 2013’s Championships, the Saturday quarterfinals saw all of the tournament’s top seeds – Bay Area, Rose City, Gotham and London – eliminating the teams that had advanced on Friday. The first team to go down was Denver, who was up against Bay Area, one of only two undefeated teams in 2014. Although the final score of Bay Area 169, Denver 130 was quite respectable on paper – in fact, it was Bay Area’s narrowest victory of the year – Denver spent the entire game a couple of jams outside of striking distance. The tone was set with the opening jam, a big 20-2 power jam win for Bay Area’s Bricktator as Denver’s Ashley Buscek had to watch from the box. Denver remained stuck at 2 points for the next three jams, allowing Bay Area to build a 33-2 lead to start, and things got as dire as 63-12 before Denver finally got some solid offense going. They won five out of the next six jams to make it a game again at 72-52, but Bay Area dominated the final few jams of the half to lead 92-60 at the break.

Bay Area eventually erased Denver’s entire first-half comeback, with the BAD lead peaking at 54 points with about 20 minutes to play, 134-80. As before, Denver was able to get some traction in the remainder of the half, but never got close enough to truly threaten for the lead. The end of the game was marked by clock-killing defense from Bay Area; with the score 169-130, not a single point was scored in the last three jams, as Bay Area was content to call things off with advantage. Rose City had even less trouble in their following game against Windy City – helped out considerably by a tremendously penalty-heavy opening for the underdog Windy that saw them lose every single skater on the track to a penalty in both of the first two jams. That translated to a 34-0 opener for Rose City’s Loren Mutch followed by a 25-1 to Scald Eagle that instantly gave Rose City a 59-1 lead. Windy City calmed down a bit following that sequence and managed to play Rose City evenly over the next ten minutes, going 26-26 to

a new score of 85-27 – but when they again managed to lose every single player to the box on the 12th jam, Loren Mutch made them pay for it with a huge 30-0. Just like that, Windy City had given up 89 power jam points in three frames, and was stuck in a 115-27 hole. Though Windy City continued to acquit themselves well with players on the track – they finished the half trailing 140-58, meaning the three huge power jams accounted for Rose City’s entire lead – there was no climbing out of that deficit. The second half was closer, but Rose City still solidly won it 111-75 to advance on a 251-133 final score. It proved to be the most penalty-heavy game of the weekend, as the teams combined for exactly 100 penalties in the game – 52 to Windy and 48 to Rose. | Winter 2014 | 17

games and coaching The third quarterfinal between Gotham and Texas was hotly anticipated, as it was a rematch of the 2013 Championship game in which Texas still had a last-jam prayer of landing a huge upset for the Hydra but eventually went down 199-173. This year in Nashville, the game opened looking as if Texas might finish what they started in Milwaukee, but yet again Gotham was just too tough in the end. Gotham held a small 19-9 lead after six jams in this one, but a huge 23-0 jam for Texas’ Hauss the Boss against an uncharacteristically disorganized Gotham defense put Texas up 32-19 early. Gotham quickly settled down and tied the game at 43-43 minutes later on a 9-0 to ace Bonnie Thunders; the lead would get traded thrice in the waning moments of the first half before Gotham took a 77-58 advantage into the break.

Although Texas never led in the second half, the game was still very much in question going into the last ten minutes. Texas was within single-jam striking distance at 125-117 with eight minutes to play, but ended up getting completely shut out in those final minutes as Gotham repeatedly put out ace blockers Sexy Slaydie, OMG WTF and Mick Swagger while Bonnie Thunders jammed 3 of the last 5 jams and picked up 26 key insurance points in the process. After a final 12-0 to Suzy Hotrod, Gotham had a hard-fought 163-117 victory. Saturday’s final quarterfinal set the tournament’s two international teams against one another as underdogs Victorian took on London. The two halves of this game looked very different, as Victorian led at the break but London absolutely dominated the opening of the second half to get out with the win. Neither team had much luck getting big swings in the first half. London opened with a 18-9 lead after five jams, but Victorian went in front at about the 10 minute mark with their best sequence of the half – a 13-0, 1-0, 100 that gave them a 33-18 lead. They’d hold that lead for all but one jam of the remainder of the half, and went into the break leading 61-56.

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However, the second half couldn’t have started more badly for Victorian. Jammer Giles had to watch from the box as London’s Kamikaze Kitten racked 30-0, immediately followed by a 24-0 for Lexi Lightspeed. That 54-point swing put London up 110-61, and an 18-0 to Lexi followed by 9-0 to Stef Mainey with about 18 minutes left gave London an imposing 141-65 lead. It was good for London that the lead was so large, as Victorian staged a remarkably successful comeback push in the remaining time, outscoring London 77-32 but not able to get close enough to seriously threaten for the win. London eliminated Victorian 173-142.

SATURDAY – SEMIFINALS Saturday action continued with 1 seeds Bay Area and Rose City facing off. Though Rose City was officially barely ranked over Bay Area, Bay had defeated them in their last two meetings – and Bay also hadn’t lost a game since last year’s Championships. Given that, Bay seemed to be the unofficial favorite – but Rose City stymied them at every turn in Nashville, cruising to an unexpectedly large 187-116 victory. Things were tight for the first 15 minutes or so, with the lead changing twice on the way to an early tie at 20 points, but Rose City never trailed again after breaking the tie there. 13-0 jams to Licker N Split and 19-8 to Scald Eagle with about 10 minutes to play in the half allowed Rose City to nearly double up Bay Area at 58-29, and they’d take a 79-54 lead into the break. As had been the case in Rose vs Windy, though, the difference maker turned out to be Rose City speedster Loren Mutch fully capitalizing on the opposing team’s penalty troubles. The very first jam of the second half saw Mutch rolling for 24-0 over a penalized Nock Nock, leaving Bay Area looking at a 49-point deficit, 103-54. For most of the rest of the half, the teams remained stalemated as Rose could only add 10 more points of differential over the next 20 minutes. When

Mutch got another power jam opportunity, though, she put the game out of reach with 24-4 over Lulu Lockjaw to make it 178-98 with under ten minutes to play. Soon afterwards, Rose City was on their way to the championship game with a 187-116 win. The other semifinal, between overwhelmingly favored Gotham and London, ended up looking very much like the Gotham / London meeting in July, where Gotham toasted London by 238 points, 294-56. Though London made it a little closer this time, there wasn’t much game to it

Bay Area continued to pour it on early, pushing the score to 90-12 before London finally started to push back, outscoring Bay Area 58-37 over the last 13 minutes of the half. Still, though, the 127-70 score only looked good for London in contrast to that nightmarish opening. The news didn’t get much better for London as Bay Area opened the second half with heavy defense keying a 52-7 run that had Bay Area leading by over 100 with about 20 minutes to play, 179-77. Bay Area’s lead peaked at 211-91 with about 13 minutes to play, and London would have to settle for the moral victory of getting the margin back into double digits with a final score of 238-148; Bay Area claimed the bronze medals at Championships for the second year in a row.

after the first handful of jams. Gotham was up 86-26 before ten minutes were gone, steadily increased their advantage to lead 135-53 at the break, and was even more dominant in the second half to end the game at 280-94, the biggest blowout of the weekend. SUNDAY – 3rd PLACE and CHAMPIONSHIP After a duo of Division II undercard games in the early afternoon – a riveting 1-point, 164-163 comeback win for Berlin’s Bear City over Las Vegas’ Sin City for 3rd place, and a somewhat less dramatic 244-125 victory for Detroit over Rideau Valley for 1st place in Division II – the top-level WFTDA action concluded on Sunday with Bay Area vs London for 3rd place and Gotham vs Rose City for the Hydra. Bay Area looked like a team annoyed to not be playing in the championship game, and wasted no time taking out their frustrations on a London team that had been comprehensively shut down by Gotham the previous night. Bay Area immediately took a 20-0 lead on the game’s first jam via Chantilly Mace; four jams later, Mace was back for a 29-0 run. With barely eight minutes gone, it was a lopsided 64-2 favoring Bay Area.

The crowd was electric for the final matchup between Gotham – bringing three Hydra wins in a row with them – and Rose City, who had proven themselves the most likely heirs with their surprisingly effective performance against Bay Area in the semifinals. The game proved to be the greatest challenge Gotham had ever faced in a WFTDA final and quite literally would not be decided until the final second. There was nearly zero daylight between the teams in the first half. Rose City pleased the underdog fans with a 10-3 lead after the opening three jams but Gotham’s Vicious Van Go-Go put the lead back in her team’s hands with a 15-0 over dangerous Loren Mutch to make it 18-10 Gotham early. The defending champs couldn’t get more than 11 points ahead before Rose City clawed back, though, tying the game at 31-31 on the back of a 40 to Loren Mutch. | Winter 2014 | 19

games and coaching Two jams later, it was a one-point game favoring Gotham at 36-35 when a crowd-pleasing jam saw incredibly slow defense from both teams locking down on Bonnie Thunders and Licker N Split, resulting in an extremely rare full-length jam in which neither jammer got lead and the pack failed to make a full lap around the track. A penalty to Licker near the very end opened the door for Gotham to open a 14-point lead over the next couple of jams at 49-35. That was Gotham’s biggest advantage of the first half, though, and it wouldn’t survive until the break – after a couple of lead changes in the final 5 minutes of the half, Rose City was up 64-58 at halftime, marking the only time 4-time champions Gotham had trailed at the midpoint of the WFTDA final. A very strong opening for Gotham in the second half saw them immediately retake the lead and go on a 47-4 run in just the first four jams, changing the score to 105-68. That 37-point lead was the largest either team would hold in the game, but it took Rose City almost the rest of the game to erase it. Yet again, Rose City’s Loren Mutch proved herself to be deadly on power jam, taking advantage of a Suzy Hotrod forearm to rack a much needed 18-0 for Rose and close the gap to 105-86. Just two jams later, Gotham handed Rose another power jam when Vicious Van Go Go fell in front of Rose City blocker Jes Rivas and tried to get a little too creative by attempting to crawl out between Rivas’ legs – she got a low block for her trouble, and Mutch got a 10-0 on the other side of the power jam, making it a 10 point game at 106-96 Gotham with about 18 minutes left in the game. Gotham was able to hold off the Rose advance a little bit longer, but Rose City finally caught them with 6:37 to play on a 3-0 for the ubiquitous Loren Mutch – that one tied the game at 123, and set up a final series for the ages.

Bob Ayers

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It kicked off with Suzy Hotrod scoring 4-0 over Scald Eagle to put Gotham back in the lead, but Loren Mutch answered with 8-0 over Bonnie Thunders to give Rose City the lead for the first time in the half, 131127, with 3:46 left to play at the beginning of the next jam. When Scald Eagle took lead over Gotham’s Suzy Hotrod on the next frame and lapped her twice, it looked like Rose City was on the verge of finally stopping Gotham’s streak – but after getting knocked out of bounds by a falling Sexy Slaydie, Scald hopped back onto the track just barely in front of a runback by Mick Swagger. That sent Scald to the box on a track cut, and gave Suzy enough time to get some points in a 13-5 jam for Rose City. Rose City tried to use their official review to get Scald out of the box, but got no satisfaction, leaving the situation at Rose City up 144-132, 1:43 left on the period clock and Bonnie Thunders on the line for Gotham. In a grim irony for Rose City fans, that 12-point lead was the largest Rose City had held in the bout so far – but it wouldn’t be enough to hold up for one more jam. Though Thunders started on power jam, she didn’t get lead jammer until Scald was released from the box, meaning Gotham’s defense of OMG WTF, Sexy Slaydie, Mick Swagger and Violet Knockout had to hold Scald long enough for Bonnie to pick up laps – which they just barely did, as OMG WTF caught Scald at the very top of the pack and Slaydie came in for a gamesaving knockdown that ended up being Slaydie’s 7th penalty of the game, leaving her fouling out with Swagger. Meanwhile, Rose City lost all but one of their blockers to the box trying to hold back Bonnie, and after taking the lead back Bonnie was able to go to jammer defense on Scald away from the pack, draining away the remainder of the period clock before Scald could get back in scoring position – critical, since Gotham only had one blocker left in the pack. When Bonnie called the jam on the period clock’s expiration, she had 15-0 – and Gotham’s 4th championship in a row with a 147-144 comeback win.

games and coaching

order of operations: assists SHOCKER KHAN, RAGE CITY ROLLERGIRLS

In the previous Order of Operations article, we discussed some basic assists every roller derby player should feel comfortable performing. Now that we are all on the same page, we can discuss the more advanced 360-degree whip (aka waitress whip), as well as some methods I have developed over the years to force skaters to properly perform assists. If you did not yet read the previous article, I highly recommend taking a break to go check it out before proceeding. To recap... we discussed the fundamentals of hip whips, hip pushes, outside arm whips, and inside arm whips. (All of these assists require both skaters involved to actively participate with the skater giving the whip drastically losing momentum in the process, giving their speed to the skater receiving the whip.) If you barely change speed when giving or receiving help from another skater, you are not correctly performing that skill and need to practice it until you notice a dramatic change to your momentum. Once you have practiced the basics and are able to give and receive amazing hip whips/pushes and inside/outside arm whips, you are ready to try some 360-degree whips, aka “Waitress Whips.”

worry she may not have it in her... instead, try this: • When the jammer approaches and is just over an arm's length away, transition to the left while giving the jammer the predetermined signal your team uses to indicate you are about to offer a WW. • Extend both arms toward your jammer, palms up, and thumbs/fingers together, slightly curled. • The jammer outstretches both arms to hook up with similarly shaped hands (thumbs/fingers together and curled). Each skater should be able to let go at any time during this assist,

ww: whipper ahead of jammer You see your jammer approaching from behind. She is out of breath, having finally made her way past that last opposing blocker, and needs to make it around to score one more point before the end of the jam in order for your team to win the bout. You could try to give her an outside arm whip, but that would require her to expend energy pulling away from you and you

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Joe Schwartz /

waitress whip To properly perform this advanced whip, you need to feel comfortable transitioning in close proximity to other skaters at any speed. While you should be able to transition in both directions, this move only requires skaters to be able to turn left. I teach and practice two variations of the Waitress Whip (WW). The first occurs when the skater giving the whip is ahead of the skater they are going to help and the second is when the whipper approaches from behind. Both variations end the same way, but the approach is completely different.

which is why the thumbs are against the palms and the fingers shaped like claws. If either skater is unable to release, one or both skaters are not connecting correctly and their technique needs to be reassessed. • Once the jammer accepts your offer, continue transitioning to the left as the jammer skates around you (toward the outside track). Each skater pulls away from each other as they perform this maneuver. This may take a few seconds, and the longer/harder you pull away from each other, the greater the energy/momentum transferred. • The whipper should significantly slow down when giving this whip, often coming to a stop; however, toe stops should not be used. If skaters use their toe stops when giving either WW, have them practice these skills during stopless practices (where skaters remove their toe stops for practice). ww: when approaching jammer from behind Now, let's say the situation is a little different and you notice your jammer struggling to get past that last blocker just a few feet ahead of you. You know your jammer is extremely tired, but the score is close and she needs to be able to make it around the track for another scoring pass before time runs out. You could try to force that blocker out of play, but that takes time and you risk the blocker hitting your jammer out of bounds before dragging her backward on the track. Instead, you decide to be proactive in order to help your team win the bout. • Skate on the outside track (right side) of your jammer (she will likely be on the inside track anyway, which is why you practice and perform this maneuver from the right hand side of the jammer).

• With your left hand, grasp the jammer's right hand as if you were on a first date. This lets your jammer know what is about to happen since you (should) have already practiced this many times. • Quickly speed up until you are slightly ahead of your jammer then, while still holding hands, transition to the left so you end up facing your jammer. In addition to transitioning, offer your other hand to your jammer while positioning the hands already attached into claws (thumbs in, fingers curled). • If done correctly and the stars align, you may also be able to position yourself so you end up blocking the opposing blocker while performing this assist. • After both your hands are hooked with the jammer's, continue transitioning to the left to whip the jammer around the outside track side (and, hopefully, around that last opposing blocker!). • As with the previous WW, both skaters pull away from each other and most, if not all, of the momentum should be transferred to the jammer. To help explain how to perform these assists, I have written the descriptions as a blocker assisting their jammer; however, jammers are not the only skaters who can benefit from these moves. If you see one of your fellow blockers struggling on the track and they could use a boost, one of these could make the difference between them getting goated or not. Now that we have described various assists skaters can use to help out a tired teammate, let's discuss a couple methods to force skaters to give/take momentum when performing these assists. Over the years, I became frustrated with skaters who barely touched me when practicing hip whips or when my momentum didn't change at all after receiving an outside arm whip. After some trial and error, I developed the following drills to force skaters to actually use their fellow teammates. | Winter 2014 | 23

games and coaching through the forest you go I like to have skaters perform this drill after they have practiced each assist on their own paired up on the track. They should have a general understanding of what they should be doing whether they are giving or receiving the whip. • Have skaters form a loose pack on the track. They should be able to have both arms outstretched in any direction without touching another skater. • Pack speed should be fast enough so that skaters are only able to make it to the next skater in the pack after performing a hip whip. Usually, this is on the fast side of a medium-fast pace. • The coach skates about 5-10 feet behind the pack and calls out one skater name at a time. • When a skater hears the coach call out their name, they immediately stop moving their skates at all and fall back out of the pack. • Once the chosen skater reaches the coach (who is still 5-10 feet behind the pack), the coach gives them a hip push that is just powerful enough to help them reach one of the last skaters in the pack. • The skater then pulls themselves through the pack, without moving their skates, by taking hip whips off of the skaters in the pack. • Once the skater passes the foremost skater in the pack, they can move their skates again and rejoin the pack in the front. • When performed correctly, skaters who have not completed the drill end up moving toward the back of the pack, which helps the coach know who still needs to go through the pack. The reason the coach (or designated skater if the coach is non-skating) skates behind the pack and pushes each skater is because skaters tend to “cheat” by continuing to move their skates if they start the drill by pulling themselves through the pack. When skaters are forced to stop skating completely, then are pushed by another skater into the pack, they tend to perform the drill much better. This drill may be used with a variety of assists, such as having the pack skaters assist (inside whip, outside whip, hip push, etc.) each skater through the pack. If the skater does not receive enough speed to make it to the next skater or ends up falling out of the pack, the coach/designated skater pushes them back into the pack.

24 | Winter 2014 |

whipping around the track After running the “Through the Forest You Go!” drill, I usually have skaters “Whip Around the Track.” This drill continues to force skaters to use each other when performing assists; however, they are forced at a much greater extent than the previous drill. This drill needs about 10-12 skaters on the track at a time, so the group of skaters may need to be divided and the drill run a few times so each skater can experience it. • After splitting skaters into groups (if needed), have the first group take to the track in a pace line that reaches all the way around the track. • The coach (or a designated skater) skates as the first and last skater in the pace line and the skaters spread out so they are equidistant from each other. • On the whistle, the skater in front of the coach stops moving their skates (they do not stop or put on the brakes, just coast). • Once the skater has coasted back far enough, the coach gives them a hip push hard enough for them to reach the next skater in the pace line, then they perform hip whips (alternating inside and outside whips) on each skater in the pace line until they reach the coach. • Once the skater hip whips around the skater behind the coach, they start skating again to join the pace line behind the coach. As with the previous drill, substitute different assists to create fun and interesting variations your skaters will enjoy. These drills are just the first steps to help skaters feel comfortable whipping their partner when faced with distractions and opponents in a real game-type scenario, especially if your team has only practiced assists by having skaters pair up to perform them on their own or by making their way through a normally spaced pace line. Once skaters get used to actually giving/receiving momentum when performing assists, they should be able to see how each whip can be used during an actual bout. Have skaters come up with assist-focused goals when scrimmaging and bouting and players are bound to help each other more often. In the next Order of Operations article, we discuss different stops and how skaters can get the most out of them by being in control the whole time and concentrating on often overlooked methods. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or would just like to reach out and say hi, you can email me at


drill courtesy of May Q. Pay

drill: salmon

purpose: learning to run back quickly while avoiding penalties

Number off one through four and have everyone on the

track at once, rolling in a large pack. The trainer will yell a number (one through four) and when your number is called, you run to the back of the pack as if you just hit the jammer out and are trying to force her back. The other skaters will try to stop you from going to the back by getting in your way or blocking you. When running back, you must avoid getting hit or make sure you turn around in front of an opposing blocker and move counter clockwise so you don’t get a penalty.

hit the jammer out and are ready to block her when she comes back in.

Masonite Burn

Blockers should make sure to set up as if they just

games and coaching

opening jam strategies C OA C H O L D X C H O O L , T S U N A M I S I R E N S

In the Winter 2013 issue of fiveonfive, I wrote an article called the CUP (Contested, Uncontested and Power jams), with respect to Opening Game, Middle Game and End Game Roller Derby tactical situations. With the CUP system in all phases of your roller derby program, suddenly you are all talking the same language. Most WFTDA derby jams start on the jam line (scrum starts) so my attention will be on jam line scrum starts. If your opponents are in predictable positions on the track at the jam start line, then running a play or a line stunt can give your team the tactical advantage. Take the assertive position and make your opponent react to you! There is almost no limit to the plays and stunts that can be ran from a scrum start position.

When you watch roller derby, you see the teams hustling to the jam line to secure the rear scrum start line for their team following each jam. It is easier to hold the jammer off the jam line forcing a “No Pack” or “Out of Play” from the rear line. Looking at figure 1, you can see that red has the rear line of defense and white has the front line of defense. Note the red jammer is on the outside line and the white jammer is to the inside. With these predefined skater positions we can run plays and stunts off the line at the jam start whistle. (Always keeping in mind your primary blocking responsibility is to control your opponent’s jammer.) B4 B3 B2



Before we get into the plays, let’s talk about who should call the plays. 1. Jammer makes first play call. 2. Floor captain makes a counter call, if needed. 3. Jammer makes final call. Use a code to communicate the play/stunt calls. It takes only about three words and some unique blocker position names. See figure 2. We are going to run an inside sweep using the inside skater to seal off the opponents wall. At the whistle, the jammer fakes outside pressure while watching her inside blocker. When the inside blocker makes her move to seal off the opponents wall, the red jammer exits the pack on the inside line.

26 | Winter 2014 |


Things to look for: red blockers, your first priority is still the white jammer and holding her in the pack. The inside red blocker is the key blocker, she must close the inside gap as soon as her red jammer has passed through. Note: the outside pressure applied by the red jammer will normally cause the inside white blocker to pinch up a little to help close the gaps in the white wall. This is when the inside red blocker makes her move to seal off. The directional block is always of concern here especially if you are running this sweep from the front line. With a little practice this will not be an issue.


In figure 3, the red jammer is in the same location but takes an outside gap to escape the pack. If your team is at the start line and you spot a miss match or a skater lined up out of position within your opponent’s wall, take advantage of the situation. More complicated plays using a motion skater and a trap block, these next groups of plays are best ran on the front line

Greg Paret, flickr/gparet

Note the alignment, red blocker is in the front facing (in a backwards skating position) the pack. The 2, 3, and 4 red


because they will not work if a team breaks too quickly away from the jam start line. The motion skater requires time to get into position. Figure 4 is an Outside Trap run from the front line. Notice how the red blockers (2, 3, and 4) are slant blocking down (inside direction) one white blocker. See how this leaves the outside white blocker standing alone? Now look at figure 5.


The inside red blocker with the red jammer go in motion at the start whistle, the white outside blocker is isolated and totally unaware. The critical thing here is the timing between the red motion blocker and the red motion jammer. The directional block is an easy foul to make in this situation! The tendency is for the white blocker to pinch downward as her teammates are blocked downward. Number one priority! As always, stop the opponent’s jammer! The name of the game is LEAD JAMMER. This trap play can be run to the inside, as well. You may also run the trap from the rear line if the other team is inclined to stand at the jam line and slug it out. More plays: One of my favorites is the thirty-one, the play evolves or can be pre-called inside or outside. Let’s set it up and run it in automatic, the starting position in figure 6.


blockers are set up in a three person wall. Note the red blockers are about five feet in front of the four person white wall. Responsibilities: 1. Red blocker 1 is the last line of defense for the red team. If the white jammer escapes the red blocker wall, she is in position to stop her from escaping and give red an opportunity to recycle the white jammer. 2. When the start whistle blows: a. Red three person wall will trap the white jammer. b. Red blocker 1 will hold her position. c. Red jammer will attack the white blocker wall at their strongest side, trying to get the white wall to pinch, normally they will pinch opposite from the red jammer’s attack. d. The red blocker 1 is reading the play and springs into action as soon as the white jammer is contained by the red 3 person wall. e. Red blocker 1 looking for the white wall to pinch inside or outside. 3. The red jammer is watching for her blocker 1 to come back and set the block. See figure 7.


The key to this play: The red jammer selling her strong side fake attack to get the white wall to collapse (pinch) on her and open up the blocker seal block. These are just a few of the plays that can be run. Think outside of the box. Anything is possible. Now let’s run a few line stunts. Cross Blocks and Loop Blocks: take a look at figures 8, 9 and 10 on the jam line at the jam start whistle. Line stunts are great to break up your opponent’s double team blocks or just change the routine for a blocker that is getting beat by their opponent. | Winter 2014 | 27

games and coaching

Greg Paret, flickr/gparet



Figure 8: Looping block with a cross block, red jammer can go between or around the inside block of the looping skater. Figure 9: Double Cross block, the jammer escapes through the center. The key to this block is the red blockers knowing who goes first as they cross. Figure 10: This power jam start alignment clearly sets up nice for white blockers (power jam), who are in position for a double team block on the red blocker 1. Normally when a team lines up for this double team situation they have a floor advantage. The counter move for red in this situation is to trap block the white blocker 1 with a looping block and try and pick off the jammer at the start whistle.

28 | Winter 2014 |


These stunts can be run together at the same time or separately. What does the situation call for? Running an inside loop and an outside cross block might be what you need for a particular situation. It will take some practice to get the timing down, put your opponents on their heels, and make them play your game! This is just some of the plays and stunts that can be run from a scrum start. This will get you more lead jams, and lead jams win games. See you next time and keep the shiny side up!


foot pain management J E N N I F E R S AVA G L I O A K A L A P E T I T E M O RT, FA S T G I R L S K AT E S

I get it. I have been a skater my entire life, and a skater/player/coach/teacher/retailer/product tester in the derby world for the past (gasp!) EIGHT years. I have broken in DOZENS of boots. Seriously, people. Dozens. Furthermore, if I had a Native American name it would be “tenderfoot”. I have skinny, meatless feet. Skin and bones. Very high arches and long toes. In the early days of the store, I made it a priority to find the best products for every type of foot pain. And as for breaking in boots, no matter the brand, I’ve done them ALL. But don’t just take my word for it. I also talk to hundreds of skaters every year both in my shop and when I travel. Boot fitting, though, and blisters? Oh yeah! That’s my specialty. Here’s a few things I know for sure: 1. Your toes should NEVER, EVER be curled away from the front of the boots. 2. ALL boots get bigger over time. ALL boots. Just not necessarily in length. 3. After initial break-in, you should be happy and look forward to putting on your skates. 4. It is far better to prevent blisters and hot spots/pressure, then to deal with an open wound or tender spot. You just might have to miss a practice or two to let something heal. Rest assured, most skaters have been there and understand and won’t judge or think you’re weak. 5. If you have pain either while skating or not, and you are resting, icing, compressing and elevating, and taking OTC meds and it is NOT improving, it’s time to see a doctor. *****DISCLAIMER****** I’m not a doctor (duh). So please, please go to a doctor and get a proper diagnosis when your pain doesn’t get better over time. These tips are for MINOR pain associated with breaking in new equipment.

new/breaking in: Some boots are heat moldable, some are leather with leather reinforcement in certain areas, some have rigid sides, and some have little reinforcement at all. TIPS: Heat molding can help when your boots need to be shaped to a narrow heel, or one particular spot needs to be pushed out for a bunion, for example, or if they are super snug and you want to express stretch them. First, notice and mark the spots giving you trouble. Next, heat the boots either in a boot oven, home oven or with a hair dryer on hot/high. For the love of all that is holy, be careful! Don’t touch any metal bits! With your hand or an implement, mold the boots where you need them re-shaped, or simply put them on with two pairs of thick socks and lace them very tightly until they cool. What implement, you ask? For a bunion or bunionette (bump on the outside of the pinky toe just below it), we heat the spot and use the handle end of a wrench or screwdriver to work that spot out by pushing on it and/or bracing it and leaving it over time. If you have a cobbler, roller rink or retail store near you, ask if they have a boot oven, or boot press or ball and ring press. And remember, less is more. It’s better to stretch a spot by small increments than make a giant stretched spot that then makes the boot too big. You can’t always get it back. Boots that are completely heat moldable can be molded over and over again with no lasting damage. For leather boots that have leather reinforcement around the back of the heel, on the outside of the right foot and (mercy!) along the arches can also be worked in and molded. Heat does help, but so does conditioning the leather and working in the spots with your hands, not unlike one would do with a baseball glove. Also, when your skates are warm after practice is a good time to work the leather or put something in the toes, for

boot fitting Proper boot fitting: Let’s apply common sense here. If your boots don’t fit right, you are going to never want to put them on. A correct fit is when the ball of your foot (front of foot right behind your toes) sits in the widest part of the boot, and the arch support to sits under your arches. The heel of your boot should hug your actual heel. Your toes can touch the front of the boots, but they should NEVER be curled! Ideally when the boot is new it should be snug while wearing thin socks because a boot only gets larger as you wear it. In soft toed boots, your toes should “feather” (read: barely touch) the front so the foot cannot slide forward and thus the heel cannot come out of the back of the boot. In a boot with a hard toe box, the snugness around the ball of the foot is critical, so as to not allow the foot to slide forward. Some skaters may find the toes touching the front of this type of boot painful. After these conditions are met, it is every skater’s personal choice of how tight they want or need their boots. Let me say that again. It’s your choice. Your retailer, online or in person, should be helping you to find your balance between performance and comfort. You should never feel pressured into a fit you can’t tolerate or you know isn’t right.

30 | Winter 2014 |

example to leave there to help them stretch. I used to shove my socks in the toes of my left boot after every practice. Gosh I still miss that left big toenail... But hey, over time, I could skate without crying! When you are new to skating and your feet are cramping or numb or just hurt: 1. Loosen your laces. 2. Loosen your trucks. 3. Make sure your skates fit. 4. Make sure you have the appropriate wheel for your level, stature, and skating surface. I know that seems overly simple, but as a new skater, you are developing by the second. Your skates and wheels need to adjust with you. The faster you learn to go and the better your form, the more you need your skates to be flexible and your feet able to be supported but relaxed. And you need to be able to feel what is going on with your feet. Numbness is antithetical to that! Fighting your skates is too. Clenching your feet and toes inside your skates is also not ideal.

what we endure for the love of derby Let me take y’all back so you can really appreciate what skaters will do for the love of this sport and skating. And also so you’ll know other skaters understand and have been there. I was a captain and fresh meat coach for many years in Seattle and I saw the pain skaters endure. I could always tell when they broke open a blister or had some truly hateful foot pain. I’d tell them to go take their skates off, show me the damage and I’d recommend how long they should not skate in order to heal. I could immediately see the fear in their eyes and read their thoughts: “They’ll think I’m weak and not want me on their team or roster!” Or, “I can’t miss practice!” Or “I just have to make it through ___ days and then I’ll rest...” Or “I don’t need toenails!” People, I have seen some broke ass grossness on the feet as far as blisters, bruising and swelling, and skaters trying to tell me they are just fine and can keep going. Sometimes as a captain, or coach, or trainer/teacher, you have to lay down the law and make the skater rest. I swear, we do it because we care! Here’s how much I personally did NOT want to stop skating when I had a real issue: (Gather round, ya’ll, grandma’s gonna tell a story...) Back in 2006 (when there was no such thing as CUTTING the track), I was getting ready to try out for Rat City and skating about five days a week. My skates were two sizes too big (surprise!) and my heel kept lifting out of the back of my skate. Eventually, I got a bursa, or grape sized red bump on my Achilles tendon that was so tender that when I put my skates on, I’d feel truly nauseous and usually cry. I had about a week before tryouts, and I went to the doctor. He informed me I had to NOT SKATE for a MONTH. (I know, right???) So instead of taking the advice of my doctor, I simply cut the back of my skate away in a U shape so it wouldn’t rub against the bursa. I went to tryouts and made a team. This is not to tell you that you should do what I did! In retrospect, I realize it was a terrible idea! I do wish I still had those skates to take a picture of, but I sold them in the early days I opened the store. One of the reasons we opened the store was because we wanted to end the saga of all of us having skates that were too big. | Winter 2014 | 31

gear long Days (tournaments/camps): When you find yourself with a marathon day of skating, proper care of your feet is essential. Remember, prevention is best. Some skaters benefit from removing their skates during breaks; some find they need to keep them on. Personal preferences learned over time. Some tips: 1. Elevate your feet when possible to prevent swelling. 2. Change socks. (this is helpful for some) 3. Use extra padding, special socks and any booties or products to lessen rubbing and pressure over time. 4. When your feet are done. Be DONE. Don’t push it so you miss the next day of training or a game. How well are you going to play if your feet hurt so bad you can’t concentrate? 5. When you get home, ice or very cold water soak and take an anti-inflammatory. Elevate and compress if you can. they USED to be perfect... There is another insidious thing we see happen quite frequently with skaters of all levels and ability: Random, sudden foot pain of all different types. For some, it’s the arch; others, the ball of the foot, the top of the foot, the front of the ankle, the back of the heel. We’ve heard it all. Here’s a starting point: 1. Determine if both your feet hurt, or just one, and if they hurt during practice, or before/after. 2. Is ANYTHING new? Plate, wheels, cushions, toe stops, skating surface? 3. Have you recently started wearing different shoes while NOT skating? Sometimes, very supportive shoes can actually weaken the feet when worn exclusively. 4. Try to pinpoint what part of the foot hurts and when, during what action/movement? 5. Try supportive insoles and different lacing techniques. 6. REST for a week or two. If these things do not help, go to a doctor / trainer / PT / chiropractor / health care professional. Do not self-diagnose! Sometimes it is a very simple adjustment. Other times it can be something serious, like a hairline fracture, for example. Again, I’m not a health care professional. Your best bet is to see a doctor, but some things we’ve seen are as follows: • The outer muscles of the legs are weaker than the larger muscles we develop when skating, which can cause our knees to collapse inward and our feet to also bend inward. This can cause pain. It can be as simple as arch support or

32 | Winter 2014 |

lifting the inside of the foot or heel for some. • Overuse over time can cause all kinds of pain in the legs/ankles/feet. See your doctor and get a proper diagnosis. Then Physical Therapy can help strengthen the surrounding muscles/tendons/ligaments and put less strain on the ones that hurt. • The lifting of the foot in the skate can cause overuse pain in the tops of the feet and front of the ankles. Sometimes rest is all that is needed, and sometimes lighter or different skates. • If you are over taping or taping too tightly certain spots on the feet and ankles, you could be causing bruising on nerves in certain parts of the feet. Ask a health care professional. Products to help with discomfort and pain in the feet: (Remember, sometimes it takes trial and error to find your magic “feet don’t hurt” voodoo. PREVENTION, PREVENTION, PREVENTION! for blisters, hot spots and pressure: 1. Plain old duct tape. It adheres well, does not leave residue on the feet and is slippery on the outside which cuts down on friction. And cheap! Medical tape is also great, but it is a personal preference. 2. Double layered, smart wool or otherwise “fancy” socks. Wright Socks, Smartwool and McDavid. 3. Neoprene booties or soft support sleeves for the feet. EZ fit and Atom are popular brands. 4. Gel pads. There is a company named BUNGA that has amazing products for all kinds of blistering, rubbing, pressure and tenderness. 5. High tech blister bandages. They are meant to stay on over time. 6. Donut shaped bunion cushions and cotton from a cotton ball, with tape. for support: 1. Insoles, either full foot or partial. From your chiropractor/doctor/PT, or from well known companies like Superfeet, Sidas and Spenco. 2. Extra eyelets in your boot or different straps so you can lace your skates differently, can be added by a cobbler or put on your next pair of custom boots. 3. Different lacing techniques. The New Balance website has lots of examples. 4. Sometimes, a small piece of cork or memory foam taped to your boot under your arch or heel or ball of the foot does the trick. 5. A completely different style of boot. I know. Sad, but sometimes true!


WFTDA, MRDA explore collaboration V I L E L OV E I T, Q U E E N C I T Y R O L L E R G I R L S

In July, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) and the Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA) agreed to take a spin around the track together. They wanted to test out the floor, see if they needed to change their wheels, and check out how it might be to skate together. The agreement set out a formal relationship for one year between the organizations. The agreement describes concrete areas

leagues have used the WFTDA-published

recommendations regarding how the

of collaboration: rules, safety, officiating

“Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby” to

WFTDA and MRDA might better align,

certification, public relations, and

govern game play, and WFTDA has

integrate, or make reciprocal the two

technology resources. It also

annually published a version of the Rules


purposefully opened to door for

specifically branded for MRDA and men’s

The WFTDA and MRDA are also

discussions about other topics.

play. Prior to the formal agreement, MRDA

combining outreach efforts, including

already had a non-voting representative

working together to present a coordinated

the organizations focus on simple

on the Theory Panel of the WFTDA’s Rules

and consistent message to governmental

questions, which have varying and

Committee. The agreement makes the

and sports organizations. For example,

sometimes complicated answers: How

MRDA seat on the panel a voting member

Gonzales and MRDA President, Graham

are we alike? How are we different? Are

and creates a MRDA seat on the

Espe, attended the United Kingdom Roller

we both doing the same things and does

“Applications” panel of the Rules

Derby Open Conference in October, where

it makes more sense to combine efforts?

Committee, as well.

they presented to UK Roller Derby

The ongoing discussions between

Where can we collaborate? Where might we need to go our separate ways? The process started with recognizing

One of the areas that had some duplication between the WFTDA and MRDA was their officiating certification

Association members about both organizations and the collaboration. There has been joint work to review

that WFTDA and MRDA share common

programs. Currently, there is abundant

and develop improved safety standards.

core values, said WFTDA Executive

overlap between the officiating

The discussion might also spread out to

Director Juliana Gonzales. Both

workforces serving WFTDA and MRDA

include minimum skills assessments,

organizations are skater-owned and

games. Officials use the same practices,

safety protocol and insurance claims

operated and democratic with an

standards, and rules to officiate both

reviews, Gonzales said. They might look

emphasis on grassroots development.

games, but officials serving both

at trends in injuries that are unique or

It’s by the skater, for the skater, no

organizations must pursue certification

similar between the genders and

matter the gender.

independently in each organization.

recommend ways to improve safety.

One major component of the

A new joint task force has been hard

While neither organization mandates the

collaboration agreement is to formally

at work reviewing the certification

use of a specific type of insurance, the

involve MRDA in the democratic

programs. The group is reviewing both

WFTDA’s insurance program for the US

development of the rules that MRDA

programs to make sure they are using

and Canada was extended to men’s

leagues play under. Since 2013, MRDA

shared resources and will make

leagues and skaters in 2012.

34 | Winter 2014 |

“The WFTDA membership never flinches at making improvements and is always ready to come up with innovative ideas to address complex situations...” Eric Korn

There is also an ongoing effort to

“We are encouraged by the progress

wholeheartedly endorsed the agreement

create consistent resources for

we’ve made together on the issues that

with MRDA, many want to ensure that

sanctioning games that will be used

we’ve worked on,” Gonzales said. “This

aspect of their identity remains intact.

by both organizations and, of course,

may lead somewhere else. We might

coordinate playoffs, championships

be able to find opportunities to develop

flinches at making improvements and is

and other tournament dates so fans

a stronger relationship between the

always ready to come up with innovative

don’t have to choose between watching

organizations in a more permanent way.

ideas to address complex situations. I

their favorite WFTDA teams and their

If it can benefit the greater roller derby

truly appreciate our member leagues for

favorite MRDA teams.

community in a way that remains faithful

approaching these issues with thoughtful,

to the WFTDA core values, then it’s

reasoned discussion and open minds,”

worth exploring.”

Gonzales said.

There are other, less easily defined issues that are being discussed, as well. For example, as of now, co-ed leagues

For many WFTDA skaters and member

“The WFTDA membership never

After a year-long spin around the track

cannot be a WFTDA member leagues but

leagues, being part of an all-female sport,

together, the agreement leaves the door

they can be a member of the MRDA. The

within organizations primarily owned and

open for further collaboration, but doesn’t

agreement intends to start discussions

operated by women, is an important core

set anything in stone. It’s a deliberate

about these trickier issues.

value of the WFTDA. While members

and slow-moving pack. | Winter 2014 | 35


Joe Schwartz /

WFTDA provides support to

roller derby world cup LOIS SLAIN, DC ROLLERGIRLS

After the completion of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association

This year’s World Cup bracket structure was designed by

(WFTDA) competitive season in November, many skaters from

WFTDA’s Competitive Play committee. The WFTDA has been

WFTDA Member and Apprentice leagues represented their native

organizing successful bracketed tournaments since 2006

countries at the 2014 Roller Derby World Cup.

and is the leader in roller derby tournament design.

This event, produced by Blood & Thunder, was held in Dallas, Texas, December 4-7. While the WFTDA was not officially involved in the first Roller Derby World Cup in 2011, the organization was well represented among the participating skaters at that time. “In 2011, the Roller Derby World Cup was important for the

“We are proud that Blood & Thunder has again recognized the WFTDA’s high-quality assets as the international standard, and invited WFTDA to assist with structuring competitive play,” Gonzales said. Working in conjunction with representatives from Blood & Thunder, the Competitive Play Committee developed a bracket

development of roller derby teams outside the United States,

structure that integrates key elements of the WFTDA Playoffs

and accelerated the growth of the sport worldwide,” said WFTDA

and Championships seeding and bracket structure, but in a way

Executive Director Juliana Gonzales.

that makes sense for a 30-team World Cup format.

This year, there was a more collaborative approach, as Blood

Similar to World Cup structure in other sports, the tournament

& Thunder sought assistance from the WFTDA in developing the

begins with pool play, allowing the top two teams to advance to

competitive aspects of the event.

a knockout round. The pool games are not regulation length, with

After considering some rules modifications early in the planning

40 minutes of game time instead of the typical 60. Winners of the

process, Blood & Thunder ultimately decided that this year’s World

knockout round advance to a quarterfinal and final bracket, which

Cup will again be played by official WFTDA rules, as the most

was seeded using an S-curve.

widely used rule set throughout the world. The latest edition of the Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby was

In consideration of the distance traveled and expense incurred by many of the World Cup teams, the tournament also incorporates

released March 1, 2014. This is the seventh edition of rules the

consolation games, ensuring that every participating team gets

WFTDA has developed and published since the organization created

to play at least four games, at least one of which is a full-length

the first shared rules for the sport of women’s flat track roller derby


in 2005. The vast majority of roller derby leagues and teams

“The World Cup is a fun event and, like this year’s WFTDA

worldwide play under the WFTDA’s Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby,

Championships, it’s exciting to see skaters from all over the world

regardless of membership status, and so it serves as the most

competing in one place,” Gonzales said. “It’s a fantastic moment

standard and universal rules set available for the sport.

seeing the global roller derby movement in action.”

36 | Winter 2014 |

junior derby

Ann Richards Roller Girls pioneer roller derby in schools E M M A F O S T E R , A N N R I C H A R D S S C H O O L F O R Y O U N G WO M E N L E A D E R S

At least twice a week after school in the spring semester, the Ann Richards Roller Girls (ARRG) slip on their knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards, then secure their mouth guards, helmets, and roller skates. They then drill different skating techniques for an hour and a half – skating back and forth along the circumference of their school’s small gym, using tape to outline a makeshift flat track. The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, an all-girls school in Austin, is the first school in the world to have a roller derby team. It was established in 2008 by Shauna Salustri, a teacher at the school who skated with Austin’s banktrack league, TXRD. It is now coached by Roger Soden, who was a referee for the Alamo City Rollergirls. Together, they set the precedent for other schools to create their own roller derby teams. “My wife played for san antonio roller derby for three years, and I refereed for san antonio roller derby, which is how I started because there was no mens roller derby,” said Soden. “When Ms. Salustri started, I started helping and refereeing the games at school, and when she left, I took over.” Some girls who join roller derby came with speed skating experience like Zoe Taulli, an 8th grader; and some came with no skating experience at all like Sadie Brown, senior and former co-captain of ARRG. “I know there are some people who have

38 | Winter 2014 |

had previous skating experience,” said Brown. “When I first started I had no idea what I was doing, but that’s how I fell in love [with the sport].” ARRG only practices in the spring semester, and throughout the whole school year the experienced team members teach students from all grades how to skate through the skate club, which meets once a week. “Roller derby is basically split up into two different clubs,” said Soden. “There’s the skating club and the roller derby club. In order to play roller derby you have to be able to roller skate so you don’t hurt yourself or hurt other people.” After tryouts in December, the roller derby club practices at least twice a week, sometimes on Saturdays, to prepare for their bouts against other local Austin junior roller derby teams. These include TXJRD (the junior banktrack league) and TXRG juniors (the junior flat track league). They also compete against other high schools who, inspired by ARRG, have recently established their own roller derby clubs like Manor New Tech and Austin High. These are the only other high schools anywhere that have roller derby teams. However, ARRG is more relaxed than the teams they play against, and they use their “civilian names” instead of skater names.

“A lot of times our league is looked down upon in certain parts of the community because we don’t have skater names,” said Cristina Trevino, a junior at Ann Richards who has been playing roller derby for two and a half years. “Even adults make fun. Sometimes it’s like ‘haha, it’s funny’ sometimes it’s a little petty.” The use of civilian names makes roller derby at Ann Richards seem more professional to the students involved. “I’m thinking that in the future they’re going to put less emphasis on the roller derby aesthetic and more emphasis on the fact that it’s a difficult, full-contact sport,” said Trevino. “When you go watch the adults play roller derby, they always seem to have tattoos and be all crazy but that’s not what we have here,” said Soden. “[They’re] just normal Ann Richards kids who can roller skate.” Whether or not they use skater names, the Ann Richards Roller Girls always take pride in what they do. “It is one of the activities that I really enjoy the most about our school,” said Brown. “This and color guard are my passion, and I find roller derby and skating to be relaxing at the same time, and

I love teaching children or younger ‘women leaders’ to skate and about the basics of roller derby.” At an all-girls school named after the feisty former female governor of Texas, it seemed only natural that it be the first school to have a roller derby team. There’s even going to be an exhibit on roller derby at the Bob Bullock Texas State History museum, and ARRG is going to be in it. According to the museum’s website, the exhibit will examine contemporary popular culture and the role of women in contact sports. “I feel like roller derby represents our school because it has a lot to do with women leaders because it is an all-girl sport, and there aren’t a lot all-girls sport that weren’t originally for a male counterpart,” said Brown. “It was originally an all-girls sport and then the males took off from it.” “[Roller derby] really empowers women to be able to have this fullcontact athletic sport,” said Trevino. “It has a lot to do with aesthetic but it also has to do with a lot of hard work and training... and it’s a lot of fun.” | Winter 2014 | 39


start-up leagues: first year setup BITCHES BRUZE, SOUTHSHIRE ROLLER DERBY

In the last issue of fiveonfive, I outlined some things to consider when starting a roller derby league, including legal organization, training and communication. Starting a roller derby league is no different than starting any small business. Success in the long term takes significant preparation and planning. As markets saturate and leagues start in smaller markets, having a sound business plan and putting the right people on the right jobs will keep you rolling. FINANCES Flat track roller derby is a pay-to-play sport. Since we’re able to attract people who will pay to watch us compete, it can also be referred to as semi-professional. The athletes don’t get paid, they pay, but the league has income. Leagues, for the most part, have two kinds of expenses: operating and competition (bout production). Every league will have a different balance and different means to fund them. operating Operating expenses refer to the cost of training members and officials. Things that would be included in operating expenses are rent, supplies, insurance, and general promotion. Even leagues with free practice space (schools, government facilities, outdoor recreation spaces) have general expenses. In the States, the three main flat track insurers are WFTDA, USARS, and private insurance. Operating income is income you can secure regularly. If your league is going to last, your income needs to meet or exceed your expenses. Nearly every league charges some amount of member dues. This is your basic operating income. Keep in mind that if you have increasing operating expenses, you need to either increase your membership and related dues, find other sources of regular income, or decrease your expenses. Fundraisers and sponsors can supplement

42 | Winter 2014 |

operating income or large purchases like sport court, loaner gear, or padding to improve safety. If you plan to use fundraisers or sponsors as operating income, you’ll have better success if you have branded, regular fundraisers or have a sponsor that has a consistent benefit in sponsoring otherwise you’ll tap your sources out in time. It’s okay to not have the ideal practice space when you start in order to get the membership numbers needed to meet the ideal within a few years. competition Producing home games and traveling to away games is, for many leagues, the largest collective expense. Often individual members bear the cost of travel, including transportation, meals, and lodging. If home game revenue or sponsorships are available, leagues will often help offset these expenses for competitors, officials, and staff. Competition venues have different requirements than practice venues so the expense of game production can be fairly hefty. Fortunately, associating with large events is something other businesses can benefit from so sponsorship for competitions is a revenue source for leagues producing home bouts. Partnering with businesses like beer or food vendors and other complimentary productions can also help with revenue and cross-promotion.

Some game productions produce profit for leagues that can be reinvested for supplies or practice space, while other leagues lose money, usually because less expensive venues are not available, and then fundraising or dues are dedicated to the production side of the business. Producing public games is not a requirement to play derby, but most skaters and leagues have them as part of their mission. VENUES practice When thinking about your space, keep in mind you’re only going to be practicing 4 to 8 hours out of the 168 hours in a week. This means most leagues can keep expenses reasonable by renting space by the hour. Perhaps the biggest challenge with practice spaces available by the hour is you might not always be the highest priority renter. Roller rinks, for example, notoriously cancel derby practice when they can rent their rink for a party. To practice you need a skateable surface, bathrooms, parking or public transport, and heat or cooling as needed. Warehouses are usually the worst locations because you can’t rent them by the hour, they aren’t climate controlled, bathrooms are scarce, and the floors are usually rough or uneven. Good facilities include school gyms or community rooms, airport hangers, bingo halls, fairgrounds, barns, thawed ice skating rinks, multipurpose sports facilities, and armories. While a track with crash zone is 73’ x 108’, leagues don’t always need this size space to practice. If your budget allows you less hours than you’d like to practice, supplement practice space time with trail or street skates, off skate practices, and team cross training. If you do have a space smaller than a full track, use cones or tape to mark out segments like straightaways or corners to work on team skills. Spaces do not have to be perfectly climate controlled. Even cold spaces are comfortable once skaters warm up and fans

Jean-Philippe ROMAIN (flickr: jean_stache)

can make even hot spaces comfortable enough. No practice space can accommodate an unlimited number of skaters. Individual practice time and effectiveness is a function of space, time, and availability of instructors. If all the skaters in attendance cannot do a drill safely or to its limits at one time in the space you have, you’ll end up having only some skaters doing that drill at a time. While some rest is good in a practice plan, eventually too many skaters will make a practice or drill ineffective for everyone. Additional practice times and coaches, or even shifting practices so different skills start at different times can alleviate practice time and space logistics. Find space that you can afford and start there. As your league grows, you can always adjust your skating space and schedule. competition A new league can put finding a competition space on a wish list, but it’s likely you’ll eventually need one. Finding a venue for competition is an article in and of itself, but here are a couple pointers on things you’ll need to consider. cost Venues have three typical structures for charging: flat rate for a day, by the hour, or split

of ticket sales. Most venues that expect a cut of the ticket sales usually expect some amount of flat rate for the period of time you’re using the facility, as well. Larger venues that have other event productions may include you in cooperative marketing. This is common for civic centers or other venues tasked with bringing people to a city or community. Getting the biggest facility you can for your money isn’t always the best approach. It’s important your seats look full. It’s better for the long term to sell out a 300-seat facility than put only 500 people in a 5,000seat facility. logistics You will need a space big enough to set up a competition track. That means an unobstructed area 73’ wide and 108’ long. This is larger than a basketball court but considerably smaller than an ice hockey rink. The floor needs to be wood, polished concrete, or sport court. You will need stands or seating or your fans will need to be allowed to bring in chairs. Separate spaces for teams to meet and change are necessary. Remember you have three teams: home, away, and officials. Fans will stay longer if food and beverage is available and, like most sporting events, more people will attend if adult beverages are available.

PROMOTION Derby has two products to promote: memberships and games. You’ll use much of the same media for both but keep in mind who your audience is at any given time and that they share your social media, web site, newspaper and magazine articles, and poster space. Resources for creating Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Tumblr feeds, and other social media abound on the web. Find them. Use them. Make a Facebook page. Make sure it’s maintained and that it has a steady stream of good content. Don’t spam your fans’ feeds by discussing internal business with the league’s Facebook page. Have a website with an appropriate domain name and an email address. Keep your

TIP: One of my favorite recruiting tools is a single page flier with cut tags on the bottom with an email address. When you slice up those tear offs, be sure to remove a couple before hanging. People are more likely to be interested in something others have already shown an interest in. | Winter 2014 | 43

rookie website current. Today Content Management Systems are easy to find and use and you can put different people in charge of content. Finally, there’s nothing like wheel urethane to get your name out there. Skate in parades. Hang fliers. Make posters. Have something you can hand to someone in an elevator. Talk about derby at school, work, church, picnics, and everywhere (as if you can help yourself!). members If you’ve started a league, you’ve made a presumption that others also want to play roller derby with you. In some cases, you’ve started this league because you already have the skaters looking for a league. In others, this is a leap of faith. In both cases, having skaters a year and five years from now is something you need to plan and promote for from the beginning. Hopefully with your mission statement, you’ve already addressed the minimum requirements for someone to join your league. There are three general levels leagues require: no skill whatsoever but a desire to learn, basic skating skills but not necessarily derby skills, and fully compliant with MSRs and team requirements. There are also several approaches to the timing of taking in members: open/rolling enrollment, periodic recruiting events, tryouts, and invitation. With open or rolling enrollment, a league takes in whatever the minimum level of skater is at any time over the course of the

year. They may restrict the newest skaters to specific practices or welcome them to all practices. This takes in the most skaters available or interested at any given time but it loses some of the sense of urgency of the other approaches and can be a training challenge when using the same space with a fixed number of coaches. Periodic recruiting events can be used for incoming skaters with some or no skills allowing a league to adjust training to accommodate skaters which need basic training while still supporting advanced skaters, competitive season, and maintaining a sense of urgency. Planning and publicizing events well in advance reduces the risk of losing potential recruits who just discovered derby and want to skate now to other leagues. Tryouts and invitations are usually employed by leagues with more interested members than the means or desire to accept them. These leagues tend to advertise the times when they’ll hold tryouts or accept transfer skaters – and they also tend to be well established leagues. Know what your league needs based on its mission and create an appropriate intake plan then promote it. Keep in mind that your best member recruiting events are going to be your games, so plan intake events appropriately and keep recruiting tools on hand including mentions in your programs. competition Game events run the gamut of private affairs

with no fans to grand productions, including bands and jeerleaders. If you’re starting out with all fresh meat, competitions are probably a year or two away – but be sure to save space for it on your website. If you’re a team of experienced people, you’ll be competing soon or immediately. Promote future games at all your events: games, fundraisers, etc. Partner with sponsors to get the word out about your event and cross promote your sponsors. Be creative with those sponsors, but also keep them in line with your mission. Don’t be afraid to have a budget for promotion and buy advertising – on busses, in your local paper, on the radio, wherever. While the most popular game promotion item is the roller derby poster, keep quarter page handouts available for all members to give to people they meet on the street. PUTTING IT TOGETHER Remember that while it might feel like just you or a very small group of people, your league is big! It has skaters. It has officials. It practices in a geographic community. It competes and trains in a world-wide community of skaters. You’re not doing this alone, even if you’re in a country that’s never seen derby. Find yourself some forums on Facebook or Yahoo Groups. Find other skaters online and ask questions or even ask for help. Starting a league is an incredibly rewarding experience. After the work is over, don’t forget to lace up your skates and have some fun.

LEAGUE START UP DOS AND DON’TS DO • Keep bylaws simple • Incorporate • Make an operating budget • Plan events well in advance • Regularly report finances to league • Have clear training objectives • Write assessment procedures and schedules • Get members involved in all aspects of your local and derby community • Write a mission statement • Know what you are more than you know what you are not • Publish your mission statement • Have a safety policy • Write open and inclusive policies with an eye on healthy growth • Watch for leader burnout and insist on sharing the work

44 | Winter 2014 |

DON’T • Incorporate policy into bylaws • Put off legal incorporation • Spend according to your checkbook • Schedule fundraisers because the checkbook is lean • Have one person do everything • Have anyone manage money without oversight • Advance skaters because they seem ready • Rely on social networks or bars as your only community outreach • Discuss business on social networks • Use social networks as your only internal means of communication • Expect everyone to share the founders’ personal goals • Expect everyone to intuitively know the league’s goals • Write a mission statement in the negative • Wait until an incident to consider safety • Write reactive policy to address an isolated incident


newbies and muscle conditioning L A U R A L O F G R E N A K A P R E D I TO R - I N - C H I E F, P O RT S C A N DA L O U S R O L L E R D E R B Y

So you’ve decided to enter the world of roller derby, starting off as freshmeat, right? Your team has probably shown you a few basics, like derby stance, crossovers, and maybe a few hitting techniques. But roller derby is more than pulling on a pair of quads, skating in a circle, and hitting the opposing team; it’s an extreme sport. And extreme sports require conditioning. I know several women, myself included, go into roller derby thinking “Skating is my workout now, and that’s all I need.” Hoo boy, we could not have been more wrong. Roller derby is incredibly taxing to the body – especially for an unconditioned body. Skating alone won’t make you a superstar on skates; it takes plenty of off-skates and outside-practice training to get your physique to a point where you’re not gasping for air after your 27/5. For the newbies, starting a new regimen can take some getting used to. Port Scandalous Roller Derby starts off with a few basics to ease new skaters into conditioning. Our numero uno must-do is drink plenty of water. Don’t just gulp down a liter or two at practice, as too much can lead to cramping. Instead, drink water throughout the day, leading up to practice. Drink water at work. Drink water in the car. Drink it with meals. To paraphrase an old teammate’s sentiments on drinking water: “You should be peeing constantly!” Since your body is made up of about 60 percent of water, it’s important to stay hydrated. Water flushes out toxins, it helps keep your skin glowing, and keeps you moving on the track. Don’t forget to stretch is number two on my list. Stretching before and after practices warms up the muscles for physical activity, decreasing chances of those horrible charlie horses. For Port Scandalous, we start practice with 27-30 laps, then sit in a circle and stretch ourselves out before moving on to the more intense part of the night. Important stretches include calves, hip flexors, and quads. Make sure to hold your stretches anywhere from 10-30 seconds. Outside of practice, even doing just little exercises during your normal routine can lead to a well-conditioned bod. Kayla Itsines, who is the tiny toned titan behind her own 12-week Bikini Body Guide (which I am attempting!), suggests a few quick workouts as your prep for the day: “Squats are a great way to tone your butt, quads and legs,” she

says in her online blog ( “... Try using the mirror as your squat station. Instead of perfecting your ponytail or applying your makeup over the bathroom sink. Hold a squat position in front of a full-body mirror while you blow-dry your hair or add the finishing touches to your make-up.” Doing squats while you’re cooking is another good way to incorporate this extremely necessary and beneficial exercise into your daily routine. I like to hold a squat while waiting for the microwave to finish or while cooking anything over the stove. Two birds, one stone, right? Another helpful exercise is calf raises. You can easily do these while standing in line at the store or even in the morning as you brush your teeth. Itsines suggests an extra challenge: try walking on your toes the entire time it it takes you to get ready and out the door. Calf raises help build those most important muscles in your legs. Hello wide, strong crossovers! Though derby is all about strong quads and fast feet, we can’t forget our upper body. An easy way to sneak these into your day is while you’re waiting for coffee to brew or your hair straightener to fire up. Try using the side of a counter or your bed instead of getting down on the floor. You’ll still get a good quick workout. These quick daily exercises are a great way to work your way up to a strong training regimen on and off skates – and you will inevitably graduate to more advance workouts. Start adding more core to your daily routine. Bicycles, crunches, burpees, planks, commandos, jackknives, and hello dollies are staples to a good derby workout. A tight core means better balance and agility on the track. Then there’s cardio, which we all know is everyone’s favorite, right? Cardio, aka aerobic exercise, is physical exercise that requires the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands. To get that heart pumping, everyone’s go-to exercise is running... but who really enjoys that? Don’t get me wrong; running can be a ton of fun depending on the terrain and distance. But I know running puts a lot of strain on the knee joints if not properly executed and if you overdo it. If you’re into running – which if not done daily should be attempted at least once a week to help with lung capacity – trying HIITs, or highintensity interval training is a good way to build up endurance and burn calories. An example of a HIIT session is a 30-second sprint, followed

Outside of practice, even doing just little exercises during your normal routine can lead to a well-conditioned bod.

46 | Winter 2014 |

immediately by a 30-second walk (or rest). These sprint-rest periods are your intervals, according to Itsines, and should be repeated for 10-15 minutes. If you have gym membership, try this on the treadmill or an RPM bike. These high-intensity workouts can also be done with other cardio exercises, like jump-roping, highknees, what I call speed skating (jumping from one side to another, lifting the back leg on each side, like you’re Apolo Ohno) or my personal favorite: jumping up and down as high and as fast as possible, listening to an amazing punk song, thus pretending I’m at a concert. But that’s just me... Some members of my team belong to a gym to help them with their offskates training. My teammate, Mary Magadalean Onya, is a big proponent of CrossFit. She works out before our practices while also eating as clean as possible, and she is one gnarly jammer for it. CrossFit is a fitness company, promoted as both a physical exercise philosophy and also as a competitive fitness sport. CrossFit workouts incorporate elements from HIITs, olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics and other exercises. Succinctly, it’s intense. If you need a place to start a regimen and learn some basics, CrossFit offers on-ramp classes to assess your abilities. Start your newbie conditioning routine with 4-5 days of off-skates training along with your regular derby practices. Our freshmeat practice only once a week, so we encourage them to off-skate train 4-5 days to keep them sharp and continue their athletic advancement. For me, I try to stick to this schedule: Monday: a 20-30 minutes walk for a lowintensity, quick workout; Tuesday: resistance training with focus on arms and cardio; Wednesday: another walk or 20-30 minutes of squats and wall-sits while catching up on favorite TV shows; Thursday: resistance training with focus on legs and abs; Friday: combo resistance training, focus on full-body workout; Saturday: rest day; Sunday: HIITs training. I also like to throw in some light weight training with my resistance workouts, focusing mostly on my upper body. OK, we have some exercise basics, more in-depth training guidance, and we know cardio is pretty much the only ticket to better agility and endurance and is a must for any derby lady, but how do we do all this without hurting ourselves? Remember stretching! Stretching those muscles decreases your chances of injury greatly. Before you begin a workout, warm up with some jumping jacks or a quick run, followed by a few minutes of stretching to prep your body for getting itself worked.

Laura A. Lofgren

As you move into your cardio or HIITs, remember your form. Don’t try to rush through your workout just to get it over with as quickly as possible. Honing in on the correct positions will not only prevent injuries, but it will also lead to quicker results in the long-run. When doing squats, start with our knees hip-width apart, roll your shoulders back and away from the ears, extend arms out straight so they are parallel to the ground, slowly bend the knees to lower your upper body down. When your butt starts to stick out, keep your chest and shoulders upright and keep the back straight. Remember to engage your core the whole time. Remember not to over-exert yourself, but you do need to push your limits. Do one more squat; burpee your body two more times; sprint an extra 30 second down to the crosswalk. The point is that derby is challenging and requires you to challenge yourself. With proper guidance from your more experienced teammates, rookie skaters can easily start getting into shape for maximum derby performance. Every girl is different, so trying different routines and finding one that fits your lifestyle is key to being strong. Try eliminating certain foods from your diet, like anything processed, and prepare healthy, protein-filled meals in advance to avoid ordering out. With all that being said, injuries do happen, but you can take steps to prevent them. If you are injured, let your team know and rest. PLEASE REST. There is absolutely no point for a new skater who is injured to try and “prove themselves” by skating on an injured knee, foot or whathaveyou. You need to be in tip-top shape to skate aggressively; don’t go being a macho-lady or -dude and hurting yourself more. | Winter 2014 | 47


bout braids C AT OW TA H E L L , R O U G H N E C K R O L L E R D E R B Y

If you’re anything like me, you have hair

an edge over your competition with their

you use, the more interesting and

and therein lies the problem. What to do with all those glorious tresses on bout day? Sure, you can jerk it into a boring pony or scrape it into a standard braid, but it’s not just another practice, it’s

sloppy frizz or plain, sad ponys. To do a rope braid, first gather your hair into a pony and secure with an elastic. Make sure all your bout ponytails are as low as possible so your

complex-looking the herringbone effect is. Then take an outside left section, cross over to the inside right and take an outside right section and cross over to the

bout day, sacred to all derby girls. You have your boutfit, your lucky charms, maybe your glitter and face paint, your Sunday go to meetin’ socks, your special mint-flavored mouth guard, why not do something nicer with all that hair? Unless you’re going to shave your pate bald (which is a fabulous and functional look. I’ve gone to bone many times and I would really recommend it. Plus, you can donate your hair to a good cause and get this – it grows back!), then I, Cat, am here to help or hurt, depending on how frustrated you get attempting

helmet will still fit. Then divide the pony into three equal parts. Take the right section, twist the hair in that section to the right and then move the twisted section over and across the other two so now it is on the left. Next, take section two, formerly the middle and now on the right, twist it and cross it over. Then repeat with the third section and so on until you’ve gone as far as you care to and secure the bottom of your rope with another elastic. To do a herringbone braid, secure your hair with an elastic in a low pony and divide into two equal sections. From the left of the left section, separate

inside left. Keep repeating until you run out of hair or until you reach the desired length you like. Secure with elastic. Both of these styles can be done (and I have been in a lot of bouts, so I’ve done them all) in pigtails as well, which might be easier if you prefer braiding in front of a mirror, or if your arms get too tired and this whole ordeal makes you fussy and crabby as a result. Also, have fun with your elastics! You can get them with skulls or dice or cherries or even in your team’s colors. If you prefer to disguise your elastics, you can use this technique for the top of your style, or even the bottom if

these styles. My two favorites are the rope braid and the herringbone braid. What is great about these styles is that once mastered, they’re easy yet sophisticated; they look beautiful and they’re fancier than a regular braid which will give you

a tiny amount of hair and cross it over to the inside edge of the right section. Then take the same size small section from the right edge of the right half and cross it over to the inside left. This can be done with larger, thicker sections of hair, but the smaller the pieces are that

you allow enough hair to remain free to accomplish it. Put your hair in a low pony. At the base of the pony, where the elastic is (and before you begin braiding), separate one small strand, roughly the thickness of your hair band and then wind it tightly

48 | Winter 2014 |

over the elastic, covering it with your own hair. When you have wrapped it and you’re at the end of the hair, use a bobby pin to attach the hair to the base of your pony or to the elastic or to your head, anywhere it can remain secure but concealed. Then begin your braid (or leave it loose). If you desire to do the same at the end of your braid or braids, allow plenty of free hair at the end and do the same process. One last variation on a plain ponytail to dress it up: slide the

elastic down the pony one to three inches and divide the hair above the elastic in two parts. Flip the entire pony up towards the crown of your head then draw the pony down through the division and pull and straighten. The pony can be rolled through as many times as you wish. Once you are satisfied, push the elastic back up to tighten the style and conceal the hair band. And voila-you are ready for a victory in femalition derby and you’re gonna glamorize and terrorize. Now go skate! | Winter 2014 | 49


skating without a rink K AT E R U N N E L S , S O U T H E R N O R E G O N R O L L E R G I R L S

There is a certain feel to every roller rink I have ever been in; a certain smell that is associated in the mind when one steps inside any rink anywhere. That first step into a rink one is cut off from the outside, with no windows to show the passage of time. Then there is the worn down carpet, maybe twenty or thirty years out of date, that thousands of skates have trod on; with the racks of rental skates lined up one behind the other; the smell of WD-40 mixed with popcorn warming in the machine. It’s the sound of skates hitting the rink and whir of the wheels on the floor or the screech as they turn. I and others have spent many hours in one rink or another. In the Spring of 2007, the doors closed forever on the roller skating rink in Klamath Falls, Oregon. It was an all too common occurrence in those days. In Medford, Oregon, 70 miles away over the mountains, the doors closed on their rink this year, as well. Skating without a rink is something I think too many of us have and are experiencing around this nation. I don’t see it improving any time soon, even with the popularity of roller derby as a sport. For a derby program, and any skating program, having a rink is a good thing. Not only for recruitment purposes, but to have accessibility to gear and skates and storage of gear and skates. I found this out in 2010 when I joined up with our community arts kitchen as they tried to launch a roller derby team. The skating area they had found was smaller than a tennis court, though it was indoors on a wooden floor and nearly a century old. It was also up two flights of stairs. It seemed to go okay at the start, we had a good turnout, cannibalized gear and skates from other places, and got them skating. It was a struggle to get gear, a struggle with the coaching, and a struggle with insurance. It failed in an epic way, like a giant firework that everyone is excited about seeing to only have it sizzle for a moment and give a pop as a finale. It faded away after nine months. Without an actual rink, I found myself hauling extra skates, gear, cones, etc., to those practices. It became a tedious chore, not to mention the expensive cost to purchase and then to find someplace to store all the skates and gear. Then to haul that extra gear around at the end of the night after a rough training session; those 52 | Winter 2014 |

extra pounds add up when your thighs are already burning from skating. Over the intervening years, I’ve had people come to me and say they would love to try hockey, derby, or just plain skating, but they can’t afford it without a rink. For that same person to spend a hundred dollars just on skates is a lot to ask when they don’t know if it is truly something they want to do more than once. It is a big time and money commitment for those who have never skated before. And of those who do continue on don’t spend nearly enough time on their skates and become frustrated with their inability to skate and keep up with those of us who have skated for years. By having a rink, those same people would have the chance to try skating, derby, hockey, speed, even (ugh) artistic, while spending only a few dollars to do so. They then would have the opportunity to get a feel of skating and derby without that major commitment of buying everything right away. My situation is not unique and it is one I know others go through. I know the frustration of trying to find someplace, anyplace, to skate when there is no skating rink. My roller hockey team even tried the outdoor ice skating rink during the summer one year, which didn’t work out. We tried old warehouses, factories, even the old JC Penny building built circa 1920. There are not that many places who want skaters in their building with the risk of injury and the cost of insurance. So then we moved to outside locations. Now every place, town and city, around the world has its own unique quirks. My small town quirk is that it loves to snow. Not only during the winter, but it loves to surprise snow in the summer. So I’ve found myself skating outside in the wind, rain, snow, sleet, and even during the hottest part of the summer months with the sun beating down and glaring off the surface of whatever you found to skate on. It makes it rough to train during those times. What the hockey team found, finally, after our rink closed, was an unused tennis court, one out of six courts. We talked those who ran the upkeep on the courts into letting us convert one section into a rink.

SWS Rockets Roller Derby League

After finding the place and getting the okay, we set to work. The tennis net and posts had already been removed. That left a great canyon in the middle of our rink. Whenever it rains or snows, the runoff from the hillside drains down onto the rink, depositing rocks and pebbles, mud and clay. And over the many years, we now have three pine trees growing along one wall. It was very different than an actual roller rink with a flat floor with no cracks, a drinking fountain, and even bathrooms. We decided to first paint the floor using recycled paint, making it different colors. We filled in the cracks and the one big canyon in the middle, which over the years of freezing and thawing have spread apart again. We invested in a dust broom and a leaf blower (which needed an extension cord – a very long extension cord). Winter comes and it snows and it freezes. Winter starting sometimes as soon as October and it can remain well into April. But this is where I skate and this is where I train. This converted tennis court is by far the tightest skating surface I have ever been on; only the rink in Bremerton, WA, and a rink in Argentina surfaced in tile, comes close to this tightness. (Usually tile is a slick skating surface and used a lot in South America.) Even after we painted it and I changed wheels, it remains astonishingly tight. I feel like I could snap an ankle if I hockey stop too hard. However, now it finally looked like a proper rink, if a little small and cramped to hold a proper game or scrimmage. There are even lights that can be turned on at night. So those few of us remaining after the rink closed, after the trouble of finding someplace, after painting and filling in cracks, and after transporting the cages and gear and the wooden goalie cutout, called by the very original name of Woodie; we few skated, trained and scrimmaged against one another; many of us went on to participate in several years of hardball hockey national championships. That was years ago and now it is only me.

I spent most of 2008 up there training for Nationals (2nd); tryouts for the U.S. National team (picked); and training for the World Championships in Japan (4th). (That’s a different story for another time as we beat the reigning world champions during that tournament.) Sometimes I’m not alone. I have old teammates or the kids I helped train come into town and join me. Sometimes my brothers will join me, though one lives nine hours away. Recently, I have taken to building training aids and since I don’t have a lot of money, I use recycled wood; I have built wooden pylons to mimic someone standing in the way holding a hockey stick. They only stand about knee high when I’m off skates. But they are good for stick handling around or passing though and it is nice to have something other than a cone to skate around. I guess it comes down to passion. I continue to go up to that broken down, converted rink because I love skating. Each time I go, I push the little rocks to the outside of the rink and little by little over the years they creep closer and closer back toward the middle. I set up my cones for drills, depending on what I feel like doing on that particular day. If I stop and look around, I’m in a beautiful spot. The mountain winds blow down every afternoon from the north. The lake below and to the west extends around the hills and out of sight. Beyond that towers Mount McLaughlin, only in August does it finally shed its ever present snow cap. But I don’t stop and I don’t look around. The next cone is ahead – an imagined opponent. My eyes gaze down at the rink floor as the paint flakes off; it’s been many years since it was last painted. However, in my mind, it’s the best skating surface there has ever been. | Winter 2014 | 53

remembering those we have lost Jukes #01

Hack-Kerowhack #1922

aka Becky Jukes 1979-2014 Cornwall Roller Derby / Plymouth Roller Girls

aka Louisa Kalimeris 1971-2014 Sydney Roller Derby League / GTA Rollergirls

Kjersten (KJ) Kruzemissle #13 aka Kirsten Jacobsen 1988-2014 Team United Roller Derby / Beijing Roller Derby

Gonzo aka Chris Walters 1973-2014 Inland Empire Derby Divas

Bloody Lotus #5

Black Sabbatha #EV1L

aka Rienna “Ren” Nagel 1978-2014 Oil City Derby Girls

aka Ruby Alice Blackman 1998-2014 Nashville Jr. Roller Derby

Vicious Ness #.08 aka Vanessa Griswold Doyle 1975-2014 OC Roller Girls

you will never be forgotten!

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


UK roller derby conference C H A S I N G K AT Y, A U L D R E E K I E R O L L E R G I R L S P H OTO S B Y M D P I M A G E S

Nearly 200 skaters, officials and league organizers descended on a university in the Midlands at the start of October for the first ever UK roller derby conference. The brainchild of a group of UK-based EROC attendees, UKROC (UK Roller derby Open Conference) was designed to bring together as many leagues, independent officials and organizations as possible to help develop and grow the sport nationally. Over the course of the weekend, representatives from around 40 leagues were part of the event, covering a whole range from Southampton who celebrated their first birthday at UKROC, to London Rollergirls Glasgow Roller Derby, some of the longest-running leagues in the UK. The UK Roller Derby Association (UKRDA) took the lead in organizing the event, which was held at the University of Warwick in Coventry, although they roped in many people with the organization to help with UKROC’s planning and execution. Everything from schedule coordination, locking down speakers, PR, finding sponsors, helping delegates and dealing with the venue was done by the UKROC Thinktank, as they dubbed themselves, which took a lot of teamwork. A spokesperson for UKRDA said, “We had so many people involved and we are grateful to every single one of them. From speakers to organizers to sponsors, a lot of people gave their time and effort to making the first ever UKROC the best event it could be. We also owe a big debt of thanks to Sport England,

56 | Winter 2014 |

who gave us a grant which went a long way to paying for the conference. Without that we wouldn’t have been able to get the event off the ground. It’s amazing to think that we managed to create such a well-received event in little over six months.” Over the two days of the conference, attendees took part in workshops, discussions and Q&A sessions and a scrimmage, covering everything from coaching newbies through minimum skills, becoming an independent official, conflict resolution within leagues and setting up a junior’s league. There were sessions on how to plan for the future, tournament organization and a question and answers session on rules. Every delegate received a UKROC goodie bag, crammed full of sponsor goodies, the delegate brochure and other treats. And one lucky winner opened their bag and discovered their bag contained a golden envelope – with £100 of 5th Blocker vouchers inside! Delegates were also treated to a yummy lunch, tea and coffee and snacks on each day, and those who had booked into the accommodation were given breakfast and dinner too. What the organizers soon noticed was that although sessions ended at specific times, the conversations continued long after. “Sitting in the dining room or the bar you could hear people still talking about the sessions they had been in earlier. It was great to see people who had never met before UKROC chatting and planning and bouncing ideas off each other and making arrangements to keep in touch after the event. It was also good to see people from small leagues sitting and picking the brains of our speakers, especially when we had some of the biggest

“The collaboration and foundations that came out of this summit will be evident in the course of roller derby, and the strength of its leagues, as we enter the next phase of growth.” names in international roller derby in attendance.” Among those who spoke during the packed program were Kitty Decapitate and Bette Noir from LRG, Team Scotland captain (and Auld Reekie Roller Girl) Crazylegs, independent official Rocky Horror Ho and MRDA president Grambo. Kitty, who spoke about team cohesion and mental

hope this becomes an annual event. Oh, and the pudding table at lunch was lush.” On Saturday the delegates who attended the social media

preparation during the Saturday of UKROC, said, “'I have always believed and experienced that whenever you get a large group

and promotion session headed up by Mr X of Rollin’ News and Mother Mercy of Seaside Sirens got the chance to make their own short UKROC promo videos, which they then posted to the UKRDA Facebook page. The event also allowed the UKRDA to cement working

of roller people together, that good things come out of it. So I was SO glad that an event like UKROC was being put on. Sometimes my favorite parts of these events aren't even necessarily the actual presentations, but more the way that those presentations make us all realize that we go through the same issues. It's a great bonding experience and exciting ideas and actions always come from them. UKROC made me realize how far we have come as a sport in the UK. In my first session, I was asking how long everyone had been playing, and the majority of the 30-odd people in the session had been skating for less than two years. I felt very old! But really proud of how giant our community has become. Everyone was really positive about the event and seemed re-invigorated and inspired. I really

relationships with other organizations and start planning ways to work together moving forward. UKRDA and WFTDA have been working together since 2010, and at the start of this year the UKRDA agreed to formally collaborate with WFTDA to develop and promote roller derby in the UK. This strengthening of the relationship between the two organizations was apparent during UKROC, particularly as WFTDA executive director Juliana Gonzales (Bloody Mary) flew over from Texas to attend the weekend. As well as attending sessions, she and fellow WFTDA and MRDA representatives (including MRDA president Grambo and WFTDA and MRDA certified official Cherry Fury) led sessions on | Winter 2014 | 57

international the position of WFTDA and MRDA in the global derby community and an overview of the organizations, an introduction to the competitive structures of the organizations, and a detailed look at WFTDA rankings. WFTDA also debuted a new resource for officials, the

And the feedback the organizers have received has been almost universally positive. The UKRDA spokesperson added, “We are very happy with how the event turned out. The initial feedback we have received and seen on social media has been very positive. I think I can

catalogue of Officiating Skills Assessment Materials, which

safely say that although we hoped UKROC would go well, none

have been designed to help leagues with assessing and communicating skills and information to uncertified officials. Speaking after the conference, Bloody Mary said, “It was an incredible honor to be present, as the United Kingdom roller derby community came together to share experience, exchange resources, and set strategic direction for our sport. “The collaboration and foundations that came out of this summit will

of us expected the level of good feeling, good ideas and good connections that were made over the course of the weekend.” She added, “The UKRDA would like to thank all of the speakers, organizers and delegates who helped make UKROC so successful, because without them, none of this would have happened. It was great that MRDA president, Graham Espe, and WFTDA executive director, Juliana Gonzalez, travelled all

be evident in the course of roller derby, and the strength of its leagues, as we enter the next phase of growth.” Over the weekend, delegates remarked on how great it was to meet up with people from other leagues and to see that there are other skaters going through, or have previously gone through, the same struggles and issues they are facing. The face to face sessions for new leagues, veteran’s leagues and men’s leagues allowed these groups to come together and share their experiences, offer advice and make connections which could result in the establishment of new tournaments or matches in the future. LRG managing director Bette Noir, whose session “Herding Cats and Planning for Tomorrowland: How to organize a league and manage growth” proved popular with delegates, said, “I had a great time joining delegates from around the UK at the UKROC Sunday session. The venue was fabulous and really conducive to networking. All the sessions I attended or led were full of people sharing ideas and learning - I definitely felt the spark of excitement that people get when they realize we are all doing this together and can support each other in our growth.”

the way from the US to UKROC, and their support has really helped us throughout. We hope that everyone who attended came away with new information, new skills and new connections that they can take back to their leagues and help them develop.” The organizers have also been in touch with leagues to begin working on some of the action points that came out of UKROC. The UKRDA men’s working group is already looking at creating a tournament or series of events for next year, and developing the men’s roller derby scene throughout the country. “We are keen to keep the momentum going – there was a lot of great discussion and planning, now it’s time to help leagues and officials put those plans into action.” As for a UKROC next year, no official decision has been made, but the spokesperson revealed that it’s hoped that the organizers can put on UKROC 2015. “We can’t say at this point whether UKROC will be held next year, but I can say that all of the organizers hope it will be back and that it will be even better than this year.”

58 | Winter 2014 |

art and media

album cover project R O B V I DA , L I L C H I C A G O R O L L E R D E R B Y

The cover art on vinyl records has inspired countless music lovers. The idea of recreating those album covers has been in the back of my mind for a long time and when Lil Chicago Roller Derby in Moose Jaw, SK offered me the chance to create a year’s worth of bout posters I jumped at it. I was asked to design, shoot, and produce five posters and was given full creative control. The level of trust they had in me blew me away and I vowed to create the best posters I had ever done. What followed was a challenging but satisfying learning experience. This project was as much a technical exercise as an artistic one. It required teasing out the processes of the original photographer. How was it lit? What lens did they use? Do we have a model that can do that? How do we derby it up enough to promote our league without being too obvious? Every step had to be intentional and thought out. Brainstorming ideas was a lot of fun. My whole family got involved and made suggestions. Second hand shops always have racks of LPs for us to laugh our way through. Picturing

60 | Winter 2014 |

various league members on the cover of 70s Polka albums or 80s pop mixes made for some great family fun. We vetoed some terrible ideas too. I was convinced that AC/DC’s Blow Up Your Video would have been amazing but my wife and daughters talked me out of it. Actually, they flatly said no. Looking back, they were right. The success of this project is mostly due to my family saving me from myself. Coordinating the model, outfits and hair came next. The clothing and styling had to be perfect or it would spoil the look. The models were so patient and gave of their time and wardrobes freely, especially when one shoot ‘tanked’ so badly. (Sorry again Down N’ Dirty). The pre-planning that went into each photo paid off. For the Truth About Derby shoot, there was so much prep work done that the shoot lasted just 26 minutes and I only took 22 photos, mostly for lighting. The player in the shot, Down N’ Dirty, was amazing. Shooting athletes means crazy poses involving strength are never a problem. They can hold any pose for two minutes. For the W.A.R. cover I got lucky. The week before I had my biggest project failure ever. It was a well planned shoot but a couple things were missed in the plan and we walked away with nothing. The deadline was looming and panic was setting in. I pulled aside one of our junior skaters, Scare Bear, at an outdoor practice. She was perfect. She just had to imagine her sister taking her stuff and we were done. The Photoshop work was mainly taking out all the mosquitoes from the image. Then there was the post-production. All the grungy textures and bad colour goes against everything my ancient bearded professors taught me in college. Luckily there is a Derby Photographers’ Facebook group for me to turn to. They took a break from the usual Canon vs Nikon debates to help me with techniques to match the style of P!nk album. What makes the original Born in the USA album cover so amazing is that attitude. Annie Leibovitz’ work has always been an inspiration to me and copying her work was intimidating. Bruce’s body language tells you all you need to know about his music and she captured that beautifully. Our model Crack Her Jack has that attitude so the shoot was very smooth. I just let her sass shine through. I chose to use our Canadian Flag instead of the Stars and Stripes and lit it from behind to make it really pop. The league held a successful “Guess Whose Butt” contest for tickets that was a lot of fun. I am very grateful to Lil Chicago Roller Derby, my league members and volunteers for their support. The biggest thanks go to my wife/assistant. If she would have gotten out of the way and let me do this project my way none of the photos would have been as good. She kept me from falling off things, making bad decisions or missing the obvious. | Winter 2014 | 61

art and media

Roller Derby for Beginners review T E Q K I L L I A , W I N DY C I T Y R O L L E R S

Roller Derby for Beginners by Frisky Sour is exactly what it sets out to be – an overarching handbook for anybody new to the sport, or for any fan who is considering becoming a roller derby skater themselves. It’s an encouraging, easy read that will provide information about roller derby gear, derby culture, time commitment and the general rules of the sport. Ask any skater, and they’ll say they’d wished they had this book when they thought about joining roller derby. Back in the early 2000s when the resurgence of roller derby started growing into the now hundreds of WFTDA leagues that we have today, there was no such handbook providing a one-stop-shop of information, so kudos to Frisky for putting it all in one place. (Disclaimer: I skated with Frisky Sour for several seasons at Rose City!) With the growing number of new skaters and hopefuls, this will be a great resource for newcomers. what’s good: Roller Derby for Beginners is quick to burst the bubble that not everything is “cool” about being a roller derby girl (or guy). While it’s easy to watch one bout and have dreams of skating fast in front of thousands of screaming fans, the author adequately outlines the time commitment, life distraction, injuries and costs that come with being a skater. The sport isn’t for everyone. On the flip side, the book is great at pointing out that individuals of any age, body type and athleticism should feel encouraged to try – and that people of all ranges of body types and social “types” can be found in roller derby as well. The author correctly states that roller derby is about skating well and working in teams, and that “how

62 | Winter 2014 |

you look means nothing.” Being open-minded to new people and eager to learn from veteran skaters, as well as being confidently unapologetic about oneself, accurately captures the spirit of today’s roller derby. Along the same lines, advice on avoiding drama, and having a thick skin when it comes to aggressive coaching, is helpful when starting with a league or attending a first practice. As skaters move beyond the initial process of selecting a local league and trying out (of which there is ample advice), Roller Derby for Beginners also addresses how to take feedback and criticism as a learning tool, along with how to be humble and positive when others advance at a faster rate (an inevitable occurrence for many new skaters). The book touches on nutrition and cross-training, how to set goals, and how to have good sportswomanship – all key components to becoming a great team skater. The Glossary of Derby Terms at the back, along with a companion website with helpful links will guide the way towards a basic understanding of roller derby and how to speak the language. a few criticisms: Some of the guidance in Roller Derby for Beginners is more overzealous than it needs to be. For example, I have never checked my pivot cups or rinsed my mouthguard after practice, much less after every practice. While it may be useful to do so, it seemed slightly neurotic. Also, advice on having makeup and arm numbers on prior to arriving at the bout venue seems a bit silly, based on the

knowledge that all bouts have a long lead time before actually skating. I’ve never known a skater to bring dry shampoo and put on fresh makeup before heading out after a bout, but maybe there are some girly girls out there who will appreciate that advice. Some of the costs associated with gear, or the directive to have extra gear, wasn’t always on target. New skaters should feel encouraged to beg, borrow and steal (OK, not actually “steal”), gear in order to try out the sport, knowing that upgrading down the road is always an option. There are plenty of skaters who don’t have “secondary indoor wheels” their first year, or associated away game or ticket expenses – so, if you’re a budding skater and are concerned about money, know that most skaters are able to fulfil their derby roles without a ton of disposable income. wishes: While this book is great for skaters new to the sport, it would be nice to have an additional chapter outlining the transfer process – both in what to expect, and how to adjust socially and athletically to those changes. The book does mention the range in names for the same skill by different leagues (i.e. a “sternum buster” in one

area may be a “can opener” in another.) Also, while there’s a thorough overview of each component of a skate and how to stop and play the sport, diagrams would be a nice pairing to the text of the book. In general, Roller Derby for Beginners provides a clear picture of how to get started in the sport of roller derby and what to expect from the lifestyle and culture. It sets realistic expectations in regards to the personal investment and drive it takes to become a successful skater. Roller derby takes hours each week in practice, crosstraining, team and league organizational efforts and other promotional efforts. This book provides a guide to the basics and will be a helpful read for any girl or guy entering the exciting world of derby. To quote Frisky, “The joy of roller derby doesn’t just live in the glory of a winning game in front of a roaring crowd. It lives in turning around to the left for the first time, that feeling of anticipation from waiting on the bench to enter a scrimmage, being on the bottom of a giggling dog pile, and every time you or your jammer gets out of the pack.” Roller Derby for Beginners is available at

“The joy of roller derby doesn’t just live in the glory of a winning game in front of a roaring crowd. It lives in turning around to the left for the first time, that feeling of anticipation from waiting on the bench to enter a scrimmage, being on the bottom of a giggling dog pile, and every time you or your jammer gets out of the pack.” | Winter 2014 | 63

64 | Winter 2014 | 1. Number is missing from girl on left’s arm. 2. Logo is missing from girl on left’s wrist guard. 3. Pivotstar logo is missing from girl on right’s helmet. 4. Girl on right’s socks have changed color. 5. Team name on left of white board is missing. 6. Star Wars logo is missing from girl on right’s left leg. 7. Part of red line is missing from floor.

Nanc Price Photography


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herbal derby

Gypsy Wagon Apothecary and fiveonfive present

A user friendly cookbook focusing on the

medicinal properties of 5 popular kitchen herbs.

By detailing their medicinal properties along with some entertaining facts and applications, users of this book begin to understand how our food can become delicious medicine. With a few simple adjustments, Herbal Derby can easily accommodate every dietary requirement for optimal health and vitality. available at

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fiveonfive | issue 26 | Winter 2014  

fiveonfive | issue 26 | Winter 2014