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proud partner of the WFTDA

fiveonfive contents 4-5 advice ask ms d’fiant and suzy hotrod!

6-7 business media tips


WFTDA Planning to travel to some of the 2015 Playoffs? Here’s a run down of host cities and what to expect.


health and fitness protein bar review chronic illness and derby


games and coaching coaching to mixed generations own your self-confidence strategy uncontested jam


gear knee pad review mouthguard review


junior derby a parent’s point of view

42-43 rookie rookie road

60-63 international derby 64-65 art and media

46-50 married on skates We've known for a long time that roller derby has a way of bringing people together. For some, that means finding their true loves, and what better way to celebrate that than by hosting a wedding on skates?

52-54 the States on Skates One long journey; one gigantic reward. Find out how one league and a handful of skaters made a cross country trek on skates for a good cause.

editor miss jane redrum fort wayne derby girls copy editor and content manager vera n. sayne rocky mountain rollergirls art director assaultin’ pepa rocky mountain rollergirls contributing writers ms d’fiant angel city derby girls suzy hotrod gotham girls roller derby spartakris windy city rollers andy frye chicago bruise brothers triple shot misto rocky mountain rollergirls amelia spareparts ann arbor derby dimes catholic cruel girl rocky mountain rollergirls

from the editor Welcome to the 28th issue of fiveonfive!

It’s summertime, which means backyard BBQs and poolside lounging, and more importantly, outdoor skating! If you’re lucky enough to have miles and miles of recreational trails like we do in Fort Wayne, you can rest easy knowing you don’t have to contend with traffic... but watch out for those bikers! If you are planning to do some outdoor skating this summer, be sure to check out the articles on pages 26 and 28, which provide thorough reviews of knee pads and mouthguards. Just because you’re not on the track, doesn’t mean you don’t need your safety gear!

hurricane love southside derby dames

If you’re looking for some extra inspiration, check out Rockquelle Damage’s

scott roberts battle creek cereal killers

article on page 38. Her daughter has autism and her life has been changed

old xchool north coast roller derby

in countless ways because of her involvement with roller derby. We all know

fiona grapple rocky mountain rollergirls

how life-changing this sport is, but reading this parent’s point of view drives

culta skaro boston derby dames

the point home.

rockquelle damage wreckin’ roller rebels jay pegg your mom roller derby pain in the bass ark valley high rollers kate runnels southern oregon roller girls

And, of course, don’t miss the run down of the WFTDA playoff host cities, starting on page 34. We’ll outline the top five reasons besides roller derby to visit each city to help you plan your trip.

chasing katy auld reekie roller girls

As you know, it takes a team of folks to help us pull off each issue.

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We couldn’t do what we do without your support and input. We want to hear

brat london rollergirls

from you. Is there a topic you want us to cover? Do you want to become

teqkillia windy city rollers

a contributing writer? Email us at

cover photo Tyler Shaw Derby Photographer Prints Charming 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

Amelia Spareparts

Andrew Potter

SpareParts began her derby journey in early 2014 with the Ann Arbor Derby Dimes and currently plays for the Ypsilanti Vigilantes. By day, she’s a digital communications specialist in the automotive industry, and by night, she plays derby 2-3 times a week. In an effort to make the world a better place, she became president and founder of a non-profit in 2012 for women and children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease called Girls With Guts.

Scott Roberts Scott is the former Head Coach of the Battle Creek Cereal Killers and Advisory Board Member of the Damzel Dollz Junior Roller Derby League. He currently serves as a derby strategy consultant and coach and has been a derby enthusiast since 2011.

Mary Wano

Jay Pegg Internationally published, multi-award winning photographer, British ex-pat Jay now lives in Missouri and skates in Iowa. Currently freelancing for BBC Radio, when not wearing stripes (mainly because they're slimming) Jay can be found designing roleplaying games or pottering around the garden and bemoaning the state of American bacon.

Pain in the Bass Pain in the Bass started with the Ark Valley High Rollers in Chaffee County, Colorado in 2009 when the league was established. She coached for the league and captained for the A-team. In November 2015, she retired from the team and now NSOs and cheers on her teammates.

Chasing Katy Chasing Katy is a line up/bench manager at Auld Reekie Roller Girls, UKRDA vice chairperson, and head of communications. She is also the online editor of one of Britain’s best-selling evening newspapers.

Suzy Hotrod

Ms D’Fiant

Gotham Girls Roller Derby New York, NY

Angel City Derby Girls Los Angeles, CA

dear blocker and jammer, If a player is having a really rough time in a game, what’s the best advice to give her in between jams? -PEPTALK POLLY

dear PP, We’ve all been there. Not every game is our best game. I recently had five major penalties in the first half! I seriously was contemplating if was this going to be the first time in (now 11 seasons!) playing derby that I could foul out of a game. In this particular situation, the management (captains and bench coaches) made smart decisions about how to work with it. They reminded me at half time that I know how to do this the right way. We joked around about channeling the great Ana Bollocks, who was the queen of five fouls in the first half and none in the second half. We all know someone who has been in every possible rough game situation. They reminded me to keep my cool and not get carried away with playing too aggressively. It was true. It was our first game of the season and we wanted to win so badly. I was ready to absolutely tear into anyone on the other team. If you’re heavy on penalties, you have to sit for awhile and play in less jams. Our management made a smart call to dial back my play time at the start of the second half. Mentally, that is not easy for a player, but not playing made me reset and I had to go back in the game focused and clean or else. Every situation needs to be handled for that specific player. Great team leadership knows their players and what type of reinforcement they respond to. In between jams, it’s not that easy to find a moment to work with a player. Things are moving very fast. You may have time for one sentence, so make it a sentence you know they will benefit from. Don’t make it a two-way conversation. Deliver the one liners that will bring her back. Does she need a cheerleader? A slave driver? A smile? A punch? Half time, in quiet, is the best time for an individual back and forth conversation with a skater. Jam to jam, sometimes the team itself is the greatest help for a skater having a rough game. A strong team will notice when one of the teammates is not her normal self. The group has to be a machine. If one of the cogs isn’t turning, the others should be aware of that. Know when your teammate is having a rough game. Be there for her in the way that she needs. You practice with each other more than you see your loved ones sometimes; you know this woman. And if you don’t know what to do to help her, just a reassuring smile or “You got this!” means a lot. Don’t let someone in a rut go unnoticed. Individually, remember, keep playing. Keep doing what you do. Be on your best game behavior every time you step out there. Don’t focus on refs not calling the way you like; don’t focus on the other team. Focus on playing the game you know how to play – the game you play at practice every week.


Summer 2015 |

dear PP, First, breathe. Next, and this is the hard part, avoid talking about mistakes made during the game. Perhaps the most difficult task for a Coach or Captain during a game is to keep from discussing the negative behaviors. It would be oh-so-satisfying to tell them what to do next time. But every athlete has a second off-skates game they’re playing – the mental game. Especially if this is a hyper critical athlete (like most I know!), discussing mistakes or bad behaviors can set off a self-criticism spiral. The worst part of it is the athlete can find themselves focusing so hard on what not to do that it causes them to do exactly that unwanted behavior. Make a rule – game time is not criticism time. That time is post-bout, post-beers in the weeks following. Everyone must follow the rule, including teammates. Okay, negative talk is out of the way, so what CAN we say? Feedback during a game should be positive. Find what they are doing well and drive home those points. There is also an opportunity to turn your negative criticism into positive action items. Rather than criticizing the skater because she let the jammer up the inside line, before her next jam, tell her to be a brick wall on that line. Positive imagery, positive talk. During non-game time, I would also recommend talking to your team about positive self-talk. Watch Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on power posing and take the time to learn how to develop a strong and positive environment that starts with each athlete believing in themselves and their abilities. Speaking of being positive, another rule for game day – don’t lose your cool. When a coach or captain is screaming on the bench, the team reacts in one of two ways: embarrassment of the person that is now representing their team OR shared anger/frustration. Neither of these creates a healthy mindset during a game. The only people benefiting from a negative bench is the opposing team, who wants to continue pushing that button. Lastly, give high fives. If having children has taught me anything, it’s that high fives matter.

dear blocker and jammer, What is the best way to motivate your skaters to work harder to promote league bouts and fundraisers? -MARKETING MAVEN

dear MM, Honestly, this is a toughie. Typically, everyone is so burned out from training, they are too spent to hold up their end of the deal in promoting and fundraising. Haven’t we all been guilty of saying “I just want to play roller derby. I’m so sick of all this other stuff.” Well too bad, you selfish jerk. If you don’t do your part to promote and help fundraise, there is no roller derby. In order to get results, don’t rely on good faith. Make clear and expected requirements in your league with consequences if they are not upheld. The way we do fundraising in our league is we are each required to sell a certain number of tickets to our fundraising event, secure a donation for the auction, and work a shift at the event. We can lose bouting privileges if we do not meet the requirements. It is not just an iron fist cracking down. Our skaters are incentivized for above and beyond efforts. For selling extra fundraiser tickets, gathering multiple donations or bringing in sponsors, our league offers rewards such as prizes, or percentages back. Figure out what is best for your league. Rewarding those working above and beyond when it comes to helping bring in money is important. Obviously, you will likely deal more with the opposite end of the spectrum of trying to get people to meet the minimum, but show appreciation for those meeting their requirements and those going above and beyond. Bout promotion. That is less concrete to enforce. What I will say is it is crucial that your league has promotional flyers and posters readily available far in advance. Establish a culture where no one in the league ever goes anywhere without some in their bag. Keep them on hand in the practice space next to the door, and at every practice, remind skaters to take them. Maybe require each skater to hang a few posters in local businesses near their home. Sure, it’s a digital world, but the special moment of being handed a roller derby flyer from an actual skater is one of the things that makes roller derby so unique, and it does bring people. Aside from working hard, follow Scrooge McDuck’s advice “work smarter, not harder.” Place value on actual time and what it’s worth. I think the days of bar crawl flyering on skates are fewer and fewer. Our league has made an investment in a hired street team to distribute our flyers and posters in addition to our own grassroots efforts. It helps build our brand awareness through consistent location drops. The rate is reasonable. We haven’t stopped flyering ourselves, but we have made this additional investment. Also print is not dead. Print ads or local printed advertising is actually an option! Use technology effectively. Every league member is active on social media and promotion through these channels is pretty much free. But your league has to lay out very clear and easy to follow details for how each league mate should promote – and CRUCIAL – do it with enough advance notice. Provide flyer art, photos, links, and important content, and email it directly to skaters so they can simply copy and paste. Make it easy for skaters to help. Don’t just say “Dear league, Promote the bout on your social media, the end.” Put it right in their digital hands – their inboxes in writing. Finally, don’t just use free technology. Research how you can make small spends to promote online. There is a lot of reasonably priced targeted placement available. Consider using promotional codes to help evaluate your return on investment, keeping in mind that you’re still building brand awareness just by people seeing a roller derby ad. Yes these last few ways are more about making smart choices in promotion, but the future of roller derby is to keep the grassroots efforts managed efficiently with smarter moves in marketing to also help get butts in the seats.

dear MM, A few years ago, my answer to this question would’ve been – transparency and engagement. Okay, that’s actually still part of my answer. In my opinion, one of the biggest things you can do to get your league to feel true ownership is to be wide open with the financials. At ACDG, we report financials to the league after every event. This way the league can see where the dollars are being spent and how they come in. Hopefully, it makes everyone take responsibility to get participants to the game or fundraiser. We also strive to give quarterly financial reports when league meetings happen but... ugh, league meetings, right? So we don’t always make the meetings on the quarter, but you’ve got to have goals. An interesting approach my league tried many years ago was to try and provide a 10% financial incentive if you managed a fundraiser or procured a sponsorship. In theory, this was a great idea. I think the sponsorship incentive still exists, but the fundraising incentive in practice meant halfbaked ideas that took league time, energy, and resources. Another downside, it’s never truly the work of one person when it comes to a fundraiser. That approach to fundraising may not have worked, but it was the precursor to our current system. Now each team has a fundraising goal for the year; which is attainable. We’re not talking thousands of dollars or anything. The team then has its choice about how to make that money. Some schedule an event, others do catalog sales, and one team found a donor. It’s a great way to distribute the work and responsibility of bringing money in to the league. After a few years of having a successful fundraising program via team assignment, we started a similar layer of responsibility for bout promotion and volunteering. Each team must work X amount of promotion shifts before a game and X amount of volunteer shifts at a game. This is successful for us because it’s not an assignment to an individual; it’s a team requirement. Part of what makes a team successful is working together and learning how to play to each other’s strengths. Maybe you’re awful handing out flyers, but can easily stay up late cleaning up after a fundraising event? These things took a few years for my league to figure out. Maybe it was a bit naïve to think transparency would increase skater engagement in fundraising/league promotion, but in the end, I’d still consider it a first step. There was just an additional push needed because everyone is busy, but many hands make for light work!

need advice? email | Summer 2015


media tips SpartaKris:

K R I S T I N A R A G O A K A S P A R TA K R I S, W I N D Y C I T Y R O L L E R S A N D Y F R Y E A K A L E B R O N S H A M E S, C H I C A G O B R U I S E B R O T H E R S

be empowered and gracious Most of my roller derby leadership experience has been of the trial and error type. Figuring out a way to coach and guide a group of unpaid, intelligent, independent athletes and volunteers has easily been the most challenging job of my life. Luckily, my mishaps don’t have to be yours! Equally as lucky for me, I’ve had incredible peers to help guide me to two major conclusions along the way. throw your entitlement out the window Roller derby is fascinating. It’s a really unique snowflake of the amateur sports world, because it’s comprised of so many diverse people who join for a variety of reasons. Harnessing how unique the members of your league are is crucial in marketing to a variety of different outlets. But remember that your audience is as unique as you are. Everyone is drawn to derby for different reasons. Be cautious not to treat TV reporters, sports journalists, or entertainment writers (who don’t know as much about derby as you) as less credible or undeserving of respect. Words are so powerful, and having just one skater on your league appear too good for a media outlet can burn a bridge for your league moving forward. Be gracious, friendly, and tell roller derby’s remarkable story.

in proper protocols to communicate appropriately. Originally, the Windy City Rollers had a media guide we provided to skaters. It was a start, but we realized we never ensured members were properly armed with info necessary to talk about the league. In launching a new initiative, our current PR head, the super talented and savvy Mack Savage, has now started quizzing and coaching all incoming league members to ensure that everyone is up to snuff. All new league members must now sit through a 45-minute info session and media training before they are eligible to be interviewed. We provide everyone with the background of our league, important dates and facts, and how we market ourselves. We also train them how to gracefully bow out of inappropriate questions or topics that make them uncomfortable. No, we do not punch each other on skates in lingerie! Yes, people get injured (just like any other sport). And that’s right – we are a nonprofit organization (so buy tickets please!). By educating our skaters, it allows them to be more confident and also consistent in crafting a consistent message. By being prepared, we keep it positive and in an athletic direction, allowing us a sense of humor, while not shooting down the derby of 20th Century. League education for the win!

One major challenge is to empower your league members by providing them with some media training. With a little guidance, you can prepare every skater, coach, or volunteer in proper protocols to communicate appropriately.

the more they know: empower and educate your league One major challenge is to empower your league members by providing them with some media training. With a little guidance, you can prepare every skater, coach, or volunteer


Summer 2015 |


building press is social activism When it comes to promoting roller derby, one balancing act is the dual role of being both a diplomat and an activist for your team, your league, and the sport at large. As the diplomat, you rally behind derby, inviting everyone you know to experience it. As the activist, you’re no less than a Malcolm X or Kathleen Hanna for the sport, advocating for equal consideration, while calling afoul when you feel roller derby has been under-considered. Yet, in being both the militant activist and the expert in diplomacy, you’ll find that gaining interest and building connections with those who can help tell the story is both an art and science, requiring two vital efforts: Be proactive and persistent. If your league is not regularly writing press releases or contacting your local media to build momentum, you darn well should be. The best part about media in 2015 is that there are so many outlets. From podcasters to public radio, micro-news sites like Patch and CBS Local to bloggers, there are plenty of editors out there looking for unique stories. While roller derby is unique in and of itself, don’t rely just on that. Demonstrate your league’s personality and its heart.

If at first you don’t succeed getting story interest from your region’s major paper or TV stations, keep at it. Just like learning to plow stop, building inroads to a major news outlet takes time. In the meantime, approach independent news sites or free papers that cover sports, entertainment, and night life, and don’t just give up after an unanswered email. Build relationships. Professionals in the media are like anyone in that they get paid to do a job, and many love what they do. Your roller derby league probably is a success story, not just a flash through town like the circus, so think about long-term relationships. In the same way that your league builds relationships with local pubs, printers and other businesses to become repeat sponsors of your league, consider your outreach to media a relationship-building exercise. By building a relationship with someone at your local news site or local sports bloggers, you’ll not only get repeat and continuing coverage, you will build a legion of fans in the process.H | Summer 2015


protein bars T R I P L E S H O T M I S T O, R O C K Y M O U N TA I N R O L L E R G I R L S

You may or may not remember, or even care for that matter, but humor me for a moment... two years ago, Fiona Grapple and I raced around the world competing on the CBS television show “The Amazing Race.” We were known as the roller derby moms. Most of the time, we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off, but somehow, someway, we were able to hang in there for the entire race and end up with a decent finish as the second losers (I know, I know, not quite bragging rights, and that equals third place, but remember, you’re humoring me for the sake of this article). AWESOME, right? But what does that have to do with you, or this magazine, or anything relating to roller derby? Well, let me tell you my friends. After racing around the world surviving on next to nothing, our only source of energy for days at a time was often protein bars that we’d stashed in our bags from home. Thankfully, we’d had the foresight to pack snacks because those protein bars (and a bit of airline food) fueled us through leg after leg on “The Amazing Race.” While Fiona Grapple still dry heaves to this day at the sight of many protein bars (PTSD perhaps?), I personally have developed quite an affinity for these compact logs of energy goodness. So much so, I consider myself a self-proclaimed bar expert! Protein bars are an everyday, sometimes even twice a day, staple in my diet. Most days I rush to yoga, hurriedly shuttle my three kids back and forth between school and sports, squeeze in cardio workout between calls for my job as a closed captioner, and of course, trek off to roller derby practice and/or league work. It’s not often that my days have an excess of down time, making easy meals for energy on-the-go an absolute must! You name the protein bar, I have tried it: Power Bars, Zone Bars, Quest Bars, Clif Bars, Met-Rx Bars, Luna Bars, NuGo Bars, KIND Bars, Chia Bars, Pure Protein Bars, Tigers Bars, Power Crunch, Larabars, Promax Bars, etc., etc., etc. Years of tasting, testing, and refining my protein bar palate bring us here to a few humble suggestions for supplementing protein bars into your diet. It’s also important to note that the bars reviewed below are all gluten free.

PURE PROTEIN With roughly 19-31 grams of protein, 18 vitamins and minerals, 200 calories, and only 3 grams of sugar, these protein bars offer a soft coated exterior and chewy interior texture with a low-carb-to-protein ratio. With flavors like salted caramel, peanut butter caramel, s’mores, chocolate peanut butter, and chocolate deluxe; Pure Protein bars are typically absent of stereotypical chalky aftertastes. These bars are quite filling, and I’ve never run into issues with them being stale or hardened. On the downside, these bars have a high sugar alcohol content, which often intensifies sugar cravings and/or causes indigestion. Half of their fat content is saturated and perhaps, my least favorite of all, these bars contain artificial sweeteners.


Summer 2015 |

LARABAR My absolute favorite choice of the bunch for healthy and simple protein bars is the Larabar. The original Larabar and its extended family of products contain no more than nine minimally processed ingredients, no-GMO’s, and no additional sweeteners. I am rather fond of the über soft and crumbly texture of Larabars. There’s a variety of flavors (blueberry muffin, carrot cake, cashew cookie, cappuccino, banana bread, apple pie, cherry pie, and chocolate chip brownie to name a few) to suit whatever you fancy. Larabars are a fantastic option for those with diet restrictions because they are dairy free, vegan, kosher, and offer several soy-free varieties. My main complaint with the Larabar is the higher caloric content given the size and ease consumption with their bars. At 220+ calories a piece, it’d be easy to throw down two bars in one sitting!

KIND Plus The KIND company philosophy is “ingredients you can see and pronounce.” All of their products are made from natural nuts, fruits, and grains. KIND plus bars are less candybar esque than the other products on this list and more akin to a nut log. While tasty and healthy, I find myself reaching for these bars less often than the others simply because they are so healthy. Admittedly, I use protein bars as an on-the-go meal replacement, but also as a substitute to satisfy my relentless sweet tooth. KIND bars are lower in protein than the others bars we’re reviewing, coming in with 9-11 grams of protein, however, they offer higher fiber content... which depending on what you’re going for, can be great to get things in browntown going and flowing.

QUEST I saved the best for last... Quest bars are nothing short of amazing. There are days when I HAVE lived off these for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! With SUPERB flavor choices (peanut butter and jelly, s’mores, cookies and cream, double chocolate chunk, white chocolate raspberry, and more) a soft and satisfyingly chewy texture, a low-carb/high protein index, and no added sugar or sugar alcohols, Quest bars are the perfect meal/snack option. I personally love that these bars are under 200 calories. The double chocolate chunk flavor, for instance, comes in at 160 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams saturated, 25 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of sugar. My kids often tell me that this bar in particular looks like a log of brown poop, but I’m not one to judge a bar by its appearance and the chocolate chunks in this bar have me almost convinced that I’m eating a real brownie. DELICIOUS!!! On the negative side, I have purchased Quest boxes that contained hardened bars (nothing the microwave or toaster can’t fix), they can be difficult to find, and they are on the pricier end for protein bars with a cost of over $2.00 per bar.

And there you have it, that’s my take on a few popular protein bars out there on the market. Test ‘em out and stick a few in your gear bag for a healthy pre or post game pick-up!H | Summer 2015


chronic illness and derby A M E L I A S P A R E P A R T S, A N N A R B O R D E R B Y D I M E S

When I approached fiveonfive magazine about publishing an article about derby players and chronic illness, truthfully, I never dreamed they’d ask me to write it. But they did, and here I am, trying to be the voice of skaters with chronic illness and trying to get it right without making us sound like whiners or that our “issues” are any bigger than anyone else’s. I’ve been blogging about living with chronic illness for almost ten years but it wasn’t until early last year that I started playing roller derby. My previous blogs were about managing chronic illness fatigue, while trying to be a normal person who grocery shops without taking a nap after and how to work 40 hours a week without falling asleep at your desk. But now? Now, I’m trying to explain my own diseases without making this an article just about me, and more about how this small sect of the derby community tries to keep on keepin’ on with the rest of you healthy folk. Chronic illness comes in many different varieties, none of which are particularly fun. For me, it means extreme fatigue and numbness/balance issues due to

Multiple Sclerosis and also chronic dehydration and malabsorption due to severe ulcerative colitis (which resulted in the complete removal of my large intestine). My issues mean I wake up tired and I rarely get energized from certain foods or drinks. When I started boot camp with the Ann Arbor Derby Dimes a year ago, I thought I’d never make it through those first few practices, and often would come home on Sunday afternoons and sleep for hours. I was worthless after those practices. In the beginning, I never knew if the fact that derby was new to me and that exercise is hard is what made it all so difficult, or if it was that my body was engaged in a silent protest. It turns out that a few years of non-competitive slow-pitch softball when I was eight didn't actually make

Tom Kusch

me a life-long athlete. Nay, if I wanted to play derby, I was going to have to work for it while fighting my body every step of the way. There were times when I’d have to sit out of practices because my legs felt too

Chronic illness comes in many different varieties, none of which are particularly fun. 10

Summer 2015 |

We are mentally in the game, know the game, and are devoted and love this game but just don’t have a body that can support those mental goals. shaky and it didn’t feel safe for me or my team to be out there. Those times were the hardest. I’d fight back tears of anger and defeat while my teammates learned to work together in a 4-wall or weave a pace line. Those things which seem so arbitrary now were so monumental then and at that time it was something I couldn’t do because I thought my body was betraying me. I have a lot of teammates who I’ve heard kicking their proverbial puppy. Shaking their heads when they can’t perform the perfect apex jump or score a 20-point jam. These are amazing players who lack mental toughness and confidence in their physical abilities. I’ll be so bold as to speak for others with chronic illness and say that many of us are mental brick walls. We are mentally in the game, know the game, and are devoted and love this game, but just don’t have a body that can support those mental goals. This sport does not come naturally to me and that became painfully obvious when I did two boot camps and took three skills tests before I passed. Now that I’m two weeks out from my first big-girl bout, with a team that I had to try out to make, the fact that I almost let my defunct body talk me out of my derby goals seems insane.

None of this is easy for me. I can’t really find the energy to cross train. I can’t mohawk to save my life. And if my captains are smart, they will never ask me to jam, but I love this sport. And if being good at derby just meant you needed to have a lot of heart, I’d be the next member of Team USA. But while derby is a mental game, we are obviously very physical, as well. I set realistic goals for my body in my dayto-day life, and I do the same in derby.

knowing when to throw in the towel. This, unfortunately, takes some practice. It’s an experiment in pushing your physical boundaries but also learning what it feels like to let go of your pride. Chronic illness is just one big life lesson in not always getting what you want, but it’s a lesson for which I’m forever grateful. Chronic illness has led me down some amazing paths, derby being one of them. Connecting with other skaters who also encounter some of the same situations I have has been incredible. In the end, chronic illness is not unlike any other illness/injury/limitation, it just means celebrating your accomplishments, owning your progress as our fresh meat trainer would say, and being smart about when to take off the skates for a bit. If your league is as supportive as mine, you’ll see there is a place for you no matter your skill level. In my opinion, knowing that derby will be in my life regardless of what limitations my body puts on me is better than any apex jump my shaky little legs could ever do. If you’d like to know more about my life and my path to derby, please check out my blog

...chronic illness is not unlike any other illness/injury/limitation, it just means celebrating your accomplishments, owning your progress... and being smart about when to take off the skates for a bit. I went to a weekend clinic hosted by Carmen Getsome, and I knew that I would eventually have to sit out so I didn’t overheat and subsequently shut my body down for a few days. It still hurts my heart a little when this happens, but I’m getting good at taking mental notes and respecting my own limits. Part of living with chronic illness means knowing when to push through the pain or fatigue and | Summer 2015



C AT H O L I C C R U E L G I R L , R O C

photo by Jean


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With summertime comes backyard BBQs galore. While no one ever says that the pot luck is a competition, we all know it is an unspoken rule, a civic duty really, to put our best effort into crushing the other party goers by bringing the tastiest dish. This twist on the classic baked beans will have everyone wishing they had brought this dish to the party. Be prepared to bask in the glory of winning the pot luck. ingredients 4 cups vegetable broth 1 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes, drained 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce 1 ⁄ 2 cinnamon stick 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 tablespoon coconut oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar 2 tablespoons fresh Mexican oregano, minced 1 1⁄ 2 teaspoons salt 1 large onion, finely chopped 2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash (sweet potatoes may be substituted if need be) 2 1⁄ 2 cups pinto beans, rinsed and drained 15 oz can hominy, rinsed and drained 1 ⁄ 3 cup blackstrap molasses 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

In a large saucepan, combine 3 cups of the vegetable broth, sun dried tomatoes, chipotles, brown sugar, ginger, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Preheat oven to 350. Remove saucepan from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick. Put mixture into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside. In a 5-quart Dutch oven, heat oil. Add onions, garlic, oregano and salt. Stir occasionally until onions are soft (3-5 minutes). Add squash and cook for 2 minutes, stirring gently but constantly. Add beans, hominy, molasses, blended mixture and 1 cup vegetable broth. Cover and transfer to oven. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in cider vinegar. Serve hot. | Summer 2015


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

filling the gap – coaching to mixed generations HURRICANE LOVE, SOUTHSIDE DERBY DAMES

Most skaters don’t stop to think about the age of the person standing next to them, waiting for their turn to execute a drill. They’re just another teammate, regardless. But, to a coach, that skater may require a different approach based on whether they’re an older newbie wanting to try keep in shape during the off-season for another sport, or a younger skater who was drawn into the sport by the appeal of demonstrating a bit of badassery. The differences between Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials may not be apparent to many. To most, the differences are typical to the age difference and a matter of maturity. Baby Boomers have a strong work ethic, which translates into a determination on the track. Gen Xers share the same ethic but aren’t as interested in being liked as some of the other generations, and therefore, will voice their opinions to teammates and coaches alike. Millennials are seen to be the generation with expectations – and if the sport of roller derby isn’t rewarding in some way, they will move on to the next opportunity. So the question is, when you have all these generations on one team, how do you maintain cohesiveness and motivation with so many different attitudes? learning the gap One overwhelming theme between older and younger skaters is commitment levels. In her experience, Barbara “Banshee Barbrawler” Lapointe of the Hwy 14 Roller Derby League in Wainwright, Alberta Canada says, “Despite my best efforts, I would say 50 percent of the freshmeat skaters that come to me in the


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19-29 age group, will never play in a game. They will either quit because it's harder than they expected, or become the perpetual freshie that does their own thing off to the side.” According Kerry Mitchell, a Talent Development Partner at Moxy Solutions, LLC, who has extensively researched generational differences, Millenials, “need to know why they’re doing something. They may want to change practice times, rules, etc. for what works for them instead of group.” So the question arises, how can coaches motivate younger skaters to attend practice, achieve their goals, and become more committed? It may be beneficial to look to the documentation regarding Millennials in the workplace to uncover clues. Mitchell explains that this younger generation is more sensitive than most, looking for meaning and purpose, while trying to avoid conflict. A solution in the workplace that could translate to the track would be to, “... avoid hurting self-esteem. Some organizations are now integrating ‘praise teams’ which give constant positive feedback to younger employees. The idea is that they will continue to feed self-esteem to keep

DoD photo by Ingrid Barrentine, Northwest Guardian staff (released: Joint Base Lewis-McChord Public Affairs Office)

workers happier. It is also important to make sure that feedback is given on a skill that can be changed. It is not fruitful to explain that someone just doesn’t get something. This attacks the person and does not help them develop a skill.” Lapointe’s approach with her skaters is to give feedback at 6-month intervals, however, younger skaters may require more frequency or after-practice encouragement. A sensitive approach could translate to older skaters according to Stacey “Cheapshot Cherry” Marquez, co-founder of the Auburn Gold Diggers in Auburn California, “[I] provide more repetition and one-on-one instruction for struggling older skaters,... and encourage them more,” she says. Marquez notes that this is because many of her team’s mature skaters come to derby after suffering an injury or a medical condition and want to get back in shape. communicating in the gap Because more mature skaters are not apprehensive about speaking their minds, one challenge with them is, “They’re not as likely to do what their coach says, but will ask why and interject own thoughts, even state when they disagree. They may do what they want instead of what the team or coach have asked,” Mitchell says. Since the older generation is more comfortable with conflict, they are likely to call someone out on unacceptable behaviors. On the other end of this spectrum, younger skaters may seem more reserved and require more open and constant communication. Because they are not necessarily habituated to team behavior, “Clearly define your expectations.

Millennials need detailed instruction about what you want – but let them determine how to get there. They also need to be told boundaries of what is acceptable behavior and why,” says Mitchell. Lapointe noticed with her team, “As we started bringing in younger skaters, I did see a wide variety of attitudes. Based on my experience, 75 percent of them had little to no sports experience, and even less of an idea how to behave as a team. They really didn't like being told what to do and really seemed to give up easier than the older group.” get over the gap Most coaches don’t stop to think about the different learning and communication styles amongst the various generations on their team. However, it could prove beneficial to skater retention and overall team camaraderie to pay attention to these differences. Treat the younger generation with kid gloves, and lay out expectations and provide frequent feedback. With your Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, make sure they know you are maximizing team participation for overall success and efficiency. Lapointe says what works for her team is, “Open communication and transparent expectations.” Marquez enjoys having mixed generations on one team. “Overall, it’s a positive thing,” she says. “The older skaters provide social mentoring to the younger skaters and the younger skaters tend to encourage and celebrate the accomplishments of older skaters.”H | Summer 2015


own your self-confidence S C O T T R O B E R T S, B AT T L E C R E E K C E R E A L K I L L E R S

Self-confidence is something that may be a sensitive topic in some circles, but it doesn’t have to be a negative thing. One thing is apparent in roller derby and sports in general, self-confidence is not necessarily in the hands of fate. We can use our own self-confidence to influence the outcome of almost any play, game, or task at hand. Let’s be real, we all want a superior performance out of ourselves. But many of us get wrapped up in self-defeating post-play (or post-game) internal arguments that affect the next jam, the next half, the next bout, and sometimes this can go deep enough to negatively affect entire derby careers. On the opposite side of the spectrum, some of us get wrapped up in over self-confidence (also known as arrogance), which is something that is not only undesirable, but it can negatively affect the next jam, the next half, bout, or even an entire derby career, as well. The fact is players, coaches, referees, NSOs, announcers, volunteers – we are ALL affected by our self-confidence whether we admit it or not. Self-confidence is part of our human nature, and self-esteem that’s too low or too high can interfere with our abilities and literally own us on game day. So why wouldn’t we want to try to have this in proper perspective? Just like trying to find ways to manipulate our understanding of the WFTDA rule book, our self-confidence can manipulate us into believing we are something and someone we are not. One of the most famous boxers in the history of the boxing, Muhammad Ali, was once quoted as saying, “I don’t think it’s bragging to say I’m something special.” He also was quoted as saying, “I am the greatest, not only do I knock ‘em out, I pick the round!”


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Knowing that boxing legend Muhammad Ali was famous for these types of quotes, one has to wonder if his statements would classify as arrogance or pure selfconfidence? You can decide for yourself about Mr. Ali, but even though he completely dominated his sport, it’s sure that some would say this was a great display of arrogance. We’ve all probably at least witnessed this level of confidence before, if not displayed it ourselves. We’ve also probably either witnessed or been someone that doubts and questions themselves around every angle of the game, even if they’re making plays that contribute to a positive overall outcome. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the practice squad, the C Team, B Team, All Star Team or even if you’re a fresh meat skater in any roller derby organization, YOU have an opportunity to affect your team’s success. Players that do not play on the All Star team, this is for you. If you weren’t gunning for that All Star team player’s position, maybe they’d be able to relax a little and not push themselves so hard? And for the All Star Team player, you know with all of the hard work you’ve put in that you have skaters watching your every move trying to one-up you and take your roster spot. So unless you plan on quitting at precisely the right moment while at the top of your game, there’s a chance someone will dethrone you, and there’s just no room for arrogance in that. And this rings true for every level, in any organization, everywhere. Even if you’re in a league with one team, and you feel you have the least developed skills in the organization, your presence alone is in the back of the minds of those with roster spots. Sports psychology expert, Dr. Costas Karageorghis, of Brunel University London says, “Self-confidence is commonly defined as the sureness of feeling that you are equal to the task at hand. This sureness is characterized by absolute

Walter J. Photography

belief in ability. When you perform any skill successfully, you will generate confidence and be willing to attempt something slightly more difficult.” Coaches and leaders that organize drills and tasks that progress a skater’s skills gradually and allow those skaters to master each step before moving on to the next task tend to

be very successful. To support this, Dr. Karageorghis also says, “Personal success breeds a positive self-confidence, while repeated failures at almost every level produce a negative destructive self-confidence.” So what can we do to give ourselves a reality check or a boost as needed to make sure we are in the right place with self-confidence to help our game? Here are just a few things we can do to make sure we don’t fall into either extreme measure of our own self-confidence: 1. Gain awareness of where you are by creating a list that separates high-confidence and low-confidence situations. When making the list, write down derby situations or events where you feel confident. On the other side, list situations or events where you feel less confident. Even if you stop here, be honest with yourself in this exercise and identify your strengths and weaknesses. Create drills or ask your coach or captain to create or run drills to help you improve your weaknesses. WITHOUT A DOUBT, the next opposing coaching staff and opponents that you play will be looking for the low-confidence side of your list to show itself so they can exploit your weaknesses on bout day, even if you haven’t recognized them yourself. 2. Visualize success using the high-confidence side of your list and try to remember moments of success that you’ve had, and the way it felt to succeed, no matter how big or small. Feel it, sense it, and try to relive those moments and feelings. Many top athletes are able to produce these feelings of success at will on game day. Try it; you may surprise yourself. 3. Positively reinforce with self-talk about your weaknesses. Use the weaknesses you’ve identified and reinforce your own thoughts positively. “I jumped the apex like an Olympic ski jumper baby!” or “I should just change my derby name to ‘Brick Wahl’ with that kind of blocking” are a just few examples of this, but positive self-talk and personal positive reinforcement will help you with your weaknesses and confidence. 4. Exploit your opponent’s weaknesses. Even the top players in the world have weaknesses, or their teams wouldn’t even require them to practice, right? So try to identify the weaknesses in your opponents by studying video, reviewing stats, watching your opponents play in person, or comparing their performances against common opponents just to name a few. When you go into a bout | Summer 2015


already knowing the best attack point against your opponent, your self-confidence level will grow. 5. Build a ritual of confidence. Find music, people, things, and relatives (hi mom!) that help you get ready and pumped up to face the task at hand. Music, specifically, is a favorite of many to do this, but building a positive personal perspective about bout day and on bout day is a great way to feel confident and to find success. 6. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! We all have to have realistic expectations of what our own work ethic will produce. Without practice – players, coaches, referees, NSOs, announcers, volunteers – we will not be at the level of the world class individuals that have put the hours upon hours of practice behind them. 7. Challenge yourself to keep working hard, set goals, and don’t take no for an answer when fighting the internal battles that go against working hard. We all choose what we want out of this sport, and individuals who consistently work hard, reduce the amount of time it takes to reach their goals. Consistently challenging yourself pays huge

dividends and helps overall self-confidence. Continually challenge yourself in bigger ways to achieve levels that match your personal positive reinforcement statements. SOAR like an Olympic ski jumper! Later in his career, boxing legend Muhammad Ali reflected back on his quote about being “the greatest” and his own self-confidence when he said, “I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.” And legendary National Football League Coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Confidence is contagious, but so is a lack of confidence.” On bout day, finding a way to own our self-confidence will help us change plays and MAKE plays. In our daily lives, a level of confidence that’s too strong can be an obstacle to our own success just as much as self-confidence that’s too low. As derby individuals striving to be the best we can be, OWNING our self-confidence is great way to reach our goals and a great way to prevent ourselves from being detrimental to our own derby careers.H

References 1. Inside Sport Psychology (Costas Karageorghis/Peter Terry, 2011) 2. Handbook of Sport Psychology (2nd Edition, 2001) 3. 4.

DRILL drill: five die

Four blockers set up on the track in a square, two on the inside track boundary, two on the outside track boundary with the front blockers about 10’ in front of the back blockers. An additional blocker/hitter sets up in the middle of the square. This formation looks like the 5 side of a die. On the whistle, the group rolls forward at a moderate pace. The hitter steps laterally as fast as she can to hit one of the blockers driving her out of bounds. She immediately changes direction and hits one of the girls on the opposite side of the track, driving her out of bounds. The hitter continues changing direction with speed and hitting with power and intensity for 45 seconds. Skaters then rotate positions. Hitters should be out of breath at the end of their turn, making this a great endurance/warm-up drill as well. drill courtesy of Phantom Menace, Rocky Mountain Rollergirls


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joe mac/midnight matinee

purpose: lateral speed/agility, intense hits


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strategy uncontested jam OLD XCHOOL, NORTH COAST ROLLER DERBY

In my last article, I started the CUP strategy recommendations, especially Contested jam strategy recommendations. CUP jam situations are classic middle and end jam derby situations that happen during every jam following the jam start strategy. Contested jam yields low scores, fast packs, and lots of hit-it-and-quit-it jammer action. Uncontested jam displays more offensive/defensive blocking action with offensive jammer work. Power jam yields much higher scoring opportunity for the offensive team but less blocker action because of the slow play strategy used by most teams. The 30-second penalty times have affected the power jam more than the contested or the uncontested jams. This article will cover the Uncontested jam strategy recommendations using team work to bring it all together. Get the whole team reacting together in a common strategy using the CUP system. The following are some basic Uncontested jam strategy recommendations. Following the Jam start strategies the CUP (middle game) reveals itself as both the offensive and defensive side of each and every jam situation. No matter what the CUP situation, each team is either offensive, defensive, or both at any given time during an Uncontested jam. With the new 30-second penalty time and the change of the criteria for a major foul (referees looking for a clear unfair advantage) has opened the game up somewhat. There is a lot more skating and much less penalty box time for the blockers in general. Skaters on the floor playing Roller Derby is what the fans of Roller Derby want to see! I for one love it. Uncontested Jam: Both jammers are on the floor but one of the jammers is slow to release on their initial pass from the pack. If a jammer is in a position to score 4-5 points on a scoring pass without their opponent’s jammer scoring any points, this is an uncontested jam as long as both jammers are on the floor. The white jammer has released on her initial pass almost a half lap ahead of the black jammer, while the black jammer has just gotten out of the pack on her initial pass. The following strategy recommendations just cannot account for the penalty box situation or what kind of skating talent is on the floor. Things will change as these variables are defined, for the most part the basic premise is an Uncontested


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jam strategy regardless of who or what pack configuration is on the track.

Jammers are just out of the pack on their scoring run.

Uncontested Jam Strategy recommendations. Offensive: (Your jammer has lead position not necessarily Lead jammer). 1. You have control of your opponent’s jammer: Hold your opponent’s jammer in the pack as long as possible. If you can, release one of your blockers to assist your jammer on her scoring pass; if not then maintain control of your opponent’s jammer as long as possible. 2. Your opponent’s jammer has escaped the pack: When your opponent’s jammer is out of the pack enter into a 1 on 1 head hunting mode and/or goat your opponent. Control pack speed, always looking for a goat! a. If you can perform 1 and 2, continue control throughout the rest of the jam. b. If you can’t do both then always go for the score! Defensive: (Your opponent’s jammer has lead). One of the hardest derby techniques to learn and teach is how to get your team to transition from offense to defense: This technique takes focus, practice, and lots of pack awareness with respect to your track situation. (Some D1 teams do not transition to offense at all and leave their jammer on their own). If you are on the defensive side of an uncontested jam, your ability to get your jammer out of the pack can save the day. There is nothing worse than that helpless feeling that’s almost like a defensive power jam situation. Your opponent’s jammer goes round and round while your team is watching the paint dry. Going offensive, getting your jammer out of the

pack is paramount. This should be the number-one team priority as your team transitions back to defense as your opponent’s jammer comes around to score and then quickly back to offensive to help release your jammer. 1. Work to release your jammer! You have 6-10 seconds (depending on pack speed and the jammers speed) to release your jammer from the pack before the opponent’s jammer is in position to score again. Constantly recycle/transition yourself within the pack from offense to defense.

White jammer is on her second scoring pass. She has 5 points, going for 10 and 1:20 left on the jam clock. Red is not making an offensive transition.

White jammer is out on her second scoring pass. She has 5 points, going for 10 and 1:20 left on the jam clock. Red transitions into an offensive attack to release their jammer.

a. When your opponent’s jammer approaches the pack for her scoring pass: When she is at about a 1/3 lap from the back of the pack. Transition to your team defense, wall up, and defend your points. b. Jammers! Block and help defend, this will often create a pack exit for you. (When a trapped jammer becomes an aggressive blocker, the pack dynamic changes.)

c. Do not allow your opponents to SLOW PLAY the pack. The faster the pack, the less time your opponents have to score. d. If your opponent’s jammer gets through the pack then transition to offense! Get your Jammer out of the pack. Star Pass is always an option. The best way to stop the bleeding is to get your jammer out of the pack! NOTE! Two schools of thought here: 1. Help your jammer through the pack when you can. 2. Jammer is on her own! (This works great if you have a world class jammer rotation. If you do not, you should consider the offensive to defensive transition approach.) My thought on the tactic: Get in synchronization with the jam and transition from defensive to offensive throughout the duration of the jam. Skaters stay busy, developing this technique is the challenge of the Uncontested defensive jam strategy. This is a tactic that must be practiced even in game situations. No matter how skilled/fast your jammer is, sooner or later someone will have her number on a given day or jam! Conclusion: So far in the CUP series, we have covered the introduction to the CUP strategy system, Opening game situations, Middle and End game strategies (CUP), and Contested jam and Uncontested jam strategy recommendations. In the next issue, I will finish the middle and end game CUP strategy recommendations with the power jam strategy. Skating skills aside, when you answer each CUP question as a skater and as a team, you begin to remove the chaos from the game of roller derby at all levels of skaters and team abilities. The CUP is one way of getting everybody on the same page. Bring your whole program under one Roller Derby strategy, (A, B, and C, Fresh Meat and junior skaters). The Uncontested jam strategies I have recommended in this article work best for most basic derby situations and will work for most of you. Things do change as the rules, caliber of skaters, and team skills improve, but you must start somewhere. In the meantime, lots of derby love to you and keep the shiny side up!H | Summer 2015


knee pads: a review F I O N A G R A P P L E , R O C K Y M O U N TA I N R O L L E R G I R L S

Knee pads: A stinky but crucial piece of roller derby equipment. When a skater first decides to gear up for derby, they quickly discover that this sport is EXPENSIVE. While it’s tempting to blow your wad on some sweet new skates and save some money on pads, that can be a serious mistake. Serious like looking at your shiny new skates sitting on a shelf while you’re recovering from a cracked kneecap type of mistake. There’s a good variety of kneepads on the market, with brands making great strides in developing pads specifically for roller derby skaters. Back in the olden days (like, 2006), we had a couple of different options and that was it. (We also wore tutus and fishnets. Now get off my lawn!!) These days, skaters can choose low-profile pads, quick-release straps, riveted caps, removable caps, and even custom colors. Below are four pads that were reviewed by yours truly. Each was worn for at least one month (with the exception of the One Tri, which I will explain further below). Pads were tested for fit, slippage, profile, protection, and durability, on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. One Tri Price: $39.99-$42.00, must purchase pack of knee, elbow and wrist guards together Sizes: S,M,L (no measurements available) Fit: This pad has a thin polyester fabric behind the knee, with only the top and bottom double-reinforced. It created an odd fit, where it felt tight at the top and bottom and loose everywhere else. It is held in place with a thin 1¼ inch velcro strap at the top and bottom. Profile: The One Tri is a low-profile pad, meaning it sits flush with the kneecap. There is a circular foam cutout inside the pad that cups the kneecap, and the padding itself is described as memory foam. Slippage: I had some slippage with this pad. Due to the fit, it was only secure at the top and bottom. The straps required some adjustment while skating, and when falling they were easily jostled out of place.


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Protection: I didn’t feel like my knees were as well protected in the One Tri. The foam is thin, and not the higher-quality EVA foam that most other derby pads are made of. When performing a double-knee fall, I felt the impact harder than in other pads. Durability: They held up well through four washings. The white decorative stripe is vinyl and didn’t peel or crack. Overall Score: 2 out of 5 stars. If you’re just going outside for a fun skate, this pad would be okay, but it’s not one that I would feel comfortable bouting or practicing in. Pro Tec Street Price: $29.95-$37.95 Sizes: (based on measurement of top opening) M (15”-17”), L (18”-20”), XL (21”-23”) Fit: These run big, with the medium size being comparable to a large or extra-large in other knee pads. It has thick polyester/neoprene fabric behind the knee, with a small cutout for ventilation. The velcro straps are wider at 1½ inch, with extra reinforced stitching inside the pad to prevent it tearing away from the neoprene backing. The velcro at the top is only 3½” long, so there is less surface space for the top strap to attach as opposed to some other pads, where the velcro runs across the entire top. Profile: The Pro Tec Street is a low profile pad, with thick EVA protective foam inside. The foam is uniform thickness throughout, with no interior cutout for the kneecap. The caps are riveted into place. Slippage: Minor slipping with this pad, mostly due to the fact that because these run big I was wearing a large (my standard size) and should have gone with a medium. The straps held securely, with only a couple of small adjustments throughout a two-hour practice. Protection: Overall the Pro Tec Street absorbed shock well. My knees felt cushioned during multiple falls. Durability: This pad held up well through four washings.

No fraying, tearing or stray strings to be found. Overall Score: 3 ½ out of 5 stars. This is a good pad for the price, but make sure you try these on or measure before ordering because they run big. The improvements I would like to see on these is a cutout inside the foam for the kneecap, and more velcro at the top of the pad to hold the straps more securely. Smith Scabs Crown Price: $29.99 - $44.99 Sizes: (Based on circumference of the top opening) S (11”-12”), M ( 12”-13”), L (13”-14”), XL (15”-16”) Fit: These run small. I recommend trying these on before buying, as they can be VERY tight. They have thick neoprene behind the knee with a thinner bit of fabric in the middle for ventilation. The straps securing the pad are wide at 2 inches, and the velcro at the top and bottom of the pad runs the length for a stronger hold. Profile: The Smith Scabs Crown is a low-profile pad with thick EVA foam and an interior cutout to cradle the kneecap. The caps are riveted in place. Slippage: Nope. They hug tight to the knee, and stay in place really well due to the wide straps and abundance of velcro. Protection: Despite being one of the lowest profile pads out there, they absorbed multiple falls very well. My old-lady knees felt great! Durability: Confession – these are my go-to pads, and I’ve worn them for a couple years now. They have held up really well through many, many washings with just a bit of string fraying the last few times. Overall Score: 4 out of 5 stars. I love these pads, and my only issue is with the fit – they just run SO much smaller than other derby pads out there.

TSG Force III Price: $69.99 - $89.99 Sizes: (based on circumference of top opening) S (13.5”-16.5”), M (15”18”), L (16.5”-19.75”), XL (17.5”-21”) Fit: The TSG Force III fit incredibly well. Because the sizes overlap, it was easy to find a pad that fit my big ol’ derby thighs perfectly. These pads are the Cadillac of knee protection. With two very wide straps that affix behind the knee, a skater is able to take these on and off without taking off their skates. There’s also a wide strap (2 inches) at the top of the pad that secures it in place, PLUS a quick-release clip strap at the bottom. They are much larger than pads I’ve used in the past, and it did take some getting used to the feeling of more “stuff” around my knees. Profile: This is a high-profile pad. The EVA foam is almost double in thickness compared to the Smith Scabs, with additional padding above the top velcro strap. The caps are removable (but only when you want to, I had no issues with them detaching during play). Slippage: None whatsoever. If anything I had to re-adjust because I cranked them down too tight and I felt like I needed a little more wiggle room. Protection: Holy cow. I dropped down on both knees over and over just to see if I could get these suckers to move or jar my knees at all and they held fast. Absolutely the best pads I’ve ever put on as far as keeping my knees seriously protected. Durability: So-so. Because these are so high-tech there’s more parts and pieces, and I noticed that they frayed more on the sides and top than the other pads tested. After four washings, there are loose strings and the fabric right above the cap is thinning. That being said, they are still holding up really well, they just look worn. The fraying is not affecting performance. Overall Score: 4 ½ out of 5 stars. These are amazing. The only complaint is the wear and tear after a few washes; I’d like to see a knee pad that retails for almost $100 hold up to many washings before it starts to look so worn. They take a bit of getting used to if you’ve skated on lower profile pads in the past, but if you want to guarantee the best protection for your knees, these are definitely worth the price!

In conclusion, the TSG Force III and the Smith Scabs Crown were my two faves. Hopefully this review offered a little bit of help with your next knee pad investment. You only have two knees, keep ‘em safe so you can keep rolling!H | Summer 2015


mouthguard review C U LTA S K A R O, B O S T O N D E R B Y D A M E S

Mouthguards are an essential, though possibly underrated, piece of safety equipment for any derby skater. According to Dr. Kim Harms, spokesperson for the American Dental Association, athletes are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth without a mouthguard. “Everyone can agree how important it is to wear a helmet to protect your head when skating,” she said. “It is just as important to wear a mouthguard to protect your mouth.” Mouthguards not only provide valuable protection for teeth, but also for the lips, tongue, and jaw. “Skating frequently involves collisions, sometimes with your face,” Harms said. “Teeth are sharp and, in a collision, can do a lot of damage to the surrounding body parts.” When choosing a mouthguard, there are several different factors to consider, such as price, comfort, and your ability to speak. We’ve tried some of the most common styles to see which guard will provide you with the qualities you prefer.

Stock Mouthguards MOST CONVENIENT These guards are ready to go as is, no heating and molding required. The benefit of this style of mouthguard is that they are usually inexpensive and can be used instantly. This makes them a good product for leagues to have in their supplies in case a skater forgets or loses a mouthguard before the start of a game or practice. The downside for these products is that they offer a very uncomfortable fit. They slide out easily and make speaking or drinking with them difficult. I would not recommend using these regularly. Harms also pointed out that these are the least ideal of all the mouthguard options. The most basic brands cost a few dollars, with some ranging into the low teens. Boil-and-Bite Models MOST AFFORDABLE The biggest appeal for these kinds of mouthguards is the cost. Basic models can be found at most sporting goods


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stores for around a dollar. They are also simple to form; drop them in hot water, wait for them to soften, and bite down. The biggest drawback to these brands is that they are often bulkier and less secure than their thinner or custommade counter parts. I tried the generic, cheapest option of boil-and-bite guards, as well as one of the pricier brand-name gel styles, and did not find much difference between the two. They were both uncomfortable and difficult to speak with. I did, however, feel protected with them in, so for new skaters who may not be ready to commit to the sport just yet, these are a good product to start with without dipping too deeply into your wallets. SISU LEAST OBSTRUCTIVE Expanding on the basic boil-and-bite style mouthguards comes the SISU brand. At only 1.6 millimeters thick, these guards are known for being one of the thinnest models on the market, which allows for easier speaking and breathing. The SISU guard definitely allowed me to communicate clearly and effectively without having to repeatedly stick my fingers in my mouth to pop my mouthguard in and out. Despite the slim fit, these guards are still designed to handle impact. This past winter I was wearing my SISU when I took a hard hit to the mouth from the fist of a falling skater. I split the inside of my bottom lip on my own teeth, but had no injury whatsoever on my upper lip or to my top row of teeth. Rita Shelley, Director of Marketing for SISU Guard, provided some insight into their unique design: “SISU is designed with unique perforations, which allow the athletes to create a custom mold, by sucking the air out through the holes. [The perforations] allow for the natural flow of air and saliva. This is what allows athletes to talk naturally, breathe easier and stay hydrated during the game. On impact, the perforations oscillate, and the force of impact is spread through the surface of the guard, and directed to the scientifically-designed crumple zones.”

The SISU guard molds in a similar way to the generic sporting goods store models. It is dropped into hot (but not quite boiling) water, and folded over the top row of teeth. When first trying to mold my SISU, the flexible plastic folded over onto itself and formed incorrectly. Fortunately, they are designed to withstand multiple remoldings and I was able to repeat the process until I got a comfortable fit. The Aero Guard SISU model will cost about $25. The Max Guard, slightly thicker at 2.4 millimeters, runs closer to $35. Dentist-Made Custom ADA RECOMENDED According to the ADA, a custom-fit guard is the best option for an athlete. “The most important quality of a mouthguard is that it is easy to wear,” Harms said. “A custom fitted mouthguard, made specifically for your mouth by your dentist, offers the best fit.” A dentist-made mouthguard will typically run anywhere from $200-$300, however, and most athletic mouthguards will not be covered by dental insurance. As such, I was unable to test this model myself, but spoke with skaters who do have dentist-made custom guards, and they sounded remarkably similar to the Gladiator brand of custom guards, which I did try and enjoyed. The skaters using their dentists’ guards explained that they felt more comfortable having a consultation and a product made from a medical professional that they know and trust.

Gladiator Custom Mouthguards® BEST FIT The Gladiator Custom Mouthguard® offers the comfort of a custom-made mouthguard at a fraction of the cost from the dentist. The custom-made guard provides a snug, easy fit that is comfortable enough to breathe and speak with. A Gladiator guard starts with a molding kit. The kit contains two molding trays, and enough molding material for two impressions. Working quickly, the skater mixes the imprint material in their hands, rolls it, and lays it into the mold. Rather than biting down, the mold is instead pushed up onto the top row of teeth, and held for a few minutes. The process is repeated with the second mold to be sure that a clean imprint is collected. The kit is mailed to Gladiator, and in a few days, a custom guard is sent back. They include a variety of style options, including color choices, your name, and the option to add a logo. While the custom fitted guard costs more than the generic versions on the market, Gladiator reports that their product serves as a longer-lasting investment. “A Gladiator is proven to outlast a boil and bite 5 to 1, making the need for replacement few and far between,” said Bobbie Quinn, co-founder of Gladiator Custom Mouthguards®. Gladiator also offers a 50 percent discount on all replacement guards to add to their commitment for a long-term value. Of all the mouthguards I tried, this was the one that had the most natural-feeling fit for my teeth. It never slips or causes any discomfort when I wear it. The base price for a Gladiator guard is $55, with upgrade options available for extra protections or customizations.H


Style Options





























Stock Generic SISU










$$$ | Summer 2015


GET LOCKED IN A ROOM WITH YOUR TEAMMATES Will you escape is the first live escape game in Tucson, Arizona (a 2015 Division Playoffs location). You are locked in a room with your teammates. Your objective is to use teamwork to solve riddles, uncover clues, and crack codes in order to escape in time. Will you make it out in time?

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your travel guide to the 2015 WFTDA Playoffs PHOTOS BY DANFORTH JOHNSON

Wherever you travel to watch a Women’s Flat Track Derby Association tournament, you know you’re going to see great matchups and exciting games featuring the best women’s roller derby teams in the world.

We’ll find out which teams made the cut and where they will be competing in mid-July, but in the meantime, our 2015 International WFTDA Playoffs and Championships host leagues are ready to help you discover some great things about their cities! Learn more about this year’s tournaments at

Division 2 Playoffs – Cleveland, Ohio Aug. 21-23, 2014 Hosted by Burning River Roller Derby, Cleveland Public Auditorium

Top five reasons (other than roller derby) to go to Playoffs in Cleveland: 1. Historic venue. Built in 1922, Public Auditorium features murals, ornate architectural details, and a 10,000-seat bowl that is elevated above the expansive wooden floor. It has hosted a wide array of events over the years, most recently the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies. 2. Lake Erie waterfront. Just an eight minute walk from the venue is the Lake Erie waterfront, home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Science Center, and Cleveland Browns Stadium. 3. Great food and beer. A number of famous chefs, including Rocco Whalen and Michael Symon, own restaurants downtown. A ten minute walk from the venue is E. 4th Street, a small and lively street that is home to Symon’s Lola among other scrumptious spots. One rail stop west of downtown is the W. 25th district, home to the historic West Side Market and Cleveland’s growing beer industry. 4. ‘A Christmas Story.’ The 19th century Victorian house featured in the 1983 film “A Christmas Story” is located in Cleveland and hosts tours all year round. 5. University Circle. Take an educational break in this area, home to a fantastic (and free) art museum, the natural history museum and botanical garden and historic Lakeview Cemetery (resting place of President James Garfield).


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Division 2 Playoffs – Detroit, Michigan Aug. 28-30, 2015

Division 1 Playoffs – Tucson, Arizona Sept. 4-6, 2015

Hosted by the Detroit Derby Girls, COBO Center

Hosted by Tucson Roller Derby, Tucson Convention Center

Top five reasons (other than roller derby) to go to Playoffs in Detroit: 1. Serious eats. Detroit cuisine is serious business! From Detroit-style pizza to the Coney dog, if you have a derbysized appetite, get ready for this tournament. 2. Community art. Grassroots arts and entertainment are everywhere! The Heidelberg Project is an open-air community art project that's almost 30 years old. Stand up comedy, theater, and music venues fill the city so there’s not a dull night. 3. Local brews. Michigan has more than 100 breweries, so chances are you’ve sipped some of our brews before. Imagine how much better they would be fresh! 4. History. So you’re a history buff? Detroit has you covered! Detroit Historical Museum and Hitsville USA (the birthplace of Motown) have formal exhibits. Or, strap on your skates and explore Belle Isle Park to check out the Albert Kahndesigned aquarium and conservatory built in 1904! 5. See the new ‘Motor City.’ Like Detroit Derby Girls, the city has gone through some rough times but is in the process of a renaissance that has to be experienced. We know you’re curious, this is your chance!

Top five reasons (other than roller derby) to go to Playoffs in Tucson: 1. Home of roller derby history. Tucson Roller Derby is the third oldest bouting flat track league in the nation and hosted the world’s first flat track derby tournament, the Dust Devil, in 2006. Junior Derby started here, too! 2. City life. The bustling downtown boasts eclectic shops, bars, eateries and more delicious Mexican food than you’ve ever seen in one area. Make sure to try the Sonoran Hot Dog. 3. Seeing the sights. A stunning variety of tourist attractions, including a living cave (Kartchner Caverns), historic missions (San Xavier and Tumacacori), and wine country (Sonoita and Willcox) are all within two hours of the city. 4. Desert views. Tucson is set in the middle of an iconic desert with towering saguaros and unusual fauna, making for great photo opportunities and FANTASTIC sunsets. 5. Living history. The city offers tons of living history, including the amazing Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Pima Air and Space Museum (the largest privately funded, non-governmental aerospace museum on earth), the Historic Hotel Congress, and more. | Summer 2015


Division 1 Playoffs – Dallas, Texas Sept. 11-13, 2015

Division 1 Playoffs – Jacksonville, Florida Sept. 18-20, 2015

Hosted by Dallas Derby Devils, Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas

Hosted by the Jacksonville RollerGirls, Prime Osborn Convention Center

The Dallas Derby Devils are excited to welcome roller derby fans back to Dallas and note that the Playoffs venue is in a different location than the Roller Derby World Cup, offering a chance to check out some other parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex! Top five reasons (other than roller derby) to go to Playoffs in Dallas: 1. Iconic sports stadiums. Just a few minutes from Irving is a town called Arlington, home to the Dallas Cowboys. You should most definitely plan a trip to visit the stadium. It’s HUGE! The ballfield where the Rangers play is just a few minutes from the Cowboy stadium so there’s a double whammy for you sports fanatics. 2. Fort Worth Stockyards. Fort Worth, north of Irving, is known for being a big city with that small town feel. Home of the Fort Worth Stockyards you can visit lots of great places to eat, shopping for all your cowboy/cowgirl needs, and enjoy a twice-daily cattle drive. 3. Magnolia Avenue. This area of southside Fort Worth has tons of independent bars and restaurants. From vegan to Neopolitan pizza to some killer sushi, this trendy area has great eats and spirits! 4. Botanical gardens. September is a perfect time in Texas as it’s starting to cool off, which makes being outdoors so much fun. Both Dallas and Fort Worth host great botanical gardens and zoos and the fall months are the best times to visit these places. 5. Arts. If you’re looking for more independent culture, then make sure to visit the Bishop Arts District in Dallas. You also take a tour of some cool outdoor art. Visit to plan your self-guided art walk.


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Top five reasons (other than roller derby) to go to Playoffs in Jacksonville: 1. The great outdoors. Jacksonville is home to the country’s largest urban park system with over 110,000 acres of parks, including the 500 acres of protected forest and wildlife with hiking trails, fishing, and canoeing open to the public at the University of North Florida. There is also the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, home to more than 1,400 animals and 1,000 unique plant species. 2. Other sports. You’ll be spending most of your weekend with your favorite sport, but there is plenty more action for sports fans visiting Jacksonville: the Jaguars (football), the national champion rugby team the Axemen that plays out at UNF’s Hodges Field, the Armada (soccer) and the Jacksonville Suns (baseball). 3. Family fun. There’s tons of fun for everyone, with plenty to do for $10 or less! You can hit up the Jacksonville Beach Fishing pier for $1 per pedestrian or $4 a fisherman, or check out any one of the city’s amazing museums! 4. Waterfront fun. Relax on the Atlantic beaches or take a stroll along the St. Johns River downtown. 5. Ale Trail. Check out the local craft beer scene with the “Jax Ale Trail,” featuring eight local breweries.

Division 1 Playoffs – Omaha, Nebraska Oct. 2-4, 2015

WFTDA Championships - Saint Paul, Minnesota Nov. 6-8, 2015

Hosted by Omaha Rollergirls, Ralston Arena

Hosted by Minnesota RollerGirls, The Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium

Top five reasons (other than roller derby) to go to Playoffs in Omaha: 1. The world-famous Henry Doorly Zoo, featuring America’s biggest indoor, man-made rain forest and over 1,300 species of amazing wildlife! Ranked #1 zoo in the world by TripAdvisor in 2014. 2. The Durham Western Heritage Museum. Housed inside of Omaha’s former Union Station (est. 1931), one of the finest Art Deco structures in the United States. The Durham is home to many permanent exhibits showcasing the history of Omaha and its surrounding areas, as well as traveling exhibits from the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, and the Library of Congress. 3. Old Market District. This area features world-class shopping, restaurants, performing arts centers, and nightlife! 4. Joslyn Art Museum. Another example of the finest Art Deco architecture preserved from the 1930s, the Joslyn Art Museum is Nebraska’s largest art museum, housing over 11,000 pieces of art from centuries past and from all around the world. 5. Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park & Wildlife Safari. Located just outside of Omaha across the Platte River and nearby to the Strategic Air and Space Museum, the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park & Wildlife Safari is a drive-through wildlife adventure that spans over four miles. You can get up close and personal with American bald eagles, cison, sandhill cranes, black bears, and many more!

You know the best of the best WFTDA teams will be competing at Championships, which is reason enough to make the trip. But here are five other great reasons to visit the Twin Cities, courtesy of the Minnesota RollerGirls: 1. Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Experience one of the last FREE zoos in the country. 2. Breweries. The craft beer industry has exploded in the Twin Cities. Take your pick of award-winning brewery tours and drink local! 3. Historic Hill District. Summit Avenue features a staggering number of well-preserved Victorian mansions, including the iconic home of railroad magnate, James J. Hill. 4. Food. From farmers markets to food trucks to the dining districts of West 7th Street, Selby and Grand Avenue! 5. The Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium. A gorgeous 5,000-seat arena, home to the Minnesota RollerGirls and situated in the heart of downtown Saint Paul!H | Summer 2015



“My daughter skates for Rocky Mountain.” It’s hard to explain the emotion behind that statement. Pride is there, of course, but also satisfaction. And gratitude. My daughter, Maulie, has a similar story to every other skater; it has changed her for the better in many ways. I’m not sure if other parents have noticed that their junior skater’s social, emotional, and academic skills also increased due to their participation in derby. I am hypersensitive to these changes in my daughter, because she is a child with autism. I think it was in January 2010 that all these shenanigans started for us. That January, (February? I can’t remember) we were at a bout, and it was the first time I had brought my daughter. Her behavior was still very busy at this point (age 6, almost 7), but I had decided to dig my heels in and teach her how to watch a sporting event. She didn’t so much watch it as beg me the entire time. “Mama! I want to skate! I want to skate!” “Okay, honey, you got skates for Christmas. Tomorrow, if the weather is nice, I will teach you how to skate.” “No! I want to skate NOW!” She wanted to play roller derby that instant. She wouldn’t have to wait long, Rocky Mountain started their junior league in April 2010. I took Maulie to the first practice with no gear, just to watch, to see if she still truly wanted it. She did. Before getting her started, however, I was concerned that she wouldn’t be accepted into the league because of her disability. I didn’t know how much extra the coaches would be willing to do. I remember the chat with Dangerous Leigh A’Zon, in which she said, “Communication is a big part of roller derby. If she can’t communicate, then this will be very difficult. But bring her, and we will just have to see. If she’s coachable, and she wants it, then I’m sure she can do it.” That attitude was exactly what I had hoped for. All I wanted was for my daughter to have a chance to do this sport. This was the first time in her life that she had expressed a strong desire to play any sport at all. Now that I think about it, when she was begging me to skate, those may have been the longest complete sentences she had spoken in her life.


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Her first practice with gear was interesting. She couldn’t skate. Not one inch. Not one millimeter. She couldn’t stand up on her own. She did not have the core strength (a common issue with children with autism) to even hold her body upright on skates. Two adult skaters helped her learn. Everyone else was out on the track, and my child was held under her armpits from the back, and protected from the front, around and around the outside. Those women probably didn’t realize the brain activity that was going on with this floppy noodle of a child, but even standing up one wheels for one second causes the brain to send signals to both sides of it. Skating is amazing brain work. She fell that day. Oh, how she fell. She fell and she fell and she fell. And she got up, of course. I will never forget the end of her first practice, when she was finally delivered to me, on wheels, and then right in front of me, fell again. She started crying, and shouted, “I can’t do it!” and cried harder. Oh, my sweet child. Lack of instant gratification is hard. “You are doing it, honey. That’s how you learn to skate. You have to try and try, and you fall and get up, and then one day you won’t fall as much and you will start skating. You have to be patient.” “But I can’t do it!” That was the extent of our conversation that day. As an example, that was about the extent of her conversation at that time, in general. She could make short statements. She was in first grade, but could not yet read at that level. She was still reading one-syllable words. Her writing was similar. Math was a bit better--numbers don’t usually change their meaning much. I was late coming to her fourth practice, and walked in with the session already in progress. I looked around the edge of the track for my baby with her ever-present bodyguards. Oh, there she was. Upright. ROLLING. It took her six solid hours (three practices) of falling and getting up before her brain and body started working together to keep her upright on skates. Her face, when she saw me, was pure magic.

“Mama! Mama, look! I’m skating!” “I see you skating! That’s awesome!” I was so glad she skated away from me at that point, because I didn’t think I could explain my tears to her. In competitive derby leagues, a skater must pass the minimum skills requirement before bouting. At the time, in RMRG, a skater had to pass the test in order to take her derby name, as well. Maulie’s progress was slow, because she didn’t know how to skate to begin with, so she was behind in nearly everything. She didn’t care, though, and attempted everything presented to her. Because she had attended every practice and was so dedicated, the coaches all decided that she would be awarded derby name privilege. So, I started talking to her about derby names. “You have to practice hard so you can pass your test and then you get to pick your derby name.” Tears. Sobbing. And confusion, on my part, because why would you cry over that? I quickly surmised it was because she wasn’t confident she Brad Carlson could pass her test. “Honey, you will pass it. Just like learning to skate, you have to practice hard and eventually you will be able to do it.” “No! I don’t want a name!” “Well, you don’t have to take a derby name if you don’t want one...” “I like being Kim! I want to be Kim! I don’t want a new name!” Oh, my sweet child. She didn’t understand the concept of “derby name.” She thought her entire name would have to change once she passed her test. At her next practice (which at the time was scheduled right after adult RMRG practice), I took her around to all of my friends that I

knew on the team, to try and help her understand the concept. We didn’t talk about it again for a couple of weeks. And then, one night after reading a book, she said to me, “Mama. Remember Mike and Molly?” (Those names were in the book we had just read.) “Yes, I remember. I like that book.” “I like Molly.” “You do? What did she do in the book that you like?” “No, I like Molly the name.” “Do you want that for your derby name?” “Yes, I like Molly.” “Okay. I will tell your coach.” Of course, I would also change the spelling that instant. She chose an easy one to change. Near the middle of her first season, Maulie and I were doing some work outside on our patio, when she said to me, out of the blue, “If I am on the red team, I have to hit the black jammer. And if I’m on the black team, I have to hit the red jammer.” My shock at this extremely concise explanation of the game of derby came not only from the fact that she did, in fact, understand the game, but those two sentences were, again, the longest conversational sentences my child had uttered in her 7-year-old life. It only took a few months of roller derby, and my child’s development was spiking. She began to talk more, and with greater variety of words. She began to read more proficiently and increased her vocabulary. She still did not enjoy writing, but she could talk out sentences now and then write them down. Her math skills increased. Her teachers noticed. Her teachers, bless them, used derby in their work with her, encouraging her to talk about derby. I have some video of her first bout. We are spoiled in | Summer 2015



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Brad Carlson

age up to The Bigs. Her behavior at practice is not what it Denver, and my daughter’s name was announced at the used to be. She is not as focused, not as determined, often start of the bout by my friend Dumptruck, with great fanfare. appears not to be listening. Because she’s aging up to skate That kid, not picking up on the social cues of her with adult-sized people with adult-sized derby skills, her teammates, took two laps instead of one, waving at the coaches talked with me very seriously about holding her crowd the entire time. Her teammates were kind, waving back for a while. “I admit, her size and skill level would be her back into the line with only minimal frustration. a benefit to the Littles,” I was told. At 5’2” and 132 solid Her teammates. My child with autism has friends. She muscle-y pounds, she’s nearly adult-sized herself. I was told has a couple of friends in school, but only a couple. It’s they were considering this because of her current lack of a problem for children with autism – they often don’t have focus and apparent lack of determination. “Does she want many friends because they don’t know or don’t understand it? Because those big girls hit hard.” how to make friends. Her friends in roller derby, however, I considered it. I admit, I was angered at first. It’s just taught my daughter what true friendship is like. At school, a standard reaction of a parent my daughter isn’t special, she’s who is used to living with a child just one of the crowd. But at My child is an amazing person. who society doesn’t understand. Junior Derby Prom (so much I am so excited for her to I thought about everything I’ve fun, I cannot even), her friends move up... and discover that written here, her social, shouted, “Maulie!” and ran up to determination inside her again. emotional, and academic her and then ran off with her, I am excited to see what that progress, her derby skills, dragging her along for all the her life skills, and her shenanigans. Sharpie tattoos, challenge will do for her, as an communication. I thought about photo booth pictures, dancing, adolescent. I’m excited every day to how desperately she wanted it eating the best food from the get up and know she’s my kid, who at the beginning, and how hard potluck buffet. happens to have autism and who she worked to learn how to Inside her derby circle happens to skate for Rocky Mountain. skate after falling on her ass of friends, she’s a part of for six hours. a real group. I realized that the impulse to hold her back came from Derby has taught my child about hugs. Taught her a loving space from her coaches; they don’t want her to be (through direct coaching from Vera N. Sayne) that hugging hurt. So I asked her coaches two questions: How will it help your teammate is absolutely acceptable and expected. This my child to hold her back? How will it harm my child to is an aspect of derby that surprised me with regard to move her forward? Maulie’s development. Many children with autism do not like Keeping Maulie with the Littles will not help her derby to be touched. Not my kid! She has always loved hugs from progress. Will she be harmed by moving forward? Yeah, that mom and dad, grandma and grandpa. She hugs her cousins first time she’s taken out by one of the big girls might hurt. when she leaves their house. But roller derby has taught But I’ve seen my kid skate an entire jam while crying (her her about hugs and hits. And pushing your teammate. first season, I’m not even kidding, crying the entire time), And touching that thigh to let them know you are there. refusing to give up, refusing to have what she wanted taken And awareness! from her. Pack awareness is difficult for the best of us as adults. My child is an amazing person. I am so excited for her to Maulie is, of course, still working on her awareness, but move up to the The Bigs and discover that determination when she is in a scrimmage and focused, her mouth is inside her again. I am excited to see what that challenge will hollering, “JAMMER!” and her eyes are following that jammer, and she will hit that jammer yes she will! When do for her, as an adolescent. I’m excited every day to get up she’s focused. Which is not all the time, of course, because and know she’s my kid, who happens to have autism and childhood and autism. who happens to skate for Rocky Mountain. This is her fifth season as a skater, and Maulie is going to My daughter, Maulie, skates for Rocky Mountain.H | Summer 2015


rookie road J AY P E G G, Y O U R M O M R O L L E R D E R B Y

Let’s face it, being a rookie can be tough. Whether you’ve levelled up from a recreational league, passed try outs, or transferred from another league, joining the main league can lead to a – sometimes significant – adjustment. Remember, your league wants you. They are happy that you are there because you’re the life blood that will keep the league rolling into the future now that you’re a new member of the league family. And that is what derby leagues are – families. At Southern Discomfort, we used to get new players to introduce themselves to the league, and the Kansas City Roller Warriors used to introduce their rookie skaters at the first home team games as a way to break the ice and to build that feeling of community. It’s great having your teammates or an audience applaud you. And it’s doubly important to remember that just because someone doesn’t explicitly say they’re happy you’ve joined, they’ll be thinking it.

they’ll look stupid or get a noob with accompanying rolls of the eyes. Don’t be afraid to ask. It’s far better to say that you don’t understand something – like a drill at practice or how set up is done on game day – than trying to be polite, saying nothing and still having the confusion. People will answer your questions because they were all rookies once and were thinking exactly the same things as you. This is doubly important during scrimmages. Do not be afraid to ask a referee why you got a penalty or why something was called a way you don’t understand. Despite what you may think, referees are not angry at people when they call penalties, so don’t take it personally. If anything, they’ll be happy to explain what they think you did wrong because they want you to improve.

check your ego Notwithstanding the above, nothing is more likely to alienate be positive Derby isn’t just about skating, it’s also about attitude. If people than the big I Am. In every sport, rookies have to pay you can bring the right attitude to practice – that ‘can do’ their dues and it’s no different in roller derby. Coming in mentality – and work hard, it will show. Coaches notice saying how you’re the next Loren Mutch and so much better when skaters are giving 100% and when they’re not. I’ve than all the other players in your league is going to get you seen coaches roster less skilled skaters who work their nowhere fast because a) chances are you’re not the butts off every practice over more skilled next Loren Mutch and b) even if you are, don’t say it, do it. Roller derby is a team skaters who half-ass everything. Why? Derby isn’t just game and you have to be a team player. Because giving it all you’ve got out on the I’ve seen star players dropped from rosters track is exactly what you’re supposed to about skating, it’s and even booted out of leagues because do. And smile, be happy, enjoy. You’re also about attitude. of their inability to be humble or play well supposed to enjoy derby, which is If you can bring with others. something that too many people seem to be forgetting currently. the right attitude don’t be afraid to ask questions to practice – that There’s an old saying in the north of look where you have come from and to ‘can do’ mentality – where you are going England which states that shy bairns get nowt. A lot of people – too many people It can be VERY disheartening to step up into and work hard, in fact – are reticent or shy about asking a main league and suddenly find yourself at it will show. questions either because they’re afraid the lower end of the skill level or unable to


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Caroline Strait and Ryan Dearth

master drills that the vets have been doing for years. I recently transferred to Your Mom and it was really tough on my ego and mental resilience to know that I was by far the weakest player at scrimmage and getting regularly burned by jammers in wall drills when they’re taking it easy on you. Do not get frustrated. It’s easy to say, but in actuality it’s surprisingly hard to do. Understand that if you are frustrated when you practice or play, your performance actually dips and you can end up in a downward spiral very quickly. Don’t ever say to yourself ‘I can’t do this.’ Say to yourself, ‘I can’t do this... yet.’ Remember that thing about being positive? It’s fine to realize that you have a long way to go, but it’s just

as important – if not more so – to remember just how far you have come. It took me three months to learn to do a cross over, six months to transition properly, and three years to do a half decent hockey stop. I remind myself of all these things when I get annoyed when I’m stuffing up a 180-one-foot transition for the umpteenth time. But the most important thing to remember is that everybody was once a rookie, even the best players on your team. So don’t compare yourself to where they are, compare yourself to where you were. And, most importantly it will be because, soon enough, you’ll be one of those self-same veterans that you looked up to in your rookie year.H

But the most important thing to remember is that everybody was once a rookie, even the best players on your team. So don’t compare yourself to where they are, compare yourself to where you were. | Summer 2015



married on skates

If you’ve ever been involved with roller derby, you know how permeating it can be. The community is truly unique, and it, along with the sport, tend to sneak into our hearts. Because it becomes such a huge part of our lives, it’s no surprise that many people find their soul mate in another derby aficionado. In the pages to follow, we feature couples who go so far as to incorporate their beloved sport into their weddings.

Spun Psyco

Echo City Knockouts It was a perfect Hawaiian sunset that evening on April 21, 2012. Spun Psyco (aka Nani Reierson) and Douglas Reierson (aka DADDY) tied the knot on the Big Island Hawaii on the Kona Coast. And a derby wedding is not a derby wedding without the blessing of your fellow skate mates ON SKATES. Consider this awesome event SPUN...

Sgt Sultry

Osan Humphreys Roller Derby This was a perfect day shared with three amazing derby dolls Manik Panik, Ginger Sniper, and Shutter Speed. Nothing better than walking down the aisle to my future husband with my derby wife watching as a bridesmaid. Derby makes your soul whole!!!


Summer 2015 |

Pixie Bruiser

New Hampshire Roller Derby 2Pack Shocker of Mass Maelstrom and I met on the track when Shocker was a ref for my league (he is now a skater). He proposed on the track last year after a game and we wed on September 25, 2014. After our wedding, we took skating derby shots in Boston's North End. Photos are by Jodi of Millyard Studios. Venue for free!

Jackie O Lantern

Kill Devil Derby Brigade Last year, I had the privilege to be in a wedding that meant SO much to SO many. My derby sister, Jackie O’ Lantern of the Kill Devil Derby Brigade, the bride, wanted to have the wedding she and her husband never had... and she wanted to incorporate another love of hers, DERBY! This wasn’t your typical wedding though. Her husband of six years, the love of her life, the father of their beautiful daughter, had brain cancer. His time was limited, as the cancer came back with a vengeance. With the help of family, friends, and her derby community, we pulled off a beautiful wedding in two weeks. The strength, love and commitment I had witnessed when our team pulled together and made this happen was phenomenal. The fact that we are there in every aspect of our sisters’ life and continue to be, speaks volumes of the loyalty and love of our derby family. Sadly, her husband passed away in October and we are still focused on lifting our sister (and her daughter) up always, in everything. | Summer 2015


Suzy Snakeyes

L.A. Derby Dolls Michael and I met through the L.A. Derby Dolls roller derby league (through a mutual friend who used to skate with the league), so our relationship was born in roller derby. He proposed to me at halftime during a roller derby game I was playing. So it made perfect sense for us to get married at the same place where we got engaged – on the roller derby track! It also helped that, as a couple working on a tight budget, I was able to use my connections as a long-time skater with the league to get the venue for free!

Jwuana Piece o'me

High Tide Derby Had my Derby wedding on October 7th, the day after having my Official, Full Blown Family Wedding and it was on the center of the Banked Track. Sarah Chavez, Picture Something Productions My Crash Test Bunnies teammates were my bridesmaids and the refs were the groomsmen.

Spark and Burn

Elm City Derby Damez I was married on the track right before one of our home bouts on Aug 25th, 2012. It was an amazing experience I got to share with all my friends family and a whole lot of strangers. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.


Summer 2015 |

Inga Knee’her

Steel City Roller Derby Inga Knee’her started playing derby with Steel City Roller Derby in 2010. Around the same time, Rhubarb transferred to Steel City from Charlottesville. Rhubarb couldn’t take his eyes off Inga, but it wasn’t love at first sight. He was her jam ref. After a year or so, they started to realize they had more than derby in common with one another; she’s an engineer, he’s a roboticist. Their first date was at an away game afterparty in Ithaca, NY, which was a little awkward since Inga’s mom had come out to watch the game, too. Fortunately, she approved. They were married on April 18, 2015 with a 1930s themed wedding (the heyday of technological development), with roller derby playing a key role in the the ceremony. Not only did Inga meet Rhubarb through roller derby, but she also grew up skating with her mom and sister, who now also plays roller derby.


Boston Derby Dames Matthew Biron (Burnt Reyonlds) and I met during a Mass Maelstrom practice. While skating, I was hit down and landed on my knee wrong. The fall took me out for the rest of the jam but Matt (Burnt) saw everything happen and immediately ran to get me ice. After that incident, we became close friends and it eventually led to us dating. On July 16th, 2014, Matt took a knee and asked me to become his wife. We agreed that the wedding would be scheduled in November because it was the derby “off-season”. We had skaters from all over Massachusetts, and New Hampshire there to celebrate our love! Roller Derby has brought us together and Roller Derby will forever be in our lives.

Sugar Snappy

Resurrection Roller Girls Shwa Bull met Sugar Snappy at a derby fundraiser. Shwa’s daughter, Pushire Cat, was a junior skater and Sugar was a recent transfer skater on the adult team. It wasn’t long before they realized they were both two freaks in a pod. Shwa and Push proposed to Sugar on the winter solstice and will be married this October. Their punk rock derby wedding is guaranteed to be one hell of an extreme sport! | Summer 2015


Gia de los Muertos

Marc "Stalkerazzi" Campos

Marc "Stalkerazzi" Campos

L.A. Derby Dolls Reasons a halftime derby wedding is way better than a real wedding: Getting married by Razorslut is magical for all weddings. 1700 guests that you don’t have to buy dinner for. 1700 guests that you don’t have to buy drinks for. Wearing your dress to the track and to the afterparty further amortizes the cost. The bout DJ will play “Too Drunk To Fuck” for your recessional (Thanks Kasey Bomber!). Skating a victory lap to celebrate your marriage is incredibly romantic. The afterparty is a reception you don’t have to plan. Violating the league’s anti-PDA clause in the Code of Conduct on the infield in front of a sold out crowd is hot.


Capital City Rollers Sally Spare’her and I met through figure skating, of all things. When I started skating with CCR, she was intrigued enough to buy a pair of second hand skates and try it out. I proposed to her on a group outdoor skate and we tied the knot two years later in the middle of a hectic summer of bouts. Our coach got married the month before, so it wasn’t easy planning a summer wedding in the middle of the season. Somehow we managed and found the time to sneak away during our reception to goof around on our quads. We had a very small wedding with two receptions. Formal dinner for the family, and a late night dance party for the derby girls.

DLR Photography |


Summer 2015 |

the states on skates P A I N I N T H E B A S S, A R K V A L L E Y H I G H R O L L E R S

If I thought a pebble on a derby track caused difficulty, I never imaged skating on the road with debris or an uneven surface. It's more difficult than a grimy track; in fact, it’s completely different, according to my three roller derby teammates who skated 2,731 miles across the country. Three Ark Valley High Roller (AVHR) skaters from Chaffee County, Colorado set out March 5th to skate from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans in an effort to raise $50,000 for the Joyful Heart Foundation (JHF). JHF’s mission is “to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues.” Teammates contemplated the trip, but Gracie (Grace Riot) Cole, Kim (Nacho Sleeze) Bouldin, and Brenna (Kill'er Bee) Eaker were the ones who completed the entire endeavor,

AVHR teammates participated in a significant portion of the journey. Beth (Lead Betty) Ritcher skated 1,500 miles, over halfway; Rebecca (Strawberry Stompcake) Hudson found time to skate for four weeks while other teammates supported from home or skated for a week or two. Skaters from various derby leagues joined for a day when the adventurers passed through or close to their towns. When the ladies began, they had no clue what to expect. They had trained at altitude in Colorado. They had skated 16 to 23 miles before setting out, nothing like the 40-50 miles per day they faced. The first week was difficult for them to adjust to. They had blisters, ankle pains and modifications to make as they figured out how they would skate day after day.

which was dubbed States on Skates (SOS). They skated selfsufficiently from Cocoa Beach, Florida to Santa Monica, California pushing jogging strollers full of gear for eleven weeks. On May 21 at 4:09 pm Pacific time, they jumped into the Pacific Ocean having raised $26,000. “When I arrived at the Pacific, I felt overwhelmed with joy and relief! All of our pain and hard, hard days were over, and we did it!” shared Eaker.

The itinerary, route, sponsors and support came together when Cole pitched the idea to our team during a league meeting. She wanted “To empower people [she] care[s] about and people [she hadn't] even met yet... and facilitate their experience doing a trip of this nature and all the neat things that can come with it. Between long-term effects that they will have this experience that no one can take that away from them.”

Joyful Heart Foundation’s mission is “to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues.”


Summer 2015 |

A day in the life of a cross country skater 6:30-8:00 am wake up, pack up gear into strollers, eat breakfast, tape up feet, poop

Bouldin committed to SOS because she wanted to do something big and bold. She has two teenagers, and skating for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse was really important for her to set an example for her children. Plus, she said she doesn’t like to miss out on stuff. Eaker agreed, “I thought it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. Something I would regret not doing.” Skating for JHF and wanting an adventure were big factors in Ritcher’s decision to join the trip. “It's so different travelling on foot... rather than a car where you don't get to experience every single little thing like you do on skates. You definitely meet more people.” They have met many generous people along the way. Eaker has learned, “People are good.” As the cross country skaters were met by enthusiastic hospitality from many derby leagues, Cole’s favorite parts have been skating with women and men from other leagues. Supporters made meals, created spaces in their homes or yards, donated hotel rooms and made monetary donations. Hennessy Williams from Big Easy Rollergirls/New Orleans Brass Roller Derby was one of these supporters, and she joined the SOS skaters for a day. She said, “I learned so much, not just about myself and my teammates but about how the community reacts to pedestrians and strangers. One of the most moving things was that it started a conversation between my teammates about domestic abuse, what it means to be a teammate and a support system to someone.”

8:00-12:30 Skate, avoid pebbles, Skate, watch for cars, skate, stop to pee and eat a snack, skate, cross busy intersections, skate, skate 12:30-1:00 take a lunch break on the side of the road or at a convenience store 1:00-4:30 Skate, avoid pebbles, Skate, watch for cars, skate, stop to pee and eat a snack, skate, cross busy intersections, skate, skate 4:30 arrive at destination and take off skates 5:00-6:00 shower and do laundry 6:00-7:00 eat dinner 7:00-8:30 catch up with loved ones at home, update Facebook, revisit itinerary, make sure future accommodations are set up 8:30 go to sleep The next day repeat. | Summer 2015


Scarlet (ScarJo Ego) Cox of the Mississippi Rollergirls emphasized, “The derby world is one big family. It’s wonderful to see so many leagues along [the SOS skaters’] route getting involved.” Even though roller derby brought the skaters together, the experience has been nothing like roller derby. After skating across the country, Bouldin promised to never complain about a derby track again. She described a road versus a track, "The surfaces are very different. I do still like putting my skates on. However, the vibration on the road is a bit different.” Jackie Mae Day from the Mississippi Rollergirls spent a day with the SOS skaters; she said, “The rocks, sand and debris were a constant struggle. I [had] bloody knuckles and elbows. Skating under such conditions is not easy, but the tenacity of this sisterhood propelled all of us. I ended the day in a state of euphoria, and I caught myself comparing this pursuit [the skaters’] mission.”


Summer 2015 |

Williams agreed, “I have nothing but respect for the physical and mental fortitude it takes to push on day after day for the duration of the trip.” She understood the intensity of skating 4-8 hours a day with few rest days. She said, “I can honestly say that each one is my derby hero. It is extraordinary that they are doing this, not just for themselves but for all the people out there who have been through an abusive situation. The ladies were nothing but encouraging.” At the end of the trip, Cole said, “I recognize more fully the very real impact we have made on lives and the reward we get to live with knowing we completed such a big feat.” To see their daily adventures or donate to JHF, check out their Facebook ( and website ( Williams said, “Meeting the ladies really impressed upon me the power of one person to make a difference. I want to be that person in my derby circle.”H

Questionmark Photography

Hereford and the Hawk D E E M O N TA G U E , H E R E F O R D R O L L E R G I R L S

On Tuesday, April 14, the Hereford Roller Girls (and Guys!) had a training session with a difference when Professor Stephen Hawking came along to meet the team and discovered full-contact roller derby. The meeting came about as one of our skaters, Zelah Webb, met Prof. Hawking last year. They stayed in touch, and she told him all about roller derby and HRG. He was invited to come along and was very keen to do so, so Zelah made it happen! Club members were sworn to secrecy, and our Noobies – attending their second ever session with us – were told just minutes before Prof. Hawking entered the building. I was tasked with explaining the rules to Prof. Hawking as the team did a full contact scrimmage – that was surreal! I have been told a couple of times that I must be one of the only people who can say they have taught Stephen something he didn’t already know!

Zoe Butler (aka Eve L. Hart, Founder and Horror Bulls Captain): “It was an honour to meet Professor Hawking and a surreal experience! He really enjoyed watching us train and we told him he’s welcome to come to any of our bouts! Before he left we presented him with a HRG top with ‘The Hawk’ and number 42 on the back – everyone needs a derby name!”H

Questionmark Photography | Summer 2015


skating without a rink, part 2 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

He said his name was Angel. I had to pause and ask him again, as I didn’t think I had heard him right. But I had. He said his name was Angel. He was the first person I met when the team finally landed in Japan. After an eleven hour flight, with two connections before that and an hour and a half drive to the closest airport, not to mention schlepping the teams bags to get them on the bus and loaded while the team headed aboard in abandon, I was a bit taken aback to say the least. How could this nice, young Japanese man be named Angel? Japanese have names like Makoto, Toshihiro, Daisuke, Musashi, Hayao and the like. Not Angel. It was strange to hear. If I was in any way religious, I would have thought him a sign from on high; as I wasn’t, I asked him to repeat his name for the third time. Again, very polite, the nice young Japanese man said his name was Angel. Well... that was what I heard anyway. He spoke English with a slight Japanese accent and he was a lead-in to a wonderful trip. For me, this had started almost a year before. I was healthy, as in not injured and I was thinking that perhaps if I tried out for the U.S. national team next year, I could make it. So I started training in November of 2007. If you read my last article, you know by this time in Klamath Falls, OR, we had no rink to train in. The skating rink had closed its doors back in the spring of 2007. I was working two jobs, my nephew was born in November, and come January, my mother fell on the ice and broke her hip. (And no, she’s not that old.) The first tryouts for U.S. National Roller hockey team were in April and I was trying to psych myself up and get in really good shape while working those two jobs, taking care of my nephew a half day with my mom and her broken hip when my sister-inlaw went back to work, and we had three feet of snow fall during that winter. So skating up at the converted tennis court was not an option. There was still snow covering the rink until mid-april.


Summer 2015 |

This trip and landing in Japan, was the culmination of months of training for me and something I have dreamed of when Roller Hockey was an Olympic exhibition sport in 1992 during the Barcelona Summer games. I have wanted to represent my nation in my sport since I was twelve. These months I spent training, not just skating. I was lifting weights, and improvising exercises, and going up to that converted tennis court and running plays. Plays with one person is fairly difficult, you kind of have to have some imagination to run a full play imagining your teammates and the opposition at the same time. I had to do that. I used a lot of cones – red for opposing team players, and yellow for my team, and orange marked out what I needed to do and where I should skate. Even when someone did join me, it was a different practice. Both my brothers skated up at the converted rink until the national championships had finished in July. Unfortunately, when they did join me, they worked on their own team’s drills and plays and worked on things together; so I was able to work with others and practice with others, but not necessarily on the things/drills I needed to practice. So in Japan, when as a team we had our very first practice together, I became very frustrated. Because, even in my situation of having no one to practice with; I understood the plays better than one of my teammates. She skated and played for the coach of the national team on their local team. It was horrendous that she did not understand or even know the plays. And, I felt, disrespected. Though, to be fair, she could skate, and left to her own devises, somehow she even managed to score from time to time. Let’s call her Fluffhead Dingbat, and I hope fervently to never play with her on a team again. Worst team player... ever... of all time. So there I was, for months, up at the rink, placing the cones in positions, as my teammates and as the opposition and I ran through drills, shooting, and having passing to the walls as if

the wall was a teammate. Over and over, I ran those plays to get them into memory; muscle and brain. When we arrived in Japan and were able to run those plays for the first time as a team, Ms. Fluffhead Dingbat is the one to screw it all up. She had the coach to practice with months before even leaving for Japan, and she couldn’t get it memorized before then. Talk about frustrating! But back to the first tryouts in April; they went well. My training had paid off and I skated well, played well, and ran the drills well, all without having skated since last October when the weather was good. And I was able to knock Ms. Fluffhead Dingbatt on her backside when she ran into me during tryouts; that was a bonus. After those April tryouts, I came back to Klamath confident about making the team and confident about going to the national championships and doing well. After April 15th had passed, I was down to one job and my car had broken down. The weather was better, so I could now skate at the rink but had to beg a ride or borrow a car to get there. All the while, I was biking several miles to and from work. Needless to say, I was in very good shape for Nationals and the tryouts. The final tryouts for the team were held a day before nationals, and they would also be evaluating us all week long during the championships, for which I didn’t make the team. Yeah, I was upset. I was the third top scorer of the championships, one of the highest in assists; I played defense well, offense well, all while playing with a concussion I got during the first day of tryouts, and with a team I had never practiced with. I was picked as the first alternate. I came back to Klamath with the play book to study and assurances from the coach that I would be on the team and that I would be going to Japan. But it was not a sure thing. I still didn’t know for sure I was going to Japan until three weeks before the plane left.

I was left in limbo between the first of July and the first of September. Now, it was after nationals and those who had been training with me for were gone and I was back to skating, training, and working out on my own. I got into a routine when I went up to the converted tennis court. I would walk the rink and clear off the excess rocks or paint chips that had blown on to it. After that, I would go through my warm up routine off skates, moving into ladder drills, to putting on my skates and then going back through the ladder drills on skates. From there, I would set out cones and run through basic drills; of stick handling and shooting, and then I would work on the plays the team coach had given me. I would then skate lines while working on penalty shots. Sprint down the rink, sprint back and stop at the penalty shot line – gather myself and then take the shot. If I missed, I would skate a lap; if I made it, I would reset the ball and then sprint down again. All of those drills, biking to work, skating on my own, driving hours to tryouts, etc., all of that led me to that moment on the bus with the Japanese man named Angel. I sat down next to him as the only free seat on the bus and he handed me his card. Which was in English; it read: Enjo. Enjo, not Angel. That was how the rest of my trip went, with little misunderstandings, but on the whole I had an Angel watching over the team. A week later, we beat the reigning world champions, Chile. We beat Chile only to go on to lose to the second place team, Argentina. And then lose to Portugal in the third-fourth place game. We took fourth. It was the best finish for a US team at the World Championships, ever. Even with Ms. Fluffhead Dingbat playing. Angel. Enjo. Dingbat. Fourth place. One of the best trips ever. | Summer 2015


Here are some of my workouts I would do off skates to build leg strength and stamina. Also, I have added my warm up I put together over the years. And also some skating drills I would do and the one play that Ms. Fluffhead Dingbat could not learn. I hope they help you in your own skating whatever your skating level. warm up: • Leg swings. Front/side/back and hip rotation. Doing 10-20 jumping jacks in-between. • Jog forward 15-30 feet. Jog back to starting point, backwards. • Side shuffle down and back • Jog forward/ jog backwards • Grapevine down and back • Jog forward/jog backwards • Shuffle scrap with a quick switch to other side down and back. • Jog forward/jog backwards • Butt slaps forward/ instep touch back • Jog forward/ jog backwards • Double shuffle forward. Double shuffle backwards • Jog forward/ jog backwards increasing the speed to 100% • Ladder drills

off skates workout: • Soccer ball quick tap on top of ball. 1 min. or 100 touches • Soccer ball side to side touches. 1 min. or 100 touches. • Jump rope. 3 mins • Box/ stair jumps. (I didn’t have a box so I used the steps in my house.) I would jump up a step and then back. Then jump up two steps. Repeat for 1 min. • Quick feet on top of balance board. 1 min • Skate jumps. Side to side for 1-2 mins. • Jump rope 3 mins • Skating position, deep knee bend on balance board, in skating motion. 1 min • Explosive squats w/weight. 1 min. Repeat at least once

DoD photo by Ingrid Barrentine, Northwest Guardian staff (released: Joint Base Lewis-McChord Public Affairs Office)

skating drills: Place cones down the length of the rink in a zig zag pattern. I use anywhere from six to eight cones evenly spaced, around 20 feet apart. There are several ways to run through this drill both with a stick and ball and without. We will run through this without. This can be used by every skill level and if it is too easy, push yourself to your limit as you go through the cones, to either: 1) at the cone stay low while at speed and 2) to cross over to go around the next cone at speed with a cross over going the other way. A) Starting at the first cone, skate around the outside and head to the next. Push yourself to go fast and make sure your knees are bent to stay low. B) Starting at the first cone make a full and complete stop. I usually stop with a hockey stop. I don’t care how you stop, but it must be full and complete, then sptint to the next cone and so on down the rink. C) Starting at the first cone, make a spin at the cone, staying on the inside of the cone. So if you are going to the right, as you come up to the cone you will put your left skate near the cone as your plant foot, continue around and your back is now against the cone as if it were an opponent and you skate off to the next cone. D) Starting at the first cone, head to the high side and circle around the cone until you are facing the next. Try to do this at speed, stay low and try crossing over, and/or using your toe stop as a pivot point to circle faster and start faster. E) Now go through all of the above while skating backwards.H


Summer 2015 |

a voice of their own 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

UK-based officials now have their own voice, thanks to an exciting initiative by national governing body, the UK Roller Derby Association (UKRDA). The organization, which currently represents around a third of UK roller derby leagues, has opened up its membership to individual officials. It is the first initiative of its kind outside of the WFTDA officials’ structure, and has been a work in progress by a dedicated team, led by Central City Rollergirls NSO and head of the Officials Committee, Ma Might. This new membership policy means that the growing number of NSOs and referees who choose to participate in roller derby without being part of a league – or whose league isn’t in the UKRDA – can have a voice in the shaping and direction of our sport in the UK and internationally. The UKRDA is also now accepting applications for league-affiliated officials to join, so that they can connect directly with other officials from different parts of the country. They can also choose to become independent UKRDA members, while retaining their league affiliation, which means they can vote with the officials (each league gets one vote in any decision making votes, and the officials as a group get one vote). This means that on issues where officials and skaters have different viewpoints, the officials still have their say and the UKRDA gets the benefit of perspectives from both sides. UKRDA chairman, The B reF G said: “The idea of offering support to UK derby officials through membership of UKRDA is something that has been talked about within the organization for a few years, so it is fantastic to see this program up and running. It has been extremely well received

by officials and non-officials alike, and that was definitely shown in the first round of application submissions.” The first round of applications closed in February, and the Officials Admin Panel (the group made up of referees, NSOs and skaters appointed by the UKRDA to process and oversee the application process) received over 50 applications from eager officials. Speaking after the first round closed, a spokesperson for the panel said: “When we launched the UKRDA plan to have officials on board, we were not expecting such a huge interest, we have been completely blown away by the amount of experience across the UK roller derby community. We’ve had amazing references, fantastic interactions, and we are excited that very soon, we can announce the first people to be affiliated with us.” As well as allowing officials to vote on matters affecting them, it has also created a network of support. Referees and NSOs from around the country can link up and share ideas and feedback on projects to the UKRDA – and by extension the UK derby community – and find opportunities to gain more experience and expertise. The B reF G added: “We believe that our officials are a valuable resource and represent some of the most dedicated and knowledgeable people involved in the sport, so we want to ensure they are enabled in their role. The UKRDA wants to provide a platform for them to share education and training resources, as well as offering support and providing access to the general UKRDA forum to the Officials’ community. “It is important that UK Officials feel included in the development of the sport in our country, regardless of their league affiliation, as they have a stake in growing the sport and should be included in discussions about the direction UK roller derby takes in the future.

“We believe that our officials are a valuable resource and represent some of the most dedicated and knowledgeable people involved in the sport so we want to ensure they are enabled in their role.”


Summer 2015 |

Jason Ruffell

“As with other initiatives, we have implemented in the past year, including the trans* policy, we are hopeful that organizations in countries around the world will see the benefits of having officials in their country connecting and could begin to create similar membership policies – because we can’t have derby without officials!” Another benefit for leagues is that there is now a group of UKRDA-registered officials, who have been through an application process involving references from leagues and other officials, their experience and any issues involving them. They have also signed a code of conduct as part of their membership, similar to the one signed by member

leagues. This means leagues can easily be put in touch with officials in their area if they need people for upcoming games. It is also a great way for up-and-coming officials to learn more about the sport and gain a level of insight they wouldn’t get otherwise. This year, there will be a total of four application and appointment rounds, and if numbers continue, by the end of 2015, there could be over 200 UKRDA-affiliated officials. For more information about the UKRDA officials membership, please visit or email | Summer 2015



Summer 2015 |

anarchy in the UK 2015 G R A V E A N D B R AT, L O N D O N R O L L E R G I R L S PHOTOS BY JASON RUFFELL

On April 18, people from all across the UK, Europe, and the world chose to spend a glorious, sunny weekend sweating it out in a sports hall in Birmingham for the fifth year running. Why? London Rollergirls’ annual Anarchy in the UK event, a double-header showcasing some of the best European derby has to offer and a grueling two-day boot camp where those skaters pass those skills onto the next generation of derby superstars. the appetiser The first bout saw LRG Brawl Saints take on venue hosts Birmingham Blitz Dames. Early predictions suggested that Brawl Saints would win easily, but given the new Brawl Saints line-up, combined with the fact that the Blitz Dames are one of the oldest teams in the UK, the outcome was always going to be more interesting than the numbers suggested. A couple of jams in, it seemed like the Brawl Saints were going to shut Blitz out completely, but it wasn’t to last. A strong showing from the Blitz Dames pushed Brawl Saints onto the defensive in the latter part of the first half and kept the scores close. Brawl Saints returned from half time with a fire lit under them, taking them from a 30-point lead to almost double the points of BBD in the opening minutes of the second half. The Brawl Saints adapted to the challenges thrown at them; jammers dancing past the BBD’s blocks with pack skaters keeping opposing jammers locked down. Meanwhile, the Blitz Dames were suffering from penalty attrition, giving away a number of power jams and keeping blockers off the track, ultimately sealing their fate. Final score: London Brawl Saints 174 – 96 Birmingham Blitz Dames.

the all-star event The main event of the day was the Euro All-Stars vs. London Brawling. It’s no secret that Brawling are a force to be reckoned with in the world derby scene, having spent the last year training hard, beating predictions, and tearing it up in the US, but there’s also a whole host of red-hot talent in the rest of Europe just simmering to the surface. The second bout featured a Euro All-Stars team, including several skaters who made their international debut at last year’s World Cup. Opening with Mainey against Mort on the jammer line, it seemed initially that Brawling were caught off guard by the level of athleticism the All-Stars demonstrated and scores were matched for the first few jams. What seemed like it might’ve been a relaxed exhibition bout quickly became a far more brutal contest than anyone expected. A pair of star pass violations in the next two jams for the Euros gave Brawling jammers Lexi Lightspeed and Rogue Runner all the space they needed to rack up some serious points, bringing Brawling up to 50 points before the Euros would score again. From here on, points would be hard won for the Euros. With Euro jamming machine Sandrine Rangeon fouling out going into the second half, human wrecking-ball Mainey stepped up to jam for Brawling, blasting through the Euro blockers like tenpins and setting the tone for the path of destruction that followed. Despite the best efforts of jammer Slinky, and some textbook blocking by Faye Roberts, the challenge team wasn’t in a position to break up the well-drilled Brawling walls. Although eventually defeated, rapturous support from the European derby crowd ensured their spirits remained high and the fight stayed in them until the final seconds of a thoroughly exciting game. Final score: London Brawling 318 – 102 Euro All-stars.H | Summer 2015


The Ultimate Mental Toughness Guide: Roller Derby TEQKILLIA, WINDY CITY ROLLERS

How many hours does an average skater practice roller derby each week? Typically four to six hours, or often more, depending on the number of teams and level of competitiveness. Factor in the added hours in cross-training and many practice schedules become the majority of a skater’s free time during the week. Now, how many hours does the average derby skater spend on strengthening and perfecting their mental game? Probably zero! While some of us may meditate, visualize and set goals, these are typically a minor afterthought of training and preparing. Roller derby is an incredibly strategic game of mental skill and focus, and for this reason, every skater should also spend time on mental toughness. There are thousands of books on sports psychology and improving the mental game, but The Ultimate Mental Toughness Guide: Roller Derby is actually written by a derby skater and coach for derby skaters and coaches. Author Naomi “Sweetart” Weitz not only has nearly a decade of skating experience, but also holds a Master’s degree in Psychology with a Certification in Sports and Fitness Psychology and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. In short: if anybody is knowledgeable in both the sport of roller derby and the sports psychology field, it’s this gal. The Ultimate Mental Toughness Guide: Roller Derby is a helpful handbook for new to experienced skaters, designed to be read in any order of interest, including chapters ranging from Teambuilding, Goal Setting, Managing Energy and even a chapter devoted to Life After Derby. Well-researched and with a host of external references, the book will interest anyone looking to strengthen their mind to match their skating skills. Academic research is combined with true-life derby examples, including a peppering of quotes and tips from skaters of different ages, abilities, and backgrounds.

Some of the examples used in the book reference wellknown psychology practices, such as positive self-talk and Spheres of Control, plus how to mentally and visually focus and avoid choking under pressure. Beyond psychology tips, there are a number of business-related best practices, such as a SWOT Analysis to measure strengths and weaknesses, and SMART goals (in this case, described as SMARTER: Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic,

Practice the Six Pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship


Summer 2015 |

Immediately turn failure into success: As soon as possible after making an error you should mentally rehearse executing the same skills perfectly. Avoid self-judgment or blaming others which disrupts your concentration. Learning is only possible when you make mistakes.

Timely, and Evaluate and Re-evaluate.) These principles can help center a skater in creating reasonable assessments and goals while addressing how to manage both internal and external factors in performance. The psychological practices outlined in the book can not only strengthen athletic performance, but possibly reinforce positive interpersonal and professional outcomes, as well. To assist, there are helpful flow charts and visual examples, along with a host of worksheets, which readers can use to develop their personal goals based on the strategies outlined in each chapter. The Ultimate Mental Toughness Guide: Roller Derby covers how to utilize nervous jitters in competitive readiness, understanding fight or flight responses, and using mental exercises to relax and manage anxiety. Author “Sweetart” also realistically outlines the team dynamics and group-think that is often involved in derby (very correctly comparing derby with sororities!), and addressing how to play with grace and moral character. The applicability of mental toughness in the form of interpersonal skills and conflict management, as well as how to win and lose with grace, is paramount to an all-around successful teammate and skater. In addition to real-time mental toughness strategies, the tips on how to prevent and address burnout are of importance to most long-term skaters. (In fact, I really wish I’d had this book when I was captain of a team with cliques

and infighting!) Also covered in the range of topics are: eating disorders, substance abuse, coaching and aggression. Plus, how to stay involved, positive, and mentally focused during those somewhat inevitable times of injury. For those hardcore 24/7 derby skaters out there (you know who you are!), this book is also for you – covering how to stay centered and balanced, despite the many roles a skater plays in life – plus how to use physical conditioning, training and social environment to build self-confidence and ensure success. For any of you retired skaters or those thinking of retiring, the chapter on preparing for leaving the sport can be particularly helpful in mapping out future exercise plans, staying engaged and supported, and exploring new hobbies to fill the void. The five stages of grief are even explained, for those “mourning the loss of derby” (hey – it happens!) For those skaters showing up to every practice, but finding that their skills, team bonding and competitive performance aren’t where they aspire to be, reading a book on sports psychology can be the missing link to achieving positive results. There is finally a book that addresses the combination of mental and physical training of an athlete, which is actually specific to the dynamic sport of roller derby. Give yourself a boost by picking up The Ultimate Mental Toughness Guide: Roller Derby, and loan it to a struggling teammate or friend when you’re done with it. Their improvement may even help yours, too.H | Summer 2015



Summer 2015 | 1. Blocker on left is missing sock. 2. Logo is missing from pivot’s shirt. 3. Back center blocker’s mouthguard is now green. 4. Jammer’s armband number has changed. 5. Back right blocker is missing necklace. 6. Door is missing from background. 7. Pivot on right’s tattoo on thigh is missing.

Joel Giltner aka Shutter Up,


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fiveonfive | issue 28 | Summer 2015  

fiveonfive | issue 28 | Summer 2015