WOMENâ€™S FLAT TRACK ROLLER DERBY MAGAZINE ISSUE 28, SUMMER 2015
proud partner of the WFTDA
fiveonfive contents 4-5 advice ask ms dâ€™fiant and suzy hotrod!
6-7 business media tips
WFTDA Planning to travel to some of the 2015 Playoffs? Hereâ€™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 parentâ€™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.
grave london rollergirls
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 email@example.com.
cover photo Tyler Shaw Derby Photographer Prints Charming fiveonfive magazine firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/fiveonfive fiveonfivemag.com
The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the contributing writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of fiveonfive magazine.
Miss Jane Redrum Fort Wayne Derby Girls Fort Wayne, IN email@example.com
Many thanks to our contributors who come from all over the roller derby community and share their knowledge based on their countless hours of dedication to this sport! Check out additional contributors at fiveonfivemag.com.
SpareParts began her derby journey in early 2014 with the Ann Arbor Derby Dimes and currently plays for the Ypsilanti Vigilantes. By day, sheâ€™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.
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 Britainâ€™s best-selling evening newspapers.
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 | fiveonfivemag.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org fiveonfivemag.com | 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 | fiveonfivemag.com
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
fiveonfivemag.com | 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 | fiveonfivemag.com
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
fiveonfivemag.com | 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
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 | fiveonfivemag.com
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 BloodPoopTears.com.H
...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
fiveonfivemag.com | Summer 2015
C AT H O L I C C R U E L G I R L , R O C
photo by Jean
Summer 2015 | fiveonfivemag.com
C K Y M O U N TA I N R O L L E R G I R L S
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.
fiveonfivemag.com | Summer 2015
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 fiveonfivemag.com
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
Summer 2015 | fiveonfivemag.com
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
fiveonfivemag.com | 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!”
Summer 2015 | fiveonfivemag.com
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 fiveonfivemag.com | 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. muhammadaliquotes.org 4. communitytable.com
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
Summer 2015 | fiveonfivemag.com
joe mac/midnight matinee
purpose: lateral speed/agility, intense hits
Summer 2015 | fiveonfivemag.com
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
Summer 2015 | fiveonfivemag.com
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
fiveonfivemag.com | 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.
Summer 2015 | fiveonfivemag.com
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 fiveonfivemag.com | 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
Summer 2015 | fiveonfivemag.com
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 $55, with upgrade options available for extra protections or customizations.H
Stock Generic SISU
HHHHH HHHHH HHHHH HHHH
fiveonfivemag.com | Summer 2015
GET LOCKED IN A ROOM WITH YOUR TEAMMATES Will you escape is the first live escape game in Tucson, Arizona (a 2015 Division Playoffs location). You are locked in a room with your teammates. Your objective is to use teamwork to solve riddles, uncover clues, and crack codes in order to escape in time. Will you make it out in time?
25% off your booking, use code “fiveonfive” WillYouEscape.com
&/,,/7 53 !.$ 3)'. 50 &/2 /52 -!),).'