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proud partner of the WFTDA

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

6-7 business creating a fundraising plan for your league



WFTDA This year, WFTDA celebrates its 10 year anniversary. So much has happened in a decade. Find out what WFTDA has planned for the next 10 years and get a full recap of this year's annual meeting.

health and fitness vitamin d: it’s not just for bones anymore broken leg tips


games and coaching what competitive really means derby in good time strategy power jam

26-29 gear tools

46-47 SkateSafe Skatesafe is a nonprofit group of volunteers from across the derby community that provides resources to everyone at roller derby events to help keep them safe. Find them at upcoming tourneys and ask them how you can help.


junior derby pouncing around with pushire cat


rookie derby diplomat pursuing the mysterious beast

58-65 art and media

54-57 RollerCon 2015 recap RollerCon founder Ivanna S. Pankin provides a debrief of this year’s RollerCon, including tons of statistics and a sneak peek of next year’s event.

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 knuckle slamwich toronto loco roller derby john rudoff, m.d., fac aka johnny the knife thunderbird south simcoe rebel rollers

from the editor Welcome to the 29th issue of fiveonfive!

Didn’t we just wrap up tournament season? Thankfully, for derby junkies like me, it’s our favorite time of year again. This year’s schedule will be action-packed as usual. Sadly, I can’t make it to any tournaments this year, but like so many others, I will be tuning in to WTDA.TV to catch as much of it as I can. Hats off to WFTDA and all of its member leagues for continually pushing the game forward and for making all of the tournament games available online.

catholic cruel girl rocky mountain rollergirls punchy o’guts resurgam roller derby

Just like tournament season, this issue of fiveonfive is action-packed, as

jason isaacs

well. Our trusted advice columnists Suzy Hotrod and Ms. D’Fiant offer up

old xchool north coast roller derby

some great feedback about setting attendance standards for your league

jennifer savaglio aka la petite mort fast girl skates

and how to return after an injury. Knuckle Slamwich provided an article on

lois slain wftda

page 6 to help leagues establish a fundraising plan – a necessary evil.

sugar snappy fallin’ angels junior derby jane ire naptown roller girls kate runnels southern oregon roller girls culta skaro boston derby dames

Coach James Isaac contributed an article on page 18 about strategies for integrating newbies into your league. And if you are looking for some inspiration, check out the article on page 38 about junior derby skate and entrepreneur Pushire Cat.

bitches bruze southshire roller derby andy frye aka lebron shames chicago bruise brothers

As always, we couldn’t do what we do without your support and input. We

gracie garnet

want you to be a part of our community, so let us hear from you. Is there

cover photo joe mac

a topic you want us to cover? Do you want to become a contributing

fiveonfive magazine

writer? Email us at Miss Jane Redrum Fort Wayne Derby Girls Fort Wayne, IN

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the contributing writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of fiveonfive magazine.


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

Elizabeth Beard

Knuckle Slamwich Knuckle Slamwich is a founding director of Toronto LOCO Roller Derby in Toronto, Canada, where she previously acted as President and currently sits on the Board as Treasurer. When not on the track, she works as a professional fundraiser, helping worthy causes make their fundraising dreams come true.

Punchy O’Guts Punchy O’Guts is a skater and coach with Resurgam Roller Derby and is sponsored by Roller Derby Elite. She started her derby career with Maine Roller Derby in 2006 and skated competitively on the WFTDA-sanctioned all-star team through 2012. Prior to leaving MRD, she began her career as an author and traveling derby coach. She has written six books about roller derby and has coached leagues all over the United States and Canada, along with leagues in Japan, Australia, and England (see more at

Kate Runnels

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

K8 started skating at age four and is a hard core hardball roller hockey player. She has only recently picked up roller derby by helping coach with the Southern Oregon Rollergirls. And loving every minute of it.

Bitches Bruze Amy Jo Moore, aka Bitches Bruze, started playing derby in 2007. She was a co-founder of the Hellions of Troy (Troy, NY) and Burlington Bombers (Burlington, VT). She has coached roller derby around the United States and Europe and can often be heard on at ECDX, and WFTDA playoff events. In December 2013, after years of insane commutes, she finally started Southshire Roller Derby close to her home in Pownal, VT.

Suzy Hotrod

Ms D’Fiant

Gotham Girls Roller Derby New York, NY

Angel City Derby Girls Los Angeles, CA

dear blocker and jammer, I feel that my all star teammates are not committed to our success. Unfortunately, they are better skaters than our other options, which makes it harder to enforce a stricter attendance policy. How can I encourage everyone to come to practice more without sounding like a whiner? -POLLY SEES

dear ps, Tough one. The answer is having clear minimum requirements. I’ve trained with Gotham’s All Star team and the amount of practice available is hard to keep up with at times, but the minimum requirement is very fair and clearly laid out. Everyone had to do it and I don’t think anyone did not meet their minimum attendance requirement. Yes, there were some skaters who were highly talented and skilled who had weaker attendance numbers, and there were some who went to every practice. Everyone always met that minimum requirement. It was doable. Are your minimum attendance requirements a bit too low? Are they set at a realistic dedicated amount, or are they unrealistically high? You need to set the requirement to give skaters the freedom to allow them flexibility but ensures the team gets what it needs to remain cohesive. For our All Stars, in addition to the league attendance requirements, our All Star captains made an additional team specific requirement that we must make three of the four team dedicated practices offered once a week in the month so the team got enough track time together. It is possible that some teammates just cannot dedicate that amount of time to roller derby. Roller derby can take over your entire life, and quite honestly, some people can’t give all that or just won’t give it, so there needs to be a clear line about what isn’t enough. When it comes down to it, who would you put out of the track in the last jam of a tied game? If those five skaters you envision in that last jam lineup aren’t at practices enough to be good teammates, you’ve got a problem. Should skaters who cannot make practice enough really be the ones who are traveling for weekends at a time if they can’t make it to weeknight training consistently? A traveling team is a huge amount of extra time, not to mention financial dedication. If a skater is consistently not showing up, how many seasons do you think that skaters will really stay with the team? Don’t be unrealistic about your expectations. Evaluate your league and evaluate your all star team. Set your attendance policy to be both a challenge yet doable for the skaters. This is a push/pull. Do not scare anyone away. Figure out what works to be a team. Everyone’s idea of what they can commit to “success” can be different, but a clear decision needs to be made about what is expected to get the framework set.


Fall 2015 |

dear ps, Every league has a “come to Jesus” moment, for lack of a better phrase, where you look at where you are now and where you would like to be. It is not easy or pleasant to have this conversation and face the honest truth. But all the successful leagues have done it at one point or another. I can personally speak for one top ten league when I say we started with attendance. Every skater makes attendance or does not skate. Again – every skater makes attendance or Does. Not. Skate. If a skater is injured on my league, they still come to practice and assist. When ACDG put that policy in to place, we immediately lost three of our best skaters. Know what happened next? We got better. In fact, with a little bit of time, we got a lot better. There weren’t giant egos taking up the track and those of us that remained agreed to love, trust, and support each other. Attendance was probably the hardest habit to change, but we went across the board and started enforcing all of our policies. Dues, volunteer requirements, etc. Once we felt pretty good about the travel team, the training team took a long pain-staking look at the teams that weren’t “the Charter” and put into place a program to build and train those teams. It not only creates a pipeline to the travel team for those so inclined, but also builds the community where skaters are coaches and friends across teams. But it all starts with equality and getting everyone on the same page. Good luck, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you, but it’s worth it!

dear blocker and jammer, I’m coming back from injury and I’m nervous. Do you have any tips on not being such a scaredy cat? -SCURRED

dear s, The biggest thing I always thought about coming back from an injury is getting over your first big fall. I think the mental nervousness of anticipating that is the worst part. There’s the fear of re-injury and a lack of confidence. We’re in to practice. We feel less confident if we’ve not been on our regular training schedule. Relax! If you have completed your physical therapy, your body is ready. Well, your body is cleared by your PT, but throwing it directly into full contact roller derby is intimidating and may not be the best first move. Of course, get started by going to non-contact skills practices. You need to figure out how your body is different and how your skating is different. I know many skaters with knee and ankle injuries have difficulty with plow stops when they return to play, and some never get the same plow back. You’ll need to learn the new you and make it work for you. To prepare mentally, talk it out each day of your return. Some people keep a blog or journal about their experience returning to skating, or write a small Facebook update each time you practice about how you feel and what’s changed. Getting the support of your online community helps. Writing it out or sharing it through photos can help keep your thoughts in order and can also connect you to others who have gone through it too. (For example! My former teammate and current DC Rollergirls skater Byers Remorse has a great one! When it’s time to scrimmage, you’re dreading the first big fall, pile up, or situation when it’s completely out of your control. You’ve done everything in your control to heal your injury – an injury that was out of your control. The control is where your mental game is most challenged. The one thing about roller derby is it’s the one place where your mind does not have time to think about anything because everything is moving and there’s no time to be a scaredy cat. You are far more likely to re-injure yourself if you’re thinking about it the whole time. There is the likelihood to scream really loud during your first big fall. I’ve seen it happen quite a bit. Let it out if you’re scared, but that can’t keep happening. One thing at a time, but always progress. Sweat it out, listen to your body, and don’t rush it. Derby skaters hate going slow, but this is not a fast process. Best of luck, follow your gut and don’t let your brain get the best of you!

dear s, Take your time! It’s hard to give specific advice without knowing the type or severity of the injury. But, in general, I encourage you to get back your confidence with cross training. Strength training on the side will go a long way to not only getting back to where you were before, but pushing past that to the athlete you aspire to become, as well. Also, set reasonable expectations. Though not quite like getting injured, while pregnant I made sure to work out a lot and continue to skate recreationally until I wasn’t comfortable anymore. When I returned, it was many months before I felt back to my old self. Be patient and allow your body the time it needs to get back in the groove. But on the other hand, don’t use your injury as an excuse to slack off. After pregnancy probably the hardest thing, harder than moving my new flubby body around, which had shifted and sorted itself all wrong, was the mental struggle. Constantly I would look at other girls during endurance and think – well, they didn’t just have a baby, I can take it slow. Or, my favorite – they didn’t wake up three times last night to feed a cranky baby. And fact is, they didn’t. But that does not mean I get some type of free pass. Every person on the roster earns the privilege to be there through hard work. Celebrate your small successes and continue to set short-term realistic goals. They will add up over time, and just like riding a bike, it will all come back.

need advice? email | Fall 2015


creating a fundraising plan for your league KNUCKLE SLAMWICH, TORONTO LOCO ROLLER DERBY

Roller derby comes with expenses, and if you want your league to be viable, skaters can’t be your league’s only source of revenue. When this is the case, it means that your only option is to start charging skaters more money as expenses rise, and that isn’t sustainable long term – especially if dues become so expensive that skaters leave. Fundraising is necessary to bridge the gap in case of a shortfall. You’d never get on the track without a plan, so why start fundraising without one? This article will guide you through the process of developing a fundraising plan that will cultivate continuing support for your league. The first step is to understand your organization’s legal status and what its implications are for your fundraising efforts. fiveonfive has an international readership so I won’t get into specifics, as the implications will be different depending on where you live. However, for example, if your league is a registered charity in your jurisdiction, you may be able to offer tax incentives for people or organizations who donate money to your league. It’s important to understand not only how that affects your plans, but also all the specific rules and regulations surrounding your organization and how it can solicit, receive, and process donations before you proceed. The next step is for your leadership team to map out your fundraising plan. There will be a lot of considerations. For what would you use the money? How much do you need? Dust off your financial statements and see how much money you need and how it needs to be spent. Set a goal. Almost everyone has seen a giant “thermometer” that tracks a charity’s progress towards a fundraising goal,

right? Setting a goal motivates donors and volunteers to help reach it and helps you see what you can reasonably expect to accomplish in future years. There will be ethical decisions you need to make. We in derby are a socially conscious bunch, and there may be people or organizations who may want to give you money but whose money you do not want to take. (For example: a firearms manufacturer that offers grants or a wealthy individual with a checkered history with the law.) I don’t have an opinion about whose money you take, but I guarantee that people who care about your league will. Figure out where you want to draw the line, and create a clear policy. The next phase is to determine whom you’ll ask to contribute funds. You may choose to target organizations, individuals, or a combination of both. Even if your target group is skaters’ friends and families or the local government, it’s a good place to start. Once you’ve outlined who you think could provide funding, you can begin to develop opportunities for your target groups to give or determine what process you’ll have to go through to secure funding. There are a number of fundraising methods to choose from, but you must ensure that you keep your target group in mind. For example, don’t do a raffle with alcohol as the prize if most of the people in your target group don’t drink. Events are a great way to raise money while raising awareness of your league, but if you are going to do an event, you need to determine whether your event appeals to your target group.

There are a number of fundraising methods to choose from, but you must ensure that you keep your target group in mind.


Fall 2015 |

Tracey Johnson

With any method you decide upon, it’s essential to ask yourself one key question: are we building a path towards long-term, sustainable funding or is this a one time thing? A one time influx of cash (I’m going to pick on crowdfunding as an example) might be what your league needs to keep the lights on – and that’s fine. But, when you set up the crowdfunding page again next year, are the same people going to respond or are they going to be annoyed that your league always seems to be begging for money? Your league must build a relationship with your future, present and past supporters. Think of when you used to ask your parents for money. You probably had more success when you made sure to do your chores when asked or offered to do a few extra things or provided that you kept your promise not to blow the money on candy. Do some work, appeal to your target group, and prove you can be responsible with the money you receive. Just like when you’re on the track, if you set a goal, you always look back and see if you achieved it. Review

your success in meeting your fundraising goal with your leadership team. If you met your goal – congratulations! How are you going to reach or surpass it next year? What worked and what didn’t? If you didn’t meet your goal, ask what you could improve upon. Review why it happened and decide what you want to do about it. As you undertake your fundraising journey, it’s not going to be easy. Fundraising is a chance to do something great for your league and engage your community at the same time. You’re going to have to do some work, especially in the planning phase. You might have to make some unpopular decisions, such as not doing an event that everyone loves but fails to raise money. Fundraising gets your league excited about reaching a goal. It’s about raising money, but it’s also about allowing everyone to get involved in doing something amazing that can result in great things for you and your skaters.H

Fundraising is a chance to do something great for your league and engage your community at the same time. | Fall 2015


vitamin d: it’s not just for bones anymore J O H N R U D O F F, M . D. , F A C, A K A J O H N N Y T H E K N I F E

Fact of life: rollergirls fall down. A lot. Usually they go “splat,” but occasionally they go “crunch.” Your bones take a beating, and so we’ll start talking about vitamin D in the usual way – concerning healthy and strong bones. But we won’t end there. Vitamin D is a lot more interesting than just bones. Vitamin D (we’ll now just call it D) allows the gut to absorb calcium and phosphorus, and without adequate D, bones are neither dense nor strong. Various conditions can be the result: osteomalacia, osteopenia or osteoporosis. If your circulating D levels are inadequate, you cannot absorb more than 10-15% of the calcium you consume. Without calcium, you cannot make strong bones. Females make most of their bone and bone strength between ages 16 and 35, and they lose bone strength progressively through menopause and into old age. If you don’t make lots of good bone now, you can’t play catch-up later in life. If you go into menopause with light, poorly-calcified bones, you may be destined for an old age of hip and vertebral fractures, a “dowager’s hump” (that stooped, bent-at-the-shoulder shape of older women with terribly painful compression fractures of the spine), and easily fractured wrists and legs. Historically, the minimum requirement of D for adults was 400 Units (400 IU). This is far too low. It was calculated back in the 1920s to show how much D was the minimum needed to prevent rickets in children in working-class, cloudy England. This requirement has not really been definitively updated. Female athletes need far more than this minimum. The good news is that you can get all you need for a dollar a month. Vitamin D is produced in a complex series of steps, starting with the effect of sunlight on skin and then involving the actions of the liver and the kidney. This may suggest that diet and sunlight alone provide enough D. They don’t. This is why supplementation is needed – foods are a poor source of D, and, unlike our hunter-gatherer ancestors, we don’t spend enough time half-naked, outside, in the sun, making D (and dying of disease or trauma at 35.) This is a peculiarity of D – calling it a vitamin suggests that it is easily obtained through proper diet or with sunshine alone. It isn’t. 50% of Hawaiian adults receiving three hours of sun per day were D deficient. 40% of south


Fall 2015 |

Floridians and 25% of Arizonans were deficient. Dietary sources of D, such as cod liver oil (when was the last time you took that?!), oily fish, fortified milk or orange juice, will not reliably give you anywhere near enough D. Generally (and there is some disagreement among experts), a D level (this is called 25(OH)D) of less than 20 ng/ml is labeled deficient; about 21-30 is insufficienct, and more than 30 is adequate. Many experts are suggesting a target level in the range of about 35-40, however. This is easily attained. What types of people are at risk for deficiency? People who live in northern latitudes, like Portland’s Rose City Rollers, who rarely see sunshine from October through April. People who work and/or exercise indoors (flat track derby isn’t an outdoor sport). Black people – the melanin in their skin prevents sun absorption and creation of D. Obese or even overweight people tend to “hide” D in fat, so they need more D to get adequate amounts circulating. Fair-skinned people who regularly use sunblock: even SPF 15 will reduce D production by more than 90%. Much less commonly, people with kidney disease or fat malabsorption syndromes need massive D supplementation; but this is a special issue. The common factor is lack of sunlight. This is why supplementation of D is important: using sunlight on skin to produce D increases the total lifetime risk of skin cancers (including the lethal melanoma) in long-lived modern people. This is why the American Academy of Dermatology wisely says “...(D) should not be obtained from unprotected exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.” But that’s all the dull stuff. Now it gets cool. Remember... it’s not just for bones anymore. We’ll talk about cancer, pain, brainpower, arthritis, and (my favorite) heart disease. Most cells in the body have vitamin D receptors – meaning that D can affect the actions and consequences of most cells in the body. Vitamin D reduces cell proliferation (uncontrolled growth), reduces angioneogenesis (which is the formation of new microscopic blood vessels needed for tumors to develop and to metastasize), and also controls the appropriate timing of cell death. Recent interesting studies (in peer-reviewed mainstream

conventional medical journals) suggest that D supplementation, or adequate circulating levels of D, are associated with a reduction in cancer incidence, particularly breast, colon, bladder, mouth, and leukemia. Further, because of the mechanisms of action of D, it appears that people with some cancers (especially colon) who have adequate D are less likely to die of that cancer than are people who are D-deficient. Chronic pain may be related to D deficiency. (Yes, it may also have something to do with falls, collisions, and workouts.) Severe deficiency is associated with chronic muscle and bone pain, low back pain and possibly with nerve pain (neuropathy) of the sort seen in diabetes. This type of pain may be severe and lifealtering, and it is felt in the hands and especially the feet and legs. D affects heart muscle and arteries, overall heart function, and survival, too. This means that a population which is D-deficient has a total mortality much greater than an otherwise similar population that has normal levels of D – and most of that excess death is due to heart disease. Low D levels are associated with double the risk of heart attack and nearly double the risk of general heart-related death. This seems to be indirect, because D deficiency is associated with all the direct heartdisease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, both diabetes and excess insulin, and heart failure. So if D deficiency is related to all this misery, and it’s easy to fix, why are so many people D-deficient? Until recently, the metabolic effects of vitamin D were not appreciated, and its effects were thought to be limited to bone production. That’s why I wrote this article. One question comes to mind: do you need to be tested? It is cheap (about $40-45) and commonly available. Many experts, especially bone gurus, would say that if you don’t have risk factors for severe deficiency, or the inability to absorb D supplementation, they would not test you. In general, I would recommend against it, particularly if finances are important. The likelihood of “toxicity”(too much D) is almost unheard of. Instead, go to any Costco, chain supermarket, or discount

store, and buy a bottle of 2,000 units of Vitamin D3. (This is vitamin D3, also called Cholecalciferol. Don’t buy Vitamin D2, called Ergocalciferol.) At Costco, nearly 2 years’ supply, 600 tablets, costs about $14. Take one a day faithfully. There are no side effects. After 6 months, if your finances are OK, get a vitamin D test. If the level is greater than 30-35 or so, keep taking the vitamin D forever. If it isn’t, see a doc (a medical doctor, namely an M. D. or D. O.) who knows something about endocrinology. The combination calcium-vitamin D tablets (like Os-Cal or Viactiv) do not provide enough D – usually only 400 units. Take a couple of daily TUMS instead. If you already have bone problems – such as unexplained fractures, X-rays showing osteopenia and so on – then testing your baseline level of D might be reasonable. Major warning!! You do not need any sort of expensive or special supplements, especially if sold by naturopaths or Internet charlatans. Avoid these quacks like the plague – they will take your money, frighten you, and they will not provide you with any special, secret formulation of Vitamin D that your body utilizes better than the product you get from Costco or Target. (There is a similar scam with “coral calcium” that has gone on for years. You want more calcium? Take TUMS along with your D.) In summary: 1. You are young and athletic. Set the basis for a lifetime of staying that way. 2. You don’t get enough vitamin D from diet or sun. Supplement it. It is easy, cheap (<$1/month) and has no side effects. Do this indefinitely. 3. The obvious effects of D are on bone health. But adequate circulating levels will improve chronic pain, decrease cancer risk, improve cardiac function and longevity and may improve arthritis and seasonal affective disorder. 4. Whether and when to be tested for D deficiency is controversial. If you have had many fractures or x-rays that suggest light bones, it may be worth doing. 5. If there are men in your life, remind them: Osteoporosis – it’s not just for women anymore.H | Fall 2015


top twelve broken leg tips T H U N D E R B I R D, S O U T H S I M C O E R E B E L R O L L E R S

1. Elevate always. Even while you’re sleeping. 2. When you come home with your prescription painkillers, make sure there’s prune Activia yogurt in that bag. Those painkillers bung you up something fierce. 3. Pad the handles of your crutches with your comfiest, cushiest socks. No need to add achy wrists to your angry leg. 4. Get two large gel freezer packs. While one is cooling your leg through your cast, the other is in the freezer. 5. If a friend offers to help you, say yes! When they write, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do” ask them to come and visit and bring you food. Let them do your dishes, walk your dog, do some chores. 6. Rent a transfer bench from your local mobility center. It’s worth its weight in gold. It’s a bathtub chair that lets you wash yourself independently. 7. If you’re home alone on crutches, you can bring food from one room to another by placing the plate/bowl/cup on a cutting board and kick-slide it across the floor. 8. A fiberglass cast will shred your lovely linens. Make yourself (or ask a friend to) a sleeve for your cast. Cut the thigh off a pair of tights or fishnets, knit a long tube, or stitch some fabric together. 9. If you’re on painkillers, keep track of your time/dosage on a note on your phone from day to day. 10. Start a note on your phone with all of the questions/comments/queries you want to bring up with your doctor next time you see her. You will NEVER remember everything you want to ask when the doc is in front of you. 11. Praise your partner (if you have one) at every turn. Thank them for every little thing. This messes up their life too. 12. Be a good patient. Obey doctor’s orders. Quit smoking, rest, take time off work. You have one shot at healing properly, take this time to do it right.H About the author: Angela Bird (Thunderbird) suffered a tibial plafond fracture, shattered fibula and partial ankle dislocation at a roller derby practice. Her orthopedic surgeon had to “get creative” and repaired her leg with 2 plates, 20 screws, 3 wires and loads of bone putty. She was non-weight-bearing for 16 weeks and spent 7 months in a cast. She is a former skater with the South Simcoe Rebel Rollers in Barrie, Ontario, Canada.


Fall 2015 | | Fall 2015


Almond Bu

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

photo by Pontus Fo


Fall 2015 |

tter Bombs


orsberg Photography

These energy bombs are a great replacement for expensive, conventional grab-and-go bars available at grocery stores. I like to make a double or triple batch of all my bombs and freeze them. This provides me with a large stock to grab from when needed. To do this, make bombs according to directions. Lay close (but not touching) on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen you can transfer to an airtight container or Ziploc.


2 1⁄2 cups rolled oats 1

⁄2 cup raw pumpkin seeds


⁄2 cup raisins

2 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1

⁄2 cup almond butter


⁄3 cup honey

2 tablespoons grade B maple syrup 1 teaspoon almond extract

In a food processor, pulse ½ cup oats and ¼ cup pumpkin seeds until they are blended into a powder. Put into a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, combine remaining oats and pumpkin seeds, along with raisins, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, almond butter, honey, and maple syrup. Mix together until ingredients are well combined and form a soft dough-like consistency. Sprinkle almond extract over dough and stir until well combined. Keeping hands moist, roll dough into small spheres. Coat bombs with the ground oat/pumpkin seed mixture. Place in freezer for 30 minutes to set. Bring to room temperature before eating. | Fall 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

what competitive really means P U N C H Y O ’ G U T S, R E S U R G A M R O L L E R D E R B Y

I’ve had many conversations-slash-debates-slash-arguments about what it means to be competitive. Just about every skater says they are competitive and their team is competitive, but they seem to mean different things. I’ll give you an example. Suzy Skater and Jamie Jammer are on the same team. Suzy wants everyone to have equal playing time. Jamie does not and claims they play on a competitive team and that means they can’t have equal playing time. Suzy believes you can be competitive and still have equal playing time. They are both right. It’s difficult to accept that they can both be right because we are so set in our definition of competitiveness. We think and talk about it as being clear and objective, but the word “competitive” is subjective. There are many levels of competitiveness, and most of us fall somewhere on the scale. People are complex and cannot be summarized into a few basic categories. My scale is not scientific, and it doesn’t embrace all realities. It does, however, offer a starting point for this discussion. At the lowest end of the scale is refuses to compete and competes occasionally. Both categories describe people who have little to no desire to compete. This kind of person probably feels a high level of anxiety when you

mention the word competition. Neither of these people could realistically consider themselves competitive. The next level is competes only to play, which describes the skater who enjoys competing, but doesn’t care about the outcome. This kind of skater values the joy of training and playing the game. They enjoy learning and refining their skills and emphasize having fun as a priority. They prefer to play on a team in which everyone has equal playing time. They consider themselves competitive. A little further on the scale is the skater who likes to compete and wants to win. They are willing to put in significant training time to develop individual skills and team skills. They care about the outcome of their games, but it’s not going to make or break them. This skater values training and competing, but also wants to have fun. They consider themselves competitive. A team at this level of competitiveness is one that usually allows everyone on the roster to play, but with different amounts of playing time.

The next level of competitiveness is similar, but with one distinction: a skater not only wants to win, they try to win. For a team, trying to win means they do everything they can to win. There is not equal playing time because the team wants to field the best players as much as possible. The team’s priority is to train to win, so they train like it’s their job. They cross-train, analyze and emulate the best skaters and teams, and strive to be the very best teammate they can be. They understand their role is to help the team win, even if that means sitting on the bench when they’d rather be playing. Skaters at this level consider themselves competitive. Even further on the competitive scale – competes only to win – is the skater who only wants to play if they think they will win. They often get very agitated if they are not winning, if they aren’t performing their best, or if the score is close. This typically leads to individualistic play and anger misdirected at teammates. Skaters at this level consider themselves competitive.

the competitive scale Refuses to compete.


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Competes occasionally.

Competes only to play.

Likes to compete and wants to play.

Likes to compete and tries to win.

Competes only to win.

Competes to the detriment of self and others.

Joe Mac

At the furthest end of the competitive scale is a skater who competes to the detriment of self or the team. They are often wildly talented and admired for their talent, but have an ego that does not allow for failure. They usually value accomplishments and praise over friendship or teamwork, which leads to selfishness and loneliness. Skaters at this level consider themselves competitive. With exception of the first two levels, every skater who falls somewhere on the scale considers themselves competitive. There is not one definition of competitiveness, though most people have a myopic view of it. If we can acknowledge the different levels and clarify what we mean when we use the word “competitive,” we will save ourselves from a lot of miscommunication. Be specific with your language. Subjective words, like competitive muddy up a discussion. You can’t avoid using the word, but you can clarify meaning. When someone says “I am competitive” or “my team is very competitive,” ask them for specific details. Find out where they are on

the competitive scale, before you move forward in the discussion. It’s imperative to do this when discussing how competitive your league is (or wants to be). You can’t just claim: “we are a competitive league.” The phrase is utterly meaningless without explaining how the league’s competitiveness impacts decision-making. Does that mean you want to play a dozen games over the season, or does that mean you plan to schedule three? Do you have more than one team, and do those teams operate at different levels of competitiveness? Does one allow for equal playing time, while the other does not? If so, the league’s level of competitiveness varies by team. Instead of saying “my league is competitive,” you would say: “my league offers teams that train and play at different competitive levels.” Also, simply describing your team as competitive does not clarify how decisions are made. Everyone may agree that the team falls under “likes to compete and tries to win,” but each skater may have a different idea about what they are willing to do to win. Some skaters discuss committing

“smart” penalties in order to win, while others believe you should never commit a penalty on purpose. Some skaters believe their team should not play a team that is ranked significantly lower because it could negatively impact their ranking, whereas others might want to help out that team by offering to play them. We don’t have to agree on what “competitive” means, but we do need to acknowledge that it means something different to all of us. Suzy Skater and Jamie Jammer are both competitive skaters, but to different extents, and they are arguing about who’s definition of competitiveness is right. The real problem is probably either leadership hasn’t properly communicated the team’s level of competitiveness or leadership has and one of the skater’s values is not in line with the team’s. Either way, if Suzy and Jamie are focused on an argument about competitiveness, they’ll never get to the core of the problem. Clarity is crucial! Ask questions and be specific with your language when you talk about competitiveness, so everyone knows exactly what you mean.H | Fall 2015


derby in good time JASON ISAACS

Ju les

Every team has a plan â&#x20AC;&#x201C; does yours? Most new roller derby leagues put far too much focus on the derby, and far less focus on the roller. While understandable, this is a surefire way to find yourself a doorstopper of your region if not the butt of many jokes after the game. Perennial championship squads exhibit one nearly universal trait: these women all possess a keen ability, control, and mastery of roller skating. What does it take to become a champion water polo player? Swimming like Michael Phelps surely doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hurt; in fact, learning to swim should be a prerequisite to learning how to hit a ball. Focusing on skating skills is all too often lost with growing leagues. Is your team rounded enough to switch out tails or pivots into the jammer position seamlessly and without reservation that these ladies will be able to play as well offensively as they play defensively, and vice versa? How effortlessly do the skating movements and stance come to your squad? When bringing in new skaters, their first whim may be to begin scrimmaging and learning to play roller derby through a crash course mentality. This can be detrimental and can serve as a severe deterrent to how far the skater could grow in the sport. Instead, beginning your freshman squad with a textbook understanding of roller skating theory, history, edging, weight placement, efficient striding, posture, and muscle memory building drills are far more important at this formative stage in their roller derby career. With this foundation, a skater can

Do yle

Weaning new skaters into the hard-hitting sport of flat track roller derby requires planning and foresight.

more confidently move into game-play situations. When this is rushed, the consequences are usually reflected both in injuries, and, more noticeably, the number of years it takes a team to improve. Why is the learning curve for former and current USA Roller Sports (USARS) athletes so much shorter than other beginning roller derby players? Roller skating fundamentals. These skaters are not concerned with how to push their skates to get where they want to go, they are concerned with closing opportunities on the opponent, or floating to the aid of teammates in record time. These athletes developed leg and ankle strength in their respective sports, whereas the strategy

Begin your freshman squad with a textbook understanding of roller skating theory, history, edging, weight placement, efficient striding, posture, and muscle memory building drills.


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of roller derby becomes nearly the entire challenge for them. Other leagues that prematurely begin scrimmaging and learning through mistakes face a longer road ahead because the mental effort of skating alone without a solid foundation leaves these players at a disadvantaged.

• Cornering – Novice roller skaters are notorious for twisting their shoulders (and hips) in the direction of the track’s oval when skating fast. This shift opens up their right hip and prevents their body from leaning into the curve. It also increases the likelihood that if checked, the skater will rotate completely and fall.

Plan to bring your skaters into the league with the understanding that they will not begin actively scrimmaging until they complete their skating fundamentals training. Instead, plan to bring your skaters into the league with the understanding that they will not begin actively scrimmaging until they complete their skating fundamentals training. I recommend three to six months of focused roller skating with no promise of active roller derby until the rookie squad can prove a solid foundation and confidence on roller skates. If your league begins scrimmaging your newly minted fresh-lady squad in haste, there are a variety of beginner mistakes that can be hugely exacerbated by the game of roller derby: • Posture – Beginners usually have weak hamstring and quadriceps that support the body, as well as aid in the propulsion of striding. To compensate, these skaters begin to straighten their legs and bend their backs as they tire, thus shifting their body weight forward and off of their heels. This shift significantly alters their center of gravity and, with a good jolt from any direction, makes it likely they will fall forward onto their face or hands.

• Kicking back (toe flicking) – Inexperienced skaters will likely reach their right skate in front of their left but not across the plane that extends in front of their left foot when crossing over. This causes a backwards movement of the left foot that is likely to hit another players’s shin, while providing no advantage to the skater. • Crossing – When enough momentum is built up, new skaters tend to place the brunt of their weight on their right skate while rolling through the corner rather than leaning into the curve. Also, it shows that the skater’s leg strength is not capable of overcoming the gravitational force generated when cornering on an oval. In roller derby, this can cause the skater to be “ridden out,” forcing the skater to slide outward on the track toward the fans instead of being able to hold her line. Paris was not built in a day; I advise that you do not skip steps in the development of your newer skaters so they and your organization are positioned for success and many years in the winner’s circle.H

Jules Doyle | Fall 2015



Gil Leora Photography

drill: the director and her extras

purpose: practice being a leader and a follower on the track, practice physical and verbal communication, improve team-blocking skills

Create three lines of skaters at turn four. The first line will be for the Director, the second line for the Extra, and the third line for the Enemy. Skaters should make sure to rotate through the lines during this drill so that they get to work on being BOTH the Director and the Extra. On the whistle the first skater in each line will skate out (you can also choose to have the Enemy come in one second later than the Director and the Extra). The Enemyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s job is to play stupid and permit the Director and the Extra to do their job over the course of one lap. In this drill the Director will use the Extra to positionally and physically block the Enemy. S/he will be pulling, pushing, grabbing, and directing the Extra. The Extraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s job is to be a rag doll, to let herself/himself be moved around. For her/him this is an exercise in being flexible on the track. How many times have you tried pushing a teammate into the opposing jammer and found that your teammate is so committed to her current position that she is an immovable piece? This will teach the Extra how to be steady on her skates while still being jelly-like enough for her teammates to use her/him and move her/him around. The Director should use the time wisely, be active the entire time, and not just save up for one good hit. S/he should be constantly hitting or positionally blocking the Enemy. The drill ends once the group of three skaters have completed one lap. As you progress through this drill and get better and better at it, allow the jammers to use more and more force and brains to get out of the situation. This drill should challenge the Director and the Extra, but not be so impossible that they arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t getting any practice out of it. drill courtesy of


Fall 2015 | rb lif iffe com


The power jam is the most devastating tactical roller derby situation for both the offensive and defensive side of a jam. The CUP jam situations are classic middle/end game derby situations that happen during every jam. While the contested jam yields low scores, the uncontested jam and the power jam yield much higher scoring opportunities. Derby games have been won and lost by a team’s ability or inability to react to CUP jam situations with a united team strategy. When you react to your CUP situation you enter into the end game strategy. How many times have you and your coach gone into half time saying “Our power jams are killing us!”? This is always the first thing I look at. As a coach, you hope the switch of the jammer referees starting the second period will balance out the power jams for both teams. The referee’s job is the biggest challenge on the floor with respect to their required mental focus. The discipline required to watch a foul from its inception through actual impact through physical outcome takes practice. This technique requires experience to get the correct floor position, have the literal understanding of the WFTDA rule set, and make the call or no call. I cannot say enough about the job these volunteers do and the credibility they give to our game. But still referees are not the same and they have off days. I always tell teams: “We must beat the officials, as well as our opponents, and figure out what these referees are giving and not giving, and adjust your game to these referees”. At half time, tell it to your team like you see it, don’t spare the egos. The sooner your team realizes you’re there to coach and not psychoanalyze each skater, the better and easier your job will be. When talking about the first period of play, stay with the facts (use the CUP matrix and your notes), and focus on the

little things that you can control, and your skaters will have some idea of how to counter in the second period. (For more details on the overall CUP strategy please reference the 2014 winter issue.) Power jam: one of the jammers is in the penalty box. 1. If your opponent’s jammer is in the penalty box, your team is on offense. 2. If your jammer is in the penalty box, your team is on defense. 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 or defensive at any given time during a jam. TO SLOW PLAY OR NOT TO SLOW PLAY? There really is no choice, offense must slow play their power jam. As long as it is legal to stop skating during a jam and both teams are constrained by the ten foot pack designation, slow play is the name of the game. Why? If you, the offensive, try and goat or clear the defensive skaters for your jammer, the defense will run, and if the defense runs, you, the offense, lose points. The faster the pack, the less opportunity your team has to score within the 30 second offensive power jam. When I returned to roller derby in 2010, the slow play strategy had not yet been deployed. In 2011, the slow play strategy was deployed and it was the talk of the internet forums. For the teams that deployed it, their offense power jams scores were two to three times that of the teams that played the conventional offensive power jam strategy. As I watched the strategy during the 2011 Western Regionals, I knew this was the future of our game. Joe Mac


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Paul Delooze,

This is a typical power jam start formation. White jammer will push the red wall out of play.

Power jam strategy recommendations: Offensive Power Jam: (your jammer is on the floor). See figure above. 1. Get a special power jam line (optional strategy) on the floor. Can you use a time out here? What is your strategic situation? 2. Offensive blockers get out of your jammer’s way! Set up your slow play line and allow your jammer the opportunity for a quick release from the pack or push them out of play. 3. Offensive jammer hit the opponent’s wall gaps opposite your intended exit and push the wall forward, this sets up a possible offensive attack. Your jammer should head for the friendly side to exit the pack. Assist your jammer any time you can. 4. Start a one-on-one battle or goat your opponent. (Be careful not to compromise your slow play strategy). 5. Form a slow play line at the rear of the pack while controlling pack speed! a. Support your jammer if needed, immediately upon engagement with the opponent during her scoring pass. b. If your opponent tries to take the rear pack position moving clockwise. Then move clockwise with them and shorten the track for your jammer. c. If the opponent takes rear pack position then stop and engage them (shear their wall) best you can, this works to your advantage (slow pack).

Defensive Power Jam: (Your jammer is in the penalty box. You have done nothing wrong. Don’t get down on yourself or your team. Play your game, don’t further hurt your team by putting yourself in the penalty box.) 1. Hold the opponent’s jammer in the pack as long as possible. Recycle her at all cost, 30 seconds can go by very quickly. a. Bridge your opponent’s jammer front/rear pack to extend the engagement zone to use clock time. Every bridge position must communicate. The first person in the bridge is your key skater to maintain the pack integrity. 3. When the opponents’ jammer releases, try to fast pack (bump and run). a. If they follow, run your fast pack formation. Get your slowest skater to the front. Your opponents will try to overtake you, make sure your rear most skater (rear pack) keeps the inside position to block opponents as they try to overtake your fast pack. b. If your opponent overtakes you, wall up as a team and defend. Repeat the above defensive strategy. 4. Do not give your opponents a goat! If you are the goated skater, the first 3-5 seconds are the most important if you are going to escape the goat situation quickly. Conclusion: the next article will cover the CUP Matrix, which is an informative worksheet that can be filled out during your game and then used as a jam-to-jam analysis tool at half time and/or post game review. The CUP system is a great way to bring your whole program under one roller derby strategy, (A, B, & C, Fresh Meat and junior skaters). The strategies I have offered you 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 get better, but you must start somewhere. In the meantime lots of derby love to you and keep the shiny side up!H | Fall 2015


tools J E N N I F E R S A V A G L I O A K A L A P E T I T E M O R T, F A S T G I R L S K AT E S

More manufacturers are getting into the plate business for skating and derby, and as these plates become more and more adjustable (read: fussy), there are now more tools required than the simple skate key many of us fondly remember from childhood. Rest assured, you do not have to be a tool nerd in order to navigate your way around your skates, plates or this article. I’m going to divide the tools up into categories: Adjustment, Bearing, Mounting, Repairing, and Stretching. In this article, I will cover the first two: basic adjustment tools and bearing tools.

ends of your king pins. Again, a socket for the king pin nut is generally the easiest way to make this adjustment. The socket you generally need for this is a 9/16”.

basic adjustment tools These tools are for skates that have basic adjustments and skaters who are new to skating or are just learning to adjust their skates. Basic adjustment are those tools most commonly used to:

TO ADJUST YOUR TOE STOPS There are two types of toe stop housings, and therefore two types of tools, flat open ended wrenches or hexagonal wrenches (also called an allen wrench). The flat open ended wrench is used for the nut and washer toe stop fastener. Once the wrench is used to loosen the large nut, the toe stop may be moved up or down like a common screw or removed.

CHANGE WHEELS In order to change or remove your wheels, the axle nuts must be removed to get the wheels on and off the axles. A basic skate tool that came from the manufacturer in the box will work, but usually, a wrench with the proper socket is the easiest to use. This most common axle nut socket is ½”. TO ADJUST YOUR TRUCKS Truck adjustment is done to give the skate, and therefore skater, more maneuverability (think power steering). You can adjust the trucks by tightening or loosening the nuts on the

pro tip Find a dual head “stubby” ratcheting socket wrench. This will allow you to put a ½” socket on one side and a 9/16” on the other. Just be careful as the opposing male attachment ends also usually two different sizes (1/4” and 3/8” are most common) so you’ll need to be mindful to select the matching sockets. I’ve had good luck finding these at hardware and auto parts stores and all three pieces usually come to around 15 bucks. Now you have a compact all-in-one solution to do both your axle and king pin nuts.


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The hexagonal key, a.k.a. allen wrench, is used for the pinch toe stop fastener, which is located on the side of the front of the plate. The most common toe stop allen wrench is metric (5mm). So, easy, right? Sure. In addition to the above, there are skate tools that already come with the two sockets needed for the axle nuts and king pin/truck adjustment nut. Some also have a third section with either the 15/16” open ended wrench for the large toe stop nut, OR the 5mm hex key. Powerdyne’s Y3 and Y4 tools are examples of these. These are great basic tools. There are also many skateboarding tools that can be used, but they do not come with a toe stop tool, so it will need to be purchased separately. advanced adjustment tools Some plates have adjustments that allow the skater to fine tune their ride. Instead of a simple nut for the truck adjustment, there might be a locking nut that requires a small hex key to unlock it, followed by a larger nut than the previously discussed truck adjustment or king pin nuts. These types of fasteners will require two additional tools. Another point of adjustment on some plates is the pivot pin adjustment nut. This area of the pivot pin can be raised or lowered so as to change the angle of your truck, or to make the pivot action tighter. Let’s say you loosened your trucks so much that the pivot pin then lifted out of the pivot cup; you would want to lower it back down into the cup so you get the maximum performance from your plate and so your pivot pin doesn’t pop out of the pivot cup. This would cause your truck to essentially fall off the plate. Super bad. Roll Line, Snyder, and Bionic have their own line of tools expressly made for their plates. Each tool kit comes with a truck adjusting socket,

Do I really need to clean my bearings? No. It is true that if you don’t clean your bearings, they will get sticky and fail sooner than if you do clean them. However, many skaters do not have the time or patience, are not mechanically inclined, or simply have no interest in cleaning their bearings. Some skaters simply use the bearings until the end of their life and replace. When rolling on a less expensive bearing, your time spent cleaning vs. the cost of a new set may not be worth it. Conversely, not many skaters would spend upwards of $100 and then not take care of their bearings in order to keep them longer than a season. Like so many things in derby, it is a personal choice of how you want to spend your money and your time. Does that mean my $35 bearings are not as good as the $100 bearings? Not necessarily. There are many great bearings for $35 that will roll beautifully for a season or two before replacement. Likewise, there are very expensive bearings that do not last even a season. Maintainence and usage, operator error in removal or installation, or exposure to elements such as dirt, track/floor dust and water are all factors that can impact your bearings’ lifespan. The more sterile the environment, the longer any bearing can last, unfortunately sterile just isn’t a reality in derby. | Fall 2015


bearing tools Over their lifetime, bearings need to be installed and removed from wheels and (if the skater has the time and patience) cleaned. For removal and installation: The easiest tools for this are small, handheld and can both install and remove bearings. The Bones bearing puller/press and the Moto bearing tool are examples of these. They both have the added benefit of not damaging your bearings when you use them. However, these tools can only be used on 8mm bearings.

sometimes with a hex wrench for the locking mechanism, a toe stop hex key, and pivot pin adjusting wrenches. All of these tools can be found at a hardware store, albeit sometimes in slightly different configurations, and flat wrenches and sockets can be purchased in lieu of using the manufacturersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; tools. It should also be noted that some plates like a Roll Line plate that comes from Italy are METRIC. This is common for European products. Most of the plates we use for derby are from the US and follow the SAE (society of automotive engineers for you standards geeks out there) inches measurement standard. These two often do not play well together. Should you switch between US and European products, new tools are often required.


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The Hand Bearing Press: by Sure Grip, is an older tool that is very useful for setting bearings into wheels that have metal hubs. It can be used for either 7mm or 8mm bearings, and is not as useful for the removal of bearings.

The Bench Mounted Bearing Press: Many manufacturers have a version of this tool. It must be mounted onto a surface in order to gain enough leverage to be useful. It both installs and removes any and all bearings from any and all wheels. NEVER use a screw driver, scissors, or other sharp object to remove or install your bearings! Not only can you injure yourself, but you can ruin your bearings by crushing the shield into the ball bearings, and then your bearings wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t roll.

Simple Green can also be used but it is recommended that the bearings receive a second rinse in alcohol to remove any residue.

for cleaning bearings In order to clean bearings, the shield must be removed (first make sure they are removable). To do this, use a flattened paper clip, safety pin or matte knife to either push the shield out from the other side or pry it off of the front. Then the bearings can be placed in a bearing wash bottle, or simply soaked in a shallow dish with cleaning solution. Acetone is a great cleaner for bearings as it de-greases them, evaporates quickly, and is not as harsh as other cleaners.

So that should get yâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;all started. Remember, YOU are the boss of your skates! It is important that we understand the basic workings of those funny wheeled things we strap to our feet! Next issue: Mounting tools, repair tools, and stretching tools. Stay tuned!H | Fall 2015


WFTDA plans for the next decade at 2015 annual meeting L O I S S L A I N, W F T D A PHOTOS BY DOUBLE H

In 2005, representatives of 20 women’s roller derby leagues gathered in a hotel in Chicago and began laying the groundwork for the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. In May 2015, representatives of hundreds of WFTDA member leagues gathered in a hotel in Denver to set the stage for the organization’s next decade. While much has changed in the last ten years, so much more is still the same. “This year at the Meeting, we were drawn back to the iconic DIY, athlete-driven spirit, and looked toward it to serve us as we mature,” WFTDA Executive Director Juliana Gonzales said. “It was a crazy flashback to ten years ago – every session I was in, the spirit was one of vision, independence, and confidence.” League representatives took time to celebrate the last ten years of WFTDA achievements, including donating league memorabilia for a roller derby time capsule. However, the discussions throughout this year’s three-day WFTDA annual meeting focused on continuing the organization’s growth and success over the next ten years. “The focus at this year’s meeting was on WFTDA’s role and responsibilities going into the next decade,” Gonzales said. “We took time to think about how the roller derby


Fall 2015 |

community has evolved over the last ten years and what WFTDA’s role should be moving into the next ten years. We of course did some nostalgic celebrating but, for the most part, the meeting held an intense focus on what’s ahead.” Members engaged in thoughtful discussions about WFTDA’s relationships with other roller derby and roller skating governing bodies and its role in leading the worldwide development of the sport. Other big-picture conversations considered how well the Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby reflect WFTDA members’ core values and whether roles for Non-Skating Officials should evolve to better reflect current needs. Attendees also got a sneak peek at new WFTDA initiatives, like the new games data system and 2015 International WFTDA Playoffs and Championships logos. As always, the

“The focus at this year’s meeting was on WFTDA’s role and responsibilities going into the next decade...”

conference included many sessions designed to provide resources and education to member leagues in areas like marketing, budgeting, technology tools and dealing with personal conflicts and legal concerns. “Most leagues send representatives with a mix of goals, including other leagues they want to connect with, areas where they need advice or resources, and issues on which their league has an opinion within WFTDA,” Gonzales said. “This year, more than in the past, we created a very even mix between sessions focused on league education, events to create bonds and networking, and big picture discussions focused on WFTDAlevel decisions and plans.” One of the major themes that emerged from the weekend was the ongoing work to take WFTDA’s programs and systems to the next level, preserving their core functions and the values they represent but ensuring that they are refined or redesigned to reflect the current goals of an organization that now has more than 400 members and apprentice leagues across six continents. “It became clear that WFTDA is about halfway through a building phase, in which we refine our systems to accommodate a much bigger, more diverse, and global membership,” Gonzales said. Hosts Rocky Mountain Rollergirls made sure the meeting participants were able to unwind at the end of each day, coordinating a scrimmage, a trip to an epic roller skate dance party, happy hours and more. The WFTDA leadership extends its thanks to Rocky Mountain for being such fabulous hosts!

The annual meeting is also a time of transition in that Board of Directors elections take place during the meeting weekend. This year, the WFTDA membership bid a fond farewell to outgoing Vice President Lorna Boom. Lorna decided not to seek re-election after serving two terms as Vice President. Member leagues elected Amy Spears, formerly the Membership Officer, as the next vice president. Treasurer Ms. D’Fiant, a member of the Angel City Derby Girls, and Ex Officio Grace Killy, of the Brewcity Bruisers, also were re-elected to the Board of Directors. Lorna, a member of the Rat City Rollergirls, has a long history of leadership positions within the WFTDA, serving as the organization’s first Regulatory Officer. Among her many contributions to the organization, she helped envision and launch the WFTDA Apprentice Program, led the call for the change in process to Rule drafting and revision, and advocated for the expansion of WFTDA Insurance to cover non-WFTDA individuals and leagues.

While she is taking a step back, Lorna plans to still be involved in the WFTDA. She will take a lead role on two important projects - updating the gender inclusion policy and overhauling the Officials Certification Program to adapt for growth and evolving program goals. Amy became a WFTDA representative in 2008. She worked within the Apprentice Program and then became the Membership Officer, a role she held until her election to the Board. She has been a member of the Ohio Roller Girls since their first season, and has skated on the All Star team since its inception in 2006. She has served in a variety of leadership roles for OHRG, including two years as league president.H | Fall 2015


pouncing around with pushire cat: Q & A with junior derby extraordinaire and entrepreneur S U G A R S N A P P Y, F A L L I N ’ A N G E L S J U N I O R D E R B Y

You wanna sleep over at my house later?’ ‘Sure!!’ All that derby love... I like how derby sweat is like, ‘I’m sweaty! and proud of it’, a good sweaty. Other sweat, like running a mile in high school P.E. is ‘eww gross’ sweat, like, ‘don’t touch me!’ Derby sweat is Victory sweat. I like how everybody can join derby, anyone with a good attitude, no matter what their sexuality is, what their gender is, who they are, everyone is welcome, like a family! I have stage fright. I don’t like people looking at me, but when it’s in derby, the crowds don’t matter, it’s just about you and the game, just in the moment, not like when you are trying to speak in front of a class, thinking ‘stop staring at me!’ In derby you can watch how amazing I am... and check out my teammates, they are amazing!

Pushire Cat skates with Resurrection Roller Girls’ Junior Team, Fallin’ Angels, in Rohnert Park, California. Inspired by the sport and supported by her teammates, she launched her labor-of-love Derby-Owned business at the age of 14, one year ago, Derby Le Pew (, an all-natural deodorizer for gear and stinky bodies, solving that lingering problem that every derby girl battles with. On the track, Pushire Cat uses her feline-like reflexes in her strategic defense, using sheer power and all out passion to assist her team in racking up points on the scoreboard. Junior skaters paint a very similar picture as the adult skaters when it comes to competition: focused, intense all-out power, strength, quick thinking, with eyes on the prize and ‘in the zone’. The layers of concentrated effort disappears the moment a game has ended, and every junior athlete expresses themselves as happy-go-lucky teens with never-ending smiles and playful attitudes. The only thing that differentiates them from other teens is that sparkling blanket of ‘victory sweat’. Junior Derby is the future of roller derby, building a new generation of up-and-coming derby stars, and community role models with lots and lots of talent on and off the track. Listening to the junior derby athletes and empowering them to be the future leaders and innovators of this fast growing sport and industry is the key for roller derby’s thriving culture worldwide. We met up with Pushire Cat to find out what the secret sauce is in junior derby that attracts teens to this full-contact competitive grassroots sport.


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Celeste Photo Art

What are your five favorite things about participating in junior roller derby? “We are all a big family, not just my team, but all the derby teams put together. I like how when somebody hits someone else on the track, and we are like ‘grrrrhrrrr’ but then outside of games we are like, ‘what’s up buddy, what’s up!

Celeste Photo Art

How did you get into derby, and what was one challenge that arose? What did you do about it? “I got into roller derby when my dad showed me a video in 2011 when I was 10 years old. [It] was of a roller derby bout and what more could I ask for than a sport that didn’t have very much hand-eye coordination, no running, a ton of girls, fun names and outfits! It was a dream-come-true. I guess the one challenge for me that arose was practicing. My dad would take me to the skate park in Sebastopol, and I was usually the only girl and/or the only one on quads. Being the nervous person I am, it was difficult, and my overly excited ‘coach’, aka my dad, wasn’t helping all the time. After I joined a team it was a lot easier to get comfy.”

happy. It’s also pretty cool that Hellskate The Movie and The Dollyrots are supporters of Derby Le Pew. I was so excited that they loved what I was doing, I did my happy birdy dance.” What is one thing you would like to accomplish in derby this year, as well as what is one non-derby goal? “My derby goal for 2015 is to document our road trip that my team is taking for a tournament and be happy and YAY! My non-derby goal is to do better in school.”H

Who or what motivates you to continue participating in roller derby and to improve upon your skills? “My dad motivates me the most to play derby and get better at it. He pushes me to practice and tells me what I need to work on.” Q: You started a derby-owned business, Derby Le Pew. What is your favorite part about Derby Le Pew? A: “My favorite part about Derby Le Pew is when the derby girls spray it on and smile, and their reactions to it make me

Russelreno Photography

WHO IS PUSHIRE CAT? My name is Hunter Moon Laytart (aka Pushire Cat #78) I’m 15 years old and have lived in Northern California for my whole life. I grew up watching the classics such as Disney movies and anything from the ‘80s or ‘90s. I was raised listening to all music and by loving parents. The person that I have looked up to for my whole life is my brother Wade, but I will always deny it like a good little sister! I like punk music, fantasy books, roller derby, murder/mystery TV shows, button pins, Scooby-Doo, and art by Tara McPherson, Brian Froud, and my mommy. I like to read, listen to music, hang with friends, roller skate, draw, paint on the walls, and most of all I like YOU!!! | Fall 2015



Leave it on the track. That’s one of the central tenets of derby law. We can block and bruise each other on the track and feel the derby love off of it, but that’s easier said than done and it’s surprisingly simple to create a bitter rivalry instead of a bond between your league and another. You can avoid that by following a few points of advice: the meet and greet If the team you’re playing is coming in the night before the bout, meet up with them at their hotel or take them out to dinner. Getting to know your opponents off the track before the bout can help a skater know that when you called her a fat bitch on the track, it was nothing personal. Make sure to thank them for traveling to play you – since every penny we spend comes from working our asses off doing fundraisers and finding sponsors, traveling is no small thing. Tell them you appreciate that they took the time and spent their hard-earned money coming to play you. It’s a little thing, but it can mean a lot.

finger, hold back and give them a good sneer instead. For every crude gesture, leagues get angry emails from fans who thought the bout was a family friendly event, and who may not come back. Something that may seem small at the time can lead to lost fans.

kill ‘em with kindness Have someone from your league serve as the dedicated hospitality liaison, responsible for helping the other team get settled and feel welcome. She can help them choose a hotel, give them maps, lists of places to eat and information on where to buy last-minute supplies. A hospitality basket never hurts, including things they may have forgotten to bring: toothpaste, protein bars, first aid supplies, tampons, etc.

vent on your own time Angry and need to vent? Totally OK, but not in front of the fans, and especially not to the media. Leave it on the track, really. In public, you are a diplomat, and bashing the other team only makes the whole sport look unprofessional.

before the first whistle blows Clap for the other team during their introductions. Shake the hand of the jammer or blocker next to you on the track before that first jam begins. It shows good sportswomanship to the teams and the fans watching. no one-finger salutes Our fans are our livelihood – if they don’t come out to watch us bout, we can’t survive as a sport. Respect the other team’s fans. Showboating is an entertaining part of the game, but when you feel tempted to give the crowd the


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shake it off Give the other team high fives after that last whistle blows. If you win, tell them good job. If they win, tell them congratulations. Even if you’re pissed off because you think they played dirty or did something shady, suck it up and stick your hand out.

mix and mingle It’s easy to end up segregating into your separate teams at the after party, but resist the urge. You’ll have plenty of time to see your teammates, and these girls are only there for the night. This is your last chance to leave a good impression of your league, and to let them know that even if you’re vicious on the track, that all derby fans and skaters are family. If you see a cluster of girls from the other team, grab one of your teammates and get over there. If your team won, realize that the other team may be smarting from the loss. Compliment them on things that they did well – there is always something, whether it be their speed, impressive blocking, good teamwork or communication, worth mentioning. Don’t be tempted to offer unsolicited advice or tell them what they did wrong – if they want your advice, they’ll ask for it. And

Andy Jones/

even then, be constructive and give tips on things that could help them improve. This is the time to enjoy the afterparty, not to steam over something that happened during the bout. Buy someone a beer or pull her out on the dance floor. You may not want to at the time, but you’ll appreciate it later. Keep your league’s good reputation in tact and you will be more likely to be invited to play elsewhere. the flame war isn’t worth it The accessibility of the Internet makes it oh-so-easy to vent your frustrations out on the many message boards and web sites. Vent away – but do it in private. Vent to your teammates, or your friends and family, but keep it off the internet. The derby community is a small one, and you can assume that anything you say bashing the other team will get back to them and around to the derby world at large. You may not care at the time, and you may think it’s

justified, but ultimately it will only end up coming back to damage your league’s reputation. If your league is particularly concerned about something that occurred during the bout, send a letter from your league to their interleague liaison expressing your concerns. It may or may not help, but it will be vastly more productive than beginning an Internet flame war. Don’t post angry missives on your team’s web site or on a social networking site. It makes your league look petty, and the general public doesn’t care about the details of your disagreements. To them, squabbling between derby leagues only makes derby seem like less than a real sport. We don’t have to all get along, but we all put too much effort into this crazy sport to let infighting between leagues fuck things up. A little good-natured rivalry is part of every sport – just don’t let it go any further than that. Get out your inner derby diplomat, and you’ll have more than just your league, you’ll have the greater derby community as your extended family.H | Fall 2015


pursuing the mysterious beast 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

Pursuing the mysterious beast; it has many names: being in the zone, is the term most commonly used by athletes. Psychologists call it, the flow. Oriental cultures name it Zen... and so on. For me, I named it the mysterious beast long ago. So mysterious beast it is. This is a mythological beast from before time immemorial, like the burning phoenix, or the elusive Sasquatch, the hoarding dragon. This beast, this mythological creature, I have stalked most of my life. I have studied its signs, its tracks, and its scratch marks upon trees as it marks its territory. Only in the last ten years or so, have I come to understand I will never capture this elusive beast. I remember when I was twelve hearing athletes and others speak of “being in the zone”. It was the first time I had heard the term. I also remember pondering on that phenomenon; that almost perfect moment in a game or sport where nothing you do is wrong. Every move is the correct move at the correct time. It can last a moment or for the length of the game. Over the years and through many sports, I have experienced this. But the zone happens to be a shy beast and once I recognize it, it has always fled back into the cover of the wilderness, to hide from me once again. That wasn’t the only thing that happened when I was twelve. Many important events occurred then.


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• My soccer team took second place at the State Games of Oregon in the U-14 Division. • I tore my ACL in my right knee in that championship game. • Roller Hockey National Championships were a month later and I watched my team win 1st place without me. (Twice, in the span of a month, I watched my team from the sidelines, unable to help.) • I also watched as Hardball Roller Hockey was featured in the Olympics as an exhibition sport; for the first and only time. I loved being able to watch my sport on national television. That was my sport. I had a goal now. I wanted to be in the Olympics, playing my sport, representing my country. And the best part, the next summer games would be held in Atlanta, GA. The beast enjoyed taunting me with my goal, dangling it out in front of me, only to yank it out of my grasp. I found out about two years later, that hockey would not be in the Atlanta games due to politics within the governing bodies of roller hockey around the world and the International Olympic Committee. The mysterious beast retreated then into obscurity for a time. But I knew it

was still out there and I still had a goal, even if it wasn’t the Olympics. That goal drove me onward. I had to get better, be better, do better, to be perfect. I woke early in the morning to train at the rink before school. I stayed late after practice, and did drills that all others had tired of early on. I pushed myself hard. At other national championships, with varying teams, I won gold, silver and most valuable player. I also got concussions, cracked ribs, reinjured knee, and just general and overall, burned myself out. It was also within this time period, that I glimpsed the beast, with my first experience of “being in the zone.” Burned out at sixteen, I was starting my senior year of high school playing varsity soccer and I had not gone to nationals that year; I hadn’t seen the point – this was the year we should have gone to Atlanta. I still went to practices, I think out of habit, and I was coaching a team in our junior league. We were still in the skating rink at this time and we had just halted practice for a water break. Not many people were around besides the players; it was between sessions and very few parents were there.

I had decided to stay on the floor and practice my slap shots from the penalty shot line. I was getting better, but it was one of the weaker aspects of my game and needed work. No goalie, no one watching – critiquing, no stress; just the empty net. My stick absently set the ball in place on the line without me paying much attention. Then, standing over the ball, ready to strike, I looked at the cage and the empty net. I pictured the goalie in my mind, imagining how they would sit, slightly on their haunches, one skate with all four wheels on the floor, the other up on the toestop, leg pads square to me. The goalie would be leaned slightly to their right, their right glove hand holding the stick on the floor crossing in front of their skates. The left glove held up to protect that upper corner. The goalies eyes stared out at me from behind the goalie helmet, ready

to move at the whistle. My own eyes locked onto my target, around the imaginary goalie. I wanted to hit the upper left corner of the cage, from my point of view, which would be upper right to the goalie. I wanted to send the ball to just below where the crossbar met post and where the goalies helmet couldn’t quite reach. I stared at my target; took a deep breath; stared at the ball. The imaginary whistle blew. Body moved; arms and stick flowing forward as I pushed off my back right skate. I struck the ball with a solid smack. Ping. The ball hit the inside metal post directly below the crossbar and went in. A little left of where I had targeted. Calmly, but pleased inside, I skated to the cage and fished the ball out of the netting. Skated back to the penalty shot line and reset. I decided to pick

that same corner. I wanted to see if it was just a fluke or if I could duplicate the shot. Whistle. Smack of the stick against the ball. No sound. The ball hadn’t hit metal. The ball hadn’t hit Plexiglas behind the cage. The round black hockey ball had gone in the cage, slipping along the netting, exactly where I’d aimed. Again and again. I switched corners. I varied the height. Each time the ball hit the target I had picked. I was thrilled, but calm, when the others rejoined me on the rink floor to continue practice. Thinking back on that moment later, not once had I search the wilderness for the beast. Not once had I peered into the murk and tried to glimpse its form. A line from a favorite movie of mine is applicable to this situation. It is from A New Hope. Princess Leia says to | Fall 2015


Governor Tarkin, “The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.” That is how it is with the beast and I. The more I looked for it, the harder and more elusive it became. I had experienced the fullness of being in the zone. I liked it and wanted to experience it again. So I chased after the beast. I went back to nationals; tried out for the national team, again to no avail. It made my sport not fun anymore. Then we lost access to the rink and had to watch it close. We struggled to find other places to skate. I was so desperate I moved to Argentina. And it was within this time frame of several years, where I went back to my childhood self, of just wanting to skate because it is so much fun. It was, too. Oh, I stumbled a few times and chased my beast through the wilderness. Several times in

Clay Walker


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Argentina I found it happening, especially when I dislocated my shoulder. I chased it for most of 2008 in fact, while training for the US National team and the World Championships in Japan. I stressed myself out a few times and had to remind myself to slow down and have fun. I stopped searching, relaxed and enjoyed skating. The beast crept closer, curious as to why I no longer stalked so persistently after it. I ignored its advancing form as I skated up at the converted tennis court. It crawled closer, ever suspicious and wary. I flew away from it when I traveled with the National team to Spain. It snuck into my luggage to go with me. The team and I practiced, skating in the same arena where the Barcelona

Olympic games were played all those years ago. I never worried about being in the zone. I enjoyed my time, loving every minute, playing some of my best against the best players and teams in the world. The mysterious beast was with me the entire time. I sense it hovering around me at derby practices. The beast is there when I give demonstrations; it is there when I show technique. It is there when I dodge a hit and break through the pack. It remains with me as I seal a gap in the blocker line, or when I make a solid hit. No one else can see this beast but me. No one knows when it’s around me, but I think they see the results. And even now, if I look for it, the mysterious beast will disappear, so I don’t look or search, knowing it will be with me when I need it.H

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

As the roller derby community continues to grow, so do our tournaments, conventions, and parties. With that growth comes the opportunity for more fun, but sadly, can also come with more danger. That’s why SkateSafe, a non-profit group of volunteers from across the derby community, came together to provide help and resources to everyone at roller derby events. “SkateSafe was, unfortunately, born out of necessity,” said Luan “LuAneurysm” Evans, Managing Director of SkateSafe. With the assistance of the Vagine Regime, SkateSafe was created to help protect RollerCon attendees after three assaults were reported on skaters in 2010. SkateSafe hosts a booth at RollerCon stocked with information and supplies that attendees are welcome to come grab at their convenience. Pamphlets on STDs and safe sex for a spectrum of gender identities and sexualities are provided, as well as condoms, dental dams, and instructions for using contraceptives. People can also stop by the SkateSafe booth to pick up cards that list out the warning signs of alcohol poisoning, Emergen-C packets, and Luna Bars. They can also find information on a wide variety of issues ranging from gambling and drug addiction, domestic violence, or navigating gender identities. The booth is run by SkateSafe volunteers who at times, stay at the booth to help answer questions. Sometimes they leave the booth unattended, covered in supplies, for people who feel more comfortable grabbing the things they need to party safely without feeling watched. “We are here to be a safe space for you to talk to somebody,” Evans said, though SkateSafe recognizes that not everyone will feel safe approaching people. “We are not here to police anyone,” she said. “This is a non-judgmental space, and we respect everyone’s privacy,

but our goal is for people to feel comfortable getting the resources that they need.” Amanda “Mandaryn Crush” Bombardier is the Educational Lead for SkateSafe, and this year added a screen to the booth with videos that explain consent and advice for people on how to address their boundaries with new sexual partners. “We also offer SafeWalks,” she said. “People can contact us [through our Google number] and we will come to them and walk them back to their rooms, or check on them if they feel they are in an uncomfortable situation.” SkateSafe not only offers SafeWalks for individuals that reach out to them, but also relies on the help of attendees who are not directly affiliated with SkateSafe. Every year strangers are able to call volunteers to check on people who look like they are in distress or like they may have been left alone in a vulnerable state. SkateSafe responds to those calls and provides assistance to those who may not have been able to reach out for it themselves. Volunteers with SkateSafe can also be seen roving the tracks and halls to provide information to attendees, and to keep an eye on party goers themselves to make sure no one is left alone or in trouble. Anyone who is interested in becoming involved in SkateSafe at RollerCon is highly encouraged to reach out and volunteer. Both Bombardier and Evans began as volunteers for the organization and each year found

“We are here to be a safe space for you to talk to somebody...”


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“This is a non-judgmental space, and we respect everyone’s privacy, but our goal is for people to feel comfortable getting the resources that they need.” themselves taking on more responsibility and becoming more involved in the planning until they landed managerial roles. Anyone with questions or concerns, whether it’s an issue with party culture, questioning sexual identities, or bullying within a league, are encouraged to reach out to Evans directly or through the SkateSafe accounts. “I talk with people every single day who are having issues,” Evans said. She is able to help people find the resources that are local to them for their specific problems. Evans also encourages leagues or skaters to contact her for bringing SkateSafe to other conventions and events. “We were invited to the Big O this year, but we didn’t have time to finalize the logistics. So that’s a big priority for next year, now that we’ll have a whole year to plan and assemble a staff,” she said. While Evans and the SkateSafe staff are thrilled to see the organization grow and are eager to spread their involvement to other events, she urges leagues to reach out to her to learn how to offer these resources and spread the involvement.

“I have a great staff, but they are spread out around the country. It relies on all of us as a community to take care of each other,” she said. “The first night here this year, I had to sit with someone who was too drunk and had been left by her friends,” Evans said. “Which is what I’m here for, I don’t mind doing it at all, but don’t just leave your friends. Even if they are being drunk and stupid. That is exactly what a predator is going to look for, someone impaired and alone is vulnerable,” she said. “We need to stay together and look out for each other.” That sentiment was repeatedly echoed by everyone involved in SkateSafe; the biggest thing they wanted people to take away was the need for all of us as a community to take care of our own. For help gathering resources for your own league to use, to bring SkateSafe to an event you are hosting, or to reach out for help for yourself, email SkateSafe at, or find them on Facebook or Twitter, usernames SkateSafe.H

“We need to stay together and look out for each other.” | Fall 2015


road to broadcasting champs BITCHES BRUZE, SOUTHSHIRE ROLLER DERBY

Making the roster for a WFTDA Championship broadcast team in 2014 was the highlight of my derby career. I asked my peers what they would want to know about my announcing and the following are their questions. How do you handle a blowout score? First, I have a deep-seated belief that as a 21st Century team sport, developed primarily by women, with the ability to use computers, roller derby is more brilliantly complex than team sports invented by men over 100 years ago. New sports can have new scoring paradigms. Score ratios and the WFTDA rankings calculator are more important to playoff announcing than wins or losses. Second, it is a challenge for anyone to call a 600 to 6 game – and I’ve had more than a few in that range. I can explain a 7:1 ratio as one field goal to 3 touchdowns – which is a tough score in football, but not necessarily a blowout. When the ratio gets over 25:1, there’s no comparable sports scoring scenario so I resort to the stories within the game. When one team is consistently posting 25-0 jams without power jams, there’s not a lot of point in informing the viewing or listening audience that this jammer has made another 5 points every 20 seconds. Take that time to talk about who is in the wall that’s making the opposing jammer stay in the initial pass. Review penalty issues relevant to the jam at hand. Point out when a coach slows the bleeding by slowing the game with long-jams (letting


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a lead jammer swap 4-4 passes to burn the clock) and how that play improves rankings for the losing team. Calculate and share points per minute of game play rates and how many passes comprise the average points per jam for the top scoring jammer. I might mention the foolishness of a team losing in the 25+:1 ratio range getting lead then calling off a 4-0 jam. Regardless of the score, there’s always interesting stories. I find them and share them. How do you deal with Twitter? When you call for fans use #Talk2WFTDA. The hashtag is full of internal dialog about the games. Users of the tag feel very comfortable criticizing the game, announcers, production, and the play. They can also be generous with their praise. I try to read as much of the feed as possible when I’m off mic to get a vibe on how the feed is going. I pay close attention to the tweets during my calls because it’s the best public feedback available to announcers. Criticism is part of the deal when announcing some of the most visible roles in the game. For the occasional negative comment, I talk to my producer and THA to reflect and make adjustments. I also try to reply personally to any hashtags that relate to me directly. How do you talk about errors in officiating? Errors are inevitable with varying context. As an announcer observing an error, I have to process whether

that error has relevant context for my audience. Everyone involved in the game makes errors – officials, players, coaches, production, and announcers. Whether I involve them depends on how they impact the storyline of the game. If a particular set of pack refs consistently sees the end of the Engagement Zone closer to 30’ or even 40’, that’s something to tell people about on a broadcast call because the camera may not be wide enough to show that information and many people just listen. On a house microphone, pack definitions aren’t mine to call and as long as it’s consistent, they are what they are so they lose context compared to the feed. When there’s bias, or points fail to get posted, or lead or points are awarded in obvious error, it’s important to share that information with the audience – on house or feed because it's critical game information. If calls or processes are objective, I point it out. It is impossible for a team to earn only one point in a pass when there is an opponent in the box. If a jam referee and scorekeeper team are constantly missing those points, that has tremendous context in a game both on the house and I'll generally share that. What amount of time, energy and preparation goes into becoming an announcer worthy of being chosen to do the broadcast at Champs? It’s just about a full time job. Really. I expect it’s relative to the amount of

time, energy, and preparation anyone who is chosen for Champs puts into their role – skater, coach, referee, NSO, producer, etc. I’ve dedicated my roller derby career to passionately studying the game. I run through mental scenarios of how two teams might play the game. I try to break the rules. One of my favorite study exercises is to take a still photo and tell the story about everything that’s happening in that picture. Which team has lead? Where is the pack? Which team is winning? There’s so much you can tell from audience eye focus or referees and their arms. I can use those same skills in a play-by-play and pick up eight pieces of information regarding one

second of play. When I examine video, if it’s just of one jam, I’ll pull key stills out of that jam to study the pivotal points in that minute or two and I’ll analyze the math of scoring rates and ratios. If I have video of a whole game, I’ll try to break it down to only study key jams and what made them memorable. I try to put the jams or the games into acts so the stories have context and break things down into manageable study components. I read blogs and follow a diverse range of commentators – from those I admire and agree with to those I consider trolls. All of their stories and views are important to the job I do when I announce. I don’t announce to

only people who share my views about the game or a team so I have to understand what the bigger audience values and value it too. Like most announcers, I study my rosters. I practice reading names and numbers out loud. I review my own bout videos. I watch video of teams I’m about to announce. I gather the information about the teams from places like Flat Track Stats, as well as Facebook, league sites, and even Wikipedia. I cross train. I practice reading out loud. I take brain tests like Luminosity. I listen to sports commentary on other sporting events – something I never did before derby. I listen to how other sports balance the roles of play-by-play and color. | Fall 2015


How do you maintain the integrity of a neutral call while still imparting the action and energy? As announcers, we are not to demonstrate a bias toward a given team. That said, in nearly every game, there are many story lines and each storyline has its given hero. For example, every blowout game is a David and Goliath story. The call is still neutral if we announce every little triumph for David and focus on the superlatives of Goliath. When one team on the track is undefeated, the integrity of the call relies on the announcers discussing the impact of the opposing team breaking that run and being excited when their play leads us to believe it’s possible. A call with integrity is never completely neutral but it is without personal bias. Like any story, action and energy come through when there’s discourse; when the expectations are not met or are profoundly exceeded. The thing I find most challenging in keeping a call neutral is when I or my co-announcer are more familiar with one team than the other. It’s occasions like that where teamwork becomes critical to keeping the storylines balanced. My overriding goal is to love derby above any team or individual. When I announce a game, I announce it for the sake of the audience’s love of derby. As long as I do it for derby, I can’t go wrong with the bias of my call. How do you use technology tools like Rinxter to enhance the call without getting lost in it? I get a lot of cross training with this in my job as a college computer applications instructor. Working the very right-brained data of screens displaying rosters, penalties, points, positions, and screens timing out or buttons accidentally being pushed while actively


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describing a sports game some distance away from you colorfully using your left-brain in a conversation with another person that you have to actively listen to takes practice. Rinxter has been the stats tracking software used in supplement to the statsbook paperwork. On the feed, we have a terminal and can read everything the Rinxter NSOs are entering in. At Playoffs, the Rinxter staff is carefully selected and highly trained. I use the markings that tell me who is on the track to aid in determining what blockers must be in a wall – sometimes not by seeing who is in the wall but seeing the more visible players not in the wall and reading the rest of the names off Rinxter. When there are lulls in the story on the track, I’ll turn to the Rinxter screen and share who has the most box trips or the most points scored on each team.H

unsung blockers in the midst of the grit 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

Joe Mac

Kristin “Ana Bollocks” Carney may have recently retired from roller derby for good, but her time in derby has not been without major impact on her team. Bollocks is certainly not a household name in roller derby, but her intelligence and persistent play from within the pack of the five-time WFTDA Champion Gotham Girls Roller Derby has definitely changed the game we know and love. “On defense I’ve done my fair share of knock-out-andrun-backs,” Bollocks admits. “But I’d rather be the blocker that is always with someone else. Because I really feel like a blocker’s best place is in the wall.” Gotham’s tenacious defensive core is well-known for holding other teams at bay time and again. Meanwhile, cutting holes through opponents to make room for Gotham’s world class jammers seems second nature. But Bollocks’ tactics alone could make life hell for any jammer in her decade-long career with Gotham. While unnoticed by many except roller derby’s most astute students, Ana Bollocks’ style could be called one of the unsung defensive hero. She leads not with sweeping smack-downs or pronounced moves, rather, more mundane tasks make up her repertoire. Linking up with teammates in motion. Filling holes that


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continuously change shape. Guarding the inside line like it was a matter of life or death. Or looking to force a track cut you didn’t help create. These are the things that great players do, regardless of whether or not such moves are detected by fans, pundits or fellow players. “I don’t consider myself one of Gotham’s best,” Bollocks concedes. “There are some players who can be their strongest as individual players. But the best way for me and others, I think, is to participate in a smart defense versus trying to make big plays.” Roller derby, for certain, has evolved. And as the sport continues to grow, great defensive play comes in a variety of forms. While some, like Gotham’s Sexy Slaydie and B.ay A.rea’s Demanda Riot have made their mark with size, strength and very hard, precise hits, others are equally as effective without clobbering opponents. Stars like Team USA captain Tracy Akers and her former Denver teammates Jes Rivas and Shaina Serelson (who now both play for Rose City) showed us throughout Champs and the World Cup what you can do with a little bit of teamwork, communication, and a lot of positional blocking. More often than not, it seems that the best defense has little to do with big hits.

Joe Mac

Like Bollocks, Rachel Johnston aka “Rachel Rotten”, is another versatile defender who downplays her brainy play. As a member of the rising powerhouse Angel City Hollywood Scarlets, Rotten is recognized by observers as a player who increasingly contributes to a pivotal role in her team’s talented defense. Rotten, who joined Angel in 2010, is one of four members of Angel City’s subset known in-house as “The Sequoias”. Along with Jane Wilkins, Krissy Krash and Tyra Shanks, the crew got their nickname because they all stand between 5’ 10” and 6 feet. Rotten suggests that size is one thing, but neither height nor big muscles make mastery. “One of Angel’s best assets is communication,” Rotten says. “Playing alongside great players like Jane (Wilkins), Krash and Shanks make me, as a player, want to keep up, match their rhythm and intensity, and help out to keep our lines tight and tough to beat in every jam.” What height, great communication, and athleticism appear to gift Angel City on defense is their ability to change-up their pace and stride at any moment. A typical scenario sees Angel swarm the front of any fast moving pack, and keep ahead of the opposing jammer while batting her back and out of play. Yet, as graceful and elegant as Angel’s long and lean blockers look from the distance, playing defense in the center of the Scarlets’ pack is no more pretty or less gritty than in any other team. Perhaps it is in this milieu is that Rotten excels most. “As a kid playing sports, I was often told to tone it down, because my coaches had told me that I wasn’t apparently aware of my strength,” Rotten said. “Perhaps as women, we’re socialized not to be aggressive. But in roller derby, that energy is encouraged, and in being a part of Angel City, my teammates help me hone that and refine that aggression as a sort of art form to win games.”

Another blocker who has no qualms about being in the midst of the grit of every jam is Chicago Outfit blocker Megan “Pain Gwen” Larcher. For PG, as her teammates call her, the role is all about providing and maintaining support. “When I play, my mindset is thinking about what I can be doing to help my team be the best,” PG said. “I feel like a support player, and I’m communicating drive-outs, filling and recycling holes, anticipating the opposing team’s next move.” PG also hints that playing defense should be about what is most simple, and nothing about being fancy. Most specifically, playing the best defense and the best support role for your team comes in the form of leveraging the fundamentals you’ve learned from day one. “When I'm focused on my (most basic) skills and how they fit with the Outfit machine, I perform best,” said the Outfit veteran. Skating fundamentals aren’t the only thing that make good defense work she indicated.H

Masonite Burn | Fall 2015


rollercon 2015 I V A N N A S. P A N K I N, S O C A L D E R B Y P H O T O S B Y T R I S TA N K I N G P H O T O G R A P H Y

the debrief I like that term because it will always mean pants off, and what good is a vacation if you have to wear pants? Of course, it also means “let’s talk about our completed project,” so let’s talk about RollerCon 2015 while we start to prepare for next summer! First and most importantly: IT HAPPENED. It was dodgy there for a few months! I tried to be confident in the months leading up to July, but I will admit now to a lot of sleepless nights between the announcement that Riviera was closing and the day we actually opened Early Bird Registration this year. But it DID happen, and in typical RollerCon fashion, we turned shit into the most glorious shinola ever! We got kicked out of our beloved Riviera, so we found a nicer hotel nearby and moved to the Las Vegas Convention Center – which was MUCH larger. We didn’t want to waste all that room, so – here’s some numbers:


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tracks 9 TOTAL tracks 1 banked track 5 dedicated training tracks 3 dedicated competition tracks LVCC had the most amazing cement floors ever, so we left our tile floors in storage and enjoyed the cement – some of us more than others (points to self). charities We’re still counting all the money we collected for charity in 2015, but it’s a LOT! Bout tickets alone raised almost $11K for charities (mostly the Women’s Sports Foundation and Prostate Cancer Foundation) this year. Skatesafe and Vagine Regime events made something like $1000 that we donated to Las Vegas’ LGBTQ association, and we’re still tallying all your raffle ticket income, which is also going to Women’s Sports Foundation. This is going to be our best year yet for charities!

events RollerCon has so much going on that usually advice to first year attendees is: just go and wander. You can’t do everything. But a lot of us try! Generally speaking, there are typically about nine events beginning at any given daylight hour (not counting just relaxing by the pool or hanging out with someone outside of official events). But here’s what we packed into five fantastically exhausting days: • 741 events in 5 days • 24 full length bouts • 270 competition events (bouts, challenges and reffed scrimmages) • 397 Seminars • 174 On Skates Sessions • 223 Off Skates athletics or classroom seminars

• YOUR FAVE EVENTS • 47% of you said on skates training was your favorite event type • 20% of you said you come primarily to play in bouts and challenges • 7% of you love the seminars and workshops the best • 2015 was the first RollerCon for 11% of you, so you weren’t sure what was going to be your favorite event • The rest of you chose Open Skates, Scrimmages, watching (not playing) in bouts and challenges, PM Social events, the pool party, volunteering or vendor village as your favorite things about RollerCon. attendees Let’s talk about YOU. We had more tracks and events and a few (about a thousand) more skaters this year. Here’s how our attendee stats break down: First and most importantly, 570 people volunteered in jobs as diverse as Announcing, Track build and maintenance, Officiating, Classrooms management, Dicks, EMTs and Medics, IT and Communications,

Media, Planning, Registration, SkateSafe, Souvenirs, Translators, Vendor Relations and Volunteer Check-In. We’re still counting hours. RollerCon wouldn’t happen without all these people! SEVENTEEN Countries sent skaters to RollerCon. • 9% from Canada • 4% from the UK • 3% from Australia • And we had a handful of skaters each from Belgium, New Zealand, Germany, Argentina, France, Mexico, Brazil, Korea, Vietnam, Finland, China and Japan. • 82% were from the US, and most of the US skaters were from California (26%), Texas (6%) and Washington (5%) Rollergirls, still? • 89.8% of RollerCon attendees identify as FEMALE • 8% identify MALE • 2% told us to mind our own business RollerCon attendees schedule all the competitive events (full-length bouts and 30-min challenges) by submitting them to a form, where they get

scheduled in the order they were submitted. Here’s what they scheduled in 2015: • 43% co-ed challenges / bouts • 35% female-only challenges / bouts • 1% male-only challenges / bouts • Statistically speaking, the rest were scrimmages, determined jam by jam. ¿cuantos años tiene? • 46% of our skaters are in their 30s. • 33% are in their 20s • 16% are in their 40s • 2% are over 50 • Less than 1% are 19 or 20 • Just under 2% told us that their age was also not our business This year we also did a lot of number crunching from our fantastic database about the on-skates training sessions, by far one of the type of events that people come from far and wide to attend. We found that most people who took classes took about 4 or 5, but a whole lot of people took 10 or more, and a handful of people managed to squeeze in 16 on skates classes! | Fall 2015


next year Next year we’re back in a hotel, and it will likely be a familiar hotel to our returning skaters. We’re looking at three properties and all of them fit at least seven flat tracks and a banked track. We’re looking at the last two weeks of July again, and hoping for the very last week, but save both, just in case! And we have already started planning. Keep in touch with us at or search for RollerCon on social media!H

Russell Reno Photography


Tristan King Photography

Tristan King Photography

Tristan King Photography

Tristan King Photography

Fall 2015 |

Tristan King Photography

Russell Reno Photography

Tristan King Photography

Brangwyn GI Jones

Tristan King Photography

Sean Lynch | Fall 2015



“We wanted to do something nontraditional. We wanted to create something new, special, unique, and vibrant in the bold and beautiful world of roller derby. We wanted to achieve something honest and artistic. Working in cohesion with some of the most beloved American skaters, we were inspired to create something of which we could all be proud. As fans of the sport, we wanted to strip away the exterior, getting rid of the jersey, the tights and other distracting accessories. We wanted to break it all down to the basic core; an athlete, her physique and her attitude. Whether on or off the track, the skaters that we worked with are powerful women, each with their own goals, aspirations, strengths, weaknesses, and story to tell. In sports, the body is more than just a tool, it’s the propellant behind the power and passion to push forward, to strive, and to succeed. And we used this truth to define our project. We produced a calendar, an epic visual representation of the athletes in their most fundamental state. A parade of vivacious images exhibiting some of the most talented women to ever play the game. If you take one thing away from our work, it should be that true athletic achievement comes not just from skill, but from confidence in yourself.” -Gregory Baxley, Art Director


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Roller Beauty is a 12-month collection of powerful images, celebrating body positivity in the world of roller derby. The calendar puts the athletic form front-and-center, capturing the personality of each featured model in different environments on and off the track, creating an intimate, intensely personal and radically different look at women in sports. It places an emphasis on bodies of all shapes and sizes, and allows powerhouse skaters the opportunity to express themselves and show off their fun-loving side. The crew behind the calendar is the Firing Squad, a collective of talented stylists and photography professionals based in Seattle, WA. Previously having shot the Blue Streak Skates launch campaign featuring Claire D. Way of the Gotham Roller Girls, various derby retail advertisements, and derby-owned clothing print fashion spreads and promotional materials, the group is well-versed in creating beautiful roller derby imagery, and well acquainted with the larger derby community. Working hand-in-hand with a diverse group of skaters, many ideas were conceptualized in advance, while other concepts tended to develop organically. The skaters were invested in, and part of the creative process, which encouraged collaboration and a feeling of trust. As one would expect, there was sometimes a bit of nervousness at the beginning of a shoot, but it quickly dissolved as the skaters became more comfortable. “We keep the set intimate for indoor locations, and strive to contain outdoor settings. Some models need time to warm up to the process, while others have absolutely no inhibitions,” says makeup artist Bre Diaz. Further conveying that, “Our biggest practical concerns ended up being weather, temperature and basic logistics.” Skater Nehi Nightmare affirms, “I wasn’t surprised by how comfortable I felt around everyone at the photo shoot. I mean, I’ve got a body, they’ve got bodies. What’s the big deal?” Stave a few group advents, each shoot was catered to a single skater. The full production time spanned four months; the first photo shoot happened in mid-October and the last shoot in mid-February. As any derby skater can attest, schedules get busy. “We gave ourselves the time

to orchestrate an assortment of themes and scenes, working in cohesion with each model. We didn’t work on a specific timeline because we didn’t want to feel rushed,” states art director Gregory Baxley. Continuing, “What amazed me was the level of energy we got from the models, and their willingness to be spontaneous, which really comes through in the photos.” With derby being so prominent in cities nationwide, the selection process was fairly easy. Many skaters wanted to be involved, but with a calendar, space is

limited. The skaters who are showcased were narrowed down to those who were most excited to be a part of such an epic project, and who were strong, and highly regarded in their respective leagues. Stylist Erin Verlander confirms, “The stunning photography highlights exceptional athletes with an array of personalities. It was our mission to pay tribute to their bodies because of all they are capable of.” Women start playing roller derby for many reasons; common examples being camaraderie, challenge, exercise, | Fall 2015


competition and just to try something new. But the one constant result regardless of reasoning, is an increase in body positivity and growth in self-confidence. Because roller derby defies the notion of an ideal body type, skaters usually have a more positive body image and increased buoyancy when it comes to fitness training. This confidence often carries over from the track to other aspects of real life, further encouraging emotional and physical development through challenging perceived limits and healthy athletic competition. In a society which generally teaches us to be dissatisfied with our bodies, roller derby refreshingly dares to disregard mainstream discernment. “For me, the shoot was about sending a message to women to embrace their curves. We are all naturally selfconscious about some aspect of our bodies, and people can be so judgmental. But at the end of the day, your own

opinion is the only one that matters,” attests skater Nana Nana Bruise You. With Karleena Gore adding, “Your body is your weapon. Your body is your strategy. Your body is your passion. You are a machine.” Body shaming shouldn’t exist in the world, especially not in roller derby, which is one of the few sports that is truly accessible to all body types and skill sets. Skaters are encouraged to best utilize their own individual strengths. “Body confidence is not thinking you’re perfect. It’s knowing that it’s ok that you’re not,” says skater Bresus Christ. Fast skaters, heavy hitters, and immovable objects are all necessary components of a team regardless of body type. “We create these roller derby personas with makeup and fashion accessories, and sometimes people perceive us in a certain way as a result. We don’t always get taken seriously. But when you strip

“Body confidence is not thinking you’re perfect. It’s knowing that it’s ok that you’re not.”

“Your body is your weapon. Your body is your strategy. Your body is your passion. You are a machine.”


Fall 2015 |

away the distractions, our athletic form is left, the bodies we use to make our mark. This is our outlet and passion, and we live and breathe it,” says Sofa King Ninja. Further declaring, “I’m most comfortable on my skates anyways, clothing is irrelevant.” There is nothing else like this calendar out there in the world of derby, and it should be an annual reminder that athletic excellence comes in all sorts of beautiful shapes and sizes. As far as goals, the cast and crew also hope the photography turns some heads for another reason. “Unfortunately, roller derby doesn’t always get the attention that it deserves. There’s no denying that sports played by women are normally overlooked. I hope these photos can help to change that,” says stylist Erin Verlander. “While it’s

the fastest growing sport in the world, derby somehow remains an underground sport. We constantly fight to be seen as legitimate. I hope this calendar helps bring new eyes to what we are doing. We are powerful females kicking ass, and if it takes some stunning imagery for fans to get on board, so be it,” Nehi Nightmare exclaims. The limited-edition premiere 2016 edition will officially launch this Fall. Visit the official Roller Beauty Calendar Facebook page at for details on pre-orders and retail availability. Featured images are available exclusively through this calendar and in no other format. A limited stock of signed and numbered copies are also available. For additional details, updates and contact info, visit

“For me, the shoot was about sending a message to women to embrace their curves.”

“Anyone who doesn't understand the diversity of roller derby and thinks this is a Playboy-style calendar for rollergirls will be disappointed because we are not all size 0.” -Nana Nana Bruise You


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“My photo shoot was in a warehouse at 11pm on a Friday night. The building had no temperature control and it was freezing. We shared some beers and skated around the track in robes during lighting tests to stay warm. Once we disrobed, we felt completely comfortable. Being cold was the hardest part. It was almost like we were just walking around naked at home. I got to model alongside three other skaters, and the vibe was totally positive and exciting.” -JCREWella

“My body is my tool. As athletes, we push ourselves to the limit on the track. And my body is essential to reaching my goals and maintaining my speed and stamina.” -Ponyo Knees | Fall 2015


roller derby kisses


Fall 2015 |

Helsinki and London based, Lapland born artist Riikka Hyvönen started working with the bruises – called ‘kisses’ by roller derby – through collecting photographs of roller derby girls’ butts. She then captured the athletes’ injuries in giant artworks.

“I hope people will see the beauty of bruises,” Hyvönen says. Pop, kitsch, and perhaps even slightly campy in their glittery leather glory, the 3D objects, made by Hyvönen are somewhere between sculptures and paintings. “I painted the bums to capture momentary marks that are seen in a completely different light in the mainstream than inside the subculture of roller derby girls.” | Fall 2015



Fall 2015 | 1. Skater on left is missing skater badge. 2. Back right skater’s helmet is now orange. 3. Coach’s fanny pack is missing text. 4. Front row skater on right is missing tattoo on left leg. 5. Skater in middle center is missing sticker from helmet. 6. Logo is missing from skater in front center’s shirt. 7. Skater on right is missing number on armband.

Tristan King Photography


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fiveonfive | issue 29 | Fall 2015  

fiveonfive | issue 29 | Fall 2015