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Each issue is loaded with information to help leagues across the world

improve their game, build their business, and keep up to date with the latest in flat track roller derby! ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION $17.99 for WFTDA league members • $25.99 for non-WFTDA league members ORDER IN BULK FOR YOUR WHOLE LEAGUE!

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WFTDA. WFTDA A Real. A. Real Str Strong. on ng Athletic. ng. Athletic Revolutionary. Re evolutionar ry y. www Photo Phot to cour courtesy tesy of Brew Ha Ha


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5/1//099 2:35:27 PM 5/1/09

fiveonfive contents 4-5 advice


ask dahmernatrix and she who cannot be named!

WFTDA Rules Update: check out what you need to know about 4.0.


business free and inexpensive marketing techniques delegating responsibilities

Apprentice Program: the WFTDA’s newest and most exciting way to include new and developing leagues!

10-15 health and fitness off skates training pain in my shin fuel for your blocks MRSA in derby and why you should care

38-39 RollerCon 2009 Preview This year promises to be bigger, better, more derby-filled (and more party-filled) than all RollerCons past – get the details for an event not to be missed!

16-21 games and coaching the track: charting your course ece preview

24-27 gear pad stink bling skates


32-34 JRDA

A Guide to SkateCourt Has your league been looking to take your practice time to the next level? Get all the info on an important investment that could be well worth your time.

running a junior roller derby practice

36-37 rookie

44-45 international derby 46-47 have derby, will travel 50-54 art and media 55 classifieds 60 horoscopes


gear: it’s worth it teaching basics to new girls

editor anne shank rocky mountain rollergirls

from the editor

miss jane redrum ft. wayne derby girls

Welcome to our summer issue of fiveonfive magazine, the official magazine of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA)!

lorna boom rat city rollergirls

This issue marks a full year of action for us as a publication dedicated to “by the

ida slapter rat city rollergirls

skaters, for the skaters.” We’ve talked to players, coaches, fans and the like

frida beater rocky mountain rollergirls

across the globe in order to bring you information you can truly use as a skater,

art director assaultin’ pepa rocky mountain rollergirls contributing writers dahmernatrix duke city derby she who cannot be named rocky mountain rollergirls

sinful sally rockford rage women’s roller derby

and we hope that you have learned as much about every aspect of roller derby as we have through our past issues!

janesaw massacre ict roller girls dr. j sioux falls roller dollz

Derby can be a huge commitment – it is unlike any other sport in its focus not only on athletics but also on business development (both within individual

catholic cruel girl rocky mountain rollergirls

leagues and as flat track derby as a whole) as well as female empowerment. In

jason isaacs columbus, ohio

the middle of most league’s seasons when the summer hits, it can be easy to

nobuo yagai denver, colorado coach pauly phoenix, arizona justice feelgood marshall charm city roller girls ivanna s. pankin’ san diego derby dolls

become overwhelmed with all you might be taking on as a derby skater. Between practice, committee work, events, and training for bouts and upcoming tournaments, it’s hard to find time for everything, let alone balance that with your personal life. Much of this issue is geared at refocusing your derby energy – tips on delegating

8-ball minnesota rollergirls

tasks (page 8), how to make the most of your time training outside of practice

roastbeef texas rollergirls

(page 10), and, to get really specific, how to use the track to your advantage to

betty ford galaxy jet city rollergirls

haul the most ass while skating (page 16) are a few of our article topics that can

ruby trip’er mississippi rollergirls

hopefully address ways in which you can manage your time and make the most of your commitment. And, if all else fails, read up on RollerCon 2009 and get

merv the perv harrisburg area roller derby

excited for the most action-packed skating event of the year that is guaranteed

hurt reynolds derby news network

to get you pumped over derby right at the end of the summer’s lull.

luscious smacksome rocky mountain rollergirls

Your thoughts, questions, concerns, love letters, and hate mail are always

cover photo jules doyle fiveonfive magazine

welcome at Anne Shank #13 Rocky Mountain Rollergirls Denver, CO


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

Ivanna S. Pankin’

Ruby Trip’er

Ivanna S. Pankin’ skates for San Diego Derby Dolls and Team Awesome USA, and also works at Sin City Skates. She gets credit and takes blame for tons of derby stuff, but her favorite of all of them is RollerCon, the yearly derby conference in Las Vegas.

Ruby Trip’er joined the Mississippi Rollergirls, Mississippi’s first flat track derby team, in December 2007. She served as league vice president twice in that period of time and has also done some freelance sub-reffing for other leagues in the South. When she doesn’t have wheels strapped to her feet, Ruby is a risk manager and surveillance camera operator for the Harrison County School District and the proud mother of a future skater-tot.

Coach Pauly With over four years of derby coaching and referee experience that includes working with 20+ leagues across the U.S. and Canada, Coach Pauly helped bring AZRD’s Tent City Terrors to a national ranking of #3 in 2006. Coach Pauly has shared his knowledge with countless leagues at a number of training seminars and camps.

Jason Isaacs Jason Isaacs is a former nationally competitive speedskater and former player development coach for the Ohio Rollergirls. A skater of over 14 years, he is a two-time Ohio state speedskating champion, Great Lakes Regional speedskating champion, and national speedskating semi-finalist representing the Ohio Buckeye and Michigan Wolverine speedskating teams. In addition to holding the 500 meter regional record, he was a top 15 finisher in the Professional Inline Speedskating circuit in the Junior World Class Men’s class.

Frida Beater Frida Beater is Director of Training for the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls. She is also a co-captain and jammer for RMRG’s 5280 Fight Club. Frida is known for her freaky endurance and conditioning.

Miss Jane RedRum Miss Jane RedRum helped Fort Wayne Derby Girls (Fort Wayne, Ind.) get off the ground in October 2005 and has been an active member ever since. Now in its fourth season, the league has just switched to an interleague-only format and fields two teams: The Bomb Squad (WFTDA sanctioned) and the SWAT Team. Miss Jane is the Director of Regulations and Stats for the league, along with chairing the Public Relations, Website, and Graphics committees. She has skated for the league’s all star team, the Bomb Squad, since its inception in October 2006. Miss Jane is also a member of the Board of Directors for WFTDA. In “real” life, she is the executive editor for a publishing company and a part-time English Professor.

Hurt Reynolds Hurt Reynolds was head scorekeeper and production monkey for Seattle’s Rat City Rollergirls during their first two seasons, more recently contributing in similar roles for WFTDA tournaments and RollerCon 2006-2008. He spent most of 2007 traveling, observing, and assisting leagues from coast to coast, while documenting his experiences at Today, he’s a Duke City Derby hanger-on-er, a DNN partner, and manager of the Derbymatic bout database project.


She Who Cannot Be Named Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, Denver, CO

Dahmernatrix San Diego Derby Dolls, San Diego, CA

DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, “I have been in derby for about a year. I broke my elbow during my second practice and it put me out for almost six weeks, but as soon as I could I was right back at it. Then, a few months later, I broke my tailbone. I never went to the doctor and just dealt with the pain. Now I have broken my leg and am still recovering. I really miss skating, bouting, working out, etc. I love derby but my career and family suffer every time I injure myself. I am hoping that the probability of breaking something else is very low. The doctor should be releasing me back to my regular life at the end of this month, but I don’t want to take any chances of injuring myself again. Any advice?” -BROKEN

DEAR BROKEN, First and foremost, you’ll definitely need to follow doctor’s orders at the end of the month. Your body has gone through a lot of trauma this past year, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that your doctor advises you to not skate, much less participate in a contact sport. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be a part of league activities and work on your fitness off the track. Ask the powers that be in your league what you can do to help out and maintain your status as a league member. It’s likely that there is some kind of policy in place for injured skaters. There are plenty of non-skating jobs in a league that need to be done in order to keep the league going. You may find your niche as a stats keeper, floor manager, or Quickbooks guru... now’s the time to investigate that! As far as fitness, you might want to talk with your doctor about what kinds of activities are suitable for you during this healing process. Don’t be discouraged if your doc tells you to ease into it with swimming, walking, or light yoga. The goal here is not to re-injure yourself and instead slowly prepare your body for heavier duty. You might also want to consider going back to your doc in six months or so and ask about a clearance for contact sports. Before you know it, you’ll be back on the track and ready to roll, with mind and body mended. 4 | Summer 2009 |

DEAR BROKEN, That’s rough. I feel like, as an advice columnist in a roller derby magazine, I should be encouraging you to get back out there, but to be honest, if I injured myself with that kind of frequency I don’t think I’d be playing roller derby anymore. I mean, I know that once we start playing, for many of us derby becomes the most important thing in the world to us, but the truth is, it’s not, your health is. And so is your career and family. If I were you, I’d look into something a little less strenuous for the time being, until you and a health care professional can figure out what might be causing your injuries and how they might be avoided in the future. If you want to stay involved with the league there are always jobs open to a person eager to perform them, I’m sure. From donning the stripes and whistle and joining the ref crew, to researching the latest fitness and coaching techniques, to developing new ways to spread the derby word in your community; wherever your talent and interests lie, there will be a need for you within the league. Furthermore, if it’s the adrenaline rush that you crave, there are plenty of dangerous things to do that don’t involve people slamming into or falling all over you all of the time. I’m sure you’ll find something that still gets your heart going. Somehow, you’re going to need to find a balance between getting what you want out of derby and not letting it become detrimental to your health and your life.

Scott Engelhardt

DEAR BLOCKER AND JAMMER, “I have hit a plateau. My skating abilities seem to have been stagnant for the past six months or so. I go to two to three practices a week and am getting discouraged because I feel like I am not getting any better. Is there anything I can do to get out of this funk, or do I just have to realize that I am going to be a mediocre derby skater?" -INAFUNK

DEAR INAFUNK, Hmm... Well, it might be a good idea to take a look at how you are approaching practice time. Instead of trying to rise above being “mediocre,” set specific goals for yourself in drills and during scrimmage. Being timed on laps? Vow that you will break a certain time that you’ve previously achieved. Feel like you’re not effective in the pack? Tell yourself you will make x amount of blocks after that first whistle blows. Another way to get out of a funk at practice is to try to mimic the moves of a fellow leaguemate who you admire – sometimes the simple act of shifting your focus can do wonders. Additionally, try doing something outside of practice to supplement your training: run some sprints to work on explosive speed, or play some basketball to work on being light on your feet. Also, try doing some visualization of what you want to accomplish when you are at practice. Studies have shown that athletes tend to perform better when they’ve visualized a good performance going into an event. If you don’t see improvements, you can try the hardest thing of all: giving yourself a break and not going to practice for a week... tough!

DEAR INAFUNK, First: while frustrating, plateaus are absolutely normal. Everybody hits them every once and awhile. So don’t get down on yourself for being a little stuck for the time being. It’s possible that while you do practice a lot, maybe you’re practicing a lot of the same thing, with the same people, and just getting really good and doing the same skills over and over again. If you want to learn a new skill it might be a good idea to take yourself out of that a little bit. Maybe start to seriously train for a different position. Maybe see if a nearby league can schedule some practices with your team, so you can get a wider variety of people to play with and against. Maybe you should just do something, anything, and see how it affects your derby game. Ride your bike to work instead of drive. Learn to jam skate. Take up Pilates. Sometimes when I don’t know what to do, and do something unrelated, I’ll improve in derby in unexpected ways. On the other hand, if there are specific skills that you lack but know you want, talk to someone in the league about helping you develop them. Maybe the girl who is really good at whatever that skill is can share some tips. Maybe you can find someone else who feels frustrated, and the two of you can work on devoting some time before and after practice to practicing new skills on each other until they become routine enough for you to do them in scrimmage without thinking about it. I know I’ve just thrown a lot of maybes at you. My point is, everyone is different and excels in different ways, and there are a lot of different things you can do to change your game. The only thing I feel I can certainly say is that if you keep active, determined, and have an open mind, you definitely won’t have to settle for being a mediocre derby skater!

need advice? email | Summer 2009 | 5


free and inexpensive marketing techniques M I S S J A N E R E D R U M , F T WAY N E D E R B Y G I R L S

Any derby girl will tell you that marketing is important for the success of a league – almost as important as practice. It’s how you get butts in seats. But that same derby girl will also tell you that it can be expensive once you start getting into branding, graphics, advertising and strategic market planning. But, no matter the size of your city or town, there are FREE or ridiculously inexpensive marketing opportunities that you can take advantage of while you build up your marketing budget. community calendars Most local newspapers, entertainment publications and public television stations have community calendars and accept submissions (they want content after all). To capitalize on these opportunities, dedicate a member of your league to submit your event information, which can usually be done via email, on a regular basis. Some cities even have community information websites that contain community calendars. A quick Google search can help you find these opportunities, as well. radio interviews Roller derby and rock ‘n roll often go hand in hand, so why not capitalize on that? Although radio interviews may be harder to get than community calendar listings, it is not impossible. Many times all it takes is some initiative. Radio DJs are looking for content for their shows, and there’s nothing better than a couple of roller derby girls talking about an upcoming event or bout. Reach out and contact your local stations; you might be surprised how easy it is to score some free on-air time. radio remotes Any time a radio station sets up camp at a remote location (car dealership, the mall, cell phone store, etc.) it’s a good opportunity to partner with them for an appearance. Not only will it add interest for the radio station’s benefit, it garners exposure for your league, as well. Oftentimes, remotes offer opportunities to talk to potential fans, answer questions, pass out fliers, and most importantly, score a mention on the air every time the station breaks from the music.

6 | Summer 2009 |

fliers This might be a no-brainer, but fliering is a cheap way to get the word out about your events and bouts. Many local businesses will allow you to pin up a flier on their bulletin board or community events wall. Check with grocery stores, coffee houses, bars, and liquor stores. The possibilities are endless. press releases Any time your league hosts a bout, fundraiser, or event, let local media outlets know by submitting a press release. See the side bar for tips on how to write an effective press release. business sign campaign Many businesses, if not able to provide a cash sponsorship, are willing to provide an in-kind sponsorship. A unique way to capitalize on this is through a business sign campaign. Reach out to local businesses and find out if they’d be willing to promote an upcoming event or bout on their sign or marquee in exchange for a small ad in your bout program or logo on your event flier. Not only will hundreds, even thousands, of passers-by see your event promotion, but the business gains the opportunity to tap into a new market through your fans. charity volunteering Nonprofit organizations are always looking for volunteers for their events. A great way to gain exposure for your organization is to volunteer for that event, walk, fundraiser, etc. Ask the organization if you may wear your league shirt and set up an information booth. A mutually beneficial arrangement like this is rewarding.

how to write a press release

facebook, myspace and twitter Free social networking sites abound. These sites not only allow you to post information about your events or bouts, but allow you to invite people to events, send updates via text message, and email thousands of people at the same time. If your league isn’t signed up for all three of these sites, I suggest you do so immediately. newsletter and mailing list software There are many free or inexpensive software programs that allow you to gather email addresses and distribute text-based or HTML-based newsletters to the emails stored in your account. Here are a few to check out: Bravenet, Constant Contact, Send Blaster, and My Newsletter Builder. fan message boards Creating a message board for your fans is not only a great way to market your bouts and events, but it also allows the fans to provide feedback, ask questions and get involved. There are many free message board services. I recommend Proboards and Yahoo! Groups.

A press release is a written statement that is distributed to the media that may announce an upcoming event/bout, results from your previous bout, charity involvement, league news, etc. If you’d like a local media outlet to cover your league, it’s a good idea to send regular press releases. Get your league’s name in front of the right people and be persistent. compose a headline Make sure the headline will grab the reader’s attention yet is brief, clear, and to the point. It should also contain your league name so there’s no mistaking what the press release is about. For example: Fort Wayne Derby Girls draw record crowd on February 14. write the body copy Start with the date and the city in which the press release originated. Make sure the text to follow contains all pertinent details (the who, what, when, where, why and how). Journalists and other media employees don’t have time to sift through your press release for the details, so put the important stuff first and follow it up with a longer explanation if necessary. It’s a good idea to avoid using long sentences. The press release should be compact and straightforward. provide information about your league/organization Title this section of the press release “About (Your League Name).” This section will give journalists the background information needed if they choose to run a story about your league. Make sure you direct readers to your website at the end of this section. provide contact information Who can the journalist contact if he or she wishes to pursue a story or needs further information? Make sure you list the contact name, title of the contact, and their email address and phone number at the bottom of the press release. If a journalist has a hard time tracking you down, chances are they’ll forego the story. other tips • Include a print-quality photo • Make sure the release includes your logo – this helps generate brand awareness • Follow up the press release with a phone call • Send press releases via email • Use formatting sparingly – avoid using many colors and fonts • Avoid jargon or specialized terminology that the typical reader may not understand | Summer 2009 | 7


delegating responsibilities L O R N A B O O M & I DA S L A P T E R , R AT C I T Y R O L L E R G I R L S

In any community-based organization, a small percentage of

keep it or kick it

the group’s population invariably emerges as the overachievers. These passionate women (and men) maintain business operations, manage league projects and, if they are lucky, still get to strap skates on and play the game that brings us all

Consider the strengths of yourself and your group. What do you

together. Often they take on too much, driven by the desire to see their league and sport successful and determined to make it happen with pure force of will. All too frequently these derby dynamos hit the wall; exhausted, overwhelmed and underappreciated. Most of us have seen this scenario played out in our home leagues as well as on the national scene, but as a whole we have yet to address this challenge effectively. The first and most obvious solution is likely the most problematic for our perpetual overachievers: delegate responsibility. Sounds easy, right? Delegating responsibility can actually be really difficult for people. Delegation can feel like giving away control, especially when we believe our reputation and credibility are on the line. Ultimately, delegation is about trust; in fact, the word delegate means “to entrust to another.” When members feel a sense of freedom and trust, they are more likely to take pride in having responsibility. A league needs the participation of all members in order to function successfully; members that stay informed and involved. The good news is that delegation doesn’t need to be scary. Here are some key steps to help you be an effective leader and an excellent delegator:

8 | Summer 2009 |

contribute that most helps your league be successful? Keep these! Tasks that can easily be completed by another member should be the first things to delegate or give away. It is helpful to make a list of all the things you do; keep what is essential and kick what isn’t. action plan: handbook Work with a committee, team or the entire league to determine what needs to be accomplished and how it should be done. Delegation isn’t effective unless you can tell someone exactly what you want her to do. Often “nobody can do it as well as you” because they have no idea what you do or how you do it. Documenting processes in a handbook or desk manual allows others to feel more comfortable taking on new responsibilities and ensures that critical steps don’t get missed. Be sure to keep your handbook current so it is a genuine resource and not a snapshot of your league’s history. consider skill sets Don’t expect the skater who has difficulty logging into her email account to design and launch your league’s new website. While our DIY culture encourages members to try new things and expand their skill set, some tasks do require training. Find out people’s background and help fit tasks to people with experience. It is always easiest when a skater with the right skill set is willing to take on new responsibilities, but

be willing and available to train and support someone that has the courage to contribute to your league by trying something new. Cross training is healthy, even in the most complicated tasks. Over commitment can damage your league when members spread themselves too thin and a larger group working together will get better quality results than just one person. expectations and accountability Most importantly, plan ahead and determine what the end results should be. Effective leaders communicate their expectations! Remember, your committee, team or league should agree on results and your league’s expectations should be realistic, clear and measurable. While the term “accountability” is often seen as a dirty word within the democratically operated derby business model, it is important that we expect each other and ourselves to be accountable for completing the tasks and projects we have accepted responsibility for. The consequences for dropping the ball can be catastrophic for small businesses like derby leagues. Defining goals and expectations allows members to make informed decisions when they accept responsibility, which greatly increases individual and organizational success. Create positive ways for giving and receiving feedback. When you take on a task you are responsible to the entire group and the league’s best interests should come before your personal wants. stay in the loop Skaters are not machines. They are human; they make mistakes, they accidentally skip over things and on occasion, they may drop the ball entirely. By staying in the loop with regular status meetings or scheduled updates, your league will be able to fix problems as they arise, and educate and develop the skaters. Not only does this help everyone feel confident that everything is covered, it helps your peers become comfortable with their responsibilities and confident in their own abilities. recognition Don’t forget to acknowledge and recognize the contributions of others! All too often, the reason that our overachievers burn out is because they feel that they or their efforts are unappreciated by the league. When you take the time to thank those you have delegated tasks and responsibilities to and acknowledge their contribution to the process and the business, you help create a rewarding culture that encourages members to participate. Overloading ourselves with responsibility is one of the most critical mistakes we can make, so share the responsibilities and workload of running your league and remember to avoid putting others down for trying to help. Poor communication of expectations, conflicting perceptions, fear and competition can all keep skaters from doing what they know they should do. Skaters will have differences of opinion on how things should be done, so make sure to work together in identifying goals, objectives and responsibilities. Try to remember that even if you feel like you are a natural born leader, your conviction doesn’t mean everyone will recognize your leadership. It’s always healthy to remember that everyone is in this together and to work collaboratively to create an environment that encourages action and participation.

other ways to share the burden Develop a monthly task rotation in which each committee or team identifies a different person as the lead. Rotation of all major tasks within the league can help reduce a skater viewing a task as her property. While this can initially be a challenge, cross training will build up strength and adaptability. When everyone is in the rotation, everyone feels the shared accomplishment. Try using a roster for all league tasks. Create a complete list of all major and minor tasks, and then divide up your tasks evenly and fairly. You can then review who isn’t pulling their weight or who is taking on too many tasks. Be open to talking about how the roster is working and solutions that are agreed on by the league. Skaters that feel they are being forced into tasks will try to get away with doing nothing at all. People work better when they know what their role is. Another solution may be the concept called “job complex” – every skater is given two jobs – everyone is stuck with one sucky job, but is also in charge of a fun job. This can help create a balance amongst tasks. Create a way to follow up that doesn’t accuse people of not getting stuff done. | Summer 2009 | 9

health and fitness

off skates training F R I DA B E AT E R , R O C K Y M O U N TA I N R O L L E R G I R L S

There has not been much written on off-skates roller derbyspecific training due to the relatively short history of the sport. While we can draw from other sports’ training, roller derby is truly unique and requires a very specific training regimen. There is no other sport that requires the exact combination of bursts of energy, muscle work, agility, or balance. Outlined below are the primary areas of focus for off-skates derby training. They center on developing short bursts of speed, cardiovascular endurance, muscle endurance, leg strength, core strength, and balance. Some of the exercises can be combined to hit multiple areas. short bursts of speed: Roller derby requires bursts of speed between three seconds and two minutes. Skaters need to be able to maintain a sprint for at least one minute. Off-skates sprints are the best way to achieve speed burst capacity. I recommend three specific workouts for sprints: • 8x30 second sprints: Sprint 30 seconds, jog one minute, sprint 30 seconds. Do the sprint and jog combination eight times. This workout should not be done more than two to three times a week because muscles need to recover. • hill sprints: Find a hill that is at least 100 meters long. Sprint up the hill and jog or walk down the hill 5-10 times. • bike sprints: Warm up for two minutes. For the sprints, set bike resistance at the highest you can go while still sprinting and set the resistance very low for the rest periods. Sprint 30 seconds, rest one minute, sprint 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds, sprint 45 seconds, rest one minute, sprint 45 seconds, rest 30 seconds, sprint one minute, rest one minute, sprint one minute 30 seconds, rest one minute, sprint one minute 30 seconds, rest one minute, sprint two minutes, rest two minutes, sprint two minutes, cool down three minutes. cardiovascular endurance: Cardiovascular endurance is pretty basic. It can be developed through any prolonged cardiovascular activity. Do 30 minutes minimum. muscle endurance: Roller derby requires two distinct types of endurance. When people hear the word “endurance” they usually think about cardiovascular activity, but muscular endurance is equally important. The key to building muscular endurance is increasing the lactate threshold. The lactate threshold is the ability of the muscle to hold lactic acid. Training

10 | Summer 2009 |

muscles to endure and purge lactic acid allows athletes to push through muscle fatigue. Aside from interval training, the best way to build muscle endurance is to hold muscles at a stressful level until fatigue. One of the best exercises for this is holding the “potty squat” (90 degree angle squat) for as long as possible, resting 30 seconds, and then repeating the cycle 5-10 times. Plyometric exercises are also a great way to build muscular endurance and fast twitch muscles. leg strength: A holistic approach to training for any sport should include strength training. Weight lifting is essential to building leg strength. Good exercises for derby include squats, leg extensions, hamstring curls, and lunges. core strength: Sometimes we get so obsessed with leg strength in derby training that we forget about core strength. Core strength is essential for two reasons: skating form and giving and receiving hits. Strong core muscles are required to hold your body in a speed skating tuck position. Additionally, strong core muscles will stabilize you when giving and taking hits, reducing the risk of falling after a hit. A great core-building exercise is the plank (hold yourself in an upright push-up position) because it works your abs, back, and stabilizer muscles. balance: Roller derby is played on an inherently unstable platform. Balance is an essential element of the sport. Those who cannot master the balance requirements of roller derby cannot succeed in the sport. Balance training can be done on a BOSU ball, a pivot board, or by doing various exercises on one foot. One foot squats and jumps are easy to do at home and do not require any gadgets. Other benefits of balance training include injury prevention and the strengthening of small stabilizer muscles that are ignored in other types of strength training. Combining these areas of focus into an off-skates training program will undoubtedly optimize performance in roller derby. A complete off-skates training program requires a time commitment, but the rewards are enormous. Although sportspecific training for derby will continue to evolve, these areas of exercise will be the core elements of any off-skates training program.

health and fitness

pain in my shin

Shin splints, or Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS), is a catchall term describing a wide range of conditions that affect the lower leg. Typically, the primary source of shin pain is irritation to the tibialis anterior muscle. This muscle runs from the outside of the tibia (large bone of the lower leg) just under the knee joint, across the front of the shinbone and down to the inside of the arch. It is responsible for controlling dorsiflexion of the foot (lifting your toes towards the ceiling) and inversion (bringing your foot inward). Jumping into activity too quickly (like freshmeat tend to), quick stops and starts, repetitive movements, overuse and overtraining can all trigger shin pain. Irritation can also occur due to poor footwear, rigid or inflexible feet, and improper arch support. symptoms MTSS is marked by a burning, dull, or aching sensation; redness; swelling; and tenderness at the front of the shin. treatment rest. It’s hard to stay off your skates, but a few days can do wonders... a week is even better.

12 | Summer Fall 20082009 | |

prevention • Wear properly fitted skates and take care of your feet. • Determine if you are a pronator (foot falls inward and arches flatten when you stand). If so, invest in orthotics or arch supports. • Strengthen your feet and lower leg. Use bare feet to perform the towel gathering exercise, curling your toes and drawing a towel towards you. Pick up marbles with your toes. Perform calf raises, ankle strengtheners, and maintain good fitness. • Stretch your Achilles tendon and calf muscles. • Stay hydrated and maintain good nutrition so your body can heal quickly.

Kle te

what is a shin splint anyway?

ice. An ice massage is awesome for shin splints. Freeze a paper cup filled two thirds full with water. Rip off the top of the cup, leaving the bottom intact. Rub the ice up and down your shin (on the muscle) for five to seven minutes, and repeat several times a day. compression/taping. Yes, shins and arches can be taped to provide support and alleviate pain. One technique, called a low-dye (commonly used for plantar fasciitis) may help. Ask your physician, physical therapist, or certified athletic trainer about taping techniques. meds. No one likes to pop pills, but a little ibuprofen goes a long way. light stretching. Stretch your calf muscles and your anterior leg muscles a few times a day.


It plagues runners, soccer and tennis players, and is now a major problem discussed among the derby masses. I’ve heard about it in pre-practice huddles, post-practice stretching and even on Yahoo! Groups. It’s the dreaded shin splint.


S I N F U L S A L LY, R O C K F O R D R A G E WO M E N ’ S R O L L E R D E R B Y

Don’t ignore shin pain. Left untreated, muscle can become damaged and start to pull away from the bone... OUCH! Remember that the term “shin splints” is a catchall, and there are numerous causes of shin pain (i.e. tibials posterior tendinitis, periosteitis-inflammation of the connective tissue around the bone, stress fracture, compartment syndrome, inflammation of the interosseous membrane… and the list goes on and on). If rest, ice and light stretching don’t help or pain is present before, during and after activity, seek medical attention. For more information:

fuel for your blocks J A N E S AW M A S S A C R E , I C T R O L L E R G I R L S

Do you ever feel sluggish in the middle of a bout or at practice? This could be due to a lack of fuel in your muscles as a result of improper eating. Pre-exercise meals and snacks are extremely important and can help energize your workout at practice or in the middle of a bout. Simply put, our bodies need fuel to perform at their best. The main source of fuel for our muscles is the carbohydrates we consume. Good food sources of carbohydrate are the whole grains found in bread, pasta, brown rice, tortillas, etc; fruits; vegetables and low fat dairy products. Eating a balance of these foods on a regular basis will help to ensure that your muscles have full fuel stores. There are two important reasons to put some thought into your preexercise eating. First, to fuel your body – the carbohydrates you eat far in advance of practice or a bout will be stored as glycogen (fuel) in your muscles and the carbs you eat within an hour of the event will be used as fuel for your brain.

Second, to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can cause lightheadedness, fatigue and blurred vision. The choice of what to eat before practice or a bout varies from skater to skater. It is important that each individual skater experiment with trial and error during training so that she knows what works best for her body. Experimenting with different foods and the times when they are eaten can help you become well prepared to skate in a bout. Follow these simple guidelines to determine what will work best for you: • If you’re not doing so already, eat a well balanced diet made up of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low fat

dairy products, and lean proteins on a regular basis – always remember to get plenty of carbs to adequately fuel and refuel your muscles. • When practicing or skating for less than one hour, snack on easily digested foods like a banana, bagel, crackers, or granola bar. • When skating for more than one hour, make sure to eat well the day before. As a pre-exercise snack an hour or two before, choose something with carbohydrates and a little protein such as an apple and peanut butter, cheese and crackers or a bowl of cereal. • Limit your intake of high fat proteins such as cheeseburgers or fried chicken because they can take longer to digest, which can cause nausea. • Allow plenty of time to digest foods. The more calories that are consumed the longer digestion will take. The rule of thumb is to allow three to four hours for a large meal, two to three for a small meal and less than an hour for a small snack, although each of these times will vary from skater to skater. • Always eat familiar foods before a bout – never try anything new on game day! • Drink plenty of fluids – hydrate adequately the day before and continue to hydrate throughout practice or a bout. It will take some time to establish what foods work for you and how you can be best prepared for a bout. Have fun experimenting! I’ll see you on the track. | Summer 2009 | 13

health and fitness

MRSA in derby and why you should care D R J, S I O U X FA L L S R O L L E R D O L L Z

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is a potentially very serious skin infection. This infection, often initially mistaken for a spider bite, is becoming more and more of a problem in contact sports like roller derby. Many people have these bacteria harmlessly living on them, but if you get a wound, scrape or cut, these MRSA bacteria can cause serious infections. It could result in painful skin abscesses and boils, and it is enough of a problem that some athletes have had to be hospitalized for treatment. Athletes with MRSA may even develop deep infections that require intravenous antibiotics and surgical treatment in a hospital setting. And if the bacteria are spread from athletes to very young children or people with weakened immune systems, the MRSA can cause even more significant health issues. Since there is no great vaccine currently available to prevent these infections, it is important to decrease as much as possible the chances that our teammates will spread the infections to other skaters during a bout. So here are the recommended interventions from a variety of medical sources for people participating in team sports (us!).

14 | Summer 2009 |

common sense stuff: • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Good hygiene... just like mom said. • Keep alcohol-based sanitizers around and use them. • Bathe and shower regularly. Shower immediately after a bout or practice and prior to any afterparty or bar – if you can get those MRSA bugs off of you they tend to stay away. • Wash towels regularly with detergent and hot water; same for bed sheets, sleepwear, underwear, etc. • Clean cuts and rink rash and cover these areas prior to returning to the track to beat up people. • Teams should not share soap bars, razors, pads, etc. Each person should use their own stuff – this tends to minimize the spread of bugs. • Think about your skin and protect it. I.e. if your skin is dry and more prone to cracking, put on skin lotion. More intact skin is a better barrier to infection. • If you have a pustule or blister or pimple that looks like a “spider bite,” assume you might have MRSA that is contagious, cover it, and get to a doctor ASAP so as to get it checked for MRSA and treated if necessary.

• Gear also should be wiped down according your manufacturer’s instructions and cleaned immediately after practice or a bout. • If you have an open skin area that you cannot cover (and I mean totally cover) in a way that will stay put and not allow any drainage, take off your skates and sit out. • Benches should be assumed to be disgusting and infected. Put a clean towel between yourself and the surfaces in the locker room whenever possible. • Practice facilities should be cleaned regularly with disinfectants that will help control the spread of infection (see the Center for Disease Control weblink below for more about this).

The Center for Disease Control of the U.S. government has a very helpful website that people should take a look at: What derby dame wants to get wiped off the track by a bacteria? NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER: This article is intended as a reference only. The information is not intended to be nor should this information be used as a substitute for medical treatment. If you suspect that you have a medical problem or are experiencing any health issues, you are recommended to seek the advice of competent medical care and to consult with your personal physician.

Springtime Delight Catholic Cruel Girl, Rocky Mountain Rollergirls

This menu will serve 6 people. The meal is delicious and filling without weighing you down. The use of fruit, coconut and citrus hint at the hot days of summer to come. The stuffing for the peppers, side dish marinade and the dessert can all be made one day ahead of time, making it easier for you to relax & enjoy the meal with your guests. Be sure to bring the stuffing, marinade and dessert to room temperature before cooking. Remember to always use organic ingredients whenever possible. Not only is the flavor superior but the nutritional value is greater in some cases. Paired with a crisp Pinot Grigio or citrus infused water, you are sure to fall into vacation mode right in your backyard. Enjoy!

Kickin’ Carrot Soup ingredients: 1 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced 1 small yellow onion, chopped 1 medium potato, diced 3 cloves minced garlic 2-3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root 1 can coconut milk 4 cups vegetable stock

2 tablespoons high heat oil such as canola, olive or safflower 1 teaspoon sweet paprika 1 teaspoon turmeric 1 healthy pinch of sea salt 10-15 quick turns of black pepper from a peppermill

Stuffed Red Peppers ingredients: 6 red peppers (medium to large) 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup uncooked basmati rice 1 large onion, diced 1 yellow pepper, diced 3 celery stalks, chopped 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can mandarin oranges, drained 1 large handful chunky coconut flakes 1 pinch red pepper flakes 3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley Salt and pepper to taste

• In a medium sized pot, heat oil and sauté onions for about 2 minutes, add garlic for 3-4 more minutes.

• Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

• Add carrots and stir until carrots become soft (about 5 minutes).

• Blanch peppers and tops in boiling water for 4 minutes. Remove and stand upside down to drain out water.

• Add potato, ginger, vegetable stock and coconut milk. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and add spices. • Cover, simmer on low for 20 minutes. • Purée soup in batches in a blender or food processor. • Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

• Cut tops off of peppers, scoop out seeds and fibrous bits.

• Prepare rice according to package directions. • In a large saucepan heat oil and sauté onions until soft, add garlic and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. • Add rice, yellow pepper, celery and beans to mixture and cook for 4-5 minutes. • Remove mixture from heat. Add red pepper flakes, parsley, coconut and oranges (you can break up oranges in the pot by gently mashing them with a wooden spoon). • Add salt and pepper. • Spoon mixture into red peppers and arrange in a shallow baking dish. Add water to half of the height of peppers. Bake for 25 minutes and serve.

The Perfect Side ingredients: ½ lb. yellow snap peas ½ lb. green snap peas or 1 lb. asparagus

1/8 cup fresh lemon juice 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced 1 tablespoon orange zest Pinch of salt Pepper to taste

• Heat grill. • Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, orange zest, salt and pepper in a large bowl. • Toss peas or asparagus until coated. • Remove peas or asparagus from bowl, saving remaining marinade.

Skewers with Fruit and Stuffed Dates ingredients: 12 Medjool dates 4 teaspoons semi-sweet chocolate chips

Enough goat cheese to evenly combine with chocolate chips Fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks Skewers

• Heat grill. • Gently open each date and remove pit. • Bring goat cheese to room temperature and in a medium bowl combine evenly with chocolate chips. • Stuff dates with chocolate/cheese mixture. • Thread 6 skewers, alternating dates and pineapple.

• Grill for 4-6 minutes (or until slightly brown, yet still crisp) turning frequently to assure even cooking.

• Place skewers on oiled grill grates on the edges of the grill, close lid and cook for 2 minutes, turn skewers and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes with the lid off.

• Remove from grill, drizzle with remaining marinade and serve.

• Serve immediately. | Summer 2009 | 15

games and coaching

the track: charting your course JASON ISAACS

Many paths lead roller derby players around the oval, but is there a swifter and more efficient way? Much to the dismay of many schoolteachers, some of us just like to color outside of the lines. Surely you remember the kids who shaded precisely within the confines of the picture where others, perhaps future vigilante rollergirls, disregarded convention and illustrated from their infinite imaginations. What does coloring have to do with roller derby? Are the dimensions of the track not unlike an outlined picture? Before I begin, I should preface this article by emphasizing that within a tightly knit pack, the lessons here are not particularly useful. If you are surrounded on all sides by other women who each have the goal of knocking you into the parking lot, especially at slower speeds, being in the correct spot on the track will do you little good. My commentary is mostly applicable to jammers and trailing players who want to quickly catch the pack after a nasty fall either on the track or into an adoring fan. the limitations of traditional roller skates Traditional roller skates with their flat and wide polyurethane wheels introduce traction, agility, and trajectory limitations. Because these wheels have a larger surface area touching the floor than inline or ice skates, the skater faces increased potential for friction. To reduce this surface area, wheel manufacturers impart thin grooves on surface of the wheel. Boer, Vos, Hutter, Groot, and Ingen

16 | Summer 2009 |

Schenau, five biomechanics scientists at Free University in the Netherlands, found that roller skaters face the highest friction coefficient among all skating athletes and, therefore, exertion and stroke frequency need to be increased to overcome this disadvantage. The material interaction between polyurethane wheels and the skating surface is left inefficient due to a variety of factors, such as friction, surface debris, uneven weight distribution over the wheels, and the inherent nature of the wheels sliding across the surface instead of pushing into the surface. To optimize the traction skaters experience in competitive events, many rinks apply plastic coating that strengthens the interaction between wheel and floor as well as provides more stable footing for the skater. By design, the weight placed on skate edges actually touches several lateral and forward spots on the wheels. This is what makes turning sharply at fast speeds difficult. If your weight could be isolated to only one small spot on one wheel for a short moment entering a turn, you could pivot fast enough to skate at game speed through the dead space into the corner. To ease your way into the corner lay-in, many skaters loosen the connection between boot and chassis. As a result, a skater needs to put less weight over an edge to get a more immediate response from her

wheels; the outcome is better agility and responsiveness. To take advantage of these limitations, a skater must learn to skate the most efficient line around the track that factors in mechanical and physical limitations of traditional roller skates. the WFTDA track When this understanding of roller skates is applied to the WFTDA track, we discover our roller derby oval adopts elements of the international standard apex corner used in the Olympics. Differing from the four corner marker (pylon) offset oval used by USA Roller Sports (USARS), the WFTDA oval affords rollergirls more track space to skate several lines through both corners and straightaway. Inherent in the design of the apex oval is a pocket of track, represented in Exhibit I, as a player approaches the end of the straightaway close to the corner entry pylon. I consider this area to be dead space because as discussed, the properties of wheels to surface on multiple spots limit a skater’s ability to pivot quickly at any marked speed. At speeds over 15 miles per hour, a skater cannot reasonably maintain their speed through a corner if they intend to make a nearly 90 degree turn instantaneously in this dead space. If a player powers down a straightaway into the dead space, they will undoubtedly see their momentum slow if not experience






Exhibit I: dead space depicted by X Exhibit III: optimal corner lay-in

Exhibit II: track positioning for excellent corner lay-in

the dreaded powerslide – a moment X in which a skater’s wheels skim across the skating surface and drift the skater toward suicide seating in apex or ending section of the corner. The adjustment is to gradually drift outward as you skate up the straightaway. As line X in Exhibit II illustrates, you want to drift outward in order to position yourself to make the most out of the next corner. Exhibit III shows the corner lay-in that ensues following Exhibit II. You may be asking yourself how path X in Exhibit III with its steep nearly 90 degree corner entry is better than path Y. The key distinction is that path X gives you more time and distance to enter the corner. Because this distance is greater than path Y, your momentum will not be as affected, even though the corner entry angle for a brief second is nearly a hairpin turn. common errors when navigating the track First, many beginner and even intermediate players try to start their corner entry too early and line Y of Exhibit III typically results. It’s important to take that extra half-second to move up the straightaway and position yourself for

the next turn. Try this drill at practice: skate twenty laps with good skating technique and body positioning with a marker at the corner entry spot. After the first twenty laps, remove the marker and see if you are able to enter the corner at the proper point for another twenty laps. Another mistake I see frequently is the angle at which players exit corners. As a rule, you should have your head cocked leftward and eyes looking down to the next corner entry point as you exit a corner. This will prevent you from skating out of the corner directly toward the fans and instead force you to skate down the straightaway drifting gradually toward your next corner entry point. Skaters who are familiar with the USARS oval must adjust when they cross and take straightaway strides on the WFTDA track. On the traditional USARS oval, a skater crosses from the corner entry point until halfway through the subsequent straightaway before taking a stride and preparing for the next corner entry. When we consider the WFTDA track, the compact size relative to the speeds we can achieve on roller skates

limits our use of the track. The best roller derby players in the country when accelerating and ultimately “floating” around the track effortlessly adjust their gait. On the WFTDA track, I recommend you begin crossing at the apex of the corner and conclude at the corner entry point. From the corner entry point, you should have enough momentum that you ease your way into the corner with the same line X from Exhibit III. After you’ve eased into the turn, you should be at the corner apex and ready to repeat the process. The reason why this adjustment is recommended is simple. By adjusting your acceleration and deceleration points, you can elongate the distance in which you are accelerating that fits naturally with the compact size of the WFTDA track. Through study and tireless practice, you can master the WFTDA track and use your skills to take advantage of seemingly stronger opponents. It is not always the strongest, but many times the smartest group of skaters that wins. Put in the time today so you and your teammates come out on top. | Summer 2009 | 17

games and coaching

off skates workout N O B U O YA G A I , P E R S O N A L T R A I N E R , D E N V E R , C O

Nobuo Yagai is an AFFA, NASM and NCSF certified personal trainer in Denver, Colorado. Originally from Japan, his experience as both a certified jiu-jitsu and karate instructor translates perfectly into the agile and full-contact sport of roller derby.

skating kick out Objective: Builds stabilization and leg strength. Equipment: Stepping stool and yoga ball of equal height. 1. Stand with both feet on the center of the stepping stool with the yoga ball directly behind you. Place one foot on top of the ball with the majority of your weight over the stepping stool. 2. Push out your foot on the ball directly behind you, squatting as the ball rolls. 3. Pull your foot back towards the stepping stool with the ball still beneath you while rising from the squat position, squeezing your glutes and quad muscles. 4. Repeat 10-20 times on each side x three sets. Remember to tighten your core muscles and do not allow your bent knee to extend past your t oes while squatting.

twist lunges Objective: This original exercise builds knee stabilization as well as core and leg strength. Equipment: Dumbbells dependent on conditioning; may begin without weights or with 5 lbs as a beginner. 1. Step forward with right foot; keep your shoulders relaxed. 2. Twist at the hips with your left hip forward. 3. Lunge, making sure that your right knee is stable and your left knee is about 3 inches from the floor. 4. Repeat 10-12 times on each side x three sets. While lunging, keep your shoulder blades back, chest forward and your head up.

18 | Summer 2009 |

DRILL drill: pack elimination

purpose: fighting for the front and speed control

All skaters form a pack while a designated pace person stays at the front. If a skater passes the pace person, she must go to the back of the pack. At intervals ranging between five to 15 seconds, the pace person blows a whistle, cuing a coach or assistant off to the side to call out the person in the back of the pack. Continue until only one person remains.

You can also run this drill with teams within the pack, requiring teamwork and strategy to gain the front.

iPhone Penalty Timer Derby widower and iPhone application developer Mannah Grenade recently released Penalty Timer, which allows iPhone and iPod touch users to easily track time for several skaters in the penalty box simultaneously. It’s configurable to track up to six skaters at once, with individual and global start/stop/reset buttons that should come as a welcome relief for experienced and rookie stopwatch jugglers alike. While the application isn’t free, its nominal price of $2.99 is cheaper than a single stopwatch, let alone the three to six it can potentially replace (assuming you already have the somewhat more costly piece of hardware to run it on). Features: • Three timers (two blockers, one jammer) • Stop or start all timers at once between jams • When a timer reaches 10 seconds, it turns red – signifying when the player should stand up • When a timer reaches 0 seconds, it flashes red

momentarily, and then returns to the normal penalty duration • The duration at any given time; for example, to track a double penalty or to exchange times during halftime • Two-team mode, allowing you to track penalties for both teams (up to six skaters!) • Customize team colors

coach’s corner by coach pauly

know your roll

part 4: the jammers

From the first time I saw a T-shirt that read “It’s all the Glamour to be the Jammer,” I knew that there was some truth to this statement. Such as it is in most sports, the people that score the points are the superstars; in our sport they even wear the stars. Over the years I have had the pleasure of coaching some great jammers as well as coaching against some of the best. What I have found is that there are many different types of jammers out there. Types, you ask? I guess a better way to describe it is style. There are some jammers that are what I call “Lone Stars.” These jammers like to do everything for themselves. They are not looking for the awaiting arm of a teammate’s whip or the attention of any blocker’s friend or foe. I totally see where they are coming from – the more people that know where she is, the sooner they become obstacles in her quest for daylight and breaking the pack. These jammers want to get through the pack without being touched, and as fast as possible. They know that speed kills and often these skaters are lightning fast. They use their speed to overtake slow packs and carve them up with their lateral cuts and track position. Tactical jammers are like chess players, they use everything that is laid before them offensively. They read their blockers and use the holes that are blown open. They make people miss by faking one way and going another. Some of these skaters look like they are in the middle of an epileptic seizure as they go through the pack. These jammers use the jam clock, the track, and the refs to make specific decisions that will gain them the best outcome in every jam. Power jammers are jammers that block their way through the pack. They make holes and attack the opposing blockers; instead of going around, they go through. What they may lack in speed and finesse they compensate for with force. They find ripples in defense walls and bang away at them like a wrecking ball waiting for it to fall. Utility jammers are skaters that can skate every position and can be used as a jammer in a pinch. These jammers tend to be skaters that understand all the pack positions and how they fit into the mix. The utility jammers score points by not being noticed. The opposition usually has not seen them on film or heard about them so they seem to be able to slap the opposition with a “Jedi Jam trick” and pass with little notice until the stats are completed and you see that she scored four points per jam without any outward fan fare or hype. All in all, jammers come in all shapes and sizes. They have a common goal with many different ways of accomplishing it. Together with their packmates, points are scored and bouts are won.

Till next time, see you on the track… If you have any questions, comments or feedback please email me at | Summer 2009 | 19

games and coaching


Philly’s third annual East Coast Extravaganza event hits the last weekend of June 2009, and for the first time, it’s a three-day event with a special opening bout on Friday night. Like years previous, though, it remains the single greatest concentration of bouts crammed into one weekend available: with a total of 21 full-length, sanctioned WFTDA bouts on two tracks and a third track dedicated to 30 minute themed scrimmages, there will be no shortage of derby action to be had. With the event coming as it does at the end of June, the results of the WFTDA bouts here will have significant seeding implications for the four WFTDA regional tournaments that take place in September and October. Seeding will be based on the WFTDA rankings that come out in the second quarter of 2009 – which means the results of these games will be the most recent data points for the voters. A quick overview of some of the particularly compelling WFTDA matchups to be experienced during the ECE weekend: Charm City vs. Rat City (7pm, Friday June 26) – The ECE’s action kicks off with one of the top teams in WFTDA’s East Region (the girls from Baltimore are currently ranked #3 behind Gotham and Philly) facing off against perennial championship contender Rat City representing the West Coast via Seattle. At the time of this writing, Rat City is ranked #5 in the West but just knocked off the West #1, Bay Area, by a convincing final of 182 to 117. Rat City is the only team from the West Coast playing this weekend, and it’s likely that this matchup will be an excellent test of how the high-speed, high-scoring Pacific Northwest style of roller derby matches up against the defense-heavy play that has evolved in the Northeast (by way of comparison, the average combined score of a Rat City bout in 2009 is a stratospheric 290 points, while that of a Charm City bout is 214.) Atlanta vs. Montréal (1pm, Saturday June 27) – While these two teams aren’t particularly highly ranked in their regions (Atlanta sits at #5 in the South Central while Montréal has not yet played enough bouts to be ranked in the East), this one is a historic one as the ECE’s first sanctioned international bout. Madison vs. Kansas City (3pm, Saturday June 27) – In this matchup, two teams that were at or near the top nationally

20 | Summer 2009 |

stand to regain significant cachet with a defeat of the other. Madison came into the 2007 Eastern Regionals ranked as the top team in the East, but were famously upended by Windy City in their first bout, keeping them out of their expected trip to 2007 Nationals. Kansas City ended 2007 in much better shape as surprise champions after toppling Gotham, Tucson and Rat City during their Nationals run, but in 2008 they suffered the same opening-round fate as Madison when upstart Duke City shocked them at Western Regionals, denying them a title defense. Like the Charm City / Rat City game, this is likely to be a clash of opposite styles – Madison is known to be an offenseheavy team (they ran up 250 points on Fort Wayne at last year’s ECE) while KCRW built their championship team on stellar team and individual blocking. Carolina vs. Boston (5pm, Saturday June 27) – Here’s a rematch of one of the most exciting bouts of the 2008 tournament cycle. Seeded 7th in the Eastern Regionals, Boston put together an unexpectedly stellar performance to very nearly take down #2 seed Carolina in a back and forth contest. Boston lost a two point lead in the last minute of that bout, but managed to get a timeout called with just four seconds left on the clock to force a final jam – unfortunately for the underdogs, though, Carolina claimed lead jammer and the victory to send Boston to their second heartbreaking elimination in as many years (in 2007, they’d been eliminated in overtime by Detroit.) This time, the Carolina lineup will look a little different as longtime vets Zella Lugosi, Betty Rumble and Roxy Rockett are all off the roster and fresh blood rises to replace them – Boston’s all-star lineup is quite similar to 2008’s, but longtime BDD skater Sarah Doom hung up her skates after Regionals. With Carolina and Boston ranked 4th and 5th in a very competitive WFTDA Eastern Region, this bout has significant seeding implications for the Eastern Regionals tournament. Charm City vs. Detroit (6:30pm, Saturday June 27) – This is the third match between these two leagues. Baltimore and Detroit first met at the original ECE in March 2007, where they went back and forth in a brutally physical bout with Detroit holding a small advantage for the final stretch of the bout before winning 124-107; when they faced off again in


a consolation bout at 2008’s Eastern Regionals, it was practically a mirror image as Charm City triumphed 105-84. With both previous meetings so close, this rubber match is certain to be intense. DC vs. Fort Wayne (1pm, Sunday June 28) – Both teams have shown great promise for some time but haven’t been able to put it together enough to be competitive with tournament-level teams. However, it looks like both are poised to take the next step after convincing victories over relatively established opponents – Fort Wayne took out Northwest Arkansas 119-66 while DC ran over Dominion 159-35. This one’s particularly interesting from a tournament-seeding perspective, as both are on the cusp of a tournament invite (the top 10 from each region go, and Fort Wayne sits at #9 in the North Central while DC is #12 in the East – but previously vanquished Dominion still technically holds the #10 spot.) Windy City vs. Boston (5pm, Sunday June 28) – With 2008 champs Gotham not playing in this year’s edition, Chicago’s Windy City holds the distinction of being the highestlevel team at the tourney (they lost to Gotham in the final game of Nationals.) However, they did lose both their bouts at ECE 2008 (to Carolina and Philly) and likely are looking to erase that particular memory. For Boston, this bout represents an enormous opportunity. An upset here, in their final bout before tournament seeding, would help their case for a better seeding in a very rough WFTDA

Eastern Regional – with a beastly top five of Gotham, Philly, Charm City, Carolina and Boston, every seeding notch will help in the fight for a top-three finish and its associated trip to Nationals. And that’s far from all. Other WFTDA bouts include a rematch of the 2007 Eastern Regional third place bout as Carolina takes on Detroit, a chance for Atlanta to score an elusive upset win when they take on Cincinnati, two headlining matchups for event hosts Philly as they battle Rat City and Kansas City, and more. On top of all that, the ECE’s challenge bouts have been a force for inventive fun since 2007, and this year is no different with some truly inspired themed teams on the third track – Villains vs. Superheroes, Movie Stars vs. Rock Stars, Southpaws vs. Right-Ons, Hillbillies vs. Hoodrats, and the eyechallenging Polka Dot vs. Plaid. Finally, there will be a special (closed to the public, but open to skaters and staff) all-star men’s bout featuring members of the men’s flat-track leagues that have been slowly sprouting nationwide, including Pioneer Valley Roller Derby, New York Shock Exchange, Harm City Homicide, Dallas Deception, Twin City Terrors, Puget Sound Derby Outcasts and the Tucson Dry Heat Militia – that action takes place during registration on Friday night before the Charm City / Rat City bout.

Full list of WFTDA bouts: Friday 7:00pm – Rat City All Stars vs. Charm City All Stars Saturday 10:30am – Fort Wayne Derby Girls vs. Grand Raggidy Roller Girls 11:00am – CT Rollergirls vs. Dominion Derby Girls 12:30pm – Burning River Roller Girls vs. DC Rollergirls 1:00pm – Atlanta Rollergirls vs. Montréal Roller Derby 2:30pm – Minnesota RollerGirls vs. Brewcity Bruisers 3:00pm – Mad Rollin’ Dolls vs. Kansas City Roller Warriors 4:30pm – Windy City Rollers vs. Cincinnati Rollergirls 5:00pm – Carolina Rollergirls vs. Boston Derby Dames 6:30pm – Charm City All Stars vs. Detroit Derby Girls 7:00pm – Philly Liberty Belles vs. Rat City All Stars Sunday 10:30am – Burning River All Stars vs. Brewcity Bruisers 11:00am – Ohio Roller Girls vs. Montréal Roller Derby 12:30pm – Grand Raggidy Roller Girls vs. Dominion Derby Girls 1:00pm – DC Rollergirls vs. Fort Wayne Derby Girls 2:30pm – CT Rollergirls vs. Minnesota RollerGirls 3:00pm – Atlanta Rollergirls vs. Cincinnati Rollergirls 4:30pm – Mad Rollin Dolls vs. Tampa Bay Derby Darlins 5:00pm – Windy City Rollers vs. Boston Derby Dames 6:30pm – Carolina Rollergirls vs. Detroit Derby Girls 7:00pm – Philly Liberty Belles vs. Kansas City Roller Warriors | Summer 2009 | 21


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pad stink I VA N N A S . PA N K I N ’ , S A N D I E G O D E R B Y D O L L S

We spend a lot of hours in our gear. The ugly truth is that while the glisten of a little sweat can look good in photos, the resulting olfactory ramifications are not usually described as great. Especially if you chuck your gear in your bag after every practice and then let it fester in your trunk until the next one! But don’t throw your pads away yet. There are a few things you can do to fight the stench. STEP ONE: AVOID THE STINK. Sweating is healthy and necessary, especially for athletes. So don’t avoid sweating. But while sweating is healthy, the smell on your pads isn’t. I did a little research and found out that sweat is not actually stinky. The smelliness comes from bacteria breaking down your protein-rich sweat to produce fatty acids as waste. The fatty acids stink; it’s how we know bacteria are present – because we can smell what bacteria leave behind. That kind of bacteria aren’t good for you. I started to look up the connection between bacteria and serious infections and I decided that if I wanted to continue playing derby, I should just stick with “stink = bad” because the details are really disgusting. Rashes are the very least of it – it gets a whole lot worse. An easy way to combat bacteria is to expose them to air so they dry. Bacteria thrive in warm, wet environments and often die or go dormant after drying. You can sometimes wash bacteria away with hot, soapy water, but that also breaks down pads and good pads aren’t cheap. So instead, I put a layer of easily washable fabric between my skin and pads to soak up the sweat. pad condoms – aka arm socks / knee gaskets, etc. It’s funny, I got into roller derby in the first place because I was painting a picture of a roller derby skater and it made me want to start a team. Since I’d just seen Tank Girl, she was wearing tube socks under her elbow guards. Too bad it was almost a year later before it occurred to me to cut up some tube socks and wear them under *my* pads!!!

24 | Summer 2009 |

Now I rely on them as muc h as I do socks for my feet. You can buy “arm warmers” at stores, but it’s a lot easier to just make them yourself. You can turn almost anything into arm socks, including old pantyhose and long-sleeve arms from shirts. I prefer to make my own out of 100% cotton striped tube socks. Polyester ones seem to gather more stink and we already discussed my bacteria-phobia. So I cut the toe off, and then cut a small hole for my thumb about two inches from the other end. I’ve found with my big guns that I prefer the trimmed-off toe-end at my biceps and the striped end at my wrists. Lately it has been pretty hot, too, so I’ve been cutting long socks in half so that one pair makes four sleeves (two elbows and two wrists). I cut them about 10-12” long for under my elbows and then trim down the tighter elastic en d, usually around 10” as well, for wrists. Dish prefers to use them without cutting them in half – she likes long socks to go from her wrist all the way up to her biceps, I think because then she has a built-in cotton face-wiper. I tried using cut tube socks under my knee pads with less luck. If you’re slim, that might work for you. And the truth is that now that I’ve been playing for a while, my knees are creaky and I wear neoprene knee gaskets every time I skate, which are easy to toss in the washer. The neoprene does stretch out a bit when you wear them all the time and wash them a lot, but it hurts less to replace $20 gaskets than it does to replace $65 pads. I also wear cotton leggings under my shorts (and gaskets) most of the time, because I really only wash my gaskets maybe once a week or every two. But the beauty is that I rarely have to wash my pads because I always wear gaskets, so they don’t stink in the first place. The socks do! But socks are easy to wash.

The same principle is true for your other gear that gets sweaty. Let all your gear dry between practices, and wear something that is easily washable between you and your gear. If you don’t wear socks and air your skates out after you’ve skated, the sweat you leave in them attracts the same bacteria, the bacteria thrive and multiply in the damp, warm interior, and the bacteria will also eat the proteins in the leather of your skate boot. Your skates will stink AND the leather will break down faster. The same is true, though it doesn’t happen as fast, for boots with manmade interiors. And if your hair is wet after practice, you might want to consider wearing a hanky as a head gasket, as well. STEP TWO: CLEANING YOUR PADS the vinegar and water method Let’s say your pads already smell horrible. I have heard lots of remedies including cat-pee deodorizers and Febreze – but

cursed with a pretty acute sense of smell, but the vinegar doesn’t smell too bad once it has dried. washing machines I rarely put my pads in the washer because, well, I don’t have to since they don’t smell too bad. You don’t really want to wash them until they stink, because the spin cycle breaks down the protective foam inside and tends to fray the canvas outside – so you’ll get a lot less wear out of them. But you CAN wash them in the washer (with vinegar OR detergent), and you can also wash them in a dishwasher. I don’t like the thought of all those nasty skin bacteria in the same warm wet place where I clean my dishes – so when I do wash my pads, it’s in with the laundry. I would recommend using a linge rie bag to protect the Velcro (and everything

Other common sense ways to fight the stink: • air out your bag after skating • separate your sweaty gear in a mesh bag, especially soaked socks • don’t leave your gear in the trunk of your car (or any other enclosed place where bacteria can thrive) after practice • put an air freshener or dryer sheet in your skate bag • combat serious stink with a squirt of Lysol or other bacteria-murdering spray, THEN air your stuff out

else from getting snagged on the Velcro), and drying them on a rack instead of in a spin dryer.

what always worked for me in my sock year was to soak them in the pweb avis.v nemd y a w is, kitchen sink with half water e Dav Wayn and half white vinegar, then put them on a rack outside to dry. There are other methods, but they’re expensive and you can buy white vinegar in big jugs at the grocery store for dirt cheap. By the way, vinegar also works with kitty accidents on carpet. I have pretty sensitive skin and the vinegar residue didn’t bother me like leftover soap would. I am also | Summer 2009 | 25


bling skates 8 - BA L L , M I N N E S OTA R O L L E R G I R L S

Ever since the first recorded quad roller skate entered into the American lifestyle in 1863, every subsequent generation has left their impact on quads through continued technical advancements in bearings, leather, urethane and improvements in metal alloys and composite plastics. We have now entered into an era that prides itself on personal expression. From cell phones to automobiles, customization options abound. Springing forward from this epoch is an addition to the American lexicon, “Bling.” While writing this article and speaking to fellow skaters, one thing seemed apparent above all else: skaters wanted improved function, yet they also wanted fashion. In my four years of derby exposure, what continues to amaze me is the capacity of skaters to never shy away from self-expression. For those who are not aware, it’s official: self-expression has moved to skate setups as well. Here are just a few examples of what I found in my search of Quadexpression.

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Let’s just start out with plain ole fun. Yee Haw! Skates built by Doc Sk8 and dyed by Ncsk8rgirl from Boots: Riedell 595 custom dyed “General Lee Orange” Plates: Boen Special 162 Wheels: Black Ultimate Weapons Estimated Cost = $600

It is interesting to note that not all expression is for looks; some has purpose as we see here in these setups designed for speed, agility and intimidation all in one. Any person that has battled with the Cincinnati Rollergirls and Team Awesome knows who wears these skates – they belong to none other than Sadistic Sadie. Skates built by Castle Skateland Boots: Riedell custom 395 front flap; two tone red and black leather Plates: Roll Line Matrix Wheels: Red Sure-Grip Power Plus Bearings: Bones Swiss Toe Stops: Roll Line (cut down and sanded for lower profile) Custom toe guard made by Kat A Killzem Estimated Cost = $1,000 +

Equally notable from the Cincinnati Rollergirls is the owner of these Purrrfect skates, Hannah Barbaric. Skates built by Doc Sk8 at Boots: Riedell custom 395 front flap; beige leather Plates: Roll Line Energy (short/forward mount) Wheels: Atom Omega Bearings: Bones Swiss and Roll Line Micro Toe Stops: Roll Line (cut down and sanded for lower profile) Custom toe guard made by Kat A Killzem Estimated Cost = $1,000 +

Not wanting to be outdone, I had to try this myself. Custom dye work by Ncsk8rgrl from Powder coating, artwork and skate assembly by The Bling Bros from Boots: vintage/custom Riedell 695 with custom dye work Plates: Roll Line Navigator; two tone powder coating black and neon blue with custom “8-Ball Lightning” artwork Wheels: vintage Red Hyper Shamans Bearings: Swiss Ceramics Estimated Cost = $1,000 +

It is worth noting that not all custom options are readily visible. I am aware of skaters who utilize CNC machine shops to remove sections of metal from their plates in an effort to reduce weight, cut down standard speed wheels to make them narrower for increased Here is a perfect example where vintage meets state-of-the-art. Skates built by their owner, Bethany Cook (aka Ncsk8rgirl at Plate powder coating by The Bling Bros from Boots: vintage Riedell Redline (rare) 395 front flap Plates: custom Ultimate Dominator; custom powder coated candy apple red sparkle Wheels: Atom Strokers (wide) Bearings: 7mm Bones Reds with nylon axel nuts Estimated Cost = $600

agility, custom dye wheels and even have manufacturers modify their products to meet individual needs.

If you do decide to start a “quad bling” project, I want to see it. Send your photos to 8-Ball at | Summer 2009 | 27


rules update R OA S T B E E F, T E X A S R O L L E R G I R L S

On April 27, 2009 the WFTDA member leagues voted to ratify a new rule set. The process of updating the WFTDA Rules began many months earlier, and is the result of a great deal of time and effort from a great number of people. “The rules are made especially meaningful through of the interactions between skaters and officials in reviewing all the options and drafts, and because of the investment of the member leagues in the entire process,” said WFTDA President Crackerjack. “Great job, everybody!” While no rules change or addition is unimportant, we’re going to highlight the highlights. Here’s a rundown: I got 5 on it Per section 7.5, “A player is ejected from the period for five penalty turns in the penalty box in that period.” A turn in the penalty box can be the result of a major penalty or the accumulation of four minor penalties. On the fifth turn in the box in the first half, a skater will be ejected from the period

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and will be allowed to return to the game in the second half. If in the second half of a bout a skater is sent to the box five times she will not be allowed to return to the game. the bridge is over Intentionally making oneself out of play by taking a knee or drastically speeding up or slowing down and as a result creating a no pack or split pack situation became a popular strategy in 2008, because if executed correctly, it sprung their

jammer through the pack untouched. If done quickly, the strategy might have gotten a few of your opponents sent to the box for blocking out of play. Though legal at the time, the strategy was unpopular with many skaters and fans. Now in 2009, intentionally destroying the pack and creating a no pack situation in this conscious and orchestrated manner

Both teams did not have an equal amount of time without a jammer on the track. This old rule also caused a stop in play, which is eliminated in most cases. The updated rules state that concurrent jammer penalties shorten the required time served by each jammer. However, each jammer will serve the same amount of time. For example, blue jammer is released back

is illegal and punished with a major penalty. Examples from rule, “include but are not limited to: one team running away, one team braking or coasting to fall more than 10ft behind the opposing team, a skater taking a knee, intentionally falling, or intentionally skating out of bounds in such a manner that the legally defined pack is destroyed.”

into game play (without stopping the jam) when red jammer is seated in the penalty box. Red jammer will then serve the exact amount of time blue did before she was released.

passin’ me by Not surprisingly, 2009 brings changes to the cutting the track rules. A skater still may not cut the track. The rules still mandate a minor penalty for cutting one in-play skater and a major for more than one in-play skater or the foremost in-play opponent. With the change, she will only receive the cutting penalty if she is upright when re-entering the track. In addition, a skater now may re-enter play in front of the blocker who knocked her out of bounds if that blocker goes out of bounds, downs herself or falls, or exits the Engagement Zone at any time after the initiating block. In another change, a skater will not receive a cutting the track penalty for sliding back onto the track. Sliding back onto the track is still discouraged, as it is now re-classified as a potential blocking from out of bounds, low block, or tripping penalty. Lastly, a skater hit into a position of straddling the track boundary who has passed skaters while straddling the line will not be called for a cutting the track penalty until and unless she is again completely in bounds. it takes two The updated rule set brings equity to the former jammerless jam situation. When both jammers were sent to the penalty box, only one team actually played any time without their jammer.

can I kick it? A skater will now be assessed a major penalty for leaving the penalty box before being officially dismissed. She will also be required to serve any unserved time. you gots to chill The rules update includes specific definitions for misconduct, gross misconduct, and insubordination, along with guidelines on how to punish each act. Including the use of obscene, profane, or abusive language or gestures directed at an official, mascot, audience member, opposing player, manager, or coach. hard knock life Hard shell plastic chin guards, shin guards, and bottom/tail guards now are officially allowed in WFTDA game play. drop it like it’s hot Gone are WFTDA sanctioned three 20 minute period bouts and the term “split pack.” Crackerjack added, “Finally! WFTDA rules for flat track roller derby have evolved into a solid, fun, challenging set that can be applied to all derby play, from training the newest beginners to tournament vets. The WFTDA rules have developed into a solid foundation from where we can shift our focus from major, regular changes, to periodic tweaks, allowing us to devote more energy to developing other aspects of the game.” The new WFTDA rules may be used immediately, but must be used in all WFTDA sanctioned bouts by June 1, 2009.

wftda q&a rules forum The WFTDA Rules Committee has developed to provide definitive and final answers to questions about the WFTDA rules. The Rules Committee is excited to provide this service and are eager to help everyone understand the rules, their development process and anything else that may need to be communicated or clarified. The goal of this forum is not only to help everyone understand the rules, but also to identify areas that are being misunderstood and therefore need to be addressed. | Summer 2009 | 29


potential member leagues get a helping hand with new WFTDA apprentice program For more than 70 leagues across the United States, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association is a dynamic governing organization that provides critical opportunities for ranking and insurance, as well as a system of rules and regulations that continue to develop the sport of roller derby. Like the sport it champions, however, WFTDA is complex, with numerous functions and requirements that can be bewildering to new leagues. For some new leagues that have struggled to figure out how to set up a nonprofit organization, learn the rules of competition, or even secure rink time; joining a parent group, such as WFTDA, is overwhelming. Other leagues, which have been around for a few years, might wonder what the benefits are of joining WFTDA. That’s why the association is preparing to launch a new program to welcome new and seasoned potential members alike. Starting July 1, 2009, WFTDA will begin the Apprentice Program, which is structured to match leagues applying for membership with “mentor” members to help them learn about the organization and assist with general derby-related concerns. This program is a required introduction for all leagues wishing to apply for full WFTDA membership.

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“As our organization continued to grow, we knew we needed a way to reach out to potential members that was dynamic, one-on-one,” WFTDA President Crackerjack said. “The apprentice program gives future members an instant, personal connection with our association. It’s similar to becoming a new skater on an established team; sometimes it can be a bit intimidating to jump into something that’s ongoing. But having a friend can make the learning curve a bit softer. We’re excited to offer this program, and hope to reach more leagues than ever.” What’s it about? Leagues applying for WFTDA membership are matched with mentors drawn from existing member leagues. Mentors and apprentices will work together to establish goals that are individualized to a league’s particular experience and needs. Apprentice leagues get an experienced helping hand to help them learn how to fulfill WFTDA membership requirements, such as submitting paperwork or navigating the WFTDA message board. More experienced leagues may choose to learn about ranking and conference participation from their mentors.

Leagues interested in the Apprentice Program are required to fill out an application, which can be found on, beginning July 1, 2009. Necessary information includes league name and a roster of at least five skaters who are skating at least two hours per week; league membership and attendance policy; a mission statement; brief description of league history, current status and league objectives for the next year; and a signed WFTDA confidentiality agreement. Prospective apprentice leagues will also need to obtain various letters of recommendation throughout the program. The cost to register for the

apprentice program is still being finalized. The program lasts from six to 12 months. If an apprentice league doesn’t feel ready to apply for full membership after that time, it has the option of extending that mentorship for two more six-month terms, for a total of two years of personal assistance. In addition to one-on-one help, apprentice leagues will have the opportunity to subscribe to fiveonfive magazine, for a “members only” price of $17.99 per year. Every six months, the apprentice league will be evaluated by its mentor to gauge the new league’s progress both as a derby organization and a potential WFTDA member. At the end of the apprenticeship, the apprentice league will be required to obtain a recommendation letter, which can used to apply for WFTDA membership.

“Up to this point, new members have been relying on the kindness of WFTDA vets for help in learning the ropes, and sometimes it’s a frustrating process when you don’t know what questions to ask or even who to ask,” Apprentice Program Manager Slay Midwest said. “This program gives all apprentices an immediate point of contact, and it’s a terrific way to showcase how many wonderful, experienced members we already have who are more than willing to lend a hand to a new league.”

Existing WFTDA member leagues will also benefit from the new program. In addition to helping an apprentice league learn the advantages of WFTDA membership, mentoring leagues have the ability to fulfill WFTDA committee participation requirements. Apprentice program applications will be available on the WFTDA Web site ( beginning in July. For more information, e-mail | Summer 2009 | 31


running a junior derby practice B E T T Y F O R D G A L A X Y, J E T C I T Y R O L L E R G I R L S

Coaching kids can be very different than coaching adults, from how you teach them the drills to the feedback and rewards you give for doing a drill properly. A lot of the drills you use in regular practice can be used with junior derby (and your adult league may even be able to learn something from some of these kid drills). One key thing to keep in mind, however, is that juniors have a much shorter attention span and they are more likely to actually learn something from the drill if they are having fun. Kids need attention and approval from their adult coaches. One of the most basic things you must do is learn their names! If the kids do not have shirts yet, put white tape on the front of their helmets with their name on it in order to keep them straight. Make sure you are constantly giving little kudos to the kids – let them know when they do a good job. Compliment all the skaters equally. Derby – especially junior derby – is a great way to build self-esteem and your role as a coach is to encourage each of the skaters. Not all of your kids will learn at the same pace or in the same way. Make sure you take the time to explain and demonstrate a drill before asking the skaters to do it. Demonstrate it once or twice yourself, then ask one of the kids to volunteer to show the others how to do it. Make sure they all understand it before moving on. Some drills may be harder for some skaters than others. Try taking the girls who need extra help to the side with a coach to go over it until they fully understand it and can work with the rest of the skaters. Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. If your kids are doing a drill wrong make sure you work with them until they get it right. You want to establish good

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form and proper habits in your young skaters early so they won’t have to “unlearn” a bad habit later. A must for all practices is water breaks. Kids do not always know when they should be drinking water and some might not be used to that much exercise. I learned the hard way when we had to send a skater to the hospital for dehydration during a bout! Here are some drills that the Seattle Derby Brats use: BEANIE BABY LOW WORM – Have skaters bring Beanie Babies or some other similar toy to place on their back as they skate in a line. If the toy falls off, they must put it back and go to the end of the line. ARMS LOW / ELBOWS IN SPONGES – Give skaters a couple of sponges to keep under their arms – closer to the elbow than the armpit – during drills. If a skater drops one, she must do ten pushups or sit-ups. POSITIONS BY NUMBERS – Create shirts or helmet panties with position numbers on them. This is a good way to teach newer or younger skaters the different pack positions, but isn’t necessary to focus on for a long time (otherwise the skaters may forget that they can move around within the pack). LAST GIRL (WOMAN) STANDING / PRINCESS OF THE RINK – If you are running a junior league with full contact, this is a great drill. All of the skaters begin on the floor, and must hit each other either out of bounds or onto the floor. The last skater up who has not gone out of bounds wins. Richard Williams

Congratulations! You have girls, parent support, rink time and a new junior league! Now what do you do with the girls at practice?

HOW MANY FINGERS / PACK AWARENESS – Have all skaters on the floor at once with a small number of pivots chosen. Skate behind the girls and call a name of a girl in the pack who will hold up a few fingers. The pivots must look for that girl and shout out how many fingers she is holding up. Make sure the pivot has yelled loud enough for you to hear them clearly from the back. Give each girl a few chances at pivot then switch them out. This is also a good time for the pack to learn to stay nice and tight.

feet on floor and propel forward by opening and closing your legs) and then skate backwards back, etc. Just pick a few different skills your girls might need to work on and put them together into a relay. WALL/OPEN This is a layered drill – doing drills in layers can help kids understand them better. STEP ONE – Put two packs of four on the track. One team is

LOUD KIDS ARE HAPPY KIDS – Line up the skaters at one end of the rink and allow about six at a time to do sprint laps. Tell them to scream as loud as they can from the start of the sprint through the first turn. This is a great way to get them to do more laps while having fun – turn it into a contest by saying things like “who is going to be the loudest group?” RELAYS Kids love to be competitive, and there are so many different relays you can try. We usually tell the girls they are not allowed to stop by hitting the wall at either end; they have to control their speed and their stop. Girls who stop by hitting Richard Williams the wall have to do ten pushups or sit-ups. MILK JUGS – Count the skaters off into groups and line them up at one end of the rink for a relay race. During her turn, each girl must kick an old, cleaned out milk jug (like a soccer ball) to the far wall and back. This is great for agility; it gets them to move their feet in new ways they are not used to without thinking so much about it. FOOTBALL TWO LINES – Count off the girls into groups and separate each group into two lines at one end of the rink. Have each pair skate forward to the other end of the rink and back while tossing a football back and forth to each other, one pair at a time. COMBINATION SKILLS – Relays can involve any number of things – for example, eggshells on the way down (keep both

stagnant and just skates around. The other team’s pivot yells commands – either “wall” or “open” – and the rest of the skaters on that team have to execute the command in ten seconds or less. For the wall, the group must make an exaggerated four-person wall as quickly as they can. If the pivot yells “open,” the skaters must each pick one player from the stagnant team and lean, booty block, or drive her to one side to create a lane down the middle of the track. Switch teams and pivots so everyone has a chance. STEP TWO – Same as above, but add a group of jammers skating behind the pack. Send the jammers though one at a time. The pivot of the executing team will need to make the appropriate call when the jammer is coming up to the pack – if it is her jammer she will yell “open,” and if it is not her jammer, she will yell “wall.” | Summer 2009 | 33


Richard Williams

STEP THREE – Same as step two but now the second team is no longer stagnant and both pivots will be yelling commands to their teams. Still send the jammers through one at a time. The teams at this point will now be working either to execute the pivot command or to stop the other team from executing their command. STEP FOUR – Now line the kids up and bout normal. This will help them learn to switch from offense to defense by breaking it down in the first three steps. WORMS Worms can be great for warm ups and basic skills. There are countless variations on worms. Here are just a few that the Seattle Derby Brats think are fun: NAME CALLING – Have the girl skating up through the worm yell out the name of the girl she is passing as loud as she can. Coach tip – if they cannot talk/yell without their mouth guard falling out then the mouth guard does not fit right. The only exception to this would be a top bottom mouth guard used by skaters with braces. They will just have to deal with it until the braces come off. The drill will help them learn to yell with a mouth guard in and practice communication while skating. (On our league if you take your mouth guard out at any time while you are standing or skating you have to do ten pushups – that goes for coaches too). FOOTBALL PASS – Have the girls pass a football from the back of the pack to the front. The person passing must yell “inside” or “outside” so the girl receiving the football knows where to look. The person receiving needs to turn her upper body to the girl behind her and reach with both hands to get the ball. Do not let them just grab the ball with one hand without looking back. When the football gets to the girl in the front she will race away from the pack with the ball and skate around the track until she is at the end of the pack and passes the ball up again.

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We usually use three to five footballs so the drill goes faster and they have to turn around more often. LONDON BRIDGES – Have the girls hold hands in the pace line. Their right hand should be in front of them and their left hand should be behind them so they are facing the inside of the track. Send girls through the worm skating low so they go under the arms of the girls holding hands. Make sure it doesn’t turn into a game of crack the whip. This drill helps the girls in the line control their speed while the girls going through have to skate low. There are other fun little games you can play that will help with agility. You can limbo, play freeze tag or sharks and minnows. Even a few rounds of duck duck goose on skates can teach them to pop up fast and have quick feet as well as how to stop fast. We try to work our drills around the WFTDA basic skill requirements. We found this gives our girls a solid foundation of skating on which we can teach them roller derby. It also gives them attainable goals, especially for the really new skaters. Make sure you come up with many drill options and change them up a lot. Have enthusiasm for the drills and explain them well. Explain what they will learn by doing it and how they can have fun while learning. It is easier for the skaters if you have their attention and if you are excited about the drills. It is also more fun for me as a coach when I can keep them engaged and learning. It feels way better to give kudos and high fives than pushups! One last thing, kids like to chat and be goofy. To help keep my girls in line I use a bull horn at practice, this way I don’t lose my voice and I know they can all hear me. I do let them be goofy a lot. I often give them a free five minutes to just race around and give each other whips and pushes. They love the free skate and as long as they are out there doing something they are still learning and having fun. What more could you ask?! So now get out there and have some fun with your new league! You will be amazed at how fast your girls progress! For more information check out the Junior Roller Derby Yahoo! Group: For more information on the Seattle Derby Brats check out our brand new website:



We’ve all been there. When you’re just starting out, or later on when you feel like you’re finally getting good on your wheels, you’ve gotta find the appropriate gear... Obviously, good skates are important, but one of the things that you don’t want to skimp on are your protective pads. You can’t skate with a broken wrist, elbow or knee, so you have to make sure you have pads that will protect your joints and keep you rolling. A lot of girls start out thinking, “Well, I probably won’t fall that much... so these pads from (insert generic chain store name here) will be just fine.” Yeah, I thought the same thing, and two months into skating with my home team, while doing a standard train drill, I had a mechanical malfunction with my skates and I went down. My kneepads sucked and I ended up with a torn MCL. That’ll put a damper on your first bout with a quickness. I was off my wheels for almost three months and I wasn’t able to bout until the following season, all because I didn’t want to cough up the cash for some decent kneepads! You’re gear has to be there for you, both fit and comfort wise and in a manner that is going to protect you. If your pads are too large or too small, they are going to slip – usually in the middle of a fall – and leave your bare joint exposed to impact, causing rink rash in the best case scenario, tendon and bone injury in the worst. You always need to make sure your pads fit properly, and that can partly be accomplished by finding pads that aren’t generated for a 13-year-old boy! Avoid the skateboarding section at Wal-Mart at all costs. While they may fit some girls just fine, they are highly unlikely to fit those of us

36 | Summer 2009 |

(myself included) that are built for Team Maytag! Instead, try going online to a website like Sin City Skates (support your derby sisters, ladies!) or Low Price Skates. Both places carry gear that will withstand high impact over and over, and both will be more than happy to work with you over the phone to help you determine what pads are best for your needs and to determine what size you need to order. Another option for getting the right fit is to contact and order pads from Pro Design. These guys will get you to measure your arms and legs and will actually custom fit pads to your needs. This is definitely a pricier option, but the pads are fantastic and will last a good long time. If you have several girls on the team in need of new gear, you can also get together a group order. You can generally get a group rate in these situations. Another important aspect of your gear outside of its fit is to have protection that will actually stand up to a fall. Derby girls don’t play like boys! If we’re going to go down, it’s going to count, and that floor tends to come at you pretty fast and pretty hard! While those hard plastic caps do great for absorbing some of the impact, make sure you’ve got a pad that actually has some padding to it to keep your joints cushioned when you get on a first name basis with that unforgiving floor! I’ve personally found that if you need a little extra padding in the knees – putting thin volleyball pads under your kneepads makes a huge difference! Some of the pads that I’ve found, both personally and from other derby girls, to be exemplary are 187 Pro-Knees, Pro Design Knee and Elbow pads (which can even be customized in color), and Triple 8 Hired Hands wrist guards. When it comes time to buy that new gear, keep your sisters in mind. You can’t protect them on the track if you’re not there due to injury. Spend a little extra money and get good gear ladies. Trust me, In the long run, it’ll work out to be the lesser expensive option! Signed: Ruby wonders if she’ll ever pay off her physical therapy bills Trip’er

teaching basics to new girls M E R V T H E P E R V, H A R R I S B U R G A R E A R O L L E R D E R B Y

Freshmeat. We all use this sort of demeaning term yet everyone knows that the freshmeat are the future of each and every league. The right beginner’s program is essential; it can make or break your next few seasons. There is no certain methodology or exact system for success. Every league varies in size, area and structure. There are, however, several mustdos that will ensure a solid foundation for any league. words of encouragement. Whether or not you have a newbie who wants to jump right in or one that is scared to step onto the floor, you need to be honest with the length of time and effort that it takes to become a derby girl. Each girl has a different learning curve, but all will need to work hard in order to make it. Encouraging their efforts and keeping their eyes on the prize is a must. skating skills. One of the first things I tell a beginner is that until she can skate in a circle surrounded by others without thinking about skating, she should not enter a scrimmage. She must be able to start, stop, crossover, speed up, slow down, fall down and get up without ever thinking. You will never be able to think about playing the game of roller derby if you are concentrating on your skating. balance. Of course this goes hand-in-hand with skating skills. The importance of maintaining balance when in the derby position is often overlooked. Keeping your weight over your heels and not leaning forward onto your toes does not come naturally. It is essential to keep your legs spread at least shoulder width apart while skating on the track. This will help to keep your balance while sustaining a good solid hit. falls and recovery. The first skill that I teach freshmeat is how to fall properly. Falling and trusting your pads can be quite intimidating to a new girl. I feel it is important for them to know that in order to play roller derby, you must get used to hitting the floor. Every time you gear up for practice, scrimmage or a bout, you are almost guaranteed to take a fall, if not many. It is important for girls to learn how to displace their weight, so that the body does not take a jarring blow. Recovery works

hand-in-hand with falling, and never comes easy. I can instruct the mechanics but it is practice that will help the skater become comfortable with falls and recovery. hits. Receiving of a hit should be learned first. Getting feet planted and leaning into the hit lays the ground work. Using a mild pop up should be next. How soon and how hard to work on hits would vary from girl to girl. I believe this should be a slow process to avoid injuries. Timing is important but develops with experience. strength and fitness. Keeping your team fit will not only make a stronger and faster team, but will help prevent injuries. We do stretching, at least 20 minutes of cardio and 5-10 minutes of strength each night at practice in addition to our drills and scrimmaging. This is barely enough to maintain your health; certainly not enough for an athlete. I encourage additional strength training and cardio outside of practice, suggesting that the focus of their strength training be on core and legs for balance and power. learning the game and team work. Basic team work skills for the newest girls should consist of tight pack skating and communication on the track. Also whips and cannonballs are beneficial to get used to being pushed, tugged and touched in a pack. Skipping over the basic skills early to move onto higher level game play is never a good idea; the skater will pay for it down the road. Once the new girl has established her skating skills, is balanced on her skates, and can take a hit and recover, I begin to incorporate the “thinking” game or strategies. Every skater is different. Sports background, fitness level and willingness to try new skills are but a few of the variances you must consider. There is no secret formula to mold the perfect jammer, blocker or pivot. With a little patience and time while incorporating these “must-dos” in the development of your freshmeat, you are sure to build a strong foundation for a successful league. | Summer 2009 | 37


rollercon 2009 I N F O P R OV I D E D B Y G R A C E K I L LY, B R E W C I T Y B R U I S E R S

RollerCon is the place to be come August – whether you are interested in working on your skating skills, learning more about league business, meeting skaters from other leagues, or just partying for a week on the Las Vegas strip, this is the event not to be missed. With ample skating opportunities, workshops galore, a vendor area for your shopping needs and all the rollergirls you can possibly handle, 2009 promises to be even bigger and better than the years before! THE DETAILS RollerCon 2009 will be held between Wednesday, July 29th – Sunday, August 2nd at the Imperial Palace, the RollerCon home of years’ past. You can find a link to purchase passes on, or go directly to MVP pass – This all-inclusive pass gets you into every event for the week at $250.21, including: • Black ‘n Blue Ball • Welcome reception and banquet • Unlimited shuttle rides • Participation in open scrimmages • Participation in challenge scrimmages • Off-skates seminars • On-skates training in the Imperial Palace garage • On and off-skates athletic training at Las Vegas Sport Center • Scavenger Hunt • Derby wedding • Tattoo contest • Bands at the Double Down • All Access at Las Vegas Sport Center* • Online pre-registration for all capped training classes* • Free massage and other post-workout therapy from sponsors* • ...and many more events and activities currently being planned! *only available to MVP Pass holders.

MVP Pass holders may participate in ALL RollerCon events, including trainings held at both the air-conditioned, indoor Las Vegas Sport Center and “outdoor” Imperial Palace parking garage.

skater pass – formerly the General Pass, $174.46 gets you: • Unlimited shuttle rides • Participation in open scrimmages • Floor access at Las Vegas Sport Center • Participation in challenge scrimmages • On-skates training at the Imperial Palace parking garage** • On and off-skates athletic training classes that haven’t been filled by MVP pass holders • Scavenger hunt • Derby wedding • Tattoo contest • Bands at the Double Down • ...and many more events and activities currently being planned! **Skater Pass holders may be able to participate in off-skates seminars or on-skates trainings held at the indoor Las Vegas Sport Center, but only if the capped classes haven’t been filled during pre-registration, which isn’t very likely. This will be strictly enforced. Skater Pass holders are eligible to participate in on-skates trainings held at the Imperial Palace parking garage.

spectator pass – lug around your non-skating better half for $175.46, which offers: • Black ‘n Blue Ball • Welcome reception and banquet • Unlimited shuttle rides • Spectator access at Las Vegas Sport Center • Scavenger hunt • Derby wedding • Tattoo contest • Bands at the Double Down • ...and many more events and activities currently being planned! The Spectator Pass does not include workshops, seminars or participation in any on-skates events.

38 | Summer Fall 20082009 | |

fabulous updates from last year Thought it couldn’t get any better than 2008? Well this year promises to be the best yet! • Get ready to beat the blistering Las Vegas heat with indoor, air-conditioned skating all day and night at the Las Vegas Sport Center ( • Bring cash – there will be even more awesome vendors and cool stuff to browse, so you can pick up a souvenir for your jealous leaguemates who missed out. • The Spectator Pass will let you bring your derby widow, mom, BFF, or anyone else without the guilt of leaving them in the hotel room to watch cable while you are having the time of your life. • There will be super rad indoor coaching sessions from some of roller derby’s greatest – check the website for details! • MVPs will feel even more valuable with expert off-skates training and free massages!! EVENTS workshops – this year will bring even more on and off-skates training sessions at both the Imperial Palace and the Las Vegas Sport Center. Workshops and roundtables will cover everything you could possibly want to know about being on a roller derby league. Check the website for a detailed schedule. challenges, bouts and scrimmages – Challenges and bouts are both organized ways for teams and skaters to take each other on. Challenges let individual skaters join a team with a roster of girls they may never get to play with normally and may have fun themes like Strickly Dickly vs. The Vagine Regime or Speed Skaters vs. Art. Don’t let the silly themes fool you though – rivalries run deep and these challenge bouts still tend to draw crowds. Both WFTDA sanctioned and non-sanctioned bouts will be scheduled for the rest of the derby community to get together and cheer on

their personal favorites. Scrimmages are much more casual – they are outdoor pickup games at night. Be sure to bring both a black and a white shirt so you can play on either side (the white line is always shorter so keep that in mind if you want more play time!). Register early for challenge bouts – contact ONLY after you have your full roster planned. Challenges will be scheduled on a first come, first serve basis.

CONTACTS AND INFORMATION New passes at your suggestions: Online registration at the IP hotel: Sponsor-discounted travel! traveling-to-rollercon New contact info:

MAKE ROOM FOR REFS Check out all the zebra-themed activities: off-skates workshops – rules overview with Q&A session, rules implementation, controversial calls, positions and methods, head reffing and ref and announcer relations are just some of the topics of interest to stripy ones. on-skates workshops – hands-on activities includes ref mentors at scrimmages, reffing methods at scrimmages and ref skating skills. certification – information sessions as well as rules and skating skills tests will be available. all-around fun stuff – a very special ref treasure hunt and a referee mixer are in the works! DERBY DUDES RollerCon is all-inclusive and male skaters are welcome to participate in co-ed scrimmages and challenges. Participation in workshops is up to the discretion of the trainer. If you are a supporter and not a skater, see the Spectator Pass to tag along with your favorite rollergirl(s) to the welcome banquet, Black ‘n Blue Ball, LV Sport Center, and to catch a ride on the shuttles.

– FOR SKATERS – Overview of updated training and on-skates stuff this year: Updated skater skill definitions: Pre-registration and advanced, capped-class info: training-workshops-pre-registration Online info and purchase of USARS day passes: skating-eligibility/usars

– FOR VOLUNTEERS – Updated compensation schedule and new jobs: More detailed description of what it takes to book a seminar: seminar-leads New info (and a new compensation package!) for on and off-skates athletic coaches: coaching-workshop-leads | Summer 2009 | 39


a guide to SkateCourt I N F O P R OV I D E D B Y N I C H O L A S J O H A N N E S , S K AT E C O U RT. C O M

You probably know the feeling – maybe after fighting your way through the pack as a jammer you’ve finally made it out only to slip on a corner and fall embarrassingly as the opposing blockers catch up to you. Or maybe you’ve gone in for a great block and something mysteriously caused your feet to skid out from under you. Even if you’ve spent a fortune on new wheels or other equipment, you and your teammates continue to face these embarrassing and/or frustrating situations. The surface you play on is an important element in any sport, but in roller derby it may cause a severe handicap for a team or even an unstable or unsafe bouting experience all around. Wood floors can be ideal, but once that glossy new coating wears off, you can kiss all of that wheel grippiness goodbye. Cement floors often eat away at your wheels, and no matter how much of a badass you may be, either your bare skin or a quickly-falling body part will likely make contact with that rough and unforgiving surface at one point or another. SkateCourt is the only floor specifically designed for quad skating. These tiles connect very tightly, forming a monolithic slab, which together with small perforations in the surface kill the rolling noise. The SkateCourt surface has a tiny relief profile, which actually reduces the wheel friction while skating but creates a serious wheel grip during acceleration, such as while cornering. This grip makes 42 | Summer 2009 |

taking a tight corner, swerving for a quick block, or dodging a hit a breeze. getting your own floor While many leagues rent a space from a local roller rink or make do with what is available at an open events center, you may find that acquiring your own floor is not as much of a financial burden and you initially imagined. Sure, there is an investment to be made, but owning your own portable floor opens a realm of possibilities. Many ideal venues may be touchy about skates and pads destroying whatever floor they currently own, and laying down your own surface will no doubt put them at ease. You may also be one of the lucky few who can find your own venue to both practice in and hold bouts, and if this is a financial possibility, your league will not only receive a larger percentage of the profit from your bouts but you will no longer be subject to the restrictions of another venue. Owning your floor means you not only have the most ideal surface to practice and bout on, but you also have the confidence of being able to skate in any area you choose to lay it down. Even without securing a new bouting venue, your own floor means you can be much more flexible while shopping around for a practice location. If you can rent practically any space with enough room to lay down a SkateCourt, your options are dramatically increased over those that not only are the right size but have an appropriate skating area. With

your own practice facility, your league can practice whenever you want under your terms. Your league may be eligible for a business loan to initially purchase your floor, or you may even be able to secure your new investment amongst your members. Leagues across the country have come up with creative solutions for financing their floor – picking up sponsors, dividing payments between members, or borrowing money from league members and paying it back over a set amount of time. Once you sit down as a group and determine what is feasible amongst your members, you may be very surprised at the results. how to clean/take care of your floor The SkateCourt comes in slabs of 4x4 tiles, so installation is quick and manageable. Those slabs come stacked in six-foot tall wooden crates for easy storage and transportation, each fitting 150 slabs. Many leagues have floor assembly down to a fine science, averaging about two hours to lay down the tiles or break them apart again. A derby floor is easy to maintain – all you really need is a damp mop soaked with warm water and vinegar to keep it clean. If you don’t plan on moving your floor, it might be ideal to run over it with a scrubbing machine about once a month. Practicing and bouting on a SkateCourt can not only improve your game, but owning your own floor will give your league a freedom you may not

find otherwise. For more information on SkateCourt and roller derby, visit

go for it and enjoy!

the market. Be careful when buying a used floor and get

Roller derby is here to stay and planning your league’s growth for the long-term may include running your own place and having your own portable floor. This will make you independent from those traditional facilities catering primarily to families, and will give you access to 24/7 floor time, progressing your

a guarantee from the seller that the tiles are absolutely flat –

league’s skills.

used floors From time to time there are used floors available on

if they are cupped at the corners or uneven, the tiles will wobble when skated on. Some used floors may have slash marks from inline hockey sticks. These marks may be ugly, but usually do not diminish the floor as long as the tiles are flat and mechanically sound. A used floor can run anywhere from 25-50 percent cheaper than a new one, so it is definitely something worth looking into.

A fast bout is exciting for the skaters and thrilling for the audience. SkateCourt is the fastest skating surface in the world, with specific, patented design elements to speed up the game of Roller Derby.


montréal Montréal Roller Derby was founded in April of 2006 by Georgia W. Tush and a small number of skaters who began playing with little familiarity regarding the sport. Without much derby in Canada compared to the hundreds of leagues south of the border in the U.S., MTLRD helped spread the flat track revolution beyond the already booming popularity found in America. With over 50 skaters filling three home teams (The Contrabanditas, Les Filles du Roi, and La Racialle) as well as a B team (Montréal Sexpos) and an A team (New Skids on the Block), MTLRD joined the ever-growing ranks of the WFTDA in January of this year as its first international member. Below, fiveonfive talks to Georgia about Canadian derby, the WFTDA and the Beast of the East Tournament: What made MTLRD want to apply for WFTDA membership? We are a very competitive league, and we wanted to play on a very competitive level. Make it count! Plus, we wanted to be a part of something that helps the sport grow. Do you see any differences between derby in Canada and derby in the U.S.? I find that derby is growing much faster in the U.S. compared to Canada. For instance, you have every Randomburg to Nowheresville in the U.S. with a league. In Canada, some of our moderately-sized cities don’t even have leagues as of yet. I think we have at most 25 [at this time] and not all of them are actively bouting. As one of the bigger leagues in Canada, we try to foster the sport within our region by having a tournament like the Beast of the East to get interleague play for all of the home teams and connect the eastern leagues, while we also try to make it out west at least once a season to get some east vs. west action. It sucks because it costs an arm and a leg to play our western sisters, however, so we often just stick to close American teams. I also find that since we’re a bit out of the way, a lot of our leagues are more secluded because they don’t get a chance to watch some high level derby played in the states. We try to get out there, but not all of the leagues get the chance to do that. Reality sunk in when we saw our first interleague game in Boston in 2006. We had to drive five hours to realize what we were actually supposed to be doing!

44 | Summer 2009 |

Has joining the WFTDA changed anything for your league? I think it has upped our game a lot. We realized that we had to be a bit more serious about the sport, and in order to not get completely embarrassed every time we played a sanctioned game we’d have to practice more than twice a week. Before WFTDA membership, we already scheduled ourselves like madwomen within and outside of Montréal, but now I think we’re getting more chances to play some very talented leagues. We’ve also gotten a lot of attention for becoming the first international league to join. And we decided to get nicer uniforms. We were pretty skid looking, so now we look less skid. What lead to the idea for the Beast of The East and how did it get started? Is it something Montréal plans on continuing yearly? I wanted to hold a tourney like the Beast to develop derby within Eastern Canada. I feel like we’re all a bit far away from each other (well Montréal anyway), so I wanted to see our region playing one another, which didn’t seem to happen enough. I always wanted our home teams to get some interleague play. I feel that’s how our travel teams improve so much, so by getting the whole league some interleague action, it would bring everyone’s playing up a notch.

This is the second year we held the tournament, and within a year we saw such an amazing difference in all the team’s derby skills. It was really exciting! We’ll probably do it again next year... even though it’s super stressful to host. I’m sure you get this one a lot from us yanks but how does the bilingual aspect work with your league? Do you plan on confusing your opponents by speaking or talking trash in French on the track (because if you aren’t you totally should)? Many of the women in our league’s first language is French. In Quebec, we need to make sure that our information is bilingual, so announcers, programs, and everything else is in both French and English. We don’t really trash talk other teams, but we often speak French on the track so people have no idea what we’re talking about, haha. Is there any WFTDA team you are really looking forward to taking on or hope to take on sometime in the future? We’ll play anyone, and anywhere! We’re excited to play all of the teams that we’re scheduled against this season. Hopefully we will play more teams from our Eastern Region next year. We also like to play teams from cities with hot weather... and beaches. One of our games that we’re revved up for is against Hammer City in August. They are our sister league and the only other Canadian league in the WFTDA [Hammer City became members of the WFTDA in March of 2009]. It’s always a close game with them, and really fun!! We love them.

Susan Moss,

Susan Moss,

Susan Moss,

Susan Moss, | Summer 2009 | 45

have derby, will travel

las vegas/rollercon H U RT R E Y N O L D S , D E R B Y N E W S N E T WO R K . C O M

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS? RollerCon is what you make it. Decide what you are in Vegas for. It’s only a non-stop party if that’s what you want it to be – and for some people, that’s enough. party time! There’s the hotel bars, the Double Down (where bands from all over the world play just for us nightly), Karaoke in the hotel Karaoke bar, and the not to be missed Black ‘n Blue Ball, infamous for creating some of the best still photography moments in derby every year! Don’t miss the “dealertainers” on the floor of the Imperial Palace! Last year, “Freddie Mercury” gained about 400 new rollergirl fans on the floor! RollerCon is also for learning If you want to spend the entire weekend on skates, you can (just don’t let them catch you skating from place to place inside the hotel). Some of the world’s best coaches and skaters are ready to teach you everything they know. workshops: Believe it or not, you DO NOT have to reinvent the wheel! Many experienced volunteers work for hours to do what derby does best – share the best of their years of experience with you. From top to bottom, many of the tools for success your league and skaters and refs and support staff need are all available to you in the RC09 workshops. Take notes! skating: From beginners to veterans, there is always something to learn on the many training tracks and scrimmages at RC09. Make sure you register in advance for on-skates workshops this year to ensure you get what you need. Refs can also gain experience with some of the best refs in the game, as well. If you’re a stats geek, be sure to become part of the Stats Army and help keep track of all the great play. networking: Some of the most valuable lessons you can learn at RC09 won’t be in a workshop or on the track – they’ll come at the hotel bar, or trackside, or on the shuttle bus, in a conversation that you

46 | Summer 2009 |

strike up with someone you’ve never met before. Wear a league shirt wherever you go, and you’re bound to leave Las Vegas with new friends from all over the world. You’ll be surprised how many little things you have in common! SURVIVAL NOTES: travel: This year RC09 has a travel sponsor. Jet Blue Airlines will offer a 5% discount from any city to LV. Check the RC09 website for more details. Las Vegas in August is the hottest, driest place most of you will likely ever be. Bring a water bottle, keep it filled constantly, and drink until you think you can’t anymore – you can’t feel the water evaporating from your skin well enough to know you’re drying out. Fortunately, RC09 is providing more indoor, air-conditioned skating venues than ever before. Hydrate well before training sessions in the parking garage. Don’t let the A/C fool you – the lack of humid air is sucking all the water out of you! Don’t forget the electrolyte drinks – water can’t help you if your body doesn’t have salt to help you process and retain it. tips for drinkers: Don’t drink and skate. Of all the souvenirs you can bring home from RollerCon, a cast or a knee brace are among the least coveted. Don’t count on last call to save you from yourself. You’re in Las Vegas – there is no last call. if you’re skating: Indoor wheels are fine for all surfaces at RC09. Copious amounts of vendors are happy to help you with new wheels if your old ones won’t do. Bring every single shirt you have that has your name and number on it. At a minimum, have one black shirt and one white shirt with your name and number on each at all times. Again, vendors will be heat-pressing custom names and numbers onto any shirt you want, but be first in line on the first day at Vendor Village if you want timely turnaround. Demand for this service always exceeds available labor.

GETTING AROUND The easiest way to travel between official RollerCon event locations is the RollerCon Shuttle bus service (double decker bus fun times!). Your RC09 badge includes unlimited use of the shuttles. Plan ahead – don’t be one of the 400 people trying to take the last shuttle to an event. dos: • Stay at the Imperial Palace. This year’s room rates are cheaper than they’ve ever been! Stay where the action is, you’ll save time and money in the long run.

• Buy drinks for anyone in a RC09 Volunteer shirt – for years RC has run on the dedicated steam of literally HUNDREDS of volunteers annually, who work year-round to make it all happen for you – show them some love for all their hard work. • Work hard on your Black ‘n Blue Ball finery – some of the most creative minds in derby will be sporting their finest, and there are prizes to be had! • Bring a calendar, filled out with your league’s ‘09 and ‘10 schedule and openings. You’ll likely leave with your next all-star season tentatively or solidly booked. • Bring tattoo money if you are a souvenir tattoo type of person – those finger ‘staches and finger tears you see rollergirls with all over the world were invented at RollerCon!

don’ts: • It is a common misconception that anything goes in Las Vegas. A Las Vegas Casino Gambling License is essentially a license to print money. If you had one, you’d protect it at all costs. Some things cannot co-exist with gambling, legally – nudity is one. Casinos have NO sense of humor the second they perceive their gambling license may be threatened. Keep that in mind when dressing, or thinking of shedding layers in the hotels. • Some casino patrons still believe what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – casinos prefer to maintain that illusion by banning video cameras... Again, please check in with RollerCon’s media Czarina for permission to shoot video in the hotel – if you don’t, expect security to take yours and remove you from the premises. WHAT TO PACK: • Saline nasal spray • Copious sunblock • Bathing wear • Water bottle • First Aid stuff • Your RollerCon pass, mailed to you by Brown Paper Tickets. Bring receipt for your purchase just in case. You can pick up your Registration Packet at RC09 Registration area (again, get there early) but not without proof of purchase. • Proof of USARS (if you’re planning to skate) • A camera – you’ll be capturing memories of a lifetime every year!

what to do with your derby widows and kids Guns, Anyone?

Are you in love with

The 8th Annual World Hip

Check out

The Gun Show isn’t just

the DJ? Check out Paul

Hop Dance Championship

for more info on events

on the track, but at the

Oakenfold’s Planet Perfecto

July 27-August 1st

around town – a handy date

Tropicana Las Vegas on

Saturday night at Rain at the

the Strip, at the Crossroads

Palms. “On Planet Perfecto,

of the West Gun Show,

Oakenfold’s signature mixes

on August 1st and 2nd.

combine with Cirque-style

Need more Cowbell? Blue Oyster Cult will be appearing at the Boulder Strip.

performers to create a unique

Broke a tooth? Check out the Bellagio’s 2009 American Academy Of Esthetic Dentistry Joint Meeting

experience. You’ll see aliens,

Kids tagging along? There

space ships and a lot more,

is tons of family fun to be had

along with European house

in town, but don’t miss The

and underground music that

Lion King at Mandalay Bay.

calculator will give you all the happenings during the RC09 dates, for events, conferences and conventions, shows, sports, and more.

you can’t find anywhere else.” | Summer 2009 | 47

Brian Murphree

celebrity audience!

When the new movie “Whip It” comes out later this year, women’s roller derby will get its biggest silver screen plug since Raquel Welch starred in 1972’s “Kansas City Bomber.” “Whip It” is directed by Drew Barrymore and stars academy award nominated actress Ellen Page (Juno) in the leading role. With Hollywood hogwild about derby, it was of little surprise when Nashville resident and feature film A-lister Nicole Kidman came out to cheer on the Nashville Rollergirls in their bout against the Tampa Tantrums. “She looked positively radiant!” said Nashville Jeerleader, Cocky Mountain Mama. As the pictures show, she looked radiant indeed! Kidman and her five girlfriends, out for a night on the town, cheered and jeered until the final minutes of the tight scoring bout. Sitting in the suicide seats, the ladies nearly got a jammer in their laps on at least one occasion. A true derby experience. | Summer 2009 | 49 1. Skater on left is missing glasses. 2. Water bottle is missing label. 3. Skater on right is missing logo on helmet. 4. Skater on right is missing logo on patch. 5. Boy in background on left has been added. 6. Background fan’s shirt color has changed. 7. Middle skater is missing mouthguard in her hand.

Preflash Gordon


art and media

tips to improve your bout posters through typography JUSTIN LASCELLE, DENVER, COLORADO

Great artwork is only the beginning of poster design – while it initially attracts the attention of your viewers, getting your message across is your true goal. If you can’t communicate your message quickly and efficiently to a viewer, your poster will fail in its primary purpose: putting meat in the seats! While laying out letters and phrases may not be as exciting as putting the finishing touches on your flat track-inspired masterpiece, effectively communicating your message is an important part of creating visually striking and functional bout posters. 50 | Summer 2009 |

k.i.s.s. Keep it simple, stupid. This is a poster, not an essay. Studies have shown that you as the designer have roughly 11 seconds to convey the entire message of your poster to a viewer, so make every piece of copy and every typographic decision count. Your poster should convey the what, when, and where as succinctly as possible while remaining readable, legible, and well organized. Copy free of spelling and grammatical errors or passive sentence structure will greatly improve readability while appropriate and clear typefaces will ensure legibility. Laying out all of your design elements using a typographic grid will keep everything organized. understand your informational hierarchy Before you begin laying out your poster, sort out your content into clusters of copy that are relevant to one another. These clusters should then be organized by importance and laid out appropriately – this will increase the impact that the poster has on the viewer.

For example, if you cluster the key information of what, when, and where together and place it at the focal point of your design, the viewer will subconsciously take this vital information in much faster than if it were scattered haphazardly or grouped somewhere less obvious. Viewers are more likely to explore the rest of the poster if the immediate information they receive is relevant to their interests. People viewing your poster should instantly think “roller derby on March 9th at the Event Center, eh? I wonder how much it costs and where I can get tickets?” not “What is this for?!”

use a typographic grid A typographic grid is a 2-D structure made of intersecting vertical and horizontal lines used to organize and structure content. Following a grid system will allow you to organize text and images in a way that allows your audience to quickly absorb and digest the information presented to them. A good way to begin using grids is to break your work area up into a number of columns with a specific-sized space, or gutter, between them. When laying out your type, decide how many columns an element or cluster should take up by determining how much visual weight you want to give

that particular bit of information. In the figure below, an example of a poster is laid out using this exact method next to a poster with the same information minus a grid. Even though the typographic elements have not changed in size or weight, someone casually scanning the poster will absorb the grid layout quicker. Using a grid may feel restrictive at first, but once you fully understand how the grid works, you can start to break it. To begin properly using a typographic grid, try reading Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Müeller-Brockmann and The Typographic Grid by Hans Rudolf Bosshard.

Justin Lascelle is a professional web designer with a passion for print design who resides in Denver, CO. He is available for freelance web and print design and can be reached via email at

Check out Whiskey7’s featured derby art – hand picked from across the derby community!

February 2009 Detroit Derby Girls artist: Kevin O’Roarke

April 2009 Atlanta Rollergirls artist: Dave Cook

August 2007 Philly Roller Girls artist: Charlie Layton

T-shirt Design Naptown Rollergirls artist: Mitch O’Connell | Summer 2009 | 51

art and media

knockdown knits Naptown Roller Girls’ Joan of Dark (known as Toni Carr in the non-derby/knitting world) created the book Knockdown Knits in 2008 as a creative and crafty way to combine her two favorite hobbies. With fun patterns for skaters, refs and fans alike,

Knockdown Knits appeals to the DIY attitude that is such a big part of roller derby. Below, Joan talks to us about skating and stitching: How long have you been knitting and how long have you been playing derby? I’ve been knitting for about seven or eight years. I’ve been playing derby since our league started, four years ago.

Tom Klubens

derby girls that knit, I thought it would be great to make a book that was not only fun for girls that played derby, but informative for people that were just interested in derby. What is the your favorite yarn for rollergirl apparel? Anything you can wear on the track that will stand up to the test of roller derby’s inevitable sweatiness/smelliness? For actually skating on a track, I would recommend anything felted, since it’s tough enough to stand up to the derby wear and tear, and it’s easy to wash. Bamboo is also great, since it cleans so easily. It also seems to be pretty sweat resistant.

How did you get into each? I had always wanted to knit and crochet. My mom and grandma were both amazing knitters. I remember my mom trying to teach me a few times, but it just never stuck. When I got a little bit older, and was working a job with some flexible hours, I wanted to find a way to hang out with my grandmother. Teaching me to knit and crochet seemed like the perfect way to spend time together. For derby, my friends Sweet C and Strawberry Jam were hanging out with me at my coffee shop and talking about roller derby and how lame it was that Indiana didn’t have a league. I hadn’t ever heard of it, but their description sounded fun! The next day Strawberry Jam started up a myspace page for Naptown Roller Girls, and the league started coming together!

52 | Summer 2009 |

Tom Klubens

How did you come up with the idea to create Knockdown Knits? I had been slowly sucking all of my derby girls into my knitting obsession. We had some hang out nights where those of us that could knit would teach the girls that didn’t know how yet. On our long bus trips for away bouts a lot of us knit as well. To me, it seemed like the perfect combination. The girls that are going to start up a roller derby league are the same type of “I can do it myself” take-charge gals that knit their own sweaters, sew their own uniforms, etc. I have met so many

What’s easier – teaching a rollergirl to knit or a knitter to play roller derby? It’s way easier to teach a rollergirl to knit! Also, unless you tend to run with knitting needles, it’s way safer! If you could knit anything for any one skater and make them wear it on the track, what would it be? I won’t name names, but there is a certain skater I would love to force into some “Baby Got Back” bloomer panties (from the book). I’ve seen her skate a couple times, and both times she wore very “revealing” panties that were showing way more than I’m sure she intended to show! For more info on Joan of Dark’s kick ass new book, visit

beginner wristband pattern Materials needed: US Size 6 needles MC: 1 skein black worsted weight cotton or wool (or team colors) CC: 1 skein red worsted weight cotton or wool (or team colors) Tapestry needle Instructions: With MC: CO 32 sts. Tom Klubens

Row 1: K2, p1 across Row 2: P2, k1 across Row 3: K2, p1 across Trying to convince a fellow derby girl to knit is not easily done by flinging a cool sweater pattern at her and telling her to get to it! The same way a girl needs to learn derby form before she can do crossovers, crossovers before she can get fast, and getting fast before she can jam, a simple knitting pattern should be a starting point to teach the basics. This cute wristband not only showcases team colors, it also is a good learning tool for ribbing, stockinette stitch, and simple color changes. Get your teammates whipping these up as quickly as they can whip a girl through the pack. For those bored by such a simple pattern, put your team’s unique stamp on it. Order some bare yarn and some dye (try Dye some skeins of yarn in your team colors. Whip up these wristbands for fundraisers, giveaways, or for the visiting team.

Row 4: P2, k1 across Row 5: Knit across Row 6: Purl across Row 7: Knit across Row 8: With CC, purl across (Carry MC up by twisting CC and MC together on this side. Not only does it help eliminate gaps in the color change, it also keeps you from having to cut MC and weave it in later) Row 9: With CC, knit across Rows 10-12: With MC, repeat rows 5-7 Rows 13-16: Repeat rows 1-4 Bind off Abbreviations: K: Knit P: Purl

MC: Main Color

CC: Contrasting Color

CO: Cast On

check out for:

getting the most out of internet social networking | Summer 2009 | 53

classifieds Want to get rid of that old gear? Need to get the word out about something to the derby community? Searching high and low for something you just can’t find? Submit your classified text (up to 50 words) FOR FREE to to include in our next issue!

WANTED Help us help you find what you need!

FOR SALE Submit details to get those gently used but no longer being abused skates out of your hair!

Riedell 125s, men’s size 7.5 (fits a women’s size 8.5 - 9 foot). Black with royal blue Radar Flatout wheels with KWIK 7 bearings. Toeguards included. Worn about a dozen times and are practically brand new – almost no wear except for some rink dust on the toe guards. $250 total (no tax or shipping costs). Pro Tec helmet, size medium, royal blue, also worn about a dozen times. Asking $20. Contact if you’re interested in either one.

CHECK THIS OUT! If you play derby and want to get the word out about something awesome, send your text our way (it’s free)!

Mama Does Derby is your place to shop for inexpensive, unique, authentic roller derby gear made by a derby girl! Buttons, jewelry, shirts, and more – check out and on myspace at Looking for merch for your league? I do custom orders too! Great prices and fast turn around!

1st ever WFTDA sanctioned all-Canadian bout! Be part of roller derby history on August 15th in Hamilton, Ontario Canada when Hammer City Roller Girls host Montréal Roller Derby. The HCRG invites the roller derby community to join us for this historic event. Visit for event and ticket information. | Summer 2009 | 55





JULIE GLASS aka / atomatrix

*HIGHEST QUALITY URETHANE - all others aspire! *ORIGINAL HOLLOW CORE - all others pose! *WINNING FORMULAS - more titles than you care to read! SKATE ATOM - ENHANCE YOUR DERBY EXPERIENCE.


horoscopes P R OV I D E D B Y Y O U R D E R B Y P S Y C H I C , L U S C I O U S S M A C K S O M E



May 21-June 20

November 23-December 21

Prioritize, knowing you have only so much energy. Make yourself your highest priority and you’ll come out on top. This is what is best for you and, ultimately, will prove to be best for your team.

Zero in on what you truly desire; your teammates will get the message loud and clear. You will be amazed at how this helps not only you, but your team overcome a difficult situation. In the end, you will achieve the results you want.

CANCER June 21-July 22


How you choose to deal with a teammate and the decisions you make on the track will make all the difference. The only way to win is to choose to play cohesively as a team. Don’t let a difference of opinion ruin the progress you have made.

December 22-January 19



July 23-August 22

The words you choose and the way you approach a conflict with a teammate impacts more people than you realize. Think before you react, keeping your cool will prove to be a smart choice. Do what is best for everyone, not just yourself.

VIRGO August 23-September 22

Your teammates, friends and family could mix if you allow them to. Resist the urge to keep them separate. You will find it easier to balance them if they all feel involved.

January 20-February 19

Take a stand and be clear with your team. Expect to get some flak initially, but stand firm. You have held your feelings in for far too long. Getting it all out in the open will ultimately benefit you and your team!

PISCES February 20-March 20

Your endurance has been a key factor in your ability to bring your game play to a higher level, and now is not the time to relax! Continue to push yourself and you will surprise yourself and your team with what you can accomplish.

Back off, especially if your are confused about something. Miscommunication is something you need to be aware of. Listen carefully to your teammates and react only after you have thought things through. Fight the urge to be “right” all the time. This only causes your team to feel hostile toward you.



September 23-October 23

March 21-April 19

Finding the balance between your derby life and your “real” life can be incredibly challenging. Consider taking a step back and evaluating your priorities. You will find time for what is truly important to you. Don’t let others make those choices for you!

Eliminate confusion in the pack through direct, deliberate communication and a strong sense of presence. Work with your team on this and make sure you are all on the same page.


April 20-May 20

October 24-November 22

Break through the barriers in your mind. Visualize yourself playing at a higher level. This will allow you to improve your game and others will be inspired by your efforts.

Use your intuition on the track. Let your body react, trusting in all the training you have been committed to. Try not to get distracted and keep your presence of mind where it belongs. If you find yourself getting frustrated, refocus on the basics.

60 | Summer 2009 |

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fiveonfive | issue 4 | Summer 2009  

fiveonfive | issue 4 | Summer 2009