Welcome, or fuck you, depending.
I'm not here to tell you how many calories you can burn roller skating, I'm here to incite and entertain.
Take me or leave me.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Auntie Social says: Don't use belts for whipping

Recently I attended a game where one team had what I considered an unfair and illegal advantage: belts. Several of the team’s blockers were wearing very loose belts, and it was no coincidence. In my opinion these belts were not used to hold up clothes or for fashion- but specifically for strategic purposes. The point is not only an additional thing for their jammer to grab onto, the slack allows the belt to essentially serve as a slingshot and propel the jammer around the blocker, without virtually any effort on the part of the blocker.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Showboat Must Go On

In the past, I have had a coach actually pull me aside during a game and tell me to stop “showboating”. Excuse me, but when I am getting booed, not from the audience, but from the OTHER TEAM, and not for committing penalties but for simply being a good athlete, I am perfectly justified in giving them a “nanny nanny” sign.

This is what I did:
“Nanny Nanny!”

You’re just lucky I didn’t give them the bird. I honestly cannot believe I was told to STOP playing to the audience. Stop hamming it up. "Stop being entertaining Auntie. You’re pissing off the other team. You’re causing too much attention." The audience LIKES when you pay attention to them.  Is that so wrong? You should be promoting that behavior. They are your paying customers.  Also inexplicable to me was the fact that I was instructed to stop raising my arms to pump up the crowd because the motion was being confused by the refs as me calling off the jam. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Roller Derby is Different

 I was thinking today, 
at what point are you no longer a roller girl?

What happens…

after hangin’ up the skates?

Are you finished being a derby girl if you’ve been forced to quit due to an injury? Are you done being a roller girl when you quit your league? Are you finito when you move to another city without a league? I know Flica Flame of VooDoo Dolls and Survivor fame still advertises that she is a roller girl, and she only skated half a season with the Nor Cal Roller Girls. I know a cop who was a long time derby veteran but quit to spend more time with her family, and on her facebook page she still describes herself as a roller girl. When do you stop being a roller girl? Are you one forever once you have started?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Skater Profile: a Klose Up with Kutthroat Kandie

Skater Name: Kutthroat Kandie

Number: 20
Signifies NASCAR Driver Tony Stewart, (now #14).

Team Affiliations: Nor Cal Roller Girls, Sac City Rollers

Derby Debut: February 7th 2006

Skating Background: Self Taught

Preferred Position: #3 Power Blocker

Accomplishments: Co-Captain of the undefeated VooDoo Dolls of NCRG’s inaugural season, Captain 
of the Messy Betties, skater in AllStar teams the NCRG Hustlers and NorCal Select, fresh meat coach for NCRG and Sac City, and voted league’s most dedicated player by the Nor Cal Roller Girls in 2006.

Long Term Derby Goals: To coach a WFTDA team and
"to share the love and passion of the sport and teach the Derby Gospel" 

Derby Wife: Rosie RamPage #1200, (formerly DJ Lois)
of NCRG/SCR/SCDG affiliations

Favorite Quote: “Derby Girls Roll in Packs!”

Derby Theme Song: The Dollyrots version of 
‘Brand New Key’ 

On a recent trip to Chico, where I went to college and joined my first team, I had the pleasure of meeting with one of my dearest friends and fellow derby sisters: Coach Kutthroat Kandie, AKA Ronda Reid. Kandie was the Co-Captain of my first team the VooDoo Dolls and the Captain of my second team the Messy Betties. After leaving NCRG, we made a 2 hour commute together from Chico to Sacramento to be a part of the Sac City Rollers. A coach and teacher, Kandie has been a personal mentor for me in derby. Much of what I know as a skater I learned directly from her, and she certainly taught me what a sisterhood could be. I learned how to play my first competitive sport with her and learned what a team was with her. I really value our friendship and feel incredibly lucky to have her in my life. I love you Kandie!

This is Kandie whipping me ahead by a finger. A single finger!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

DIY Derby: Uniforms

Some of my best experiences and fondest memories of roller derby were of a very special tradition that my old team The VooDoo Dolls had established: The Stitch and Bitch. Being a VooDoo Doll was amazing. It was the NorCal Roller Girls’ inaugural season and we took the championship atop 3 other teams, undefeated the whole way. It was bloody glorious.

The bond I had with those girls, and my teammates the subsequent season, is what has kept me going on my journey to build a powerhouse team four years later. The VooDolls had an amazing connection. I don’t know if we were so close because we did so well on the track, or if we all did so well on the track because we were so close- but I’m pretty sure it was a combination of both.

The Stitch and Bitch is a wondrous thing.  Usually occurring within a week, or sometimes as short as 24 hours of the bout in question, we would get together as a team at someone’s house to eat, stitch and bitch. The product of said stitching would always be our “boutfits” or additions to them. A “boutfit” is a term I learned while skating with the Undead Bettys and is a compilation of the words bout and outfit. Adorable! Anyways- back to the Stitch and Bitch. Because we would schedule these one to two days before our next game, strategy was a big part of the bitch fest. And at games, because we had broken bread together and shared arts and crafts tips, often times the night before, I believe we felt like a much more cohesive team on the track. We were probably more likely to give assists and reach for help, because we liked each other and it came naturally. We were able to think as a unit because we were all on the same page. To be a successful team, I mean a really truly successful team; where you all love each other and have got each other’s backs, you have to spend time together off the track. For us, the stitch and bitch was that magic component that worked for us. It may be something different for your team, but if you choose to adopt a roller derby stitch and bitch of your own, just know it started with the NCRG VooDoo Dolls.

In those days NCRG was governed much differently than it is now. Teams chose their own themes and designed their own uniforms. Many teams now are choosing to go the athletic jersey route, but I think fun uniforms are one of the more unique aspects of this sport. Some may feel it detracts from those trying to promote the sport on a national level, but I feel the only thing that cheapens the sport is bad athletes.  A lot of art was created at those stitch n bitches. Let me show you how cool derby can be.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy 75th Old Friend

Happy Birthday 
Roller Derby!

Today is the 75th Anniversary of the first ever roller derby game.  In effect, you could say it’s Roller Derby’s Birthday.

I was thinking about this topic just yesterday, and it struck me:  How better to pay tribute to 75 years of roller derby than to illustrate how the sport has spanned generations by bringing together young and old? A remarkable thing about roller derby is that it is played by athletes of all ages.  Ann Calvello holds the record for the only athlete, male or female, to play professionally for 7 decades! Another characteristic unique to roller derby is the number of mother/daughter duos involved in the sport.  Combine the ego boosting female empowerment magnetism that comes with derby, with the explosive friction of a mother and daughter, and you’ve got yourself a parent/child bonding experience you will find nowhere else.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

EBRD loves BlackBerry

On Wednesday the 4th and Saturday the 7th of August, the founding members of East Bay Roller Derby had the privilege of being the subject of some test footage for a National Black Berry commercial. We took to the streets on skates, using the Pleasanton Wednesday night street fair as an opportunity to raise awareness about East Bay Roller Derby and connect with our community. In addition, our very own Jenn-A-Cide #925 was interviewed about roller derby and why Blackberry is her favorite phone. We also took some hits for the camera at out outdoor practice space, the rink at the Val Vista Community Park. Now we wait while our test footage is viewed and see if we are invited for casting. We were amazed they wanted to shoot us and not a more established league in the area, but they said the outdoors, hitting-the-streets aspect was the appeal. We would like to thank James Buck (http://jameskarlbuck.com/) for introducing us to this amazing opportunity and Joelle Jaffe for coming out to shoot the footage. In honor of this exciting news, I am posting a cute collection of recent roller derby commercials for you enjoyment. Wish us luck!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Technique Analysis: Toe Stops and T Stops

Toe Stops vs. T Stops

Growing up I was extremely fortunate to have private music instruction throughout my 8 years in the school band.  I was even luckier to have the particular teacher I did, Mr. Bernie Berke, (private music instructor and Livermore middle school band director for 30+ years).  Mr. Berke was unique, in that he did not focus on traditional technique, embouchure or posture but encouraged you to find whatever position gave you the purest tone. 

This is Ian Anderson, a professional flautist known for his unusual stance. He says it is how he is most comfortable playing, (and he sounds good doing it too).

This idea has shaped how I approach almost everything in my life. I am never one to assume the most common path is the best one, and I have a strong allegiance to my gut. One way in which this has served me well in roller derby is choosing to wear the wrist guards that feel best to me, regardless of common practice. 

In addition, I have my own beliefs on stopping strategy.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Product Review: Fast Girl Skates snap on toe caps

 Product Review Time!

When I started skating, no one in my league was privy to the whole toe cap thing. By the time a few of them had gotten those leather strip toe caps, I had already worn holes through the toes of my skates. I don’t know why I decided that meant I didn’t need toe caps rather than deciding to protect them from further damage, but I guess I just assumed they were shot. I was pretty much in the dark about skate protection for years. When I finally got new skates last year, I wasn’t going to take any chances. Fortunately, the skaters in the league I was with at that time were hip to snap on toe caps. As soon as I saw them on another player’s skates I could tell they were clearly superior to those standard leather ones that slide all around.

Check them out!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Support Local Roller Derby?

I haven’t gotten a chance to blog this week because I have kicked my derby dreams into high gear. August 13th is the official 75th anniversary of Roller Derby and taking my cues from Mr. Jerry Seltzer I decided to plan a celebration. I know you can’t have a good roller derby celebration without some roller derby, so I decided to host an interleague scrimmage to gain public interest for the sport and to serve as an avenue for local skaters to get together and celebrate the 75th anniversary of roller derby. 
(Here is the url to the facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=148156058527885). 

I sent an invitation e-mail to the surrounding leagues in the area asking them for support and participation, at the very least, to come out, have a beer and celebrate 75 years of roller derby. As a result, the captain and league president of one of these leagues sent her team an e-mail forbidding participation and accusing me of trying to “poach” local skaters from existing teams. This could not be farther from the truth. I have never wanted anything more than to better the sport for skaters and fans alike. It is beyond me why any derby lover would not want to participate in an event that promoted and gained interest in the sport. The captain and president of this league’s “honest and upfront” approach was not to send me the particular e-mail forbidding her skaters to participate that she had sent her team, but rather to send me this very short message that read simply: