The summer after I graduated High School I interned in Washington D.C. It seemed that Vanilla Coke had just came out. If it hadn’t, I had never had it before that trip. I stayed in a College Dormitory which had a vending machine stocked with the stuff, and the dorm seemed so old and run down- and the Vanilla Coke so new, that the soda seemed so novel. I don’t know if I even liked Vanilla Coke that much, but it was new, and I dunno, somehow seemed good to drink. Now, I still don’t know if I like Vanilla Coke. I don’t know if I like the taste of it that is. I definitely like Vanilla Coke, because every time I drink one, memories of that summer come flooding back.
If you have ever wondered, the logos and links I feature on the right side of my blog are not sponsors, they’re all skating related businesses owned by people I know and want to promote. I love that the world of roller derby is growing and as it does I want to help elevate business owners who are also skaters. Every business that is featured on my page is there for a reason, so check them out.
Today I added a link to Jen “Patho Jen” Scrivner’s business Pourin’ Mags. She is the exclusive provider of custom derby inspired bottle cap magnets, necklaces, key chains and hair flowers. Only some of her clients include Moxi Skate Shop, Wicked Skatewear, Central Coast Roller Derby, Silicon Valley Rollergirls & the Sin City Rollergirls. Derby greats like my personal favorite Pia Mess are even raving about how cool Jen’s merch is and how sweet and easy she is to work with.
She’s always making new designs and can customize you single or bulk order with whatever colors or designs suit your fancy. Did I mention she was the provider of the official bottle cap necklace of the 2010 WFTDA Championships?
***The Other Links***
If you’re looking to refine your skate skills, or schedule a personal skate session, check out Blade’s skate school. With over 15 years of roller skating coaching experience, Blade will help you take your skating to the next level.
If you’re looking to order skates, gear or accessories, Vallie at Rocky Mountain Skates will hook you up. She’s knows everything to ease your fears about buying online and will help your league out with a considerable discount.
If you’re looking for a pair of unique wheels that will turn heads check out Estro Jen’s Moxi brand skates. Her shop in Long Beach features one of a kind, cute and stylish skates for ladies of all skating disciplines.
I do own a Wii and I was excited to hear about the release of this game. However I haven’t been able to download it myself yet. Fortunately, I was able to call on the help of a fellow roller girl who quickly came to my rescue. Thanks to Tina “Yoshi Ground Pound” Blundetto I am able to report to you on the latest in Wii Game/Roller Derby fun. You can also check out the game on Nintendo’s site, the Jam City Rollergirls site, and of course, on facebook.
Jam City Rollergirls
Wiiware Game Review
By Guest Blogger: Yoshi Ground Pound
Skyland Roller Girls; Hackettstown, NJ
I have been skating with Skyland Roller Girls for almost a year now and I absolutely love the world of Roller Derby. It’s challenging and who doesn’t love to hit someone else for the fun of it? And how many roller girls just want more and more? I know I do. So how exciting is it to finally see a roller derby game out there for the whole world to see?! It’s pretty fantastic to say the least.
With my practice being cancelled last night, I was super excited to turn my Wii on and download (through Wiiware for 1000 Wii points worth $10) and start checking some other ladies. The game is really simple to get into if you’ve ever played a video game before. (Now if you haven’t, or don’t own a Wii at all then why are you reading this?!) I would highly suggest going through the tutorial to see what you can do, especially if you know nothing about Roller Derby.
To get started, you either select single or multiplayer. I was home alone and my cats don’t have thumbs so I went right to single player. I started a new season and picked out my team. I live in Pennsylvania, so I went right to Gotham City Roller Girls! Come on, home team (kind of) advantage, right? Right. I got my skater and customized her as much as I could with no money. This is where I thought I did something wrong… I went to start the first bout and I couldn’t find it! I didn’t realize you had to select “bout schedule” to see who I’d be playing! At least it didn’t take me a half hour to click start week 1!
I honestly thought that I was going to be an idiot playing this game but it turns out, I’m not too bad. It took me awhile to get used to it not being an oval track because the game is made out like a go kart track. There are blue squares for boosts; pink star squares for power ups, lit up stars on the floor, and obstacles depending on what track you’re on. The most interesting one is the Dairyland track. At a certain point, you’re dodging cows and a tractor! The hardest, in my opinion, was Rat City because I kept losing my power ups when I rolled over rats and into some barrels. I won’t get into specifics about what power ups there are, you’ll need to figure that out on your own.
I found the game basics to be quite simple as far as rules, strategy, and how to play. I played the game well before I did the tutorial, but once I actually went through the tutorial (and my first time for any game, ever), I played even better. I never upgraded the skater for more speed or agility until the end of the season but I did spend money on a green helmet! Once I beat the game, undefeated, I started the next season and I whipped through the first bout. It didn’t seem like the difficulty level was upped at all.
It is VERY obvious what doesn’t happen during a real bout, if you’ve ever seen one that is. Elbows, go-kart like track, power ups, blue tile boosts, four skaters on the track from each team, and no one receives a penalty! I even skated backwards towards the other jammer and hit her to see if I would and I did not. I do hope that any viewers who attend their first bout do not sit on the edge of their seat waiting for someone to throw a water balloon (if that’s what those red balls were! Haha) at another skater.
For 1000 Wii points, I don’t think any non roller derby fans will really get into it, unless the term “girl-on-girl” is used a lot to describe it. As a roller girl, I was SUPER excited to see a mainstream console game that I could download that was about something I love. Unlike that crap iPod app that I immediately removed! I hope in the future, when another roller derby game (yes, I said when because I have high hopes) comes out, you can do something like use the Wii balance board to throw hits at other players. But at this point, like any roller girl out there who has played this game, even a little, I cannot wait to get to my next practice and knock someone down!
When I first started playing roller derby the skaters on my league didn’t have control over what went on our helmets. In fact, we were required to wear stickers on them advertising our sponsors. On most teams however, your helmet is an extension of you. It can serve as a creative outlet to tell other people a little about you. As uniforms evolve into cleaner and more professional athletic jerseys, soon helmets may become the last gritty DIY outlet we will have left. So personalize the shit out of that yo.
In the movie Full Metal Jacket, when the character Joker is asked by his commanding officer why he wears a peace sign pin on his uniform but also “born to kill” across the front of his helmet, he responds:
“I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man, sir”
This always resonated with me. Man is capable of such good and such pure evil, all at once. One reason we will never experience such opposition to war the way we did during Vietnam is because the draft is over. Remember Leonard Lawrence, (the “Gomer Pyle” character from Full Metal Jacket) who was slow to learn army basics and went ape shit one night, killing his military sergeant and then himself? Ya well, we learned our lesson. Only people who want to be in the military go in now. That means no intellectual types like Joker either, who might suggest the duality of man, (and also no more journalist types like Cowboy- to take pictures of combat and the dead bodies arriving home from Iraq).
I guess it is sort of what I am trying to suggest with this little snippet from my own life:
I have looked down at that sticker many times and thought perhaps it would be better suited stuck to my bike. But then that Full Metal Jacket quote comes to mind, and somehow it feels important to remind myself what I am capable of. I don’t need to remind myself to burn calories while I’m riding my bike, I need to remind myself while I’m driving. If I stuck that sticker to my bike, I would just be condescending to tell other people how to live. It would be a denial; like ignoring a very real truth, which is: I DO BURN OIL. But by sticking the sticker to my own gas gauge, I am only telling myself how to live while simultaneously reminding myself that I am not perfect. Maybe seeing the sticker inside my car will actually guilt trip me into driving less? That’s the idea anyway.
Another blog from years past before "This is How I Roll" existed. I'm so glad I'm a life long writer. I really value being able to look back and see how I felt years ago. It is really self affirming. A little discouraging I'm still in the same place, but still, it feels good.
And this specifically includes several roller derby leagues and organizations:
Saying you "support me" is bogus and simply rhetoric. It simply doesn’t matter what you say, only what you do, and most organizations have typically written me off as a detractor and bad for roller derby.
I have done nothing but be an advocate for skaters rights and frankly, I believe most organizations and leagues I have sought help through are simply cowards who are afraid of attaching their name to such a loose cannon as myself.
I stick by my guns that my ideas and concept of doing things are the right way, and the best way to ensure skater autonomy and safety. I have been nothing but pushed aside, reccommended to other people, and been given empty promises of support and words of encouragement when the truth is that most people are terrified to get involved with me.
What? Because I have the balls to say that there truly are leagues out there that are HURTING girls and unethically raking in the dough???
I truly believe my criticism of poor leagues is what has kept good leagues from supporting me, and that is just bullshit. All lovers of the sport of roller derby should actively pursue leagues that give us a bad name and insist they change their ways. Most leagues are too scared of disbanding themselves to take such a risky stand.
But you know what?
Someone fucking has to.
There needs to be a skater’s union. There needs to be official rules across the board. It cannot vary from league to league. That is just not right and girls are getting hurt and taken advantage of.
Well, apparently, that someone is going to have to be me.
All I have to say, is that when my years of work and committment and dedication have paid off, I will not forget all the "supporters" who really just held me back.
that no roller derby league exists to suit my liking. I have researched and googled and queried and gone on many a quest and adventure to find that diamond in the rough of a league to inspire me. To mold and model my own league after. I thought I had found it in the banked track leagues of today until they disappointed me and defeated all my hopes and dreams just like all the rest. I have finally come to terms with the fact that I am not trying to resurrect roller derby. I am not trying to "bring back" the original sport. I have discovered that roller derby has ALWAYS been a farce, and I blame no one who thinks its a bunch of wrestling type phonies who just want to pump their alter egos. Evidence has shown that those people are mostly right. Roller derby was hardly ever a sport and was ALWAYS more of a farce. I was misled and misguided into thinking the skaters of the past, or at least the skaters with true roller derby at heart, were always about athleticism and competition. But really, even the skaters of yesteryear were pretty much all about hamming it up. So. I have realized I am not about the rebirth of roller derby. Fuck roller derby. Roller derby as it stands now and as it was in the past. I am looking to completely change the face of roller derby. And no more will I look to other leagues to model mine after. They simply aren't out there.