November 14, 2013

A Few Bumps in the Road - But We're All Together

Oh, Ogden, UT.  How I always miss visiting you.  NOT!  The bars close at 1am.  The mountains are on the wrong side.  Not to mention the breathtakingly beautiful scenic drive through the middle of Wyoming is anything but breathtaking or beautiful.  Even so, every year we make the pilgrimage to the great state of Utah to play the Junction City Roller Girls.  It's a great chance to spend time with our teammates and have fun on the last travel bout of the season, and the Junction City Roller Girls are a formidable opponent.  I won't go through the gory details of the trip, but I will share a few good morsels with you.

On the Road Again
The trip there is always full of new things. Everyone's amped about the trip, the energy is high, and without fail we learn so many little tidbits about each other.  It's really nice to learn more about the ladies that you're skating with. Did you know that Double D-struction is planning on roasting an entire pig for her birthday?  Or that CeCE She-bash'ya wants to raise her own chickens?  Or that Pootie Tang loves to implement graffiti in her graphic design?  I didn't, but what else are you going to talk about on your way through a high-altitude desert covert in a thick layer of dirt (no offense, Wyoming, but let's face it.  You're a very dirty state).  Despite the lack of visual stimulation there are at least some cool things about Wyoming.  Such as:

1. Gas stations so big you could survive there for years during the zombie apocalypse.
2. Cool rock formations.
3. It's fine cuisine.

We are a Family
When we're on a trip we do everything together - eat, sleep, drive. laugh, and play derby- really everything.  We basically just swarm around town in a huge dust cloud causing destructions wherever we go, and since we're wearing our derby swag people tend to take notice.  "Oh, did you see those girls this morning?  They were all wearing black jackets and singing show tunes."
Why yes!  That's us!  Booty blocking in public! And during this special trip, 98 Pounds of Steel made the devastating mistake (although I supported it) of getting Ms. Eerie Bizness a toy microphone that echoes her voice.  Disney classics rained down from the sky!  Katy Perry songs melted our minds!  And she sang, at the top of her lungs, at every restaurant, with absolutely no shame.  I will not be able to rip the memory of the Hercules opening song out of my mind for as long as I live.

Bouting is Hard
We took the journey to Ogden, UT to play the Junction City Roller Girls; a tough team that hits hard and plays a great game.  Although we held out own for a while, ultimately the Junction City Roller Girls figured out how to bust through our walls and we lost the bout.  Feeling dejected, I thought about all of the things I needed to work on.  You need to skate faster, Skank!  Get lower! Get on your toe-stops more!  Stop the jammer, don't just slow her down!  I was beating myself up about how I should have played a better game for my teammates, when something clicked in my head.  Instead of thinking about what I did wrong, I started thinking about how proud I was of so many of my teammates.  Pootie Tang was an excellent jammer who was tired and out of breath, but she showed courage by continuing to jam her heart out.  98 Pounds of Steel was the only one who didn't go to the penalty box.  Agent Cox Moulder played for almost the entire bout- not resting in between jams but staying and playing while the rest of us were tired.  Princess of Wails landed some great hits that sent people flying!  Ms. Eerie Bizness was the hoppiest jammer with the fanciest footwork, and every one of my teammates showed class and poise in a tough situation.  I had so many reasons to be proud of my teammates that day, and that's why I love traveling with my team.  Win or lose - we leave it all on the track.


The Original Skankster

October 25, 2013

Show me that Smile Again

My body hurts all the time. Just a little bit, but it's seriously ALL THE TIME. My hips are tight and my knee is stiff. My ankle pops and my lower back aches. It's getting close to the end of the season and I am burnt out. Practice nights mean that I am not getting to bed before midnight and it feels like there is no end in sight. There is a derby event seemingly every weekend. Public appearances, bouts, meetings, and more meetings. I have league meetings and board meetings, there are committee meetings and special Sunday coffee meetings to talk about that special bout we're thinking about. I am there early and I stay late. This is my derby life.

It didn't start out this way. I thought it would get me out of the house, get me active, and help me meet people. Which, well, mission accomplished. I joined the league and had 50 new close friends. I don't know when things changed, but they have. Somewhere along the line, I became totally infatuated with derby. The more I learned about it, the more ingrained in the culture I became. I talked about the merits of different wheels and pads, which bearings to buy, and different styles and brands of boots. I have talked about strategy; from eating the baby to passive offense. I have watched hours of playoffs and have yelled at the T.V. to "Back bridge!!" and let the defense know there is a "Jammer standing!!" more times than I can count.

No, this is not an announcement of retirement, but I can say, that like with any relationship, the new-ness has worn off and I am left with the reality of derby. A reality that is always challenging. Our "season"  is pretty much year round. While other sports play from September to January, we practice for 10 1/2 months together. Taking December off and a a few weeks in the summer. It's a marathon, not a sprint. I practice with my team a minimum of 6 hours a week and am expected (but have trouble with) training on my own outside of practice, to eat right, to be at my peak of performance for MORE THAN 1O MONTHS OF THE YEAR. I do not get paid for this, rather, I pay to do it. I give my time, my money, my body, and my heart to this sport and my league.

I live and breathe FoCo. I had a dream the other night about having paid positions in my league one day. An actual dream. Not like, "I have a dream" but I was laying in bed, my eyes were closed, by subconscious was running the movie behind my eyelids and I dreamt about my hopes for the league someday and I dreamt that I was a part of them still. Dedication, no? That same night, another league member had a dream that I could jump the apex and we were all on ESPN.

I wonder how far we are from those derby dreams. No, no. I don't mean me jumping the apex. (I am not going to use the word "impossible" for that, because you never know.... but it's awesome knowing that someone has that much faith in me!) I mean from being a major sport in the world. What will that look like? What do we need to sacrifice in order to mainstream? Are the 2020 Olympics something that we want to pursue? Are the small people like me going to be left behind? I love the fact that I, personally, have had a hand in building this league. I love that so many others do too. It was here long before me, and god willing, will be long after me. I love that part of WFTDA's member league requirements are that all leagues are at least 80% operated by skaters. What does that look like as the outside world comes in? What does it look like as we let them in?

As the sport grows, as our athleticism increases, as we surrender to the mainstream more and more, I remember the things that attracted me to it. Beautiful women of all shapes, sizes, and ages wearing fishnets and sparkle booty shorts with PRIDE, having ridiculous names like "Suzy MuffinCrusher" and "iOna Switchblade", and being an unabashadly powerful force of womanhood. The epitome of confidence. That is what they are to me still. That is what I am to me now. If I lay down my derby name and short-shorts at the altar of my future (as yet non-existent) daughter's Olympic dreams, what am I telling her about the sport I helped to shape and build?

I came to derby because it was offbeat, because it was non-tradtitional. If we lose the things that make us non-tradtional in order to get to what someone else thinks is "the next level" are we willing to also lose the good things they bring us? If the culture of derby was like  soccer, volleyball, or basketball I can't say that I would still be here now, nor might I have signed up those 2 years ago. Here's to the last year FoCo Girls Gone Derby, and the next. I love you all.

Derby Love,

Mollytov Maguire

Final thought: with derby being featured in the 2018 Gay Games and own known commitment to LBGTQ rights and equality, how could we knowingly send our athletes to places like Russia for the Olympics? Discuss.

October 3, 2013

From Left Turns to T-Bones, It's Progress

Terrible derp face on my part.
Awesome shot from Pixel This Photography
Something seems to have clicked. Finally. I was coming to peace with the fact that I might always play derby badly. That I may never "get" it and that the fun of being out there with my friends might have to be enough. And then the planets aligned and I made it to another level. I am not going to say that I am anywhere near a level that could be considered competitive but I am saying that this is the best I have ever played. I had 3 weeks of scrimmages in which I didn't cry ONCE and more importantly, I didn't want to cry either. It was just fun. It felt like home. Like I belonged on the track with my team.

I had lines that I played with consistently and I understood most of my role out there with them. I felt how they were playing and positioned myself accordingly. And then there was the bout. The Punchy Brewsters are FoCo's traveling "B" team. We don't play sanctioned bouts, but we play with HEART man! There were two such bouts in as many weeks for us and I was disappointed in my performance in it. I had been doing actual derby things in the scrimmages leading up, my on-track-confidence was at an all time high, and I thought I was ready. Instead, I as a person making left turns amid a derby bout (or so I felt) and that was sucky.
Pixel This Photography

I prayed to the derby gods that the bout the following weekend would be different. That I would hit other people and I would work hard to stay with my line and get to the front when it was time. I SWORE those were things I could do, but doubt started working its way in. I started to wonder if I could only play well (or what felt like it to me) at scrimmage? Were the only people who would ever know that I sometimes hit people the ones who skated/reffed/NSO'ed on Thursday nights?

I can remember other people starting to get good, DAMN GOOD, at derby. Starrmageddeon for example. I can remember our first scrimmage after our winter break last year when she went to hit me and there was some serious MEAT on that hit. I just looked at her and thought "Oh god. I am pretty sure I am the worst player in this league." and the same thing when C.C. ShebashYa jammed right past me later in practice. I wondered how I became worse at derby over the break and they got better. I was, again, not trying to judge myself too harshly about my skills or abilities, really trying to not punish myself for the lack thereof.

Aw yeah! I'm BOOTY BLOCKING in this shot.
Not just turning left.
Precision 10 Images
With these feelings building over the year (a year that will go down in the history books are the worst ever) it was getting harder and harder to be motivated to come to practice. And then it began. The climb to greatness. Or in my case, no being the worst skater on the track at all times-ness. It just clicked. I have heard a thousand times that with doing things you're dedicated to there is sometimes a plateau point. A point at which your skills don't seem to be improving or growing. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, they explode. This is what happened for me.

I am so glad I stuck it out through those doldrums. I think that I had to learn to love derby even if I was never going to be any good at all in order to start the great skill ascent again. I am pretty sure this is for life now. I said a while back that I felt like a derby poser before I bouted and now I realize that I *maybe* never stopped feeling that way. Until now. I really REALLY feel like I am part of the team. Not just a body on the track that makes left turns. It feels damn good people!

Derby love,

Mollytov Maguire

September 26, 2013

Official Review: My Year in Roller Derby

“Yes, I officiate roller derby.” I say that phrase a lot; often to the surprise of people I meet on airplanes, at conferences, or even when I am with my friends and family. People usually ask me a ton of questions about the sport, the rules, what I do; and quite often, provide commentary about how surprised they are that roller derby is even around anymore.

As I prepare to celebrate my cough*36th*cough birthday next week, it dawned upon me that I quietly celebrated another milestone last week, the conclusion of my first year in roller derby.

It was with more than a little angst that I agreed to volunteer with our local roller derby league, FoCo Girls Gone Derby in September of 2012. At the time, I had some exposure to roller derby through my then local (now WFTDA Apprentice League) Appalachian Roller Girls (ARG) in Boone, North Carolina. Although I had watched several bouts, witnessed many wicked hits and celebrated the wins and loses with ARG at their after parties, looking back, to say I knew anything about roller derby would be misguided and just plain wrong.

When I headed off to my first “practice” as an official, I didn’t even own a pair of skates. I arrived at the roller rink, picked out my size 10 rental roller skates and then had a quiet epiphany; I hadn’t put on roller skates in over 20 years. *Flashback Alert*: Picture it, the late 80’s/early 90’s; as a young middle schooler taking a trip to the roller rink and skating to the then coolest Madonna or Tiffany song, ya, that was my last go around with roller skating.

I put my gear on, and off I “skated” (editorial commentary here: to say that I was “skating” is probably an overstatement. What I was actually doing was balancing on 8 wheels and gently rolling forward praying to God, or frankly any deity that would listen at that moment, that I wouldn’t fall.). Sure, on a Saturday night at a bout, you see how athletic and quick the skaters and officials are, but quite frankly, you don’t get to that point without falling. You see, there’s LOTS of falling in roller derby. Lots. Did I mention that we fall? A lot.

You might guess that I am terrified of falling, and at that time, I would absolutely, unequivocally agree that falling and getting hurt is what worried me most about roller derby. To call myself an athlete prior to joining derby would make anyone who knows me, laugh out loud. Heck, it would make me laugh out loud.

Regardless of my fear, I told myself that I really wanted to experience this sport and to eventually become the best official I could be. So off I “skated” (reference editorial comment above) in the outside official’s lane while the skaters whizzed by me at an amazing clip. I cringed every time a skater came within ten feet of me or when their body slammed into the ground around me. What I started to notice was that every time they fell they literally bounced back up like popcorn. Falls seemed to mean nothing to these women, in fact, it was an expectation that at some point you were going to fall and fall hard.

It wasn’t until about a month into my derby career that I was beginning to feel more confident on my skates, and was quite happy with my progress. I had practiced my crossovers, my “controlled” falling and my stopping skills. I was skating with the big kids, the A-Team Micro Bruisers, now at practice and then it happened.

I was skating in the outside lane for officials when the scrimmage jam ended. The skaters on the track were rushing off, the next line of skaters were rushing onto the track, I was skating to my position for the next jam when, standing before me was a skater. We made eye contact, I zigged, she zagged and BOOM, we hit each other, hard. The contact was hard enough that we both spun around, fell to the ground, me hitting my head on the track and the skater landing on top of me.

I was dazed and confused as to what had just happened. It took me a minute to get up and rattle the cobwebs out of my skull, but then I realized I had just experienced my first real “fall” in derby. Sure, it hurt, but more importantly, in my mind, had “survived” a brush with derby death! Let’s be honest, those next few jams all of my fears of falling getting hurt came rushing back into my head. While the first fall didn’t kill me, I was sure that something similar would happen again and I would get really hurt.

As we continued the scrimmage, three or four jams later a skater while falling down herself, unintentionally slide tackled me to the ground. Many people, sans me, saw this happening as they described it, in slow motion, but didn’t have time to “warn” me. Unlike the first hit which I saw coming, this one took me totally by surprise and I went down like a sack of Idaho’s best potatoes. What surprised me more than the fall however was, much like the skaters I bounced right back up and resumed skating.

After that scrimmage, I realized that I had this incredible energy and drive when it comes to derby. I never expected roller derby, of all things, to become such a positive influence in my life. My derby experience has not only taught me about skating, but also about the importance of getting up after you fall, whether it’s on or off the track.

I’ve grown to love this sport and I couldn’t be happier knowing that derby will be an integral part of my life for a long time to come. I look forward to celebrating more derby anniversaries in the years to come.

Thanks for a great year!

Whistle Blower

First Year Stats for Whistle Blower
  • # of Bouts Officiated as a Skating Official: 23
  • # of Bouts Officiated as a Non-Skating Official: 26
  • # of Tournaments Officiated: 4
  • Furthest Distance Traveled to Officiate:
    • 1224 miles for Rolling Along the River Tournament. Sioux City, IA (Driving Roundtrip);
    • 2040 miles for Wild West Show Down, Bremerton, WA (Roundtrip Flight)
  •  # of Derby Crushes: 4
  •  # of Derby Wives: Still Zero. Nada. Zilch.
  •  # of Derby Weddings Attended: Just 1 real one (Love you HardKore Ken & Warchick Barbie!)
  •  # of derby friends: Too many to name, but I am so fortunate to have each of them in my life!

September 20, 2013

Your Butt is Your Canvas

I'm feeling saucy today.  More than saucy.  I'm feeling a little unhinged - in a good way.  So instead of a wonderful, well thought-out blog full of good content, I'm filling it with BUTTS.  That's right, good ol' fashioned eye candy.  We've all seen it before; roller derby ladies have astounding ways of expressing themselves, but none better than the booty shorts wreathed in messages, art, and the usual sass.  Join me, oh brave ones, for your viewing pleasure...The Butt Canvas.

First, the attitude.  These ladies are daring you to mess with them.

Who doesn't want to pack an extra punch while playing derby?  These ladies see themselves as their OWN superheroes, and we love them for it!

A little, Patriotism, perhaps?

And last but not least, the skaters that just LOVE roller derby and aren't afraid to shout it from their bums!

And last but certainly not least...

Instead of looking at the ladies as simply, "well-dressed butts," think of them as badass Monet's, Rembrandt's, or Picasso's.  We all love our butts, and you should too!


The Original Skankster

September 12, 2013

The Doctor is In

What time is it folks? That's right, it's time for another P.S.A. courtesy of the fine ladies of FoCo Girls Gone Derby, and me, Mollytov Maguire. There are a lot of phrases that get thrown around in derby; vulgar, funny, and punny alike roll right off our tongues (see what I did there? Get it? ROLL??). Something like "shut up and skate" is fairly innocuous, but today I'd like to draw attention to "derby is my therapy."

While I love that so many skaters of the world have felt healed, helped, and included by roller derby and derby culture, I am a little worried about denizens of the derby-verse who need more than just skills, drills, and scrimmage to feel balanced. This week is suicide awareness week and I would like to reach out to those who can't just smile and hip-check their friends and loved ones into feeling better. This is an issue that is near and dear to me as I have lost many friends to suicide.

For many of my teenage years, it was a common thing. I went to more funerals than I rightfully should have. Friends and schoolmates dropped at around 1 per year for almost all of my teens and into my 20's. There were some who I was particularly close to and there are regrets that I will always have about "not seeing the signs" and whatnot. I loved those people and still do which is why I want to talk about when derby isn't the best therapy because THERAPY is. There ain't no shame in struggling folks.

I wonder if this idea that derby is on par with therapy undermines the people who do actually need help. These are our friends and lovers. They're our bothers and sisters in arms. They're people we'd take into our foxholes. I can speak from experience that when I've said "derby is my therapy" in the past, what I meant was "Gee, playing this sport with my friends sure is swell. I am very happy to be here right now!" and not "Derby has fixed something that was broken inside me. If you don't feel the same way, you obviously haven't accepted roller derby into your heart as your personal savior." It's the latter interpretation that concerns me. This is like telling an already depressed person that it's their fault because they're not doing it right, that they're not derby-ing right. When I have struggled with life's little "treasures" off the track, I have looked at the glee on the faces of my teammates with covetous hostility, wishing that I could rip the happy right off their faces and keep it for my own. "Why do they get to be happy about derby? Don't they know about all the shitty shit in my world right now? Bitches."

I read a post on reddit a few months back about a skater who was coming back from injury while struggling from depression, and the idea of socially re-assimilating into her league was stressing her out. She couldn't decide if depression had made her feel more isolated than she was, or if she was pushed away by the league because of her injury/depression. Well, that is the million dollar question isn't it? Is my issue real or am I imagining it? I couldn't presume to know which was true (both maybe?) in that skater's case but I do know the things that help me. Her post has haunted me sometimes and I wonder what happened with that skater. I hope that she found her place in the league again and has dug herself out of the darkness. I hope that she isn't looking at the women in her wall is suspicion. I hope that she is back on skates and chipping away at all the hard things day by day.

Depression is a real, serious thing and it happens. Even to derby folk. Sometimes derby is the best therapy, and sometimes it isn't. You, as an individual, have to be able to identify the difference. There are many ways to start getting better; you can talk to someone, you can take some anti-depressants, you can (preferably) do both, you can hug a friend, snuggle your cat, play... uh bad-mitten, or scores of other things that make you feel like you're not a shell of a person. For me, I'd rather get some extra sun on my skin, have a wild night with my girlfriends, or a cozy/restorative night in with Mr. Maguire but when my usual bag of tricks started failing in huge, epic disasters, it was time to find another way. And I did. And now I am OK. And you can be too. And use your community and resources to find out what is right for you. And then let's all get together and play some derby, K?

Derby Love,
Mollytov Maguire

September 5, 2013

When Life Gives You Jamming, Make PB & J's

Oh, jamming.  Sometimes even the word gives me anxiety.  I spent most of last season being a blocker because that's where my team needed me, and let me tell ya it was awesome.  I felt so much less pressure because I didn't have to score points, I got to know my other teammates a little better, and I learned a lot about derby (and we can all admit that killing the jammer is a ton of fun).  Recently, we've had a few skaters leave due to life changing events like post-doctorate work and grad-school (excuse me but don't they know derby is more important???) and I've been moved back into jamming.  This has caused, if anything, a small amount of constant anxiety that is present with me at all times.

Jamming is intense and demands a lot.  It pushes you physically to your edge, strains you mentally, while the whole time all eyes are on you.  It's an incredible amount of pressure to be responsible for the points scored for your team. Yes, yes, I know, the jammer is not completely responsible.  Derby is a team sport and it's just as much about your pack as it is about you, but it's a lot of pressure to perform individually.

We've all stood in the circle getting ready for our next jam.  Someone holds up the jammer pantie.  We all stand in silence while we look around, waiting for someone to volunteer so we're off the hook.  Finally someone sighs loudly and says, "Ugh. I'll do it," and we all take a deep breath of relief.  Thank God, I think. I can breathe for 2 minutes.  Now let me tell you something: It's ok to breathe for 2 minutes, but then you have to get in there.  Derby is a contact sport and is about overcoming your fears.  So overcome them. Resting on your laurels doesn't do anyone any good; not your team and not yourself.  Push.  And then give yourself a high-five for it.

Jamming is also hard because it's easy to get tired (cardio is hard, ok?)  You're basically sprinting for 2 minutes.  It may sound like a short amount of time; it's not.  Sometimes I need someone to step in and relieve me for a bit.  When my legs are jelly, I don't jam.  This is a good thing. I don't want to get injured, get a penalty, or even worse injure someone else.  Just look at your coach and say:

But let's not forget the icing!  Jamming has its incredibly sweet moments too.  Remember that time you got a power jam and scored 20 points?  Remember when you jumped past that girl and got through the pack? Remember when you just didn't go to the box?  Admit it, it felt good.  It felt more than good; it felt...delicious.  Jamming is difficult, but that's what makes it so worth it.  I get to push myself and challenge what I'm able to accomplish.  So every once in a while, I have this incredible moment where I feel on top of the world.  Then I go out on the next jam and fall on my ass.  Oh well, this is derby!

So even though you left practice feeling like this:

I think of what it felt like to completely shut out the other jammer...

And remember my friends, 


The Original Skankster

August 30, 2013

Sometimes Happiness is a Choice

Thank you iOna. Thank you for taking a step back and asking me to take a step up when I didn't think I wanted to. Thank you for passing me that torch, but mostly, thank you for keeping me in derby. Last month, I wasn't sure I still wanted to keep paying and going to practices but because I felt like I couldn't drop my committee work, I didn't quit. I might have, but I didn't. It was stressful for me last month at the end of a series of stressful months. It was the biggest PR event of the year and my first as the interim head of PR. I laid awake in bed the night before that big-ass event SERIOUSLY wondering if we would arrive for our booth at New West Fest Bohemian Nights and we wouldn't be on the list. Yes, I did talk (face to face even!) with the people running it. Yes, they definitely charged our card for the space. Yes, I did wait until the last possible moment to submit our information for insurance for this, THE BIGGEST PR EVENT OF THE YEAR. Similar to when you're sick and google your symptoms late at night in a fit of delirium, it was truly late night paranoia at it's finest. So yeah, I panicked a little. Or a lot, but it doesn't count when Mr. Maguire is the only one who sees it, right?

Between the life things that have been going on for me this summer, and my waning interest in getting hit by Spice Cadet at scrimmage, I was really considering if I was ready to be done skating. Sure, I could NSO... I could even keep my board position... I might even be interested in just being a fan for a heartbeat... These were all the thoughts that plagued me before practice. I would go to practice and not sprint with heart, I wouldn't recover with speed, I wouldn't toe-stop run with any attempt at agility. I kept thinking about who I was going to make snotty comments to when so-and-so OBVIOUSLY missed the point of that drill! Or when I seriously didn't think I was going to be able to do that endurance bullshit the trainer is asking us to do. Derby wasn't fun. I wasn't fun.

Bonus points if you know what this is from.
You will win a smug sense of satisfaction.
And then two weeks ago I woke up and realized, I can be happy again. I can just do that. It's a thing, and it's happening, everyday, inside my head and heart. I AM happy again. BOOM. There it is. A simple choice to be happy. In work and at home and at derby and even when Suzy MuffinCrusher FLATTENS me in a bout in front of my parents. Whatever. It's derby. You get knocked down. I've spent most of the last year getting knocked down and I have been recovering more and more slowly. But not anymore. That is what decided that morning in bed.

I was fed up. With the people in my life, with the people at my job, with my... uh job in general (sorry Shannon!) and I realized I was fed up with me. That I was the problem. Everywhere I went, there I was. It was like "Ugh, it's another day with that girl..." but it was me!! And then one day it wasn't. It's been hard to figure out how to be me again. The person who likes people. The person who looks for the positive. There person you can count on to be your friend and to ask you about your day and really care about the answer. Where did that girl go? She just needed a break I guess, but it's time for that to be my thing again. It is time to be the tireless cheerleader of the league again. It just feels better to holler at muh betches on the track that they're jamming like champs, and dishing out unstoppable hits, and building impenetrable walls. That is who I am. Because everytime I say something nice to someone I am giving myself a lift in positivity as well. It's pretty selfish really.

I may have a bachelors degree in bullshit (or History and Political Science, but it's the same thing, right?) but I don't need to speak primarily in snark. Sarcasm only gets you so far before it gets shady. A little well timed honesty does wonders for the soul, especially when you can complement a friend. Tell her you like her sassy skirt (Pootie!) or you loved her bravery at jamming the first jam IN HER FIRST BOUT (Malady?!) and most of all, tell her that you're proud of her life choices (Mome and Femme. Just... ALWAYS) because you are. Then ride the crest of having the capacity to look outside your selfish and dark inner world for a heartbeat to notice your friends. They're the family that you choose. Derby is the family that I choose. I forgot this for a while, but it chose me too.

These last two scrimmages have shown me that when I bring the awesome to the track, it rewards me. Remembering that it can be fun and that when it isn't, that is my own damn fault. Get out of your head Molly and into the game. Remember that you're a friend and a sister to these women and they need a communicator and booty blocker when you're out there. Remember that they forgive and that when Miz offers you a tip, she is not tearing you down and that she is building you up. So, thank you iOna for unknowingly being the spark that reinvigorated my warm and honest smile. Tonight, derby doesn't suck. No ma'am.

Derby Love,
Mollytov Maguire

August 22, 2013

Don't be a hero! Injuries in Roller Derby

This Monday I went to roller derby practice.  It was a normal practice, just like every other practice before it.  There was no strange scent in the air, no looming sense of anxiety or the hint of a terrible fate on the horizon (stay with me I'm trying to build dramatic effect).  Everything was normal and after 2 hours of practice we peeled off our skates and got our running shoes on - ready to finish off with our grueling, hour-long off-skates practice.

But something went wrong!  Halfway through doing some resistance drills, being the klutz that I am, I tripped and brought another girl down with me.  My heart stopped.  I had fallen, my shoe had come off, and I had landed hard with my ankle twisting in a weird direction.  As I got up everything seemed to be ok (by that I mean it hurt but nothing was broken) and I thought about continuing the off-skates.  I had come to conquer dammit!  I wasn't going to give up!  As many sit-ups or burpees as that man wanted me to do I was going to with a smile on my face.  My plan was to finish the off-skates like a pro and then go home and die of exhaustion.

Instead I took of my other shoe, sat down, and another skater brought me some ice.  Why do you ask? Because that's what you should do.  I felt pain in my foot, and instead of pushing it to the max and risking an actual injury (which is 40% more likely now can you tell I just made up that statistic?) I chose to play it safe and take care of my body.  When you hurt something, like your ankle or foot, you become unstable and that's when the risk for injury becomes greater.  Roller Derby is a cruel mistress.  It can turn on you at any moment.  One second your landing an apex jump and in another your in a cast.  I don't say this to scare you.  I say this because sometimes it's not a good idea to be the tough girl.  Sometimes you can't be a hero and you need to take a day to let your body rest.

LuluDemon addressed this same issue in a class a RollerCon.  Talking specifically about jamming, she said that when you feel like you have no more energy, your legs are jelly, and you can't finish the jam stably, call it off.  When you persist on making those points you not only risk going to the penalty box for cuts and sloppy hits, you can risk really hurting yourself.  This is a full-contact sport, and sloppy roller derby is the most dangerous roller derby.  You could hurt yourself or even hurt another teammate. Thankfully, my ankle craziness turned out to be nothing and the other girl was perfectly fine.  I had landed weird but the next day it felt fine, and I was able to continue skating like normal.  Now for your viewing pleasure here are some non-sourced non-verified statistics for you as to when you should NOT work out:

Your Old Sports Injury Is Bothering You

Skip the workout and see your doctor. This is usually not a good sign, especially if you have pain during activity. Sudden pain requires immediate medical attention.

You Felt a Sharp Pain the Last Time You Worked Out
Do not work out until you see a doctor to rule out an injury. If you exercise anyway, you may make the injury worse. “Although it is expected to feel soreness after you work out, it is never OK to feel pain.”
In 2007 (i know, right? I couldn't find more recent stats??) WFTDA published some interesting data on roller derby injuries:
  • Of 1,070 respondents – 574 (46%) reported an injury that kept them from participation on one or more occasions
  • Of those 574, 262 (46%) report a knee injury (far and away the most common)
I'll admit it, sometimes girls can be catty.  We look at a girl taking a rest from a drill and we think, "I'm not having any trouble.  What's her problem that this is too hard for her?"  Believe me, I've done it and I kick myself every day for it.  The truth is, nobody's body is the same.  We're all different.  We eat different foods, do different exercise, have different daily activities, have different genes for goodness sake.  Maybe something is going on with our friends body that we don't know about.  Instead of judging them, let's just let them be.  They're better at listening to their own body than we are, and if we say anything it should only be to ask if they need our help.  

Let's recap:  If things hurt, don't skate.  Also, be nice.
I have also enclosed a link that is not for the faint of heart.  If you enjoy horror movies, and looking at roller derby injuries, then this is the place for you!
The Original Skankter

August 15, 2013

Me, Myself, and I

My id. I tried for many years to silence it, to make myself be things I wasn't. To do things I wasn't suited for. Hangout with people that didn't get me. But one day, you have to face the fact that your id won't go away. Once I learned to embrace my id, things sort of fell into place. Failed relationships, awkward social interactions, and much anxiety over the course of those years were all the tools that I needed to figure my business out. That and the birth of my skater identity, Mollytov Maguire.

During my earliest fresh meat moments I used to wonder how I was going to do this. It's a struggle. Lory vs. Molly was an epic battle, a knockdown, drag-out, street-fight. Lory fights pretty cheap. Using shame and guilt, she's managed to not do a lot of things in the past. She is a girl who had years of practice with "can't" and "shouldn't" or just plain "won't" but fortunately for Lory, Molly is a real badass. She is a woman who knows how to say what she wants confidently and go after it. She will chase the jammer. She will take the hit when she needs to.

After Molly won the battle in 2012, there was a long period of time when I identified more as Molly. Unfortunately, that got me into some trouble (what a pushy-ass broad!) and I spent most of 2013 learning to navigate between the two. From the pleasing and polite Lory to the intense and unforgiving Molly where was the middle ground? What to do? I had just gotten down the ability/lady balls to say "no" when it was appropriate (probably a more than it was appropriate, actually) when a fresh meat friend named this new identity for me, L'Molly.  She knew me from outside derby and, to her, I was Lory. She had a hard time at first calling me Molly at practice and events because she knew the other part of my personality. She would say "Hey, Luuuh-MOLLY!" and we would look at each other and giggle. Well, here was a brand new opportunity. I have re-branded my identity into what is probably the best of both Lory and Molly. At the tender age of 30, I am finally figuring out how to use both "no" and "yes" to my best advantage. This is the difference between knowing when to break the wall to help my jammer and knowing when to guard my position.

Now we're almost through my first full season as a veteran skater, and I think "Damn, it's been a long road, but I am getting there." I still have practices where I think I am actually getting worse at derby (see the last 3 practices) but I am getting better at life. I was recently interviewed by a local magazine and the interviewer quoted me as saying "It’s allowed me to be more me – brought out the form I was always meant to be." Derby has brought out the best version of me that I have yet to experience. Continually. Continual growth and development on and off the track in almost every area of my life. Those long repressed parts of my personality were finally able to surface. Just like a tiger can't change it's stripes, a derby girl can't be held down. Not for long any way!

The problem with having that sort of duality of identity was that I wasn't able to compartmentalize the two. I am still not. I needed to embrace both parts. Molly isn't Lory's "alter-ego" and Lory isn't the vanilla version of Molly. I am both parts at all times. I am a whole person. Molly isn't a dirty little secret that I hide in the closet, only to be trotted out at game time. She's bold and wonderful and charming. Women of the derby world don't need to hide the glitter at the office, we need to splash it on everything we touch (which, if you've spent much time with glitter, this isn't hard to do. Right Flaco?) and make it big, beautiful and wholly ours! But we also can't walk around booty blocking people in the breakfast burrito line either. So from one derby girl to many; be the powerhouse of womanhood you're meant to be on and off the track!

Derby Love,
Mollytov Maguire