June 27, 2013

That Lovin' Feelin'

That new gear smell. There is nothing like it. The scent of unsullied knee pads is almost intoxicating. Brand. New. Knee pads. They've been just dying to cradle my knees for 3 weeks. We have been on a summer break and I haven't busted 'em out once. They're just tucked neatly into my bag, waiting patiently for Monday night. Monday night NEXT WEEK. Gah! It's like Christmas morning only I know what is under the tree. It's torture! At the same time, I don't want to go back to practice. It's nice to go to BBQs and snuggle with my kitties and sweet man on the couch. I liked making dinner and watching a marathon session of Veronica Mars (you know the MOVIE is coming out soon, right??). It's all been very nice. And then I think of those knee pads.

I am excited to go back to practice, but I am also sort of leery of it. My derby wives are basically only going to be at a handful of practices before they leave town and go to other leagues. Leagues who will love them, and train with them, and skate with them while I won't be. I know what my derby identity is, and I know that I am not defined by them, but it does make me wonder what will happen to my voice without them. Who will talk me down from the ledge when I REALLY want to be an asshole?

I don't know. I can't foresee who my derby bestie will be in the wake of their absence. I never imagined I would be married in real life, so imagining derby wives was even more unrealistic to me. Yet, here I am, and there they go. Away. From me. From FoCo. I really have had the worst year. Every time I think it's going to be OK, I turn around to some new and totally unexpected horror. Being motivated to come to practice when I know that Mome won't come and pinch my butt or Femme's little pixie face won't smile back at me will be hard but I will do it.

There are all sorts of reasons I go to derby and they're not all because I really want to go. Sometimes I go because I don't have anything better to do. Sometimes I need to get away from my life and be "Molly" for a little while. Sometimes it's because I spent so much money on gear. Sometimes it's because I don't want to let people down; like Mome and Femme, or Mr. Maguire, or my friend Rose's kid Kyle. Sometimes the thought of a being something to someone else's 6 year old kid is enough to get me off the couch. Mostly I go because it's rad and I want to, but not always. Sometimes I go because I can't wait to make those BRAND. NEW. KNEE PADS. stink like moi. Bwahahaa!

Derby is a terrible and tricky beast. It worms it's way into your heart and takes hold and won't let go. Before you know what hit you, your thinking "I know I am going to be in the Maid of Honor that weekend, but maybe I could squeeze in just a couple days at RollerCon before? NO. But maybe..." you're spending  weekends watching WFTDA.tv and talking about ECDX and all the other awesome tourneys coming up this season. You're catching up on why Oly isn't going to be in the WFTDA Playoffs this year and the impact of "Sausage Derby" strategies. Derby will go on without my wives by my side, but it won't be the same. I guess it isn't meant to always be the same, but that isn't easy to deal with. There will still be WFTDA.tv and my friend's kid Kyle. Mr. Maguire will still yell my name in turn 3 and my dad and mom will still be at all my games. And there will be new, unsullied knee pads, waiting for my knees.

Derby Love,
Mollytov Maguire

June 20, 2013

And the Mome Raths Outgrabe

Photo by Alvin Green Jr.
After a day of derby
when the salt has dried to your skin, the
stagnate stench of your derby gear
lingering on your wrists and, marinating your body.
You ache in well worked places, with a satisfied
‘this is how I do’.
Hair: long or short takes a more natural state—
product having long ago melted and peeled away from your person.
Memories of burning toe stops, the sensation of a woman’s ilium in your thigh,
of people made up of muscle, bone, flesh and plastic.
What is derby but assaulting the Senses?

Anytime I brush a strand of hair out of my eyes my wrist-guard stink inadvertently wafts across my face.  It gets me every time.  To anyone else it is surely repulsive.  But to me, derby and my own derby odor gives me a satisfaction of, well, me; someone I’ve grown to love unconditionally over this past year-and-a-half with FoCo Girls Gone Derby (FCGGD).  I know what my body used to feel like, used to look like, what I even used to smell like, and all of those definitions of “me” have transformed.

The change from a demure gal into a fearless, smelly Girl Gone Derby didn’t happen overnight and I didn’t do it alone. As some of you may or may not know, I am leaving Colorado for a master’s program in Michigan (I checked, they have roller derby there - hello Lansing Derby Vixens!) and I want to use this opportunity to thank FCGGD, and bring forward all of those skaters who have made my life and derby career start off so wonderful. 

I couldn’t ask for a better derby family.  Beginning on Tuesdays with Double D-Struction, iOna Switchblade and The Original Skankster, these ladies helped define my skating style.  They pushed me to be “less like a tree and more like a bush,” and being 5’11” off skates, this no small feat. So thanks Double D and the Tuesday ladies for teaching me the basics of how-to’s and accepting all that would become me.  Without the selflessness of these derby women who bore and raised the derby larvae that was my class and the classes to follow, our league couldn’t have grown the way it has.  We’re a badass butterfly now, and it is magnificent.

Rules and strategy came with practice, but only with the careful guidance of the Officiating crew does derby success become an obtainable goal.  Krunchy, JewJew Bee, and Bladeybug let me stand inside the track and watch the penalties accrue—thanks!  I may have been helping a non-skating official (NSO) for my league and lending an unpadded hand when short staffed at a scrimmage or bout, but I was also channeling my inner Porifera and letting it all soak up.  After a few weeks NSOing things suddenly started falling into place—the rules made sense on the track and I felt less like a baby giraffe skating through pudding and more like an actual derby girl.  Thank you to those first trainers and officials who volunteered their time to help me and the other newbies understand why derby is the way it is.

I want to thank each person that I’ve ever met during derby.  Even if it was only for a single night, every woman and man that I have met through FCGGD has had an influence on my person.  Pages could be written, naming everyone accompanied by a story how they’ve touched my life: Dead Zeppelin, Pootie Tang, Inner Demon, Sequin Destroy, KermudJen, Dyers Eve…but that is too private for all of the blog-o-sphere to see.  Instead, I will give one final “Why derby is the best thing that has happened to me” before I sign off.

I have recently gotten Derby Married - to two of my best friends.  Thrifty Femme-i-Nifty and I were in the same starting class, and we immediately got along.  We had many of the same struggles with skating initially, but over the months we were able to help one another transfigure into more confident skaters.  Enter: Mollytov Maguire.  Molly was several starting classes ahead of Femme and I, and she was a wealth of derby knowledge and camaraderie.  I’ve never met two more supportive women in my life. A few Saturdays ago after our bout we brought out the rings and made it official—the crowd applauded, tears were shed.  After sharing physical and emotional bruises both on and off the track, the three of us are now forever bonded by derby-wifedom.

Even if I don’t land a hit at practice; even if I get repeatedly blocked and can’t juke through a single jam; even if my endurance runs thin: this is me and I will strive forward.  This has become my favorite type of me.  I love every foul smelling part of who I am; because of roller derby.  Because of FoCo Girls Gone Derby.

Mome Rath

June 13, 2013

Part of your World

Hey, did you know that competitive bouting is SUPER FREAKING FUN? Yeah, well I didn't. I had never done it before. I had only played on home teams until last weekend. FoCo Girls Gone Derby invited the Naughty Pines from Laramie to come down for some daylight derby. I was being pretty flippant about the whole thing until my line took the track. It turns out that playing with other people is really intense. I guess that is what all the vets meant when they tried to prep us...

This is what my bout day schedule looked like last Saturday:

8:00am - Woke up, set up a grand buffet of fruits and veggies that I will graze on constantly throughout the day
8:15am - Showered, ate more
9:00am - Optometrist appointment: selected new reading glasses, showed no signs of glaucoma, bout-day nerves begin
10:30am- Home to continue eating, initiate anxiety apartment cleaning sequence
11:30am - Begin straightening hair, applying crazy bout day levels of make-up (while eating)
12:15pm- Realize that I will never have optimal levels of glitter on my face, hair, and eyes and that I should have left the house 5 minutes ago to be on time for set up.
12:30pm - Arrive at bout venue, Qdoba Events Center, and begin set up processes
1:00pm - Off-skates warm up: jogging, hopping, skipping, flailing of limbs, and dynamic stretching
1:15pm - Gear up and on-skates warm up
1:25pm - Meet my Respite Care buddy for intro
1:30pm - Intro time - Skated in with my buddy from Respite Care = AWESOMENESS. I teared up a little. Real talk.
1:45pm to 3:15pm- Game time!

Proof that I did something in the bout!
Whose green tights are those? That's right. MINE.
Photo By Gravee 2013
Though my Punchy Brewsters lost the bout 263-231, it was still amazing fun. The Naughty Pines have some really great players, and it was just... FUN. I mean, sure there were some times when I was really frustrated, and yes, we were down by a small margin for pretty much all of the bout  (by small margin, I mean it was neck and neck, we'd take a small lead and then give them a couple power jams and they'd be ahead by 40 points again) but it was crazy to play with people I have never met before. Women who had a completely different culture and take on the game than our team.

I think what is really sticking to my ribs about this is that I still get to have "first times" in derby. I am looking forward to my first RollerCon in 2014 (crossing fingers), my first competitive tournament, my first boutiversary (coming in September), and so much more that I can't even fathom yet. I feel like I am  somewhere between veteran and newbie in my derby career and I am really curious now about what else I don't know. I feel like my eyes have been opened to the fact that there is so much I don't know and I am reinvigorated by that. Not that I was getting big for muh britches or anything, but I was looking for something. I knew there had to be more than scrimmages and committee work, and low and behold, I have found it. I feel like Ariel in the Little Mermaid when she is in her chamber full of human things:

Look at this stuff
Isn't it neat?
Wouldn't you think my collection's complete?
Wouldn't you think I'm the girl
The girl who has everything?
Look at this trove
Treasures untold
How many wonders can one cavern hold?
Looking around here you think
Sure, she's got everything
I've got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty
I've got whozits and whatzits galore
You want thingamabobs?
I've got twenty!
But who cares?
No big deal
I want more

And I do. WANT MORE. Fortunately, I get to have more. I have skate tools, extra wheels, I can talk kneepads and strategy (a little bit) but I want more! I am going to my second competitive bout next month and it's a double header folks, all hands on deck! Bucket list item: travel bout, check!

Derby Love,
Mollytov Maguire

June 6, 2013

A Call to Skates

For most of you, next weekend contains no amazing, off-the-wall plans.  I know you're all sitting around with nothing to do, waiting for some event to pop up on Facebook that may peak your interest, and then not go anyway and stay at home watching reruns of Firefly.  Noble as this is (and as much as I enjoy Nathan Fillion), instead of sitting on the couch wondering if there's anything better you could be doing on a Saturday, why don't you do a little derby instead??

On June 15th, ladies are coming to Fort Collins from all across the state to participate in the 5X5 Summer Shovin' Tournament.  Teams are made up of 5 ladies, and they're battling it out to be named the best.  Here's the nail-biter: teams only have 5 jams to prove themselves worthy.  If you're down by even 1 point at the end of those 5 jams, you're toast, which means every jam is an all-out fight to the death.  If you win, you move up  to play even more intense teams.  So, a call to arms if you will.  If you think you have what it takes (and c'mon you know you do) assemble your teams and prove it on the track.  Winner takes no prisoners.

Don't have a pair of skates?  Not a problem.  If you're not a skater, watching these intense games is reason enough to come with your cowbell and boutfit.  Every jam will be like watching the last jam of a tie-breaker. Every hit will be harder.  Every jam will be faster.  Every point will bring them closer to victory.  Every second will count.  No one's pulling any punches this time.  Everybody will be putting it all on the track and leaving nothing behind, so if you go to any derby bout this year, this would be the one.

Summer Shovin' will also have a ton of vendors!  Need to buy new booty shorts?  Laces?  A hot dog?  Merch?  It'll all be there.  So instead of ordering your booty shorts online while watching Firefly, wondering in Mal and Inara will ever hook up, come join us and the Summer Shovin' Tournament, watch some great derby, and make some new friends in the process.

Sign up and learn more!  https://www.facebook.com/events/138073449710371/