July 25, 2013

Black and Teal vs. Teal and Black! Wait..what?

On the morning of Saturday the 20th, Foco Girls Gone Derby started their mass exodus from their home of Fort Collins to the quiet mountain town of Salida, CO for a much anticipated double-header. The Foco Microbruisers were playing against the Ark Valley High Rollers, a team that has vastly improved within the last year.  The Punchy Brewsters also came to take on the Continental Dividers, Ark Valley's B team.  The Microbruisers had taken on the High Rollers Twice before, but it had resulted in 1 loss and 1 win.  Both teams were eager to see who would take home the trophy and finally settle the score.

The first half was as exciting as they come.  Both teams came on the track ready to rumble, and although Ark Valley pulled ahead, the Microbruisers weren't far behind.  Jammers for both teams were fighting hard to get through the back, and the pack was moving fast.  Foco had remained a steady 30 points behind Ark Valley when one of our star jammers pulled her quad.  Everyone was devastated, but we pulled together and started a new jammer rotation, including some blockers that hadn't jammed in a long time.  Once we decided to play to our strengths and stay conservative, we found ourselves climbing back. The second half was even more exciting than the first, and Foco managed to put more points on the board than Ark.  It was an intense bout, but ultimately Ark Valley won by just a few points.

The Punchy Brewsters came out to win as well.  With each jam they started strong and were incredibly focused.  For some of our girls, this was their first bout and believe me, they did us proud.  The Punchies and the Continental Dividers had equal lead jams, but Ark Valley managed to score some killer power jams that racked those points up.  We're very proud of our Suzy Muffin-Crusher and Pootie Tang that took away the MVP awards that night for Punchies, as well as Jersey Justice and Suga Smaxxx for the Microbruisers.

Although we didn't win, it's always a pleasure going to Salida to play the Ark Valley High Rollers.  These ladies remain the nicest, classiest, and most interesting team we have ever played.  They all have incredible attitudes, outstanding sportswoman-like conduct, and their smiling faces are always so welcoming and friendly (they also know how to party, I'm talking about you, RAD!)  We appreciate the relationship we have with them and hope to keep the competition fierce in the future!

July 18, 2013

Maid of (dis)Honor

Finding the right balance between life and derby is hard. There are so many derby things I would like to do but can't. Some of it is about money but a lot more of it is about the time. I just can't do all derby all the time because that would probably run off the last of my remaining non-derby friends not to mention my family. My best friend lives out of town and  before I started this little adventure I went up to visit her all the time. Since I have become a member of the league, my visits have been fewer and the time I have to give her is shorter, when I get up there, I am better behaved with my food and drink intake. I am sure this is annoying. I am not saying I am a saint, but I am saying it's different. She has known me for years and when we were at the grocery store and said "I think we're going to need something green, don't you?" I am SURE she was a little shocked.

My weekends away were usually smothered in bacon horseradish chip dip, hollandaise, and beer. Now they're more like red wine, hikes, and a fresh summer salad. This is not a bad thing, it's just another way that derby has changed my life. I am healthier on and off the track. The way I look at it, I am getting older every day and my derby career is one day closer to ending so I have to take advantage while I can. There are clinics and committees and practices (oh my!) that I can go to and even though I think all of those things make me a better league-mate and player on the team, I am not sure they all help my relationships.

I am rapidly approaching my first boutiversary and I am thinking back on all the things that have changed in that time. Those road trips I delayed because I had practice on Thursday so I couldn't leave until Friday morning. Or changing dinner nights with my family because Monday practice is too hard when you've eaten sooooo much amazing pot roast with potatoes. My family and friends have heard "I can't, I have derby" so much I am sure they want to scream. Often times, I feel like I agree to too many things and then fail at all of them because nothing gets the attention it deserves. It started with little things, using my lunch and break time at work to do committee work, then not having wine with dinner because I had to go to practice. What I am not sure they  know about are all the times that I give up derby things to be with them.

I am missing RollerCon because I am going to be the maid of honor in my afforementioned bestie's wedding. She is non-derby folk, but I love her anyway, and I am beyond stoked that I get to stand next to her as she takes this step. When she told me the date I ran to my calender so that I could make sure that my goldfish memory would retain it and saw that it overlapped RollerCon, my little heart cried "NOOOOoooOOo!" and immediately started thinking about ways I could do both. Alas, it was not meant to be. I could squeak out one day, but I am positive it would make me a really bad friend and an even worse MOH. So the thought was dashed from my mind. Mostly. There are still pangs of jealousy when people post "I got my pass today!" and it did take me until THIS WEEK to delete RollerCon from my calendar, but instead I will be happily supporting one of the single most important people in my life. She is only doing this once, and RollerCon is happening again next year. Skills, drills, scrimmages, and derby royalty be damned! I am goin' to Wyomin' for her wedding and there is NOTHING that could top it!

I am sure the timing will always be inconvenient for me to leave town on derby vacation, but someday it will work out. Someday.  I wanna make her weekend great; there will be memorable, beautiful, days full of love, nights around a bonfire, and laughter bouncing off the hills from all the friends and family that have come to celebrate. That is where I will find my derby/life balance. Remembering the people who knew and loved me before I loved derby is integral for maintaining any kind of sanity. Thinking about the impact of the modified rule set for the 2014 World Cup is exciting for a while, but it won't nourish my soul the way making a MILLION twine flowers laughing until my face hurts and my body shakes from gasping for air while I try not to pee myself waddling to the bathroom. We speak in our own language of grunts, inside jokes, and furtive glances. When she tells me "No way Jose!" it sends me into a fit of convulsions that I am sure my coworkers have confused for a seizure. No, I don't need medications for it, I just need muh beloved Snikki-pops.

If only I could get her to join derby... Is 350 miles (one way) too much to make it to practice twice a week? I am sure that saucy minx could wrangle something! Maybe?

Derby Love,
Mollytov Maguire

July 11, 2013

How Do I Explain Roller Derby to a Stranger?

That's the epic question, isn't it?  How can you explain roller derby to a complete stranger, and actually make them want to come?  As roller derby players we're constantly having to explain this sport.  Over and over again.  So, as responsible members of the roller derby community, when we're bombarded with curious people asking if we "throw bows" and "hit bitches," here are a few tricks to the trade on how to keep it exciting, legitimate, and honorable.

1. Don't Say "Girls."  I know, I know, many of us have heard this one before, but it's just as important now as it was 5 years ago (gosh, I sound like my mother).  Being called a "roller derby girl" isn't particularly offensive, but it's not very accurate.  Girls pick their nose.  They wear pink overalls.  They watch Dora the Explorer on Saturday morning.  And they cry because their My Little Pony got chewed up by the dog.  Now I'm not saying I haven't done any of those things in the past year (my overalls are purple thank you very much) but I play roller derby because it makes me a stronger, more confident,  ready-to-take-on-the-world kind of woman, and someone calling me a girl does not make me feel this way.  So ladies, call yourselves women, because you are.  If someone thinks that you playing roller derby is "cute," politely correct them.  You're a woman, you earned it, now act like one.

2. Use Visual Aids.  When explaining roller derby sometimes you just have to shut your mouth and use your body.  Don't tell people about roller derby, show them.  Give them a taste of what roller derby is like!  Grab a girlfriend and actually demonstrate how you land a hit, a t-bone, or a partner-hit.  I find myself doing this all the time.  These things will grab their interest, give them a better idea of how the sport is played, and they'll want to see it in full-speed with skates on.  Don't have a fellow derby-mate to grab?  Use them (if you're comfy with it).  Trust me, showing is better than telling.

3. Keep it Simple.  It's incredibly easy to get wrapped up in the details of derby.  Someone will ask, "So how do you score points?"  "Well, each team has a jammer and that jammer has to make it through the pack.  The first pass just determines who the jammer is and then on the second pass you can score points.  Every member of the opposing team you pass gets you a point unless you pass them illegally and then you don't get their point and if you go to the box you can't get any points blah blah blah..."
We all know the details of roller derby like the back of our hands.  We know the in's and out's, the illegal play, the complex rules, but whoever we're explaining this to doesn't need to know.  In fact, they don't want to know- at least not yet.  Once they come to a bout or two and get the hang of the sport they'll start asking you those complicated questions- trust me. Be patient, and you will be rewarded.

4. Stay Classy.  One out of every 5 strangers I tell about roller derby is...kind of a jerk.  They're rude, condescending, and usually a little drunk.  Don't let these people get you down.  When someone says, "Wow, I love how you guys just made up a sport because you couldn't play anything else," or "If men did roller derby they would be way better at it than you gals," or "Yeah right, you probably couldn't hit anybody that hard," shrug it off.  These people don't know you.  They don't know the long hours you've put in, the grueling practices, the blisters, and the sacrifices you make to play this sport.  Just look at them straight in the eye with a smile and say, "it's ok, it's not for everybody." And then walk away with your head held high.  Don't get steamed and argue with them, because you can't argue with crazy, and if people actually look at you and think the meat on           your bones can't cut it, they are crazy.

So if this wasn't enough to steer you on the right track (get it? track?) I've enclosed a pocket-sized version of an explanation for your reading pleasure courtesy of Penny Trait:

"It's a contact sport played on roller skates. Only one player from each team can score by getting past the opposing skaters so you knock her down so she doesn't get through or knock her teammates down so your girl can get through".

A little condensed, but feel free to add your own zest.  My best, and last piece of advice would be...

5. Make it Personal.  You can talk all day about the sport but why these people are really interested in is because they're interested in you.  They think, "This chick plays roller derby?  She's probably incredibly interesting!"  And guess what?  You are interesting.  Everyone's story is different, so make it personal by telling them how you got started, what you're favorite thing about derby is, how your parents reacted, or something embarrassing about the first time you put on skates.  They might want to know about the sport, but what they really want to know is, "what kind of a woman plays roller derby?"  Because right now, they haven't met anybody that plays roller derby, and that makes you the kind of woman they want to get to know.


The Original Skankster