Tuesday, December 29, 2009

End of the year derby musings

After filling out a livejournal (yes I still have one of those) meme about end-of-year reflections, I realized that most of them were derby related. I opted to refine them a bit and put them into three categories:

1. Managing to finally pull off a decent attempt at a Sláy Ride. Granted, I didn't carry any of these people around in the impossibly awesome way that Beyonsláy did in that famous clip, but I did the basics of "hit, lift, drop" that had me going over the bout footage again and again in my parents' kitchen saying "look what I did, mom!"

2. Finally bouting after a whole year of waiting. I'll never forget that first bout for as long as I live. I've become a much better skater since then, but being able to put on a uniform and skate in front of my parents for the first time was such a milestone.

3. Not tearing my ACL after all. Man, that was a horrible week. I've never been more grateful for a visit to a specialist in my entire life. Thanks Dr. Troy for yanking and pulling on my leg and then letting me know that I was "going to be just fine."

4. Getting "Nuts' Best Team Player" at the awards ceremony this season. We voted on a few awards, and this was one of them. I never, ever saw that coming. Getting something people voted on almost made me lose it. For once, I was able to not sob like a goofball while doing something relating to my team, and I held it together while accepting it. I totally cried in the bathroom when I got home, though.


1. Wussing out at Speedy Dan practice. When I was overwhelmed by balancing off-skates tasks, I allowed myself to use that as an excuse to punk out on going to Speedy Dan practice and never got over my anxiety attacks. In retrospect, I wish I'd just sucked it up, cried through those speed drills, and eventually overcome my problems instead of letting the demons in my brain win.

2. Being down on myself more often than I probably deserved. More than one person has told me that I need to stop "looking at the ground" metaphorically speaking because I'll "just run into things." Sometimes I forget that I need to focus on the good things I do rather than on only the bad.

3. Never getting up the balls to try pivoting. Why does that role freak me out so much?

Hopes for next year:
1. I want to finally overcome my mental "speed barrier." When I'm playing a bout, speed is no problem. When I'm doing a drill and it involves racing, I'm screwed. I want to get over this stupid fear already because it's getting old.

2. I would kill to get an MVP award at a bout. Would I be the goofball who started crying while accepting the award? Oh hell yes, you bet.

3. I know I have it in me to be a better team player on the track. Getting best team player this season meant the world to me, and I want to live up to that as much as I can. The players I respect the most are the ones who can bring out the best in their teammates, and I want to be one of those some day.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Oh, the memories

All this talk of freshmeat has me looking back on my freshmeat days. Man, this was back when my thighs were soft and squishy enough to squeeze into pants. We took this photo in the back of the CRLS gym back when we were practicing there. Clearly this was either at a league meeting, or it was before we all put on our gear and started sweating. Man, I do NOT miss that horrible, nasty, impossibly sticky floor. I do miss fitting into pants, though.

We've all changed so much since this photo! From right to left:

Dreadnought(aka the author of this blog) is still blocking her butt off for the Nuts and is a member of the Executive Board.
Vicious Vivacious Vera captained the Cosmos last season and is still part of team SPACE BRAIN.
Bully Mia continues to be a Pissah (fo' life, as they say) while co-heading Comm Comm.
Queen Kamayhemmayhem transferred to the DC rollergirls and now skates for the Cherry Blossom Bombshells.
Trixie Von Toxic had a lovely baby boy and is still with BDD as an Exec Board member and manager of the Pissahs.
Xena ParadoX is transferring to Charm City and moving to the Baltimore area I type this.
Trish Squish is captaining the Pissahs for the second year in a row.
Sugar Hitsleft the Nuts this season to skate full time for the Massacre, and is head coach for the league for another season.
Mrs. Dash is also taking her mad jamming skillz to the Massacre, leaving her beloved Cosmos after a year of captaining.
Krushpuppy is taking a break from skating after captaining the Massacre for their first trip to Nationals.
BritKnee Breaker is captaining the Nuts for a second season, and will be coaching the Massacre too.
Varga Bomber is moving away after a season of captaining the Pissahs.
Maude Forbid is rehabbing a knee injury while repping the treasury on the Exec Board, and will be returning this season to kick butt for the Pissahs.
• Nora'Easter left us for Maine some time ago, and will hopefully return to derby someday because she was so darned good.

It's weird to think that we all had to learn the skills we do automatically now. Sugar Hits used to have to think about crossovers in order to do them correctly, and now she's expertly teaching our freshies these very steps. Dash and Breaker had to get used to bending their knees, and now their crotches are about an inch from the ground when they skate. Squish had to learn how to lean people out, and now it's about as easy to move her as it is to push a city bus. I had to take my assessments over and over again in order to be stable enough to even attempt contact, and now I can (sometimes) pick people up with my butt.

When did we all get so good? Has it really been almost three years?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Apparently my skate book is pretty cool. :D

I checked my little traffic widget and noticed a bunch of hits from DNN. It took me a few minutes to discover the reason. Thanks DNN!

It's also mentioned on a few other derby blogs too. Holy crap.

Freshie cuts make Dread a sad panda.

We had our first round of freshmeat cuts this Wed and we lost three wonderful skaters. While none of them were part of my particular skater family (congrats Anna Ellen, Amanda, and Marisa) it didn't make it easy to say goodbye to the three women who didn't make it. I hope they try out again next season because we're definitely losing out on their awesomeness. :(

I'm so lucky my freshmeat experience didn't include cuts. That system was created the year after I joined in order to solve the problem of the freshies who fell behind those who had already passed [insert assessment here] and could do [insert advanced drill here]. While it helps keep training on track by making sure the pace of practice stays consistent, it sacrifices the skaters who take longer to mature. Skaters like me.

I was far from the best in my year. In fact, I was the second-to-last in my freshie class to be teamed, and spent over a year as an unteamed skater. If we had had cuts, I surely would have been gone in the first round. I remember how hard it was to skate on my own at the side of the rink while watching everyone else get teamed. By the end of that year I had cried myself to sleep more often than I like to remember. That long process has left some pretty big "skating self image" scars that will never fade.

I see myself in the skaters who got cut. As a freshie, I wanted to play derby as badly as they did, and I know exactly how it feels to look at the rest of the freshies and think "is this really how I rate?" I wouldn't wish my year of being one of the unwanted children of the BDD family on any of them, though. Still, I wouldn't wish on any of these ladies the "derby breakup" they're going through right now.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Old skate + bout posters + many years of art school = my awesome book

I started grad school at the same time I started roller derby, and it was massively difficult to balance a full time job with these other two major time-eaters. It took me about six months to realize that I could use derby as material for my thesis, and I'm so glad I did. It's saved my sanity, and I'm also pretty proud of the work I've been doing.

I've been making books. I haven't done this in a while, and I'd forgotten how much I used to enjoy this process. I made this one by taking a pair of shears to an old skate and drilling the pages into the plate... thank god the plate was made of nylon. The pages are cut-up sections of old bout posters, and the writing inside explains (in very loose terms) "The Game" of roller derby. I don't go into the details or cite rule 4.1.q.ƒ in the current WFTDA ruleset. However, I do outline the way points are scored, and the different positions we play.

I'm planning on making more books out of old derby materials. I have some old wristguards that could definitely use some love, despite the horrible smell they've developed after years of sweat and "Holbrook floor gunk." I should also consider working with some of the million tutus I've worn over this past season alone. It's nice to feel like I'm really on to something after so long.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thanks Mona. :D

Mona Mour blogged about our awesome moment in the July bout this past season. That was one of the best moments of my derby career*, and I'm thrilled beyond belief that it happened directly in front of the camera.

It was always my derby fantasy to pick people up with my butt when I hit them. I hope I can keep up the good work this season.

*Topped in my next bout by executing the same move against Killary Clinton, only staying in bounds.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Out with season 3, in with season 4

It's been many moons since I've moved my quilt posts over to rollerderbyquilt.blogspot.com. I figure I should finally start using this thing again for its original purpose - to babble into teh intarwebs on the off chance that someone out there cares to read about my derby experience. Am I blogging into the darkness? Are other derby people actually reading this? I suppose it amounts to the same thing.

The season was pretty rich for me as far as BDD goes. The Nuts won the championship and remained undefeated this season (NUTS OUT!). I hit people and they fell down, and spent my share of time on the ground too. I continued to have panic attacks whenever I saw our speed coach (Speedy Dan) arrive at Wednesday practices. Our travel team placed third in the east and went to Nationals for the first time ever. My husband announced at Nationals and did a great job. My skater sister got "best rookie" for her team and I got "Best Team Player" for mine. I wore a tutu sometimes. It was ok.

Right now we're in our "off season," which basically means our "skating and practicing and working on committees, but not actually bouting" season. Our freshmeat are just starting contact, which is my favorite thing ever and I'm stupid excited to teach them whatever I can. It's probably going to be hard to top last season, but I'm pleasantly hopeful that this season will at least kick a decent amount of butt.