Spotlight: Dancing Scott

dancing scott 3Most of you have heard of or, at least, seen the poster of Dancing Scott. He has been a permanent fixture at Rose City Rollers events since the very beginning of the league.  And with the recent celebration of RCR’s 10-year anniversary, it seems only fitting to also honor RCR’s original super-fan, Scott Erickson, better known as “Dancing Scott.”

RCR’s OG Super-Fan

Scott has been a fan of RCR right from the start. He has been around long enough to remember watching roller derby when it was played on the bank track.  So when his friend Paradise Kitty of Guns N’ Rollers introduced him to the newly evolved flat track roller derby, he quickly became enthralled by the sport.  And RCR’s most enthusiastic fan has missed very few bouts over the years.  Over the last 10 years, he claims to have attended 98% of all games. Now that’s commitment!

Fan vs. Superfan

Dancing Scott has no qualms about being labeled a super-fan.  In fact, he has specified his own qualifications for what makes him a super-fan instead of just-a-fan of RCR:

#1 – He has a well-known reputation with the league and RCR members will introduce him to others, sometimes without ever having officially met him.

#2 – He is often able to tell derby girls stuff about the league that they don’t know.

#3 – The derby girls started sending him friend requests on Facebook.

#4 – He has an absolute love for the sport before anything else.

dancing scott 4 (masonite burn)Dancing Scott’s Trademark

Other than his big curly head of hair and his friendly demeanor, you can always spot Scott at an event by his sparkly silver hat. Scott originally wore it as a joke after receiving it at a white elephant party, but now it is his identifying trademark.

Most Prized Possessions

Scott with Rita Riot.

Scott with Rita Riot.

Scott has a plethora of RCR paraphernalia, most of which is featured on his “derby wall.”  He has thank you cards from various derby girls, autographed pictures, and trading cards (including one of Belle Starr when she played for Texas), one of Rita Riot, and a complete set of 2nd generation Heartless Heathers.

His most prized possession, however, is a framed ticket from RCR’s very first bout, dated Saturday, October 22nd, 2005 at the Expo Center. In addition, he has the original program from this momentous occasion.

Favorite Memory

Scott never had any desire to play derby, but he does remember when he actually learned how to skate because of RCR. It was a GlamSkate party to benefit the High Rollers at the Fez Ballroom. The party was organized by Stella Stardust with music by DJ Gregarious.  Scott borrowed a pair of skates from Cindy Structable and remembers that he could barely stand up at the time. However, he had a most enjoyable night, fell in love with skating, and now goes twice a week to Oaks Park where you can see him practicing his moves.

The Best Parts of RCR & Roller Derby

Like the derby girls he supports and admires, Dancing Scott absolutely loves the sport of roller derby and appreciates being accepted into such an amazing community of women. His favorite thing to do is to give back to the league and all the wonderful ladies who are a part of it. Whenever there is a bout outside of the Hangar, Scott takes time off of work to organize floor moving parties, to which he always brings popcorn and beer. He also makes an effort to support the businesses and endeavors of RCR skaters.

A few of his contributions include:

  • Scott bought a pair of glasses from Visage, a company managed by Mess-O-Potamia, a former High Roller

  • He gave a ride to Roller Eclipse on her way to hike the Pacific Crest Trail

  • Shaolin Spocker designed a website for him

  • He purchased incredible art from Venus de Mileage

  • He discovered his favorite wine thanks to French Tickler: Elk Cove Pinot Noir

  • Domesticated Violence helped him purchase a condo

Scott states that the best part of roller derby is about giving and getting back by supporting the RCR community.

Scott with Scrappy Go Lucky of the Break Neck Betties.

Scott with Scrappy Go Lucky of the Break Neck Betties.

Proudest Achievements

Scott’s proudest moments include:

  • Buying Brawn Swanson her first derby beer before she was drafted

  • Giving gardening lessons to Mortar N’ Pistol

  • Convincing Rhea Derange to bring back her fire makeup

Little Known Facts

Many people would not guess that Scott is an introvert and does not like being the center of attention. However, let’s just take a moment to celebrate Scott and recognize his amazing commitment to RCR.

dancing scott 1

Scott completed a 5-1/2 month backpack trip around the biggest lake in the world, Lake Superior.

And lastly, how did he get his nickname “Dancing Scott?” Well, you’ll just have to come to an after party and find out!

Written by Carrie Go Round

Carrie a big fan of roller derby and Dancing Scott.

 

Rose Petals Gear Up for First Home Bout

The Rose Petals is Portland’s junior roller derby program for girls aged 7-12. Since its inception in December 2012, it has grown to over forty skaters, with two home teams and a travel squad. They block, they jam, they have their teammates’ backs on and off the track. They do everything the grown-ups do, minus the hard hits. And there’s one other thing they’ve never done … until now.

RosePetalsBout

Photo by Mya Root.

Until now, the Petals have never played a public bout in their home city. That changes on Sunday, April 13. The two Rose Petals home teams will make their debut at the Oaks Park Hangar as the Voodoo Dolls face off against the Daughters of Doom.

If you love to watch roller derby, now is your chance to see it like you’ve never seen it before. These incredible girls work hard and they can’t wait to show you what they can do. They’ll also have  Rose Petals merchandise and special raffle prizes you won’t want to miss!

Paper tickets are sold out so get your tickets online, and come see the future of roller derby in action. When these young women are Team USA in ten or fifteen years, you’ll be able to say you knew them when. What could be more awesome for a derby fan than that?

Written by Robyn Liu

She will be wearing blue and cheering loudly.

3/29: Let’s Get Quizzical: Trivia with the High Rollers!

flyer_trivia-singleSat. March 29th, 7:30pm-9:30pm

Come hang out with the High Rollers and test your mental mettle with a lively evening of pub trivia, hosted by the charming and knowledgeable folks of Quizzical Empire! The venue is ALL AGES, so feel free to bring your young ones!

Your favorite High Rollers skaters will be in the house, and you could win swanky prizes, or even CASH for being the smartest cookie in the joint! And hey, even if you don’t win a cool prize, you’ll still win at having the most fun.

$3 per person to play, with teams of up to 6 people, so gather together your favorite brainiacs and get ready for a good time!

AND, you can also enter to win awesome raffle prizes, including sweet packages provided by members of the High Rollers roster! You won’t want to miss this!

RSVP on Facebook

LOCATION:
Buffalo Wild Wings
1200 NE Broadway St, Suite 20
Portland, OR

Recap: RCR vs. LADD Double-Header

The term “all-star” has been applied to all manner of things–sneakers, reality TV shows, that Smash Mouth song.  But here at Rose City, it means the teams formed with the best of the best skaters we have: The Wheels of Justice and the Rosebuds All-Stars.  Saturday night, we got to see what “all-star” really means when the LA Derby Dolls’ Ri-ettes came to the Hangar.  How did these banked-track skaters fare in flat-land?

 

ROSEBUDS VS. LA JUNIOR RI-ETTES

The first to take the track were the juniors. These 18-and-under skaters demonstrated remarkable skating skills, teamwork, and strategy.

Rollsmary's Baby (#777) tangles with the LADD jammer.   (Photo credit: Regularman)

Rollsmary’s Baby (#777) tangles with the LADD jammer.
(Photo credit: Regularman)

However, the Junior Ri-ettes had some difficulty with the nuances of the flat-track rules, which are slightly different than the banked-track ruleset under which they usually play.  In particular, the trick of knowing when to call off the jam seemed to be lost.  Despite this, LADD kept the game close enough during the first half as Punky Bruze-Her (#4), Dez-Manian Devil (#310), and Skater Moon (#240k) held down the defensive line.  At the half, the Buds held a decent–but not unassailable–lead of 138-100.

After halftime, the Junior Ri-ettes were smarter about calling off the jam at the right time–Tattletale Strangler (#16) absolutely rocked the jammer star Saturday evening, taking good advantage of the holes the LA blockers made for her.  But the Rosebuds had found their stride. They pulled away in the second half.  Root of All Evil (#97) and Slamnesia (#0) were brilliant in the pack, playing great offense.  Tempest Fugit (#80), Pain Forest (#96), and Jesus Feist (#911) built a fantastic, textbook bridge late in the second half.  With four minutes left to play, the Buds passed a 100-point lead.  LA stayed on the Buds until the end–Hard Candy (#187) executed a gorgeous backwards block on Smackie Kennedy–but the Rose City Junior All-Stars came out on top, 277-147.  Congrats, Rosebuds.

 

WHEELS OF JUSTICE VS. LA RI-ETTES

Scylla, Shammah (Mercy), Moffatt, and Innes are an impenetrable wall.

Scylla, Shammah (Mercy), Moffatt, and Innes are an impenetrable wall.  (Photo credit: FunFrank)

Last summer, WOJ went down to LA to play the Ri-ettes on their banked track.  It was a fun bout, but our proud pegacorns lost.  This time around, the LA Derby Dolls came up to Portland.  There to meet them was the all-new 2014 Wheels of Justice roster, bouting together for the first time.

A note on that roster: This year, most of WOJ (and Axles of Annihilation, the B-team) have chosen to skate under their paycheck names instead of their noms de skate.  This will probably get confusing, but we here at the blog want to respect the skaters’ wishes regarding nomenclature.  So, any skaters mentioned by their Clark Kent name will also be referenced by their Superman name, as well as their number, just that first time.

In the simplest terms, WOJ dominated this bout.  The defense absolutely shut the LA jammers down, holding the Ri-ettes to just 12 points for most of the bout.  Shipley (Belle Star, #1889), Moffatt (French Tickler, #2), Innes (Mistress of the Knife, #3), and Scylla Devourer (#1719) worked the Ri-ettes over.  They simply refused to allow the other jammer out first while still disrupting the LA walls.  Chestnut (Chest-NutZ, #127) and Rodriguez (Licker ‘N Split, #523) had Nunnie Brasco (#N2DP) on lockdown.  WOJ broke 200, then 300 before LA broke 20.  Scald Eagle (#50) and Mutch (Mutch Mayhem #77) each jammed for more than 100 points.

Mutch jukes to the inside.  (Photo credit: Regularman).

Mutch jukes to the inside. (Photo credit: Regularman).

LA, though, never gave up, which was totally awesome.  In the final minutes, Fleetwood Smack (#2 ½) and Haught Wheels (#0) broke out and scored a few points for LA.  When it was all over, WOJ won the bout with a score of 349-40.  RCR wants to thank the LA Ri-ettes for coming and having fun in two dimensions.

While this bout wasn’t exciting in the white-knuckle, nail-biting, oh-crap-I-can’t-look, it’s-so-close, tense way, it was beyond thrilling as a preview of things to come.  This non-sanctioned bout was a warmup for Wheels on their run to WFTDA Championships and the Hydra trophy.  For everyone watching, what Saturday night presages is very exciting, indeed.

 

 

WRITTEN BY JENNA ROUTENBERG

Jenna will be trying out for Fresh Meat week after next and very much hopes not do die in the process.

Wisdom From A Retired Skater

Leave Something To Remember,
So They Won’t Forget

With roller derby being such a fast-paced sport, it may sometimes seem like a mere season ago was a milenia. The way a two-minute jam can seem like an eternity on the track, derby can get pretty wibbily-wobbly-timey-wimey; new rule sets, roster changes, and ranking changes make derby feel cutting edge. When approaching this article, I found myself wondering, what do retired skaters do? Luckily for me, and everyone else, it turns out Mercyful Kate has the answers. Some of which include building a league from the ground up, skating until nothing but broken bones can stop you from skating, and having a lot of love to go around.

High Resolution or Watermark Free images available upon request.

Mercyful Kate #80 is a retired GNR and WOJ skater. Back in 2006/2007, before she was every a part of the Rose City Rollers, Kate used to drive down to Portland from Olympia, WA to watch bouts at the Expo Center. Her initial contact with derby was closely akin to my own; she was blown away and amazed.

In describing her experience, Kate said, “I remember being just mesmerized with the epic nature of it all. I couldn’t believe how big roller derby was in Portland, what an incredible production RCR put on, and how many legions of cheering fans there were in the stands. To me, the skaters out on the track were like rock stars. Nothing could compare to the speed of November Pain, the hard hits of Hurricane Skatrina, the positional blocking of Firecrotch, or the grace of Ava Sk8trix.”

This awe is something I feel RCR fans and skaters alike can relate to. For Kate, that awe let her know pretty quickly that she wanted to be a part of the RCR organization. She finally got the chance to skate amongst her long term idols when she joined the Fresh meat program in 2008. Like anyone could imagine, sharing a track with derby heroes left Kate feeling “starstruck.” Yet caught up in the skill, beauty, and brutality of our favorite skaters, it can sometimes be easy to forget what came before. I was reminded of this when Kate told me, “I didn’t realize at the time that so many of these veteran skaters that I looked up to had already put in much of the hard work of founding the league, and many of them had 4 seasons of play under their belts. When several of those founding members began to retire, I couldn’t believe it. These were my idols, they couldn’t possibly be done with roller derby, right?! I thought, ‘you are so amazing, how could you ever leave all of this? What else is there?’ I’m sure many skaters who literally eat, breathe, and sleep roller derby like I did understand questions like these.”

4664828731_a46f064513It’s never easy to see our favorite skaters go, or to have to say goodbye. But with all the wisdom of someone who has been there and done that, Kate spoke towards some revelations she has had, now being a retired skater herself. She can now see the logic in how the most skilled skaters just know when it’s time to hang up the skates. Whether it be listening to what your body needs, knowing that your life is going a new direction, or wanting to explore other interests in your life, there often comes a time when, “…you begin to consider all the things that you could be doing with your time if you weren’t practicing 3-4 days a week.” Or, if you’re like Mercyful, you just keep breaking bones until retirement is inevitable, even if you resist.

What I wanted to know the most was what this retired skater had to say to the people still pouring their hearts out on the track. What message did she want to pass on? The answer I got was, in my opinion, profound. It made me take a moment (well, a few moments) to pause and consider. To take a look at this sport from a different angle. The response I got from Kate was, “So what do I have to say to current skaters about retirement? Though I’ve often struggled with resisting the urge to ‘stay retired’ through the years, I know that I’ve grown so much as a result of moving on, and many of the skills I picked up as from playing roller derby have helped me advance in other areas of life. As a result of turning my energy towards non-derby pursuits, I’ve found new passions, new loves, and new career opportunities. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that there was a big skate-shaped hole in my heart, which makes it difficult to stay away from the sport I love. Thankfully for skaters like me whose bodies no longer have the threshold for contact sports, there are still plenty of ways to stay involved with roller derby in non-skating capacities such as coaching, officiating, or volunteering.

mercyfulkateMy advice to current players in this regard would be to never take for granted a single second that you get to lace up and step out on the track. Always take the time to truly appreciate your teammates, and just be thankful for the amazing experience of playing roller derby. Be proud of your athletic accomplishments, and know that your hard work is continuously enhancing the nature of the sport for everyone. You will have memories of your time at RCR for the rest of your life, so make them count. At the same time, take a moment to reflect often and ask yourself, ‘what else would I do with my time if I didn’t play roller derby?’ What parts of your life have you put on hold in order to invest so much of your energy into your sport? Those may just be the next big things in store for you after derby.

For fans and skaters alike, I would advise you to pay homage to players that came before that have since rolled on. Acknowledge those who put in so much blood, sweat, and tears to give you the amazing and structured league that you have today. Know, as I learned, that even as your idols move on to new adventures in life, that they are still a part of your roller derby family and league’s history. That if those retirees are anything like me, probably not a day goes by where they don’t miss getting out there on the track with a group of strong women, skating hard and turning left. When you happen to see one of those amazing vets of yesteryear gracing the stands at the next game, stop by and say ‘thank you’.”

Written by Kaijuke

As a member of the Rosebuds Travel Team, Kaijuke knows a thing or two about leaving something to remember on the track. Fortunately, she does not need to think about her retirement any time soon.

Talk Derby to Me: Join the RCR Announcer Team

Magic Pony Power Hour, Feroce Satine, and Mike Chexx (standing) work the crowd.  (Photo: Bill Berk)

Magic Pony Power Hour, Feroce Satine, and Mike Chexx (standing) work the crowd.
(Photo: Bill Berk)

Do you love to talk derby? Do you just love to hear yourself talk? Do you have a glittering sense of humor, a nimble mind, and an encyclopedic knowledge of the skaters and the game? Are you willing to work to get those things? If so you might – MIGHT – have it in you to join the King, Magic Pony Power Hour, Mike Chexx, and Randy Pan as one of Rose City Rollers’ world-class announcers.

You think you know fans? These guys are fans. Mike Chexx drives 55 miles each way to get to the Hangar. They spend the week leading up to each bout poring over rosters, quizzing themselves with flash cards, practicing each skater’s name and number until they know them without thinking. From their bird’s-eye view under the rafters, they can appreciate the “subtlety and beauty” of the sport in a way that even the skaters themselves might sometimes miss.

Announcing is one of the toughest jobs in the league. RCR’s announcers are certified by the Association of Flat Track Derby Announcers, which means they have to pass regular written exams and uphold a high standard of conduct. Announcers have to think about the fans, of course. They make sure everybody in the building is having a great time and will want to come back, even if it’s a 200-point blow-out. They have to think about the skaters, and avoid giving away clues as to what might be about to happen on the track. (Calls like, “Jammer’s out of the penalty box and coming up on the inside!” are a strict no-no). They have to keep the sponsors happy, because the sponsors pay the bills. If an announcer’s voice is on the web broadcast as well, they have to think about what people halfway around the world three days from now will want to know about what’s going on.

Mike Chexx wears his game face. (Photo credit: Sharkey)

Mike Chexx wears his game face. (Photo credit: Sharkey)

The announcers’ job is also important in a way that casual observers may not readily notice. One thing that sets RCR’s announcers apart from those in other leagues is that they take the audience’s attention more deeply into the action. “One of the important things we do in Rose City, that other leagues don’t, is focus on who did what and why,” says Magic Pony, “and it’s not just the jammers. The easy action to see is the jammer, the subtlety and beauty of the game is in the blockers.” Mike Chexx concurs, saying, “The brilliance is in the little things, and it’s our job to bring them out. That hit that Skeeve Holt! has that gets Hari Kari around the last line of defense? Hari Kari breaking through the defense is only 50% of that story.”

Mike Chexx got a taste of how important that focus is when he worked as a coach with the RCR A-travel team, the Wheels of Justice. “I would go to all these other venues and people would say, ‘We love WoJ!’ And you realize that we were broadcasting derby online in high quality before anybody else was. People all around the world were watching OUR league, and learning derby from it. We have fans everywhere. And that’s because of our announcers, how we don’t just talk about the jammers, and how we focus on who did what and why.”

Magic Pony being magical. (Photo credit: Magic Pony)

Magic Pony being magical. (Photo credit: Magic Pony)

Being a top-notch derby announcer takes work. “It’s fast, and loud, and there’s a tremendous amount of nitty-gritty, small details to pick up and learn,” says Magic Pony.  But never fear, Magic Pony believes in you: “I picked it up, it’s not something that anybody who’s interested couldn’t pick up and learn.”

If you’re aching to get behind that microphone, check out the position description and contact volunteer@rosecityrollers.com to apply.

You could become an influential player in this eminent league, gaining respect of skaters and fans worldwide. As Magic Pony so accurately says, “We’re kind of a big deal.”

WRITTEN BY ROBYN LIU

Robyn is finding that the derby rabbit-hole just becomes more and more fascinating and fun the deeper into it she goes. Her kids play too, and her husband wonders when he’ll ever see any of them again.

Spotlight: Tyger Bomb

She’s the one that blocks! With her long, flowing hair and formidable walls, it’s hard to miss Tyger Bomb when she’s on the track. Recently, I caught up with the super sweet–but always fierce– Guns N Rollers skater to learn more about her derby journey.

regularman

Photo by Regularman.

Slamrox: How did you get interested in derby?
Tyger Bomb: I came to a bout in 2007 and immediately knew I needed to do this, even though I hadn’t really been on skates in about 15 years. I started trying out for Fresh Meat that year, but this was before Derby 101 or Wreckers so I kind of had to figure it out by myself. I was lucky to have help from people like Mary Mac who generously spent time with me as I relearned the art of roller skating. I finally got onto Fresh Meat in 2008 but took a really long time to get on a team–I kept getting injured because I had no idea what I was doing.

Wow! You were on Fresh Meat for 2+ years. That’s commitment. What kept you going?
I really think I’m just the most stubborn person in the world. I was a good skater as a kid and it annoyed the heck out of me to discover that my (then 39-year-old) body had forgotten how. I fell in love with derby and was willing to do whatever it took to be able to play. Quitting was just never an option.

Were you an athlete previously? If so, how does derby compare to sports you played?
I played softball in high school, but I never considered myself an athlete. Derby is so different from any other sport. It’s not enough to just be a good skater. You also have to think fast, communicate well, and work with your teammates. You have to cross-train. You have to eat the right things, at the right times. My entire lifestyle has changed (for the better!) because of this sport.

What do you think makes you a great blocker?
I just really like to hit people. And be hit by people. There is nothing like the feeling of stepping into someone and just moving them out of your way, or taking a really solid hit and staying up. Up until now I have been mainly a defensive player because I’m pretty good at just being an obstacle, but this season I am focusing on footwork and lateral movement so I can be a more effective offensive player.

What are you doing differently to increase your agility?
I find that RCR’s current off-skates training is really effective for improving agility. We have been doing a lot of quick lateral movement, sprints, and transitions. I also have a sock-eating dog and chasing her around the house is a great workout.

Photo by Skippy Steve.

Photo by Skippy Steve.

I hear GNR is going on the road this year. Where can people outside of Portland see your power blocking?
We are heading up to Seattle to play Rat City’s Sockit Wenches at the end of March, and then we’ll be in Spokane (my old stomping grounds!) for Spokarnage in April. That will be really fun because my best friend from high school will finally get to see me play.

What do you love the most about GNR?
I love that we come in with a positive attitude and leave it all on the track. I love that we are all invested in each other’s success. I love that we have the best, loudest, most loyal, and most attractive fans in the world!

Who are your derby heroes?
Anybody who plays with heart and integrity and gives back to the derby community is my hero. I admire skaters who keep pushing to get better, no matter what level they’ve reached. I am especially in love with RCR’s Wreckers because they have created such a fantastic, supportive community and are producing some extremely talented skaters.

How did you start designing artwork for derby helmets? Where can people find out more or order them?
The helmet thing just kind of happened by accident. I painted Slim Sheety’s name on the back of her helmet and then other people wanted theirs done, and it took off from there. I started a Facebook page  and I also have a webpage that’s not quite finished yet, but you can see photos of my work there. In the past year I’ve shipped helmets to Australia, Germany, South Korea, and Ireland as well as all over the US. I’ll also be doing round four of team helmets for the Wheels of Justice this year, which is super exciting.

Will we see the new helmets when WOJ plays LADD this week?
Although I did hear that S-One is sponsoring Wheels again, I don’t think TT will have them ordered in time for the LADD bout. But hopefully you’ll see them soon!

Photo by Masonite Burn.

Photo by Masonite Burn.

Exactly how many roles do you serve for RCR? It seems like a lot.
I am a member of the Board of Directors, representing GNR and the Rosebuds program. It’s exciting to be a part of the decisions that will move RCR into our next decade. As part of my role on the Board, I’m on several committees, including the recent push to educate our members about the dangers of concussions. I also coach Wreckers whenever I can, and occasionally check MSRs for Fresh Meat.

Finally, what are you most excited about in your derby life this year?
I’m excited about the level our league has reached. There has been turnover on all of the home teams, and we’ve gained some really talented new skaters. I can’t wait to see how the season plays out! This will also be my first trip to Rollercon and I’m looking forward to scrimmaging everybody!

Written by Slamrox

Like Tyger Bomb, Slamrox is excited for her first trip to Rollercon this year. But she can’t think that far ahead because there is too much great derby happening right now.

From Wreckers to Travel Team: Part One

wojroster2014Look!  The Wheels of Justice, Rose City Rollers’ All-Star team, is to your left. They are really quite good at roller skating. The B Travel Team, Axles of Annihilation, ain’t too shabby either.

But how did they get so good? Where did these derbyin’ fools come from? Surely they weren’t born with quads on their feet, and their moms thank them for that. My first theory is that nuclear waste in the Columbia is causing giant roller-derby-playing mutants to sprout in Portland. I mean, that’s just sort of the first place your mind goes, right?  To Bont-wearing Bruce Banners? But there are actually a handful of transfers from other leagues. Plus, some skaters made the transition from other skating sports, like hockey and figure skating.

But, lending a fair amount of credibility to my “derby mutant” theory, a good chunk of Team Purple’s current rosters are 100% homegrown goodness. By my count, six of our travel team heroes got their start in RCR’s recreational league: Wreckers. Roarshock Tess, Yoga Nabi Sari, Shaolin Spocker, Avalanche, Scylla Devourer, Nacho Lucky Day, and French Tickler all began their derby lives as Wreckers.  (Approximately four hundred bazillionty Wreckers have skated on past rosters of the travel teams, including Skeeve Holt!Effy Stone ‘Em, and Roller Eclipse, just to name a few!  These gals knew little to nothing about skating, or derby, before they started.  And now look at ’em. As of this writing, WOJ is ranked #4 in the world.

Editor’s Note: Updated to reflect the 2014 roster. Also, if Jenna missed any person on the current roster who was once a Wrecker feel free to mention it in the comments below. She would be happy to capture their stories in Part Two.

So, assuming that everyone’s derby DNA wasn’t altered, how did these folks learn about derby?

Yoga Nabi Sari wants to jam it with you.  Photo credit: FunFrank.

Photo credit: FunFrank.

Friends, mainly—everyone says they knew a guy who knew a guy. And as Yoga Nabi Sari has admitted she, “like everyone else,” saw the movie Whip It. (Guys, I still haven’t seen it. I feel like I should do some sprint laps of shame now.) Most of these fine ladies started in order to make friends and have some fun. None of them had plans for world domination…that they’ll admit.

That’s not to say they didn’t have goals. Scylla Devourer, in a display of focus and ambition nearly as scary as her namesake, described her journey from Wreckers to WOJ as simply a matter of drive. “I wanted it,” she says, “and nothing was going to stop me from playing at the national level.”

She took the traditional path to travel team: Wreckers first; then to RCR’s draft pool, Fresh Meat; then a home team, the Break Neck Betties in her case; then to the B-Travel Team, AOA; then finally, WOJ.  I should mention she did that in about a year and a half. Absolutely mind-bogglingly fast. Some perspective from French Tickler: “It really takes three-plus years of playing the sport for most people to come into their own.”

Roarshock Tess, who, along with Skeeve Holt!, is still involved with Wreckers as a coach, had much less intimidating goals. “Let’s see just how good I can get at this,” she asked herself.  The answer, of course, is very good.

In Part Two of this series, I’ll tell you all about how it felt for them to make the team, and the many changes these skaters had to deal with.

WRITTEN BY JENNA ROUTENBERG

Jenna started this article seven months ago.  Work-college-derby is hard, you guys.  She’d like to thank everyone for being patient and replying so generously to her emails.  You’re all smart and pretty.

Spotlight: Headache

For this Spotlight on Hedy Stevens, aka Headache of the Heartless Heathers, we got a little help from some skaters who know her well. Squash Fold and Bea Stingzzz, two members of the Rose Petals‘ home team Daughters of Doom, caught up with their coach to ask their burning questions about derby and life.

Headache prepares to jam. Photo by Jules Doyle Photography

Headache prepares to jam. Photo by Jules Doyle Photography

Squashy & Bea: Tell us how you got into derby, and your journey from entry in the league to becoming a Home Team skater.

Headache: I was at Oaks Park, and I met a woman who had a shirt that said, “Ask Me About Derby,” and I did. “You should try out! Fresh Meat tryouts are soon,” she told me. So I told my daughters about it, and they got very excited for me.

I had never even seen derby at this point, and I didn’t think about following through, but my kid wouldn’t stop talking about it. So she forced me to show up to tryouts. I made Fresh Meat and from there I was drafted to the Heartless Heathers.

Is there a story behind your derby name that you want to share?

Well, headaches are pretty bad!

As a nurse, I deal with headaches all the time. And now, it’s especially appropriate for me because as a jam coach for the Daughters of Doom, I yell and cheer so much every week that I’m always giving myself a headache.

Headache with wife Julianne celebrating a Heathers win. Photo by RCR Photo Booth.

Headache with wife Julianne celebrating a Heathers win. Photo by RCR Photo Booth.

Fans comment that you are always smiling and look like you are having lots of fun at bouts. What positive things does derby bring to your life?

I think I’m always smiling because my mouth guard doesn’t fit right. (Just kidding.)

I think about derby 24/7 (although I don’t want to admit that in public). Having a million new friends in a matter of an instant is amazing. All of these healthy, beautiful, amazing, wonderful people who play in a sport together is the best. I love skating. I love the physicality of the sport. It’s a dream come true.

Most people know you as a jammer for the Heartless Heathers. How would you describe your style of jamming?

Someone once told me I look like a bull out there, but I don’t really think about it.

When you aren’t having a blast on the track, what do you do outside of derby?

I like to hang around with my wife and my kids. I’m a pediatric nurse for a living. And I like to ride my bike everywhere.

Headache, Elsie U. Later, and Rose Petals teammates being fangirls. Photo by Frank Lavelle.

Headache, Elsie U. Later and Rose Petals teammates being fangirls. Photo by Frank Lavelle.

Could you share with us about your other role(s) in the derby community?

Every Saturday, I coach the Rose Petals’ Daughters of Doom. My 8 year old daughter, Elsie U. Later, plays on the team. I also serve on a couple of different committees and I’m always out in the wider world promoting derby.

Why do you think it is important for grown-up skaters to get involved with junior derby?

We have experience and passion and we can be role models. But really, any grown-up that gets involved with junior derby is bound to become a grown-up skater themselves once they figure out how much fun it is.

How does coaching the Petals make you a better skater and what do you like best about it?

Putting the strategy of the game into words for the kids helps me to think more clearly about it for myself. Plus, the young people’s passion for the game and stick-to-it-iveness are infectious.

What skills are you personally working on improving?

I am always working on improving my communication on the track with my teammates, my stops (especially my left-footed hockey stops), and improving my endurance.

As our coach, what are your favorite tips for skaters who are new to the sport?

Always come to practice. Stay with your teammates. Always have fun! Get lower and hold the inside line!

Bea and Squashy in a mutual admiration society with Coach Headache. Photo vy Robyn Liu.

Bea and Squashy in a mutual admiration society with Coach Headache. Photo by Robyn Liu.

You are one of our very favorite skaters. Who are your derby idols?
The Rose Petals are my derby idols, because you love it so much and it is amazing to watch you guys grow as skaters.

Watch Headache jam with the Heartless Heathers against Guns ’n’ Rollers on March 21.
On April 13, come see the Daughters of Doom in their very first public home team bout  against the Voodoo Dolls.

 

Written by Robyn Liu, Squash Fold and Bea Stingzzz

Squash Fold (aka Squashy) is an origami addict, speed skater, and jammer for the Daughters of Doom. Bea Stingzzz is a blocker for the Daughters of Doom, and loves Doctor Who almost as much as she loves derby. They can be found screaming their hearts out at most RCR bouts.

Robyn Liu of the Wreckers recreational derby team is one of those grown-ups who was inspired by her daughters, Square Not and Cthu-Liu, to become a grown-up skater. She has accepted that she will probably never be quite as good at the sport as they are.

 

Recap: February Bout Weekend

Close Derby is Good Derby

All four of RCR’s home teams hit the track this weekend with power, intensity, and focus.  They were determined to win—but only two could.  In the end, it was the High Rollers and Break Neck Betties who won the night.

Friday: Guns N Rollers vs. High Rollers

Most derby fans already noticed that Scald Eagle (#50) was not skating for the Guns N Rollers that evening.  No, Eagle was off doing things that Eagles do—earning the MVP award (along with Rat City’s Carmen Getsome) at the Team USA Roller Derby Stars vs. Stripes scrimmage.

Far from a handicap, this was an opportunity for GNR’s other jammers to step into the spotlight.  Roarshock Tess (#503), Untamed Shrew (#21), Yoga Nabi Sari (#808), and Coperna Cuss (#365) absolutely shone Friday night, proving they could handle the pressure of their team’s star cap.

The High Rollers, on the other hand, took to the track with a full roster of skaters determined to make up for their showing at the Opener, which can be viewed as less than their typical standard.  Friday night, they skated like the champions they are.  Their jammers were fantastically supported by their blocking lineup—Brawn Swanson (#90) was all over GNR in this bout, and was later voted MVP for her efforts, and Rita Manual (#101) played great offense.  The High Rollers took the lead in jam 9, and held it for most of the first period—but never commandingly so.  This bout was close.  At halftime, it was a seven-point game.

In the second half, the tension ratcheted up.  Hari Kari (#5150) and Minstrel Psycho (#28) put up a combined 20 points for the High Rollers, and then the game of inches began.  By jam after jam of low- or non-scoring passes, the tally for HR crawled forward until, with only ten minutes left to play, they’d established a 40-point lead.  A decent spread, but not insurmountable.

GNR rallied hard, and put 45 points on the board in the final minutes.  Tess—stepping out of her blocker comfort zone and into the jamming role she’s been taking more and more—scored 22 points in the final jam.  But HR stayed in the jam, and ended this bout six points up.

Saturday: Heartless Heathers vs. Break Neck Betties

The second bout of the weekend pitted the Heartless Heathers against the Break Neck Betties, both teams still high from their impressive showings at the Season Opener.  Recent history predicted a good bout between these two well-matched teams; what we got, in fact, was a great bout.

The Heathers came out strong, quickly establishing a solid lead.  About halfway through the first half, though,  the Betties came roaring back.  Scrappy Go Lucky (#94) and Ripley (#426) were key in the pack, playing with passion and aggression, and the Betties’ jammers started making up for lost time.  The lead changed so many times, this blogger ended up writing “no wait nevermind I give up” in her notes.

In the second half, the Betties regained and built on their lead. The Betties would go on to win the bout, largely for two reasons.

One: As a rule of thumb, the team with more penalties often loses.  It’s simple math—if you’re sitting in the box, you’re not out on the track helping your team.  But BNB ended this bout with significantly more penalties than the Heathers, which, on the surface, seems paradoxical.  Until, that is, a deeper look is taken at the bout statistics.  The types of penalties committed combined with the sharp shift in lead jammer percentages lead to this conclusion: the Betties, it seems, were committing a penalty and sacrificing a blocker to prevent the Heathers from gaining lead jammer status.  This is a risky strategy, to be certain, and may not have been enough on its own to win the bout.  Combined with the second issue for the Heathers, though, it tipped the scales.

Two: Tatty Munster (#1313) and Mistress of the Knife (#3) both exited the game due to injury in the second half.  Jammers get a lot of attention—they score the points, after all—but they’re only as effective as their blockers allow them to be.  The importance of great blocking cannot be overstated, and the Heathers suffered in losing two of their most highly rotated blockers.  Even with Nacho Lucky Day (#26), back from a knee injury and skating amazingly, it wasn’t quite enough to anchor the Heathers’ defense.  The bout ended with the Betties ahead, 178-143.  Well played, Betties.

WRITTEN BY JENNA ROUTENBERG

Jenna likes roller derby and the following joke: “Sometimes I wonder: Why is that Frisbee getting bigger?  And then it hits me.”