Drill and Drill Again… Again

It’s been a long day and the post I hoped to get out earlier is–well, here.  Late.  Crazy late.  And I’m typing like made ’cause I’m on a time table.  So bear with me…

I talk a lot about derby practice.  I even show you video of what I do.  But what does practice really look like?  I mean, how does it come out in the long run?  What exactly do we do when we’re in skates and geared up?

Glad you asked.

Last Wednesday I manged to get some great GoPro footage of our practice.  Not just a few things here and there, but damn near the whole thing.  And I thought that rather than give long explanations of what’s going on, I figured, “Why not show what I go through?”

So this is what you’re getting.  Basically, this is all the practice–save for the cardio warm up, which was 40 laps and about 12 minutes of fast skating–that I experience, as seen through my eyes. You’re also going to hear what I hear and pick up on some of the instruction that’s given to help me improve.  You also get to hear some of the shit we talk back and forth between us, which can be somewhat amusing.

Let’s begin.

Part of this you’re already seen.  This is a long drill where we weaved up through a pack, then weaved back, then shot up the outside to return to the front.  Like I said, it’s long, but then so are all these videos.  This, like a lot of the things we do, is a timing drill:


You’ve also seen a little of this:  the blocker/jammer pace line where one person blocks the way through the pack so the jammer (your partner) can get through.  This is where I fell and someone tripped over me, but that was as shortened version of this drill.  Here is the full one, and it’s–you guessed it–long:


Here we get into our blocker/jammer drills, going two-on-one and three-on-one against a jammer.  This is where I’m told on several occasions about things I’m doing wrong and how to correct them.  The guy giving the instruction is a ref, Ted Nuisance, and he’s really, really good at what he does.  A lot of stuff happens fast–you’ll see:


This is an extension of the three-on-one drills, with us adding a pivot, who is on the same side as the jammer.  The idea here is for the pivot to move blockers out of the way and help the jammer get through the pack.  That’s why you’ll sometimes see a person with a stripped pantie on their helmet moving people aside.



This was something that Bi and I got into with Mary–she’s in the white helmet–explaining how bridging works and how to use it to run a jammer way back away from the pack.  She wasn’t present the day we practiced bridging, so this was her chance to learn.


There you have it: quick, dirty, to the point.  Don’t have to read much, just put on the video and watch me go crazy.

Or maybe you’ll feel like joining me…

Freshie 9: Number Nine, Number Nine

Yeah, had to get that Beatles reference in that for the title, doncha know?

Last Tuesday was my freshie practice and something of a special day.  Why is it a special day?  I tell you in the intro:


Now, you’ve seen push drills before, but this one I liked because I was really moving along well the whole time.  I started getting a little back soreness at the end but it’s not that bad that I can’t finish what I do.  While I’m not quite able to keep up with the OG, I like getting the speed on here.


The 27/5 keeps coming up from me a lot and there’s reasons for that: it’s like the Golden Fleece of the Derby World: once you do it you never have to worry about it again.  Ida wanted Sam and me to skate our and while I was feeling a bit tired from the previous night’s practice, when the coach tells you to do something, you make it happen.

It was not, however, my finest hour.  I start out okay and even managed to do half-ass crossovers around the track as I skate the diamond–and I was hitting it almost perfectly.  It’s just that on Lap 3, as I go into Turn 3, I lose it big time.  From what the video shows it looks like my leg buckled because I wasn’t maintaining a good form, and I just did a baseball slide into Turn 4.  From the time I started to fall to the time I’m back on my skates is ten seconds and I figure the fall screwed by time by thirty to forty seconds.  However, my time of 6:18 was good enough for almost 22 laps, which is what I’ve skated before, so I figure without the fall I’d have made 24 laps.  Closer and closer every time.

Sam was up after me and as you can see, she has great form.  She also skated a 5:25, so when she builds up her speed a bit and gets her form right, she’s gonna beat a 27/5 like it was committing a crime.  It’s all each of us want to do.


After that skating to a back seat to rules.  Registered Curse, a ref who lives nearby and comes over to help now and then, stopped by to go over some of the rules of derby.  We first start out leaning about the pack: what makes one, what doesn’t, and how you can find your zone of engagement.  This is important because it lets you know when and where you can score and hit people.  It also lets you know why, when you go to a bout, refs are yelling, “No Pack” and “Pack is Here”.  This is why.

You’ll need to listen closely: I didn’t mic Curse and we have to deal with open spaces and background sounds.  But you can hear her.


Part Two of Registered Curse’s Rules of Derby involved going over where you can hit another place and what parts of your body you can use to hit.  She also goes over what constitutes a cut track and how to get a misconduct call made again you, which I help out with from off-camera.  We had to deal with a lot of background sounds here as the men’s roller hockey was on the track and they were being supper loud with their slap shots.


Lastly we go off-skates and Curse shows us the ins and outs of block, starting off with something I’m bad at doing–as she points out–the clockwise block.  She also shows a stop block and tells out the quickest ways of getting kicked the hell off the track, which does happen from time to time.


There you go: nine freshie practices, nine different things going on each time.  The next one, next Tuesday, is my tenth, which means I’ll have twenty weeks of freshie practice under my belt.

It won’t be long before six months done is here–

Drill and Drill Again

In the parlance of a time gone by, I am burning the candle at both ends.  As of last night I’d attended five practices in six nights and last night I felt it all:  no energy, no strength, no nothing.  I made it through the evening, but only by doing simple stuff I need to develop for certification.  No shame there: it happens.

One of the reasons for feeling this way has to do with the practices I attended on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights.  Video is coming for Tuesday night, but today you get a real good first person look at my Monday night practice, because I had the GoPro fired up and sitting pretty on the helmet.

Let me take you though an evening…

First up is cardio.  I edited this video as cardio lasted 12 minutes.  What we did was this–  First, it was skate 5 laps, then stop and do 5 push ups, then follow that with 5 squats.  And when you finished the squats, repeat the whole sequence until the 12 minutes were up.  For the record I did 21 laps, 20 push ups, 20 squats, all of which you get to see from my point of view, including the floor going up and down as I do push ups.


This is the longest of the videos here because this was one of two pace lines I did that night.  It runs long because we skated about 30 laps, or just a little more than a mile.  Since we did two of these that means we skated two miles, and when you add in the cardio laps the total comes closer to 2.75 miles.  I think with all the skating we were pretty close to three miles on Monday night.


You’ll see me get knocked out of line at least once: that’s because I took a good hit and was sent flying.  It happens to a couple of other people, too, and it’s one of the reasons I was sore on Tuesday and unable to go to work.  That and the videos that follow this one.

You’ll also hear a lot of calling out and talking, because that’s how we’re supposed to be when we’re in a bout: shouting out instructions to our teammates.  While skating and pushing.  And while you have a mouth guard in place.  Yeah, easy as pie.


This was the only video that survived the line spin/apex jump part of the drill.  Unfortunately I can’t see if I’m recording or now, so I have to hope I have the camera in record mode.  The only thing that survived was this spin where I go between the outside line and a cone and spin around the moment I reach the cone.  Later I actually managed to cancel out the spin and skate away backwards, but not in this video.  I also didn’t show an apex jump, which involves jumping over the inside line in order to get away from blockers on the inside line.  Maybe next time.


Now we come to the blocking and jamming.  This video shows an example of how this drill should go, as I was standing on the inside of the track watching this go down.  What my teammates do when they come back towards me is known as bridging and designed to keep people in contact with the pack while, at the same time, forcing the jammer to run way back from where they were knocked out and return to the track. (In the rules the jammer has to return to the track behind the player who knocked her out.  If that player is forty feet away, they have to skate back in the out-of-bounds area forty feet before reentering the track.  Otherwise the jammer gets a cut track penalty and spends 30 seconds in the penalty box.)

Then I go up, as jammer, against a block.  Most of what I do is push them down the track before going out, but afterwords Mary, Panzer, Smack (the women from left to right), and I discuss what happened and discuss a little of what to do and what not to do–like, don’t grab an arm, because it can lead to a penalty and other things…


And here are those “other things”… this is what my arm looks like after the Wednesday night practice, showing what happens when you grab:



Lastly I went out and jammed again three experienced players, aka the OG.  As you see they spend time knocking me out and forcing me to come at them again, but eventually the drill is called and we go back to let another group try.  While inside my coach Blade comes over to talk about what I’m doing.  She told me Wednesday night she thinks I’ll eventually take over her position on the team, being the one who is big and has the power to hold a block and jam through one if necessary.  Considering she’s retiring at the end of this season, she probably believes I’ll do this next season, and really, I hope that happens…


Now you know why I’m tired and sore.  And tomorrow you get to watch me crash and burn…

Freshie 8: Pretty Great

It’s been a week, which means it’s time to talk about the last freshie practice, which was Tuesday, 19 September, 2017.  And as you’re gonna see, we had a whole lot happening.

First off, it’s not video time without me having something to say at the start:


Now, this skate around.  About the only reason I include this here is because we had a lot of people show up last Tuesday night. This is due to old and new freshies being together for the first time since recruitment night.  So suddenly your practice goes from sparse to looking like you’re working out in the middle of a bout.


Then comes the pyramid sprints.  My partner, Sarah, and I just happened to set up where you can clearly see us while we work together.  Sarah is one of the freshest of freshies, and I’m helping keep track of laps and stuff.  I’m getting better getting up speed and keeping it, so give me a few more weeks and I should start burning up the track.


At this point we start doing backwards skating.  Let me remind everyone that four months ago I had never skated backward, so I consider it an accomplishment to be able to do this now, if only for a short time. I’m also getting to where I can skate backwards and talk to someone to give them instruction, which is a great thing.


Ida decided to run a few 27/5s that night, and Ashly was one of those picked–maybe it has something to do with Blade saying the night before she’d tell Ida to put Ashly on the track.  Jackie was picked to fill out the other side of the track, so while Ida timed Ashly, I set up behind her and timed Jackie.

Both women actually did pretty well.  I’m not sure about Ashly’s exact numbers, but Jackie managed 24 laps in just a fraction of a second over five minutes and did 27 laps in 5:38.  Take away the few stumbles they both had and 27/5s are in their sights.


The other two 27/5s were performed by the freshest of freshies, so I’m not certain of their names.  Let’s just say that the woman I’m timing on the right side of the screen did one of the ugliest skates I’ve ever witnessed, and yet she did 24 laps in 5 minutes as well.  As Ida and I told her–and you can hear it near the end of this video–when she gets her form down she’s gonna kill her 27/5.


After that we did some side-to-side work, along with people coming up and talking into the camera, because that’s what we do from time to time.


And lastly we have the Scary Monster.  I’ll just let Ida explain:


There we are: more freshies, more fun.  And more work.  We’re always working.


Eating the Baby While Getting a Golden Unicorn With Your Derby Wife

Since I’m running late and I just woke up from a long name, I decide to just throw something together.  And that something is a bit of slang I’ve found for derby.  Maybe you’ll understand things I’m saying in the future.

For the record I have neither a derby name of derby wife.  I hope to correct both soon.


2 More Jams
There is never a last jam in a scrimmage.  There is always one more.  This comes from a superstition that if there is ever a last jam someone will be injured. “It’s 21:29 and we have to pack up at 21:30,  2 More Jams then!”.

27 in 5
The Minimum Skill Requirement of skating 27 laps of the track in under 5 minutes.

4th Minor
If a skater picks up 4 minor penalties they are sent to the penalty box for 1 minute.

9 Month Injury

Association of Flat Track Derby Announcers.  The AFTDA is an organistion dedicated to ensuring that announcers at roller derby events the world over adhere to standard behaviours and codes of conduct.  They also provide certification as a means of testing announcers on their knowledge of the rules, hand signals and the AFTDA handbook and code of conduct.

One of the designated people allowed to speak to the Referees during a bout.

An engagement with a team mate which helps them.  This may be a whip or a push.

Skate Part. The axle holds the bearing and wheel.

B2, B3, B4
Terms for the blocker positions.  B4 is normally the big hitter that hangs about at the back to kill jammers

Any contact to the back of the torso, booty, or legs of an opponent. It is not considered blocking from behind if the Blocker is positioned behind the opponent (as demarked by the hips) but  takes contact to a legal target zone.

Banked Track
A form of Roller Derby on a track with banked sides.

Barcode Meeting
See Official Timeout

Skate Part.  The bearing fits inside the wheel and is the bit that makes it spin properly.

Bearing Press
A tool used to insert bearings into wheels. Often they can be used to remove bearings from wheels.

Beaver Cleaver
slang. A backwards chop with the hand that lands in the crotch of the skater behind.

Bench Manager
Each team is allowed to have extra personnel in the bench area during a bout.  These are normally the bench manager and the lineup manager.  The bench manager decides on tactics, shouts advice from the sidelines and also keeps an eye out on points being scored and penalties accrued in case they need to challenge a decision. See also Lineup Manager.

Bettering Your Position
Improving your position while out of bounds by passing an upright and skating player who is in bounds and re-entering the track in front of her.

Big 5
The “Big 5” tournaments are the four Regional Playoff Tournaments and the WFTDA Championship tournament held each year that determine the top teams of the WFTDA.

Big 5 Setup
This is the track layout used in the Big 5 tournament bouts.  The penalty box is located in the centre of the home straight, between the jam line and pivot line. The team benches are located either side of the penalty box.

Bleacher Creatures
The wonderful fans!

Blocking is any movement on the track designed to impede or dislocate an opponent. Blocking includes the possible counter-blocking motion initiated by the opponent to counteract the block; counter-blocking is treated as a block and held to the same standards and rules. Blocking need not include contact. Impeding the movement of an opposing skater by hitting her or positioning yourself in her path.

Blockers are the positional players that form the pack. The Pivot Blocker is one of the four Blockers per team allowed in each jam

Blocking Zone
Areas of the body that may be used to hit an opponent when performing ablock.

Booty Block
hit to an opponent using the hips or ass

A bout or game is composed of sixty (60) minutes of play divided into two periods of thirty (30) minutes played between two teams.

The uniform of the skater

Boutmas Eve
The night before a bout when all good rollergirls get excited and go to bed early so that bout day comes quicker.

Blocker moving away from the body of the pack but still remaining within proximity to be counted as part of the pack.  This extends the engagement zone from that player and so allows another blocker to chase out.

Broller Derby
See Merby

Bus Queue
A penalty box with a number of skaters sitting and standing at the same time, resembling a group of potential passengers awaiting the arrival of the Number 32.

Butt to the Gutt
See Sit Block

Cake Sale
A period of increased activity at the Sin Bin.  When lots of players are being sent to the box in the same jam.  Coined by Sven WillIBeFamous.

Call off the Jam
The lead Jammer has the option to end the jam at any point by touching her hips repeatedly.

Can Opener
block where the blocker is side by side with the target.  The Blocker drops low and throws their shoulder into the targets chest area throwing them backwards.

Throwing a Team mate into the path of an opposing player. See “Punish the Bullet, Not the Gun”

block where the blocker is side by side with the target and then laterals quickly across the front of the target impacting with her front.  The c-block name comes from the skates almost carving a c shaped path on the track.

Cherry Popper
A Skate in their first bout.

Contact Zone
Areas of the body that may be used to give or receive a hit

Alternate name for Poodling. From “Trying to pick up a minor”.

Counter-blocking is any motion/movement towards an oncoming block by the receiving skater which is designed to counteract an opponent’s block. Counterblocking is treated as a block and held to the same standards and rules. Standing up, turning away, ducking, etc is not considered counter-blocking.

An abrasion caused by the velcro of another players pad rubbing against skin.  From Velcro Kiss.

A Stride in skating where the skater steps across with one foot while pushing with the trailing foot.

Cutting the Track
Penalty. Cutting the track is a penalty when you pass players whilst out of bounds.  The penalty applies when the player

Derby Deeds

Derby Name
See Skate Name

Derby Owned
This is normally attached to businesses which are run by skaters to cater for skaters.

Derby Virgin
A First time spectator

Derby Wife
A derby wife is another skater who has your back.  They are the person who sticks up for you on and off track, and will support you throughout your derby career.

Clothing company specialising in apparel for Roller Derby

Counter-clockwise.  The normal direction of Gameplay in Roller Derby

Designated Alternate
The Captain selects an additional person to act in their stead; this person is the Designated Alternate. The Designated Alternate may be another skater, coach or manager. The Designated Alternate must be one of the sixteen individuals described in Section 2.1.4. A team shall only have one Designated Alternate.

Diamond Unicorn
8 Grand Slams in a row (or a 40 – 44 point jam). See Unicorn

A form of transition.

Skaters are considered down if they have fallen, been knocked to the ground or have taken a knee. Skaters on one knee are considered down. After downing herself or falling, a skater is considered down until she is standing, stepping, and/or skating. Stationary standing players are not considered down.

Duck Walk
A method of accelerating on skates.  The feet are placed at 45 degree angles to the body (making a v shape in front of the skater) and then the skater starts stepping forward.

A rating for wheels or bushings.  Relates to the Shore Hardness scale.  As a general rule the lower the number the softer and therefore grippier the wheel.  Derby wheels generally sit in the range of 80A – 105A.  For more in depth info see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shore_durometer

Eat The Baby
When the pack catches up with and swallows the jammer after she has left the engagement zone.

Any sort of interaction with another skater on the track during a jam. (See also Assist and Block)

Engagement Zone
The zone in which skaters may legally engage. The legal Engagement Zone extends from twenty (20) feet behind the rearmost pack member to twenty (20) feet in front of the foremost pack member, between the inside and outside track boundaries. Jammers may engage each other outside of the Engagement Zone.

To remove a skater from the remainder of the game for serious physical violence or any action deemed by the officials to cause an extraordinary physical threat to others.

Falling Small
Falling with the arms and legs controlled, tucked in to the body, and not flailing

False Start
Jammers have to start the jam behind the jam line and blockers have to be between the pivot line and the jam line.  If a player is out of position on track when the whistle is blown then they will pick up a false start penalty.  The level of the penalty depends on whether they yield the advantage they have gained.

Fat Controller
A wall where one player skates backwards in front of the wall and physically directs the rest of the wall with pushes and pulls.

The roller derby equivalent of a cheerleader in other sports. Same deal – Team colours, Pom poms but way more attitude.

Fireman Line
A line of Blockers skating one behind the other and all holding onto the blocker in front resembling a line of firemen holding a hose.

Fishnet Burns
A variety of Rink Rash involving fishnet stockings which leaves criss cross pattern on the affected area

Roller Derby Magazine

Flat Track
Roller Derby variant played on a completely flat surface.  The most popular form of Roller Derby mainly because specialist tracks are not needed and tracks can be laid out on any flat floor using tape.

Fouling Out
To remove a skater for the remainder of the game for excessive turns served in the penalty box.

Fresh Meat
A new skater that has not completed minimum skills.

Fruit Boots
See Inlines

See Bout

Game Roster
The skaters that are actually suited up and eligible to play on game day

Extra padding usually worn beneath the knee or elbow pads.

Ghost Points
Points that a jammer can accrue without having to pass the player.  Examples of ghost points include players not on the track, players in the penalty box and players outside of the engagement zone.

Giner Shiner
A bruise of the crotch caused by falling on a skate.  See Skate Rape

A goat is a player held behind a wall with the effect of controlling the packspeed.  Often referred to as Getting a Goat or Grabbing a Goat.

Golden Unicorn
6 Grand Slams in a row (or a 30 – 34 point jam). See Unicorn

Gotham Web
A wall where the blockers reach out and touch either the hips or shoulders of the other blockers in the wall creating a web of legs and arms

Grand Slam
Picking up the full complement of 5 points for passing the pack and lapping the opposing Jammer, See Jammer Lap Point

Gross Misconduct
An indiscretion so serious that it justifies the instant expulsion of a skater, even on the first occurrence.

Helmet Cover
A stretchy fabric cover to be worn over the helmet by the Jammer and Pivot.  The Jammers Helmet Cover has a Star on each side. The Pivot helmet cover has a Stripe running from front to back down the middle of the cover.

Helmet Tapper
A jam where one jammer is continually lapping the other. From the tapping of the wrist guard against the helmet of the Jam Ref whenever his jammer is being lapped. “This jam is turning into a real helmet tapper marty…”

Hip Check
hit to an opponent using the hips

Hip Whip
whip taken from a teammate by grabbing their hips and pulling yourself forward.

Any form of check or contact blocking manoeuvre

Hit it and Quit It
Scoring 1 pass and then calling the jam off before  the opposing jammer can get through the pack.

Skate Part. Wheels.  Hybrids are wheels which are designed to be the best of both worlds.  They provide good amounts of roll and grip. Examples of Hybrids are Atom Poisons and Reidell Shadows.

Illegal Procedures
Technical infractions that give the offending team an advantage but do not directly impact a specific opponent.

A foul has an impact on safety or game play when a measurable physical force or effect can be observed.

In Bounds
A skater is in bounds as long as all parts of the skater’s body and equipment that are in contact with the ground are within or on the track boundary. If a skater jumps, and ceases all contact with the ground her prior in bounds/out of bounds status is maintained until contact with the ground re-establishes in bounds/out of bounds status. In bounds skaters are not necessarily in play.

In Play
When a skater is positioned within the Engagement Zone and is in bounds, she is in play and may legally block and assist. Downed players are not in play. Jammers may engage each other anywhere inside the track boundaries for the duration of the jam, but must be within the Engagement Zone in order to legally initiate engagement with Blockers

The area in the centre of the track.  The is where the Inside Pack Refs and Jam refs skate and also where NSOs and NSO equipment is placed.

Initial Pass
The first pass a Jammer makes through the pack. No score is awarded on this pass; it is only used to establish the Lead Jammer.

Initiator of the Block
The skater who makes contact with a target zone of an opponent is the initiator of the block. The initiator of a block is always responsible for the legality of the contact.

These are skates with all the wheels mounted in a straight line down centre of the boot.

Willfully failing to comply with a referee’s orders.

Jams are two (2) minute races between teams to score points.

Jam Line
The Jam line is the line on the track where the jammers start. The Jammers must be on or behind this line when the jam starts or they will pick up a false start penalty.  The jam line is situated 30 feet behind the pivot line.

Jammers are the point scorers for their teams. Each team is permitted one Jammer per jam. The Jammers are identified by stars on their helmet cover.

Jammer Lap Point
If one Jammer completely laps the opposing Jammer, she will score an additional point each time she fully laps her. Exceptions occur when the opposing Jammer is not on the track

Jammerless Jam
A jam in which there is a period of time with no jammer on the track as both are in the penalty box.  This is outlined in section 7.4.1. of the WFTDA Rules

See Can Opener

See Fearleader

Juking is the act of feinting and dodging to try and send a blocker in one direction while you go the other.

Jump the Apex
A move where the skater cuts the inside of the track by jumping over it.  A move which is legal as long as the skater jumps from in-bounds, lands in-bounds and does not make contact with any other skaters in the process.

Imaginary lanes on a derby track. Used by some coaches/blockers in training and drills.

A complete pass through the pack; this may require more than one trip around the track.

Lap of Dishonour
The route an expelled skater takes when heading for the locker room.

Lead Jammer
The Lead Jammer is the first Jammer to pass the foremost in-play Blockerlegally and in bounds, having already passed all other Blockers legally and in bounds.

Lineup Manager
The lineup manager is in charge of sending the right players out onto track at the right time in the right positions.  See also Bench Manager

Loss of Relative Position
When a skater’s position in relation to other skaters on the track is lost for  sustained period of time due to the actions of an opponent, such as a legal block or an illegal block. Being forced out of bounds is always to be considered a loss of relative position.

Low Block
A Trip or Low Block is any contact which lands on an opponent’s feet or legs, below the legal target zone, that causes the skater to stumble or fall.

Major Penalty
A foul that has a measurable physical force or effect which causes harm or adversely affects the game. Assessed if the infraction has extensive impact on safety or game play.

Mens Derby Coalition
the original name of the mens derby governing body. It was officially changed in 2011 to Mens Roller Derby Association.

Mens Roller Derby

The Men’s European Roller Derby Championships. First held at the Futsal Arena, Birmingham, England on the weekend on 28th/29th July 2012.  The first winners were Southern Discomfort Roller Derby.

Minor Penalty
A foul that has a measurable physical force or effect but does not cause harm or adversely affect the game. Assessed if the infraction has limited impact on safety or game play.

Wrongful or improper behaviour motivated by intentional purpose or obstinate indifference to the rules.

Mr Wilson
Falling onto your back/ass with your feet and legs straight out in front of you.  This is the way the Mr Wilson always falls when he steps on Dennis’ skateboard. Taken from Skateboarding slang

Mens Roller Derby Association.  Formerly MDC or Mens Derby Coalition. Often pronounced ‘Murder’.

Multi-player Block
Blocking with multiple players via a grabbing, holding, linking or joining fashion that impedes an opponents’ movement

Common pronunciation of MRDA

Natural Grand Slam
A Grand Slam where the jammer lap point is gained by lapping the jammer on track and not from a NOTT point/Ghost Point. See Grand Slam.

See Fresh Meat

A grand slam of 5 points. “And Team Scotlands Clinically Wasted picks up another nickel” See Jammer Lap Point, Grand Slam

Nickel and Diming
The style of play of picking up 4 or 5 points and then calling the jam off.

No Douchebag Rules
Rule employed when scrimmaging with newer players. This basically means that the more experienced players rein in the big hits and sneaky tactics.

No Pack
There is no pack when there is not a group of Blockers (from both teams) skating within proximity to each other or when there are two or more equally numbered groups of Blockers not skating within proximity to each other.

No-ller Derby
Ajam where neither team moves at all at the start and so the clock ticks down with the jammers never being released.  This happened most recently several times in a row during the 2011 Westerns Rocky Mountain vs Oly bout.

Non-scoring Pass
The initial pass that the jammers make in the jam is the non scoring pass

Not Lead
A Jammer without Lead Jammer Status

Non Skating Official.  NSOs assist the referees by recording the score, recording and timing the penalties, timing the jams and updating the scoreboards.

Off To The Races
Expression normally employed when a jammer or jammers breaks out of the pack and takes off at full speed.

Official Timeout
Referees timeout which can be taken for a number of reasons including score/rule queries, safety issues or biscuit discussion

Shortened form of Oly Rollers, a WFTDA team from Olympia, WA. WFTDA champions in 2009.

Original Dust Devil
WFTDA’s first event, held February 24-26, 2006 at Bladeworld in Tucson, AZ. It served as the first National Championship, crowning the Texacutioners the sport’s first national champs who defeated the hosting Tucson Saddletramps. It was also the first public use of standardized rules, WFTDA 1.0. It was played by 20 teams:

AZRD – Arizona Roller Derby

Assassination City Derby – Dallas

Atlanta Rollergirls

Bay Area Derby Girls

Carolina Rollergirls – Raleigh

Dallas Derby Devils

Duke City Derby – Albecerque (Sp?) NM

Gotham Girls Roller Derby

Houston Roller Derby

Kansas City Roller Warriors

Mad Rollin’ Dolls (Madison, WI)

Minnesota Roller Girls (St. Paul, MN)

Providence Roller Derby – RI

Rat City Rollergirls – Seattle, WA

Rocky Mountain Rollergirls – Denver

Rose City Rollers – Portland

Sin City Rollergirls – Las Vegas

Texas Rollergirls – Austin, TX

Tucson Roller Derby – Tucson, AZ (host)

Windy City Rollers (Chicago)

Your finish in this tournament served as the initial rankings, upon which we’ve voted on and assigned based on playoff tournaments ever since.

The tournament name has been used by Tucson, however, the original Dust Devil was the only time it served as the National Championship Tournament. There were no Regional Tournaments. Teams qualified if they had two public bouts

The Old School Derby Association was formed in 2007 and combines the modern rules of roller derby with the old school banked tracked rules.  OSDA is open to women, men, co-ed, flat and banked leagues

Out Of Bounds
A skater is out of bounds when any part of the skater’s body or equipment is touching the ground beyond the track boundary. If a skater jumps, and ceases all contact with the ground her prior in bounds/out of bounds status is maintained until contact with the ground re-establishes in bounds/out of bounds status. Out of Bounds skaters are not in play.

Out Of Pack
A skater is out of pack when she is more than ten (10) feet from the nearest pack skater but within twenty (20) feet of the nearest pack skater.

Out Of Play
Blocker that is positioned more than twenty (20) feet outside the pack, out of bounds, or down is out of play. A Jammer that is out of bounds is out of play.

Pace line
a Line of skaters approximately arm’s length apart keeping the same speed.  Often used in drills.

The pack is defined by the largest group of Blockers, skating in proximity, containing members from both teams. The Jammers are independent of this definition.

Pack Is Here Jesus
website/meme.  Facebook group which started collecting non derby pictures which resembled people showing the “Pack Is Here” referee hand signal. Named after a statue of Jesus in this pose.

Pad Stink
The bad smell that seems to cling to roller derby safety equipment no matter how much you wash it. Most Derbygirls seem to become immune to the effects.  Some actively encourage it.

Skaters are required to wear Knee and Elbow pads along with Wrist Guards, a gumshield and a Helmet as the minimum safety equipment.

See Helmet Cover

Panty Pass
See Star Pass

Panty Slide
see Baseball Slide

To pass is to move in front of an opposing skater by positioning your hips in front of hers. A pass begins with the Jammer behind the pack and ends when the Jammer has cleared the pack by twenty feet. To begin the next pass, the Jammer must fully lap the pack and catch up to the back of the pack.

An Assist where one player stands on their toe stops and whips a teammate around themselves over out of bounds area of the track.

The punishment meted out for infringement of the game rules.

Penalty Box
The area where skaters must serve time for committing fouls.  The Penalty box comprises of 6 chairs (3 per team) and is demarcated by a Point of No Return 10 foot from the edge of the chairs. Skaters must enter the penalty box in a counter-clockwise direction.

Penalty Killing
The act of trying to stop points scored by the opposition when they have a powerjam.

Philly Wall
A wall made of blockers facing each other, across the track, touching palm to palm

Blocker with a front to back stripe on the helmet

Pivot Line
The pivot line is the line that all blockers must start behind. The pivot line is situated 30 feet in front of the jam line and at the top of the straight before turn 1.

Platinum Unicorn
7 Grand Slams in a row (or a 35 -39 point jam). See Unicorn

Plow Stop
A method of Slowing down and/or stopping which involved spreading your feet wide and pointing the toes inwards much like a skier.

Point of No Return
A line demarcating where the penalty box ends.  If a skater passes the point of no return they must skate round the track in the ref lane again to enter the penalty box from a counter-clockwise direction.

The act of standing out of position before thejam starts so that a 4th minor is picked up as soon as the jam starts.  Usually employed on jammers to clear their minor penalties down before they next go on trackas a jammer.

Positional Blocking
A.K.A. Body Blocking, Frontal Blocking, Passive Blocking. Passive blocking is blocking without contact, positioning yourself in front of an opposing skater to impede her movement on the track. It may also be done unintentionally, if the blocking skater is not aware of the skater’s position behind her.

When the opposing jammer is not on track the team with the jammer is referred to as having a powerjam.  It is named so as their jammer has the opportunity to score points without the opposing team also scoring.

A measure of distance for in play skaters that is defined as skating not more than ten feet in front of or behind the nearest pack skater.

Punish the Bullet, Not the Gun
Phrase used by refs to explain who picks up a penalty if a CannonBalled player commits a foul as a result of being thrown/assisted.

Skate Part. Wheels.  Pushers are grippy wheels which are used in combination with Tuners.  Pushers are the wheels which are used when cornering and when accelerating.

Quad skates.  These are skates which have 4 wheels, one mounted in each corner of the skate.  These are the only style of skate allowed to be worn by players.  Refs are allowed to wear inlines.

Queen of the Track
Drill/Game.  There are many variations of this game however the main theme is that players attempt to put each other down or out of bounds.  Once a player is down or out they are out of the game.  The last skater left in is declared queen of the track.

Rainbow Unicorn
10 Grand Slams in a Row (or any jam scoring over 50 points). See Unicorn

Roller Derby Association of Canada

See Waterfall

A skater positioning herself in front of an opponent who has already passed her.


Ref Lane
The 10 foot safety zone around the outside of the track.  This is where the Outside Pack Refs skate their normal line.  Skaters also use the ref lane to skate to the penalty box.

Relative Position
The position a skater holds in relation to other skaters on the track.

The act of passing an opponent who has already been passed during the current lap. If the Jammer drops back behind an opponent that she passed illegally, by being reengaged or repositioning herself, she may attempt to pass her again legally.

Rink Rash
Grazing or friction burns caused by sliding on the track

Roller Derby Saved My Soul
Song.  Uncle Leon and the Alibis song about our favourite sport.  Almost an unofficial theme song.

Annual Roller Derby Convention

Generic name for a skater in Roller Derby.

Having multiple derby wives

Rugby Start
A start where there is a rugby style scrum around the pivot line with the jammers trying to find a way through the tussle.

See Goat

School Chair Skittles
The act of scattering the penalty box chairs in an overzealous attempt at getting into the box quickly.

Scoring Pass
Any pass a Jammer makes through the pack after the completed initial pass. Points may only be earned on scoring passes. A Jammer Lap Point is independent of this definition.

A practice of gameplay.  Normally abbreviated to Scrim

A rugby style scrum of players.  Usually seen during the jam line start tactic where all the blockers are huddled together with the jammers fighting to get through.

Seal Clubbing
A shoulder check from behind to the outside of the shoulder made with the upper arm/shoulder of the initiator. Normally a movement with only the upper body designed to throw a hit at the opposing player when close up.

Self Assist
a blocker or jammer usually hip whipping themselves off a teammate to pass opponents.

Sheriff Block
Another name for the Can Opener –  It’s a move made famous by Helen Wheels, one of the sport’s early skaters who played with AZRD. AZRD’s travel team is the Tent City Terrors, a band of prisoner’s on the lam. AZRD often skated under different names for inter-league than league play. Helen was dressed as the Sheriff on the lam with the prisoners and their go to jammer. Her skate name on the Terrors was “Sheriff Shutyopieo,” sounding like Sheriff Shut Your Pie Hole. She was the first to use the move in inter-league play and the name “Sheriff” stuck. (Thanks to Bobby Nox for this explanation!)

Short Forward
Plate mounting style.  A plate shorter than the boot is mounted forward on the boot so that the rear wheels are under the arch of the foot.

Shorted Skater
The skater serving a penalty in the penalty box

Sin Bin
The Penalty Box

Sit Block
A booty block where the blocker in front sits back into the lap of the player(normally a jammer) behind them in order to slow them down and stop them getting past. Once slowing down the opposing jammer, the blocker squats down farther, protruding her booty into the jammer behind her. This “butt in the gut” allows the blocker to literally stall and move the jammer at will.

Skate Fast, Turn Left
Common slogan outlining the basics of being a Roller Derby Player.

Skate Name
Most skaters opt to take a pseudonym for their on track alter ego.  Often these are puns or parodies of celebrity names mixed with a violent or ghoulish nature.  Examples of skate names are Suzy Hotrod, Bonnie Thunders, Juicy Lucy.

The introduction of the teams to the crowd.  Some skateouts are simple with the team skating in a pack and as their name is called by the announcer they give a wave.  Some are super elaborate and involve glow sticks, flags, custom costumes and laser light shows.  Normally accompanied by the teams chosen theme song.

Skate Rape
Falling on a skate in a sensitive area and feeling slightly violated afterwards.

Skater Tot
See Fresh Meat

To move side to side by altering the angle of the skates like a slalom skier.

Slow-ller Derby
Derby played at a crawl speed with both teams jostling almost on the spot to try and slow the game down.

Snow Plow
See Plow Stop

Soul Crush
The Soul Crush refers to a move where a blocker knocks an opposing jammer or blocker (depending on the situation) out of bounds and then the blocker skates backwards on the track forcing the opposing player to either skate back to re-enter behind him or take the track cut penalty.  When it is the opposing jammer that is knocked out of play, a smart pack will all start to skate backwards in the hopes that a less-experienced pack will also skate backwards.  This happens quite a bit and is amazing to see executed well.  The name refers to the fact that you are crushing the soul of your opponent.

Leading into a block helmet first

See Pad Stink

Star Pass
Tactical Manoeuvre where the jammer gives the helmet cover to the pivot and the pivot becomes the jammer for the remainder of the jam.

A non-skating person, either a crowd member, NSO or injured skater

Straddling Skater
Skaters are straddling the track boundary line when they are simultaneously touching both inside and outside the track boundary line.

Straight Back Up!
Mantra of some Rollergirls when a teammate falls

Replacing a skater on the track or in the penalty box with another skater.

Suicide Seats
The section of seats closest to the track.  Normally on the floor these are the best place to see the action but also the most likely place to end up with a ref or rollergirl in your lap.

To remove a skater from more than one game.

Pulling yourself through a pack of players using a swimming motion.  Often a Newbie thing that leads to many a forearms penalty.

Taking a Knee
Most commonly seen as a tactic to start the jammers straight away taking a knee is where all blockers on one team kneel down before the jam start forcing an immediate no pack situation.  Taking a Knee also refers to the courtesy that is afforded whenever a skaters goes down injured and stays down.  While they are being seen to on track it is etiquette for all skaters to kneel.

Target Zone
Areas of the body on an opponent that a skater may hit when performing a block

Team Zebra Fan Club
Appreciation society for all fans of roller derby officials

The Flying Squirrel
An egregious foul where one skater takes down an opponent by leaving her feet and generally tackling the opponent. This foul, if seen, leads to expulsion.

The Star
The Jammer’s Helmet Cover

Things in Real Life That Remind You Of Roller Derby
website/meme. Facebook page started at around the same time as Pack is Here Jesus this website collects non derby photos of Things in Real Life That Remind you of Roller Derby

This is How I Roll
Film.  2012 film detailing the rise of Mens Roller Derby, and following New York Shock Exchange (NYSE)

Toe Guard
Skate Part. A strip of leather which wraps the front of the skate to prevent damage to the boot beneath when sliding on the knees.

Toe Stop
Skate Part. The hardware on the skate designed to act as a brake.

Toe Stop Start
A method of accelerating by running on the toe stops of the skates.

The oval shaped course that the skaters try to stay on.

Training Wheeler
See Fresh Meat

Turning to face the opposite direction when skating.

See Low Block

Truck and Trailer
when two teammates skate, one directly in front of the other, with the front (truck) pulling the back (trailer). Can be an effective method of getting a jammer through a pack.

Skate Part.  The truck connects to the plate and holds the axles in place.  These can be adjusted to change the amount of flex in the skate changing the way skate turns.

A method of slowing down and/or stopping which involves placing the one foot behind the other to form a T shape.  The rear skates wheels are dragged along acting as a brake.

Skate Part. Wheels.  Tuners are slippy, hard wheels which are used for maximum speed.  Often combined with Pushers to make a custom setup for grip and speed.

Turn Stop
A stop where the skater transitions and then rises onto the toe stops or drags a toestop while transitioning.

Turns 1,2,3,4
Naming convention for the corners on the track.  Turn 1 is the first corner after the pivot line and then they follow on in a counter clockwise direction from there with turn 4 being the last corner before the Jam line

5 Grand Slams in a row (or a 25 – 29 point jam).  Named after the mythical creature of legend.

USARS is an acronym that stands for USA Roller Sports. It’s a form of insurance that is required for skaters by most roller derby leagues in the United States

2 or more players skating shoulder to shoulder to impede opposing skaters.

A formal verbal indication from the referee that play is improper and that a skater must take corrective action.

We’re Number 2!
Chant popularised from the film Whip It.  Chanted by the losing team at the end of a bout.

The Womens Flat Track Derby Association. Often Pronounced ‘Woof-tuh-duh’.

An Assist. Whips can be given or taken.  To give a whip 1 player grabs another and propels them forward.  To take a whip 1 player grabs another and pulls themselves forward.

Whip It
Film. 2009 indie film starring Ellen Paige, Juliette Lewis and Drew Barrymore. Even though it is based around Banked Track this film brought a lot of popularity to the sport(both banked track and flat track) worldwide.

Winning the After Party
Out dancing or out drinking the opposing team at the afterparty

Common pronunciation of WFTDA

Yoga Starts
Term given to a line of kneeling blockers trying to cover the entire width of the track at the jam line.

A referee.  Named from the distinctive black and white stripes and the need to travel in herds for safety

Zebra Huddle
See Official Timeout

See Zebra

From the Other Side Now

30 May, 2017, was the day I went and did something crazy.  That was the day I decided to show up at a roller rink and attend the Harrisburg Area Roller Derby Recruitment Night.  At the time I didn’t know what would happen: in fact, I contacted a friend who was already a member of the team and told them I was worried I’d show up and make a complete fool of myself, and the likelihood was great I’d never be able to keep up with the rest of the team.  My friend’s comment was, “Come on out anyway. If you don’t like it, don’t come back.”

That was three and a half months ago.  And I’m still there, though I shouldn’t be.  I mean, look at this crazy bitch in hand-me-down gear:



Who expected me to last this long?

That was then, this is now–or I should say, last night.  Because 12 September we held our third, and likely last, Recruitment Night of 2017.  We’ve been advertising this one for about a month, so the word was out we were looking for people.  And I was looking forward to the evening as well, because…

Well, this would be my first Recruitment Night where I could greet the new freshies.

I won’t say I wasn’t a big worried.  The fear was there that only a couple of people would come out and make our team’s endeavors seem wasted.  But that faded quickly once I saw there were four women waiting for Ariel to show up and begin her presentation and more filtered in soon after she arrived.  In all either thirteen or fourteen women showed, with one of them bringing her two children along as she couldn’t get a sitter for them.

With gear ready to go and seven of us–myself included–ready to help out the freshest of the Fresh Meat, the new recruits were let out ready to gear up and get to skating.  I was given the task of helping one woman get skates, get her gear on, and help out where I could.

We did simple things like skating around the rink, something I could barely do my first night.  The woman with me was a good skater because she’d had a lot of experience on roller blades, so she picked up on quads fast.  I had to remind her a few times not to drag her foot to come to a stop because it was a good way to twist your foot and break your ankle–which is exactly how Arial broke hers.  We did plows and meatballs–or knee drops as I know them.  We even did T stops, and while I was explaining to my freshie why she shouldn’t drag the inner wheels of her back skate to stop, I spun around and skated backwards for about thirty feet while talking.  It wasn’t until later that I realized what I’d done…

We finally got a pace line together and nineteen of us skated around weaving in and out between the other skaters.  We had a few people fall, but that’s to be expected.  We stopped, let them get up, and got them back into line.  It took a while and one new recruit needed help from Ida getting through the pack, but all skaters made it through the line once.

After that we sat for some stretches–

And to let everyone process what they did last night.
Photo taken by Kiley Van Kirk.


And then we got everyone together for a group photo.  (If you’re looking for me, I’m on the outside left in the back.)

Every good get together deserves a group picture.
Photo taken by Laura Mowery.


Oh yeah, and after we finished we went out and had a couple of beers to celebrate the newest members of the HARD family.  It’s likely they won’t all stay:  of the ten or so women who showed up for my Recruitment Night, Jackie and I are the only ones who remain, so the possibility exists we could lose seventy-five to eighty percent of this group in the next few months.  But for those who remain and push to make themselves derby certified, they’ll realize how hard, difficult, and mind-bending this sport can be.  They’ll also realize just how much fun it as well and they’ll find when the next Recruitment Night rolls around, they’ll be the ones ready to help the newest of our Fresh Meat, just as I did–



Though I doubt they’ll break out the green wig as I did.

Freshie 7: The Almost Magnificent Seven

Sure, it’s been a week since I did this practice and shot this video, but hey:  life gets in the way, right?  That life included more practice and a lot of depression, but I got through both for the most part.

Anyway, with this being my seventh freshie practice the movie The Magnificent Seven comes to mind, which means the movie The Seven Samurai also comes to mind as that’s the movie The Magnificent Seven was based upon.  While there were seven of us–at least–I would say we weren’t quite as magnificent as the characters in those movies, but we did our best.

And while there were seven of us, only five were skating:  Tara was down with a concussion and Laura had a bad tummy, which kept her off skates but didn’t keep her away from mischief, as you’ll see.  That left Kiley, Erica, Mary, and myself to do practice with Ida.  Like I said, seven of us.

First up is my intro, which doesn’t say much, but it’s me yacking to the camera.  So gotta do it, right?


That leads into push drills, 2 to 5 to 2, with Kiley and Erica as one group and Mary and me as the other.  As you’ll see Group 1 sorta crashed and burned at one point, while I had to bail from Group 2 for a few laps because my back was locking up.  While this was going on Ida decided that she wanted to attempt a 27/5, ’cause when she certified she only needed to do a 25/5 and she wanted to get it done.  Needless to say she did her 27/5 with seconds to go, so I guess this means she can stay a coach.  🙂


Then we skated around the track and every time the whistle blew we had to transition 180 degrees and do a toe stop, then head off in the direction we were facing.  You’re going to hear a lot of Whooing going on in this video: that’s Mary doing a tornado every so often (spinning around 360 degrees) before coming to a stop.  I’ve already suggested her derby name be Tornado Whooie.

You’ll also notice I fall down a few times.  Yeah, get used to seeing that.


Now we get into some pain–and I do mean that.  The idea here was to sprint to a couple of sets of cones and plow to a stop.  Since I can’t plow for shit right now, most of the time I just blow through the cones.  Then when we get to the far wall we were to plow or use our toe stops to, you know, stop, and sprint all the way back.  If you watch this you’ll see me not only fall down (I think the fourth time), but the first time, maybe the second, it looks like I kind of shake all over.  That’s because I started thinking about which way I should turn to stop and by the time I did manage an “Oh, shit!” stop, I slammed into the wall with my back and shoulders.  Not a lot of fun.

Now, you can’t see it, but around the 5:30 point you’ll hear shout of pain from me.  That’s because Laura, who needed something to do, decided to throw a hand full of floor cones at me and they made a bee line right for my crotch.  While things don’t work down there the way they used to, getting hit in my lady parts can sting like a bitch and did.  Not only that, but I had to get up and skate to the end and back.  Yeah, not fun.


Last but not least we did T stops and drunken sailors, which involves slowing brings one leg over the other as you balance on one foot.  You’ll see me fall down a couple of times and by now I was getting a bit frustrated not being able to pull this off as well as I would have liked.  In fact we did these again the next night and I found it necessary to have a two minute cry-out because of said frustration.


There you have it:  seven practices down and another five weeks to go before freshie practice 10 rolls up.

I hope I’m not slamming into walls by then.

Freshie 6: Big Freshie Six

I know:  most people checking in thought they were gonna find out what happened to Annie and Kerry as soon as Coraline arrived at the ICU.  And I had fully planed on presenting that excerpt, except…  well, I’ve been sitting on this video for a week and yesterday I thought it would be a good idea to get off my ass and edit it for proper consumption between watching episodes of The Defenders.  By the way, while I know Jessica Jones is a fictional character, I want to kanoodle with Krysten Ritter in the worse way.  And she knits and crochets as well, so she’s got that going for her.

So you’re gonna get that excerpt tomorrow.  Today you get my look at my last freshie practice, where I have dipped into the Disney for the title, though unfortunately I don’t come off at all looking like Go Go:  I’m more like Honey Lemon ’cause I have a big purse and science is my thing.  But I need to get this out because after a week I cannot sit on it any longer.

As always it’s have video, will travel, and I was set up.  This came the night after a totally ass busting cardio session and everyone was feeling it–something I allude to in the intro below–



We did a quick thirty laps of cardio, though mine weren’t fast.  I was last off the track and suffering from a lot of back pain.  I mentioned in my last derby post that Shux said my posture was bad and I was “tits over skates” a bit, and that can lead to a bit of back pain, so tonight I’ll do what I can to get that posture right.  That and work on my core, which is gonna help.

So…  for a while I’ve been anticipating we’d do another 27/5 (skate twenty-seven lap in five or fewer minutes) and sure enough, that was the first hour of the night.  With six of us ready to do one, it was time to get two skaters on the track at the same time and let us have at it.  Panzer timed one skater and I timed the other, and unlike the first time everyone did five laps and got their final time after it was over.

First up were Laura and Jackie.  Both have done this before so it wasn’t unknown territory to either.  And having done this before you know what sort of hell awaits, so you just suck it up and go at it.  For reference, Laura is on the left side of the screen being timed by me and Jackie is being timed by Panzer.

27/5 One: Laura and Jackie.


Next up were Ashly (or is it Sarah?) and Mary.  This was Mary’s first time at only her second freshie practice, much like what happened with me, but Mary is in a hell of a lot better shape than I was when I did my first 27/5.  For reference I timed Ashly on the left side, and Panzer timed Mary on the right.

27/5 Two: Ashly and Mary.


A long last it was my turn and, like the first time, I did mine with Erica on the other side of the track.  The first time I did this I wore rentals so I anticipated I’d do better on my own skates:  in fact, it was my goal to break at least 20 laps in five minutes.  And I knew I could do it.  I just knew it.

Annnnnnd…  well, watch for yourselves.  Erica’s starting on the left, I’m on the right.

27/5 Three: Erica and me.



My final time was 7:18 for 27 laps, and it was all I could do to keep from melting down.  I didn’t improve at all:  I managed only 18 laps in that time, which was the same thing I did on rental eight weeks earlier.  For a bit there I felt like a certain incestuous drunk queen stripped naked and forced to march through a angry screaming crowd.  With my teammates around me I felt like I was on my own Skate of Shame and all I needed was a nun with a bell…


I did meltdown later: it was Crying Time all the way on the drive from the rink to the apartment, and I don’t hide that fact.  This was probably one of the most ego-shattering moments I’ve ever experienced and it almost got me to the point where I wanted to quit.


See, there are two rules in Derby.  Let me show you:


Yeah, you just don’t walk away because you had a bad night.  You think about what you did wrong and work on making it right.  I heard from a number of my teammates in the aftermath of this 27/5 and they had their own horror stories about their own struggles to certify, so as I said on my Facebook wall, I’m not the last derby woman to cry over a bad practice and I certainly won’t be the last.

It’s all about getting up and doing it all again.  And doing it better next time.

In relation to this–I did some checking on my skate due to something I was told early Wednesday morning, and after some research I’m taking a different track on my hardware.  Let me just say, setting up your skates for optimal performance is not all that different from setting up a race car for a track.  Good thing I know how to do that…

Enough of this sobby bullshit.  Onward.

We did a lot of 180 transitions and toe stops.  Sort of working at our own speed.  I’ve had to cut this into two parts because the video was too big unedited to upload to YouTube–and I had four of my teammates–Erica, Ashly, Mary, and Jackie–decide to leave a message.  It’s the last minute of this first one if you just wanna jump to the end.

Start of transitions/toe stops:


And here we have the end of the Great Transition/Toe Stop practice, one where I spent a good deal of it on the far side of the rink talking to Panzer about stuff… and things.

The End:


One thing I learned from these two videos is that I’m far too timid on those transitions.  I need to get a little more speed behind me before I turn and stop, because you may not be inching along on the track in the middle of a jam, right?  Right.  You know it.

You might say, however, well, what if you are zipping along and you fall?  Isn’t it gonna hurt?  Answer:  yeah, it likely will.  But guess what?  It’s not about falling–

It’s about how fast you get back up.

Packin’ and Attackin’

My last practice was Wednesday night and while it wasn’t freshie practice–I’m still editing that video–we still got things done.  A lot of things.  Like things that made us sweat a lot.

Because of injuries and work related stuff going on Wednesday was mostly a Freshie event.  And we had four guest come up from York to get a bit of a work out as well:  Awe Shux, Not Amanda, Grimm Scarytales, and Rock N Rose.  You gotta love the names, am I right?  One day I’m gonna start calling myself by one of these names and you’re gonna go, who?  That’s for a ways down the line, however.

What did we do?  Pace line  and pack work, tripod/jammer practice, and a jammer practice where everyone played blocker and everyone got a chance to be the jammer.  For this last I do not have video, however, as I hit the mode button at one point and switched my GoPro over to time exposure mode, so I ended up with like 140 pictures which were unusable.  But I did get video of everything else.

Tripod practice you’ve seen before, but in our little group everyone had to play jammer at least once.  No need to get out the big girl’s panties–the star pantie for our helmets–because with four of us in a group it was pretty easy to tell who was blocking and who wasn’t.  Maybe the next time when we get a little crazier we’ll be geared correctly, but this night–nope, not necessary.

You’re gonna notice I talk in these videos.  I talk a lot.  When you’re bracing it’s your job to know where the jammer is and tell your other two blockers her location so they can react.  A tripod that doesn’t communicate is one that’s gonna let the jammer by every time.

But I’m yacking a lot.  I’m getting good with knowing what I’m doing wrong due to rules and a couple of times I’ll stop and say what I did wrong and we’ll reset and go at it again.  The more you understand what you’re doing wrong, the more you can fix those things and not do them.

Tripod Practice 01:


And after some yacking we finish up:

Tripod Practice 02:


This was something new to try.  It’s a pack weave, only you’re close to a person on your left or right.  And I mean close:  we reach over and touch each other’s thighs to keep it tight.  The idea was as you move through the pack you get used to being right on top of someone else, which may happen when you’re blocking.  For this I was with Ah Shux and we talk back a forth a little.  You’ll hear her say that she was about to correct by posture because I was leaning over.  As we sometimes say–and I do in the video–proper position is “butt back, tits up”, which is to say you bend your knees and put your butt back like you’re going to see, but you keep your torso upright and your head looking straight ahead.  As Shux told me later, I was getting “tits over skates”, which is leaning forward, and that’s not something you want to do because it’s easier to fall that way if you take a hit.

Us Derby Women:  we have the best language.

Hip to Hip Weaving:


This was something else we’ve never done before and it’s also a little different.  We stayed in a pack and as our name was called we were given a place in the pack to go, after which we were expected to go there.  The idea again was to get us used to moving quickly in a pack while said pack is going down the track.  The best you can do this, the better you can play the game.

Pack Movement:


There you go.  And maybe tomorrow I’ll have the last freshie video ready to go–

And expose my shame.

Working Through the HARD Times

Remember how I may have mentioned that I was sore Tuesday?  Yeah, that was due to Monday night practice that worked out butts off.  At the time I thought I couldn’t feel any worse–

That’s because I hadn’t went through Wednesday night’s practice.

Of late the practice work has stepped up.  We were told Monday night that we’re going to start working a little harder so us fresh meat can get better at what we’re doing.  And by getting better, that means we can play faster.  Given that a lot of the stuff we’ve stared doing involves scrimmaging–playing blockers against jammers–it doesn’t take a great leap of faith to see what’s happening.

Last night was a lot of cardio and line work.  I mean like a lot of line work:  there were about a dozen of us to do pull throughs and we averaged about a lap and a half for every person to wing through the whole line.  For pull throughs we went three times, so a lap and a half times twelve times three is fifty-four laps, plus we did hip checks which we did twice each for another thirty-six laps, with our at-the-start pyramid sprints adding another nineteen laps for a total of approximately one hundred and nine laps–

Before we got to scrimmage.

Oh, and we ended the night skating forty laps in a pack, so it’s a good bet we did between one hundred and forty-five to one hundred and fifty laps last night.  When you figure we likely skated about one hundred and ninety feet per laps, we covered a distance of about 5.4 miles, or 8.7 km.  Yeah, lots of skating.

Now, about this scrimmaging…

We were once again working on bridging much like we did the Wednesday before.  However, we weren’t quite as sharp as we were that night and things were a bit more disorganized as in we didn’t hit our marks the way we did that first night.  When I blocked I didn’t do as well, but that may have been due to being tied by that time.  I went down more than a few times and had people wiz by me in an eye blink.

But I was also jamming and I did a little better.  Well, I did great against the freshies.  In fact I have video.  In this case there are three freshies on the track and one veteran OG player.  So getting through wasn’t bad.  Oh, and need I mention:  there’s some swearing.  Yeah, it happens.

The Good Jamming.


But with the good comes the not-so-good, and a bit later I was pitted against three OGs and a freshie and the vets kinda showed me what it was like to be a jammer having to move a little over five hundred pounds of women who don’t want to move:

The Hard Jamming


Notice I was either knocked down or went out of bounds, or both, and came at the pack four times, huffing and puffing like crazy the whole time.  I figured I skated about three hundred and fifty feet and likely pushed the pack around for about a third of that distance.  When I stopped at the end I had nothing left:  I was getting light headed and things were going a little gray.  I didn’t think about it at the time–mostly because I was damning myself for stopping–but those claps at the end were for going back even when it was obvious I was tired.  Sometimes that’s what it’s all about–

Though when we were leaving one of the refs stopped, looked at me, and went, “Don’t quit!”  I don’t know if she meant don’t quit on the track or don’t quit what I’m doing–

Maybe I’ll just do the same for both.

Freshie 5: Still Alive

Yeah, you knew I was gonna go with this title.  And if you didn’t, you don’t know me well, do you?

Tuesday, 8 August, was my fifth Freshie practice, and there was a full house this time.  In addition to Rachel, Laura, Erica, Ashley, Jackie, me, and Coach Ida, my political protesting friend Mary decided she had to try out this derby thing after watching HARD go at it a couple of days earlier.  I think she’s hooked, but we’ll see how it plays out over time.

Unlike the practice we had the next night, we freshies worked on a lot of pace line work.  There were hip and shoulder checks, but a new drill we undertook for the first time involved two people coming up from the back , skating to the front on either side of the line, and then trying to force one or the other out once they arrived at the front.  It made for some interesting outcomes and, in one instance, comedy on my behalf.

Because of the size of the original video I had to cut this into three parts–

Pace Line 01.


Pace Line 02


Pace Line 03


I also took some Go Pro video of what some of this looked like from my point of view.  I thought I had more, but it turned out for about 10 minutes of pace line shooting my camera was looking more at the ceiling than the people in front of me.  So this is all you get from that.  This was shot during the last pace line video seen above.

Pace Line Go Pro.


Now, about that comedy…  If you watched the first pace line video you may have heard someone retching followed by a large girl in a pink tank top having to skate out of line and head for the wall.  Both those people were me.  What was happening?  I was gagging on my new mouth guard because I have a shitty, hair-trigger gag reflex and even with a bit of trimming I’m still getting that gagging feeling, though it wasn’t as bad on Wednesday night.

But Tuesday night?  Gagolicious, baby!   In case you didn’t watch that first video all the way through, here’s the highlight:

Me gagging.


We also worked on knee drops and plows.  I still can’t plow for shit, but I’m slowly getting better.  Knee drops, however:  I can now drop and tap either knee and keep going, though not at great speed.  Yet.  Now that I can do a Tap and Go, it’s a matter of picking up speed.

Knee Drops and Plows.


Because the dudes who play roller hockey–that’s the game with sticks and balls, Mary–took over half the rink at 9:30, we went over to our half side and worked on shoulder hits and trying to force people off the track.  You get a pretty good view with this video as you’re seeing it from right behind the “track”.  We were hitting just a little harder this time as we were told during Bout Review that we need to start “Getting our Grrrr on”, which is to say we need to step up our intensity a bit.

Shoulder Hits.


Again I had the Go Pro going, but during one of the hits the camera on my helmet mount flopped down and no one told me it was pointing at my feet.  Probably because we were too filed with derby lust to go out there and knock someone off the track!

So I only managed a little Point of View work and missed one part where Ida hit me pretty good.

Shoulder Hits Go Pro.


There you have it:  our latest venture into Fresh Meat territory.  Next week I think I’m gonna haul the cameras into the practice with the OGs, because we might get some good blocker/jammer practice in again.

I can only hope.

Freshie 4: In the Round

With this title I feel a little like Yes back in the day when they performed on the rotating stage.  Though I can’t image they moved as fast as me.

Our last Fresh Meat practice, 25 July, 2017, was a bit light.  Ashley headed south to see her brother graduate from the Marines.  Rachel was out with tonsillitis, Jackie was also sick, and Rachel Rey and Tara were out with family issues.  Emily was MIA and Gwen, we learned yesterday, is moving to Pittsburgh and hopes to join a team out there, which leaves us with the possibility that one day some of us will have the opportunity to knock her on her ass during a game.

And Grace?  Last night was mandatory practice getting the team ready for our bout on 6 Aug, and as I remarked last night, she’s moved up to the “adult table” and scrimmaged with the vets.  It’s sad to see her go, but eventually we’ll all do the same.

As for the four of us there with Coach Ida–Erica, Laura, Resi, and me–Resi and I were off-skates as we were The Walking Wounded:  she with a sprained ankle and me with the bad foot.  That meant Erica and Laura got all the workout, which they totally deserve as they are tough fresh, so they can take it.

It also allowed me to film from the inside of the track, which means I got to spin around as I followed the ladies.  It was good practice in case I’m ever allowed to do this, but that’s something I doubt will ever happen.

First up, then, is seeing if I can even do this.  That means I track them ’round and around the track as they do cardio:


After that they got into single blocking, which consisted of them throwing shoulder blocks at each other.  There was blocking, there was laughing, there was swearing.  Pretty much how all our practices go.


Then it was time for double blocking with Ida helping out.  This is what happens when you have two blockers trying to stop a jammer and you do your best to wall her up.  Depending on penalties a team can find themselves in this position and when it happens, you better be ready to hold that jammer until your people start streaming out of the penalty seats.


And lastly 180 toe stops, where one spins around and goes up on their toes to stop.  Most of this video, however, is everyone waiting for me to find Ida’s whistle, which I couldn’t find because it was attached to the outside of her bag.  Duh.  There’s also a bit of hilarity here as we were getting a little punchy by then…


One last thing before I go:  last night I was still off skates, so I spent the time watching the team scrimmage as they got ready for the upcoming bout.  My depression, being what it is, started to get the better of me, and I found myself crying for a bit as I wondered if I was ever going to get as good as the rest of the women on the team.  I can’t let depression get the better of me as its done in the past as that’s caused me to give up on projects before.

I push myself way too hard at times.  I know it’s all a process, that it takes time to train yourself to do things.  That happened with writing and it’s gonna happen here.  I need to just let my body get used to things in their own time and not push it too hard, least I screw up royally.  Like with this injury:  if I’d gone completely off-skates for two weeks after it happened I’d have practiced well this whole week.  Lesson learned here.

And lesson learned that believing you aren’t good enough to reach the top isn’t the same as not reaching the top.

Sometimes it takes a while longer for us to walk the same path.