Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Roller Derby VD

I was inspired to create some roller derby Valentines.  They are free to download at this site.  Please give me credit for them if you post them anywhere.

Couple skate
For the girls we love and hate.
For the penalty box peeps.

For your lady, refs.
Inside line blue
Inside line Red
Stinky Gear
Booty block
Cheatin' on your derby wife.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Veteran Skater Cartoon

And because you asked for it.....
Veteran Skater...please credit my work if you borrow it...grumpy pants...yaddah yaddah yaddah.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Typical Newbie Cartoon

If you use my artwork, please credit me...or I will be grumpy pants.  Q
This is for fun and love only.  Remember!  You were a newbie once too!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Advice for the shortbus!

And since I believe in fair play, here is some advice for the shorter girls in derby, straight from Poisonberry Shortcake of the Richland Couty Regulators!

Good things come in small packages!

1. Get low. Now get lower. Now taunt that bitch as she tries to figure out how to get low enough to hit you.

2. Find the biggest, scariest player on the track and hit her right off the rip. when you're little, it's best to go ahead and establish that you are not scared, and are, in fact, bat shit crazy, right off the rip.

3. Giggle maniacally and wave when you put a girl on the ground.

4. EAT and build muscle. You need a little weight to you so you won't get tossed around so easily. 5 years ago I would have given my big toe to weigh 100 lbs, now i start to panic if I drop below 125.

5. BE LOUD! Nobody cares how tall you are (or aren't) when you have the biggest voice on the track.

6. Master the can opener. You know how tall people like to hover over you in real life? They like to do it on the track too. Tease one into getting right up on your back and then stand completely up.

7. Learn how to deal with the extra material from your tights, and double check your boutfit. Nobody likes speen bumps literally on their ass.

8. Find a glamazon BFF (Shiv Tyler!). They are multi purpose and every shortbus should have one, if not two (Pinky Slamstockings!). Not only can they help you learn to hit their tall asses without low blocking, you can hide behind/next to them AND they can look back and tell you everything that's going on with the pack.

8. Learn to look down and back. Chances are you can't really see over that first line of blockers behind you. Learn to look for skates/socks/kneepads... anything that will give you more info about what's behind you. Double Bonus! Most players won't realize your'e sizing them up for a block until it's too late. They'll just think you're admiring your new laces.

9. Go ahead and get used to getting hit in the face and head. When your head is about the same height as everyone else's elbows it's bound to happen. And if you hit someone and throw them off balance so much that they have to throw an arm out and smack you in the face, REJOICE! Try to think of it as a high five for how great your hit was! (albeit a high five to the face). You're probably also going to take a few asses to the face when you're low. Just try to enjoy it. Some people pay good money for that kind of action.

10. Learn to get wide. This ties in nicely with getting low. No matter how short your little midget legs are, you can take up a nice chunk of the track. Trust me, with a 28" inseam I know what I'm talking about.

11. DO NOT let anyone typecast you as a jammer, or tell you that you're too small to powerblock. I've known PLENTY of bad ass shortbus power-blockers (Leatherneck!) and I've been known to do it myself now and then. Size is not nearly as important in derby as physics.

12. Can't believe I'm about to give away my favorite trick, but here goes.... get on that inside line and get low. When the jammer approaches, drift out just enough to make her think she's can take the inside on you.... Trust me, most jammers will underestimate you because of your size. When she tries it, step right in front of her and swing her out with your ass. She probably won't try this again.

13. DO NOT let people pick you up at after parties. I don't know why taller people feel it is appropriate to just pick us up, maybe too many dreams of midget tossing, but don't stand for it. It's a fantastic way to get hurt, and it's demeaning.

14. Get yourself a rep for being fearless. (Magickly D'Vicious!)

15. Most important - EMBRACE YOUR SIZE! You've finally found a sport where being short can give you a significant advantage if you know how to use it!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Advice for Twigs

 Following up on the tall girls blog, Shirley Temper  has offered up some advice for you skinny minnies out there!  Remember ladies and gentlemen, it takes all kinds of body types to be a successful team, and NEVER UNDERESTIMATE ANYONE ON THE TRACK!

 And now, in her own words, I bring you Temper's wisdom.

1. Keep your friends close (strength in numbers, true for all sizes) and your enemies closer - do NOT let some big ass bitch clock you from across the track!

2. Only go for big hits when they don't know you're coming. BTW, you'll usually do far more damage with your ass in some big girl's muff than you will trying to hit that bitch.

3. Always laugh when you knock a bigger girl down, please :)

4. Master a great sprint. Get away from them before they can hit you or runt you. Get to the front before the jammer gets away.

5. Master the Johnny Crash. (Also known as the can-opener)

6. Don't take the bait. True for everyone, especially true for smaller bodies. Learn to move with your opponent and use your booty to at least slow her down until backup arrives.

7. Sacrifice yourself.

8. Make sure your voice is louder than your body is big.

9. Do not be intimidated by bigger girls. Know your worth. Know you can handle them.

10. Let them underestimate... you will have the last laugh ;)

I'm pretty sure she laughed at me a few times.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How's the weather up there? A tall girl's pain.

When I joined derby, I was one of the tallest people on my team; I am six feet tall, and the median height of my team was five foot six.  I felt like Godzilla stomping around Tokyo, and I soon earned the nickname Stiltz.  For the first six weeks of training, all I heard was "you're standing too tall, Stiltz" and "Take smaller steps, Stiltz!"  Now, having been tall all of my life, (I was mostly grown by sixth grade) I am used to the prejudices the world offers to tall women.  Pants and shirts aren't long enough, men are usually intimidated, and don't get me started on the whole struggle with pantyhose situation.  Roller derby really was no different.

During your first year as a tall skater, you are going to have to compensate for your height.  Tall girls have issues with getting low, sprints and smaller stops.  I personally used to find it maddening that someone who was five feet tall was showing me how to do teensy tiny stops, I mean, my feet were longer than her legs!  But I studied them, and studied them, and eventually learned how to do the moves the way my body could do them.  And really, isn't that the point?  Roller derby is a sport where you need all sorts of body types out there on the track, and yet I still felt like there was something inherently wrong in being tall.

Here are some myths I'd like to expel while I'm on my soap box.

 "Jammers aren't usually that tall!  Smaller girls make better jammers!"  I actually heard an announcer say that at a 2009 ECE game!  Thank goodness this attitude is changing; jammers have to be able to block for themselves now, especially with the "derby scrum" starting on the jammer line lately.  At this point, I don't think that anyone would tell Rock Nasty that she's not "jammer material", but there used to be a slight prejudice which has slowly seemed to disappear.  Jammers are jammers...big, little, short, tall.  As long as they get through the pack!

"You're fast because you're tall!"  Well, gee, thanks?  Maybe I'm fast because I'm just fast?  I've never said "You're short, that must mean you're slow!"  Skaters are fast because they train hard and work at their speed; if someone has long legs, then yes, they might have an advantage in a long race, but they have to really work on their quick and short sprints.  All skaters have to make adjustments to their speed and steps based on the situation at hand...er, at feet.

"I get hit in the face by you tall girls all of the time because I'm short!"  Well, guess what?  I get hit in the face all of the time too because I've learned to get low.  I've broken my nose, lost my contact lens, busted my lip wide open, and had Velcro rash on my face more times than I care to count.  Everyone gets hit in the face at times, it's derby.  (I'm hoping my mother doesn't read this blog, she doesn't know about the broken nose...yet!)

Some advice from some of my Glamazon pals!
Tall girls are great to hang out with!

Lucy Lastkiss (CRG retired) says: Long legs step over little peeps, easy. Long frames counterbalance in sticky situations. Oh and you can stretch out across the track. Instant intimidation factor!

Rigor Morticia (Blue Ridge Roller Girls) offers: Get yourself a plow stop that can cover half the track...use the gams you were given!   If you can get low and 'scoop' someone with your back/butt, you will take them off their feet.  

Shiv Tyler (Richland County Regulators) dishes out: "Practice hits with a short girl on your team. I know it helped me. Less high blocking!"

Denise MillerLightnin'  (Greensboro Roller Derby) advises:  "Get a good can opener. the added height makes for an extra awesome hit!" A can opener is also called a Johny Crash...FYI

Tigra (Blue Ridge Roller Girls) suggests:  " Practice Skills: Quick feet. Getting low. Keeping those long limbs within your center of gravity (and legal) for balance and agility. Strengthen core - you have a lot to hold up."

Maya Rulz (Tampa) advocates: "Practice your quick stepping constantly. It seems we glamazons are afraid to pick up our baby deer legs when we first start derby. The sooner you get over that, the more agile you are and can feel more comfortable with all of these other amazing tips!" 

I was average height in this photo!  Whoo hoo!
One last thing before I leave you; Rollercon 2011 had a whole class dedicated to "Taking out the tall player."  Be aware that people will see you as a threat or possibly a challenge to knock down.  Also, know that players will chronically low block you; this is the reality of being a taller girl (or guy).  Don't complain, the refs rarely call it, and it will just make you mad if you concentrate on it, so let it go.

And, other skaters have tall and short issues.  Read this blog about tall figure skaters
Just for a giggle.

Here are some funny pictures from Rollercon 2011's Amazons vs the Short Bus
Amazons won....FYI.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

S*** Derby Girls (and Guys) Say

Yes, I'm jumping on the bandwagon, but to be fair, we derby folk say a lot of interesting things that the outside world wouldn't understand.  Most of the following comes from years and years of watching Facebook posts!

#1  I can't, I have derby! Ok, who hasn't said this?  Hands up!  Liars!  Every derby person in the world has derby obligations almost on a daily basis. I tweeted a couple of weeks ago about buying a calendar for 2012, and wondering what the point was because all I was going to do was write "derby" all over it.

#2  Wanna see my bruises/blister/injury?  Maybe this should be the new pick up line in the derby community, but most derby peeps will drop trou just to show you the nastiest bruise on their butts.  I guess it works out for the voyeur if they're into that!

#3 I'm happy I pooped today! I Remember the blog I wrote about pooping and derby girls?  Enough said.

#4  Do these shorts give me camel toe?  This one isn't for the boys so much, but it's a real concern for the girls.  Also, we worry about holes in bad places.

#5 There's no "sorry" in derby.  No, but there's plenty of crying.

#6  I have a butt now!  Derby is awesome for building up that gluteus maximus, and we are very proud of it when it happens!

#7  We are so going to win the after party!  Please concentrate on the game first ladies and gents.

#8  Have to get my boutfit together.  Yes, even though this is a tough and real sport, we like to look good playing it.

#9  I really need to hit someone!  I usually hear this after a derby break or a really bad day at work.

#10 That ref is picking on me!  Suuuuuuuure it's JUST YOU!  That ref singled you out just because he didn't like your boutfit!

#11 Nice hit!  I think we all say this to cope with the fact that we just had our clocks cleaned.

#12  I need my good socks!  See my blog on pretty feet!

#13  I need to skate!  Skating is addictive!  The rush of the speed and the wind in your face is probably more addictive than crack.

#14  I have a new derby crush!  Derby crushes are usually on the skater that inspires us to push ourselves.

#15  Smell my pads!  They totally reek!  Lord.  I don't know what it is about derby girls, but we tend to relish our stench; sometimes we forget that "normal" people don't want to smell us or our stank asses.

#16  It's roller derby, not (fill in the blank)  I love to say "it's roller derby, not cancer"  It's still a game people, the greatest game in the world, but a game!  Other people use this in statements like "It's roller derby, not a tea party."  Either way it's apropos and popular.

#17  I love smackin' ass!  Truer words never spoken.

#18  I'm not gay, but....  Some of these skaters we admire make our hearts go pitter pat, no matter how straight we are,

#19  Shut up and skate!  This is how I was trained to play derby: Stop whining and skate!

#20  I'm hungry/thirsty/tired.  Most conversations at practice revolve around these sentences.

#21  I'm too old for this shit.  Is this just me?  Moving on then.

#22  I'm gonna puke.  I hear this at least once a practice.

#23  I like it in the box.  This is one of the two jokes that refs have and share with us.  The other one is "My pack(age) is here."

#24  Skate rape!  Do I have to explain this one?  Ok, when you fall on your skate or someone else's, and a wheel violates your nether region.

#25  Strategery!  My favorite!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Essentials: Work those tools, girl.

Through the years of playing derby, I've been slowly collecting essential tools that I absolutely have needed at least once a month.  My arsenal has grown throughout the last three years, and here is a list of the most important ones.

#1 Bearing press.  Yes, you need one, even if you are a whiz with an unorthodox method of putting bearings in and taking them out, because usually those methods are uncomfortable and awkward, which means you end up putting off changing you bearings or cleaning them.  My press of choice is a Powerdyne press which I've had for three years now.  These presses run for about fifty five dollars and really help me be able to change my bearings.  They do come with a replacement tip, which is a good thing because I've actually known one person who has broken the that attachment by trying to force a bearing out of a wheel.

#2 Elephant tool.  This one is a life saver for me because I have plates that take the seven mm nuts and bearings, so I can't use a standard skate tool.  Here is what one looks like, and it is one of the cheapest tools I've ever owned. Typical elephant tool.  I would cry big boo hoo tears if I lost my elephant tool because it fixes everything on my skates except for my toe stops.  Seriously, I've considered getting a tattoo of one on my calf.

I loves mah tools.

#3 Allen Wrenches.  Speaking of toe stops, if I have to raise or lower my toe stops I need to have my allen wrench set, which I straight up stole from my husband.  (Shhhh...don't tell!)  I hate seeing skaters sidelined and desperately searching for a tool to fix their toe stops. 

I know that women aren't necessarily trained or used to dealing with tools, but since we are in such a DIY sport, that it makes sense to learn what makes your skates work or not work.  It would be really amazing for us to be more self sufficient!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Great and Terrible Fandom!

The roar of the crowd, the simultaneous "oooohs!" when a skater gets taken out, roller derby wouldn't be roller derby without the fans.  Skaters wouldn't get to bout or get a taste of the limelight that we all crave once in a while.  Fans support us, pump us up, and make getting killer bruises less painful; I've played in many venues and have seen various kinds of fans.  Some of are fun, some are crazy, and some are the reason I skate under an assumed name, but I know as derby folk we appreciate each and every one of them!

#1  The Proud Parents/Family/Significant Other Fan  These fans are our lifeblood; they show up through thick and thin.  They have shirts with some variant of the skater's name on them, and sometimes they bring awesome signage.  Proud family members cheer the loudest, stay for the whole bout and will defend an action we take on the track to the death!

#2  Skaters from Other Leagues  Face it, derby girls love to watch derby; if we could, we'd stream it 24/7 all throughout each room of the house.  When we get to any opportunity to watch live derby, we jump on it!  Proudly wearing our own team's jerseys, derby girls represent!

Ok, So we act out a little bit at other games.

#3  The New Fans  New fans are always near and dear to my heart.  They stumble onto a game because a co-worker dragged them there, or they heard about this new fangled thing called "roller derby" and they've decided to be adventurous.  New fans spend the first game of a double header reading the program in hopes of figuring out the game; they ask questions like "What just happened?" or "What's a pivot?"  Please keep an eye out for these fans and help answer their questions; if their confusion is cleared up, these new fans might become super fans and start recruiting more people to come to the next bout!

#4  The Costumed Fans  Some fans love to take advantage of the freedom derby bouts offer to wear some pretty outlandish outfits.  At one of our home bouts, there was a group of ladies who decided that they were going to dress up like "derby girls."  They made me smile because they were having so much fun.  If wearing a feathered boa and "tough riveted accessories" is going to make the experience even more fun, then who am I to judge?

These fans include the Red Hat ladies too!

#5  The Big Hits Fan  This fan is coming to the bouts to see one thing and one thing only....BIG HITS!  They hate slow derby and despise the one knee starts.  It is guaranteed that if there is a slow start to a jam, they will be the first to chant "SKATE SKATE SKATE!"  Often times, this fan is a roller derby girl visiting from another league.

#6  The Creepy Fan  Everyone knows of a creepy fan; sometimes they have binoculars and stalk you from afar, or they stand as close as they can to the track screaming your name.  At times it's difficult to tell the creepy fan from an avid fan, which is why my name will always be Elektra Q-tion while I'm skating!

#7  The Kids  Nothing makes a skater feel more like a super hero than when a little girl comes up to her after the bout and asks for an autograph.  Usually they have a big ol' white shirt on and they want you to sign it.  AW!  I hope everyone gets to experience the thrill of being a little girl's inspiration!

I always tell their parents to get them skates!

#8  The Turn About Fan  These fans are awesome because they arrive at roller derby in a unique fashion.  What usually happens with these fans is their boyfriends or husbands bring them to derby because they think it's going to be some sexy fun to watch (and it is) but the girlfriends or wives start really liking the sport and become super fans.  Now THEY'RE dragging their boyfriends and husbands to each and every bout.   Turn about is fair play, gentleman!

You know it's true.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dealing with muscle pain

In 2009, I was an eager yet naive freshie who didn't know the actual ins and outs of scrimmage; during one of my assessments, I was destroyed by a veteran skater because I thought the jam was over and stood taller than I should have.  Maddat U, an amazing skater, dug her shoulder into my sternum and flipped me like a proverbial pancake.  The way I landed I torqued the crap out of my back and pulled several muscles, which actually made my daily life miserable for several weeks.  I ended up in physical therapy when I couldn't bend over to put my underwear on.  (It became a two person job most mornings.)

After six weeks of physical therapy (which is painful as hell) I was "better" but my back still gets muscle spasms, especially if I do a lot of speed skating or jamming.  It's so hard unknot my back at times...I've had teammates dig their elbows into my lower back to get rid of the knots, and that works for a while, but sometimes I need more than an occasional elbow, don't we all?

Last year I got to experience the new and sweeping fitness craze of Crossfit, and my back was really acting up at the end of some of the sessions. Chennelle and Kim, two amazing ladies and coaches saw my struggle and told me how a Lacrosse ball could help me get rid of my knots without the help of an elbow.

I think I heard an angelic choir when I first used the ball to unknot my back!  It was perfect for my particular problem, because I was able to lie down on my back, place the ball under me, and roll around on it.  Yes, it looks stupid, but I'm a derby girl, so I'm used to looking foolish at times.  And who cares?  It felt so amazing!  I have a ball with me at all times when I travel, at my house, and in the car.  Lacrosse balls are so cheap; they usually cost under three dollars, and you can get them in a bunch of different colors. 
All the balls.

You can use the Lacrosse ball to unknot and massage a lot of your muscles, including upper and lower back, around your knees, your shoulders, and around your IT bands which get really tight from skating. I've even put the ball under my sock feet when I'm at my desk and massaged the bottom of my feet; it's one of the best massages I can get without inflicting my hooves on someone else!  So, if you're experiencing muscles aches and tightness, this might be a cheap and easy way to get some of the knots worked out!

If you're looking for a way to step up your fitness level as an athlete, I highly recommend you get in touch with your local Crossfit.  I am not affiliated with Crossfit in any way, other than I really respect their program and the benefits you can reap from them.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Mind of a Derby Girl

I saw a cartoon on Facebook the other day, where somebody drew a picture "defining" certain areas of a toddler's mind.  Of course, I immediately saw that and decided to do a "Mind of a Derby Girl" drawing.

To download a full sized version, click here  Please just give me credit for it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Advice to Newbies

Since I've started posting a blog, I've gotten a lot of messages from newbies and fresh meat asking about derby, how to get better, how to feel confident, and how to cope with derby in general.  Because the beginning of the year brings a new crop of Freshies, I thought I'd hand off some unsolicited advice!

#1 Welcome to derby!  You made it!  Now the hard work really really starts.  It is imperative that you put in as much time as you can on skates, because even though the league gives you time to learn skills, you are ultimately held responsible for your progress.   If your plow stops are not what they should be, you need to hit every open skate possible and work work work on your skills!

#2  Derby isn't how you get into shape; you have to get into shape FOR derby.  That means you have to do cross training.  I suggest you ride a bike, run, lift weights, walk, do yoga, dance naked in your living room, I don't care, just get out there and do it! 

#3  Don't get butthurt if the veterans don't talk to you at first.  Derby is a sport where many people are really driven and self focused.  Also, derby is a sport where many people join originally with great enthusiasm, and then eventually fade away.  Sometimes it's hard for veteran skaters to build relationships with newbies and have them walk away after a couple of weeks.  My newbie class had six members, and only two of us are still skating, so do the math.

Ballz and I were the last two standing....uh, skating.  This picture is before we had derby butts.
#4  Take advice and don't be defensive.  Let's face it, most of us are adults who have had success, control and are not used to the role of being a student.  Derby can be very "challenging" which really means it's frustrating as CRAP!  You can be trying your best, sweating over doing a move, and a veteran skater gives you some negative feedback.  I know the first instinct we all have is to be annoyed and defend your performance, but don't!  Don't say "I can't turn left!" or "I've done this a million times and you just gave me different advice than so and so did!"  People want to invest in your success; they want you to be a better skater, so don't get defensive when it comes to their feedback!  Listen, thank them for the help, and then consider if it applies to you, and keep on trying!

#5  Watch footage with a veteran skater.  If you can bribe a veteran skater to watch footage with you and explain it, you will be on your way to being a better derby player.  As a word of advice, don't watch a game in which she played; she'll be too distracted critiquing her own performance to really enlighten you.  By the way, beer is a good bribe.

#6  Bond with your fellow newbies.  They're the ones going through the same ordeals that you are; get together at open skates, plan footage viewing, check up on each other.  You are going to need support to get through this and so are they.  Don't get jealous of one of your group learning something quicker than you.  Ballz had been skating and teaching skating for years before she joined derby, so she was head and shoulders ahead of me in the skills department.  It just made me try harder.

This is just some basic advice I have for newbies; it's a hard position to be in, but it can be made a lot easier by following my advice.  And by the way....CONGRATS FOR MAKING IT!