|Sometimes jammers pull your panties down too|
Lesson #1 Get thee a beanbag chair
I know that I didn't start this trend in derby, but dammit, I brought it to Asheville. My beanbag chair brought all the derby to my lap....ok, not really, but it made sitting there for hours and hours and hours a lot more comfortable. Plus, you know that unpolished concrete on the side of a mountain gets a little cold after a while. Also, I was able to rent it out for dinero when I wasn't using it, so, win win! Also, have you ever carried a bean bag chair? It really is like carrying a bag of air.
Lesson #2 Gotham Gotham Gotham
When Bonnie Thunders posts on Facebook that Gotham is switching to the "hive mind" she isn't just posting bullcrap. Gotham has a hive mind. They are almost telepathic on the track together and never get pulled out of their game by crappy hits, questionable ref calls and track conditions. Want to up your game? Be Gotham. Be all business on the track. Control your ego. Work hard, and clean up your game. The teams that did the best at playoffs last weekend were the ones that had the hive mind going on. If your team is a talented group of individuals that doesn't play well together, you will fail on a higher level.
Lesson #3 Jammers get hit in the face
Bonnie Thunders got hit in the face at least 15 times during Gotham's three games. Did she complain? Did she make an outraged appeal to the refs? Nope. She skated her ass off and got her points. I know it sucks to get hit in the face; I'm six feet tall off of skates and I have had my nose broken twice. It happens, and most of the time the blocker who hit you didn't do it on purpose. If it doesn't get called, skate on.
Lesson #4 Fannage
Ok. Fans, you guys came out in spades at the last playoffs. Nashville had their cute little sequined hats, CQS had their "Holly Hunter's Butt Is SO Big" signs, and Oklahoma had...cowbells. God, they had so many cowbells that I was surprised that every cow in the area didn't come a running. The cowbells put Blue Oyster Cult to shame, and I'm pretty sure every Victory Dolls fan was right behind me. I was never so happy that I packed my giant earphones so I could drown out the incessant tinkling of cowbells by listening to Death Metal. Finally, Minnesota, I love your fans. They win the fandom award in my book. They came out with body paint, Mexican wrestling masks, and a full state mascot. Not only did they cheer their team on, they also had specific cheers for their team and the players. Also, who didn't love "Minnesota, NICE NICE NICE!" You have no soul if you didn't smile at that cheer.
|I don't have a fever for more cowbell|
After sitting for five hours, even in my awesome beanbag chair, I needed to get away from derby for a while. Punk Blocker and Tsunami both saved my sanity a couple of times a day, by dragging me out into the sunlight and out into the streets where I could get food. Yea for sanity checks! When I came back, I felt refocused, and able to watch more derby.
Lesson #6 The photographers know a lot about derby
Speaking of awesome photographers (see above paragraph) you should really sit and chat with the derby photogs. They have their own culture and customs, like the game they play taking pictures of each other when they aren't looking. See? Things are going on at derby that you didn't even know about! Anyway, photographers really know a lot about the game we play, and how it's changed over the years. They study derby the way we do, because they want to take that perfect shot, and they need to know when to be ready! Seriously, sit down and talk with these ladies and gentlemen when you get the chance, it's totally eyeopening.
Lesson #7 There is such a thing as too much KT tape.
Honestly people, I saw so much KT tape this weekend, that I think I need to buy stock. Some skaters seemed to have every muscle group taped, and I'm pretty sure that if everything hurts that badly, you probably shouldn't be doing derby at this time. Seriously, how long will it be before I see a skater covered in KT tape like a mummy? Seems like an expensive habit, folks.
Lesson #8 Bench coaches can win or lose a game.
I saw a lot of amazing bench coaches this weekend, but I saw a lot of failure on a bench coach's part. People sat for no reason, penalty heavy players were thrown out again and again, and they weren't being effective. I have no proof behind this statement, but when I see an ineffective player put out while possibilities are sitting and not playing, I have to wonder if the bench coach is being strategic, or letting his or her personal feeling about players run the bench. I've seen bench coaches do this again and again, and it never works out well for the team.
Lesson #9 Fewer players are putting their names on their jerseys.
Do I need to explain why I both love and hate this? I love the hive mind mentality of it, because good teams play for the name on the front, not the back. That part is awesome! I probably will just put my number on the next jersey I get for that very reason. But...but! If I am not familiar with your roster, this makes me have to go and buy a damned program. Grrrr. It's still the right idea though.
Lesson #10 DBC
I cannot say enough amazing things about Death By Chocolate from Houston. Not only is a she an amazing player, but as Holly Wanna Cracker described her, "She's full of light." She stole my heart along with her team; they have their own hive mind thing going. I was really lucky to sit down and talk with her after her last game of the weekend, so she was really open and honest during the interview.
When I asked her how she got into derby and how long she's been playing. She said "I got into derby in 2005 because my friend told me that I might be interested in it. I told her 'Derby? That's some crazy white people shit' but I came to practice and watched. I probably watched for at least one month before I joined in. I hadn't had any real skating experience, just skating with my family twice a month when I was a kid."
I asked her if she had to take any time off due to major injuries (don't we all) and DBC answered "In
"I 'retired' in 2009 and was just working with our rec league when Rollercon brought me back into derby. Someone had broken into my car and stolen my skates. Sin City Skates and Quadzilla got m3 a whole new set of gear and Antiks. I went to Rollercon in 2011, and they named a track after me. The new skates and Rollercon and seeing everyone just made me want to come back to competitive derby, and that's what I did in 2012. There is nothing in the world like derby, all of us need to appreciate what we are a part of."
Finally, I asked her what her favorite game from the weekend was. "That Minnesota Gotham game was amazing! I don't really cheer for teams anymore, I just cheer for players."
See why I loved talking to her? She has had one of the most popular (unfortunately) injuries in derby, and has come back from it. She took a break from derby, and came back to it; she's an amazing player, and completely full of light as Holly said. I hope I continue to love this sport as much as she does.
That really does wrap up my completely full and utterly overwhelming weekend at Asheville. Another side effect I noticed at practice the Tuesday after I got back, I was totally excited to try some of the moves I observed at the play offs. Seeing live derby at that level can really inspire you to up your training. I know it has mine.