Monday, October 28, 2013

Derby Has Made It to Popular Culture. Yea?

Costume found here
If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know I like to lampoon when popular culture tries to do something with roller derby.  TV shows and movies are a special target of mine because they get so much so much.  I'm a little more forgiving with Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations. Maybe I shouldn't be, but some things are too ridiculous to get completely annoyed over.

So let's tackle Halloween first.  Take exhibit A standing over there to the right. This is one version of a "sexy roller derby girl" costume.  Is it wildly ridiculous?  Yep, and I  know you're wondering if the skates come with the costume; they do not. I'm not really sure what the heck is on her head either; is it a panty?  Is it a pretend helmet?  Did she steal her grandma's underwear and decide to make it into a hat? I really don't know, but it is funny.  Am I offended?  No.  All professions seem to be victims of the whole "Sexy fill in the blank costume" syndrome, so I'm kind of oddly ok with this dumb outfit.  Does she look like a derby girl?  Absolutely not, but does the sexy nurse look like a nurse?  I feel like she should be "sexy Xanadu movie extra," and if you don't know what Xanadu is and you roller skate, shame on you.

I also looked at the site "How to Dress Like  Roller Derby Girl for Halloween" found here.  I don't think I've chuckled that much in a while at lines like 'most skaters like to wear fishnets' or in the tips section where the authors recommend 'add temporary tattoos to your costume to look tougher.' The article gives some seriously bad advice about fashion, but more importantly about safety gear.  'Purchase new or USED pads and a helmet...' Uh, please don't purchase a used helmet ever, even if you are a fake roller girl.  At least they remind people not to drink while on skates! Hooray for safety!  I know it is easy to take pot shots at these sites, but part of the article does recommend that if after Halloween, the costumee wants to try out for derby, then they should buy the correct skates.  I guess Halloween could be considered a gateway activity for roller derby.

Is it worth 80 bucks?  Um, yes!
The best thing about derby coming into its own is this monstrosity.  Just look at this thing!  It's a blow up reindeer derby girl!  How do I know it's a derby girl?  It says so on her jersey, duh. The website describes it as "This cute Reindeer is ready for the roller derby rink. If you're looking for something different for your lawn this Christmas, well look no further. Easy set-up - just plug it in to inflate. Looks great during the day and lights up at night." You can find it here. 
Sweet!  They have roller derby RINKS now?  Hot damn!

I know, I know.  She's wearing a pivot and a jammer combo panty, and most female deer don't have antlers, as one of my astute league members pointed out, but I don't care.  I want this thing in my front yard!  I live in a neighborhood where ever house has these ugly blow up decorations in the front yard, and I want to DOMINATE over all of them with this derby deer.  Is it wrong of me to want to put it on wheels and drive it around the neighborhood?  Is it bad that I want to get five of them and decorate my front yard with a derby pack of these pivot/jammer deer?  Probably, but I've been sucked in by the fact that finally our sport has a tacky representation that I can challenge my neighbors with.  PROGRESS!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Should Refs Look Forward to Skill Practices?

Sometimes leagues have to have skills/drills or "skrills" practices to get certain strategies down pat.  Skaters don't always squeal with glee when it comes to these drill practices; in fact, one of the biggest laments most skaters have is "why aren't we scrimmaging this practice?  Scrimmaging is way more fun than drills." Yes yes, scrimmaging is way more fun than drills.  Who doesn't know that?  I know a lot of skaters compare doing drills and skrills to eating your vegetables; you have to do things that you don't want to so you can be healthy.  Sometimes drills are like that for skaters; they make us better in the long run, and sometimes they're actually fun.  But funner than scrimmage?  No way.
Scrimmage is the funnest!

I am one of those skaters who sometimes approaches a skrills practice with a heavy sigh;sometimes it's hard to get excited about the idea of drills, but I usually enjoy them after I get started.

It's interesting, because I hear the refs say the same thing.  Some refs tend to turn up their noses at attending a skrills practice, and I get it. I really really get it, but I don't necessarily understand it very well. A couple of years ago, I started coaching and reffing our Collision men's roller derby team; I didn't care if they were having a skrills practice or doing an actual scrimmage. Either way, I knew I could learn from whatever they were running.  Scrimmage is fun, but sometime having to watch for certain penalties in certain situations is a great way to train your eye for a game. Narrowing your focus can take away some of the crazy distractions that derby can provide during scrimmage or in a game. Practice in all forms does a ref and a skater good.

Just think about it this way, refs have a chance to talk about calls during a skrills practice.  They may even have MORE of a chance to talk about calls because they can step away and discuss something while the drill continues; you can't do that during a scrimmage.  Skaters get impatient, they don't want to "waste" scrimmage time while refs discuss the definitions of certain penalties.  Also, skaters are probably going to be more receptive to hearing a penalty while they're in learning mode.  Maybe that doesn't factor into your motivation, but it should!

Just look here if you have doubts.

Don't believe me?  Listen to some of the refs and skaters I propositioned, I mean questioned.

 "It helps the players and myself. I also participate in endurance and footwork drills. Any sort of contact or pack/bridging type drills I'll assume the ref role to make the applicable calls or facilitate as needed." Freddy Mercury Poisoning

"Yes. If I don't work out like the players, how the hell am I supposed to keep up with them?  I ref anything with contact during practice. Even if it is something like 2 on 1 or a line hitting drill. It helps me to see things on a smaller scale so I can recognize it better during a game. Our TC does touch base with me and I have a good working relationship with them so I know what is coming during practice. Also, I explain to the skaters that it is practice for the refs too, and we are in a constant state of learning." Vanna Down by the River

 "We've actually been discussing with TC making the drills more structured so our Wed ref practice can be more efficient. Front load the drills that need refs so the refs can spend the rest of practice that night on rules discussions or drills for our own footwork/skating. That way, we won't be pulled into drills piecemeal throughout the practice." Frag Doll

"Most of our refs come to practices as well; not every ref at every practice, but at least 2-3 at most practices. They warm up and do agility/skating type drills with the skaters, then ref our contact and scrimmage type drills, even if its small scale drills like 1 jammer/3 blockers and such. It helps us get used to getting called when we commit penalties, rather than learning bad habits that are going to land us in the box, and helps them learn what/when to call it. And after drill/jam, skaters and refs can ask questions for rule clarifications/etc. If its a full scale scrimmage situation the skater actually takes the penalty, but in smaller drills the penalized skater either exits, does five pushups, and returns immediately to the track, or waits till after the "mini-jam" to do their push-ups." Becky Bloody Professor Misenheimer

It's a win win situation.  Refs get to practice and hone their skills, and skaters learn to play even cleaner. Who doesn't love a win win situation? I'm hoping that all of the skaters who read this actively encourage their refs to show up, even if it's for a "lowly" skrills practice! 


Friday, October 18, 2013

Planning Practice

All leagues have different ways that they handle practice planning; some leagues have coaches who
can come to all of the practices and run things.  Other leagues have to fill in when the coaches can't make it, so they might have skater coaches or skaters who take turns designing and running practices.  If you find yourself in charge of crafting an amazing practice, then read on McDuff, and maybe the next practice you get to plan will be even more amazing.

Plan for it.
Seat of the pants practice planning never is a good idea....ever. So many people roll up to practice with a general idea of what they're going to do, but don't really have the details down. Have a game plan before you show up for practice! When I plan a practice, I make sure I have all of my ducks in a row, and that the practice plan makes sense.
  • Do I have a clear objective?  
  • Do I want this practice to focus on blocking, jamming, strategy, or footwork?  
  • Am I combining one or two of those ideas?
  • Are the drills I have planned good for the skill level of the group? Am I planning to teach newbies, or is this a plan for advanced skaters?
  • Do I have all of the equipment I need for this practice?  Do I have cones, jammer panties, tape, whatever? Do I have a stop watch? How about a whistle? You'd think these are duh-hee questions, but so many people lead practice without thinking about them.
It's important to have a warm up that preps people for the task at hand, and is fun to boot.  Think about the warm up as pregaming for the rest of practice.  If you can get them thinking about moving their bodies the way you want them to, or the footwork you need them to rely on later, then you're already ahead of the game when it comes to introducing the actual drill!
Think about what your league needs, and not what you want to do.
Are you amazing at toe stop work?  Great! Run a clinic on that, but if your league is struggling with plow stops and walling up, then your amazing toe stoppage needs to be put on the back burner for a while. If you're being entrusted to plan a practice, then really take your audience into account.  What would benefit them the most?

Do your drills build on themselves? 
Do your drills make sense together?  Random drills jumbled together for no reason other than you thought of them the night before don't make for an optimal practice.  Can you scale your drills to bridge the difference between player levels if you need to? 

Can you explain the drill well?
Explain the drill, now do it again, and again.  Are you sure you really know what the drill is supposed to look like? People need to be given input in different ways, and sometimes it takes more than one way of explaining things for people to get it.  Do you have people there who can help demonstrate the drill?  Can you slow the explanation down so some of your less experienced teammates can grasp the finer points?

Are you keeping the drills on track? (Haha, see what I did there?)
Part of running a practice is making sure that the "practicees" don't run off with your drill.  You know derby girls have approximately seven minutes of attention span at a time; if you leave people without supervision, they're going to change the drill, slack off, or get bored.  People need feedback.  If you're running a practice, you need to really need to be engaged as a coach.  Being a part of the drill really isn't the best way to have a successful practice, and that sucks if you're leading that practice. Tough!  Sometimes we all have to bite the bullet and sacrifice for the league.  Keep people on task and doing the drill with good feedback; you can participate in the drills when you're not running practice.

Are you over prepared?
When I was a teacher, I always made sure I had a ton of activities for each lesson plan I created; yes, I basically planned for an hour and a half class when in reality I only had maybe 55 minutes to teach each period.  You should do the same for practice. Overplan!  You need to be over ready for anything!  Sometimes drills go faster than you think, so always be ready.

Give people feedback, and expect feedback in kind.
You need to be able to give people feedback during and after your practice. Most of this feedback should concentrate on the improvements people are making in general.  Also, you should seek feedback after you lead a practice.  People may murmur "good job" at you directly after practice, but you should try to follow up with more formalized feedback.  It's always good to try to send an anonymous survey out the next day.  Because it's anonymous, you might get some feedback you don't love, but squash that hurt "feeling" and figure out how you can improve your next time leading practice!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Derby and Fresh Air...Do They Mix?

I just came back from one of the best trainings I've been to in a while; it was hosted by the Kill Devil Derby Brigade, and they brought Getsome Athletics to the area for a great invitational and skills clinic opportunity.  I was excited, because it sounded like a lot of fun, and both Carmen Getsome and Shorty Ounce are amazing skaters.  Yea!  Derby training!  But as I was reading all of the exciting things we would be doing, I realized that this clinic and tournament would be held outside.

Uh, what?  Outside?  Madness!  There's sun
Photos by Glenn McGregor
out there! North Carolina isn't extreme with its weather, but  I mean, I know that "back in the day" Gotham skated in a parking lot because they didn't have enough people to rent a rink, and I realize that other leagues have skated in games outside, but it seemed like skating outside was not something most leagues did on a regular basis.  Of course I asked around, and everyone just said "That's where they skate."  Really?  What if it rained?  How bad would my skates get beaten up on the concrete?  Damn.  Rain?  Are they taking this training situation seriously?

It turns out, that yes.  They definitely were taking the training seriously.  Even though it rained the two nights we were there, both the tournament and the training went on as planned.  It was great! Getsome Athletics did an amazing job training us, and the tournament was a blast too. The Kill Devil Derby Brigade made sure there was plenty of water and hydrating drinks on site, and they really were the perfect hosts.  This whole experience really changed my mind about playing derby outside, but I had some follow up questions about why this league was practicing outside.

I asked Blazin' Cajun to explain why and how the Kill Devil Derby Brigade started skating outside, and how they dealt with all of the crazy things that can happen when you don't have a roof over your head and the wind in your face.  My comments are italicized. 

Yes, I'm wearing a sun shirt. Yes, I'm the whitest white woman ever.
"Aviation Skate Park is owned by the Town of Kill Devil Hills, NC, which has been incredibly supportive and good to us. It is a public space for the citizens to use. It was originally built for roller hockey, and the space is free to use. The only indoor track was owned by a church and the derby team was not welcomed to skate there."

"Being located in a resort area, the real estate is is very very expensive; the 2 or 3 buildings that might have been available on the beach were not large enough for a track or in good condition The Outer Banks is a peninsula so the amount of land available is very limited also. We would have to go inland to find a building. In the beginning of KDDB, we only had ten skaters,  so funds were very low. Due to those factors it was decided to make the best of what was available."

"The obstacles we face are all brought on by Mother Nature. You (speaking to me) got to see first hand what rain or a heavy mist will do to the track. We have gotten pretty good at drying it the best we can!"  Boy, they are good at drying the track, by using towels, leaf blowers and a giant squeegee.  It was quite impressive!

"We skate there year round. We have delay practice by an hour a few times in the summer due to the heat; with the heat index, it is not unusual to skate in 98 to 103 degrees. We get a lot of guest skaters in the summer due to this being a tourist area. The guest skaters are always shocked and affected by the heat. We stay hydrated as much as possible and yes there has been some puking on the track due to heat more than once. We are very good at monitoring each other, and we let a teammate know when they are looking like they need a break. We have skated there for almost 3 years. It is very hard to schedule teams here due to only having an outdoor track. I don't blame a team for not wanting to commit the travel time, money, etc and then it rains and they are out all of that." The sun is what got to me.  I was sunburned the first day and trying to stave it off during the second day.  If you're going to skate outside, I recommend some serious sport sunscreen, the water proof type!"
Blazin' Cajun at summer practice. Photo by Roy Edlund

"Our track is very hard on gear. There is several of us that have skates that are only 1 to 1 1/2 years old but if you look at them,  they look five years old. Our pads wear very fast too. The hardest thing to get used to is the hardness of the surface when you fall When we travel and skate on indoor tracks it is like falling on pillows. You really have to be aware of how you fall, make sure gear is good condition, and stay in derby stance to avoid impact injuries due to the concrete. We practice 6-8 hours a week (weather permitting) so your body takes a beating at times." She's completely right, because my body felt way more sore than it normally would after that amount of skating.  I was also mourning the grinding down of me toe stops; that rough surface was having its way with them.

"The past year our team has gotten a lot of great exposure so I hope that will led to some opportunities for an indoor facility."  Thanks Blazin' Cajun!

How hardcore is that?  I know that there are other teams that practice outside, but it just seems amazing to me that they can keep it up year round in crazy Carolina weather.  These ladies are dedicated to derby, and they make me feel kind of wimpy when I bitch about our practice space issues.  Obviously, the Kill Devil Derby Brigade ladies have shown the world what a lot of determination and a little thinking outside of the track can accomplish.  So, what's keeping you from getting your butt to league practice?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Some Myths About the Penalty Box (that are totally true)

First of all, I'm not a superstitious person in general.  The number 13 doesn't hold any sway over me, I think black cats are awesome, and I don't have a pair of lucky socks that I can't play without.  Occasionally I might toss some salt over my shoulder or knock on wood, but I'm not going to flip out if I don't do either of those things.  Also, I'm definitely not forwarding any damned chain letters I get on Facebook; I'm pretty sure I won't get cancer and lose all of my money if I don't share someone's status for an hour.

All that being said, I'm totally and utterly convinced that the penalty box exerts secret forces and powers beyond my comprehension.  Announcers always say that the time clock is the eleventh player on the track, but for my money, it's that damned penalty box.  It's the sneakiest and most resilient opponent you'll ever meet.

Myth #1 (that's totally not a myth)
Once you get sent to the penalty box, it develops a taste for your body and draws you back as soon as possible.  How many times have you gone to the box, come out to play and have been sent right back? I know, I know, my rational mind says "You went right back because you have something to prove, and you did it with too much force" but I still wonder if the penalty box is a black hole and nothing can escape its pull once you get sent there. "Hey there skater, I totally kept your spot warm."

Myth #2 (hella true)
The box always hungers for more and more people.  Got two blockers in the box?  Blink your eyes and there will be a third in the queue, especially when you happen to be the next jammer in the rotation. I guess the penalty box gets lonely and calls to the blockers on the track.  "Come to me, my lovelies!"

Myth #3 (totally true)
The announcers have the power to put you in the box or keep you out of it, depending on what they say. I swear, as soon as an announcer says "She's going to have to play this jam clean in order to tie the score..."  boom.  Someone is in the box. "So and So is usually a clean jammer."  Box trip, almost guaranteed.  I know that most of us can't hear the announcers and everything they say, but I think the penalty box totally can.  "Look, there is a full pack on the track!" Boom.  Penalty box again. Maybe it likes the attention, or maybe it hungers for derby butts.  Fess up announcers, do you have some weird symbiotic relationship with the penalty box?  You can tell us, we won't hate you if it's true. (we might.)  

Myth #4 (true true true)
If you're wearing the jammer or pivot panty for the next jam, it's almost guaranteed the jammer or pivot from the current jam will go to the box. I know this is true because it happens to me all of the time.  I put the pivot panty on, and BLAM, the current pivot is in the box.  Katie Clysmic on my team refuses to put the jammer panty on until she goes to line up.  I know this doesn't really happen, but it's kind of uncanny; I watched her for one game, and she was right.  Every time she put the jammer panty on, the previous jammer went to the box. Does the penalty box sense panties?  How disturbing was that line to read?

Myth #5 (somewhat true)
Time moves slower in the box. Maybe this myth should be "time moves differently in the box."  When you're sitting in the box, it seems like one minute is an eternity; it crawls by, and every time you check with the penalty box timer, you swear her clock is stuck on 42 seconds.  If you're out on the track, and your jammer is in the box, it seems even longer than eternity.  If it's the opposing jammer, that minute goes by in no time.  You just can't calculate box time by normal time.

Yes, I'm exaggerating, but all of those things seem true when you have to deal with penalties.  The real answer to not having all of these crazy issues with the penalty box is to clean up your game. I'm working on this myself, at every practice, but it's hard.  I guess until then, I'll keep my secret and crazy beliefs going about the damned penalty box!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Don't Be a Superstar

I've been watching derby and playing derby for a while now, and I can tell you that there are a lot of amazing teams out there, like Gotham, Minnesota, Windy City, Texas, Ohio, and there are a lot of groups of extremely talented people who are loosely united to sort of play together. I won't name names, but we all know them when we see them.  They have stand out players, but no real team support; I understand that derby is sometimes the first team sport experience for many of its players, but people need to understand that this game is won by everyone on the track. It's not all about the individual.

So what makes a good teammate?  I'm glad you asked, citizen!
Good teammates don't make fun of your derby faces.  Photo by a Boy Named Tsunami

1.  A teammate doesn't think she can win the game on her own.  I don't care what position you play on the team, you can't win the game by yourself.  You may be amazing, but if you can't play well with others, you're just a show boat hanging out with some other people on skates.  If your team loses the game, do you blame yourself and only yourself for losing?  I doubt it.  It's easy to take on the glory and none of the blame, but that's not how it works when you play a team sport.

2.  A good teammate has an amazing dedication to the sport.  Yes, derby is a game, but a good teammate has to have a good work ethic.  That means she shows up at most practices, giving your all, and putting in your effort.  You're not being a good teammate if you don't show up, period.

3.  A good teammate respects her peers, coaches and refs.  That means you aren't allowed to be a dick on the track during practice or in games.  Don't be a dick to your teammates; I know, I know, it's so easy to be a jerk in this game.  Sometimes fouls don't get called, and you just HAVE to say something ugly under your breath.  DON'T!  Don't do it!  I know it's hard.  Put a paper bag on the bench and scream into after each jam,  just shut your damned mouth on the track!  Every time you snipe at a teammate in practice, you destroy her confidence in herself, and YOU. You're not being a good teammate; you're being a horrible diva.  Just. Shut. Up.  Do I have to remind you not to yell at the refs too?  I shouldn't have to at this point, but I will.  SHUSH!  Go to the box! 

4.  A good teammate has self discipline.  Did you read number three up there?  That's part of it. Another part is cross-training, eating right, and not losing your temper.  Of course you're going to slip up on one or all of these things, but if you're doing the right things most of the time, and learning from your mistakes when you screw up, that's a start to on the path to discipline.

5.  Be coachable.  That means you have to listen AND pay attention.  If you ignore the crap out of feedback and continue to skate as you always do, then you aren't coachable. If you're a jammer and your coach tells you to stop taking the lines on the straight away, and you just don't, well, you're not trainable.  He or she isn't telling you that just to make you feel bad, they want you to be mighty on the track.  Ignoring feedback means you are not willing to change and grow.  Who wants someone stagnant on her team?

6.  A good teammate is accountable.  if you screw up, you screw up.  Own it.  Nobody is perfect on the track, and sometimes you're going to make a huge mistake out there. OWNNNNNN IIIIIT.  I know this is something you want to hear, but you're human, just like the rest of us.  (You're not perfect...I know, I know....shushhhh will be ok.)

7.  A good teammate anticipates the needs of her team.  Do you need to bridge for your teammate blocking the jammer?  Then do it, don't think of yourself as too amazing to be just bridging.  Talk to her, tell her how much room she has to block before she's out of play.  Be supportive, and help your teammates be successful.

8.  A good teammate makes her other teammates better.  Make that a GREAT teammate.  If you're not invested in making your teammates better, then you're not really into your team.  Derby makes us competitive for spots on rosters, but it's still important that you help raise your teammates up as high as they can go. Tell them when they're being successful, give them helpful feedback, work with them on skills, and the hardest of all, don't resent them for getting better.  It's hard not to listen to that little bitter voice in the back of your head when a teammate starts to blossom.  She's really challenging you on the track?  Good!  Rise to her challenge and step up your own game.  True teammate push each other to be even better.

9.  A good teammate is reliable. Do your volunteer hours, get to practice, get to the bouts on time.  Did I mention "go to practice"?

10.  A good teammate has confidence in her teammates.  Don't do your teammate's job; let her know you have confidence in them, and tell them when they do a great job.  Don't doubt your teammates' skills; you need to believe they can handle their responsibilities on the track. How offended would you be if someone on your team tried to step in and take over your job on the track?  How demoralizing would it be?  Don't demoralize your teammates. Don't be that girl.

A team that doesn't play well together is like a super group of ninjas waiting one at a time to attack the samurai.  How many times have you yelled at your tv set and said "Why don't you all hit him at once?" Being a solo superstar in this day and age of derby is just not the way to success. Read over that checklist above and see which parts you could work on to become a better teammate. We all can improve on at least one of the ten characteristics up there. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thinking About the Inevitable: Derby Retirement

Due to the ending of our season (our eleventh month season) and due to the last entry I posted, I have started pondering the idea of my pending retirement of derby.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not planning on retiring any time soon, but sometimes you don't always get to choose the when and how you retire from our game, and I like to be as prepared as possible for situations. I'm not in denial, because I KNOW that derby retirement is definitely inevitable.  Some day, we all will have to walk, limp, or run away from this game.  But, if you're one of these players who panics at the very mention of retirement, here's a cute dog using a water slide.  Go watch that and forget about this blog today.

So how can you prepare?  Well, I don't think there is a tried and true method, so I'll share what goes through my brain when I think about leaving.  This is all of my personal opinion and process; I don't expect anyone to finish reading this and to say "By Jove, she's got something there!"  This is just my personal process; maybe you'll find something in my method to use when you have to make your own decisions about when you retire.

 When I ponder retirement,  I make two lists.  The first list is always of stuff I'm going to miss, and why.  Then I make a list of the crap I'm not going to miss, and why.  Eventually, the crap list will probably outweigh the stuff I'll miss, and that my friends, is when I'll willingly retire.
But first, here's some derby girls sitting on a rhino.

STUFF I'LL MISS (and junk)

1.  First and foremost, I'm going to miss my butt.  I do not have an awesome derby ass; people don't compliment me on my butt ever, but because of derby, I now actually have one.  I am a skinny white woman, and a perpetual sufferer of noassitol.  I'm not kidding, I could easily fit into skinny men's jeans before derby.  I have kept my crappy no butt jeans for when my butt deflates and it becomes a non issue again.  Also, I will miss my derby thighs.  Sigh.  Of course, I'll try to keep my butt by doing some fun work out, but I doubt it will ever be this....present...again.  No, I'll save you from the horrible butt picture I could have posted.

2.  I'm going to miss working out for something other than being healthy.  Look, I like to exercise; I actually joined derby to work out more, but most of my off skate workouts have become focused on how I can get stronger for derby, how I can skate faster, and how I can hit harder.  It's so much easier for me to do these face melting work outs for derby.  I don't know if I'll be as excited to kick my own ass for the sake of...well, kicking my own ass.  I'm pretty sure when I leave derby, I'm going to have to find something physical to do to replace it.  I had a brief love affair with some martial arts in college; it might make a good substitute for a while.  Hell, if I'm desperate enough, I'll try Zumba.  Don't hate, I just have no damned rhythm.

3.  I'm definitely going to miss hitting people.  I love hitting people, not going to lie about that.  There is nothing like leveling your opponent with a great, legal hit.  Nothing.  NOTHING.

4.  I'm going to miss the speed.  I love skating in general; it's the closest thing I can do on a weekly basis to flying.  I feel like I'm magical when I'm zooming around on my skates.  I'm sure you feel the same.  The closest I've ever come to that feeling is zooming down a steep hill on my crappy pink bike with my hands in the air, trusting my balance to keep the bike from crashing while singing "I'm Sexy and I Know It" at the tops of my lungs.  Don't judge me.

5.  I'll miss the awesome people I've met.  Derby has let me interact with a bunch of people I
When would I meet a purple clown?
probably would never  have met in my "real" life; mostly I wouldn't have met them because I'm generally a misanthrope.  I have friends of all ages now, and interests.  Derby has given me a sushi sampler of awesome friends, but I also understand that derby might be the only thing that some of us have in common, and we might drift apart when we leave the sport.  That's ok too; my life is much fuller having known them.

6.  I'll miss being a part of a team.  Being on a team is the whole reason I keep getting up to go to early ass practice, or sitting through yet another tedious meeting, or enduring endurance
Plus teammates let me draw them for my art
practice.  Gah.  The team is what keeps me motivated.  Moving together on the track, being able to communicate complex strategy with a glance, or the high fives on the track.  That will be really hard to replace.

7.  I'll miss drawing it and writing about it.  Yeah, I like it that much. I've turned it into a blog and art.  After I leave, I'm going to have to find a new muse.


1.  Drama and butthurt can both kiss my existing ass.  I will not miss the drama llama at all.  Go to hell, drama llama.

2.  I won't miss the money I pay in gas to get to practice and events.  I spend a LOT on gas, and I've put a ton of mileage on my poor car. Sometimes, when I'm in a masochistic frame of mind, I roughly calculate all of the money I spend on gas in a year, and then think about all the vacations I could take, that I probably never will now.  Sigh.

3.  I won't miss the toll takes on my body.  I had pretty feet, once.  I also had knees that didn't click and pop when I walked upstairs, or elbows that didn't pop out of joint on a whim, or an ankle that didn't sing Ave Maria every time it rain.  Derby has taken its toll on my body.  Did I mention my twice broken nose?  I won't miss the injuries, random bruises (why do they look like fingerprints on my arms????) and velcro scratches.  My body does not like getting its ass kicked every practice.

4.  I'm not going to miss the smell. 

So, there I am with my list.  So far the stuff I like outweighs the stuff I won't miss, so I'm planning on staying in for another year.  That's the plan, so far, but you never know what will happen down the track.  Maybe today would be a good time to make your own list, you know, just in case.