Monday, November 24, 2014

My take on State Wars 2014

Last weekend was the first State Wars roller derby tournament, which was held in Daytona, Florida.  It was a great experience for me as a skater, especially coming after an extremely competitive and hard season.  It was great to have a weekend where I wasn't in charge of herding the cats, worrying about rankings, and wondering who had the helmet panties. I was able to skate, enjoy the game in the purest sense and watch some great derby. There were a lot of positives, and there were definitely some serious learning moments, but having been in a league that has hosted Regionals, you will always find ways to make the event go smoother

First of all, who doesn't like Florida weather? Leaving from chilly North Carolina, we got to Florida
and walked into sunshine and 80 degree temperatures.  The hotel was really great, and gigantic, and most rooms that were booked were booked for a decent rate and an ocean view. In fact, we slept with our sliding glass door open for Saturday night, and it was great to just listen to the ocean (and at three AM when I heard someone go skinny dipping in the ocean). Parking across the street was only five dollars, which is always a bonus in my book, and there were plenty of restaurants to walk to in the area. After our last bout on Friday, we found a pretty nice sushi place, where we stuffed ourselves on the pretense that we had skated so hard earlier that day. (We skated hard, but I'm pretty sure I ate way more sushi than necessary.) Also, wading in the cold cold Atlantic might be the best ice bath known to mankind.

Illinois vs. Texas
The games were a lot of fun, and the brackets, even though they had to be shuffled at times, seemed to work out. I definitely believe the top four teams would have been the top four regardless. My team, Team NC, had a challenging bracket, but enjoyed playing every game we were assigned. We played Missouri first and I was super excited to be playing against one of my sheroes, Annie Maul. We also played Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii and California. How cool is that? Some teams had known talent on them, like Missouri and California, with Hockey Honey, but I had no clue about what the Arkansas roster would bring, and that was one of the most exciting games we played that weekend, with a five point differential.

Hockey Honey!
Part of going to something new like this, you don't know what to expect. Finding out that we could be playing up to four games a day was a bit of a stretch. Our team was seriously lucky because we were able to bring a twenty person roster down to State Wars. I think three games a day can be really taxing and ups the chances for injury. I also know that so many of the refs were officiating every game, which had to be just as exhausting for them. Also, having four games going on simultaneously made for interesting problem solving. How do you deal with the four whistles that call off the jam? The solution at State Wars was for one ref to blow the four whistles and the rest of the refs to say "The jam is dead." Was it perfect? Hell no! We saw a few missteps with players and refs being confused, but for the most part, we adapted.

The bonus of going to something this new, is the fact that it was an opportunity for skaters who aren't the super stars we see in D1s every year. Yes, Smarty Pants, DBC, Freight Train, Varla Vendetta, Hockey Honey and many others were there, but how many people get to skate with and against them as peers? As derby becomes more and more professional, when will you have opportunities like this? Plus, skating with some of the best skaters in my state was an opportunity that rarely happens as well. Usually, we're on opposite sides of the track, and it was great to have them on my side for once. One of things that surprised me a little was how fast we all gelled together!

I spoke briefly with Streak about his brain child, State Wars, and let him know that many people really wanted to be able to stream the games live. Evidently, streaming four games all at once takes a lot of bandwidth, and there were technical difficulties. At least Sunday's games were recorded, and now are showing up online. (I'll update this blog when I get a link.) He also wanted to send out his thanks to the following: Meow Mix, May the Force, Miss Trish, Cub, Renee's Child, Chris Gehret, Stat Man, Jaimes Needham and the Jacksonville Rollergirls. They were all essential behind the scenes to make this work and are already working on plans to better this next year.

I'm just excited to learn that this event will be held next year, and Team NC is already planning on attending it!


  1. I took a photo of you by the water fountains because I was too intimidated to come say hello. Next time I'll introduce myself! Thanks for an amazing blog. :)

  2. I heard a lot of good things, which is awesome with a 1st time tourney this large, kudos to Streak and his team! I believe "Miss Trish" in your article should be "Miss Trial", MT is awesome and Streak was smart to have her on his team for this event. Hoping to go next year to watch, waiting to hear the dates so I can block them out on my calendar! Great article as always!