Derby’s unanswered questions

Dear readers, I’ve been neglecting my blog and I am sorry. Lack of time and topics has been a hurdle. (Do you REALLY want to know how long and fast I skate when I work out? Five kms in 15 mins btw hahahaha) So now I am opening up the panel for questions.

I put it out there on Facebook and Twitter:

If you could ask a roller derby player any question, what would it be?

Melissa B from Facebook asked me: “How much does it hurt to get knocked down in a derby?”

You’ll be surprised to know the bone-crushing hits that you see on most derby highlight reels aren’t the only way to stop a player, so they don’t happen all the time. But when they do you’re (hopefully) wearing hi-end knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards to keep your body safe from impact. Players are also taught to properly fall, to help stop injuries from impacting the floor. Players are also taught to properly hit, so you don’t dislocate your shoulder throwing a check. Plus during a game, your adrenaline is so high, you don’t feel a thing until about 3 hours later.

When you’re not giving/receiving bone-crushing hits, you’re booty blocking opposing team members and leaning on other players, pushing them out of bounds to make room for your jammer. This makes for lots of velcro burn from rubbing against equipment which often hurts more than bruising!

The rules of engagement are also there to keep players safe. There are legal hitting zones and you can only hit with certain parts of your body. Blockers can only hit within the area of the pack, jammers can engage each other at any time while rounding the track. But circumstances arise where the rules aren’t always obeyed, which often create the most crowd-pleasing jams.

If you’re a jammer, you’re on the receiving end of hits more often than not (did you watch that video on the link above? Watch the girls with the stars on their helmets) But it just makes you a faster and more agile skater 🙂

ka_vinc from Twitter asks: “How do you come up with your nick names?”

Believe it or not, no two girls can have a similar derby name, especially if they play in a city near each other. There is an International Rollergirls’ Master Roster to check if your name is already taken. In fact, my first choice, Barra Cougar, was too similar to another gal who plays for the Bad Reputations in Vancouver. I had to get in touch with her and ask permission if I could also use the name (hers was BaraCouga). But she declined my request, saying she worked hard to earn her name but encouraged me to keep trying. Cherri Blaster came about because of my love of that particular candy… practically lived on them in college.

On the fun side of things, there is a roller derby name generator that helps you pick a name. But many girls look at their skills, their names or nicknames, favourite movies, their heritage, their jobs or their physical characteristics to pick a name. On the Deathbridge Derby Dames, for example, we have Half Pint Havoc who’s short, but wrecks havoc on all she meets, Lili Von Schtopp who is known for stopping all who meet her and Attila Themum, who’s a mom, plus so many more awesome names!

Choosing a name also means figuring out your track persona, which is even more fun! I’ve seen some of the meanest looking, acting, named girls on the track, but off the track they are sweet as pie! You get to create a full package.

dylpurcell from Twitter asks: “Why not try leopard-print leggings? 80s-style neon leg earners warmers?”

Actually leopard isn’t really in my costume options. I try and leave the leopard print fashion decisions to Rebbles Flintstone and Nixxi Knox, who look way better in leopard anyway. As for the leg warmers, neon is usually worn best by Dream Whip, but I have a lovely pair of black-and-red striped leg warmers.

I do, however, sport fishnets every so often, as well as derby socks. I also own a pair of tights with cherries on them. But my favourite by far is sporting bare legs. Skating fast tends to raise my body temperature pretty high, I don’t like to cover up too much. Plus I have a decent set of gams to show off!

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That’s all I have for questions right now. Thanks to the three of you who submitted! If anyone has any other questions, feel free to post them in a comment and I’ll answer them too!

Derby love to you all!

Back away from the derby girl with tentacles and bat wings

With the post-secondary year upon us and a few thousand new residents moving into the city shortly, we are moving to focus on recruitment to get students to spend their student loans on roller skates and gear grow our league and build our strength in numbers.

As with any non-profit organization, it’s easy to get tied up in administrative crap and forget why you joined in the first place. Years ago I served on the board of the Lethbridge & District Humane Society and while it was a lot of meetings, bickering and hard work, it was always worth it to see a long-time shelter resident get adopted to a new home.

Also, with any non-profit organization, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of being involved with something new and have this happen to you. I admit, the Gemini in me is guilty of volunteering for too much at once and had to back away from a couple of things to avoid going SWRAWWWK avoid derby burnout.

However, the call to make this league successful in Lethbridge has been very loud in my ears. I see such huge potential for growth, personal and professional, as well as the opportunity to spread the derby love around. Many ladies I skate with have made a magical transformations of their own as well. As a board, a team and a league, we’ve had some going pains. But we’re learning as we go. It’s going to be so worth it.

I’ll continue skating hard and volunteering doing the things I love.

I realize this is a lame post, but I wanted something to transition to that awesome cartoon.

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Watch out for us at the Lethbridge Whoop-Up Days parade! If you see me, yell out and I’ll skate over and say hi!

Reasons you should become a derby ref

If you’re the tiniest bit curious about derby, read this. Because we want you. More importantly, we need you! I was initially going to do a top ten list, but there are more than 10 reasons to become a derby ref. Read on, and find out why YOU need to become a derby ref!

Shiny, black and badass

Thanks once again to Susan Knight from Visual Musings in Medicine Hat for allowing me to use some of her pics. Click on an image to make it larger.

There’s nothing else to do in Lethbridge…

For a nominal monthly fee you are guaranteed something to do two nights a week.

Life’s better on quads…

Sure, some refs wear inline skates. But why would you when you can wear a pair of these babies?

Rollercon, Bootcamps and travel bouts…

Need an excuse to go to Vegas? Or Edmonton? Or Regina? You have one now. You’ll be invited to Vegas next July to party with thousands of other derby girls and refs… and learn stuff too. Plus there are Bootcamp training weekends where North America’s best skaters, refs and coaches will school you on all that is derby. Plus invitational scrimmages where you can play with some of Canada’s best skaters.

Speedskater Charles Hamelin has never complained about his thighs... GlobalTVBC Photo

Who needs a gym?

You get to train twice a week with us. Nothing motivates you more than gals in short shorts screaming at you to skate faster. And you WILL sweat, after we introduce you to the meat grinder.

Weight loss/gain…

If you’re a big guy or gal, you will drop at least 20 lbs. If you’re a little guy or gal, you will gain it all in muscle… In your ass and thighs.

Fisti Fetish and Mister Fister. Susan Knight photo.

You get to pick a derby name…

Creating your on-track persona is super fun!

You can design your ref outfit…

As long as it’s black and white and stripey, you’re good to go. Refs can customize a cute outfit! Or, if you’re a dude, you can make it badass. So go ahead and really create your alter ego.

You get to be in the spotlight…

Being on the track during a bout with the crowd cheering does the adrenaline and ego good.

You get to watch girls in fishnets skate around…

The Jester and Fatal Fantasy. Susan Knight photo

Let’s be honest, if the only reason you’re signing up to is to get yourself off, go to the Top Hat. But if you can appreciate the athleticism it takes for this sport, come on over.

You get to boss girls around…

Whether you were a know-it-all bitch as a kid on the playground or a shy-guy who never came out from behind your Atari, derby girls will look to you for knowledge, guidance and advice on how to improve their game. And you get to tell them what to do. If you’re already brimming with ego, you can come too, but we’ll knock you on your ass if you get out of line.

Melting pot of awesomeness…

Refs doing a pre-game safety check. Susan Knight photo

Roller derby is for big girls, little girls, jock girls, girls who have never played a team sport, girls with tattoos, girls without tattoos, girls who are gay, straight or bi, career girls, unemployed girls, students, mothers, grandmothers and aunts. Wherever you come from, you will be accepted. Check your intolerances at the door and hang with some pretty amazing people!

After-practice parties, after-bout parties, clean-your-bearings parties, theme parties…

Your social life will increase by ten-fold if you want it to. So will your resistance to alcohol. And we karaoke too!

AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON!!!

Refs look great in a pack! Susan Knight photo

We need you…

In a bout there is a head ref, 2 jammer refs and at least 2 more skating with the pack. Plus there are non-skating positions like jam timers, penalty trackers and scorekeepers. The refs and support crew are part of the team and essential to every league!

Got all that?
Now let’s squash the negative nellies…

“But I don’t know anything about roller derby, Cherri.”

Refs get in on the action sometimes! Susan Knight Photo

None of us knew much about derby either. You’ll be expected to study the rules outside of practice, but we’ll help you learn the rules through drills and scrimmaging!

“But I don’t know how to skate, Cherri.”
If you can stand on quads, we’ll teach you how to move in them.

“But I don’t own skates, Cherri.”
We have a growing collection of roller skates and safety gear we can loan out to you during practice. But we won’t turn you away if you show up in inlines and a bike helmet and want to skate with us. Mandatory safety gear: knee pads, wrist guards, elbow pads, helmet.

“But I don’t have time, Cherri.”

Ref have fun! (But not as much fun as derby girls) Susan Knight photo

It’s true; you have to be committed if you want to ref. Right now we practice twice a week, 2 hours per, and many of us skate an additional 4-6 hours per week to stay conditioned. But if you’re looking for a new activity to throw yourself into, this is it. And I guarantee you, it’s addictive. Our girls are dedicated and will give it their all at practice. We won’t let you down.

“I not sure about reffing, Cherri, but becoming a derby girl sounds pretty fun.”
Great! We want you as well!!! Get in touch!

So there you have it! We want YOU! (Yes, you!) If you’re interested, feel free to reply to this blog or find me on Facebook (Cherri Blaster) and I’ll point you in the right direction to get you started. Or check out our Facebook page… search Deathbridge Derby Dames. You won’t regret it! PROMISE!