Thanks for the support, readers!

Yes, I sat at my phone and kept refreshing as the number drew near so I could capture it. **blush**

Never in my life would I have expected this little blog to reach five figures.

I appreciate all of you who take the time to sit and read my ramblings, whether you’re a new skater, veteran skater or just curious. I hope you continue to be entertained and informed as I continue my journey. Thanks for reading!

Last night was our Guild board meeting, which always has me come away with additions to my to-do list. The summer is going to be a busy one filled with fundraising, a home scrimmage to raise money for Womenspace (yes, derby will FINALLY be returning to Lethbridge), an away game and a whole slough of other projects.

On top of that I’m looking for a summer job as my ‘real’ job is on hiatus. Juggle, juggle, juggle.

Back to derby… this last weekend I had the honour of playing once again with the Gas City Rollers in Calgary against the B-52 Bellas. Our first half was weak; Deathbridge skater Exie Cuter, who came to take in the bout, said it reminded her of the South Park episode where the elementary school took on the Detroit Red Wings… LOL But we made up for it a bit in the second half. Despite our efforts we lost, 151 – 116, but I gained tons of experience and another list of skills to work on. Well wishes to Mama Ro of the Bellas, who suffered an ankle fracture and dislocation. owowowowowow I missed how it happened, but saw the aftermath of the dangling foot. 😦 Get better soon Mama Ro!

A highlight of the night was my 70+ year-old aunt came to watch me play, along with my sister, brother-in-law and niece and nephews. It was their first bout and afterwards talking to my aunt, she was so flabbergasted at the whole ordeal she wasn’t sure if she should be proud or concerned. Her reaction was fun to watch. (She wouldn’t admit it, but I think she was more proud than anything 😉 )

On top of everything else, I’m stepping up my dryland workouts, which is exciting and painful all at once. Using Ms Cheetah Von Teese’s personal workout for inspiration, I’ve developed a regime in the hopes I can work up to what Cheetah is doing. Considering I was on the receiving end of many of her hits this past weekend, I’m looking forward to getting stronger and giving her a run for her money next time we meet. 🙂

Other than that, I’m currently researching a new blog post: foot pain and skates. Do you have a foot tip or mysterious foot pain? Drop me a line or comment on this post and I’ll research and try and include it.

Thanks for reading, friends!

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The importance of cross-training

Back when I was a young fresh meat skater attending the CWRDA bootcamp in Edmonton, I remember hearing the words of skater Hisset Fit who spoke, prior to a training session with a Calgary speedskating coach, how important cross-training was in roller derby. She then stated as proof, that her right leg was larger from the left as a result of not focusing enough on other parts of her body.

Well, my friends… it has happened.

A right of passage, perhaps? Or a signal to get busy?

This is my scientific measurement of my thighs. Without a proper flexible measuring tape, I opted to use my belt. Sitting, while placing my feet firmly on the ground and an even distance apart, I wrapped my belt around each thigh and marked the distance. I was careful to ensure that I was taking measurement from the same height above the knee of both legs and a consistent tension of the belt.

The result is 1-1/8 inches of difference between my thighs. (Sounds kinda dirty hahahaha) While some would see it as a great increase in strength on one side, I now see it as definitive weakness on the other, as my derby wife pointed out. So I will be altering my off-skate activities to focus a bit more on my left side as I will always have roller derby practice to focus continued strength-training on the right.

Have any of you measured your thighs lately? I’d love to hear your size difference, if any. 🙂

Other tidbits:

  • I will be playing with the Gas City Rollers next weekend in Calgary against the B-52 Bellas! Come out for awesome double-header action! May 14, 2011, doors open at 5 p.m., first bout at 6 p.m. Triwood Arena, 2244 Chicoutimi Drive Northwest. Tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the door.
  • Our coach has been spending portions of practice working fundamentals. I feel it’s really paying off! My transitions are smoother, my tomahawks are more confident at higher speeds and I feel much more powerful on my starts. I’m excited to continue working on my footwork to reap even more benefits in my general skating.
  • I’m changing gyms soon and moving to a more intense regime. Wish me luck!
  • Mother’s Day is coming! Happy Mother’s Day to all my momish readers!

Hockey playoffs are done for me, so I’m back

Well, my hockey team got eliminated from playoffs last night, so I guess that’s my cue to start blogging again.

The last couple weeks have been busy with watching hockey, work and dealing with derby business on and off the track. A lot has happened. I think the only way to go through it all and keep it organized is through point form.

  • Our dear Attila TheMum took a bad fall a few weeks ago and broke her wrist. We’ve had some concussions, shoulder separations, knee injuries, etc. but this was our first for-real broken bone on a teammate. It scary and it’s hard to not think about what if it had been you. We do our best to fall properly, but weird things just happen that’s out of our control.
  • The following practice I tried to jump over a skater who had fallen in front of me and I dreadfully failed. I came down hard with my right shoulder hitting the ground with all my weight behind it. A trip to the chiropractor resulted him in being concerned about swelling and popping in my shoulder and he had me off full contact.

    Myself and Bashin Bindi working on a drill as Coach Pauly looks on.

  • That Saturday was our weekend bootcamp with Coach Pauly. We partnered with the Gas City Rollers and skated at the arena in Brooks. As far as I’m concerned, Coach Pauly is the cornerstone of the world of roller derby, coaching for top teams and is now working with Edmonton’s own E-Ville league full-time. He is also the coach of the upcoming Team Canada roller derby team and wow, are we ever lucky to have him in our province. The first time I met Coach Pauly I wasn’t even benchmarked but I attended a couple of his CWRDA sessions at bootcamp in Edmonton. So I was really excited to have the opportunity to skate under his tutorage again. However, my shoulder injury kept me from any full-on contact drills so I didn’t get the full effect from the weekend like I wanted. But overall, learned A LOT! Even by just watching.
  • During Sunday’s bootcamp our dear Jesse Dahmer fell victim to a bad fall during a drill and broke her leg in two places… that’s two skaters, two broken limbs, in less than a week. Again, it’s hard not to think about this stuff.

    Sunday morning warmup at the Brooks arena. Yes, I'm wearing my winter coat... it was effin' COLD in there! Photo by Medi

  • Medi Lizious and I had a really good chat while the gals continued their drills at the bootcamp. I expressed my concern about the number of serious injuries that were happening. She assured me there were things I could do to help protect myself from broken bones… EXERCISE! The more you exercise, the faster your bone mass builds and the stronger your muscles and ligaments are to help hold your bones in place if the unfortunate were to happen.
  • Taking this advice and realizing how much I’ve been plagued by upper-body injuries, I decided to make a more conscious effort to do more weight training. So I contacted the lovely Cheetah Von Teese from the Calgary Roller Derby league for her workout regime. She is all muscle and beauty like her namesake(s) and I’m in awe of what she does on a weekly basis. Training starts in May… wish me luck with that.
  •  Back to the bootcamp; Coach Pauly lead our leagues on a round table discussion about whatever we wanted to talk about. The conversations were candid and honest and also brought out some issues that we, as a league, need to improve and/or solve before we can move on. I’m happy that our league is continuing the conversations to make us a better unit overall.
  •  With spring here, it means a move back into the Adams Ice arena for practice. But unfortunately scheduling isn’t really on our side and we can only have practices Tuesdays and Wednesdays. But my dear derby wife is still working hard to find us a more permanent home where only we dictate the hours we can skate.
  •  We are also so thrilled to have a local retailer see how cool rollerskating is, whether you derby or not, and has started to carry gear! Wheels, skates, bearings, knee pads, helmets… EVERYTHING! So if you’re passing through Lethbridge, make sure you throw some support to Steel Sass.
  • Countdown to my trip to Rollercon in Las Vegas in July is going to start soon. You’ve been warned.
  • I’m so pleased that our new fresh meat coach I.C. Nuffin is making our freshies work hard! We continue to see new faces and many returns every week. It makes me so happy to have helped create a league that so many can take part in. We’re hovering around the 40-mark for skaters with many freshies close in their skills to allow them to come to practice full-time. Thinking about league expansion is so exciting!!!!!!

So in a nutshell, that’s what’s been going on. Lots more is going on in my head in regards to my own development and how I’m fitting in with the league, but I’ll save that for another day.

Derby love to you all!!!!

Scenes from the bout

Gas City Rollers vs Cut Throat Car Hops

Final Score 150-122 for the Car Hops.

I think one of my favourite parts was I played against gals that I rookie’d with at the Edmonton Bootcamp last spring! The derby community is tight and even though we were competing against each other, I was super proud to see them play!!!

Statistically, it wasn’t my strongest performance. But playing felt good despite my aching toe. SPECIAL THANKS to the guys at our practice skate who were willing to watch my skating style and gave me some tips based on their observations.

Below is a slideshow of some photos stolen from everyone from Facebook. Ironically I think there were more pictures of me taken in this bout than any other bout I’ve been in. Thanks to all the Deathbridge crew who came to cheer me on! I heard you yelling every time I rounded the corner! ❤

And thanks again Gas City! You were a blast to skate with!

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Game day quickie… wheel quick (see what i did there?)

Wheels wheels wheels. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that all those fancy, hard, narrow wheels just aren’t for me.

This game I’m using my outdoor wheels (78a Radar Pures). These wheels were the first ones I ever purchased and are like my best friends. They are labeled as outdoor wheels but given the surfaces we skate on, I’m willing to throw out all labels and stick with what I know and love.

They have now become my game day favourites even though they will never be the fastest compared to harder varieties I’ve tried. But they really allow me to hug the top of the track going almost-top-speed.

Other varieties I’ve tried have me coasting to maintain control on the slippery spots, which I really don’t prefer to do.

With all these struggles it makes me wonder if my skating style is part of the problem. I’ve questioned this before. Maybe I’m too upright, maybe I’m too centre-weighted, maybe I need to muscle-up that left leg a bit more. Hopefully when I attend Rollercon in July I can corner an expert who can watch me skate and shed some light.

So I beg to ask the question… What do you lightweights (>120) use? What’s your surface like? What have been your challenges in finding a wheel and have you adjusted your skating to make it work? Or do you work with the sliding?

Time to get ready! Wish me luck!

Go Gas City!

And I ran… I ran so far a-waaaayyyyy

(Flock of Seagulls are awesome)

I always get the best blog ideas when I’m running, which explains my blogging absence as I had to take a week off of running due to work, lunchtime commitments and being super sore from practice last week.

The good news is that I DID get back on the treadmill yesterday. Isn’t it great when your gym gets new equipment but you’re too devoted to your other favourite running machine to cheat on it? I’ve eyed this new treadmill for a while now… you’re standing much higher than on the other machines, it has a touch screen… it just looked so… ominous. But due to a busy gym yesterday, I was slotted into that apparatus.

First discovery: It has a charging station for my phone. Wicked.

Second discovery: When my phone is hooked in, the touch screen has controls for my iPod on my phone. Wicked.

Third discovery: It’s not compatible with my iPhone. Bummer.

Fourth discovery: The console has a mother-effing FAN in it!

So I ran.

And I almost died.

Well, not really. But I was surprised after only taking a week off of running how winded I got. Or maybe it’s because I spent almost the entire time playing with the touch screen of the apparatus (which doesn’t respond if you have finger sweat) that I expelled too much energy directing my attention to my little appendages.

With the never-ending space issues our team faces on a weekly basis, the owness to stay in shape during down time falls within ourselves. It’s a challenge for sure.

The exciting news is that I have the opportunity to get a little extra training time in, because I’ve been invited to play here…

Isn't this a fantastic bout poster?

That’s right, kiddies… I’ve been invited to play with Medicine Hat’s Gas City Rollers at the end of this month, which means a lot of weather-permitting driving in the coming weeks to practice with the team. I’m really honoured for the invite and excited for the extra time on the track. But I’m also pretty nervous as we’ll be playing a Calgary team, the Cutthroat Car Hops.  I’ve never experienced a Calgary team before. Their standards for skaters are high and their league is fantastic. I know I’ll learn a lot by just playing against them.

In the meantime, who’s up for being in my cheering section?

Some fan signs made by Exie Cuter from our last game in Medicine Hat.

Ways to find roller derby practice/bout space

Last night the Lethbridge College Student’s Association invited the Lethbridge College Roller Derby Club, which I’m also a member of ;-), to come hang out on skates during their Band Wars contest at the barn.

The venue is fantastic and I admit I had visions of inter-league scrimmages complete with disco lighting and live bands playing as our DJ as I circled around the facility.

What it lacks in size; we’d only be able to fit the track and maybe 2-3 rows of suicide seating, is made up in atmosphere. With a raised stage and concert lighting built in, the facility is ready for a variety of events. The floors are industrial tile with, what it felt like, a wooden sub-floor, giving an excellent balance of spring and grip under my wheels. The venue is licensed, lots of parking and directly across from 2 college residences.

It felt like the perfect storm.

For roller derby leagues, all over the world, space is a constant struggle.

For some, the space is available and willing, but to rent it for 2 practices a week for a month, costs more than a month’s rent of a residential apartment. It creates a league with high dues and a necessity to fund raise often just to stay ahead.

For others, they have a facility, but it’s within close quarters to walls or pillars that make full-speed-contact pileups look similar to boarding in hockey.

For more, the facility of choice has floors that are so rough that wheels wear down quickly and you don’t dare skate bare-legged or wear your favorite tights. Or they are so smooth, injuries happen due to sliding out and careening off the track.

Even with established leagues, it’s a struggle. Leagues with multiple teams in large centres, compete with all other sports organizations for time. There simply aren’t enough indoor facilities as it is for hockey, soccer, basketball, ringette, etc.

Most recently, the Gas City Rollers in Medicine Hat lost their practice facility due to the roof collapsing.

So if you’re a league searching for space, what can you do? Here’s some things we’ve done to try and secure venues. Some worked, some didn’t, but if it helps you find a space permanently… Fantastic!!!

Call everyone!!!

Churches, halls, community centres, rodeo grounds, schools, surrounding communities… Any space that looks big enough to fit a track, call them. Inquire that you’re interested in viewing the space to rent for your group.

Our experience has shown if you identify what you’ll be using the space for right off the start, it’s tough to get past that initial phone call. But if they ask, don’t lie. However stating that you’re a ‘women’s sport group’ isn’t lying either. 😉 The key here is to get in the front door and woo the keyholders of the building with your charm.

Anticipate partnerships…

If you’re lucky enough to find the perfect space with perfect floors and get a meeting to view the space, do some research on the group who owns the building beforehand.

Are they non-profit? What other events are held there? Think of ways ahead of time to sweeten the deal for them if they are hesitant about renting to your group. Perhaps they are always in need of volunteers for their own events and your league could offer time in exchange for reduced rent. If the building is older, perhaps you could create a work-bee committee to contribute time to maintaining and improving the building monthly (painting trim, minor repairs, etc) Or create a sponsorship agreement where their name will be tied to every public event you hold. The possibilities are endless if you’re willing to do some negotiation.

Write A Kick Ass Proposal…

If you have a league member who works in the non-profit, public relations or media industry, grab them now and harness their writing skills or find a member who just loves to write! Coming to a meeting with a written proposal in-hand that talks about who you are, your goals and objectives and your reach (eg appearances, what charitable organizations you support, media attention) show that you are a serious league. Also include an outline of what you can offer in return as extras (from previous point) and don’t forget to state what you will do, as a league, if damage to the facility were to happen.

Research leagues in similar-sized cities and make sure to share in your proposal what kind of spaces they have and who’s providing them. This will show roller derby is all around and to hopefully create a desire for the keyholder to ‘keep up’ with the other communities.

Most importantly, put a face to your league. Include photos with your proposal. Show derby moms skating with their kids, show how you participated in the local parade or rally, show photos of other leagues in their pretty spaces (get permission!). Let’s be honest, there is a conception of what derby girls are within the establishment. Show that your on-track personas don’t reflect negative behaviours when you are here to train.

Writing a good proposal will take time. Do it right and you will only have to do minor updates for each venue. Bonus marks if you can get reference letters from former space providers stating you paid rent on time and were good renters.

Once you find the space, respect the space…

This is an obvious one, of course. But some keyholders may give you space on a trial basis and will be watching carefully for any excuse to take it away from you. Don’t let them. Go above and beyond. Work as a team to make sure garbage and gear is cleared out before vacating. Same goes for the parking lot.

Pay the rent on time and report damage immediately. Always watch what your gear is doing to the floors and make adjustments as necessary. Also make a point of asking the keyholders to notify you immediately if there are any problems so you can rectify the situation quickly. Follow up on any special sponsorship or partnership agreements. If you fail on that, you risk negative feedback within the community.

Not only will the attention to detail save you from eviction, but will continue to show your league as one to be taken seriously.

Finally, get into local politics…

I know…. BLAH. But your city/town council are the ones who decide the use of current and future community centres. I’m not saying attend every council meeting, but be aware of the meetings, when they take place and what’s going to be discussed. Meeting agendas can be found on municipal websites and from there you can decide if you need to attend. Look for terms like capital improvement, recreation & culture, parks. Watch/read the news and see if the city is set to expand any of their recreational buildings and are looking for public input. That’s when you need to jump in and get involved.

Find someone on council who favours youth activities, sports or non-profits and ask to sit with them to discuss your concerns about lack of space for your league. While individually they may not be able to do much for you, they now know your challenges and will hopefully keep you informed of any leads that may come up.

Partnering with other groups looking for a similar space is also a great way to get more to notice your cause… Your local skateboard association, wheelchair basketball, ball hockey, lacrosse groups all have the same challenges. Approach council as a unified group and they will notice you more.

******

So those are just some ideas we’ve tried. It’s a tough road seeking out the perfect space, but once you find it, it will be soooooo worth it. To the Gas City crew, best of luck to you in finding a replacement for your lost space. To other leagues who have found a permanent home, I’d love to hear your success story!!!!

As for the ‘perfect storm’ venue we have in front of us, it would be fantastic if they welcomed us back to put on an event-on-wheels; or even just to practice since we are homeless from our current space until February. Guess I should get on tweaking that proposal!

Getting my multi-media on…

First things first…

I must remind you about our next home game, January 15 versus the Gnarlies Angels of Rossland, BC. If you’re hovering around the Lethbridge area, I expect you there! You can get presale tickets starting in January at Blueprint Records (519 4 Ave. South) and Steel Sass (258 – 13 St. South)

Next!

I’ve acquired some video footage and, with this being my week off work, have finally had the chance to put a couple of somethings together.

The first one is another compilation of our first home game versus the Missfits of Mayhem. Unfortunately, the audio is being lame when I embed the video (aka I’m illegally using some Bouncing Souls for background music), so please click HERE to view the video in our page’s feature window & hopefully the audio will work. (If you’re trying to spot me, I’m number 6.)

Next is a short video of me in 3 jams at my last game versus the Gas City Rollers of Medicine Hat. Even though in this footage I’m getting taken out a couple of times, it was a breakthrough game for me, scoring 54 of the 94 points! I couldn’t have done that without my blockers!

Cherri Jams

And now…

Some EYE CANDY courtesy of the Philly Roller Girls. This will be a nice segue into my next post coming soon, talking about my training & derby goals for 2011. Enjoy the tasteful nudity! 😉

Behind the scenes

Gas City Rollers vs the Deathbridge Derby Dames • Nov. 27, 2010 • Final Score 114-94 for Gas City

A fantastic game, with a bunch of fantastic gals. Thanks to the Gas City jammers for keeping up with my countdown to beer as I rolled up to the line 😉

Game plus’s… I came away uninjured, even after a highlight-reel worthy crash into the crowd.
Game minus’s… I still need to work on being more aggressive. And we lost.

But enough of that… The game story in pictures…

(Special thanks to the always talented Susan Knight (her Facebook) and Medi Lizous for the fantastic pics. More can be found on their Facebook profiles. Friend them!)

Lining up for gear check! (I'm number 6 on the left!)

We love our fresh meat fans!

We love our fresh meat merch girls!!!

Sapphic belting out our National Anthem

The amazing Nixxi Knox and her fuzzy boots!

Riff Raff checking her gear while the rest of the team watches the jam.

My intro lap! (Pretty badass, dontcha think?)

I think this may have been the first jam of the night!

The lovely Dreamy (Dream Whip) setting up to help me through the pack!

PILEUP!

Hooten Annie and Domino Brasco about to make some Cherri jam!

Viv the Shiv giving me the LEAD JAM signal.

The amazing BF Bam Bam, who was our bench coach at our first home game! So fun to play against!

Trying to squeeze through. Pretty sure I got taken out on this one.

Andi Linquent giggles during her bench time 😉

Skunky and Rebbles, post game!

My favourite photo of the night. Group hug after the game!