Jun 132010

Last weekend eight teams from all over California gathered in Paso Robles to compete in The Big One – one of California’s most watched “unofficial” tournaments.

The teams that participated were:

Bay Area Derby Girls
Humboldt Redwood Rollers
Angel City Derby Girls
Central Coast Roller Derby
San Diego Derby Dolls
Derby Revolution Bakersfield
Silicon Valley Rollergirls
Santa Cruz Derby Girls

My league, the Santa Cruz Derby Girls, had finally received our invite and I was ecstatic to go as an alternate for the Boardwalk Bombshells (the team I played on for two years before I tore my ACL at the end of last season) and observe in the derby amazingness.

Day 1 – Intros and Round Robin Mini Bouts

On the first day of the tournament all of the teams gathered around noon to skate out and get introduced. Intros varied from teams having a very colorful, elaborate intro to teams just taking a few laps.

The Highlights:

*BADG taking it slow to R Kelly’s “Bump N Grind”

*Humboldt Redwood Rollers had a great choreographed disco themed intro

*CCRD (The host league) skating out to the A-Team theme song

I had attended a tournament in Bakersfield earlier this year and in similar fashion almost 95% of the people in attendance there were the participating teams.  These tournaments are sorta like a derby-love fest. We’re there to beat each other up, progress the sport and cheer each other on.

I did hear that the San Diego Derby Dolls’ Wildfires had a decent cheer section that came up for the game – kudos ladies (way to make the drive)!

BADG and San Diego were shockingly (sarcasm) the big standouts of day one. My league got to play San Diego and it was an honor lining up with Trish the Dish – I was a little star struck.

I have to say the Day 1 Sexy Award goes to ACDG’s Hollywood Scarlets for some sick uniforms that looked slick and hot with too cute 70s style Lift and Separate shorts. I ended up splurging and buying a pair of black ones from the Wicked booth – well worth the cost! Thank you Stychnine!

Day 2 – Finals and a Hang Over

Unfortunately my league did not advance, the plus side of this was that we could get our after party on without having to worry about being hungover and playing. Call me an optimist, but there is definitely an up side to loosing.

Day two was a little rough getting up and to the venue. My carpool buddy Cleopatra Catastrophe and I made it down just in time to catch the end of the first half of the Silicon Valley Rollergirls verses BADG game. Being that I am a culture columnist and not a bout-writer all I can say about this game is that BADG had SVRG’s card with a shocking win of 259-40.

The bout for the winning spot was between BADG and SDDD, again shocking ;) – BADG’s travel team has been kicking ass and taking names this season and won the tournament with a final score of 151-148.

All in all it was a great weekend. Iron Maven from LADD (and Whip It!) was walking around. I wanted to try and get an interview with her for Live Derby Girls, but I was hyper focused on not puking (which I ended up doing) and staying focused for our mini games. Next time!

I’ll be sure and bring my nerdy writing stuff (ie: laptop, pad and a pen) with me the next time I travel for derby – You better believe I’ll be getting some good interviews at Rollercon! Maybe I’ll do some video . . . the wheels in my head are already turning.

Special thanks to CCRD for hosting The Big One this year – you ladies are amazing hosts!

As always if you have any tips or story ideas feel free to hit me up at: derby.hurts@gmail.com

Photo courtesy of www.thebigonetournament.com

Apr 192010

Day three started with me running late. As usual. When, thank god, this hot bitch offered me a ride in the lobby of my hotel. Who would say no? She’s Estro Jen of the Angel City Derby Girls and holder of the title Best Ass In Roller Derby. I know I promised a close up, but I don’t really know her that well, so just make do with this candid and I’ll work on it, alright? Anyways, before we got in the car she warned me that it might be dangerous. It kinda was, but I enjoyed her enthusiastic careening through parking lots in search of espresso. It was a fitting way to start the morning. Plus, it gave me a chance to get to know the Estro behind the ass. Turns out she runs a skate shop in Long Beach, CA called Moxi. And…(wait for it) she wants to write about gear for LDG! Which is a gift to the world, because this chic really knows her shit. Because of her I bought harder wheels, and it was a totally fucking revelation (See below). No, but really. She also taught me a lot about toe stops and truck length and other stuff I can’t really use yet because I’m a) broke and b) too new to know the difference but that will come in handy down the derby brick road. And, she’s totally releasing her own line of lifestyle skates with Reidell like pronto. Skates with leopard spots and zebra stripes for street skating. With little ruffled hot shorts to match. No shit.

After Estro graciously delivered me to Camp, I went to her Beginner’s workshop on Skating Skills. The first half dealt almost completely with stops. Turns out my plow stop was all wrong. I’ve been making a full, two-legged snowplow like a skier, but really you’re supposed to push one leg out and keep the weight on the other. It looks almost the same, but not quite, and the benefit of doing this is that if you have your weight over one leg, you can use that to push back off again. If you have both your legs completely spread, your weight is in between your legs, and you have no power to move. You just gotta step. The we worked on transitioning from forwards to backwards which is something I really suck at. But she had us get in partners and, using the stability of another skater, I improved quickly. Only on one side, but hey, it’s a fucking start.

Then I shuffled off to Pivoting with Gingersnap. Have I mentioned how rad this chic is? Seriously, though. We did the whole class with our mouthguards in. Why? Cuz pivots gotta talk while they’re wearing mouthguards. Duh. We did some waterfalling drills and she made us keep screaming. We talked a lot about what the pivot actually does. Snap’s take on things is basically that every blocker needs to be communicating as well as the pivot, and that besides the whole star passing thing, the pivot is just another blocker. We got in lines and practiced rotating around a partner. We packed up and practiced rotating to the front. All the while screaming and touching. We did a lot of screaming and a lot of touching and a lot of rotating, and I feel a little more nimble about how I move through the pack and a lot more comfortable screaming. And I learned some things about the three second rule. Like how to get around it. Like you can press wrist to wrist and as long as the jammer isn’t trying to break through that, you’re good. I really want to hear a debate about the three second rule, though, cuz there’s a lot of ideas about it and people don’t seem to agree.

At some point I took a break and bought new wheels. They’re Atom Jukes, and I’m totally in love. I got a good deal on them from Gino at Lead Jammer Skates, who is personable and also really knows his shit. He totally talked me down from buying the expensive bearings and the Heartless wheels. I decided on these because I wanted something a little harder than what I skate on now (Sugars), but still pretty grippy. They’re wide, so they’ve got a lot of stability, which is important to new bitches like me. After all this retail therapy I really needed a nap to rest up for Team Thunder practice. Obviously.

I was exhausted but exhilarated during practice. We warmed up for a few, and then scrimmaged against Team Blood. We were playing a lot better than the day before, since we all knew each other a little better and all that shit. Quad let me jam, and even though I totally bit, it was fun, and I learned a lot in that one jam. Like about this whole “friendly side” side thing Quad is always talking about. He means that if you’re jamming and you come up on a pair made up of your teammate and someone from the other team, you gotta go on the friendly side, or the side of your team mate. Sounds obvious, but sometimes the hole on the other side looks bigger, no? Doesn’t matter. Cuz when your teammate starts banging that other bitch around, that hole is gonna close up and you aren’t going to have the benefit of grabbing on to that girl who aint your friend for an assist.

More rest. Or something like it. And then it’s go time. Bout time. Team Thunder vs. Team Blood and I am freaking pumped. Warm up was rad cuz Quad was skating with us, and just having him on our tail was a major motivation. Then shit got real. I already told y’all about our badass jammer On ‘Da Sligh. She was totally running shit. And we had this other jammer, a leggy blonde who’s name I can’t remember and who I just call Shameless, who was like Jane Be Nimble. But we weren’t keeping it together that well as a pack, and I was really sucking. Yeah, I was tired and sore and shit, but honestly, I was just out of my league. Every girl on both teams had been skating longer and better than me for the most part, and I was in the penalty box three times to pay for my lack of experience. And we lost. But I don’t give a shit, because it was fun and I learned a lot, and even though he must have been mad disappointed in me, Quad was still cool with me after. Yay Coach Quad, you fucking rule.

The after party was at a hilarious bar called the Horse & Cow. I was taken there by a carload of Canadians listening to Rick Astley, I shit you not. If I had never gotten out of the car, it would have been a great night. But then there was an amazing explosion of drunken rollergirls. And Navy dudes straight from a ball with girls in long dresses. And locals. WTF? Seriously, it was the most hilarious  crowd, and even thought the DJ sucked and played Bad Romance no less than three times I still danced my ass off. Did I mention there was a stripper pole? Oh, wait. Actually there were two.

Read about Day 1.
Read about Day 2.
Read about Day 3.
Read about Day 4.