Feb 212011
 

This is me, feeling like I'm having an out-of-body experience.

“In the world of roller derby, our next reader, Sarah Perry, is known as Tricky La Rouge. Tonight, instead of kicking your ass, she’s decided to be nice and read to you.”

So went my introduction last Thursday, February 17, when I read my writing publicly for the first time. I’m in my first year in the graduate writing program at Columbia University, focusing on creative nonfiction and working on a book (more details to come later). I moved to New York this past August, leaving my beloved team, Red Stick Roller Derby, behind in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“Ohh, New York!” you might say. “Are you skating?” you ask, your breath perhaps catching as the amazingly kickass NYC league, Gotham Girls Roller Derby, comes to mind.

Sadly, no, I’m not currently skating. Transfer tryouts were in November, and after months of hemming and hawing, I concluded that school is just too important (and too damn expensive) to risk neglecting my writing because I got sucked into Derbyland. (For the moment, we’ll put aside the very real question of whether I would have made it onto such a high-level team to begin with). Life is about balance, sure, but on the other side of the equation, I didn’t want to convince those girls to take a chance on me and then shirk in my training because I was pulling all-nighters. It’s Gotham, for chrissakes. You can’t screw around.

What I am doing, every week or two, is getting drunk and yammering on about derby to anyone who will listen. I try not to do this, honestly – try to keep my love on the downlow, like when you’ve recently broken up with someone and you don’t want to burden your friends with your sloppy heartbreak. But I’ve found that writers are really interested in derby – it probably has something to do with all the time we have to spend sitting on our asses, muscles atrophying, frustration multiplying with no aggressive outlet. During a break in the reading last week, a fellow Columbia writer-friend came up to me and said that I had done a good job, but then said, “What was the deal with that intro?”

I’d hit the free wine pretty hard the second I got off stage, but somehow my brain made an insightful leap, and it occurred to me that she’d thought the derby thing was made up, which, I admit, would sound pretty cheesy. “Well, it’s true!” I said.

Ah, PBR. Neatly sitting at the intersection of my two universes.

My friend immediately brightened up and said, “Oh, then – that’s pretty awesome,” or something to that effect; the Cabernet and the subsequent $2 PBR’s have dropped a bit of a haze on the evening (not everything is expensive in NYC). She proceeded to tell me that she’d skateboarded a lot as a kid, and missed it. I was about to launch a nerdy conversation about helmets and wheels (I’ve been meaning to get those Kryptos or similar skateboarding wheels for outside), when another reader took the podium.

I miss derby so hard that discovering this girl was a skateboarder in her adolescence made me feel immediately more bonded to her. I miss derby so hard that I know when every Red Stick fundraiser or public appearance is, and no matter how tedious the event, I wish I was there. I miss derby so hard that when I see a Columbia undergraduate athlete chick hobbling along with one foot in a stabilization boot, I’m so jealous that she even has an opportunity to get injured in a sport, I could just about kick it out from under her.

You get the idea. For the record, I’m planning to go back – I’ll drag my nervous self to tryouts this year or next, when school settles down a bit, but I admit I’m worried that life will take over and divert me from the track. But all those drunken conversations would suggest otherwise. I had stopped writing for LiveDerbyGirls because I wasn’t officially skating any more, but it’s clear I still have things to say. Many of you out there might be in the same boat – laid up with a stubborn injury, tending to a newborn, launching a new career or tackling school as well. So this column will explore some of the issues that those of us on hiatus still obsess over, as well as bring you little nuggets of derby lore and suggestions for working those ripped fishnets back into your wardrobe and whatever else I dig up that seems interesting to current skaters, former skaters, future skaters, and even our cherished fans.

Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

Picture Credits: Writer’s own, taken by MacSweeney’s contributor Casey Plett; BillyBrew.com.

Share
Sep 202010
 

It’s Suzy Hotrod from Gotham Girls Roller Derby writing to you today from beautiful New York City, where strangely enough there was a tornado today. So what more fitting a way to celebrate a freak thing in nature than with me writing a blog. TrAC/DC met me at Rollercon and asked me to write for Live Derby Girls. Which is super, since I make fun of blogs and those who write them. None the less with the arrival of a tornado and the discovery that Scarlet Rage’s dog Klaus has a blog , I’m up on my courage. TrAC says I should just write like I talk, uh…. so….. shit fuck son of a bitch? What’s this blog going to be about? Damned if I know because my entire life consists of riding my bike to work, working, watering the garden, skating, eating, and sleeping. Repeat. Then on the weekends I dig in record bins and am constantly disgusted at the huge amount of Frampton Comes Alive records I find. Is that enough to drum up some blog hits? Speaking of hits, my new favorite roller derby term of the week is “Ass Punch.” In closing I wanted to attach a photo but am too stupid to figure out how to do that. So instead here’s a great video of the Gotham Girls Roller Derby Team at the gym hitting the weights.

Photo by JoeRollerFan

Share

Dress for success…

 Posted by at 10:29 am  1 Response »
May 222010
 

I have a new uniform, it is orange, it is waaaay short, and I always forget that I am way tall… I thought my Camaro Harem Uniform was short… Nope, this, my friends are the shortest uniform I have ever worn, but then I can’t say that I care that much.

Vagine Regime boutfit at ECE 2009 (Photo by Jules Doyle)

I sort of fuss a little about my boutfit, but when it comes down to it, a pair of hotpants, shiny or not will cut it. I care about if I can skate in it or not. For Rat City’s All-stars I would just wear black skorts. But I have also worn a strapless dress as a Glamazon, a pair of panties with a bloody unicorn for Rain of Terror (Rat City’s B-team) and VR. I have been skating with an 80’s prom dress with Jet City and totally been sporting a tutu for both Jet City and Team Legit. For team Legit it only lasted 4 jams, and then the officials asked me to take it off, my jammer was apparently a little too grabby. But hey, I got to lay on the floor and get undressed on the pivot line by my line-up runner. So Sheeza Brickhouse can from now and on always say she has ripped my clothes off.

Black and white scrimmage... what up

For all of us we have something that we find special and important about our boutfits, some girls will never wear fishnets, some girls will always wear something that is written on their ass. I always (almost always) wear different socks. This has made the Mayhem (my current team) uniform a problem, since American Apparel doesn’t carry orange socks… and I can only skate in AA socks. I know, it is weird, but I guess I am a hipster or something… and gosh, now when laying in bed at my house I start to wonder, what the f**k am I going to wear UNDER my uniform. Hotpant? Something frilly? Black? Orange? White? Anything? Ugh!

Well, I guess I will figure that out after my hash brown brunch and manicure, I always get manicures to get my fingers team appropriate on game day… yepp… that’s me! My nails will look better than Suzy Hotrods… MOHAHAHahahaha Queens of pain, I will bring the pain…

What? This is NOT the prom??

Share
May 152010
 

Psycobabble at Western Regionals (photo by Jules Doyle)

I love derby so much, I love to skate, I love to hit, stop, go, run, jam, block… the whole package. I also love the women that play derby, but there are a couple of skaters where their skating, their awareness on the track and sometimes off the track just have captivated my heart and I have formed a derby crush on them. A desire to get to know them better, to skate with them, to just be someone that they want to skate with.

So I have had a few, I think my first real derby crush was on Summer Assault, I saw her play in a Rat City game and I thought she was just incredible, so at RollerCon that summer I walked up to her and told her she was amazing and that I had a derby crush on her. We ended up becoming real good friends, and I have learned a lot from her. I will unwillingly admit that my second derby crush probably was Ann R. Kissed, the woman is insane, both on and off the track, playing with and against her also taught me a lot, and I love the girl, even if she might be a little crazy. But who am I to judge crazy?? So time after time I had some mini derby crushes, Demanda Riot, Malice with Chains, Miss Fortune, Trish the Dish, Jackie Daniels, Castro and so on… yeah…

At Battle of the Bank I met Krissy Krash, and it was love first sight, and we are still heavily involved in our derby crush, I adore to skate with her, I love to skate against her, I just love to derby with her, but I have to be honest I also have a huge derby crush on Blood Clottia, I think there is something about her shy smile and awesome moves on the track. Just the way she blocks or her agility, it is very intriguing. She might also think I am insane… she might be right…

Summer jamming against Bravo, Sockit Wenches vs. DLF, Key Arena 2009 (photo by Jules Doyle)

But for all you who know me, you all know that my current and greatest derby crush is on Psychobabble from Rocky mountain, her sister is awesome and amazing in all ways, but when Psycho is on the track, I just can’t stop staring in awe at her. She is just so fantastic, I know, I know, she is just human, she paints her face like the Joker, but still, I just am in love, my crush is very serious. She skates like a maniac; she is so crazy, yet refined and precise. Her eyes twinkles when she skates and still they have a determination ‘KILL THAT JAMMER’. I probably could go on and on about how she just hit the toe stops on the right time, how she taunts the jammer, how she moves on the track like her skates were magic, but I think I probably just would start to sound silly and maybe a little stalkerish. Oh, and I just realized the other day when I was practicing that I might have a derby crush on Suzy Hotrod, but damn that girl is funny!

So who is your derby crush?

Wile and Ann R. Kissed playing Windy City (photo by Jules Doyle)

Share

Change and move

 Posted by at 12:05 pm  No Responses »
May 032010
 
My first team was Camaro Harem of Jet City Rollergirls

Camaro Harem of Jet City Rollergirls 2008

Changing leagues is not easy, you are leaving all that hard work behind you to join a new league, and they have no clue how hard you worked in your previous league, and you have to do it allover again. Gotham is my third league, and considering that the American population is more prone on moving than most other populations, it is not to odd to expect that many derby girls will skate for more than one league during their active skating careers.

I started out playing for Jet City Rollergirls (Everett) and it was good fun, it was their first season. I felt welcomed when I tried out in December 2007. My coach was great at teaching skating technique and I was completely new to roller skating. Jet City gave me the real foundation. But the late practices (9-11pm) and the long drive (50min) was what finally made me decide to try-out for Rat City Rollergirls.  I was living and working in Seattle and skating for a Seattle league made sense. I also wanted to play for a WFTDA league, and at that time, JCRG were not really sure where they where heading.

Sockit Wenches of Rat City Rollergirls 2010, photo by Jules Doyle

Sockit Wenches 2010 (photo by Jules Doyle)

I tried out for Rat City Rollergirls in December 2008 Rat City, was drafted to the Sockit Wenches. I was the opening jammer for the Sockit Wenches at the first Rat City bout at Key Arena. I thought I was going to puke.

But to be honest I had my goal set on the travel team, and attended practice four times a week and worked really hard to learn everything about derby. I made the travel team in April 2008.  In late June I was elected co-captain for the Sockit Wenches and I was working at least 30 hours per month for the league. I was greatly disappointed that we weren’t able to beat Oly and make Nationals, but I guess it makes me feel a little better that Oly went on and won Nationals. At that point I was looking forward to a 2010 season with Rat City, working out, but I also had a month trip to Sweden planned in December…

I had always had a dream of moving to NYC, especially after six years in the Seattle area, and after a very intense discussion with my parents; I had to tell RCRG that I was leaving them for the Big Apple. They really understood, but it really was one of the hardest decisions I have made.

Moving to New York and trying out for Gotham, was much harder than my previous transfer and much more emotional than I thought it would be. Being used to going to practice four to five times a week, I all of a sudden were limited to a max of three practices with one being especially targeted towards very basic skating skills. I missed Rat City, I missed my Sockit Wenches, I missed the travel team… and I cried at times. I knew it all would change, but it was hard mentally to adjust not only to move cross-country but also to figure out how to fit into a new league and make new friends. When Fisti Cuffs called and told me that I had been drafted to Manhattan Mayhem, I actually cried, it was as if I had been told I had gotten a new home. I still was longing for a place on the all-star team, and a few weeks’ later tryouts for the all-stars were held.  When Bonnie Thunders told me that I made the Gotham Allstars, it was like a little knot in my stomach released. I am so proud and happy to be with Gotham today, but I know that I am the skater I am today thanks to Jet City and Rat City, but also thanks to myself and all the time I have spent skating, skating, skating and playing…

Once I read a quote in a gym before a bout, probably scribbled for the High School students, but I will always remember it ‘Hard work will always beat talent, if talent don’t work hard’.

Share