Jun 092010

In Portland February 2009

When I started skating I almost only jammed, I was told at boot camp that I would be a jammer and since I barley knew what a jammer was, I googled it and then went with it. I was a very very sucky blocker, but I jammed, I was one of the fastest skaters on Jet City after a year, and I was also quite determined. So I skated, skated, skated and mostly jammed. And I didn’t particularly love it, but I didn’t hate it, it was what I did, I was a jammer, I scored grand slams and I helped my team. At some point the pressure just got to high, I became that jammer that everyone chanted ‘grand slam, grand slam, grand slam’ for, and I buckled under pressure and I started to feel anxiety every time I slid the star over my helmet.

I got picked up by Rat City, and my jamming time started to diminish at the same rate as my blocking got better and better, I enjoyed killing the other jammer. I realized that I was a very effective blocker, and I did good, I got good feedback on blocking, maybe because people saw me as a jammer that suprised them with blocking skills. I was still expected to go out and jam, and score, score, score when I did, no matter what my pack looked like. I held myself to really high standards, and when i couldn’t live up to them, I avoided jamming even more. And it wasn’t that I wasn’t doing good, I just wasn’t doing as good as I felt I should.

Sockit Wenches vs. Grave Danger 2009

Sockit Wenches vs. Grave Danger 2009

I still enjoyed jamming, but my jammer anxiety was just out of hands, and I felt like I was needed more as a blocker. And about the same time as my second home-season came to an end and I was committed to the travel team fulltime, I was never really jamming. The travel team  never practiced me jamming and I never stood up voluntarily to jam, I had turned into a blocker over the course of three months.
Don’t get me wrong, I really do love jamming, I think it is fun, and I have slowly been trying to get back into it. My current team needs me to jam, and I do it, because I have to. But I still stand on the line questioning myself, always being nervous that I will not live up to expectations. Nowadays I am in many times more effective as a blocker, I am a jammer-killer, I have awareness on the floor and can help my more rookie skaters more on the floor than with a star on my head. I can try to make out jammer look great but I have to work on my offensive blocking, I am not a whipper, but then the question is, am I a jammer??
I can score, I can pass, I do get lead jammer at times, I still hesitate to jam, and only I am the person that can remove the mental block I have for jamming… and I am working on it… but it is hard when you line up against Bonnie Thunders or Suzy Hotrod with Beyonslay or Donna Matrix in the pack, just waiting to kill, kill, kill you…

Isn’t derby just great so say!?

And I have already started my plan on how to get into better jammer shape… please follow and give me happy feed-back!

Swede Hurt Goes Fit blogspot dot com

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)


Change and move

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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’.

Apr 302010

I have wanted to watch this documentary for a couple years and was glad to find it in my possession this week to review.

A Leaky-Sleazewell production, Blood on the Flat Track takes a look at the Rat City Rollergirls in 2005 – a year after the league was founded and blew up much to Seattle’s chagrin. What can I say about this documentary?

One thing that was really in the forefront of my mind as I watched this 90 minute flick was: Dang. Derby has changed. The game has evolved so much in the last five years it’s pretty crazy. Strategy and the rules have really evolved. It’s was funny to see girls still abiding by the ol’ penalty wheel (at first) and getting in to real and staged brawls. I could never imagine clockin’ another girl on my league . . . It was cute to see some of the narrators like Basket Casey talk so candidly about the fighting and express how it really was just part the production.

The documentary was well made and should be considered a big chapter in flat track derby history. I saw players like Mama Cherry and Pia Mess who now are California residents in the infancy of their derby careers tearing it up.

Major appearance by the Tamaccio sisters (Femme Fatale and D-Bomb) before their Oly days. One thing I have got to say is that those girls were and are effing amazing! I saw Femme Fatale throwing strategic and effective hip hits while everyone else was doing the big crazy takeouts. Those girls are so amazing! I am in awe of all the is Tamaccio. It was great to see them pre-Oly. They were actually on opposing home teams and had to play against each other. As I’m sure all you derby enthusiasts know there is a third Tamaccio sister who also skated for Rat City and is now with Oly – Blonde An’ Bitchin.

Blood on the Flat Track did a nice job of depicting the real life of a derby girl and their relation to the sport, their relationships and professions. Seattle is such a colorful and cool West Coast city that the Rat City Rollergirls really encapsulate their surroundings and leave their mark on the metropolis.

There are great interviews with about 5 or 6 main girls. A couple of my favorites were Burnett Down, the chill painter/ bartender who was a bad-ass vixen on wheels and of course Miss Fortune, jammer extraordinaire who I have gotten the opportunity to see tear up the track with Team Awesome. Hot Flash, Miss Fortune’s mom, skated on the same home team (the Sockit Wenches) with her – could you imagine skating on a team with your mom? I would get so pissed if some one hit her  . . . just saying. It was a cute dynamic though.

All in all Blood on the Flat Track is a must see for any skater. I do think it is about high time for a new derby documentary to surface though. I feel like a lot of what I have been seeing and reading is about five years old and this sport, like it’s players, moves fast.

You can purchase Blood on the Flat Track from Strand Releasing.

Be sure and check out the preview here.
Photo credit: Leaky-Sleazewell Productions

Apr 202010

Team Thunder with Smackya Sideways

I will not drink and derby. I will not drink and derby. I will not drink and derby. Yeah, right.

I woke up on Sunday with a massive hangover from the after party. My muscles were completely depleted and I was pretty sure I would not be okay. But eventually I dragged my ass out of bed and down to camp. Whoa. It took me like thirty minutes just to skate up and as soon as I stood up, I thought, “Fuck this, I can’t skate.” But then why did I drag myself across the country and spend half my savings to be here? To be a big fat hungover pussy? No way.

Don’t get too excited. I didn’t last long. I didn’t even get there until lunchtime. During which I decided to warm up. Skating was next to impossible, but I threw my poor pitiful bones around the track and listened to The Cult loud enough to blow an eardrum. I was so dehydrated I didn’t even break a sweat for almost twenty minutes. But it got better. Because I saw Quadzilla loitering, and I thought, “Hey,  I’m here to learn. He’s here to teach.” So, I asked him to pretty please help me with my skating.

My short private lesson with Quad was one of the most valuable moments of all of camp. He had been watching me skate all weekend and knew exactly where I was going wrong. And the thing about him is that he’s nice and whatever, but he’s really  honest. He’s not all “oh give yourself a break, you’re so new”, he’s more like, “look, if you want to get better, this is what you have to do”. And he looks at you like he’s not sure whether you’re gonna do it or not, because I bet he’s seen a lot of girls just say fuck it.

Anyways, here’s what I learned. Your weight needs to be over one leg all the time. All the fucking time. The whole skating thing is about weight transfer. If you’re in derby stance and your weight is in the center of your body, all your power is going straight into the ground. You have to center that weight over the leg that you’re using to push off. This all sounds really straightforward, but barely sober me had a really hard time putting it into practice. Because even though I’m new, I already have bad habits. And because even if my brain isn’t scared of falling, my body is, and it wants to keep my center of gravity centered instead of moving it back and forth like I need to.

I also learned that the last part of your skates that should leave the ground is the front. You gotta be pushing. Not stepping. Me? I step. Which seemed okay to me, because it took me forever to have the physical confidence to even lift my foot off the ground. Well, great, but t ain’t working cuz I’m still slow and clumsy. Not for long. Quad may have seen a lot of girls give up, but he doesn’t know me. Ima get this. Shit, since when did this turn into my diary? Oh, since I got too hungover to go to workshops. Sorry, y’all, but you’re gonna have to deal with some of my emo epiphanies. There’s a moral in there somewhere.

After my impromptu lesson with Quad, who probably thinks I’m in love with him by the way I’m up in his shit, I took a nap. (Dear Quad, I am not a stalker. I’m a writer. It’s kind of the same thing, only I will never call you or show up to your house. I am happy with a strictly textual relationship.) I thought I would never get up, and I almost didn’t, but the irresistible pull of hot fresh derby wafted in through my window and I drag-assed to see the Rat City v. Charm City bout.

And holy fuck, was it worth it. Sure, I was so tired that I could barely carry on a conversation and had to hide by myself in the beer garden, but it was a really exciting game. I’m not much of a recapper, but I will say this; it was tied at 52 at halftime, Rat City was down for a lot of the second half, and then they made a major comeback and won 143-107. It was a hard won game, too, with a lot of dirty stuff going on. I saw a lot of low blows and elbows, but the Rat City girls kept it together and played it cool. I fell in love with Rat City.

Especially this girl. Her name is Onya Heels and she’s fast as shit and a total bruiser. She blocks, she jams, and she does it all with effortless grace. And she’s not some skinny bitch who looks like unattainably athletic standing still, either. She’s hot and everything, but she looks  basically like a regular girl until you see her move. And then you realize that she is a total.fucking.superhero. I would not fuck with this girl if you gave me a thousand new pairs of skates. Re AnimateHer was also a super notable jammer. She’s fast and nimble and took some really hard hits with aplomb. I’d show you a picture of her, but I never caught her standing still.

The game ended. My night ended. Camp ended. The End. Boo hoo, I know. But, I’m still in Seattle, so stay tuned for my night of practice with the Rat City Girls.

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