May 012010

can i marry my best friend? Yes, definitly yes.

I am the same as all new roller derby girls-I love everything about roller derby: the sport, the clothes, the people, the support from the people, the encouragement to be yourself. But one thing I LOOOOVE in particular is the concept of the derby wife. Personally, I am a little shocked that the other bloggers for Live! Derby! Girls! didn’t jump right in with a gratuitous post about derby wives. Roller derby wives are sometimes hard to explain to non-roller derby people. You know I get the Look and the lesbian question again and again.*sigh* I found this definition from the Rollercon website: 

“A derby wife is quite simply this -   

She is the one person in this whole sport of roller derby that the very instant you looked at her, you felt like you’d known her since you were a fetus. She looked just like your best friend from fifth grade, or something she did reminded you of all the things you ever liked in anyone else.
She is the first person you’d call if you ever need to get bailed out of jail. She’s the one who will be holding back your hair when you puke after drinking too much, and she won’t let anyone take your picture while doing it.
She’ll ride in the ambulance with you when you lose a tooth, break your wrist, or tear your ACL. She’ll make you laugh the whole way to the hospital, try to steal your pain medication (lovingly), and sneak your favorite food and a beer into recovery. She’ll make her actual husband understand that if he loves her, he’s gonna have to put up with you, too, no matter how many times you come over forcing him to revisit all the derby-related shows on his Tivo that you missed. She may not even be your best friend in the league or the sport, but she’d be the one you know will be the first one to back you up, even if you’re dead wrong. She’ll just tell you you’ve lost your fucking mind later in private,
possibly kick your ass alittle bit, and then be the only one who could ever talk your hotheaded ass into some reason. If you can find more than one derby wife who can meet those needs, then you are lucky indeed, but myself? I’m a one derby wife gal.”

derby marriage license

This post on the Rollercon website also notes the myth (I say myth, cause how could this not have been in existance since the dawn of roller derby?!?!?!) of how the concept of the derby wife came to be:  

 “The tradition started in November 2003, when a load of Derby Dolls went to see the first AZRD bout and the derby wife concept was born.  

 Now, see, we Derby Dolls (and I imagine/KNOW a whole lot of the rest of you out there) really like to drink. Some of us have been a little further in the barrel than others, and some of us have done so on a 6 hour van trip to Phoenix. Well, my dear friend Evil E and I initiated both the world’s most ill-advised drinking contest and what was very likely the first verified pairing of derby “wives” called as such on that very trip.    

Did I mentioned that I love this concept? As a feminist and a wife with a non-derby spouse, this idea cuts me to the bone because it is a non-sexual (usually!) relationship that you actively choose to be in with another women (typically a woman, but it can be a male too!). Derby marriage is a public announcement that you will support your wife, no matter what, through things derby related or not. For me, it is a unique spin on the heteronormative ideal relationship. Derby marriage takes the best of a legal marriage and applies it to the most wonderful sport on earth AND to your girlfriends. I love that we can openly display love, affection, and commitment! It kinda, and you can argue with me on this if you want, it kinda takes what is kept behind closed doors (or at least not discussed)- what’s considered “personal” in a traditional marriage-and displays flaunts it. How much more awesome can this get?!? PROPSAL STORIES!!! You know you love to tell your story. Be sure to leave it in the comments!!! Everyone loves a good proposal story!    

#333 is my wifey, Hanna Konda

As for my story: I have derby wives-yes that’s plural! One day after practice, it was the Tuesday before our first bout ever, two of my favorite teammates and fellow freshmeat, Sour Patch Kid and Hanna Konda (who were already married to each other-in the derby sense, of course), got down on one knee and simultaneously asked, “Will you marry us?” My little derby heart melted and I of course said yes. We jumped and hugged and got a little teary eyed. It was a beautiful moment of platonic sister love.  

 Our league, Red Stick Roller Derby has several epic pairings. I have to mention Tricky La  

the pivot, Sour Patch Kid, is my other wifey-im right next to her, helping kick ass

 Rouge and Moxie Balboa, whom I have always been jealous of their solid derby marriage-they look so happy together! There is Whatta Tuesday and Zarathrustya, who complement each other beautifully. Another unique relationship set, much like my own, is Julie Kablooie and Eve N. Better and Panda Scare. Interestingly, Panda is also married (derby wife-style) to male ref Skunk Roller. Also, several of the newer players are paired up: Madie Sans Merci and Crumble Bee, Dizz Integrator and Blitz….the list of loving supportive friendships goes on and on. It’s beautiful that we all willingly commit to each other in this way. I also find it inspiring that our team takes the uniqueness of derby to heart-we will never take any derby tradition as a hard and fast rule. To do so would go against the very essence of roller derby. So go forth and be polyamorous in your derby marriages, take a derby mistress, a derby girlfriend, break the derby mold and have a mixed (male/female) marriage, all in the name of love. What could be wrong with that! 



Apr 292010

Dolly Rocket of Charm City Roller Girls doing some amazing pivoting. (photo credit:

So last week’s post was all about the jammer, who often gets the most attention anyway so I move on. This week I’m going to tell you more about the Pivot.
Now I’ve said multiple times but for those who are behind, the pivot is the lady with the helmet cover (panty) with a single stripe down the middle. I also discussed the privilege that pivots have of being eligible to become a jammer if for some reason the current jammer cannot swing it.
But this isn’t the only thing that differentiates the pivot from the rest of the blockers in the pack.
Often you’ll hear of derby girls referring to the pivot as the last line of defense but only after being around for a few months do you truly get the understanding of what the purpose of this position is (or at least it took me a while to truly grasp the understanding). Luckily for you though, I’m here to impart my knowledge.
Okay, the pivot is pretty much like the captain away from the bench. The pivot calls out the plays and helps to control the speed of the pack ALONG WITH being the last line of defense against a jammer who has just busted through the pack. But being a pivot is not just about having the mouth guard that’s easiest to talk around. It’s about being able to take in the situation and call what play needs to be done right there on the track.
From what I’ve seen with my own team, the captain, Sigga Please, and co-captain, Zarathrustya, do tend to play pivot a lot not only for their abilities to scream at their blockers but for this insane skill we derby girls like to call panty chasing. First they put their hips square in front of those jammers and try to

In the photo Zara is squaring her hips in front of jammer Rock Bottom and even though Sigga does not have the pivot panties on, she is getting the pack to slow down and force Zara out of the zone of engagement. (photo credit: Skunk Rolla, RSRD)

keep them in the zone of engagement. If for some reason this fails, they haul ass and swing their hips around in front of the jammer and slow her down. The hardest part about this is that most of the time, pivots are at the front of the pack. This is their rightful place, so when they take off to engage in some good old fashioned panty chasing, the pack is busy doing other things; and the pivot ends up out of play and has to let the jammer by.
Another two fellow Red Stick Roller Derby ladies who make amazing pivots are Sour Patch Kid and Rock Bottom. Whenever they are pivots, I know what is going on with the pack and where I should be. My team was playing against Magnolia Roller Vixens and they have this badass blocker named Kamdemic and she and I were out for blood from each other. At one point we both completely passed the pack up and just kept hitting each other. I still remember the sound of Rock Bottom screaming “MADIE LET HER GO, FALL BACK! SLOW DOWN!”


This is that moment that will live forever in my brain. Kamdemic and I going at it while rock yells at me to let her go. (Photo credit: Cajun Eject Her)

That’s how a pivot works, you should always be able to hear her mouth, she should always be barking commands at you, and you should always be trying to keep her in the zone of engagement as she tries to nail the jammer. After writing this I’ll never be able to get this out of my head.