Wednesday, June 24, 2009

This Weekend in Nor Cal Roller Derby

Humboldt Redwood Rollers 98
vs ACDG's Rocket Queens 89

Now I believe that the Rocket Queens are the B team for the Angel City Derby Girls. ACDG is a staple of West Coast roller derby. They are a WFTDA team that has been around for several years. They recently took second place at the all-California flat-track tournament, the Big One. Humboldt is in the midst of their second season. The Redwood Rollers suffered a loss from the B.A.D. Girls Oakland Outlaws last month but regained their confidence with a back and fourth close game with this So Cal team.

Central Coast Roller Derby 90 vs B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls Plan B Team 88

Sadly, this was the last game for B.A.D.'s Plan B. After a loss against Central Coast this weekend and an appearance last month at The Big One, the leagues B team has been disbanded. There seems to not be enough time or resources within the league to keep it going right now.

I wasn't in attendance for the game and I'd rather not repeat the comments I heard about the overall experience for fear of heresy. But a look at the score should tell you how close this game was and how it probably could have gone either way. Sometimes, when a game is a matter of mere points, it's easy to place the blame somewhere. It's easy to look back at that one jam that you thought you were cheated out of points or you thought you shouldn't have gotten that major penalty.

However, you can't go back and have a do-over. You just have to buck up and remind yourself that next time you'll get them. Next time.

Sac vs Sonoma Re-Cap

Sac City Rollers vs. Sonoma County Roller Derby (the Wine Country Homewreckers)
June 20th, 2009 at Cal Skate in Rohnert Park, CA
Halftime Score: 66 - 27 Sonoma
Final Score 120 - 56 Sonoma

As I mentioned in my preview for this game, both teams were desperate for a victory over their friends/rivals. What started out as a close game with lots of tension and passion, soon turned into a glorious revenge victory for Sonoma County. As the younger league of the two, Sonoma was anxious to climb out from underneath the Sac City Rollers shadow. With their hard-fought and definitve win over the team who took fourth place last month at the all-California tournament, The Big One, Sonoma County has made their presence known.

Sonoma County really flexed their jamming prowess on Saturday night. Out of their thirteen players, seven different girls donned the star helmet cover throughout the night. Of those seven jammers, each of them also played within the pack as a blocker multiple times.

The high scoring jammer for SCRD was All On Ya. She scored an impressive 31 points in just eight jams. Hot on her heels was The Teacher who took down 21 points in ten jams and U Wish Trish who scored 22 points in four jams. Trish was able to average 5.5 points per jam which was the highest average for any skater on either team that night.

Also scoring for SCRD were High Roller with 17 points in six jams, Killer Vee with 11 points in seven jams, Scait Riot with 7 points in three jams, and Big Nick with five points in one jam.

Sac employed a shorter jammer roster for the evening with only three scoring jammers out of five. Lil Punk and Purdy Grrrl held it down on the jammer line for most of the night. Lil Punk scored 21 points in 15 jams while Purdy Grrrl scored 17 points in 12 jams. La Lucha managed to nab 18 points of her own in just eight jams. Suburban Slayer and Rock Hell Belch jammed a few times but were kept off the scoreboard.

Both teams were skating down players due to illness, injury, or personal reasons. Sonoma rostered 13 players while Sac had just 12. With fewer skaters, every girl on both teams had to step up and play maybe a little more than they were used to. The heavy-lifters for the visiting Sac team were Spankenstein with 24 blocking shifts and Scandaliz with 21 blocking shifts. Sweet Cheeks and Suburband Slayer each had 15 shifts while H N Icy had 14.

For Sonoma County, our iron woman for the night was Roxy-8-Arrr. With twenty blocking shifts throughout the night, this lady NEVER went to the penalty box. Holy Crap. Pain Galaura and Honey Deluxe had 19 shifts. Scait Riot had 17 turns as a blocker and Rosie Road Rash had 16.

The big penalty offenders for the night were a few familiar faces for the North Bay. Pain Galaura from Sonoma racked up three trips to the box while Honey D Luxe was assessed four total minutes in the penalty box but I believe she was ejected from the game for a gross misconduct trip on Purdy Grrrl in the last jam before she could serve out her time.

For Sac, Spankenstein was sent to the penalty box five times and Purdy Grrrl, Suburban Slayer, and Scandaliz all sat for three minutes.

Penalty wise, the teams were about even. They were both given 12 majors. Sonoma had 50 accumulated minors while Sac had 43. Although Sonoma had more minor penalties, Sac spent more time in the penalty box as Sonoma's minors were spread out more amongst the players who may never have racked up enough minors to serve a full minute penalty.

All in all, it was a great bout to compete in. I can only hope that it was also a fun game to watch. Although I heard rumors that the venue was sold out, the crowd was eerily quiet as their home team dealt out a beatdown. Several times while I was jamming, I had to wave to the crowd to encourage them to cheer. This ain't a chess match, people. We like it when you yell. It makes us skate faster. It makes us skate better.

Sonoma County was lucky enough to have the bout announced by the wonderful and witty Suzy Snakeyes from the famous L.A. Derby Dolls. As hard as she tried, she wasn't able to get the place on their feet and really rocking. What are we going to do, North Bay? I know you've got a reputation for being a mellow hippy area and all but Gosh Dang! Show your girls some love! We've got anoter home game on July 11th against Central Coast Roller Derby. I am daring you to bring your pompoms, bring your megaphone, and bring the noise. Show us what you got and we'll show you what we can do!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Open Mic Post:


Why you gotta hate?

Feel free to respond in the comments.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sac City Rollers vs. Sonoma County Roller Derby

Leagues: Sonoma County Roller Derby vs. Sac City Rollers
Date/Time: Saturday June 20th, 2009 - Doors @ 7:30p, , Bout at 8:30 pm
Location: Cal Skate - 6100 Commerce Blvd. Rohnert Park, CA

These two teams are as close as can be. Physically and spiritually. Last year at RollerCon, the two leagues "married" each other in a derby ceremony. Sac is essentially a big sister league to younger Sonoma County team. Last August, these two leagues faced off on each other in a double-header. A team vs A team. B team vs B team. The end results was one win and one loss for each time. The Sonoma B team, The North Bay Bruisers won their match 64 - 52. The Sac A team won their game against the Wine Country Homewreckers 79 to 70.

So as you can see, these are two evenly matched leagues.

This Saturday the re-match will be fierce. While the girls like each other very much, NO ONE wants to be on the losing side of this one. It's a pride thing, I guess.

Personally, this will mark my public debut as a skater for Sonoma County. I can honestly say I'm more nervous about this game than I normally am when it comes to my B.A.D. home team games. I have actually, in all these years, never played Sac in a full length game. I also have never played a game as a member of Sonoma County. I have no idea what to expect. That's a big part of why I'm doing the dual league duty. I do like this feeling of the unknown.

For Sonoma County, they are coming off a rough 114 - 69 loss to Chicago's "The Outfit" back in May. This season, they have also suffered a surprising loss to Emerald City (113 to 79) but notched a win against Santa Cruz (167 to 56).

Sac was victorious this year over Central Coast Roller Derby (111 to 97). They lost to Silicon Valley Roller Girls in April (97 - 84). At the annual tournament The Big One in May, Sac took 4th place.

Sac City Rollers Roster: Fastlane Fanny / H N ICY / La Lucha / Lil' Punk / Mazal Tough Cocktail / Pro Pain / Purdy Grrrl / Rock Hell Belch / Scandaliz / Spankenstein / Stinger / Suburban Slayer / Sweet Cheeks

Sonoma County Roster: All On Ya / Big Nick / Bushido / D.Enforcer / High Roller / Honey Deluxe / Killer Vee / Lady Sparks / Pain Galaura / Rosie Road Rash / Roxy-8-ARRR / Scait Riot / The Teacher / U Wish Trish

Sunday, June 14, 2009

This weekend in Nor Cal Roller Derby

We had a busy weekend in Northern California! There were four different local leagues bouting at three different locations.

June 13th, 2009:

Santa Cruz Roller Girls 100 vs. Silicon Valley Roller Girls 131
I've heard Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was in attendance. Rad. I don't know any game details but I heard Silicon Valley was holding it down all night and had up to a 50 point lead or more at some points in the game. Dang! SVRG on the come-up!

Pikes Peak Derby Dame 167 vs. Sacred City Derby Girls 70
I don't know any details on this game. Please share some stories, Sacred!

Oakland Outlaws (B.A.D.G.) 108 vs. San Francisco ShEvil Dead (B.A.D.G.) 44
In the last few minutes of the first half, ShEvil jammer Knock Knock went on 15 - 0 run to bring the score to within 14 points (Oaklandlead). In the second period, Oakland regrouped and just blasted through holding ShEvil to just ten points for the half. No fights, no injuries, no major stoppages. First game under 4.0 was a success in my opinion. Everything seemed to just run smoother and faster. Now if only we could figure out why our crowd keeps getting smaller and smaller...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Splitting time between two leagues

In case you haven't heard, I am now skating with Sonoma County Roller Derby. It's not been a secret but I haven't been telling everyone I know either. Since I'm rostered for an upcoming bout with them against Sac, I figured I should take the time to discuss my dual-league decision.

Yes, I said dual-league. I am still a skater with the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls. I am still playing on the Oakland Outlaws and I have no plans to change that.

However, I am not longer playing for the B.A.D. All-Star team. In the beginning of the season I left the team for personal reasons. I had thought that maybe I would try-out at mid-season and finish up the year back on the travel team. After being on the All-Star team for three consecutive years, I felt I needed a little time off from the intensity of national competition and travel and training. Once I took a few months off from the travel team, I realized I didn't actually want to rejoin the team later on in the season. Sure, I missed playing teams from different cities. I missed being able to compete against someone besides people in my own league. But, again, for personal reasons I decided not to go back. Something just didn't feel right. I didn't have the same kind of motivation. I didn't feel any connection or chemistry.

Oddly enough, I was plenty motivated and interested in my regular home team the Oakland Outlaws. We've played two home games (against ShEvil Dead and the Wrecking Belles) and two away games (Port City and Humboldt) and are currently sitting pretty with three out of four wins for the season. Even with the one loss to the Richmond Wrecking Belles, I wasn't devastated. I was happy during the game and proud of the hard work we put in. I felt lighter without the extra pressure of the All-Star team.

Still, I enjoy playing. I like to be involved. I've been a longtime supporter of the Sonoma league. My sister skated with them and my boyfriend John often refs for their games. I often participated and organized scrimmages against Sonoma and B.A.D. teams. I like the atmosphere of their league and I always have fun around them.

At some point, a few of the girls joked that maybe I should skate for their travel team now. I laughed at first. But then I thought about it. What is there to hold me back from playing on two leagues? B.A.D. passed a bylaw last year that allowed a skater to play on another league as long as the skater wasn't on two WFTDA all-star teams.

So I decided to go for it!

Sure, the distance and the extra committment is tough. But so far, it's totally doable. Although it takes me an hour to get to Rohnert Park for Sonoma practice, on weekday nights it would take me about 45 minutes in traffic to get to my regular practice. For both practices I have to cross a bridge ($4 for the Bay Bridge, $6 for the Golden Gate Bridge). It is a little pricier in the gas mileage to get to Rohnert Park versus Oakland. But as I have family in that area, I'm trying to coincide family dinners and visits to take the sting out a little. I'm also always trying to subtly encourage my Bay Area leaguemates to carpool with me to Sonoma so we can share the costs. What I really need is a derby girl in Marin who wants to carpool up!

It may also seem like it's too much practice to handle. But I do a rotating system. One week I go to one Sonoma practice and two BAD practices. The next week I'll go to two Sonoma and one BAD practice. Maybe the third week, I'll just do one of each. That way I'm still clocking five - six practices for Sonoma and six for BAD. Also, each league allows their skaters to accumulate two or three extra credit practices per month so really my claimable totals are over 50 % for each league. Not so bad, right?

I'm still doing committee work and flyering for both leagues. So far, I'm able to get by. I just need to be able to monitor my level of committment and make the best out of the time and energy I can offer to both sides.

It helps that I'm feeling really good about everything right now. Things with the Outlaws are running smoothly as usual. And I've felt completely welcomed into the Sonoma fold. I have a lot of fun at their practices. It's funny cause I thought that all roller derby teams would be the same. But the practice dynamic is completely different! I can't say that I prefer one teams way over the other. It's nice to have the variety. I've spent the last four years essentially doing the same thing with the same people week in and week out. They always say that the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. By throwing a new pattern and a new style into my derby routine, I think I'm improving in my skills and mindset.

I am finding it difficult to match my attitude toward the specific group attitude. Sonoma tends to be more laidback and unusual while Oakland tends to be more tightly scheduled and regimented. I've been struggling to switch to a more mellow, fun-loving mood in Rohnert Park. I need to remind myself to let go a little and have some fun. Back in Oakland, I sometimes find myself wanting to do Sonoma warm-ups and drills when I'm supposed to be digging hard and fast and non-stop whistles. Then I have to remind myself to get serious and stop smiling at everyone. Ideally, I'd love to blend the two but I'm also enjoying having the best of both worlds at the moment.

I'm looking forward to the next few months as I continue to play within the BAD league this summer and I'm also looking forward to playing Sac, Central Coast, and others as a Wine Country Homewrecker. There is a possibility that Sonoma may end up playing a BAD team later on this summer. If it's Oakland, I will not skate for either team. Maybe I could announce instead. If it's the All-Star team, I also would not play as I consider that a conflict of interest. However, if it's Richmond or San Francisco...I'm not quite sure what I'll do. I think I'd like to play them as a Sonoma player. Would that be considered disloyal? I already play against them all the time as an Outlaw. Isn't it the same thing but a different uniform? Hmmmmm. I'll have to chew on that for awhile.

I'm not sure what to expect from my decision to play both sides of the Bay. I'm sure some people will think it's cool, some people will think it's lame, and most people won't care at all. I'm hoping everyone falls into that last category. It's just roller derby! We're all here for the same thing: To play, to party, to have fun, and to make friends! If you can afford the time and the driving and the work to be in two organizations, I say there's nothing wrong with that! Bring on the derby!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

SVRG vs. Santa Cruz - June 13th

Event: Knock Her Socks Off
Leagues: Santa Cruz Derby Girls vs. Silicon Valley Roller Girls
Teams: SCDG Boardwalk Bombshells vs. SVRG Dot.Kamikazes
Date/Time: Saturday June 13th, 2009 - Doors at 6 pm, Bout at 7 pm
Location: San Jose Skate - 397 Blossomhill Road San Jose, CA

If my online sources are correct, these two teams have only met once before for an official game. I'm sure they've spent a lot of time informally scrimmaging each other as they are close in location but this Saturday's game will be an intense rematch from ther March 2008 bout in Santa Cruz.

After a dramatic and controversial night, the Santa Cruz team was able to pull out a victory with a 66 to 56 win. I recall hearing that last time these girls met up, there was a honest to God fight during the game. Something you don't see often anymore. There were also some reports about vandalism, questionable reffings, tempers flaring, etc etc. But the girls made up and seem to get along swimmingly now.

As it's been over a year since that bout, both teams have changed considerably. Heck, Santa Cruz even went through a whole business change with a new name, logo, and structure!

Santa Cruz has honed their jammer line-up this season and tightened up on their aggressive, re-engaging defense. Look for Candie Hooligan to put the points up on the board with help from her teammates. So many girls on Santa Cruz step up to jam and block that I couldn't tell you who else on the team will be jamming. I'm sure you'll see appearances by Sheila, Raven Von Kaos, and Pippi Hard Socking. Hell Louise and Lulu Lockjaw will probably be taking names and kicking asses in the pack as blockers. Maybe a little Lulu jamming action too?

Silicon Valley is also sporting a solid jammer line although their rotation is a little more definite. Smashleigh, Smach Dahlia, and Terribelle Demise will do most of the heavy lifting as jammers. I'm guessing Rot Wheels and Pia Mess will be holding it down as jammer killers while Lizapalooza and Mistits will take their aggression out on the Santa Cruz pack.

All in all, it will be a hard-hitting bout. The packs are going to be going after each other. I'm sure there will be some beautiful jammer moves but I also predict a little penalty trouble for both teams.

I won't choose a favorite and I won't predict an outcome. I love both of these teams and count friends on both sides. My only complaint is that I'll be unable to watch the fun unfold as I'll be playing in San Francisco that night. Someone better text me the dang scores..

Now...if only we could combine the two bouts afterparties? That would be epic. Hell, maybe I'll even come down and party in San Jose afterwards instead!

Silicon Valley Roster: Booty Vicious / Donna Diggler / Fesity Irish / Juice K'Tore / Lizapalooza / Mistits / Pia Mess / Rot Wheels / Skooter Over / Smack Dahlia / Smashleigh / Steffen Razor / Terribelle Demise / Undie Taker

Santa Cruz Roster: Brawley Parton / Candie Hooligan / Cleopatra Catastrophe / Eden Yourheartout / Foxee Firestorm / Hell Louise / Kicken Red Vixen / Lulu Lockjaw /
Pippi Hard Socking / Raven Von Kaos / Rowdy Roughrider / Roxy Scarmichael / Shamrock N. Roller / Sheila Princess of Power

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Sizzler and a piece on burn-out

Event: Summer Sizzler

League: B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls
Teams: Oakland Outlaws vs. ShEvil Dead
Date/Time: June 13th, 2009 - Doors at 6:30 pm, Bout at 8:00 pm
Location: Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, CA

I'm beginning to feel like I keep repeating myself over and over again. I was sure I had written a blog post about the last time ShEvil and Oakland played each other back in February but that was before I started this website. When your league only has three teams and you have to play each team two to three times a season, EVERY all starts to run together.

While this is the second and probably last time that the Outlaws and ShEvil will meet this season, they have played each other umpteeth times before. In their earlier match-up this year, Oakland won 123 - 52. In 2008, Oakland also took the wins and both bouts against the SF team (96 to 70 in July 2008 and 103 - 66 in April 2008).

These original two teams have been sparring against each other since B.A.D's very first bout in October 2005. In the inaugrual opener, the ShEvil Dead won. Throughout 2006 and 2007, the teams traded victories and losses. While the scores from those seasons are no longer accessible online, I remember that both teams seemed to win and lose to each other an equal amount.

While the teams were once evenly matched, a lot can change in four seasons. With the 2008 addition of our third team, the Richmond Wrecking Belles, the skaters from the original two teams were re-distributed. Since then, it seems like ShEvil has not been able to recover their formerly solid reputation. One roadblock is the high turn-over rate on the team. In the last month alone, the San Francisco team had lost three veteran skaters (Motley Cruz, Messy Jessy, and Bliss Bomb'her) to early retirement. Both the Outlaws and the Wrecking Belles have also recently lost more skaters to retirement or fatigue in the last few weeks as well.

We all know roller derby takes a serious toll on our personal and professional lives. With practice three to four times a week, league meetings, committee meetings, committee work, bouts, fundraisers, and travel, the brave women who play have a lot on their plate. There comes a time, usually in the middle of the season, where people to start to drop out. We often refer to it as burn-out. Despite the desire to play, the reality of your private life snaps back into view and many people find that they just can't keep up anymore with the demands of their hobby.

In January, the B.A.D. girls had three teams with 21 - 22 people on the roster. We also had a pool of ten or so skaters who were not yet placed on a team since all three were full. Just six months later, we have under sixty people. Not even enough to have all three teams hit their maximum allowance for players on a team.

Unlike professional sports, we can't pick up a free agent from another league or call up someone from the minors. Whoever is on your team is what you've got to work with. In instances like this, where a large amount of girls are suddenly gone, there doesn't seem to be enough time to bring the newer, greener girls up to speed to adequately replace the older talent. And all the remaining skaters are much more pressed for time as they have to takeover the roles that their former teammates left behind.

So what do you do? We have try-outs every year and always take on more than we have room for. But year after year we end up short for players again. How do you avoid losing a quarter of your league every season? Is committee work optional? I don't see how it could be! Everyone needs to put in their share to make sure these DIY organizations succeed. Perhaps what is needed is for someone to be employed by the league in order for a lot of the work to be taken off the skaters shoulders. But in this economic climate, who can really afford to do that?

I'd love to sit and ponder some more about the best ways to beat the burn-out, but honestly, my brain is feeling a little fried today from all the derby message boards and my last two back to back practices. Besides, I need to do my chores that get routinely ignored on practice nights.I know you know what I mean! :)

Oakland Outlaws Roster: Bad Ass Mofoe / Bonnie Doom / Flash Morgan / Frank N Hurter / Jane Hammer / Jennacologist / Killer Vee / La Chica Mala / Lemmy Chokeya / Polly Puredread / Roughhouse Rhonda / Sharon Needles / Sinnocent / Taxi Scab

SF ShEvil Dead Roster: Belle "Right" Hooks / Boo YaYa / Kimfectious / Knock Knock / Luv U Longtime / Mexican Jumping Mean / Minnie Peril / Sassy Slayher / Skatzophrenic / Sugar Pusher / the Dakota Kid / Windigo Jones / Zipp Gunn

Monday, June 1, 2009

Nor Cal News

A few things happened (or didn't happen) this weekend.

In the beautiful Lake Tahoe area, the newly formed Santa Cruz travel team the Beachflat Betties played the Tahoe Derby Dames on Saturday night. The unofficial final score was 151 to 72 Santa Cruz!

Also in Nevada, The Richmond Wrecking Belles of the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls ventured up to Reno to play the Battle Born Derby Demons. Unfortunately, BBDD has an outdoor venue and the forecast called for rain all weekend. The game was canceled because roller derby really shouldn't be played in a puddle. Ruins the bearrings.

The Sac City Rollers attended the American Cancer Soicety's "Relay for Life" event in Sacramento while the Silicon Valley Rollergirls participated in "Walk Now for Autism."