Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Last Day of 2013

I know my last posted stated that it would probably be my last post of the year, but I've had a change of heart.  Mostly because last night was our last practice of 2013.  In the grand scheme of things, I guess it's not that big of a deal.  But, in my mind, it kind of is.  We humans are at the last day of a year...a day we celebrate basically because it gives us a clear point in time when we can sort of start fresh.  We can try to forget any negativity we may have experienced in the past 12 months.  We can try to move forward and make improvements in ourselves and our lives.  Mostly, it's just another day...but, some of us choose to use this time to reflect, assess, move forward and grow as a person.
So, in my derby world, I've just had my last practice of 2013.  I can look back and say to myself, 'wow! look what you did this year!'  I can also say, 'geez, Jen, you were also kind of a dick at times...try to let the little things go in this next year!'  We, as a league, won't truly finish out a full year until February, really.  But last night's practice was great.  We finished 2013 with a full group practice.  We skated our hearts out and sweated our lady-balls off.  When I drove home last night, I was happy with how this year was ending.

Time to reflect, with some pics from the derby Christmas party!
Emma Getcha and Miss Mae Q. Cry playing dress up...scared yet?

yay! presents!!!

#1 NSO, Steph Woz (a.k.a. Woz Scabs) made a skate ornament for every single skater!

Rob In Da Hood!  Plus Emma Getcha showing another of her talents, as our evening's entertainment.

Party goers...eating.

The 4 Jens...each clearly with her own personality! (we all just happened to sit down next to each other...not planned or staged! Weird Jen gravitational pull, I guess?)

So...looking forward...this year my resolutions will be a little different, I think.  I am turning 40 in a few months, so this is kind of a big year for me.  I want to improve as a person, a skater, a fellow human in the world.  I don't want to change who I am, I just want to be a better version of that person.  

Are you a resolutions person?
Are you generally pretty good about keeping your resolutions?
How do they change as each year passes...do they get more spiritual-, emotional-, physical-based?

Here's one I think everyone should add to their list:
Make more friends aware that Roller Derby is on Cape Cod! ;)

OH...one more side note:
We've had more guests!!!
Bootiful Banshee from Mass Attack Roller Derby in Taunton brought her friend Valra Gunz from Providence Roller Derby to show us a thing or two about hitting.
And the very next practice, Sylvia Wrath (of the Bay State Brawlers) came back with a few of her friends!

Great way to round out the year...the future of Cape Cod Roller Derby looks bright!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's evolution, baby

So, here we are...at that holiday rush, party-every-night, how-will-i-ever-find-time-to-do-everything time of year.  I am attempting to simplify my own life by banning gifts between hubby and me, this year.  I am bringing a cheese tray to any function I'm invited to, to save time on thinking, cooking/baking, shopping.  Happily, both themed parties I'm attending are nautical/seaside ...one outfit!
But that's me...that's my personal life. (sorry, this is my personal blog...you'll have to deal with these posts once in awhile)

What about derby? 
 What's happening there??

We are continuing to press forward.  Hitting, stomping, juking,paying attention to track boundaries...these are becoming our focus.
So, it's time to make the split.  It's time to make sure everyone is ready for this next level.
We have some really great new women skating with us!
We've welcomed Tara, Saramae, Erica, Susie, Mary, and Lessie to the family over the past couple of skills clinics we've had.  It's exciting to have these new skaters just catch on so quickly and be eager to learn new things.
Splitting this massive group (we're about 30 girls strong right now!! holy wow!) had to happen in order to make sure everyone is getting the maximum benefit out of practice.
This is not a team split...we are still not ready to bout.  I know you all are chomping at the bit as much as we are to start some local roller derby action, but we've got a little more to learn (a lot, really, but we're quick learners!). This is simply a way for us to get our strongest skaters moving into more aggressive hitting/blocking practice, while still allowing our newer skaters to work on their basic skills without the threat of getting trampled, or worse, causing an injury because of inexperience.

Where did I fall in the split?  Well, I'm kind of in limbo.  I am admittedly a timid person, so I could use a little more confidence in myself.  At the same time, I love to see others excel and just really kick ass.  So, I'm sticking with the Basic Skills girls...to help them out, and to hopefully gain that boost of confidence I still need.

And that's where we're at...progressing, growing in numbers, getting ready for our derby 'office' party, and just trying to get everyone ready to play.  We're still not a full year old, but once the new year hits, we're gonna be back in full force, focused on becoming scrimmage-ready, with all that extra stuff that the end of the year brings, behind us.

There you have it.  A quick 'hey, we're still here...still skating...still progressing' post.

I'm going to speak for the whole Cape Cod Roller Derby League here, and say that we all hope that you and your families, biological or derby or otherwise, have a happy and safe holiday season!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A bit of nostalgia...

We had our usual practice last night, followed by a quick meeting of the training committee, so we could touch base on a few things and discuss our progression.  Of course, that lead to the realization that we're 9 months into this!  I couldn't help but go back and look at the photos that we have been collecting, to chronicle our journey.

And, then share them with you!
First meeting! Rendezvous Cafe was so nice to stay open for this historic meeting!
A trip to Rhode Island!
Our first time skating together! A small group went to a clinic put on by the Providence Roller Derby League.  To stop, back then, we just ran into the wall.  No joke!
So, 9 months ago, we were just heading into Spring...with no place to skate!
Except outdoors...or, waaaay off Cape.
Every open, paved area was fair game for skating, as far as we were concerned!
This was back in our days of knee high and tutu shopping...that is what derby was for us... back then...before we had regular skating to keep us occupied.

We needed a way to let people know this thing was happening!
We got our first big chance at exposure, when we wandered around the Chili Cook-Off in Hyannis. 
Most of us still didn't even have gear yet!  But you can bet as soon as someone got her skates, you'd see the post on Facebook!

The arrival of my gear...well, my first pair of skates and wheels, that is. I now have a second pair of skates, 3 more sets of wheels, and a new mouth guard!  But I don't have nearly as many pairs of knee highs as the other girls.
Then, in April, we found ourselves on a real rink floor!  The melted ice rink of the Hyannis Youth & Community Center.  
Our first home, in Hyannis...when we had a lot of confused looks and had a hard time skating in a line.  It amazes me how far we have come from those days!
This is where we learned the basics.  This is where we really began to bond as a team.  This is where we were faced with our first injuries.  We had birthdays, a bout watching party, after practice drinks, organized our first fundraiser, had several reporters and photographers stop by, and we even got to present one of our girls with a great big surprise for her wedding!
Short Fuse totally cried when we gave her a handful of money to buy new skates, as a wedding gift!
Our debut in the Cape Cod Times.  This article not only put a lot of focus on us, helping to get word our about us and our fundraiser, but also launched a lasting friendship with our official Number One Fan, Rob Conery.
I know I will never forget my first live bout, either!  
A trip to Ohio, for my father-in-law's 80th birthday, was made even more special for me when he agreed to let us take him to see a local bout!  So much fun!
Birthday gift for father-in-law...'just because' gift for me!
We have come so far as a team.  I have definitely changed, for the better, as a person.  I have a long way to go, but the way I push myself is surprising to me, each time I go through a practice.

Don't worry...I'll post soon with another installment of 'our journey down memory lane'...this is just memories of 'phase one'!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

News, updates, nonsense...

New logo!? What!!??
Rad new logo.  Compilation of old & new, just like our league!
That's right!  We have a super cool new logo.  Our leading ladies opened the floor to suggestions, in the form of our illustrated ideas.  Some girls did their own stuff (including, of course, Dear Stabby, the creator of the original league Roller Skate logo); while others had relatives join in the fun (which is how we got this super cool broad, by way of our Amy's bro).  We basically replaced the skate with a kick ass derby girl.  I'm diggin' it, and hopefully everyone else does, too!  If you've already fallen in love and decided you need a tee shirt or sweatshirt, go on over here and pre-order yours.  I think pre-order ends soon (possibly tomorrow?) but we'll have more on hand if you wanna take your chances with what's 'in stock' later.
...in case you missed that link:  Cape Cod Roller Derby NEW LOGO shirts!! ( <--- click that link!)

Okay...on with more news and such...
Let's see, 
Another one of the Jen's and I ran the Halloween Hustle 5K on the 27th!  I think it was just the second for both of us, but our first together.  We're hoping to make it to the Post-Thanksgiving 5K on the Saturday after Thanksgiving...hoping.
Dussault&Battery and Jenerally Hartless lookin' mean...and super cute, at the same time!
This is just a super adorable picture from our trip to see the Bay State Brawlers bout back at the beginning of October.  Weirdos! 
DreamReaver, Dussault&Battery, Jenerally Hartless, and Gutsy Flora (photo cred: BoomBoomKitty)
But what are we actually doing??
Well, we're working hard to get proficient at our 'minimum skills' as laid out by the WFTDA guidelines.
The Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) tells us what we need to know, and the roads we need to take, on our journey towards actual roller derby bouting (or, competing).  Roller derby is so much more than simply strapping on a pair of skates and pushing other girls around.  
We, being a league that is under a year old, are still learning the basics.  Our two 2-hour practice sessions each week are devoted to learning these minimum skills.  If you're curious what exactly we need to be able to do to progress, go ahead and check out the guidelines here.  Not only do we need to be able to skate safely and hit effectively, we also need to be able to get hit and recover safely and smoothly, we need to know ref signals just like in any other sport, and we also need to take a written test to be sure we know the rules (yes, there are rules in roller derby!)
So, we've been perfecting our skating, falling, balancing, and endurance.  
We've welcomed a couple new skaters, so we are also trying to integrate them into our family/team as smoothly as possible.  There's a lot of planning going on here!  In fact, as training-head-elect, I spend many nights with my training manuals and laptop (hard to say if I'm still married...??).

What else are we doing?  We're having a blast!  

Remember: we have a facebook fan page that you and your friends should check out.  Once you see it, I'm sure you'll want to 'like' it and follow along.  Especially if you or someone you know wants to be a part of history.  We are in serious need of refs and NSO's (non-skating officials...the score keepers, penalty box timers, announcers, and other such non-wheeled necessities!).  If you are interested, these are not gender specific roles in roller derby!  

And, lastly (for now)...
Co-founder Lynne, Rob, co-founder Talia, Dussault&Battery, and Laura...good group, right there!

We are also getting out and hangin', just being locals!  Supporting our community and fellow skater (Emma Getcha) in her band, The Ticks, and getting some quality time with local writer and CCRD's official number 1 fan, Rob Conery!
Sue, Julia, Emma...The Ticks! (photo cred: Dave...Sue's hubby!)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Guest Spotlight: Vixen von Bruizen

So, you may remember this past summer, we were skating in a boat hanger. It was interesting, seemingly appropriate for a Cape Cod league, and at times completely inconvenient.
But, we were blessed with a number of guest skaters, so all of those 'whoa, is me' feelings melted away in a puddle of sweat when these amazing skaters kicked our asses!
It was the third week of August when members of the Suburban Brawl Roller Derby Team (of the Suburbia League out of Yonkers) were stopping by Cape Cod before heading off to the D2 Finals in Kalamazoo, MI.
I don't think it's just that we are green and still star struck by 'real roller derby girls' that I love to hear their stories...I think i will always be curious where every single derby girl got started, how long she's been skating, and whether or not she still gets nervous before a bout. I'm just a curious person, but the roller derby community never ceases to amaze me. The camaraderie, the shear love of the game by everyone involved (players and fans, alike), and the preconceptions that this newer breed of skaters are clearing up.
Anyway, I'll cut my long-winded nonsense short so that you can learn a little more about Suburbia's own

Vixen von Bruizen!

Three wonderful women of Suburbia.  Vixen is the sexy blond in the middle.

*How did you first get involved in roller derby, and how long ago did you begin skating?
- I have always loved the sensation of roller skating.  I had the metal skates that strapped onto my sneakers when I was little.  I upgraded to the white skate boot when I was older and also loved roller blading in the early 90s.  It was something I didn't realized I missed until I started skating again.  In 2007, Suburbia Roller Derby was forming a league in Westchester County, NY.  I saw a post on craigslist looking for women that were interested in learning the game.  The only skill required was the desire to learn.  I watched my first practice on 7/10/07 and was hooked.  I bought all my gear in three days and was at the next available practice.  I've been with the league ever since and just celebrated my 6 year anniversary!
*Did you have any skating experience before derby?
- Only as a recreation skater.  I used roller skates from ages 5-14.  Then I bought roller blades and used those from 14- 27 when I bought my new roller derby skates.  When I started skating for Suburbia, I had never played a contact sport before.  I never wore protective gear.  I remember how odd it was to fall on command and how difficult it was to breath and talk with my poorly fit mouthguard.
*Roller derby leagues seem like a very tight community. Competitive, yes; but, also like a huge, nationwide (and worldwide) family. Have you visited/skated/coached a lot of other teams during your travels? 
- YES!!!  That is the best part of being on a league!!  In our first season, the number of skaters was small and we needed visiting skaters to help up roster a full team.  Skaters from Connecticut Roller Girls and Long Island Roller Rebels have all come to join us in bouts.  I have been lucky enough to skate with the Hudson Valley Horrors as well as bench manage for them.  I was led my first practice for an outside league when I was able to skate with CCRD this past summer!
*CCRD loved having you skate with us! It was a great learning experience for all of us. I'm curious how you found us...how were we so lucky to have you guys lead our practice?
- Crash Sprawldisplat has a home in Wellfleet that a group of us have been vacationing to for the last 3 years.  In 2010 we went skating on some roads in Wellfleet but it was tough to dodge cars, the sand, and hills.  We were sad that there wasn't a team we could join a practice with.  In 2013 we got lucky!!!  Our vacation to Wellfleet was planned and then we got the amazing news that the Suburban Brawl (the charter WFTDA team of Suburbia) would be attending D2s in Kalamazoo, MI.  With three members of team on vacation, we knew we had to skate and work out on vacation.  Both Crash and I did some research on-line for a team and were so happy to find CCRD!
*When you're not playing or practicing, you are ___? (Day job; hobbies)
- I'm an Executive Assistant for a steel fabrication company.  That pays my bills!  I'm also a stained glass artist and sports jock.
*Any pets? Kids? Siblings?
-  I'm owed my two cats, Henry and Kennedy.  No kids yet!!  I'm also the youngest of my family and have two older sisters.
*How did your family react to you joining roller derby? How has their attitude changed, if at all?
-  My family was very supportive of me.  I think it was basically because they didn't understand!!  My Father is terrified of watching and hates the big hits.  The rules of the game also escape them, but they come and cheer me on and after the bout I get to answer 1,000 questions of why I did what I did during the bout.  It's cute.  My nephew is 12 and 100% loves roller derby.  He picked up on the rules right away and now he teaches my father when they watch together.
*Lastly, I am constantly in awe when I watch bouts...especially live bouts! Does the intensity/rush of playing ever wane? Do you ever 'get used to it'?
-  I am always nervous before a bout.  I think it's a good reaction to have and like to think of it as my body preparing me to have the adrenaline and energy needed for a full bout.  Winning a game is always the best feeling, but there is also a great pride that comes from a well earned loss.  If you played well with your teammates, fought in every single jam, and stayed classy throughout you can only improve!!!  All the training and drills we do help us build muscle memory for what we need to do.  Sometimes I feel I have bout amnesia and I have no real memory of the bout that just occurred.  I'll remember 3 moments per half, but most of the time I am on auto-pilot and I'm just doing what my team and I have trained for.
After a great practice of skating and dodging Suburbans with Suburbia.
Thank you, Vixen, for taking time to share with us...both in this blog, and in the boat hanger!

In other CCRD news: we're still skating, learning, and testing. Big things are happening here on Cape Cod, so, if you haven't yet (or *gasp* you still have friends who haven't...) go on over and 'like' our facebook fan page! Keep in the loop so you don't miss any big news!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Derby Field Trip!

Double Header, Baby!
A few of us girls got in a van and headed out on an adventure.

One of our own has moved on, and off-Cape.  It just so happened that she now lives nearby the venue of the Bay State Brawlers recent double header.  We donned our 'Cape Cod Roller Derby' shirts and headed out to visit our long lost sister, and catch some roller derby action.  
And this wasn't just any ol' derby bouting.  We got to see one of our past guests, Sylvia Wrath, in action!  This girl is so tough, she limped off after a jam in the first bout and came back in later...AND, played in the second bout, too!  Amazing.
Just minutes til the first whistle...team huddle.
This is an action-packed sport.  You can't take your eyes off for one second during a jam, or you are sure to miss something.
Lining up for the start of a jam.
You are sure to miss something if you blink!
Here are a few things to think about, when watching a bout:
1. You can always tell which team's jammer is lead jammer...each jammer has her own assigned ref!
2. No, you may not (legally) throw an elbow.
3. It's very loud...music is playing, but you can't usually hear it over the players yelling, the crowd yelling, and the crazy echoes you usually get from the bouts generally being played in large arenas (such as this melted hockey rink).
4. You will have a good time, even if it is your first bout and you have no idea what's going on!  (We took my in-laws to an Akron Rubber City bout when we were visiting for his 80th birthday...he LOVED it!)

Hope everyone is still keeping up with our facebook fan page!  We are feverishly working on getting our skills checked off so we can start thinking about scrimmaging...maybe.  We're offering a couple skills clinics for potential skaters, too!  Don't miss a beat...'like' our fan page!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Duct Tape...you can never have enough

What's this?  
It's the start of something big!
We had to go another day without a formal practice, but that's okay.  Monday night was our first night at the warehouse (seriously...we need a cool name for our clubhouse!).  We swept, measured, chalked and one of us even did some patchwork on the concrete floor all night!
But, it's a big job.  It carried over into Friday's practice.  More patchwork for Concrete Jen...

...official taping of the track for me and Lynne.

Although the floor is still not exactly dust free (I think we're gonna need a little mopping action before official practices can start), and there was a lot of wet concrete to dodge, those of us who were there that night (50% of the group was 'the Jens'!) couldn't help but throw our gear on!
Of course, someone had to keep patching the floor! 
(Sorry, Jen! But you're a beast with the 'crete!)
There are some challenging areas of the floor, but we figure it will just make us better skaters if we can skate on these crazy floors!  We have so much room, compared to where we've been that I am chomping at the bit to get back in there and have a 'real' practice!  One where we get there, gear up and start practice.  Not one where we get there, sweep the entire floor and/or mark out a rough area of track and then start practice.  
This is going to be heaven!  
What I love about this group is that even when only a handful of us are there, and we are forced to be quiet because they are recording a jazz concert for the community television station in the room next to us, we still have a blast!  Even though we are in a dust cloud, and rolling out roll after roll of duct tape on our hands and knees, and patching up cracks in the floor...we still have a blast!  
Silent roller skate dance party, while listening to some kick ass jazz next door?  
Yes, please!
(sorry, no video or pictures of that...you'll have to take my word that it was magical!)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Drum roll, please...

Here she is...Miss Amer....wait...
Last night's practice was not a practice at all.  Well, that's not entirely true, actually!  We had a lot of practice laying a flat track roller derby track!  Our new building is awesome (located with the help of Laura, team realtor.)  It's also challenging.  There is plenty of room for the track with loads of extra space; however, it is also split down the middle with large metal support beams.  Not a big deal, we just have to measure the track and re-measure the track until we get it in a position where there are no poles directly in the track.  That doesn't seem too tricky, except that the floor isn't particularly smooth in a few places, so we'd also like to use the smoothest area of the floor.
I am not complaining!  
I really hope it doesn't seem like I am because I am so thrilled to finally feel like we can stop wandering the streets of Cape Cod in search of a place to dig our heels, or rather, dig our toe stops in!

So, I spoke of some rough patches on the floors...
Luckily, we have Jen (DreamReaver)!  Our very own concrete girl!

We still have some work to do...like more patch work on the floor, officially laying our permanent track (right now, it's still just a chalk outline), and making it our cozy home.
We're already comfortable having snack time!

In other, personal news:  due to my visiting family, resulting in major lack of skate time, I have not skated in a week.  I couldn't go another week, so Kristy (Gutsy Flora) and I went to a park for some outdoor skating before we set off to clean up the warehouse (we need a cool name for our club house!).  The basketball courts were full, so we decided to skate the trails.  A mile and a half, she thinks, we skated.  However, it was full of hills!  Going up I was reminded how out of shape I have become.  Sad.  Going down the hills...as in 'this plow stop is not working and I'm completely out of control'...was particularly frightening for me.  But I did okay.  Until the very last hill...that ended in a curve...that would most definitely be my demise.
So, I threw myself off the trail and onto the soft, cool, grassy shoulder.  Ahhh! I survived with just a few grass stains on my right knee pad and penguin knee-hi.  In the meantime, Kristy was curious why I was no longer behind her!  When I caught up and we began our last few yards of trail, I realized the my sweatshirt pouch was emptied of my keys and sunglasses!  Back up the hill...
I found my keys, so perfectly resting in the grass as if I had set them there myself, next to my glasses.  Nothing was broken...on me or my sunglasses!

It will be nice not to have to search out a place to skate.  It will be nice not wondering if there will be enough room for everyone to skate at once.  It will be nice to not have to mop up puddles with spare diapers.  And, it will be nice to not feel like I've been changing oil filters all day, when practice is over.  
I am happy...this team is happy!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Derby: it's taking over.

My life really has become 50% work, 40% roller derby, 10% everything else (sorry Hubby!). 
My awesome new helmet decal!!
Obviously, work takes up most of my time...it's how I am able to eat, play, and have a roof over my head.  But, when I say that it is what allows me to 'play', I mean, I would do whatever I had to do, to pay for roller derby!  It's such a huge part of my life right now, I am swimming in it!  Work is just a necessity to continue along this road.

I was elected head of the training committee some time ago.  I was shocked and flattered...and scared to death.
 How am I going to lead this group?  I have no more experience than any of them; and, less skating ability than some.  I was co-captain of my school's colorguard until my senior year when I was (finally!) captain, but that is my only experience leading a team.  I mean, I've had supervisor positions at a number of my jobs, but it is a whole other ball game trying to lead a group/team in a sport that is totally new to me and everyone involved.
So, as a team, we pull together.  I think they are all doing a fabulous job of encouraging (and humoring) me.  It is obvious that our team spirit and mentality is spot on!  I really am just there to make sure there is some structure and plan, and that things go relatively smoothly for each 2 hour practice.
Everyone pitches in, and I love it when I am stuck trying to explain yet another drill that I have no right teaching and someone else is able to step up and offer some guidance.
It's a family...no one sinks; no one flounders.

The usual state of our space at the start of practice.
We're still in our cozy little 'boat hanger' at the harbor.  The past few practices, we've pulled up to a nearly empty building.  All we need to do is sweep up the dirt and we're good to go.
 But then we get some rain, and puddles form.  So, what do we do?
 We pull out whatever absorbent things we have in our cars...even if it's a couple diapers or a dog blanket.  Unfortunately, there's oil mixed in that water sometimes, so no dogs will be using that blanket again.
Our last practice was a challenge.  Two big puddles, two parked cars, a huge fork lift they use to move boats, and a golf cart missing its two front wheels.  But, we pressed on.  We swept around the puddles.  The blanket from last practice was still balled up in the corner...so we used it again.  We put a call out to one of the girls, still on her way in, to pick up some paper towels (we totally should have shot some video to send to Viva paper towels...amazing!!).  And, Voila! a clean(-ish), dry floor.  Skating around cars has become the norm for us, so it was 'game on'.

I am a planner.  I try to have practices mapped out when I get there so we can lace up, warm up, and get crackin'.  Well, we had a new skater this time, and I felt bad that she was not getting much actual skating in, so we decided to switch it up...which, I will admit, threw me off a little.  But, once again, we pulled together and made it happen.  No grumbles, no pissy mood changes.  Instead, when asked for it, I threw in a 30 second dance party.  A required addition to all future practices, I think.

We are so new, sometimes it amazes me when I see how far we have all progressed as skaters.  Our practices are structured and we have clear goals for the evening so that we can get the most out of our time together, and that makes me so proud and happy.  But now we are at a point where I have to evolve as a practice leader to accommodate new skaters.  This will be challenging for me, but I have to think about that day when I'm actually bouting.  The day when I am forced at every turn, to think quick on my feet...to adjust accordingly to every situation.  Jams are not 'planned out'...sure, you can have your strategy, but you can not predict what that other team will do.  You can't even predict what your own team will do!  

And this is just another example of how roller derby and it's challenges are turning me into one hell of a strong and focused person!  Sure, it may seem like it's taking over my life; but, I'm okay with that.  Because it's transforming my life into something amazing!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

More Guests! YAY!!

Skating with roller derby girls from New Jersey...what a way to spend an evening!
CCRD with Rosa Rukus, Wendy PigsFly, and Zelda.  Our awesome guests from New Jersey!
This is an odd post for me.  I didn't skate with these ladies.  I had been hit hard with the allergy stick all day, ending with an uneasy feeling of instability.  I thought it best not to put on skates.  But, watching practice gives a whole different perspective on what's happening.  When I'm skating, I'm watching out for what's going on around me, but I am concentrated on MY form, MY feet, MY movements.  Being on the outside, you really get a sense of how much you have to be thinking about when you are actually skating.

Partner drills...'go ahead, see if you can move me'!
It's hard not skating.  All you want to do is get your gear on and go have fun with everyone else! I took notes, pictures, and videos for training purposes, so it wasn't a total wash for me; but, it's just not the same when you're not skating.
So, that's my sad little story!  Moving on, now...

Pack drills
 Most of our pack drills have been about the blockers.  We are concentrating on getting the blockers to communicate, be aware of what's coming up, and get comfortable skating and looking around, instead of down.
Well, this practice was different!
This time, the blockers really had to block...and the 'jammers' really had to get through!
Just another reason it was hard to sit this one out.  It's always fun to move to the next level!  But, again, I was able to watch from the sidelines and take it all in, instead of just being caught up on what I would be doing during the drill!

I love having guests lead our practices!!
Sometimes we get wrapped up in our own heads.  We continue to do what is comfortable or say to ourselves 'well, I'm just not sure I have that down yet' and never progress.  Having guests come and say 'hey, wanna try this?', coupled with a team that really is down for just about anything, means we move out of our comfort zones, even if only for one night, and realize that we are stronger than we may think we are.

Of course it is important to feel comfortable when you're doing what we're doing!  Of course you want to have the basics down before moving on!  Of course everyone is going to move along at their own pace!  But in order to grow, we need to keep learning new skills.

So, we are grateful for the girls from New Jersey for sharing their knowledge and expertise with us.  If you're in Jersey, why not see if you can catch a bout!?  Check out the facebook page to stay connected with these great girls!

And, don't forget about us! If you or someone you love is still not a fan of Cape Cod Roller Derby (CCRD), then you should really remedy that situation right now...GO HERE to 'LIKE' us! ;)

Hoping to get in a couple more spotlight posts, too, so stay tuned for those!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Guest Trainer: Sylvia Wrath of the Bay State Brawlers!

Still skating at the Harbor! This time with a guest, Sylvia Wrath.

Roller derby is an interesting sport.  There are male teams, and there are co-ed bouts, but it's pretty much a female dominated sport, for sure.  The point of sports is to score more points than the opposing team.  Learning to play a sport is challenging; but, strap on a pair of skates and you've added a whole new dimension to that learning curve!  When you start a league in a sport, and you are basically flying by the seat of your pants to try to, not just learn for yourself, but also to get everyone else to a certain level of mastery...well, you've got a tough road ahead, to say the least.

How do you improve?  How do you learn the sport properly and get the skills you need to advance from a bunch of girls learning to skate to a couple teams of girls ready to compete?

You enlist the help of those who already know what they are doing, of course!
If you've been following along, then you know that we lucked out this summer.  Not just by having the opportunity to skate in a space big enough for all of us and to host open skates so that we could recruit; but, also by being lucky enough to have Flash Bayou spend a good chunk of her summer helping us out...pointing us in the right direction, and giving us just enough confidence to stick out the tough practices.
When Flash left, we were a little lost, I won't lie.  It's what I imagine it feels like when a big sister goes off to college for the first year.

But...we don't end there!  We press on.  We take what we've learned and make our plans...we continue to grow.
And it's so much easier when we have another experienced player come and teach us a few more things!
One cool chick who is as helpful as she is adorable.  She is a member of the Bay State Brawlers Roller Derby League in Lancaster, MA.
I took advantage of Facebook and asked her a few questions.  My original plan was to take her for a drink and pick her brain, but she was sweet enough to spend extra time after practice to give us some training tips, so I just didn't want to take up much more of her time...I hate to be a pest.  I have a feeling she wouldn't have felt put out at all, though.

Here's what she had to say...
*What is your 'day job'? By day, I’m a high school English teacher. It’s the best job in the world because I get to talk about books and grammar! Derby earns me cool points among my students, but also keeps me sane. There’s nothing like a long faculty meeting to fuel some hard hits!
* How long have you been playing roller derby? I had my two year “derby-versary” this year (June 1st). I never skated in my life before playing. On one hand, I can’t believe how far I’ve come, on the other it feels like it’s been such a short whirlwind of time.
(photo credit: Black Dog Pictures)

*How long have you been guest training/coaching and what is the longest distance you've traveled to do so? I have trained my league for about a year, I think. It was a pretty natural transition because of my career. I do my best to skate wherever I vacation. I visited a league when I was down on the Jersey Shore, but CCRD was my first guest coaching gig! You girls made it so easy and welcoming - I had an absolute blast working with all of you. (side note: we had a blast having her with us, too!!)
*What brought you to the Cape, if not CCRD? Had you been here before? My dad and stepmom come up every year from the Scranton area to vacation in Orleans, MA. I can’t stay away from the beach or derby, so mixing the two was perfect. I’ll be back next year for sure (hopefully sooner)! I love the Cape.
*Pets? I have two of the cutest Boston Terriers that have ever existed... and quite possibly two of the largest (not fat, just big boned). I know I may be biased, but really - they’re so stinkin’ cute. Oliver is 5 and Henry is 3; they’re my little best friends and I spoil them rotten. They wear a lot of bow-ties. You can creep my photos to "ooooh" and "ahhh" over how cute they are! (oh, I did!! and she's right...I did ooh and ahh!)
She's not kidding!! I'd let them play with my pug any day!!

*How did your family react when you started derby...what is their impression now? Most people say, “but you seem so nice” when first hearing I play derby. I am nice, but I’ve also been blessed with a colossal competitive streak (just play a board game with me; I dare you). Derby doesn’t take aggression: it takes focus. My dad has always been my biggest fan and will often travel with my stepmom almost 6 hrs. just to see me play. My mom is the cutest derby fan with a very well-organized chair and always coordinates her outfits to my team’s colors. I’m one of four and my siblings are all super-supportive. My future mother-in-law is the perfect combination of worried and supportive of my playing. Both she and my future father-in-law are, and always have been, supportive. I think it still surprises my family that I’m an athlete now. I’ve always been the artsy, bookish sister, but was only okay at organized sports. My whole family: aunts, uncles, cousins... they’re all cheering me on, and they always have with any endeavor I’ve undertaken. I am so lucky to have them.
*How long did it take you to get to your first bouting experience? I worked really, really hard to pass all of my WFTDA Level Assessments. I couldn’t stand on skates when I first began two years ago. My finance, Adam, who plays hockey used to skate backwards in front of me annoyingly prodding, “what’s so hard about it? Just skate!” I skated about 6 days/week to start to know my skates and how my body was working with them. I started Fresh Meat on June 1, 2011 and my first bout was April 14, 2012. In that time I made a home team and both the A and B travel team.
Leading the pack! (photo: Black Dog Pictures)

*I've been to a couple live bouts and the energy is intense. How terrifying was your first bout? There’s nothing like bouting. I love the ritual of it, but I’m still terrified until the first three jams are over. Practice makes me nervous, scrimmages make me nervous... I don’t think I’ll ever shake that. It’s like the first day of school for teacher: you know what to expect, but those butterflies are fluttering like crazy. I had a veteran teacher once tell me, “if you get a good night’s sleep before the first day of school, you’ve lost your passion.” I have confidence in my playing most of the time, but I don’t think I’ll ever lose my nerves. I work extremely hard to get my mental and physical game ready for bout day, so I try to enjoy the payoff as much as possible.
*I loved your comment/quote on the BSBRD page: 'nothing’s embarrassing when no one in the room is wearing pants.' Was it a difficult transition to wearing such revealing clothes/booty shorts? I really think this is what makes derby special. It’s rare that a new skater is turned away because of her body shape, what she wears, or her prior athleticism (and if you have been, shame on that team). I’m a pretty modest dresser and a very shy person. Somehow when I’m around derby people it goes away. I think knowing we all have something in common calms my nerves. Don’t get me wrong, I would much rather wear athletic pants than sparkly booty shorts. I’m not as self conscious of my body when I’m playing which is huge for me because outside of derby I find faults with almost every part of my figure. When I’m playing I feel strong and I’m starting to feel more agile. I can see it beginning to transfer into my everyday life now, though. I’m pleased when my jeans don’t fit because my thighs have gotten (much) larger. I have a semi-butt now - no one saw that one coming. My teammates have seen me fall on my ass so many times that it’s truly tough to be embarrassed in front of them. We all know a little bit too much about one another and I would not have it any other way. I love them so, so much.

And there you have it.  The wonders of derby life, as told by a real roller derby player.  This is what we are striving for with our league:  a group of girls who can learn as a team, grow as a team, and play as a team. But, by 'team', I really mean 'family' because that is clearly what this sport molds: families!

Stay tuned for more guest profiles.  As we move along on our journey, we are being granted the wish of 'experience' in the form of a few more lady skaters who will be showing us how it's done. And don't forget to 'like' our Cape Cod Roller Derby (CCRD) Facebook page so you can stay in the know about how we're progressing, where we're going, how you can help out, and how you can get involved!

**Thank you, Sylvia Wrath, for taking the time to answer these questions, and give us a little peak into your life.  We all hope to see you again next summer!** 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Where would a Cape Cod Doll practice roller derby?

Well, anywhere she could, really!
But, for now...
at the harbor, in a boat garage, of course!

Sesuit Harbor, Dennis, MA

The day I remembered my phone was also a camera (doy!) was a rainy one.  Grey, wet, dismal.
At least we'd get to skate, right?
Our new home...for now.

Or little savior space, that day, was housing two small boats, a truck, a car, and a giant forklift.  And, lots of puddles.  It was the first day our new Training Committee would get together and hash out some plans (well, most of the committee, anyway).  We were happy...we thought we had it all figured out and we just move forward with our plans.  
Who here ever has plans work out flawlessly??  
Most of the obstacles were removed, but the boats remained.  And the puddles.  And the oil spills.  But somehow, we got it together and we had one hell of a practice, mostly in our sneakers, but a highly effective practice, nonetheless.

This space is temporary and we are happy to have it.  we are happy to have a place to go even in the event that it does rain.  Because, even if we didn't get kicked off the tennis courts, rain would certainly keep us off!
I'll take the challenge until we are able to work out a better solution.
We just want to skate...we just want to feel like we are making some progress...we just wanna have fun!
Who could ask for a better view during practice!?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My personal 'derby effect'

Life is ever-changing, and we, as humans, must also change in order to keep up.
Roller derby has changed me.

I have always been quick to give excuses as to why I'm not doing this or that.  Turning down invites from friends because 'hanging out' is just not what I do.  I like to be alone.  I like to have my time to myself.  And, often I like to just sit still because my job (and all jobs I've had in the past) involves a lot of manual labor and constant movement.  So, that means I skip my workout, and I push my plans to get into the studio to the next day, thinking I'll have more energy and/or desire 'tomorrow'.  Not really sure why I think tomorrow will be any different...it never is.

This attitude does not work well in a life involving derby.  
I can't be a slacker any more.  I always make time for practice...it's part of my life now.  But, unfortunately it was another excuse to not workout...to not be creative and work on my jewelry.
I've found out, though, that in order to have any success with derby, I have to workout!  I have to eat better and plan my days better.  

In a round-about way, roller derby has also inspired me to get back into the studio.  
I was contacted by a person who saw my stuff AND that I was involved in the Cape Cod Roller Derby League, and she invited me to sell my stuff at an event she coordinates.  A co-worker asked me about the fundraiser we had, which lead, ultimately, to her buying one of my necklaces (for her sister...then, she decided to give it to her daughter...now, she has decided to keep it for herself!).
More importantly, being involved with this team, I have learned valuable life lessons.  I have gained a lot of confidence in my work.  Some how, I have realized my talents outside of roller derby because of roller derby.

I'm not a great skater, but I am learning to trust myself on my skates.  I'm slowly learning that I need to push myself and be okay with the stumbles...be more willing to actually fall, if that's what it takes to improve.

I have had a number of co-workers comment on my attitude since joining derby.  'Wow!  This derby thing is really bringing out some aggression in you!'  Of course, they don't mean 'aggression' like I'm going around hitting things or getting angry with people.  They mean 'backbone'.  They mean I am acting like I know my own self-worth.  They mean it in a very positive way.  (at least, I think they do!)

Roller derby has reminded me, or even taught me, that I can do (or choose not to do) whatever pleases me in my life (within reason, of course!!).

If I want to play roller derby, make and sell jewelry, and fix an old broken down classic car- I can!  But if I want to do it all during the same lifetime, then I need discipline and focus.  I need to push myself past that place where 'I'm doing it' to 'I'm KILLING it!'

I need to make time for a lot of things now, but if they turn out to be important enough to me, then they will get done.  
That is why my friends can never come to my house...because cleaning my house is at the bottom of my priority list!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

End of Chapter One

Our time at the Hyannis Youth & Community Center has come to an end.  We all knew it was coming, and we've feverishly been trying to find a new place to skate.  Well, to be fair, we've all been wondering and keeping our eyes and ears on the street to see if anything presents itself; while, Lynne and Talia have been doing all the legwork to try to get us into some new digs before we all cry ourselves to sleep wondering if we will still be skating outdoors when it starts snowing.  (yes, i'm being over-dramatic)

We were set to skate our last official skate this coming Monday.  Before last night's open skate (the last one!), we found out they were starting the re-icing process that Monday and we would not be able to use the rink.  Our fearless leaders tried booking a Sunday skate, to get that last skate in, but Sundays are hard for most of us, with such short notice.  Sadly, that meant last night would be it.  Now we are nomads...forever roaming the parks of Cape Cod in search of a surface for skating.

What's the big deal?  There are plenty of paved surfaces!  Yes, and plenty of grumpy old tennis players who think we're going to terrorize the communities and ruin their precious courts.

So, I'm trying to find some detailed proof that skating will indeed damage these courts.  All I can seem to find, as far as legitimate info that means something more than the opinion of a tennis player, is listed on sites for court resurfacing.  Of course I trust the advice of the professionals, but I would really love an actual explanation as to WHY or HOW the wheels damage the surface.  Is it the weight?  Is it the hardness of the wheels/softness of the surface?  Is it the movement...i.e. the edges of the wheels digging into the surface as the skater turns?  I just want some answers!  And, so far, I can not figure out where to find them.
This time of year, it is definitely hard to find a tennis court that is unoccupied.  Basketball courts are better, in that, people are less worried about damage to the surface, but around here they are more like half courts (so, smaller).
There are a few parking lots of empty buildings.  We will probably give those a shot if we run into too much trouble with the parks.  But, ultimately it is our goal to find an indoor space that we can call home.  A warehouse of some sort with a nice smooth floor, like the rink we've been skating on.  Maybe we have to get 'housemates' to share the costs, but that would be fine...fun, even, if it's the right mix!

This is our dream!
I'd love for this blog to be about my journey into the world of roller derby.  My experiences as fresh meat, my trials and tribulations, the moment I start scrimmaging and eventually actually bouting.
But, right now, my experiences are limited to my constant struggle with plow stops and my inability to do a proper baseball slide!
And, a major part of my derby life is the issue of venue.  Which means, most of my posts are going to either begin or end with (or possibly just be full of) my pleas for help.
*Are you a local? 
*Do you know someone who may know someone who has or can find a place big enough for us to do this derby thing for real?
*Do you feel compelled to help us make history here on Cape Cod?
Well, whether you do or you don't, I'm posting the link to our fundraiser page. HERE.
And, the link to our Cape Cod Roller Derby Facebook page (HERE), in case you want to get in touch with the girls in charge (you know, if you wanted to get involved in any way...Lynne and Talia are the girls you need to know!).

This is going to be big...but, it's gonna take a lot more work, and a lot of support from the communities of Cape Cod!  Thanks for being awesome...thanks for helping us out!