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!**