Friday, December 31, 2010


I've been spoiled. The more I research derby online the more I realize it.
I'm spoiled because I made it onto one of the best roller derby teams in the world.

Maybe I shouldn't beat myself up about it though. No disrespect or discouragement to any ladies who long to skate derby, but I've read multiple accounts online of girls who are working on trying to do crossovers. Working. Trying. What?
Yes, I worked and I tried, but I learned to skate a crossover during my first roller derby workshop in RENTAL SKATES. Yes. And no, I didn't play ice or roller hockey. I roller skated as a kid - that was it.
What's the lesson here? I don't know. I guess I'm just glad that I live in a city with really great and experienced skaters or I'd be so bored with waiting for my fellow teammates to learn how to crossover.

You'll probably also hate me when I tell you that I can crossover while going clockwise too. And nope, I didn't even have to learn how to do that. It came naturally to me as a lefty.
Backwards crossovers? My second try I was able to do them, both directions. Now, I'm still working on being able to use them to pick up more speed...

I'm not just writing all of this to brag. Really, I don't mean to brag. I'm pretty surprised that I can do these things so easily. A lot of credit goes to my coaches, without them I wouldn't know what to practice.

What to practice if you don't have great coaches like mine:
If you want to learn how to crossover first you MUST master being able to skate on just your left leg and on just your right leg. And no, I don't mean just on the straightaways, I mean you should ALSO be able to skate around the turns (as sharply as the lines are) on one leg. Only then can you talk to me about trying to do a crossover. This goes for backwards skating too.

Everything everything everything EVERYTHING in skating is all about balance. Some moves you will perform you're moving your center of gravity 5 different times and directions in a matter of seconds. If you can't skate on one foot - how do you think you can move your center of gravity that much, that fast without falling? Or even if you don't manage to fall, you sure won't be aggressive because you're too busy trying not to lose your balance.

Get over yourself. Everyone falls.

Now get out there and skate! Skate skate skate. And if you are outdoors, go with a buddy. I went by myself once and wiped out. Luckily I had full gear on, but I still scraped all of the skin off of one of my thumbs. Not pretty.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Cut Results

Dear Blogosphere,
I made it!!!! I'm officially fresh meat!!!! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Tonight the journey could end... Tonight we have our pre-cut assessments. If I fail tonight, then tomorrow I could receive an email informing me that I have been cut. And I will cry. A lot. And I will have a very unmerry Christmas.

But I don't anticipate that. I think I will get an email that says they have officially, formally accepted me as fresh meat. I've volunteered, I've worked my butt off during practices, gone to 40 plus hours of extra practice time on the rink (since October I should add), attended strength training, read the rule book 2.5 times, attended tons of bouts, watched even more hours of derby online, researched derby even more often... I cannot possibly do ANY more than I have done. I will have done by very best.

Tomorrow I find out if it was enough.

But I'm pretty sure it is. I could get my strength up more, but that will come in time, as the vets can recognize.

Here goes!!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Time flies

Hi blog,
Sorry I've neglected you recently, but life, work, side projects, derby, holiday prep, friends, parties, etc. takes up a lot of time! But derby is undoubtedly my favorite thing from that list!! I'll have to report on the last three or something practices at a later date because I'm too busy until after Christmas. However...

I'm EXTREMELY proud to announce that today I did crossovers while skating backwards! It was amazingly easy when I tried it this time around - I credit that to Teflon Donna for making us skate backwards on one leg during the beginning of Monday's practice. I practiced that this morning and after I felt more confident with that, I tried to do a crossover at the turn and was amazed at my success! Then I did it for 20 minutes straight or something. As time went on, I started to be able to dig down for more momentum and push from it! I love skating backwards!!!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

DNN 2010 Reader Poll noms

In response to this:

Most Valuable Jammer

Atomatrix (Oly)
Bonnie Thunders (Gotham)
Carmen Getsome (Rat City)
DeRanged (Rocky Mountain)
Kelley Young (Kansas City)

Most Valuable Blocker

Anya Heels (Rat City)
Bruz-Her (Kansas City)
Demanda Riot (Bay Area)
Joy Collision (Charm City)
Sassy (Oly)

Rookie of the Year

I.M. Pain (Charm City)
Jalepeno Business (Rat City)
Lil' Paine (Boston)
Skittle (Brew City)
Urrk'n Jerk'n As Booty Blockya (Rocky Mountain)

Bout of the Year

Rose City 133, Bay Area 129 (August, Hometown Throwdown)
Charm City 152, Boston 136 (August)
Bay Area 136, Denver 127 (Western Regionals)
Kansas City, 157, Texas 127 (South Central Regionals)
Rocky Mountain 147, Oly 146 (WFTDA Championships)

Best Rivalry

Charm City / Boston
Gotham / Philly
Rat City / Rose City
Rocky Mountain / Oly
Texas / Kansas City

Most Improved Team

Chicago Outfit
Rocky Mountain

Best Venue

Dorton Arena (Raleigh, NC)
Key Arena (Seattle, WA)
Roy Wilkins Auditorium (St. Paul, MN)
Sacramento Memorial Auditorium (Sacramento, CA)
UIC Pavilion (Chicago, IL)

Best Regular-Season Event

Wild West Showdown (February, Bremerton, WA)
East Coast Extravaganza (June, Feasterville, PA)
Battle on the Bank (June, Del Mar, CA)
Rollercon (July-August, Las Vegas, NV)
Hometown Throwdown (August, Portland, OR)

Best Announcer

D'Nouncer Duane Cunningham
Dumptruck (only because he's announced more games nationally, otherwise I'd say Hymen Heaven)
Hymen Heaven
Jim "Koolaid" Jones
Val Capone

Friday, December 3, 2010

Derby eats

One of the neat/annoying things about roller derby is that now I have to eat 4-5 full meals a day. Tonight I ate at Wendy's. I know. Don't judge me - it's Friday!
I had a cheeseburger, fries, and two order of chicken nuggets with Oreos for dessert. Do you people realize that one hour of skating eats up 300 or more calories????? And the kind of skating we do - wouldn't be surprised if it eats 600 calories each hour! No joke.
Actually, I can't just drink water during practice, I have to half it with Gatorade or else I start to feel faint because I naturally burn carbs very fast already, but derby practice quantifies that process to the max! And I'm getting into the habit of eating chicken, salad, and a serving of quinoa for dinner before practice, then a banana in the car on the way over. Still, by the end of practice, I am hungry and must eat a second dinner. My roommates say that I sound like a hobbit when I talk like that :)
I mostly love this, mostly because sometimes I don't like to eat. I remember in high school during softball season - just eating and eating and eating because I wanted to be bigger so I could hit the ball further. I didn't really get bigger, other than what I would have become naturally, but it was fun to eat two bagels for breakfast instead of just one. It took me years to get myself out of that particular habit. Now I'm diving back in because, once again, I want to be bigger, this time so I can hit harder, but I'm being smart about it. I'm eating lots of protein so my muscles will grow thick and strong. Nobody is gonna mess with me! :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

First FM Practice

Wow. I am now home, showered, and relaxing. I even ate a second dinner. But about 830pm I was DYING. No, not really. The worst would have been me throwing up or fainting, but I did neither. I hung onto what was left of my first dinner. The real danger for me was fainting.

What did we do during practice to cause this?

We warmed up, stretched, bunch of drills (such as crab walking, vine crab walking, stops), then we began endurance drills, both clockwise and counter clockwise. It was nuts.
We did four step sprints at every whistle, 30 second sprints, 60 second sprints, rainbows at the whistle, touch the floor at the whistle, pushers on the turns and coasting on the straightaways until the whistle, and many more! Plus every once in awhile, they had us stop and do 5 or 10 pushups. Man, I'm going to do pushups at home so I'll be able to keep up at practice!

THEN we did suicides!!!!!!!!

We split into two groups for that. Think you get to rest while the other group kills themselves? Nope, you do crunches or pushups until it's your group's turn!!!!
We skated and did drills for the solid two hours. It was great. The two coaches tonight were a great mix of toughness and fun. My favorite new thing that I learned was the left (or right) one legged plow stop.

Wow, but I think the worst part was staying low while skating and coasting. Towards the end, my thighs were burning so red hot that I almost got a second wind. One of the skaters was great at keeping the balance between encouraging and annoying to challenge me to stay low, which really motivated me.

I came home and was SO high on endorphins that my roommate was laughing at how happy I was. Okay, I'm also happy because I love skating, but yes, the endorphins are great. And I don't feel sore at all - yet. I ate lots of protein all day and especially during my second dinner, so hopefully I won't tomorrow either, but we shall see!!

P.S. The truly hard part of this first practice was not knowing how to pace myself because I didn't know what to expect. I mean, I knew we were going to do drills and endurance that focus on skating forward and stopping, but I didn't know how hard we were going to be pushed. Next practice should be better, just in terms of learning how to pace myself so I'm still challenged but not utterly decimated to the point where I'll faint.
I think the coaches did a great job of making sure they drained every last drop of our energy, and then some, in those two hours and I can't wait until Wednesday...

Sidenote: I wonder if any girls will drop out after this intense practice? Perhaps that was their aim tonight - to see if they could weed out the weaklings or the wavering, on the fence sorts. Honestly though, I didn't see any of those sorts at practice tonight. Okay, maybe I noticed two girls, but I talked to a bunch after practice and most of them seemed to feel worse than I did. So perhaps everyone is just really good at biting the bullet and keeping it all behind the mask while they skate. I know I don't though. My face is still pretty expressive, but perhaps that's because I'm not pushing myself enough!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Feeling Thankful

The more I research derby the more thankful and lucky I feel to be learning from PRG. We may not have our own warehouse like Gotham does, but the rink we skate at has painted track lines for us and we get to skate three practices a week. Plus there's other outside ops to skate outside and to do other exercises with the team. I am glad and lucky to be a part of an established league. I am not taking that for granted!

There are lots of videos online that show skaters skating around a track marked off with cones instead of lines! These girls are not practicing how they are going to bout and it just doesn't bode well for them :(
Also, I am discovering that a LOT of skaters don't bother to read the WFTDA rulebook. It's only 30 something pages! Yet they don't read it. To their and their league's detriment. I have read the rulebook through almost twice and tomorrow is my first official fresh meat practice! And I've watched countless hours of bout footage, online and in person. It's way more fun to watch a bout after you know all the rules!! Trust me.

So, my goal is to make the league's all-stars travel team in a year or two. I don't know if others will think that's arrogant or not, but I think it's a worthy goal to have. Anyway, if everyone was honest, they'd admit that was their goal too... unless they're the Eeyore sort.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tryout results

I've written three different posts about this since Sunday, November 14th. It's hard to fully describe what happened, so I won't even try.

Basically, I MADE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was so afraid that a lot of rollergirls from apprentice leagues would be trying out, but I only saw one (there may have been more). Even so, the other tryoutees were better than I thought they'd be. You could tell a lot of them had been hockey players or something like that.
There's still a little bit of fear since there will be another round of cuts at the end of December, but since I have a great place to practice in by myself PLUS what everyone else has to practice in PLUS a great bunch of skater friends PLUS the fact that the head of our training sent us the schedule of what we'll be learning each week - and I've already practiced everything on it! At least the stuff in the first four weeks.
Despite all those assurances, I still have a healthy bit of fear which I will employ to practice, practice, practice and get vets to assess me well before the fourth week of practice to ensure that I'll pass the second round of cuts.

I have a feeling that the majority of the girls who are not going to make the cut will end up dropping out before the cut. I think they won't be able to make the attendance required or they'll think the endurance is a bit too much for them.

*Happy dance!* I made it the first time I tried out!! And PRG is fourth in the WORLDDDD.

And all the girls, save one, I practiced with beforehand made it with me!! Yay! I like all of them so this is great news.

So tonight is the night before Thanksgiving and I'm spending the night rewatching PRG's performance in the Eastern Regionals on

Friday, November 12, 2010

Men's Roller Derby

A huge part of roller derby is the community within it... for men to take over derby will kill its heart because when men are in charge of sports it's all about power, money, and status.

I'm not saying all men are power hungry, money driven, status whores, but that is more of their tendency than it is for women. PLUS, just look at all the other sports - men dominate those and what are they about? Power, money, status.

And the one sport, the ONE SPORT, that women created and maintain in an AMATEUR status - it is community based. That's what women are great at - creating community. And it will be destroyed if men are allowed to take over. I do NOT agree with WFTDA partnering with men's roller derby. I believe that IF they have to play (why can't they do anything else? Seriously!) then it should be separate and they should NOT be allowed to use the same rules as those in WFTDA.

At any rate, I am not worried that men's roller derby will ever be as popular as women's because of their ugly, hyper physical, and less strategic style of play, but I just want to make sure that if roller derby ever makes it into the Olympics or it becomes a professional sport - that the men's version takes a backseat.

What's that your whispering? Something about equality? It is equal. Know how? Because men can play any other sport, they can make up their own sport, but they can't have ours. It's our one sport and they want to take it from us. No way, no how.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Roller derby words :)

I learned a few new things yesterday. Here's two.
A "derbaby" is a veteran skater's fresh meat buddy that they have to train up and take care of. When they have to miss a practice, the vet has to find a derbabysitter!
"Eat the baby" refers to when a jammer breaks free of the pack, but then the opposing jammer blocks her and she slows down enough for the pack to swallow her back up.
Love it :)

For your viewing pleasure:

WFTDA Championship 2010 from Sammy Sarzoza on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Day two of WFTDA Championals

Yesterday morning, my friend R dropped me off at the airport on his way to work. I waited and ate breakfast for an hour until boarding time, but there was a delay. Just half an hour due to some birds flying in the engine. 'Yuck,' I thought. Two hours rolled by and still in the airport. They finally canceled the flight. What a disappointment. Well, I rallied and was set to get on the next flight, but it wasn't until 540pm, which would mean I wouldn't land until about ten minutes after PRG started their bout and it still takes an hour to get to the venue from the airport. I decided to f it and go home to at least watch be able to watch it!
I'm glad I did, because, as it turns out, that was the only game (well, so far) that they won. And they won by exactly 100 points. This morning, a dif R emailed and texted me. She's in Chicago and was going to find her and sit with her, but I didn't have her cell number to let her know about my screwed up plans. I didn't think she'd have email access, but she does. Turns out there's a PRG DNN watching party which she connected me with. So awesome and nice of her. And then the party turned out to be about 4 or 5 blocks from my house!! I just walked on over. It made me feel slightly less murderous towards the birds. While it was sad to watch Gotham and Philly lose, at least I was surrounded by funny folks who understood what was going on. Last night, at the end of the PRG game, my internet died and so I ran over to T and A's. They didn't understand what was going on and didn't really care. That made me a little sad.
Tomorrow PRG takes on Gotham in a battle for 3rd place. It could go either way. Philly definitely has the chops to take them, but it turns into a head game that Gotham usually wins.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

WFTDA Championships 2010: Chicago

My friend D lives in Chicago, so when I heard that the champs was being held there, I called her up and asked her if she'd like to go with me and if I could crash at her pad. She said yes and yes! So I bought plane tickets and bout tickets. I have even designed a special t-shirt for their game vs. Madison, haha.

This is not a sign or anything, but I didn't have time to make a shirt for the other bouts, so I have bought and packed markers that can write on clothing in case I'm inspired.

P.S. The Gotham intraleague championship bout last Saturday night was awesome! And I found a photo on flickr of me and Lynette taking in the game. I circled us in red. It was her first bout viewing and she had a good time. I enjoyed explaining the rules to her while things were occurring. Gotham rollergirls are smart players (as are Philly's!!).

(I love that there's a guy in the crowd, front row stage left, wearing a crown - teehee! Go Queens!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Skating, no sleeping

I've been so busy skating and doing everything else that sleeping doesn't fit in with my new skate schedule that I have lost a lot of sleep. Or rather, missed it. 5 hours a night is now my average. It's terrible!
Tonight is my one day off because it's voting day. I am going to get 9 or 10 hours of sleep and it will be glorious. Wednesday and Thursday, I will be up late skating, so I bet, at most, I will receive 6 hours of sleep for both nights, but on Friday I will be getting up early to catch a plane to Chicago! :) I will sleep on the plane and then probably in the airport a bit before it starts, as I arrive in Chi-Chi around 930am and the first bout isn't until that afternoon.
After the bouts on Friday, I won't be going to the after parties because Gotham has a 930am bout on Saturday! I will go to my friend's house, with whom I will be staying, and we'll hang out, probably get some deep dish pizza and then go to sleep early so we can be sure to be at the venue EARLY to get good seats for the day.
AHHHHH I am so excited!! I can't wait to watch the best derby in the world live all day!!
Okay. Calm down.
I am also eager to check out all the merch and gear that will be there. I need new skate guards and wish to purchase a t-shirt. Not sure what else I'll buy, perhaps some wheels, but I plan to try on some knee pads, knee gaskets, butt pads, and skates. My current knee pads keep slipping, I think butt pads will become required gear someday soon, and my feet are freakishly wide. I will need customized skates someday, but I mean to try on as many as I can before I invest.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mohawk turn!!

I did it!!!! Yesterday I finally taught my body how to accomplish the mohawk turn! (and stop, but the stop part is sorta easy for me). R helped me a LOT. In fact, it was her suggestion that triggered the brain process that enabled me to maneuver successfully into the turn! I will attempt to explain her suggestion in a later post with pictures, or, hopefully a video. Words are not sufficient.
For now, I am so jazzed to be able to perform the turn - I can barely sleep, even though I've only slept about 25 hours total this past week. I'm also working on being able to do it at higher speeds, but I think a moderate pace should be sufficient for tryouts.

Holy mackerel, look at this little girl skate:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A punny morning

*Warning, un-derby related*

This morning, my coworker "H" and I were discussing what one of our student workers, "S", was working on in the other room of our office.

Me: Did you show her where those extension lessons are? I didn't know which one "L" was talking about in her note.
H: Oh yes, I helped her. I scanned the note though, and did you notice it instructed "S" to sharpen 100 pencils?
Me: What?
H: Yes!
H: I mean, it's a good idea because you get to the classroom and you give the pencils out, but they can't use them because it would take forever for all of them to sharpen their pencils. So it's nice to have them all sharpened already.
Me: Yeah but think of the transport!
(a short pause as I let that sink in)
Me: They'd all break off anyway.
H: Oh my, you have a good point!
Me: Ha! hahahahahahaha.

And I'm still chuckling over it. I love a good, unintentional (or even intentional) pun!

ECE 2010 video

ECDX Teaser from Sammy Sarzoza on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tonight's skate

I only have about an hour so everything has to be short and condensed.

5 minutes warm up
15 minutes of moderate skating
-with stops, crossovers, and gliding
measure how many laps I can do in 5 minutes (goal is 25)
amount of time to skate 5 laps (goal is 1 minute)
10 minutes of some drills
-touching the floor
-crossovers and gliding
cool down glides

My new heroine

Wow. I mean, just wow. Someday - that will be me :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Roller Skating epiphany

I was looking through GGRD's website (because I'm going to NYC again this weekend! My friend Lynette and I are going to the intraleague championship bout, then she's letting (rather, insisting, ha) me crash at her place) and came across this photo:
And it dawned on me - roller skates are shoes with four wheels on the bottom!
Okay. Don't let me lose you here. I'm not an idiot :) I knew this before, but there's knowing something and KNOWING something, in that, I am using this in my thought process in a very specific way - namely in mastering the mohawk. I believe that this game and all its maneuvers are, for me anyway, 90% mental. I can make my body do most anything if I can get my brain to process it in the right way (plus lots of practice/repetition). Thinking about roller skates as shoes with four wheels on the bottom gives me the confidence to believe that I can do anything on skates that I can do with shoes on. And I can totally do the mohawk with shoes on!
Tomorrow will be my next attempt. I am psyched. Also, tomorrow my new skate bag and badly needed skate guards arrive in the mail from Fast Girl Skates!
I also splurged on the WFTDA rules handbook in a cute, little booklet. My printout is all raggedy so hopefully this thing will withstand my mobile life a bit better! I just love reading and rereading the rules to try to strategize. That is another thing I love about this sport - it's still so new so there is room for new and exciting strategies to emerge! How fun it would be if I found something nobody else thought of yet...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Strange child :)

When I was in elementary, I used to pedal hard and ram my bike into the garage door. I don't remember why - I just remember doing it and my mom yelling at me constantly for it.
I was also the fastest kid in two schools in elementary school. I was still the fastest kid in school until a new girl showed up in 7th grade, but since nobody wanted to play tag anymore, I didn't care. I turned my eyes toward softball...
In middle school, my sister and I used to stuff and strap tons of pillow to ourselves and then run at each other. We thought we looked hilarious all fat and squishy then it was fun to bounce around on the ground after impact. Crazy nuts :)
During a middle school softball game, a 60 mph fastball hit my thumb and fractured it. I still finished the inning... as the first baseman.
During another middle school softball game against the parents, I hit a fly ball to left field. It bounced and the outfielder picked it up and threw it to the firstbaseman, who was somebody's dad. He happened to be standing on the baseline, which is illegal no matter if you have the ball or not. So my little 12 year old self ran into a 40 something year old solid man and bounced backward, hard, into the dirt. I had a bruise on my butt for at least a week.
In high school, as an experiment with my first hand brake bike, I squeezed the front brake first and flipped. Yes, I did this on the grass.
During a high school softball game, I was running from third base to steal home - but the catcher was in my path (noticing a pattern yet??). She didn't have the ball yet, so it's illegal to do that. Annoyed, I ploughed straight into her and somehow ended up with my face on home plate with her next to me, unconscious, the ball rolling harmlessly by. I was perfectly fine and SAFE! Another point and the win for us. The catcher ended up with a few broken ribs... and bruised pride.
Also, in high school, during floor hockey themed gym class, I was the freak who bought and brought in her own hockey stick (needless to say, I was the best player out of all the girls AND guys). I always longed to play ice hockey, but it's an expensive sport, my family was poor, and there were no leagues near me that accepted girls anyway.
In college, one of my roommates and I used to wrestle or arm wrestle all the time. It was all so fun.

I've always been intensely competitive, and, it seems like pretty bone headed, but the truth of the matter is, I'm also a HUGE bookworm (I read our entire middle school library and would have read the entire high school one probably, but I switched schools midway through). And I'm not some huge girl. I've always been rather slight in build - it's just that I don't have a lot of fear. Luckily for me, as well, I must have a solid, though still slight, build because I've never broken or sprained anything my whole life. I have an amazing sense of balance too. I once went to a winter hike with 15 friends. The trail had been snowed upon, tred upon, and then frozen over. It was a treacherous hike. Everyone fell at least once, if not multiple times, except for me. Towards the end, I became so cocky, I actually started to skip on the uneven ice! Annoyed, one of my friends pushed me while I was airborne, but, like a cat, my body adjusted to the new trajectory and I landed on my feet with a roar of laughter.

Well, with my new 187 pro killer pads on while training on roller skates to pummel and block other girls, I feel like that kid again :D

My only wish? That roller derby also involved catching and/or throwing something. I do so love to catch things. I'm very good at it. I can even throw and catch things while blindfolded.

The Secret to T-stops

Every roller derby vet I've talked to has told me that most fresh meat have trouble with either the plow stop or the t-stop. For me it's been the t-stop. I've gone to three workshops to improve it (as well other skills, but this is my current weakness so I am concentrating on this right now) and after those, as well as an hour long intensive personal practice solely dedicated to performing the t-stop over and over and over... I have finally figured out how to do it.

See this mediocre youtube video to get a sense of what I am referring to if you have no idea what I am talking about.

For the beginner, a few skills are best learned before performing the t-stop, namely being able to skate on one foot at a time, left and the right. If you want jump the gun, figure out which foot will be your front foot when performing the t-stop and concentrate on balancing on that foot. For me, it's my right foot, but I'm guessing most of you will be stronger on your left.
The next key step to performing a t-stop is being able to be flexible enough to put your feet in that t-like position. For me, it was hard so I have been practicing the 2nd position, as it is referred to in ballet. After I got pretty good at that, it was really easy to perform a t-like position! And I didn't practice 2nd position only on skates... I practiced mostly while at work and waiting for public trans.
The last key step to the t-stop is, even though it looks like you're only moving your back foot (moving it perpendicular to your front foot, placing it down on the ground to grind yourself to a halt, etc), in actuality, your front foot is also moving towards your back foot just like scissors do. All skaters perform this so fast that you don't notice this minor detail.

Tip from a vet to me: If you're still having trouble after a few workshops under your belt (like I was), but you know how to stop with your toe stops, try stopping using just the front, outermost wheel on your backfoot until you get used to the rhythm of it.
And lastly... practice, practice, practice. You'll feel like a bit of a fool, but you're a beginner and you'll stay such unless you take risks. So get out there and master these basic skills yo!

Three disclaimers:
1) Don't ever stop using one or two of your inside wheels on your back foot - you could end up with a sprained ankle! Use the outermost wheels on your back foot or all four wheels.
2) always, always, always wear knee pads no matter when or wear you skate if you want to be a rollergirl! If you mess up your knees now you'll have no chance lasting too long in derby! And that would be a tragedy.
3) I practiced the t-stop for almost an hour straight and my ankle started to tire, so I stopped. Don't push yourself too hard without supervision, especially on your ankles. If your ankles tire when you're performing a move like this, they could buckle and you'll end up with a sprained ankle! I have already bought ankle weights to strengthen those muscles - you should too, or google other ways to strengthen them!

Good luck :) I'm off to practice the tomahawk!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Uproar on the Lakeshore Bracket

That's mine so far :)

Also. The second Philly training workshop is this Sunday. I have a skate lesson Saturday morning. Afterward I'm going up to NYC on Saturday to grab my new skates AND to skate in Central Park. Not sure if I'll use them at the workshop as they won't have been broken in yet, but at least I'll have the option.

Update: Got the skates, used em at the workshop and they were great! I rolled around the parking lot a bit beforehand to get the plastic-y surface off a bit before skating on the rink.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

GGRD New Basic

This past Saturday I took the regional rail and NJ transit rail up to NYC for Gotham's new basic training workshop. They have their own warehouse. It sounds like it'd be a huge place, but it seemed small compared to a rink. I guess that's because the ceiling was lower. It was really cool though, how each skater had a place to keep her personal belongings, instead of having to lug them around everywhere.
The workshop was good. We had more time to get to know each other and chat than was allotted during Philly's. It was more relaxed, definitely a slower pace. We weren't racing around the track the entire time (although, I enjoy doing that), but it was nice because we definitely focused more on the basics, like the mechanics of the t-stop and plow stop.
For instance, when Ariel demonstrated the t-stop, I didn't realize that the front foot also was participating in the stop, i.e. it's moving backward to meet the back foot, which is perpendicular to it. Once you nail it, you're moving both feet so fast that it doesn't look like you're moving the front foot at all - sort of like how the moonwalk works. You don't actually realize what MJ's feet are really doing. It was an invaluable experience - there's nothing online one can find that could replace it.
Now because I had my outdoor wheels on my skates, I couldn't quite master the t-stop. When I get my new skates this Saturday from Five Stride - I went in on Sunday, but they didn't have my size in stock - I will practice my t-stop for a few hours. I am very excited! I've always felt as if walking and running were too slow. Wheels have always been a part of me, like an extension of my body. My only regret is now finding this sport SOONER.

Additional notes: I also went to Gotham's doubleheader that night. Nicole was sick so she couldn't join me as planned - her ticket sadly went to waste.
Of course I still went, even if it was by myself. I thought I'd meet up with E at least, my new roller derby friend that I took the subway with to Crashpad. But my cell phone didn't work in the gym. Dang it. And it was a full house - sold out. I knew I wouldn't be able to find her, but maybe I'd find someone else who was at the workshop, after all, there were a lot of us.
I spotted a girl who looked vaguely familiar and asked her if she had been to the workshop that day. She hadn't, but then asked if I was trying out. I said yes, but for Philly. Turns out she's Teflon Donna, a jammer/blocker for Philly - how insanely random is that? I guess that's why she looked vaguely familiar. I still can't believe that out of all the New Yorkers in that place, I ran into the only other Philadelphian. Anyway, she was cool and the pack dynamics of the Manhattan Mayhem was interesting.

Monday, September 20, 2010

PRG Workshop #1

What a great workout with the Philly Rollergirls! But boy, it was an adventure getting to Millennium Skate World from Philly.
I woke up early, and to be sure I'd be there on time, I decided to take an earlier NJ transit bus. I arrived at 11th and Market to find a sign on the bus stop directing me to 5th and Race. I raced over there. On the way, I noticed some city workers cleaning up a hundreds of paper cups that were littered on one of the cross streets. I arrived at 5th and Race and found an NJ transit worker. I spoke to him and he told me that there was a race earlier that morning so it threw the bus schedule off for NJ transit and Septa. But now the streets were clear and the buses were being diverted back to normal!! But no worries, he said, I'll get you on a bus to Camden for free. So I hopped on a bus that took me to the Camden transit center. I walked over to the bus stop for the 405, but it took awhile to arrive. Meanwhile, a bunch of sketchy guys kept hitting on me or bothering me for money. Some girl even came up to me! I was freaked out, but willing to wait for the bus (I have lived in Kensington after all) until I realized it was almost 11am. A cab pulled up and I hopped in. It whisked me over to MSW just in time.

The workshop was lovely. It was the first time I put on roller skates since I was about 8 or 9 years old. And it was certainly the first time I ever wore protective gear. My mom was always after me to wear knee and elbow pads with wrist guards, especially after I switched to roller blades, but of course I refused on the basis that kids who wear them look like dorks. Plus, I never fell, so what did I need them for? I wore a helmet while riding a bike until I turned 13 years old. In PA, it's the law to wear a helmet until you're a teenager. My mom wouldn't have let me get away with it, but one morning I was riding my bike to church, I passed a large bush. I ripped the helmet off and threw it into the center of it, then rode off. I don't remember what I told my mom about what happened, but I managed to convince her not to buy me another helmet.
But during the workshop today, I put on full protective gear - although not a helmet due to the shortage of them. I didn't mind wearing the gear since everyone else had it on, and I sure was glad I had it on when I fell a couple of times on my knees. They made it easy to pop back up. Actually, one of the rollergirls, said with surprise after I fell the first time, that I "fell like a rollergirl!" So even that was neat. Oh, I also learned how to perform a crossover going counter clockwise. I can do it going clockwise really easily, but have never been able to manage it counter clockwise due to my lefthandedness and right brainedness :) I was very proud of myself!
After the workshop, I got changed, left the building, and started walking toward the bus stop. I watched a mini cooper pass me, it reached the end of the block, stopped, and then backed all the way up to me. I looked over and saw that in it were two Philly Rollergirls. The driver was Butterfly Stitches, aka Anastasia. She had helped me with the plow stop during the workshop. I guess she remembered me from that? They offered me a ride back to Philly - guess it was obvious that I was going to try to catch the bus. How nice is that??
At the end, Face or someone warned us that we'd be sore later or the next day due to the intense workout, but I ended up riding my bike to Maresa's for a steak bbq for a late lunch. I guess it's due to all my usual biking that I didn't get too sore. Or perhaps it was due to all the protein in the meat that I ate.