2016 - 2015 may
Things to do before the end of the season if I haven't quit derby because of committee work:
1. Become a trainer.
2. Convert my art studio to a place of sweat.
3. Do crunches until my abs get puffy and then take a picture.
MAKE IT HAPPEN
Obviously. But I don't wear this for me.
Blaque'N DeckHer, Haddie Nuf, me, Die'Mon, and Dottie Mae Doomsday
We ended 2016 with a roadtrip to Sac for the Red Red tournament. So much fun. Look at us. We were freezing, it was 52 degrees inside the rink. We were tired, it was a long season, Feb-Dec. But all I see are fierce beautiful women, up to no good haha
Escape to the Coast is a crazy fun tournament that happens to be in one of the greatest towns on the west coast, San Luis Obispo...at the rink where I practice. Which means both years I was able to go home for a nap during the long break between games.
2015 Team White Out. This was my first tourney, I'd been on skates 5 months. We had incredible jammers on our team and I felt way out of my league. So that day I blocked, and I realized I loved it. We won the entire thing.
2016 Team REDrum. This time I jammed all day, and the games were co-ed. A year makes a big difference in derby. I think we came in third. No one cared. I ate 6 tacos afterwards.
Team WHITE OUT (2015)
Team REDRUM (2016)
What do you do if practice, bouts, scrims, training camps, and RollerCon aren't quite enough? You find more derby. There is always more derby.
I got lucky and this super cool human Spacey Lords let me join her rec team. Our bench coach is an inflatable dinosaur.
G and I took a road trip for my first game with Rex, and afterwards we went to the sequoias for the first time. Derby often takes us to places we might not have gone. Sometimes that place is a weird parking lot in Alhambra but other times it's a breathtaking summit among some of the biggest trees in the world.
Last year I was having my first scrim ever at RollerCon. This year I captained 2 challenges and played in several games. I was pretty nervous but what a rush. It was amazing to play with higher level skaters and men, plus two bouts on the banked track. So easy to fall in love with the bank track, it's faster and I love fast. I left a bit of my bum on the edge of turn one.
Kelp with Otter and Jellyfish
(photo by Floyd King)
Resting Consternating Face is real, guys.
It's important to diversify your skate training with other work-outs like crossfit, weight training, pilates, yoga, spin, HIIT, and activities that get you moving in different ways like hiking and swimming. We're super lucky on the Central Coast because the weather is awesome, the scenery is sublime, and it's a go-live-your-best-life kind of place.
Like a lot of leagues, we struggle for practice space, but our options for off-skates training are amazing. Here we are doing HIIT on the beach at Montaña de Oro after a run, feeling the summit-high at the top of Bishop Peak, and finishing up a trail skate at Avila Beach.
I always reach for skating first but then I'll hit the beach or the dunes or the trails for a hike and it never fails to fill me with awe, this beautiful place and what a gift it is to be here. It gets me in a totally different head space and adjusts my perspective. Life is push and pull but we can choose to flow.
This game got a little violent but I felt like a unicorn.
(photos (sequence of 3): Randy Eggert)
I became a Sacred City Disciple for a weekend at the PAC D tournament. Such an amazing experience with this rad team. Euphoria and crushing defeat. This is derby.
Derby is also 3 roommates, not enough towels, and wandering around Target in the middle of the night for snacks.
Sacred City Disciples
(photo: Natalie Kasmarsik)
How can one sport do so much? Is it the amazing sisterhood in a world that still breeds a culture of women diminishing other women? Is it the derby community, which is global, active, outspoken, and will take you as you are? What does that mean to anyone who's ever felt like an outsider or not enough? Is it the charity work? It reminds me we own this--our communities, our choices--what would happen if we all took care of it?
Is it the game? My body is a machine and derby makes it sing. You use everything you have. And in the end it's still a mind game. Everything gets stronger. I still get flutters all the time, a mix of excitement, performance anxiety, and adrenaline. Sometimes I almost throw up. It feels like true love. I think it must be.
(photo: Paul Erhardt)
I worked hard to make the travel team and I'll never forget the moment when Coach told me I was in. Just a euphoric, shining moment. A week or so later I was chosen to be one of our primary jammers. Whaat? Crazy. And amazing. It's a lot of pressure when your team takes a chance on you, especially when you're the up-and-comer, but it's also a powerful fuel. No one wants to disappoint anyone. That's a compelling force. You want to be the best for your squad. And yourself.
This was our second game of the season. The Resurrection blockers seemed like giants to me. No one wanted to watch them warm up. I did anyway, my stomach in knots. I learned it settles my nerves to watch, to see how they move, find weaknesses. I felt calmer.
I bounced around their walls like microwave popcorn but I got through. It was more survival than strategy. Skating at this level when you're a mixture of strong athletic ability and a newbie's unpredictable awkwardness is like driving a squirrelly car through the canyons. Control is so fleeting, I never really had it, I just stayed one step ahead of whatever the alternative was.
This win was great for our rankings. The morning after the bout I felt like I'd fallen down a flight of stairs in a shopping cart. I couldn't stop smiling.
We take a lot of selfies and groupies in derby. It's an interactive documentary. Hey, we were here. Sweating and figuring it out.
Spring 2016. I made a magazine. It was mostly Dottie Mae Doomsday and I, stitching this monster together. It was a crazy production schedule and I was cranky as hell by the end. But we made it and it's beautiful and this amazing time in our lives is immortalized in slick af pulp.
Skating here with Sacred and getting stomped by ACDG left a big impression on me six months ago. I left obsessed with edging. It's probably the single most useful skill to learn and master.
I'm back for a training and this little derby pup climbed right into my bag. It's pouring buckets in L.A. this weekend but the warehouse is dry.
It wasn't elegant or fast, but I waltz-jumped Laci Knight.
I lowered my toe stops one centimeter and already love the difference. The sooner I'm back on my edges, the better. Dancing on toes gets me out of trouble but it's not a powerful position, it's flight.
4 days at the L.A. Derby Dolls Dolloseum, training with derby's elite. How did I get so lucky? Bonnie Thunders, OMG WTF, Mercy, Jackie Daniels, Smarty Pants, Quadzilla. The skating level was pretty high. I was a good fit to get the most out of it but would have been in over my head just a few months earlier. This is why I stayed in shape during the off season, and started training in January. Just to get on with it.
I can do this because I have this amazing family. A partner who took the kids to work so I could get to Radness on a weekday. He and the girls came for the weekend and made it so much easier for me to skate and focus without the little heartbreak of being away from them. He thinks I'm a superhero, which really helps for the many many moments when I feel so far from that. I do believe I'm doing something meaningful, for myself and women and our girls, who have a front row seat to women being extraordinary. Of course anything that requires this much comes with sacrifice.
I've never traveled without someone on the other end. This was my first time renting a car alone and staying in a hotel alone. I didn't know anyone at Radness. Most of the participants came with teammates. I ate lunch in an Alhambra parking lot alone. Twice. By the time my family arrived, I felt I'd accomplished something.
(photos (sequence of 3): Paul Erhardt)
CCRD opened the 2016 season with an alumni exhibition bout. It was very cool to skate with women who have been there since the beginning and helped create this sport and our league. The game has changed a lot since 2006! Totally didn't matter though, we had so much fun.
Me & my little luvs (photo: Graham Doig)
We have a few bike/skate trails in our area that our skaters use throughout the year to train and just have fun. I love skating trails, it's a great contrast to derby because I can just fly along with my favorite tunes and nothing else but salt air and nature. That's pretty close to nirvana. Sometimes I post Local Skate Report blurbs on social media, mainly to inspire my skating friends to get out there. One day I finally had enough skate report selfies to realize they're all basically the same photo. hahahaha awwkwarrrd
Graham in the green room at my first bout. He makes everything possible.
Nor'eastah, me, No Name - 1st bout! 08.15
(photos (sequence of 2): Graham Doig)
My rookie season was brief because I came in mid-season--but 7 games in 9 weeks! So much glitter and awesomeness. And look what they gave me, like it wasn't already everything just to skate with them.
11 weeks of training, buckets of sweat, a shotglass of tears, and I became a derby girl. It's powerful, that first time you see your name on a shirt. One dream came true and became a piece of a bigger dream. My shirt arrived in time for Rollercon. It was scary as hell having my first scrim at Rollercon without a coach or trainers, skating with randoms. But I did it. And it was rad.
I've got skills yo
When I started derby, I had basic skating skills from childhood rinks and skating in a straight line along So. Cal beaches. More recently I'd taken up inline street skating for a couple months, which I instantly loved for the speed. I had dreams of flying along streets in Rome and Paris. (still do). Inline skates and quads have significant differences but it's a big benefit when you're switching between them to already have balance on skates and some common motions down.
New life, new town. Where do people skate around here? I ran a search on local skating, found a roller derby league's website, obsessed over it, said hi on social media, researched skates, then went to the skate shop and geared up. No turning back then. Gak. I showed up to a random practice and they didn't much know what to do with me that night, I felt awkward and anxious like 7th grade, but in 2 hours I was already hooked and knew it was going to be awesome. And then I was Fresh Meat, and instantly had 20 weirdo friends.
It's hard being a freshie. All arms and legs and ambition. The hurts and frustrations. But whether it takes you a few months or a few years, you'll transform along the way. Still me, just...wow. How did that happen.