Some of us went to ECDX to show the derby world who the f$%k New Hampshire is (SFOD took River City 169-142 and then went on to take the win over Dominion 175-152). The rest of us…
Photo courtesy of Irate Pirate!
What SFOD’s leaguemates did & didn’t do at ECDX 2012:
- We drank beer.
- We may have regretted drinking so much beer.
- Can we talk about the beer for a second? Did anyone else feel like garbage after drinking a couple?
- Nightmares on Elm Street represented on Sunday!
- We did not skate in any challenge bouts.
- Instead, we used the bathrooms in the rink of the challenge bouts because the line was so much shorter!
- We watched the Pegassist live and in person.
- We ate from delicious food trucks.
- We annoyed many people on the party bus.
- I took a nice nap waiting for the shuttle.
- We cheered on Skate Free or Die! until we all had sore, bloody throats.
- “Hustle, hit, never quit!”
- Alternately, “Hustle, hit, too legit to quit!”
- So many happy, sweaty hugs and high-fives!
- We stayed far, far away from the pool for fear of catching Feastervillitis.
- We caught Feastervillitis anyway!
- We watched Avatar at the hotel because what else are you going to watch when you’re getting ready for the after party?
- We ate a whole table’s worth of tater tots.
- Did we dominate that Sunday after party for a hot minute? I feel like we sure did!
- Personally, I only ate one cheese steak and I’m disappointed in myself.
- How about some Cherry Bombs with a serious challenge bout?
- Make better decisions beerwise.
- If we’re going to get sick anyway, might as well frolic in the pool.
- Will our “Who the F$%K is New Hampshire?!” t-shirts still be timely? You may find us wearing those.
For now, we’ll see you at Roller Consolation 2012!
Friends, Fistpumps, & Skate Free or Pie,
I love reading about roller derby! I mean, I generally love reading words that are arranged in such a fashion that they describe an interest of mine. I’m just a wacky, zany lady like that! But after awhile, I start to read the same article over and over again: BURNOUT, AMIRITE? I would like to contribute my own arrangement of words on the hot subject to the internet bin of disposable miscellany. I like to remain hip with the culture and right now the culture is buzzing out being burnt out.
Burnout monster is here to eat your life.
What does being burnt out even mean? Burnout is when you say cliche things like, “Stop the world! I am getting off! And by getting off I mean, like, stepping off a plane or train and not… you know.” You’ve had it up to here like Gwen Stefani in “Just a Girl.” It’s having a Case of the Mondays on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday but not Sunday because that’s when you are spending time angrily staring at the Mt. Everest of laundry in your bedroom. Burnout is when you need your life to take a chill pill, but you decide to drink a case of Red Bull, sally forth, and totally regret it. You feel like a sad, booger-filled disposable tissue that is lying on the floor next to the trash can. Do you love roller skating as much as you love baby animals? You don’t? Ugh, you are so burnt out.
So then the typical internet article about burnout goes like this: “What do we do about you, you useless pile of ashes? Can we throw some wood on you and get the fire going again?” No, that last question is not an innuendo but a metaphor. I don’t even know how you live with your mind in the gutter all the time! Moving on! The internet tells me these are the solutions to burnout:
1. Take some time off!
2. Take a break! Gimme a break! Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar!
3. Have you tried eating a pint of ice cream?
4. Do you have friends outside of derby? See them! You don’t? Why don’t you make friends? Are you a dinosaur? You are?! No wonder why you don’t have friends outside derby!
5. Cast away your responsibilities like a nudist casts off pants in the warm, warm sunlight!
6. Evaluate how many fucks and shits you can stand to give and ration them accordingly. Do not give an entire shit when only a turd will suffice.
7. Listen to some Enya. Oh… you saw the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? Never mind, try Explosions in the Sky.
How awesome was that advice? It was all so novel and genius and groundbreaking! I know, I basically just served you last week’s meat surprise lunch and spiced it up with a little srichacha sauce. It’s still terrible except now it might give you heartburn. Nothing is solved! You want to know: “How can I burn out, but not fade away?”
I think in order to do that you need to evaluate the state and extent of your burnout. Are you a little pile of smoldering embers? Maybe abstaining from a few practices and events might be enough to sustain. Maybe you need to not check your e-mail every 5 minutes. You know what? Just put your phone in a drawer and don’t bother with it until you get the burning desire to let everyone on Facebook know that you are now the mayor of your laundromat. Think of derby as that friend who you KNOW is a good person, they are just super annoying right now. Keep it all at arm’s length and let things just happen without engaging.
If you are a sad lumpy pile of gray ashes in danger of being scattered by a light breeze, I don’t know if you can remain burnt out without fading off into the sunset for awhile. You should probably go get some more wood, if you know what I mean.
And here's "Ashes to Ashes" David Bowie for no particular reason.
So you’ve read all of those words and you are still feeling hopeless about the state of your fire? Part of me wants to shake you and say, “Well, what did you expect? I am no certified expert! I’m juggling all kinds of balls right now which is terrible because a) I hate balls and b) I can’t keep them in the air for the life of me!” What balls? “The balls of life! They are a-rollin’!” If you’re still looking for Better Burnout Solutions, I am sad to report that the truest and best advice is the most boring: You know yourself better than anyone and what you can/can’t handle. Your gut will probably tell you exactly what you need to do, you just need to come to terms with it. And get wood.
If you pour a beer into a bag of Fritos and then chuck it into back alley dumpster full of rotten apples, close the lid and let it sit for a year, I imagine the resulting odor would approximate the unique scent of roller derby gear. Some people wear the fragrant essence of derby as a badge of honor; a gold medal for hard skating. These people need to cut the shit.
“UGH! Who is smuggling roadkill in their sports bra?” an annoyed skater may ask.
“Teehee! It’s me! Goodness, my gear smells like that old bowl of chicken ramen I found under my bed on dorm move-out day!” says the offending skater. Are you kidding me? My eyes are watering, not because I am sad about roadkill, but because of the little green wavy stink waves emanating from wrist guards. How can people let this to continue to happen? “Heehee! It’s my secret weapon! With this elbow pad stench, no one will come within 2 feet of me on the track!” Comedy? This joke isn’t funny anymore!
Let’s look at the cold, foul facts: When we play roller derby, we sweat a ton. Sweat does not smell. But when warm sweat is mixed with the entire bacteria ecosystem living on the surface of our skin, we enter stankonia (noun: Land of unpleasant smells, unrelated to OutKast). Your gear is all-inclusive, hedonistic resort for sweat and bacteria to mingle and multiply to make bacteria babies who then go to Stank University to experiment with bacteria bongs and multiply some more. Congratulations! You are basically a walking biohazard! Yuck! Do you use your gear bag as a weapon of mass olfactory destruction? Gross! Is all of my shaming working?
“I’m grossed out but I’m so broke! I can’t afford to wash gear!” Okay, I get this. I live in an apartment without a washer and dryer. Lugging everything to the laundromat is a huge hassle and then paying $2+ a load makes me mad about the pressure to be clean at all times. But I refuse to be a hypocrite, so I devised a way to clean my gear at my apartment. Here’s a how-to:
BROKE GIRL GEAR CLEANING
Time: It’s going to take 24+ hours for your gear to dry (depending on general humidity) so make sure you do this in a small lull in your practice/bouting schedule.
-Bathtub with running hot water (Sorry, Clampetts)
-Maybe you can use the sink if you don’t have a tub
-Rag towels (use the ones you ruined during that exhausting Manic Panic phase you had)
-Pants hangers (optional)
-Sweater rack (optional)
Cleaning solutions (choose any combination or one or more!):
-Vodka (Really? You want to use something you could drink? Okay…)
-Isopropyl/Rubbing Alcohol (Same effect as vodka except it’s cheaper and you cannot drink this)
-Essential oils (If you are a hippy)
Here’s my arsenal:
Ceramic owl optional.
Do it up!
- Close the drain to the bath and start running some hot water. Fill tub at least halfway.
- Alternative for tiny apartments: Fill up the sink!
- If you have knee pads with removable caps (like 187s), take them off. The Velcro is pretty heavy-duty but you can pry them off with a little elbow grease.
- Put in about ½ cup of all of the cleaning solutions you use.
- If you use laundry detergent, put in enough for 1 load of laundry.
- If you use essential oil just put in a few drops, I guess. I don’t know what the deal is with this stuff.
- Throw your gear in. If you are gagging, submerge gear in the soapy water and flee the room.
- Grab a beer from the fridge and drink it.
- Alternative for the beerless: Wine!
- Alternative for the wineless: Vodka cocktail!
- Alternative for people who don’t drink alcohol: Carbonated high fructose corn syrup!
- Watch some youtube videos of puppies until you’re done drinking your beer.
- Poke your head into the bathroom and if you are still unable to breathe, wrap one of the rag towels around your nose and mouth.
- Do you have some spray air freshener? Maybe that will help.
- Put your cleaning gloves on because you are about to murder some stank and you don’t want to leave any fingerprints.
- Swish the gear around the tub (sink?). You really want to create the atmosphere of an actual washing machine here – swish with great vigor and gusto.
- Are you done swishing? You are not. Continue swishing.
- Pull the drain on the tub (sink?) and start running the hot water.
- Rinse each piece of gear thoroughly and squeeze the excess water out.
- Lay gear on a towel. Use another towel to absorb more excess water from the gear.
- When you air-dry your gear it will still drip water onto the floor. Solution: put your sweater rack in the tub and lay the gear on the sweater rack.
- Alternative: Put all gear on pants hangers and hang from shower curtain. You’ll need to lay out some towels on the floor because it will drip!
- Alternative: Hang gear outside on balcony.
**BONUS ROUND: Clean your gross mouth guard!
- Rinse your mouth guard under warm running water.
- Take your toothbrush and put a little bit of toothpaste on it.
- Brush your mouth guard as if they were teeth!
- Rinse excess toothpaste.
- Minty fresh!
Eventually, you will have to clean your gear. There’s no way around it! You are so doomed! Here are some tips for preventing the smell from creeping back so you can go longer in between cleanings:
- Air out all of your gear after practice. Oh you’re tired? Well so am I – tired of you smelling bad. Physically take your gear out of your bag, secure them on pants hangers and hang them somewhere to safely dry out. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, just dump your gear bag on the floor and hope for the best.
-If you’re feeling ambitious, spray some stuff on the gear that is airing out. Febreze, old body spray from that gift basket you got at Christmas, rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle, etc.
-You can make little odor-eating satchels to put in your gear bag. Put some baking soda in an old orphan sock (or cut some fabric from a retired pair of tights) and secure the bundle with an elastic band.
-Shower. Just wash yourself, it helps.
Photos by me and my hipster brick
Guess who? ME.
Fun fact: I am the greatest. I devote most of my time ensuring that I am the greatest and making sure that other people know it too. I don’t need to cite any references – it’s just the cold, hard truth. You might say, “Oh I thought Muhammad Ali was the greatest” or “What about Cat Power? Once, she wanted to be the greatest.” If you are thinking these things I must tell you that you have been woefully misinformed. I don’t need to justify my greatness to you, but I will because you have an annoyed look on your face and both of your eyes rolled out of your head onto the floor like Halloween meatballs.
The evidence: When I wake up in the morning, I look like this:
I made the flower crown myself, naturally.
Small, cheerful woodland animals help me get dressed in the morning while singing happy tunes about the weather. I walk outside my front door into the sunshine and all the townspeople milling about drop what they’re doing to perform an elaborate song-and-dance number. They sing a Broadway version of LL Cool J’s “Around the Way Girl,” not because the song describes me in any way but because they know it’s my favorite LL Cool J song. A jovial baker hands me a powdered doughnut and I eat the whole thing without getting any powdered sugar on my perfectly tailored vintage dress. This is all because I’m the greatest, in case you forgot.
I skip to work and when I open the door to the office there’s a hurricane of papers flying around and workers are screaming at the coffee maker, “Why is it taking so long? Caffeine, you’re my only friend!” The boss comes up to me and says, “You’re our only hope! We have an impossible problem!” I wiggle my nose and reply, “Don’t worry, I got this!” and then I wink. I sit down at my desk, tweefully decorated with little hand-painted figures of owls, and press two keys on my keyboard. “Sir, I think I’ve solved your problem!” The boss claps his hands, slicks back his comb-over, and says, “Bravo! 50% raise for you! Thank goodness you’re here!” What a guy! Maybe my boss is the greatest? Psych! JUST KIDDING I AM THE GREATEST!
Twee office supplies are great too.
Other important information to know about the greatest:
-I only eat organic, raw food lovingly farmed by the family up the street.
-Every room in my apartment has been featured on Design*Sponge at some point.
-The President has me on speed dial.
-I’m a Sartorialist regular.
-When I think happy thoughts, I actually fly.
Ugh, why did you put your eyes back in your sockets if they’re just going to roll out again? Stop dry heaving! All of this information is important to know because I am actually none of those things. In fact, even though I live in the NH wilderness I am under the false impression that all woodland animals are rabid. Not fun fact: If there’s an erratic squirrel in your bedroom fumbling with socks, it’s probably rabid. Like all things on this blog, I have to relate this back to roller derby somehow. Bear with me (or go watch youtube videos of kittens – I don’t care).
The point is: In roller derby it doesn’t matter if you are the greatest. It doesn’t matter if you invented a way to have gourmet meals materialize in your microwave. It doesn’t matter if you run a kitten orphanage for wayward kittens. It doesn’t even matter if you are the greatest roller derby player. Roller derby is all about you while simultaneously being not about you at all.
When rollerblades were all the rage.
Your team is the Mighty Morphin Derby Rangers. Your track is Angel Grove, California. Maybe you’re the Green Ranger. You can take on 4 Putties at once without breaking a sweat. [History Lesson: Before the Green Ranger joined up with the rest of the Rangers, he was brainwashed by Rita Repulsa with the intention of being used as an instrument of evil. He is the greatest Ranger to ever kick a Putty in the chest.] Can you alone save your Ranger team from certain death at the hands of Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd? No, you need your ranger pals. Even the Pink Ranger, who always gets stuck up against the wall. True, the Pink Ranger kicks ass and she’s fantastically talented outside of evil-fighting, but sometimes she gets kidnapped by Lord Zedd and needs her pals to come save her. Regardless, you need to get on the track and scream, “It’s morphin’ time!” and assemble the Megazord. If you’re not working as a unit, you’re not doing derby right.
This is your lineup Megazord. Go forth and conquer.
Lesson: It doesn’t matter if you have an ego surplus or an ego deficit; everyone needs to get on the same level to achieve victory.
Photos: Millyard Studios, here, here, here, here
Guess what’s happening? NHRD is going to strap on the skates and rue the day we ever ate that entire plate of cookies at Christmas. Not that I did that or anything. I just know someone who did. Ugh, listen, the cookies were just sitting there saying “Eat me!” and at first I thought it was weird that the cookies were talking to me but then I realized it was a sign. And I ate every last one of them. I’m changing my name to Cookie Slayer. Kidding! I’m not. Fresh Meat, you can have that derby name. Actually, no you can’t – it’s too similar to someone else’s name. Story of your life, right? I’m so sorry.
Anyway, back to us putting on skates and sweating out the eggnog. We’re going to start skating heavily and that means hydrating heavily. Generally, if you’re going to go balls-to-the-wall at practice, you’ll want to be drinking water all day. If you can’t do that, you can start squirreling away water by drinking it a couple hours before practice. Benefits of hydration include: staying cool, keeping energy levels up, and more endurance. Sports drinks are a good idea for some people because they can contain carbs and electrolytes to keep you going.
Actually, I can’t even pretend like I’m writing a helpful blog anymore. I just wanted to post my poem about Gatorade. Here it is:
Ode to the ‘Ade
By Maxine Kerosene, age 25
I had a thirst that I could not escape.
I needed a beverage with a flavor of grape.
A Misty at Dairy Queen! Away I will go!
I drank it too fast; brain freeze! Oh no!
Well maybe I should just eat the blasted fruit!
I chewed and chewed but was still thirsty to boot!
Grape soda, who loves you?
I do, I do I do-oo!
I drank you but my thirst only grew.
And then I saw the bottle in the 7-11.
The light shown upon it, descended from heaven.
Fine! It wasn’t from heaven. More like fluorescent fixtures.
Look, cut it out. You get the picture.
No, I understand “fixture” and “picture” don’t perfectly rhyme.
I’m trying to tell a story here while wasting your time.
Anyway, there it was: Grape Gatorade.
“What? This exists?” My day had been made.
I chugged from the bottle and it was just what I needed.
After searching high and low, I had finally succeeded.
I think more people would get on the Gatorade bus
If the company sponsored us.
Back to helpful things based on anecdotal evidence: Once upon a time I was a wee fresh meatball and I thought it would be a grand idea to eat the General Tso Chicken combo plate for lunch before practice. This was and still is a horrible idea. Do you know what the General Tso Chicken combo plate can do to your taste buds? It will send them straight to Happy Town. Do you know how much sodium is in the General Tso Chicken combo plate? So much sodium that you could season 3 meals! More sodium than that Stouffer’s microwave meal languishing in the office fridge! Do you know what sodium can do? Basically it wreaks havoc on your blood pressure and causes weird water retention. Later that night, halfway through practice I noticed that my hands were swelling up inside my wrist guards. Ouch! My hand looked like a makeshift balloon made from a rubber glove. Thanks a lot, sodium! I ended up sitting out the rest of practice with my weird balloon hands because they wouldn’t even fit in my wrist guard anymore. Don’t call me a baby! “Balloon hands” is a serious affliction.
Like this, except less happy.
What have we learned today?
- Drinking water is important.
- I shouldn’t quit my day job to pursue poetry.
- Do not eat a mountain of salt before practice.
Welcome to roller derby! Let’s go shopping! What’s that now? You’ve spent your entire paycheck on knee socks?! Friend, let’s chat.
When one first enters the Kingdom of the Cult of Roller Derby it’s easy to get wrapped up in accessorizing. I should know – I used to lovingly color coordinate my outfits right down to a matching sports bra. You need those teeny ruffle shorts, don’t you? Tutus? You need one to match every pair of tights you have! You do! And the socks – oh, the socks! So many colors, so many lengths, so many different levels of sock-sassiness! You need to buy a pair for every mood!
No, you don’t. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to step away from the Target sock bin. It’s okay to look at a tutu and say “You know, it really doesn’t make sense to wear an explosion of fabric around my waist when I’m trying to sneak through small holes in the pack.” It’s even okay to eschew fishnets and opt for something that will lessen the effects of rink rash.
A portion of my sock collection - this could happen to you.
Meat pals, if you want to invest in your new found passion here are some suggestions that are really worth it:
-Knee pads – There’s a lot of emphasis on knee falls so your joints are going to take a beating. Skimping on knee pads now when you’re first learning doesn’t really make sense because knee injuries are so expensive down the line.
-Knee gaskets – These are gelled sleeves you put around your knees and they are amazing. Gaskets + your fancy knee pads = feels like falling in a puddle of puppies!
-Custom mouth guard – What’s that? “Gammer on da ished?” Oh! Jammer on the inside! I get it. See, those boil-and-bite mouth guards definitely do the trick protection-wise but it when you try to talk with one in your mouth it sounds like your packing marshmallows in your cheeks! Custom guards are streamlined and more conducive to on-track communication.
-Febreeze – Or any anti-funk spray (I dig a mixture of Isopropyl Alcohol and water). Maybe you can’t tell, but your gear smells bad. And if it currently doesn’t smell, it will. You are doomed.
-Skate tool – Yes a rudimentary one came with your skates probably. You’ll want to buy an actual skate tool because it will make your life easier when changing/tightening/loosening wheels.
-Ibuprophen, economy-size bottle – The legs – they burn! The bruises – they change colors! Did you get in a car accident? No, you just had derby practice and you’re a little sore. Time for some OTC painkillers and a good night’s sleep.
-Light-up skate laces – Just kidding! This is not necessary unless you like to bring the party to open skate nights and be a roving rave.
Look at you! You’re so prepared. Now, focus on skating and please do not buy a tutu. Thank you.
Hello there, stranger! What do I like to do for fun? Well, I play roller derby. Hey now stop right there! Roller derby has also granted me special mind-reading powers and I know exactly how this conversation is going to go. I will now lay it out for you and answer all questions:
“ROLLER DERBY? THEY STILL DO THAT?” Yes! The sport was revived in the early 2000s and now it’s a pretty big deal. There are leagues across the world and even different sets of rules. We play under the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) rules!
“BUT YOU’RE TOO BIG/SMALL/LADYLIKE TO PLAY THAT!” Every shape, size, and attitude has different advantages in roller derby!
“WHERE DO YOU PLAY?” We currently play in Manchester, NH, at the JFK Coliseum and we also now play at the Whittemore Center in Durham, NH.
“OH COOL! BUT IT’S LIKE WRESTLING, RIGHT? AND TOTALLY STAGED!” No, the game is now pretty regulated and any sort of brawling will get you ejected from play. Additionally, nothing is staged. It’s a sport with actual rules and requires quick thinking to react to what’s happening on the track.
“BUT YOU STILL THROW THE OLD ELBOW, PULL THE HAIR, AND TRIP THE POOR LADIES!” No, the only acceptable forms of hitting are with shoulders and hips. Anything other than that will result in a penalty. Anyway, it’s hard to get at the hair when it’s covered by a helmet.
“AND YOU SKATE ON ONE OF THOSE OVAL PLATFORM THINGIES WITH RAILS?” We do not skate banked track (though some leagues do!). We skate on a flat track, which is more sustainable then building/transporting a banked track.
“OKAY BUT YOU STILL HAVE CRAZY DERBY NAMES RIGHT?” Yes we do! Some skaters in leagues across the country choose to skate with their government names but some like to kick it old school.
“UGH, YOUR DERBY NAME SHOULD HAVE BEEN ‘[x] ON WHEELS’ INSTEAD.” The name process is kind of complicated – technically you’re not supposed to have a similar name to another roller derby player anywhere in the world. That’s why my name sounds like a fake character from an 80s post-apocalyptic B-movie.
“SO LEMME GET THIS STRAIGHT: BY DAY YOU ARE [BORING, CONSERVATIVE JOB] AND BY NIGHT YOU ARE [CRAZY ROLLER DERBY NAME] WHO ROUGHS UP WOMEN.” Apparently? If you search the internet, you will find approximately eight bagillion stories (give or take) about how roller derby players hold down full-time jobs during the day and then go off to play derby at night. Some are mothers! Some are college students! Some are librarians! Some are doctors! Some are aliens from outer space (maybe)!
“THAT SOUNDS REALLY NEAT-O!” Yep, and there’s beer for the crowd!
“BEER? SISTER, I AM SOLD!” Excellent! Take a look at our schedule and come on out! Our home season is April – August.
“ACTUALLY, I’M BROKE. BUT I STILL WANT TO COME TO A BOUT.” Rad! You can volunteer. You won’t be able to drink beer on your volunteer shift, but you’ll get in free! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info!
See you there, new derby fan!