JC Superscar – photo by Millyard Studios
Position: Jammer, Blocker
Rookie Year: 2012
Queen City Cherry Bombs – 2013
Nightmares on Elm Street – 2012-2013
How did this career GIRL SCOUT find roller derby?
You found my secret identity! I first found out about roller derby from that reality TV show about the Texas Roller Girls. I saw that and I was inspired by the idea of an all-female sport, where you get to hit people, and have cool tattoos and piercings. When I was in college working at a skate shop, a derby girl came in and said I should try out, but at that time I wasn’t old enough. So I filled the gap of wanting to play a rough sport with rugby. When I moved back to New Hampshire, I decided I needed to find a community to be a part of. I like the fact that I can be the atypical Girl Scout, I have tattoos piercings, and I do weird things to my hair. The jump from Girl Scouts to derby made sense. At (Girl Scout) camp we have weird nicknames and wear knee high socks. It’s funny, I have quite a few friends from my Girl Scout world who have now started playing derby.
Last year you were on the Nightmares on Elm Street – a home team. Now you’re on a travel team, the Queen City Cherry Bombs AND the Nightmares. Give me some idea what it’s like to juggle two teams (practices, strategies, etc.)
It’s a lot to juggle, but I love playing for both teams. The Nightmares are such a driven team and I couldn’t wait to take that drive on the road. With the Cherry Bombs, I have the opportunity to skate against new people, some with strategies I haven’t seen. It keeps me on my toes and gives me new goals to work on. At first I was worried: What if the people on my travel team and not my home team learn how I skate and my moves? I didn’t know if they would be able to play against me better on the home teams. But again, it pushes me to learn more and skate better.
JC jamming for the Nightmares in their 2013 opening bout. Photo by Kevin Pillsbury.
Do you find there’s a different “mindset” between a Home and a Travel Team?
Home team, it’s very much what strategy do we do to compete with the same people we see every week. On a travel team, it’s so many what ifs and how do they play. We go into each game with some sort of an idea, but it keeps you guessing. When it comes to a home team, you learn how your league mates skate, but even then it’s ever changing.
What is your strongest skill that you bring to derby?
I’m not afraid to take a hit. Lots of people see me as being small, and therefore going to get hurt. I have always been into rough sports and derby has been the perfect sport for me.
Where do you want to be next year? A couple years? What do you want to achieve derby-wise? Life-wise?
Loaded question! I plan on still playing derby; I have many years left in me. That’s the awesome thing about getting into derby at a young age, more years to play. I hope one day to make it to Regionals, or however we are doing it now. Life-wise, I plan on staying in the outdoor industry. I love to play outdoors when I’m not playing derby, so any job that lets me do that is where I want to be.
What your “greatest derby moment”?
Honestly just playing derby. I wasn’t sure how it would all work out, it’s not a cheap sport and it’s a huge time commitment. The day that I bought my skates before I was officially teamed, I thought to myself, OK there is no backing down now I have to make it.
I hear you have a favorite charity…St. Baldrick’s. Tell us about it.
Worldwide, 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year. And in the U.S., more children die of childhood cancer than any other disease — more than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies and diabetes combined. While some organizations spread their research dollar between adult and children’s cancers, every grant funded by the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is for childhood cancer research. St. Baldrick’s head-shaving events began as a challenge between businessmen and have grown from one event in 2000 to more than 1,300 events in 2012.
I was super excited when I heard ROC City Roller Derby was doing St. Baldrick’s, and all I could think about is NHRD should do it! Now it’s a reality! I have participated in St Baldrick’s twice (so far!) once in 2009 and again in 2010. The first year I raised $1,357, I hope to at least raise $1,000 this year. It’s an amazing charity to do, and it’s so different from other charities. The best part about it is having people ask “why are you bald?” It brings so much awareness to children’s cancer, and creates the perfect segue as to how they can help. So many people from our league have already signed up to join the battle against children’s cancer. I can’t wait to see all the bald derby girls. Bald is Beautiful!
You are an awesome player – and an even better person. Must be all that Girl Scout training. NHRD <3s you!
For more information on St. Baldrick’s, visit http://www.stbaldricks.org/.
Catch up on league history, learn about team rosters, and get schooled in Roller Derby history in the 2013 New Hampshire Roller Derby Media Guide.
Download Media Kit (2.8MB PDF)
Position: Blocker, Jammer
Rookie Year: 2011
Skate Free or Die All-Stars – 2012
Nightmares on Elm Street – 2011-2012 (Trainer, 2012)
Queen City Cherry Bombs – 2011
You are all over NHRD! A trainer for the Nightmares. Skating for multiple teams (SFOD All-Stars and the Nightmares). You were a Cherry Bomb in 2011. Is it different playing for a Home vs. Travel Team?
It’s definitely different. Skating for SFOD is a new challenge for me. I am constantly trying to process a ton of new information. This is only my second year skating, and truly, my first year understanding team strategy. Year one, I just wanted to knock people down. Year two, I still wanna knock people down, but that’s not my only job. The great thing about skating on a travel team is the opportunity to bout against skaters outside of my league. That’s huge in terms of learning. I used to be scared at the thought of playing on a travel team, now I can’t get enough of it. In case you did not know, SFOD just came back from ECDX 2012. We killed it! Went up against 2 teams ranked much higher than us and brought home both wins!!!
How did you get involved in training? What kind of stuff do you do?
I have no idea how I became a trainer for the Nightmares on Elm Street! Well, I do, I just never imagined myself as a team trainer. I barely had one derby year under my belt when one of my teammates encouraged me to run in our team election. Skating for SFOD made creating practice plans easy for The Nightmares. SFOD has some amazing coaches, new to NHRD this year, who provide us with challenging skills and strategies. Re-teaching these skills and strategies helps me retain this information even more and at the same time brings a higher level of competition to my home team. This trickle-down-effect is actually having a huge impact on all of the teams with NHRD.
You primarily play Blocker. Is that the position you’re most comfortable with?
Oh yeah. Absolutely. When someone tells you that you have an amazing ass during a bout (Thank you, Tank) you kind of have to believe it. I really like to hold back the jammer and watch her struggle. That sounds mean, but that’s what a blocker does!!!
How did you find Roller Derby? Besides getting to skate fast and push people around, what attracted you about the sport? Do you come from a sports background?
I found roller derby in a parade. Honk Festival, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. 2007? 2008, maybe? Grabbed a flyer, went to a bout and knew right away that this full contact sport was for me. I played hockey and softball in my teens and 20′s, but never felt like I was really good at either one of them. I can’t say I was great at roller derby when I started either, but I put so much time into it, that there is no other option but to improve.
You work in the veterinary field. That takes a lot of patience, love, and nurturing. Qualities that aren’t so different from derby – do you agree?
Haha! Oddly enough, I do agree! I’m not into mushy emotional stuff, but I do care about people. I want everyone to get along and be friends. There are a lot of personalities in derby. Sometimes it’s hard to understand all of them, but I do care unconditionally for everyone involved with the league. I like to think that people are generally good and that most misunderstandings are due to poor communication. I’m not going to write you off because you pissed me off. I will let you know you pissed me off and then I’m over it.
M-Eighty HD. Very explosive name. Does that refer to your skating style? Personality? What?
I really wanted my derby name to reflect me personally, the type of derby player I wanted to be, and it absolutely had to come together nicely with my number (B00M). M-Eighty HD has a dual meaning. If you take away the HD, you have M-Eighty. Explosive! Blowing up! Big hits! Boom! Right? Well, if you take away the M, all that is left is the Eighty HD. If you sound that out, you get… Oh look! A shiny object!
Anything you want to share about yourself that you think we should know?
In no particular order: I want to be on America’s Best Dance Crew. Animals are my friends. I don’t eat my friends. I have a crush on Pitbull. Mr. Worldwide. I have the best German Shepherd Dog ever! We came home 2-0 from ECDX!!!!! The LadyBros are cool. I love my mom and am grateful for all she has ever done for me.
A million thank yous for letting me feature you on the blog. I know I’m supposed to be impartial, but you are easily one of my most favorite people. Your beautiful spirit always does my heart good!! (I’m sure the rest of the league will agree! And you are one heck of a snazzy dancer!)
Nightmares on Elm Street
Queen City Cherry Bombs
Position: Pivot, Blocker
Rookie Year: 2009
Teams: The Nightmares on Elm Street – 2011-2012, and the Queen City Cherry Bombs – 2010-2012
You are such a solid player. It’s been a pleasure to see you grow and improve as a skater. What’s your journey been like? I certainly did not start out as a solid player. In fact I did not even pass my Level I Assessments the first time around. I came into derby with marginal skating skills. I could stand up and skate forward, I had good balance so that worked in my favor but everything else was completely foreign to me. Plus, I’m a perfectionist. So, every time I would get a suggestion from another skater, I would do it over and over until I did it perfectly, not realizing that there might be another way to do the same thing that would be easier for my body. (I still struggle with the perfectionist thing)
Many of our ladies are quite talented and you are no exception. A trained ballerina studying at the Alvin Alley studio? Can you tell us about your dancing background and how it affects (positively and/or negatively) your derby skating? My training is actually in contemporary dance, ballet was included in that but it was not my specialty. I started dancing when I was about 5 and danced all the way through high school into college. That is how I got to dance at Alvin Ailey. I went to Fordham University in the Bronx. We also had a campus right at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. This was also the location of the Alvin Ailey Company. Any student was able to attend the dance school for a fraction of the cost of what it would usually cost to go there. It was pretty amazing to be taking class with some of the best dancers in the country. I wasn’t anywhere near their level but the experience was priceless.
Speaking of skills that might come in handy in your derby life, you were a philosophy major. You do seem very calm and analytical! LOL! Haha, yes, philosophy is basically the debate of rational arguments. And we have quite a few of those that happen around here. But I didn’t plan to be a philosophy major, cause really? Who does? I went into college as a chemistry major. I wanted to be a forensic chemist (this was before the days of CSI and everyone thought forensics was cool). As I mentioned, I went to Fordham, which is a Catholic University and believed in a well-rounded education, meaning that we were required to take fundamental courses in all areas of study. This is how I ended up in a philosophy course in the first place. I was totally in love. I signed up for as many courses as were available to me. I even took a course studying Dante’s Divine Comedy that was entirely in Italian!
Many people have interesting ways that they come to derby. You have a messed up metabolism! I do. When I was 19, I was given medicine for depression. Right after I started it I started to gain weight but everyone assumed I was just eating because I was depressed and the doctors just switched me to a different medicine. This went on for almost 10 years and I gained about 100 pounds. About 3 years ago I went to a different doctor and he knew exactly what was wrong with me when no one else seemed to. That first medicine had shut off my metabolism. He prescribed a medicine to “jump start” my metabolism and weight just started to fall off me. At one point I was losing a pound a day. My body has equalized itself out for the most part now but I still have a little more weight I would like to lose, I just have to do it the old fashioned way. And I have to stay on that new medicine to keep my metabolism even. What better exercise than derby?
In addition to the two teams you skate on, you also do a huge service to the league by being its Treasurer. A lot of responsibility. What made you want to take on the task? It is, but that’s not what I was thinking about when I agreed to do it. The league was in trouble and I saw it. I also knew that I had the knowledge and resources to be able to help. This league has become my family. It has taken care of me; it has nourished me and given me things that I didn’t even know I was lacking. I am a better person because of it. I want to make NHRD amazing and this was one of the ways that I saw that I could do that. I’m honored that everyone trusts me to take care of it and I take that responsibility seriously.
What’s your best derby memory? I’m not sure I have just one. I think one was the first bout we won. I had never played team sports growing up so I had never had the experience of that before. But that first win got me totally hooked!! It was a Bombs game against CT Yankee Brawlers. It was my first bout ever and I’m pretty sure all I did was skate around in a circle! No, actually I saw footage from that bout, I’m certain all I did was skate around in a circle! LOL! But when we won, it was ALL of us that won, we did it together. Two years later I am a part of teaching new Bombs that same philosophy!
Bobbi (left, with pivot cover); Ovie (right, with green socks)
Bobbi Gore – Nightmares on Elm Street – #1972
Game Ovaries – Seabrook Meltdowns – #PM5
(Tiara thinks her number should have been 28 days!)
While I usually profile one skater each month, this is a special occasion and you get TWO for the price of one. Bobbi and Ovie are individuals who just happened to come to NHRD as a “package deal”. And it doesn’t hurt that they are buddies! So forgive me the indulgence of this double whammy…
You two are the comeback kids! You tried out last season, but that didn’t work out. You came to us and became NSO’s – learning the game from all angles. And still practicing when you could with the goal of being a skater. AND YOU DID IT! What’s the journey been like for you?
BOBBI: AWESOME…seriously. After the tryouts ended last year and I got my email that I didn’t make it I was a little down and out, but then I got a second email from Slam I Am basically saying, hey you can stick around if you want, on one condition, you learn stats. I was thinking the same thing Ovie was and when she texted me about what my plan was. I told her I would be completely down with staying around. We talked to Woody and GoGo at an open skate, they told us to come to a practice, we did, and from there it’s been nothing but puppies, rainbows, and unicorns (mixed in with a smidge of glitter). Going to practices was great, we got a chance to skate and observe some of the skills and drills the girls in the league need to learn, increase our derby knowledge, and NSO with the greatest group of officials ever to walk this planet. Last year with NHRD was one of the most positive and life changing experiences I’ve ever had and I can’t even imagine what 2012 will have in store.
OVIE: It’s been a journey all right, and a long one at that. It’s been a year since becoming part of the New Hampshire Roller Derby league and wonderful things have been happening left and right. Here’s a little time line for you:
- January/February 2011 : NHRD freshmeat tryouts and didn’t make the cut
- February-April 2011: Skated at open skates at various locations/ trying to master the skills we were known at the tryouts
- April-October 2011: Learned how to be a NSO and also shadowed refs.
- November-December 2011: Attended both NHRD freshmeat bootcamp/ freshmeat training
- December 2011: Passed the Level 1 assessments
- January 2012: Passed the Level 2 assessments and became an OFFICIAL SKATER of NHRD!!!!!
Throughout all the months, I have been given the pleasure of meeting and getting to know the amazing, talented people of NHRD. I can’t say it enough how everyone has been so supportive to me. I’ve attended the bout after parties and even little after practice get togethers which have made me feel so welcomed and appreciated. Being on this league has made me feel like just another member of this huge, loving family. This journey of mine is far from over and even more awesome things will be coming my way. All I can say is.. I’M READY!
Bobbi, you’ve had a little experience skating in the past. But what about you Ovie? And which one of you convinced the other to join derby?
BOBBI: Well, I skated, but I was never very good just kind of fearless. Playing street hockey I would be the first one to put myself between the other player and the ball without any hesitation. I was sitting in my cube at work, miserable, and the next thing I know I get a text from Ovie saying “Hey I’m trying out for NHRD you should too,” (or at least that’s what it said in my head). I had talked and talked and talked for years about how I was going to try out for NHRD. Seriously, when the league was forming I was at Eastern Boarder and on my way out I see the flyer, took down the phone number, and was totally planning on doing it until I realized I was broke and didn’t have a ride to practice. In 2010 Mr. Gore bought me a pair of skates for Valentine’s Day, and I went skating three times before tryouts, scattered throughout the year. Needless to say the night of tryouts I was awful and not really too surprised when I got my email within the week telling me to keep trying. In other words good old Game Ovaries gave me the kick in the rear. I needed to stop talking and just do it and she was there by my side.
OVIE: No skating experience for me. The last time I laced up a pair of roller skates was when I was 7 years old; not to mention they were Barbie roller skates (man, I wish I still had those). I skated a little when I was a pre-teen. I remember my middle school would do Wednesday night field trips to Roller Kingdom. At that time the “cool” thing was to rollerblade. Roller-skating was out of the picture. I never really skated after middle school, so I haven’t skated for 12 years. With my new found interest of roller derby and finding out when the next NHRD try outs were back in December 2011, I decided that maybe I should put skates on to even see if I was able to skate at all. I went to Roller Kingdom one busy Saturday afternoon and rented some roller skates and got on the track. What an experience that was. There were little kids and crazy teenagers EVERYWHERE just whizzing by me. I had to hold my boyfriend’s arm the entire time I was out there. Immediately after that short tippy-tumble skating session, I went straight to Bruised Boutique and bought a freshmeat package which included everything I needed in order to try out. I said to myself “Why not?! If I don’t like it, I’ll sell the skates and gear”. I skated only 3 or 4 times before the 2011 tryouts. At the 2011 tryouts, I was doing drills and things that I’ve never done or even seen someone else do on skates before. I looked like a deer in headlights. It’s really incredible how far I’ve come with my skating; from holding onto my boyfriend for my dear life to skating on my own and applying different skills and techniques that I’ve learned along the way. (No truer words were ever said! -Tiara) Like Bobbi said, I was the one to text her and say LET’S DO THIS! I had no idea she wanted to try out in the past or even owned skates. Going into tryouts with Bobbi by my side was very helpful. She was my rock that day and has been ever since.
You guys had the best attitudes I’ve ever seen in derby. Always positive. Always willing to help out wherever you were needed. It was easy to tell you two were in this for the long haul.
BOBBI: Aww thanks Tiara! It’s easy to be willing to help when you are surrounded by people who are so encouraging and helpful. Everyone made NSO-ing fun — not that we didn’t take it seriously because we did — but you, Jitter, Woody, GoGo, and everyone else made it so much fun. Everyone had a great attitude and wanted to be there which made me want to stick around.
OVIE: Even though I didn’t make it to the next level of freshmeat training, I still had a great feeling about this league. In the email that said I wasn’t considered to advance to training; it stated that I was AWESOME and there were other things that I could help with so I would be part of the league. The email also said that I needed more skating to become more comfortable on my feet. There was no doubt about that. So what did Bobbi and I do? We went to open skate nights! We practiced the skills that we were introduced to in tryouts since they were still fresh in our mind. Sunday nights we hit up Roller Kingdom and Thursday nights we went to Skateland and sometimes Chez Vous. Sunday nights at Roller Kingdom had to be my favorite time to skate. There were NHRD skaters and refs always there skating around; oh, how I envied them! I remember when I was introduced to Woody Yankabitch (NHRD referee) one Sunday night. We got to talking and he asked “why don’t you NSO/ref while you wait for the next round of tryouts?” Bobbi and I took up Woody’s offer and we got to NSO and shadow refs for the 2011 season with the best Zebros ever! We attended freshmeat bootcamp and training and here we are now, skaters for NHRD!
Talk a little about scrimmaging. Are the butterflies gone? Were there any to begin with or were you ready to take on anybody?
BOBBI: Oh there were butterflies! There still are butterflies! The good thing is, once that whistle blows you don’t have time for them anymore, you’re too busy worrying about making holes, getting through holes, trying to avoid people who are coming at you from all directions, and always watching for the girls you really don’t want to hit you by surprise.
OVIE: Oh, scrimmaging! The butterflies are far from gone (I even had butterflies when I was an NSO). Bobbi and I were talking on the phone after a practice last week on our drive home about the scrimmage we just had. (A little background — we call each other after most practices and talk to each other until the first one gets home and has to hang up). See, Bobbi is a beast on the track! She’s a hard hitter and it looks like she’s always out for blood. I’ve even seen her lift those legs of hers OVER blockers in the inside of the track to get past them! WHAAAT?! But back to our phone conversation, I explained to her that I’m a “reserved” skater and it seems like I kind of hold back a little. I over-think in scrimmages and when trying to break through the pack as a jammer that I sometimes don’t get through at all! Major bummer on my part. At our most recent practice, we had to do a positional blocking/recycling exercise. There were 3-4 blockers and 1 jammer. The drill was more about the blockers working on recycling themselves while the jammer tried to break through them. When it was my turn to be the jammer, I started to over-think and wasn’t able to get through the pack. I let my nerves and those stupid butterflies get the best of me. I had to stop after a couple goes and ask my group “HOW DO I GET THROUGH YOU GUYS?!”. My partners showed me some techniques and gave some awesome advice. I used what they told me and what did I do? I got through them… multiple times! I was stoked! After that drill we had a couple jams/scrimmaging scenarios. I volunteered to be the jammer! So what did I do? I forgot about the butterflies and I GOT THROUGH THE PACK MORE THAN ONCE! I think those butterflies will come and go throughout my skating career. If and when they decide to show up, I’ll just need to tell them to take a hike!
You are obviously good friends. How did you meet? What other crazy stuff have you done together besides derby?
BOBBI: Our boyfriends are actually really close friends and have been for years. I met Ovie in a house that was lovingly dubbed “The Manor.” I’m pretty sure she thought I was a huge you-know-what, which I wouldn’t be surprised by because most people think that before they get to know me. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the fact that I’m tall, loud, have absolutely no shame, and am a little blunt. (Bobbi, any girl that can admit they have no shame is KLASSY in my book! -Tiara) One of my funny Bobbi and Ovie stories is about this time we went to a Bruins’ game and this guy just kept yelling about Tampa’s goalie being “GAAAAAAHBAGE,” for those of you who don’t speak Bostonian that would be ‘garbage.’ Anyway, in the second period he started making up his own chants and I started doing what I do best… I started heckling him. I started chanting everything from Filene’s Basement to Necco Wafers and every other New England classic in between. I don’t necessarily know that Mr. Gaaaaaaaaahbage ever caught on but as soon as “Necco Wafers” came out of my mouth Ovie almost peed her pants. On top of all of this, it was Ovie’s goal to get on the Garden HDX screen. Every time a camera came to our section she was standing on seats, waving her arms, making a scene… and it worked, it totally worked. This is why I like her, she makes me feel funny and she also has no shame.
OVIE: As Bobbi said, our boyfriends have been good friends for years. Whenever there were parties and get-togethers, Bobbi and I would both be there but wouldn’t even talk. Can you believe that?! So I’ve known of Bobbi for 8 years and seeing her here and there but never really started up a conversation. My other friend was going to try out with me last January but she got busy with life, as we all do, and it wasn’t a good time for her to take on something like this. I voiced to my boyfriend that I was nervous going into this alone. He mentioned Bobbi (well, Michelle at the time before she turned into her alter-ego of Bobbi Gore). I sent her a message and she got back immediately saying “YES! MY BOYFRIEND BOUGHT ME SKATES LAST YEAR AND I’VE BEEN TELLING MYSELF TO TRY OUT BUT NEVER WENT ALONG WITH IT!”. We got together to go to open skates and got to know each other little by little. Now look at us — we are joined at the hip! She even lets me give her hugs!! Anytime we are together hanging out we are always saying crazy stuff and just enjoying each other! I couldn’t ask for a better derby wife and a longtime friend.
You’ve faced a lot of challenges in the last year. What’s the next hurdle to conquer?
Bobbi: My mental breaks, hands down. I need to remind myself when I’m tired that, yeah you’re tired, but you haven’t puked yet so you can obviously push more. When I think I had an awful night I need to make sure to think, yeah so you fell what feels like a gazillion times, but you know what? You got up faster than you ever have before. When I’m standing next to any of the vets I need to get my game face on and at least tell myself “You know what Bobbi? You’re going to handle this jam like a boss.” Because I’ve realized that if I think anything other than this I’m just setting myself up for defeat.
OVIE: There are probably a 100 hurdles I want to conquer this year! My top two challenges are becoming a jammer and finding my aggression. I’ve always visualized myself as a jammer even before I started skating. Don’t get me wrong, blocking is great but I want to be that girl on the track passing through everyone scoring mega points! I’ve had some successes and some personal let downs with jamming. I try not to be hard on myself but it is a little discouraging when you are jamming and you just can’t seem to break through the pack. I just need to keep telling myself that I’m still learning a lot of new things and learning how roller derby is played. I just need to keep pushing myself and stay focused on my goal.
Something that will help me with my goal of becoming a jammer is finding my aggression. This aggression will also help my blocking skills too. A couple months ago during freshmeat training, we were told to do an exercise that I wasn’t quite getting at the time. Our trainer for the night, Madame Scurrie, looked at me and asked “Where is your aggression?”. I replied in a quiet, meek voice “I’ll try and find it”. There are moments when aggression comes over me and I put my game face on. For example during a scrimmage scenario, I was a blocker and Bobbi was the jammer on the opposing team. I could see Bobbi was about to pass me and that’s when adrenaline coursed through my veins. I knew I had to go for it and get her out! I didn’t want her passing me — no way no how! Well, Bobbi ended up passing me and boy was I peeved! I even heard the trainers, who were in the middle of the track say “Did see Ovie’s face when Bobbi passed her?!”. I know some skaters listen to music before bouts, some meditate, and some have other ways of getting in the zone. I need to find my aggression to use it more consistently! I’ll be able to hit girls harder, get through the pack fearlessly, and maybe even intimidate my opponents.
Ovie – In addition to everything else, you’re also a BLOGGER for NHRD. Tell me about it?
OVIE: Yes, I am the newest member of the NHRD bloggers! Pegasister asked me if I wanted to participate in this exciting opportunity. How could I say no to that?! She thought it would be great to have someone’s perspective on what it’s like to be a NSO and now freshmeat/rookie/meatball (as some call us). I’m not the best writer. I don’t use intelligent vocabulary words and my grammar is probably off. (Stop it, Ovie! -Tiara) However, this is going to give me the chance to tell people who I am and about my life as a rookie. My blogs might consist of how I felt after difficult or awesome practices and subjects such as what I’m having problems with skating and even my accomplishments. My blog is going to be great for those who are interested in joining a roller derby team/league. Everyone has to start somewhere, and I personally had to start from the bottom and I’ve have been trying to make it to the top ever since. So look out for my future blogs!
BOBBI: I just want to put this on record… Ovie, I’m so proud of you! You never gave up and you never got upset when I gave you some tough love. I’m super excited that you get to blog because I feel like you’re going to inspire a bunch of new girls to just go out there and get it done. There is no one else I would rather be paired with than you, Ms. Game Ovaries!
I know this is Roller Derby, and we’re supposed to be tough and all that, but this has been one of those times when the people I’m talking to are so sincere and honest that it made me smile throughout. Definitely a “FEEL GOOD” story of the year! NHRD has much love and mad respect for both of you! Good luck!
HAVERHILL — By day these women lead ordinary lives: One works as a graphic designer, one is a social worker who practices law on the side, and one works at a retirement home and is a mom.
But by night they become rough-and-tumble roller derby queens who compete in an all-female league in New Hampshire.
Meet Jena Cotreau, 36, Jill Robichaud, 32, and Sherry Verdick, 35, all of Haverhill.
Read the whole article at eagletribune.com.
There’s a problem in my title, I know. If there’s one think that’s super duper clearly clear in roller derby, is that you’re not supposed to think of skaters in a hierarchy of talent. Rather, we’re a collection of varying talents. We resource what our teammates are best at, and create lineups with skaters who compliment one another. We leverage our strengths to the best of our abilities. For some, that’s being fast. For others, it’s being able to sit on a jammer till she’s stopped or even to simply be so determined and resilient to fall 99 times and get up 100. For a few their biggest strength lies in being the brains of the operation; without them the pack would lack the vision and coordination necessary to win games and play smart. Every line must have a combination of skills; A fast pack with no plan fails. A pack with a plan but without the physical ability to carry out the plans fails.
I’ve struggled to figure out what it is that I’m GOOD at. I try not to compare myself to other skaters, but I’ve been tragically frustrated to see my rookie colleagues pick up skills much faster than I could. I have to keep reminding myself that if I have to work three times as hard, it just means I have to work three times as hard. I can do these things, but it won’t happen TO me, it will happen because of me. I don’t take my progress for granted; Every inch of it has been earned.
I realized somewhere along the way that my enthusiasm for derby, prancing into a frenetic near-hysteria at times, is my secret strength. I have brainspace that permits me to think of derby 24 hours a day with an intensity I dare you to match. This is probably to the detriment to all kinds of other things in my life, but clearly I’m not concerned with balance; My passion is insistent. This relentless derby mania combined with my leadership abilities, my desire to support other skaters, and my utter lack of other social commitments created a tiny, but perfect, storm for me. That storm carried me from a turbulent and sometimes unhappy first six months on skates, to a productive, happy, Captain of my home team, The Nightmares on Elm Street, my very first year playing roller derby. This role changed everything for me, but it wasn’t without its own uncertainties and heartache.
In New Hampshire Roller Derby, the training structure last season dictated that practice plans were written and coached by Captains. With three home teams and two travel teams, this meant that every 5th practice belonged to Nightmares Captains; about one practice every three weeks. It is a terrifying day when you realize that with very limited derby playing skills, and only intermediate skating skills, you will be running practices for your entire league, including your A-team skaters. I worried about how to write a practice plan, how to command attention, and if there was any way at all to be taken seriously. Every sidebar conversation at that first practice I ran felt personal. I could tell which skaters were not impressed because it read all over their faces. Then again, every “nice practice tonight” felt akin to someone saying your first born wasn’t only the smartest in the class, but the prettiest, too. It was 3 hours of pokey stabby anxiety, but the elation of feeling successful afterwards was incredible.
I came at coaching with the same level of mania as my skating; I emailed other coaches and captains that I knew. I reached out to contacts on several different leagues. I Googled the shit out of it. For that first practice, the other Nightmares Captain, Miss Chiff N. Mayhem, and I wrote a billion page, multicolored, several draft, week long version of our plan. It was eventually pared down, cleaned up, and printed out. It was our first of many joint successes.
I’ve had truly illuminating experiences this first year playing roller derby and as a Captain. It’s a strange thing, coaching skaters whose skating abilities and/or derby abilities are more developed than yours; It’s… awkward. It’s hard not to feel like a gigantasaurus fraud every time I stand up there with a whistle around my neck and a practice plan in my hand. But if you accept that it’s awkward and ignore that fraud feeling, in the end it’s doable. Not every superstar derby player is cut out to be a coach, Captain, or leader. My secret superpower hasn’t been in what I can do physically but rather in harnessing the talents and advice of better skaters, smarter skaters. It’s been in being honest at practice, teaching what I know, and explaining any lack in competency during practice. There have been drills where I asked I more advanced skaters to demonstrate a skill I was coaching because I myself could not perform the skill. In this way, we’re all one giant pack; If I know your skills, and you know mine, we can leverage those things. My practice isn’t my own, ever. It belongs to all the skaters I emailed the days before, and to all of those who show up with their skates on, participate in my drills, and give me feedback on what worked for them and what didn’t.
Recently I ran my first practice by myself, without Miss Chiff by my side. It was also the first practice I ever ran for a league outside of my own. And the first practice I ran for male skaters. I was honored and excited at the opportunity, but it was another moment, of so many moments, of discomfort and possibility. As I drove out to Lancaster to take that yellow floor at Roll On America, I wondered what Mass Maelstrom would think of me. Would my practice be challenging enough? Would they take me seriously? Would they talk through my drills? Laugh at me? How would I command their attention? In the end, the practice happened. I don’t think it was the best practice they ever had, but they were perfect gentlemen. I did the best I could, adjusted as I went along, and asked their Head of Training for feedback afterwards. I am learning, growing.
Just last week I had the privilege of captaining a mixed one-time team of NHRD skaters for a game against Providence Roller Derby. This, too, was a unique challenge. These were skaters I was not used to skating with on a roster, over half of which were just completing their rookie year, many who had never played against another league, coming together during our off-season, to bout publicly against a very talented league. This set of circumstances forced me to think differently about how I’d coach this team, and to consider carefully how to support this particular group of skaters who had elected me lead them. I relied heavily on my sense of knowing my pack that day; Who had which skills, who would work well together, and how to manage each particular situation throughout the night as it arose given the skills we were bringing to the table. Our success that night wasn’t in points, but rather in doing what we said we were going to do, working together, and pulling lessons out of defeat.
Coaching is one more way that I’m connected to this passion of ours; It’s something I love to do and somehow, surprisingly, feel good at despite my finite derby experience and skills. Being a rookie skater who is also a Captain who coaches is not without the anxiety of failure or judgment, but, if you can build and resource an extended network of skaters, and learn to quickly identify the strengths in the skaters you have on the track with you, you will succeed. It is humbling, sure, but it another opportunity to grow, develop, and practice something you love. More still, it’s an instance to accept the faith that others will put in you to lead them; I am sincerely humbled by the amount of faith the derby community has shown in me, and the opportunities that they have provided to me as result.
It’s true, I’m not the best skater out there. Not the best derby player, either…yet. I’m getting there. I’m focusing on the things I know I do well, I’m working hard, and I’m expecting results. I’m a great Captain, and I’m developing into a good coach. I will continue to email you all when I can’t think of a clever agility drill, when I’m afraid I’ve run a bad practice, or when I’m looking for advice on writing scrimmage lines. And amazingly, you’re starting to contact me for these things, too. No matter what our skating experience or skill level, let’s keep leveraging our strengths and becoming better than we are individually, together. That is the spirit of derby; You are all my pack.
By Doug Hastings
Burlington — For all of those girls that couldn’t get that rebound around Stephanie Moniuk on the basketball court, it’s OK.
Take a ride to Manchester, N.H. later this fall and you’ll feel a little better. Moniuk, 40, has an interesting hobby these days.
Read more at wickedlocal.com…
The Nightmares on Elm Street Win New Hampshire Roller Derby’s
First Home Team Championship
MANCHESTER, NH – On August 27, 2011, the Nightmares on Elm Street battled the Granite Skate Troopers in New Hampshire Roller Derby’s first ever Home Team Championship at the JFK Coliseum. The Nightmares came away with the win, 149-46, and took home the coveted Kennedy Cup, or K-Cup, championship trophy.
The Kennedy Cup Trophy (a.k.a. The K-Cup).
Sioux A. Cyde was the first to don the star for the Nightmares and scored a quick 5 points in the first jam. The Troopers fought back with Crueliette Lewis throwing 10 points on the board for her team in the second match up. Both teams held their ground and the score stood at 25-15 at the end of the first quarter, with the Nightmares in the lead. The second quarter included impressive offensive and defensive play from both teams, which brought the score to 61-41 at the half.
Hoebo Peep (#B33R) of GST races off the jammer line against NES' Sioux A. Cyde (#SK8). Photo by Jesse O'Brien.
While the Troopers played hard and strong in the second half, the Nightmares held them virtually scoreless through the first 15 jams. The combined efforts of Nightmares’ jammers led to the team scoring a total of 88 points in the second half. The Troopers’ jammer Hoebo Peep added to her team’s total towards the end of the contest, but the Nightmares finished strong and their captains, Arrow Dynamic and Miss Chiff N. Mayhem, claimed the trophy.
High scorer and Captain Crueliette Lewis and MVP Chicka Chicka Bam Bam led the Troopers’ charge. The Nightmares’ high scorer Makeout Bandit and MVP Sioux A. Cyde aided their team in victory.
The 2011 home season has ended but the three NHRD home teams, including the Seabrook Meltdowns, will be training hard in the off-season. They will be back, ready to battle, in 2012.
Tiara Misu checked in with this month’s featured sakter Sioux A. Cyde and found out a few things you should know……
Why Derby? Rollerderby is the most fun I’ve had in a long time. It’s always exciting! I love the game!! Roller derby people are so cool. AND it’s a great way to stay fit too!
What are you thinking about when you’re on the track? I’m really good at blocking the comotion out. I can’t even hear the announcer while a jam is on. It can get confusing……i just try to focus one jam at a time!!!
Any pre-game rituals? I have to eat light and healthy: bananas and oats. A honey granola! I’m always down for a pb + j!!
How do you keep your personal, professional, and derby life separate? You’ve got alot going there girl! They all have their place. Juggling is hard at times, but not skating would be harder on my heart! [p.s. my saying is save the drama for your mamma! lol!)
What do your kids think of you playing derby? You’re in charge of some really little people…what would they think of their teacher?
My two sons Anthony and Robby think my skating life is AWSOME! Family support is so important! I’ve only ever had positive fedback from co workers and family, although some think im a litle crazy! My students know I skate on a team….they think its soooo cool!!!
You ARE cool Sioux! Wish I had a teacher like you.