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Alright everyone! The Babe City Rollers have just added a new team, now we have 3 teams! They are call the Naughty Pines and they had their first bout on September 29. We played the derby girls from Fargo. It was our Whistle Punks and Naughty Pines versus their Furies and Banshees. The first ever Naughty Pine bout we won 221-63 and the Whistle punks only lost by 4 in their bout! Overall it was a fantastic evening. I however have not been able to skate since then because I have a stress fracture in my left foot. I am in a post-op shoe and I am supposed to be using crutches, but they hurt more than my foot. I have been in the shoe for a week and a half now and I have to go back to the doctor on Tuesday to see if it is healed enough to skate again. I sucked a lot last week when it started snowing and raining here. I had to take the tunnels to my classes so I wouldn’t slip outside. But now I am able to walk around without the need of my crutches so now I can walk outside (were there is no longer any snow) but my toes get cold because the only thing keeping them warm is the sock I happened to remember to put on in the morning.

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A New Season A New Outlook

As school has started so has a new season of cuts, bruises, broken bones, and victories! Roller Derby season is upon us and I have a new outlook on the matter. Last year, when I first started Derby, I was always pushing myself to be the best and when I was not I would put myself down so hard. But not this year. I will still push myself to be the best that I can but not bring myself down when I am not the best. This year I will put my heart and soul into playing for the fun and enjoyment I get out of the sport. I will not punish myself for not being the best player on the team but reward myself for being the best player I can be. I know I said it last time but I will do my best to do off skates and strengthen my body and mind outside of practice. I will push myself to be better than I was last year and maintain a healthy opinion about myself.

Costumes And Makeup

As I am sure you can tell everyone wears an outfit or paints their face or does something crazy while they are bouting.  In one of the videos I posted in my last post the first thing the girl said when asked what she thought set roller derby apart from other sports was “You get to dress like a skank.”  And she has a point. I mean I have a pair of short shorts that I bought my senior year of high school and I only wore them once before I joined roller derby, now I wear them at almost every practice and a majority of my bouts. I know I probably sound like a broken record but our team is family friendly and we are proud of that! So needless to say we do not dress as provocative as other girls on other teams do. I was being an NSO at one bout (actually it was the first roller derby bout I had ever been to) and a girl on the opposite team was wearing fishnets, a mini skirt, and a thong. Needless to say I was not impressed neither were some of my friends who went to the bout. When I skate I usually wear tights, with fishnets, knee high socks, and then booty shorts or something similar. I have tried only wearing one pair of tights and for me it just does not feel right, I like the extra padding or protection that multiple pairs of tights. The tights help to prevent rink rash, and rink rash sucks! Most of the girls try and match their outfits to the color of the team or their favorite colors, but mostly the color of the team.

As for the makeup we usually try to keep it interesting. There are pictures all over the internet if you Google ‘Roller Derby Makeup’ the images that you will find are fascinating. The first time I wore makeup at a bout Roxy Solid drew a butterfly on my face and that was also the first time I was a jammer. The second time I wore a lot of makeup was when my dad and brother both came to my bout. I painted half my face camouflage and I wore dark green tights with black fishnets and I actually went to the store and bought camouflage boxers from the boys section at target. If you are wondering my dad was in and my brother still is in the military. Dressing up like that was kind of my way of saying thank you to them. My grandpa was supposed to come (he was also in the military) but he had broken his leg the week before and was unable to go to the bout because he could not put any weight on his leg.

For the bout this Saturday I know what I am going to wear but no how I am going to do my makeup. When we were in Duluth for our bout a few Sundays ago we went to Rag Stock and I bought a little purple plaid skirt. I plan on wearing that skirt along with my grey polka dot tights and purple fishnets black spankies and maybe even the purple leg warmers that I bought just for derby but I have not worn them yet. I hope I get to wear them. Also everyone please come to the bout this Saturday at the John Glas field house doors open at 5. I am excited because this is the last home bout until the fall and I think I have convinced most of my family as well as my boyfriends parents into coming! I hope I see you there too!

I was recently watching videos of old roller derby clips and I remember thinking ‘Holy crap!’ They did not wear helmets or half of the padding we wear. I was watching it saying ‘That was illegal, that is illegal, damn I wish we could do that but it is illegal.’ Now we all have to wear wrist guards, elbow and knee pads, a helmet, and a mouth guard. One of the videos I watched had clips from 1997 and even then the women in it did not wear helmets or padding. They all skated around the track punching and shoving girls. Now if someone was to do that they could run the possibility of being ejected from the game. If you do not have all your gear, including a mouth guard, when the jam starts you will receive a major penalty. We have come a long way with the safety requirements in the last 50 years. However that still does not make the sport 100% safe, I know I said this before but I will say it again roller derby is a FULL CONTACT sport and people do get injured. At our last home bout a girl on the other team broke her ankle and in February our Captain Olive Mayhem broke her arm.  There would be so many more injuries if we did not have the safety gear that we have or the rules and legal hitting zones. In the videos of old derby bouts they were able to do whatever they wanted to each other I am surprised people did not die! We have rules as to where you can hit other players how you can hit them, as well as out of bounds hitting. Most of the teams that I have bouted against have had very good sportsmanship. Technically there are what I am going to call enforced suggestions about profanity on the track. Our team especially has high standards for being very sportsman like. We want to keep our team and our bouts as family friendly as possible. Our names are clean and we keep our words as clean as we can too. On “rule” is that if a reef tells you that you have a penalty, you take the penalty. Do not ask questions or argue just go to the box. If you start back talking the reef you can end up with more than one penalty and you do not want your team short players on the track. Sometimes this can be hard to remember because some reefs call things that are not penalties or they do not call penalties at all. However while skating you need to keep in mind that the reefs have a lot of things they need to keep their eyes on, you also need to understand that there might not always be enough reefs on the track. But honestly without the reefs there are so many things that could go wrong, they are there to make sure that everyone plays by the rules and that we have as safe of a bout as we possibly can.

I was unsure of where to post these in the blog post but here are 3 links to Derby videos that I found on YouTube the first one is from 1974 Japan vs USA, the second one is from 2007 (though it is nothing like the roller derby I play nor is it like any roller derby I have seen lately, it looks more like stuff from the 70’s) and the last one is just a fun video that I found while surfing about what it is like to be a part of a team, I thought it was cute

As I have stated before Roller Derby is a lot of work. It takes a lot of dedication and determination. If you get knocked down you just need to get back up and skate on.  If you miss practices you miss experience. Also I have found out that when you are absent for more than 3 practices and you do not do any off skates when you actually get back to practice you are very out of shape and very, very sore the next day! However the soreness is nothing compared to how sore you are after your very first day of practice. My first practice was on a Thursday and the following day I had to fly out to Washington and drive back with my bother (woo hoo for road trips) for our family get together. I worked hard at practice. I was working on not falling on my butt, proper ways to fall, not falling on my face, proper ways to stop, not falling on my butt, and proper derby stance. When I woke up Friday morning I was surprised at how not sore I was, I was thinking “Damn I can do this all the time!” but that was quickly changed. My roommate drove me to the airport here in Bemidji and by the time the plane landed in the cities I was so sore it hurt to think about moving. It literally took me three minutes to sit and stand up. I was wincing every time I had to walk anywhere. Every part of my body was screaming in pain! What made matters worse was that when I finally got to Washington I found out that my brother had such a tall truck that I literally had to climb into it, I mean the floor boards on his truck were the same height as my navel.  It was a very painful weekend of climbing in and out of that damned truck. However after two days I was not as sore as I would have been if I would have stayed in my room not doing anything. I was first only going to go to practice on Thursdays and some Sundays when I did not have to drive home and work. The reason I was originally missing the Tuesday practice was that I was the secretary of the G.E.E.K. club on campus but after a while I started leaving practice early to go to the meetings and returning to practice afterwards and eventually I just stopped going to the meetings and resigned from my position as secretary. I still feel kind of bad about resigning but I still make an effort to keep up with all the other G.E.E.K. events. I noticed the more I went to practice the less sore I was even if I eventually missed a practice. Most of the time I make it to all the practices the only reasons I missed was when I was sick, had too much homework or I had to drive home and work. I hate missing practices because I know I have to work that much harder the next few practices to regain what I have lost. The worse times I had with missing practices was over winter break and spring break. I felt so out of shape. Sometimes I feel like I am going through stating withdrawals if I miss more than one practice in a row.

Challenging Yet Rewarding

Roller derby is the most challenging yet rewarding sport or group thing that I have ever participated in. When I first joined it was the most positive thing I had ever done for myself I felt as though I finally found where I belonged. I was an outcast of sorts in high school always picked last in gym class (okay I was like second or third from last picked). I kept to myself and my two other friends I had until my Junior and Senior year when one of my friends dropped out of school and the other went post secondary. At that point some of my classmates discovered that I “wasn’t as weird as they thought” I was. My first two years of college I was in Virginia, Minnesota at Mesabi Community and Technical College (MRCTC) and I graduated with my AA and came to Bemidji in fall of 2009 and joined derby fall 2011. I did not play sports in high school unless you count two years of cheerleading and one of being the school mascot (woo hoo go Gophers!) and the only extracurricular activities I participated in were the school plays. Derby got into my life and I felt excepted (as lame and corny and overly played as it is, it’s true) I looked forward to going to practice every day, I wanted everyone to love derby as much as I did! However some things never last as long as you would like them. Soon I did not feel as though I was getting any better, I have always been one of those people who never think anything they do is good enough, I would push myself hard and would be very hard on  myself, but I recently realized that I have been getting better. You never notice the change in yourself it takes other people to point that out to you. Because I love derby I want to be the best, I strive to be the best darn derby girl that I can be. I do it for myself and myself alone. I do not care what everyone else thinks, I just want to prove to myself that I am worth being on the team, that it is worth the money, the pain, the smell. [Yes the smell, we practice hard and we sweat. I try to keep my gear as clean and fresh as I can. I am not sure how often the other girls wash their gear but I like to wash mine every other week and I use a whole lot of Febreze.] Honestly I have thought about giving it up, to quit, but I do not want to be a quitter and I know for a fact that I would miss it too much to actually quit. The reasons I thought about quitting were as I already said I never feel that my best is good enough. I see the other girls and how hard they hit and how fast they skate and I feel inadequate in comparison. However two weeks ago we did an endurance drill and I felt so amazing about myself. We all needed to skate a minimum of twenty five laps in five minutes. I skated my hardest and I was only passed my two people total the whole time and I passed about three different people one of them I passed twice. In total I skated twenty eight laps in five minutes! That was the best feeling I have ever had at a practice, with the exception of passing my assessment and the first time trial at the beginning of my derby career.

We have an upcoming bout on May 5th where the Babe City All Stars will take on the Souix Falls Roller Dollz and the Whistle Punks will take on the  Iron Range Maidens B team. The doors open at five Whistle Punks start at five thirty and the All Stars start at seven. The admission cost is five dollars for general admission, three dollars for anyone under eighteen and it is free for all Bemidji State students as well as any kids under ten years old. We are family friendly so bring everyone in the family kids and grandparents are more than welcome. Also if anyone is interested in being an NSO (non skating official) please contact us and we will give you any information that you need. I strongly encourage everyone to come and check out this bout, it is the last one of the school year and I do believe that it is the last home bout for quite a while. We have several BCR shirts and other merchandise for sale at all the bouts as well as information if you want to become a Babe or a Reef. I have not been to a derby bout that has disappointed yet!

And with an upcoming bout (an important one for the All Stars) we are training extra hard working on skills that the other team is good at and especially drills that they will not be expecting us to do. We will do a lot of ‘wall’ drills, blocker drills, and jammer drills. We will all push ourselves to the limit in order to be the best we can be. The only sad thing is that our league is growing so large and so fast that we do not have enough spots on the bench for everyone to skate. We are in serious discussion about starting a C team as well as in the fall, if I am not mistaken, we are going to see if we can’t start a junior league! So if there are any young girls out there that want to give roller derby a try stay tuned!! We have always made it work because there are usually some girls that are unable to make it to the bouts, or they did not meet the league requirements to be in the bout. The league requirements are that you need to make it to at least 65% of all practice hours, a minimum of two volunteer hours, and to be fully paid off with your dues. Dues can range from $5 to $40 a month but by paying for your WFTDA insurance and by buying the A team jerseys you are covered for X amount of months.  The attendance is one of the main concerns for most of the skaters because we need to keep track of it. There is a sign in & out sheet at every practice but someone has to be in charge of putting the numbers into the computer and making sure it is all up to date on the forum. There is a lot of work that goes with being in a league and everyone has a place and job to do.

Poor Habits

A few of the things in the whole derby thing that I completely fail at would have to be working on my ‘off skates’ and eating healthy. There are quite a few girls on the team that have special dietary needs some are vegetarians, some are vegans, others only eat locally grown products or free range meat. These are mostly their choices others are celiac, lactose intolerant, or both. So you can see that doing many pot lucks or eating gatherings would seem difficult but in truth they are not that bad at all. It is quite easy to make everyone happy plus we are all understanding enough to try new things. My boyfriend knows I love almonds and he found a recipe to make an almond pasta, and just by looking at the ingredients I think it sounds very tasty but we have yet to make it. So anyway, many of the other derby girls are very health conscious and pay very close attention to what they put into their bodies I, on the other hand, do not. I am one of the most inconsistent and unhealthy eaters. There are times that I forget to eat, this weekend for example I think since Friday to today I have probably only eaten a total of one complete meal with lots of chocolate and quite a few drinks mixed with pop or energy drinks (and yes I am over 21 so it is legal) I think the healthiest thing I ate all weekend was a baked potato with a glass of milk. I am not a role model when it comes to eating properly, that is a fact! I have however gotten better at not drinking coffee or pop as much as I used to and I now drink more water, milk, juice, and tea. Peppermint tea is my absolute favorite tea ever! I just need to work on eating healthier and more regularly.

Off skates is working on our core muscles or anything else that will be beneficial (exercise wise) to us while we are skating. Core muscles are very important to have because when we fall if they are weak (like mine are) you tend to not ‘fall small’ or safely. Having the strong core muscles are especially important so you have more control over the falls so you do not hit your head on the ground (like I did). Off skates can be anything from specific exercises such as the plank in yoga, cat cow, squats, tap tap rainbow, or sit-ups and crunches to cross country skiing to running, to skating outside. Off skates are not difficult and I should be doing them every day but I have a thing with forgetting to do stuff. Working of your body outside of practice is one of the better things you can do because you will be using and strengthening different muscles as well as in the long run helping you to become a better skater while keeping your body in tip top shape. Because I am going home for the summer and will be more than likely not skating much it is very important that I actually do these exercises and keep my body in the best shape I can over the summer.

The Mental Game

The mental game for us is very important. Staying positive and not getting down on yourself or getting overly frustrated with events, reefs, opposing payers, or even your own teammates. There are a few times where we have lost the mental game but won the actual game, but I have to say the best feeling for me was when we lose the actual game but totally annihilated the other team in the mental game! This happened in Fargo in December last year. We were all playing our hardest, it was my second bout ever playing in and the score was very close. Most of the girls on our team had only been skating for 6 months or fewer and all the girls on the Fargo team had been skating for years. We went into the game not thinking that we would do well at all but we fought hard and in the end it was only one point separating us. We were yelling and screaming as though we had won. We did in fact win the mental game; we slaughtered the other team in the mental game. They were constantly yelling at each other and getting very angry while we were calm and had so much fun. A few weeks ago one of the derby girls posted a link on our FaceBook page as well as our forum about our mental game here is that link . I only just realized that that is another derby blog. I went over some of the articles that she wrote and they are true and quite humorous. The more I read her blog the more I love it, she has witty and sarcastic humor and it is just amazing to read. But I digress; the mental game is something that the Babes pride themselves on. We have had a couple meetings about how we can improve it, as well as increasing our communication levels with each other. There have been a few bouts where emotions just got too high but after our team meetings we were able to understand and work on all that. We work on finding our centers and calming ourselves down and keeping up our faith in the game. There are even times that some of the team has their mental game shot while others are winning. These are confusing times with the team. To be completely honest this is what happened at our last bout (about a week ago) half the team skated a lot and part of the team did not get to skate as much. The girls who did not get to skate as much were feeling frustrated because they kept being overlooked, being promised to go and skate in the next jam, but at the last minute being pulled from the line. At the meeting after the bout when we were all able to talk with our bench coach and captain we had everything settled and I believe that almost all of us are feeling better about it. Hoorah for team meetings and positive thinking!!