it’s Official

RollerCon

sadly the day has come and the news has been delivered to me. Personal Time Off approval forms. My requested time off at the end of this month has been denied. Therefore I will not be attending the festivities that are otherwise known as Rollercon. Which is terrible because I have amazingly broad shoulders which I can easily carry a skater around on each, yes each, not around my neck. So KiKi, Lap Dancer Scarbie et al will have to reserve seats for 380 days from now. Or 2013 WFTDA Nationals, err sorry, Championships

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Heel Lock

Heel Lock

What the what?

Why do we, skaters and referees, accept pain and or discomfort as a fact of skating or try in vain various combinations of things til we find something that is most tolerable?  Yes folks, I’m writing about skates and feet. Again. This time, specifically about a heel lock, one of a few remedies that can help your confidence as well as your skating ability. Bologna!

Well I’ve come to find out that some skaters have issues with their skates and just deal with it until they find the right combo. Assuming it is because of the boot that they cannot skate well. Well, that is only part of the equation. You see, when you buy a car, generally, you make it your own. You might get new wheels and rims, or a nice stereo and speakers. Or at the very least a bumper sticker. SO why do we just get on our skates that costs from one to three car payments, and go around in circles until our feet callous over and get used to the pain?!

I for one don’t tolerate pain unless I absolutely must, which was only for nine weeks of basic training. Ever since I look for the best most efficient solution. “Work Smarter not Harder”. I unfortunately had the mindset of just buying a new boot everytime the pain got to be too much. Eventually my circumstances changed and I couldn’t spend a couple hundred buck to buy another boot.

Slip’n Slide

Now at RollerCon 12, among one of the 20 or so bouts I officiated on and off skates, I skated with a ref who had some Bonts. They were Hybrid Carbon Pros, like the last pair I had just before I bought my Antiks. but He didn’t use the straps, but laced around the plate behind the rear trucks. I have yet to see anyone else do the same. I have however seen skaters lace around the plate near the middle of the foot to lock the arches down (but that’s another post for another day). His complaint was that the strap wasn’t high enough to hold his heel in the boot. No matter how tight he pulled the strap, to keep his heel from slippin and slidin while he does his crossovers. He said he felt it gave him better ankle stability. I really wish I could remember his name, or what league he’s with. But I doubt there’s another skinny lil ref (shorter than 6′ / 1.8m weighing in less than 175lbs )

Lack of Heel Lock was a secondary issue I had with my Bonts. My main issue was that my arches were killing me. I kept cinching the laces tightly so I could get a semblance of an heel lock in addition to using the strap. However I never really felt like I had ankle stability, because my heel would slide a little in the boot. However my arches would be in excruciating pain. Anywho, because of arch pain and ankle instability I went with Antiks because I believed that they’d solve all my problems.

Guinea Pigs

As it turns out, there are a few skaters who have an issue with their heel staying put. Also with foot arch pain. So Here’s a picture of what a solution might look like. I have not skated with my laced laced this way so I can’t attest to how well it will work with resolving with your arch or heel lock issues. I love how light my bonts are (I actually still have them … somewhere.. I think) but I also love how snug my ankles are kept in my antiks. So if you can’t afford to buy another pair of boots, and seriously why spend the money on new boots you’re going to have to break in. When you can just go ahead keep what you got, spend a few bucks on long wax laces and try something out that can save you hundreds as well as solve instability and or foot pain.

But if this works out for you or you know a skater who might benefit from this, please feel free to share. Be sure to follow because you never know when I might have an epiphany about something that could help you out. Cuz I surely don’t have a clue either.

heel lock lacing 1Heel Lock 2

UPDATE

check this link out! It’s a new/differ way to achieve a heel lock if you have low top boots. Or even antiks. I can’t take credit, I saw it on some skaters in Acadiana/Lafayette and they said they saw it somewhere on the interwebs. But I couldn’t find it so I had one of the skaters video and upload it so I could link it. Thanks Weezy for the video and I think Foxxi Cleopatra for the lacing

Retiree Returns

This week we’re gonna get to know Naughty Dread Knocks or Nawty Dee for short. She had the typical story of every skater who does derby.

I have (never/not in years) skated

or
Artistic/hockey/figure/jam Skated for years

then

Heard about derby [from a friend(of a friend)]

so

I wanted to try it because it was

  1. Cool
  2. Different
  3. Aggression outlet

That covers just about EVERY SKATER EVER. If it doesn’t then I want to interview you next, seriously.

So in 2010 Nawty, along with several other skaters, retired at the end of the season. However she only retired from competitive skating due to focusing on school. She still remained active within Houston Roller Derby by teaching recreational league skaters during the 2011 season. She likes seeing fresh meat improve their skills and enjoys seeing them grow. She has high hopes Freight Train in particular “she’s amazing and so young… she can (potentially) go (very) far”. This came out as we were derby crushing on what an amazing team was initially announced as 2012 HRD’s All-Stars and who’s announced as the 2013 HRD All-Stars. Unfortunately Speed’o didn’t skate in 2012 and recently suffered an injury. I pray for a speedy recovery (no pun intended) and hope to get the opportunity to interview her in the near future.

     In 2012, just last season, still involved in derby with HRD, she was asked to help out with the new home team, the Valkyries as bench coach. In speaking with Nawty you can tell she has a passion for teaching and instructing. It also showed during practice with Yellow Rose Derby Girls. One particularly novice skater was going slow. The trainers would skate by and give her some tips and words of encouragement and get back to leading the practice. Nawty would spend a little more time with this skater and give a few demonstrations on how to push off, stance, watch critique and watch again critique then skate off. Nawty didn’t make a big deal of it or mention it during our interview. As a ref, I don’t see everything but I do see a lot on and off track and that was one of the few things I didn’t miss. To the new skaters credit she fell time and time again but kept getting back up. I almost didn’t notice her because I’m sure my skate bag is bigger than her.

Back to Nawty, she’s back out of retirement, helping out YRDG. Not officially, but she’s back because YRDG is closer to home and who has newer skaters that need help than a new league with new skaters?

I’m no reporter, so hopefully I didn’t misquote or misuse my quotes.

If you have any ideas or requests for future blog posts. Sorry I don’t have access to Suzy Hotrod, but I’m on pretty good terms with several skaters from San Antonio to Slidell (just on the east side of New Orleans) up to Denton (by Dallas) and all over the Houston area. So I might be able to manage an interview with one of them or look into some derby phenomenon.

MissFits Cherry Poppin

My first announcing gig of the 2013 season. Actually first derby gig of the season, and I think it went pretty well. Caught up on some zebra news with Krez Sez.  Saw plenty of old faces, new to me old derby faces, and brand spanking new derby faces actually A LOT of those.

It was  ironic, that I was announcing at the rink that I started seriously skating again after hmmurphteen years. This was after Copperhead got me interested in derby, eventually I ended up as a referee for Northside Fury when they got started. But all of that is for another day’s blog post. … like when I’m dry on ideas.

roller derby bout

Northside Fury @ Montgomery County Missfits’ inagural bout

Now bout production is like a headache and a half plus a migraine all while running hundred meter sprints,  repeatedly until the game starts. However everyone managed to stay calm while getting everything in order. With that covered, I had the privilege to announce Montgomery County Missfits inaugural home game. Not that Royal Tease knew me before hand. Actually I had found out that Krez Sez was the head ref.  I asked if his ref crew was full up, by that time it was, but announcer was up for grabs if I wanted it. Whether he talked me up or he just told Royal Tease “hey i know a guy who’s announced a time or two and isn’t a total hack” I don’t know, but I got the gig. Later Sunnie with a chance of pain was my co-announcer and we’ve worked together a few times before.

Now as a disclaimer, and Sunnie brought it up during the bout, I was also scoreboard operator. It’s not a terribly difficult job, but it needs a lot of attention.  Mostly with the scorekeepers (manager) and with the Jam Timer who signals the time outs and by his hand signal which team or if its an Official Timeout. In hindsight I was more of a Scoreboard operator who was adding color commentary.

The new ruleset on the surface seems easier to work with.  However during one Jam there was a situation where the Jammer on a scoring pass scored 0 points. Not even her NOTT points (Ghost points for the non-officials) one opposing skater was out of play while another was down, and the box was full.  without legally passing one opposing skater, she cannot earn the NOTT points.  It caught me off guard when I saw 0 points and the hand signal for no pass no penalty. But I know Fairlane knows the rules quite well and doesn’t make many mistakes. And will be the first to admit when he was in the wrong or accept, graciously, a critique that he is or might have made a call in error. But only from another official who knows the ruleset—refs don’t really listen to skaters when they say the ref is wrong or didn’t make a call.

One thing that I am fond of is refs who are truly Derby Enforcement Agents. They’ll wear a pink shirt, or in last night’s case a black shirt, just as easily as stripes. Fairlane on many occasions has been an NSO, as well as PBJ, Krez myself and a few other officials. The surprising addition was Corbin Cojones. Now for some of you in the “renegade” leagues this guy is a level 4 cert ref. Corbin has reffed at  Regionals and Nationals, he also refs for Houston Roller Derby and when you question a call he’s made he can quote you section and rule verbatim to back up his call. This was also beneficial because there was a jam where we had a few seconds of a jammerless jam.

When jammer B goes into the penalty box Jammer A’s time it immediately up. Generally. Most fans know this but they don’t know the rules, well even some skaters don’t know this one loophole I’m about to describe. If Jammer A goes into the box a second time in the same jam, Jammer A has a full minute. Jammer B has whatever time remains from the difference Jammer A had left. Confused? Great, I’ll tell you what happened last night.

Green jammer goes into the box, 40 seconds later (guestimate for the sake of this explanation)  Black jammer goes to the box. Green is released and Black only has to serve 40 seconds (instead of the full minute). Green jammer enters the track at the front of the pack, Illegal Procedure Major, back to the box.  Black Jammer has still has her first 40 seconds remaining. Green now has a full minute, so the difference in time will be a “jammerless jam”.

As this happened I announced that it looked like a jammerless jam was about to be coming up. for the sake of the penalty box. I couldn’t tell who was back there and then. I had no clue Corbin was at the bout let alone PB manager. But this was mostly because even some experienced NSOs rarely see this situation come up. So in this case I’m glad, and I’m sure Krez was also grateful for having Corbin as the PB Manager.

In any case, I had fun announcing. I just got an offer to announce for Rocket City in the future, again. I’d like to do more reffing than announcing, not that I don’t like to announce mind you. Because aside from lineup track I have on of the best seats in the house. But officiating keeps your on your mental toes per se. I am far from Chip Queso, Dump Truck and even my Louisiana favorites DJ TJ and Stash Merkin. Hopefully In time I’ll get there.

I was can’t believe how quickly time flies when you’re having fun.  Oh by the way the Missfits won, Fury’s did a heck of a job-seriously.

If you have an idea for a blog, found this post funny, educational and/or entertaining. Please like and share with your friends. They might thank you for it!

The Name Game

IMG_0060

skater names (Photo credit: KyjL)

What’s in a name?

Skater names precisely. They set us apart, granted I’m just an official, I do have a skater name. But are they necessary? Whether they are funny, crude or play on their own name, skater names make it slightly easier to know/associate with someone derby. I say slightly because when I mention that I’m involved with derby, (why I can’t help you move this weekend) and they invariably get excited about it and want to know more about it. Then they hear my derby name and get a confused look.

You see as a ref, on or off track, skaters are just a color and number and in some cases, just gear to my eyes. Granted I’m friends with a few outside derby, yes I do manage to have a few friends. Sometimes I text or call a friend for various reasons. Such as a skater with a real life skill or job, and I know someone else that could have a use for said skill that is beneficial for both. So of course I recognize a those skaters that are my friends in gear or civies (civilian clothes for y’all non-service members). Even though skaters wear a uniform top (color), sometimes they are slightly different from their teammates. Maybe they’re a founding member and have an older logo design or didn’t spend the extra cash to have her name added above her number. Or they wear multi colored derby skinz shorts, color coordinated L&S shorts, panties with ruffles over tights and on and on. Whatever the reason, every skaters “color” is still distinct. Why? because almost everyone wants to be an individual.

Generally I don’t know many skaters by name, skater or real. Even seeing a picture of them isn’t helpful. But if you tell me what league and a skaters number I’ll know who you’re talking about. Only if I’ve reffed, NSOed or announced for that team… at least twice. I often remember the “odd” numbers, four plus digit numbers, alphanumeric, fractions, decimals. You just painted a target on your back because I have to “think” how to say your number when I call a penalty.

On rare occasions tops, bottoms and helmets match, (TXRG Hell Mary’s) then the gear has some variance. To have some individuality. I quickly recognize a certain color helmet or jeans shorts or a sticker-plastered-helmet or multi-colored wheel combo than I would recognize a skaters Facebook profile picture with her real name. It’s one of the tricks I’ve developed to separate a mash of color A and color B when counting a Jammers points or when blockers are breaking a pack and other such rules related scenarios

(derby) Household Names

Sure I know *of* Suzy Hotrod,

Suzy Hotrod

Suzy Hotrod (Photo credit: mauri212)

Demanda Riot and Smarty Pants and could recognize them on or off track in or out of gear. I mean, they’re effin famous.
Olivia Shoot’n John only in gear, Atomatrix same thing, Deranged and Psychobabble gear. They’re frikkin’ famous as well,but they can sorta blend in crowds, if you know what I mean. The list could go on, but they’d be mostly skaters within 300 miles of the Houston Metro area from “renegade” leagues.

A new trend is using real names, or rather reverting to real names from a skater name. Such as Hockey Honey, her real name escapes me at the moment, but she went by either at a Certifiable Derby Training event in Denton TX January of 2011.

Now there are a few skaters I’d recognize in or outta gear on or off track. Kiki Urhaz, Scarbie Doll Lap Dancer, Rosie The Ribhitter, Claudia Van Damage, The Angie Christ… they’re all kinda hard to not notice, er miss

because dat azz
Um yeah.

So should we use our real names? we do after all want to be recognized as a real sport, right? No matter the perception, we enjoy our individuality as well as the sense of community we get from derby. In the end there is no right answer but what works best for you. Sure there might be a couple hundred Jessicas, Jennifers, Ambers and so on. Maybe even two on your own team. But a name isn’t going to affect how well the game is played… or in my case how the game is called.