Sunday, October 28, 2007

Boston vs. Detroit on MavTV

I watched the MavTV broadcast of Boston vs. Detroit this morning. So exciting! If you haven't seen it yet, go see it now! A few of my favorite quotes (not direct quotes I am paraphrasing from memory):

"Doom is not the lead jammer; she was naughty!"
"Clobber, looking like a mini Kareem Abdul Jabar with her goggles on"
"Those aren't boos -- that's the crowd chanting Doom!"
Some really nice skating going on...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bad news

So I tore a ligament in my knee. I am now on crutches. Life sucks. I want to skate. Grrrrrr.

Roller Derby Jack o'Lantern Contest

Hey all you roller derby folks out there -- the Boston Derby Dames are having a pumpkin carving contest in honor of Halloween and you are all invited to enter! Win tickets to the November 10 bout. And hey -- even if you're not from Boston, do it for the glory (we'll post the photos on our website). Give your tickets away to friends you know who should really be watching roller derby. Anyway, here is the announcement:

Win tickets to the November 10 boutBoston Derby Dames pumpkin
Sharpen your knives and show us how much you love us. The Boston Derby Dames are looking for a few good pumpkins to celebrate Halloween with.

Send us a photo of your best pumpkin design by October 29 for a chance to win two tickets to our November 10 bout. Preference given to roller derby and Boston Derby Dames-themed pumpkins.

Send a photo (no grainy cameraphone shots, please) with your name to Winner and runners-up will be announced on our site on Halloween. (Boston Derby Dames pumpkin by Mike Derhammer.)


1. All entries must be received by by 11:59PM EST October 29, 2007. Late entries will not be considered.
2. Submit original carved designs only. We're big jack o' lantern fans, so we'll know if you snatched something from
3. Entrants accept and agree to these rules and the decision of the judges, which shall be final. Entrants also agree to allow Boston Derby Dames, LLC, to use name, contest entry, likeness and/or other related information for promotional purposes.
4. Prizes: One Grand Prize winner will receive 2 tickets to the November 10, 2007 Bout.
5. This contest is not open to members of Boston Derby Dames or their immediate family.

MavTV bouts now online!

just finished watching the Atlanta - Windy City bout on MavTV. It is a little complicated to find it so here is how I did it:

Go to
Click on the blue "Watch MavTV" button which is in the middle of the screen towards the top.
On the bottom of the screen there are "channels" like "motors" and "women." Scroll until you get to"Men's Entertainment" and click on it.
On the right of the screen there is a box with a listing of shows. At the top of the box "schedule" should be highlighted. Click on "Just added" to change the listing.
Scroll down to the bottom of the list and click on the link for "MavTV Roller Derby: Atlanta vs. Windy City."

There are a couple of interview clips featuring Boston Derby Dames Ivana Clobber and Wanda Whipya. Yay! The coverage itself isn't bad considering. Beware of the commercials, though, they're a little Playboy channel-ish.

Some things I would like to see in future coverage:
  • Some way to highlight the jammers during the jams. They are kind of hard to distinguish. Maybe they could do something like they did for televised hockey matches where they highlighted the puck. Maybe they could somehow highlight the jammers.
  • A running score that is on screen all the time, not just between jams or between periods. Also I would like to see who the lead jammer is and some sort of running tally of penalties. That would be cool.
  • I know this is not going to happen anytime soon, but maybe some kind of camera that moves around the track to follow the action instead of all this constant cutting, which can get a little distracting. It would have to be suspended somehow from the ceiling or hanging from a crane or something like that, because you wouldn't want the skaters to trip over it, but that would be awfully nice.
  • I know it is a difficult thing to video, but I would like to see more replays of cool moves and penalties (not just the wipe-outs) with explanations of what is going on. That would really help a lot with getting the audience to understand and appreciate what is going on.
That being said, I thought the commentary was not bad, and the coverage was pretty decent, considering this is basically the first time they've tried to do it.

Can't wait for the Boston bout next week!

Friday, October 19, 2007

evil rock quilts

looking for a unique present for that hard rocking roller girl in your life? How about an evil rock quilt?

Thong whip -- need I say more?

(move your mouse over the grey bars)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Boston Massacre video!

A fun video of the September 22 bout:

roller derby on reality tv

so i hear that there have been some roller derby girls appearing on Deal or No Deal, and also 1 vs. 100. And apparently someone on Survivor was recruited through her MySpace page -- she played roller derby! Fun fun fun.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

So I have been thinking about statistics a lot lately. I don't really know much about statistics, but I do know that they're important and that because roller derby is such a new sport, people aren't exactly sure how to deal with statistics yet. Once we get the statistics a little better worked out, I want to have fantasy roller derby available. That would be so cool. My husband is a big fantasy baseball fan and has been helping me think about statistics a little bit. Since I have been working on the BDD website a lot, my thoughts about statistics mostly involve how to present them to the public in a clear and engaging manner. My husband, since he is always concerned about my well-being, is mostly concerned with how statistics can be used to prevent injuries. He also sent me this interesting article from the Boston Globe about the future of statistics in general. Interesting stuff:
In sports, mathematical analysis is old news as applied to baseball, basketball, and football. Statistical research of player performances has now been routinely applied to improve the results of individual teams. But it has not yet been applied to leagues. This unexplored area holds great promise for sports, and sports fans. Rather than beginning with the question "How does a team win?" - the query that has been the basis of all sports research to this point - what if we begin by asking "How does a league succeed?"
~By Bill James | October 7, 2007
Read rest of article here

Friday, October 12, 2007

BDD moves up to 14 in WFTDA rankings

The latest WFTDA rankings have come out and the Boston Derby Dames have moved on up from #18 to #14. Yay!
1 Kansas City Roller Warriors (KCRW Travel Team)
2 Rat City Rollergirls (Rat City All-Stars)
3 Texas Rollergirls (Austin Texecutioners)
4 Carolina Rollergirls (CRG Travel Team)
5 Gotham Girls Roller Derby (GGRD Travel Team)
6 Tucson Roller Derby (TRD Saddletramps)
7 Windy City Rollers (WCR Travel Team)
8 Detroit Derby Girls
9 Mad Rollin' Dolls (Dairyland Dolls)
10 Philly Rollergirls (Liberty Belles)
11 Minnesota Rollergirls (MNRG Travel Team)
12 Arizona Roller Derby (Tent City Terrors)
13 B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls (The B.A.D. Girls)
14 Boston Derby Dames
15 Rose City Roller Derby (Rose City All-Stars)
16 Duke City Derby(Muñecas Muertas)
17 Sin City Rollergirls (Neander Dolls)
18 Providence Roller Derby (Riveters)
19 Rocky Mountain Rollergirls (5280 Fight Club)
20 Atlanta Rollergirls (ARG Travel Team)
21 Houston Rollergirls (HaRD Knocks)
22 Charm City Rollergirls (Mobtown Maulers Team)
23 Dallas Derby Devils (DDD Travel Team)
24 Grand Raggidy Roller Girls
25 Ohio Rollergirls
26 Assassination City Derby (ACD Special OPS)
27 Brew City Bruisers (Milwaukee, WI)
28 Pikes Peak Derby Dames
29 Fort Wayne Derby Girls
30 Big Easy Rollergirls
31 Alamo City Rollergirls
32 East Texas Bombers
33 Dixie Derby Girls

Not exactly an Endorsement...

I was browsing the internet and found this site called myHeritage which, among other things, will take a picture of you and tell you what celebrities you look like. So I gave it a try:

I am disturbed by the number of men that show up on this thing. I think they might need to work on their facial recognition software a bit more...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The meaning of the word BOUT

A post from the Roller-girls yahoo group pointed me to this explanation of the word bout from today's Podictionary :
This episode is all about violence and drinking.

A listener sent me a question asking why the sport of roller derby referred to their events as bouts. He forwarded another email purportedly from someone who calls herself Bully Julie who skates with the San Diego Derby Dolls. I looked them up and indeed there is such a team and such a skater.

Before getting this email I have to say that I had no idea what a roller derby event was called. I'd have guessed it was called a bout because fights are called bouts and roller derby has that sort of catfight reputation to it, as evidenced by Bully Julie's name. A few of her teammates are in the same vein: Buster Teethin, Cherry Punch and Pearl Knuckles.

But I dutifully opened my dictionaries and what did I find? The name bout is even more appropriate than I thought for roller derby. The first meanings of this word appeared about 500 years ago and those meanings were related to going around in a circuit; the parent word meaning to "turn" or "bend." So those skaters zipping around and around while simultaneously pummeling each other are engaging in a bout from both senses of the word. What could be more perfect—etymologically anyway.

This sense of doing a circuit during Shakespeare's time meant that when a farmer did a bout he took his horse down the length of the field and back, pulling the plow once around before starting his next bout. Shakespeare himself used the word with its fighting sense in Henry VI.

A bout of drinking came a little later, but still more than 300 years ago and I see no evidence if it had to do with buying rounds or getting in fights. There's a curious—should I say—circularity to the fact that people also sometimes say they've been on a bender if they've been out drinking. The Oxford English Dictionary says this was originally American slang with a first citation of about 150 years ago.

Another drinking word that starts with B is binge. People these days sometimes go on eating binges but with this word drinking certainly came before eating. In the days when a cooper was someone who worked in a cooperage and manufactured wooden barrels one of the steps in their manufacture was to soak the completed barrel in water so that the wooden staves would swell. As they plumped up with absorbed water they pushed harder against their neighboring barrel staves and closed up any little cracks that might have existed that would have allowed the barrel to leak. This soaking process was called "putting the barrel to binge." Hence to binge meant to "soak." Barrels were often used for beer and it only makes sense that when drinkers were out soaking up vast quantities of beer they too were said to be binging.

Drinking binges were first so called in the 1850s while eating binges didn't begin until 1937; perhaps by those participating in roller derbies which have a first citation only a year or two before binge eating does.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Four kinds of skaters in roller derby

I found this post on the RollerDerbyIsSport yahoo group, posted by Retro Bruizin' of the Orange County Roller Girls, in response to a thread about "poseurs." It struck a chord with me as I am currently feeling un-nurtured, like I have fallen through the cracks, and a lot like my efforts are not being recognized and maybe I should stop trying so hard.

There should be a place for every type/level of skater on every league if possible. As the new training manager for our league, I had to confront the "wannabe rollergirl" issue head on, as it was affecting practices and the athletic growth of the league. I had to plea that everyone be honest with themselves and the league on what their dedication and commitment level is, and on their skating abililites and how much time they had to commit to improving their skating. Being honest about where you fit in the league benefits both the individual skater and the league itself. I have found, basically, that there are four levels of skaters in derby:

1. The "wannabe" rollergirl. She is the one that rarely shows up for practice yet is the first one at photo shoots and bar parties. When she does come to practice, she rarely works up a sweat and the smallest injury puts her on the sidelines. More important than learning to skate is getting a great "derby name" and the cutest outfit. Everything in her life comes before derby and when confronted with hardly ever showing up to practice, she can always be heard saying, "ya know, derby isn't my life..I have more important things to do.."

Why would you want to eliminate these skaters from the league? They can be the ones that attend all the fundraisers while the travel team is training. They can be the girls who bar hop and promote the league. Again, if they are honest with themselves and realize they aren't really made for the "sport" of derby, they can become support for the league re: score girls, stats keepers, refs (Ok, more dedication is needed for that position), event organizers, etc. and become more important to the league by NOT being a skater.

2. The beginner skater who aspires to be the best she can be. She is the skater that comes in with hardly any skills and maybe skated a little in the past. She immediately figures out that she loves to skate, has found a whole new group of friends in the derby sisterhood, and will do everything possible to improve. She is in love with derby and her skates and will rarely miss a practice. She is the one that will shock the "wannabes" when they come back after 2 months of not skating and find that this "beginner" is now 10 times better than they are.

To me, these are the most important skaters and should be nurtured. Unfortunately, they are usually the first to fall through the cracks. Their determination, gung-ho motivation and optimism should be used to remind those on the edge of burnout why they play derby. Instead, sometimes the "beginners" naiveness and enthusiasm is laughed at and when not rewarded for their hard work, they stop trying. These skaters are the future of the league and if forgotten about, can leave the league with less of a talent pool to pull from.

3. The league team player. She is the skater that plays on one of the home league teams. All different levels of skaters fall into this category (depending on each leagues' policies). She is dedicated and loves derby, but still has life/time commitments that can sometimes intrude on practices.. She works hard during practice and dedicates herself to the league but sometimes needs to take time off for family, work, etc. In other words, she just doesn't have the time, commitment, and/or the skills to be on the travel team.

This category is the bread and butter of the league and the source of players for the travel team. This is what gives the league and most of its players their identity and can be the most fun and motivating part of derby. The existence of the league is based on the these players (unless it is a travel team only league) as they bring in the fans and the money. It should be the most flexible regarding practices but still require a certain amount in order to play. It could also be more motivating if league teams had a roster of more players (say 20 instead of 14) and game play was based on attendance. That could also be the determination of whether the player is ready for the commitment of the travel team or should move on to support status. Most skaters fall under this category.

4. The travel team. She is usually the player that lives, breathes and eats derby. Not only is her skill level above average and one of the best on the league, but so is her commitment level. Practicing 4-5 times a week is the norm (depending on league policies) and almost every spare moment is taken up by something derby such as training camps, weekend away games, derby events. Skating and practicing is not a chore but something she loves to do. She pushes herself to the limit at EVERY practice and rarely misses one. She treats herself like an athlete and treats derby as a "real" sport.

This is the category that can cause the most problems in a league, yet is just as needed as the "beginner" skater category. Not only do beginner and intermediate skaters need a place to progress, so does the advanced skater that can get bored with lower level practices and gets tired of playing the same skaters over and over again. Unfortunately, this category can also cause the most problems regarding team selection, time dedicated to it, and money spent on travel. These are the skaters that represent the league to the derby community and should be supported by ALL skaters in the league. And if a WFTDA league, will be ranked according to games played.

Of course it isn't as cut and dry as the categories state. There are some skaters that overlap categories and some that need to switch from one category to the other when thier commitment levels change. What I try to emphasize to the skaters is, "Everyone is just as important to the league and everyone has a place in it. Find yours. Just be honest with yourself and what you are willing to commit to."

And what's a training manager? That sounds like a good idea. Maybe that would be a nice addition to our league...

Media takeover continues apace

From Derby News Network:

Posted by Justice Feelgood Marshall on October 8th, 2007

It’s been a phenomenal couple of weeks for roller derby in the Big Media. This time it’s the Washington Post magazine, dedicating an in-depth cover story to the DC Rollergirls, with a focus on the currently undefeated Scare Force One. It’s a little dated, as it covers a period of time from the league inception up to their first bout in March, but it gets remarkably deep into the personalities of the team without sacrificing space for actual information about gameplay. It also provides a vital public service by warning DC residents that messing with SixFiveOnSkates will get you punched in the damn face. More articles like this, please.

(But for the love of all that is holy, journalists, can we PLEASE retire the “By day, they’re [occupation], [occupation] and [occupation], but by night they roll on fishnets, strap on skates and become [city] Rollergirls!” blurb? Seriously, if I read it one more time I will vomit and fall over, perhaps not in that order.)

I love the last comment -- so true!

Friday, October 5, 2007

BDD bout recap

Speaking of bout recaps, here is one from our September 22 bout against Virginia's Dominion Derby Girls, written by Mr. Hits, Sugar Hits' main man:

September 22, 2007: Boston Massacre 119, Dominion Derby Girls 69

September 22, 2007
Boston Derby Dames vs. Dominion Derby Girls
By Mr. Hits

After suffering through the endless anticipation of a four-month layoff, derby fans can once again rejoice at the prospect of watching their hometown heroes battle it out on the concrete tundra of Shriners Auditorium. Saturday, September 22 marked the official beginning of the 2007-2008 Boston Derby Dames season as the all-star Boston Massacre crossed skates with the newly minted Women's Flat-Track Derby Association league from Norfolk, Virginia, the Dominion Derby Girls. Dominion put together a gutsy performance, but the Massacre brought the ruckus and emerged triumphant with a 119-69 victory, leaving many diehards in the stands aching for a rematch of last February's loss to Philly and wondering just how good the Massacre can get.

After an opening moment of silence for Steve Bissett, a great help to the Derby Dames who passed away this summer, the atmosphere got jumping at Shriners, with the amped-up crowd ready to show its love to their eight-wheeled heroes. The bout began uneventfully with a few typical ice-breaking trips around the oval, but it was the third jam of the night that really set the tone and provided a little piece of history for the Dames. In a moment that will forever be known as the Triple-Triple, the Massacre's Triple Deck-Her executed the elusive grand slam--passing all four blockers on the opposing team and their jammer---not once, not twice, but thrice in one jam, scoring a total of fifteen points to Dominion's zero. The catalyst for this legendary jam was the blonde half of Twin Riot, Betty Spite, who air-mailed Dominion's jammer, The Ruffian, in to the standing crowd around the third turn and opened up the floor for Deck-Her.

Dominion immediately answered back with a 9-0 jam on the legs of Tsunami Tsue, but the Massacre stayed confident and focused, methodically increasing their lead over the next several jams. Late in the period, Shellby Shattered treated first-timers in the crowd to a holy-crap-shit-is-for-real moment and gave the fans reason to let out a raucous roar when she dropped The Ruffian with perhaps the most vicious, yet legal, hit in Massacre history. When the whistles blew, the Massacre found itself with a comfortable 44-21 edge heading in to the locker room.

As the second period got underway, Dominion's MVP Sweet N. Lowdown showcased her incredible top-end speed and tricky footwork in an effort to rally her team. But the Massacre had an answer, relying more on their smarts than their skates as they continued to open the gap. Massacre MVP Ivana Clobber largely ran the show and earned her title of General on this night. Clobber, perhaps the only athlete ever to wear Rec Specs fashionably, was in total control as pivot, using a constantly roaming eye for opposing skaters and straightforward verbal and visual cues to help her teammates. It was this leadership, along with precision active jam-management by jammer coach Sarah Doom and bench managers Evilicious and Pina Collidah--who were looking faaaaaaabulous---that allowed the Massacre to thwart promising efforts from the opposition and run off a string of seven Virginia goose eggs over eight jams at one point in the period.

The Massacre sailed home in the third and final period, giving super-pivot Clobber a chance to show off her jamming skills in the form of a grand slam, much to the crowd's delight. For Dominion, The Ruffian, Sweet N. Lowdown, T. Rex Ya Face, and Tsunami Tsue traded turns at the jammer line and put in 26 combined points, fighting hard until the bitter end. Maura Buse won the award for bad-ass jam of the night when she leapt over the inside line and an opposing player's skate on her way to a 4-0 jam and followed it with a picture-perfect, knees-first slide in to the sideline crowd to receive some much-deserved adoration. Overall, the Massacre looked tight, fit, and ready for the coming year.

And now that the vets whet our derby appetites, it's time for the main course: Fresh Meat. The Wicked Pissahs and Nutcrackers debut rejuvenated rosters and rookies-to-watch at the season's first home team match-up on November 10. Be there.

Team Stats

Boston Massacre
Lead jammer in 20 of 42 total jams
Highest scoring jammer: Triple Deck-Her, 15 points in period 1, jam 3
Most penalties: Shellby Shattered, 8 minors and 5 majors
MVP: Ivana Clobber #2

Dominion Derby Girls All-Stars

Lead jammer in 17 of 42 total jams
Highest scoring jammer: Tsunami Tsue, 9 points in period 1, jam 4; and Sweet N. Lowdown, 9 points in period 3, jam 7
Most penalties: Spontaneous Combustya, 11 minors
MVP: Sweet N. Lowdown #5


Have I mentioned that Nationals just happened? Looks like it was awesome, although I have to admit being less interested since we weren't in it (sniff!). Maybe next year. Anyway, there are some very nice bout recaps of all the action at Derby News Network. Check it out.

The infamous leg-whip

There has been some discussion online about leg whips performed at Nationals. Check out for a normal speed and slo-mo compilation of the leg whip in action (click on "blog."

She's an American (Roller)Girl

From Roller Derby Diva comes this photo of an adorable mini Roseanne Scarr, hacked from an American Girl doll. Sweet!