Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Honolulu Derby Girls League on KGMB (I'm so happy!)

I have to admit, I'm more excited about going home for Christmas now that there is a roller derby team in Hawaii. Maybe I can practice with them! I just watched this nice news piece on them which made me so happy (and jealous that they are getting free practice space). I never thought about a military base as an option. Too bad we don't have any military brats on our team. Via KGMB:
Written by Ramsay Wharton -

Some of our viewers may remember the heyday of a hugely popular sport here in the islands. No, not wrestling. We're talking about roller derby.

In the 50's and 60's, it drew thousands to nightly shows at the former Civic Auditorium. Many of those broadcast here on KGMB9.

In the 70's, television shows like "Charlie's Angels" fed off the popularity of the fast-moving, often bruising antics of roller derby teams. Skaters, decked out in protective gear, roughed it up as they tried to score points by lapping opponents on a banked roller rink.

On the mainland, roller derby continues today and now a group of young women are trying to bring the once popular sport back to Hawaii. This summer, frustrated by the lack of skating venues and roller derby in Hawaii, Melissa Rosen decided to revive the sport of roller derby and found the Honolulu Derby Girls League. This fall she and coach, Natalie Hancock, started recruiting women over the age of 21 who want to have fun and skate in sport that requires skill and bravery. Rosen says roller derby has changed over the decades. And while there are still colorful skaters with names like "Ballbreaking Becky," the races are geared more toward the sport than the rough-neck style entertainment that looked like wrestling on wheels.

The girls are practicing at Marine Corps Base Hawaii's roller hockey rink. Military dependent and Honolulu Derby Girls Coach, Natalie Hancock of Texas, escorts the girls on to base for practice.

The next Honolulu Derby Girls practice is scheduled at MCBH on Wednesday, November 28 at 4:30 p.m. and then Sunday, December 2 at 3:30 p.m.

The league is looking for more players and Honolulu Derby Girls Tryouts will be held at MCBH's Roller Hockey Rink, Saturday, December 8, at 4:30 p.m. To sign up, practice and get clearance to enter the base, contact Melissa Rosen at honoluluderbygirls@yahoo.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The upside to not being able to skate

The bright side of not being able to skate for awhile:
  • your body finally gets a chance to heal itself. Not just the big injury that has sidelined you, but also that nagging pulled muscle in your ribcage (for instance) that keeps getting better until the next practice when someone slams into you in just the right place.
  • there is way less laundry to do.
  • You don't have to keep spraying your stinky pads with Febreeze every other day and air out your skates and your skate bag. And you don't have to deal with the smell when you forget to do that.
  • you don't have to lug around that gigantic bag of gear when you go to practices or scrimmages.
  • Instead, you can bring a camera and focus on taking awesome shots of your fellow skaters.
  • You can actually focus on your real job.
  • you can spend more time with your honey.
  • You can spend more time with other skater's honeys -- not like that! I just mean when you're sitting on the bench you get to have conversations with other folks on the bench, folks you might not get a lot of hang out time with. It's a nice chance to make new friends!
  • You can get more involved with other aspects of your league -- people always need more help doing committee work -- just ask around. Or try your hand at coaching or managing or whatever. You may find a hidden talent.
  • Depending on your league, you don't have to pay dues if you're injured!
  • If you are having problems with people on your league, or politics, or whatever crap goes on in everybody's leagues, it's a nice time to take a break from all of that or at least take a step back and re-examine it from a different perspective.
  • You can find a whole new group of people to talk about roller derby to -- your doctor, your nurse, your physical therapist, the people in the waiting room, etc. etc. Don't forget to bring flyers with you!
Okay, that's all I got. That said, it is frickin' awesome to be back on skates!!!

Rollergirls: Media darlings (by day *and* by night!)

Via Roller Derby Diva:
Almost every day, I get word of a newspaper article or TV news spot about some roller derby league somewhere in the world. On Saturday, the New York Times ran an article (with a front-page photo) on the Gotham Girls Roller Derby's intra-league championship. The Times has written about Gotham Girls and other leagues before, but I believe this is the first time they've done video too. Derby News Network managing editor Justice Feelgood Marshall is on a crusade to get journalists to avoid the "(insert occupation here) by day, rollergirl by night" cliche in their coverage, but sadly, it has yet to be realized, even by the Times. Oh well. In defense of my profession, I think most reporters (and most people) are still struck by this dichotomy upon first learning about modern-day roller derby. I'm not defending the use of cliches, which any Journalism 101 professor will instruct you to avoid; I'm just pointing out that the average writer might not realize that this particular description of a rollergirl has become cliched (that said, all writers should always read other articles about a subject before tackling it themselves and avoid describing things the same way others have). Anyway, assuming derby continues to grow, I would hope that you'd see less of these kinds of descriptions, just as you don't really read articles anymore that say things like, "She's a woman -- and she's a C.E.O.!" We shall see...

(Thanks to RollerBuzz for the page scan)

Cutest. Rollergirls. Ever.

Via Roller Derby Diva:
OK, I think this video will make up for the ones I posted earlier today -- this is the Tootsy Rollers, a pee wee roller derby league in Seattle and a division of the Seattle Derby Brats. (There are also junior derby leagues in Tucson and Orange County, Calif.) In pee wee derby, apparently the blockers' goal is to grab flags off the jammer's waist rather than knock her down. They don't look too different than we did a year and a half ago!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

CNN News -- Roller Derby in Atlanta

Nice CNN news report on Atlanta roller derby team on YouTube:

Monday, November 12, 2007

Roller Derby Yahoo Group Roundup

    • This forum is for mothers who also play Roller Derby.
    • This group is for girls interested in getting into roller derby. We have some very experienced skaters here who have been there and done that... For example, most of the skaters here had not skated in 15 years before they caught the roller derby virus. Some couldn't even stand up on skates. Now they are rolling hard with the big girls. So ask questions.. and go try out for a dang roller derby league. Roller Derby is good for you :o)
    • A discussion group for sponsorship directors in established and developing roller derby leagues.
    • This is a place for roller derby medics to share ideas, experiences and best practices.
    • This group is for the Rollerderby artists and the people who love the art. I Wanted to create this group so artists and art fans from all around the world of derby could exchange, display and share ideas with each other. I wanted a place for all to be recognized.
    • This group has been created to further the discussions about the future of the modern roller derby, how to bring it the next level, and ensure its longevity.
      What to keep... what to trash... what do our fans want... what do WE want???
      How many of us have thought about - dreamed about - finding a way to make a living doing this?
      Why not talk about it?
      Just throw your thoughts and ideas out there!
    • Roller skating for fun & fitness for women old enough to know better.
    • Join this group if you want to be kept up on whats new in Roller Derby skating or want to learn tips and tricks to become the best skater possible.
    • not super active
    • A forum for dicussing and sharing coaching techniques and issues with other coaches around the world.
    • not very active
    • This is a Yahoo group designed to facilitate communication and the shared resources of Roller Derby league treasurers. If handle the finances for your league, please join!
    • This group is for Non-Profit Roller Derby leagues looking to share information and experiences as a non-profit organization. This group also is for leagues looking to apply for 501(c)3 Tax Exempt status with the IRS who want to share their experience or are looking for more information.
    • A place for roller derby leagues all over the world to discuss human relations topics in our roller derby organizations. This is NOT a place to air your league's dirty laundry! This is a place to discuss processes, procedures and resources for us to benefit from in our own leagues. The need for this group was made apparent at RollerCon 2007 in the "Getting Along" workshop, by Hurt Reynolds. Thanks, Hurt! Now let's discuss and share what works and what does not, and where we need help...
    • This is a group started by a captain of a roller derby team, for all roller derby captains. A place where we can get together to get the help and support from others who have been there and handled that!!
    • remember watching roller derby on television as a kid and wondering why it is no longer on television any more. Well roller derby is back. Joan Weston, banked tracks and padded bars are now gone. They now skate on a flat oval without the padded bars. This roller derby is real. They are not staged like the old time roller derby.
    • not very active
    • This is a one-stop resource for all present and developing Roller Derby Announcers throughout the world. It does not replace or compete with the Voices of Reason MySpace Group --the original derby announcers network resource - This site is here to provide easy instant access to announcer rookies and pros looking for general guidance and shared experiences. You'll find some Veteran Derby announcer dames and dudes here too.
      Roller Derby is presently the fastest growing sport in county--soon the world. There is equally a need for great and CREDIBLE ANNOUNCERS. Through this group we hope to share tips, advice, techniques and training; provide links to a variety of resources and most of all offer support and encouragement in effort to keep Roller Derby alive and thriving.
      Please join this effort by signing up and becoming part of this amazing journey.
    • This is a Yahoo group for roller derby league Sponsorship Directors or others who are involved in soliciting sponsorship for their league.
    • A group dedicated to coaching the sport of roller derby, and a place where coaches and skaters alike can share derby drills, insights and stories. Non-WFTDA affiliated, all coaches and skaters from veterans to beginners are welcome.
    • Discussion and resources for roller derby announcers, referees, scorekeepers, statisticians, mascots, penalty mistresses, photographers, videographers, and anyone else with front-of-house responsibilities.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Hawaiian Derby

So the best news I have had all week is that a roller derby team is trying to start up in Hawaii! Yay! This means that when I go home for Christmas, I can still practice. Plus, there will be a whole team of girls who get my skater name and will even get the skater names that I decided against -- Slam Musubi, Hanna Okolele, Melee Kalikimaka, Lava Flo. Yay for Hawaii. Here is their myspace page: If anyone is out there in Hawaii, go check them out. I will definitely be trying to hang out with them come Christmas time!

MavTV Promos and YouTube Group

Some nice promos for the roller derby bouts now airing on MavTV:

WFTDA Tournaments on Mav TV!

Starting on October 20th, sequential games from the WFTDA Eastern Regional Tournament, Heartland Havoc, began airing on Mav TV's cable and satellite outlets, as well as Mav Episodes will air weekly of each tournament game, leading up to individual airs of each game of the WFTDA National Tournament, the Texas Shootout. The viewing schedule for cable and satellite is as follows:

Original airs will be Saturdays beginning 10/20, 10/27, 11/6, etc. at 11:00PM.

Re-airs will be Sunday (lt. Sat. night) at 1:30am, Mon. at noon, and Mon. at 5:00pm.

To view on Mav, please follow these instructions carefully:

* Click on this link:
* Scroll to the bottom of the page, and scroll through "Channels" to Men's Entertainment
* Click on Men's Entertainment
* On the righthand side bar menu of programs, click on links to tournament games, i.e. Atlanta Roller Girls vs. Windy City Rollers

If you have a Mac, Mozilla Firefox is a better browser to use to view the episodes online, and a lower res version will load better. Mav is working on making the viewing process easier from their site, especially for Mac using Safari, but it will take time - please bepatient!

If you enjoy the games, please send feedback to, or to Mav TV, or your local cable or satellite provider!

View more promos here!

Spread the word that Derby is back on tv! Please post to your myspace, livejournal, or website to help us share the love! Click here for info on sharing these videos.

Also, check out our new YouTube Group: The Boston Derby Dames. In order to get all of the Boston Derby Dame videos in one place we created this group where our fans can gather, discuss, add videos, etc. Some examples of good videos: video of Shelby Shattered taking out (fill in the blank); video of Sully da Gully vs. Mini Bloodbath (she's small but feisty!); video of you and your friends starting a wave; a fashion critique of the teams' outfits -- I believe the Nutcrackers have a new outfit this year; video of your pre-game predictions for December's bout. Whatever. We'd love to see more fan interaction!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Get to know your skates!

Via DerbyLuv:
I just spent a weekend with Wile E. Peyote from Rat City Rollergirls, and . That gal can sure eat! But more importantly, she knows a lot about skates, and I drilled her with questions all weekend long. There is so much to know about skates, and I feel like I only got to the tip of the iceberg.

Some things to keep in mind when purchasing new gear:
-just because everyone else is going with a certain boot, wheel, or plate, doesn't mean it's going to work for you!
-you can find different widths in skates. narrow, wide, and narrow heal with wide toe.
-jammers are beginning to try out wheels that are not as wide for more maneuverability
-if you're a bigger skater, aluminum hubs are beneficial, because they don't flex as much as nylon hubs..thus, making you work harder. and who the heck wants to do extra work?
-aluminum plates are a bit heavier, and the cheaper ones may be too heavy for some skaters. i.e. ME
-when starting out, try not getting all the fancy schmancy gear at first. ok, so maybe some hard work is alright sometimes. once you get used to some cheaper wheels, medi-ocre bearings, beginner skates, then i think you will appreciate the upgrade as a more experienced skate. for example, the extra roll-out time on bearings, or pusher wheels!
-ask questions! get different opinions, talk to other skaters, and try out different gear for yourself! i am still on my quest for my perfect skate.

good luck to you! and remember, i'm not a skate saleslady, so find out for yourself about this information. someone else could tell you something completely different.

georgia w tushy

How to take bout photos that don't suck

Everybody should read this. We need more bout photos that don't suck. I am working on it -- since I can't skate at the moment I am spending a lot more time taking photos. Via Roller Derby Diva:
I recently asked Cincinnati Rollergirls photographer Jason Bechtel, whose photos I'm constantly amazed by, to share some tips for those of us who are constantly frustrated with how our bout photos turn out (point and shoot camera + low light + fast action = blurry mess). So here's what he said (he gets a bit technical at the end at my request, but stick with it!):

In general, it's going to be really hard to get a good, crisp shot that actually represents what you were aiming for, with a point and shoot (p&s) at the roller derby. The two main weaknesses of p&s cameras are the shutter lag and the speed of their lenses. Shutter lag is that wait, short or long depending on your camera, between the point when you press the button on the camera and when it actually takes the picture. In general, that's not a problem, but when your subjects are moving at (however fast the average pack moves around the track), suddenly what you meant to take a picture of can be quite different from what you got.

You can help keep that from being a problem by tracking the skaters with the camera, but don't forget to keep tracking even after you press the button. Focusing quickly is also likely to be a problem for the p&s, so being mid-track where the distance from you to the skaters isn't changing quite as quickly will be best.

Lens speed is a separate problem. Without getting too far into the technical, faster lenses allow more light to come in so that they can take pictures at faster shutter speeds. To your eyes, it doesn't look that dark in the Gardens or Castle Skateland, but to the camera it is. P&S cameras aren't meant for taking pictures in low light, but they compensate by adding a flash. The flash on a p&s doesn't have a very long range, it's a lot less useful when your subject is 15 feet away than it is when they are 5 feet away. So in that respect, the suicide seating is a better spot than the stands to get a nice, clear shot.

The technical bits: For the most part, for my own photos, it's just a matter of finding the right manual settings for the venue and having fast (f/1.8 or f/1.4) lenses. I say manual settings because any camera will have a pretty hard time choosing the correct settings in an automated fashion. In general, because the lighting isn't terribly bright, my only real choice in the matter is the ISO (equivalent to the different speeds of film people used to buy). The apeture is set at f/1.8, letting the most light in and the shutter speed set to 1/125th or 1/160th of a second. Anything slower than that and there's too much motion blur. Anything faster and not enough light has time to get in, for the most part.

Getting back to that ISO, the lower the number (like 100 speed film) the less color noise in the final picture. Generally in the Gardens, I am either at ISO 640 or ISO 800 and even then the pictures coming out of the camera are a bit underexposed. I shoot in my camera's RAW mode, instead of jpg, because this gives me a lot more latitude on the computer to correct for intentionally underexposing the shots. In the end, it just takes a bit of juggling between those three numbers to find the right settings for a given bout and no matter how good the settings, there are still times when I can't track the skaters properly or the camera doesn't find the right spot to auto-focus on. That's the beauty of digital, it doesn't cost me anything (except time I
suppose) to be able to shoot 1300 frames at a given bout.
Thanks Jase! Anyone else have any tips they want to share?

On a related note, I recently found this article about a Montreal photographer who's exhibiting her derby photos. Hint hint, Jason and Jeff... :)

Also, ever wonder what rollergirls in New Zealand look like? Well, pretty much like they do here. But I imagine they sound cooler when they're yelling at each other.

Monday, November 5, 2007

"I know I would die, But ask yourself...What would you do without roller derby?"

Via LeadJammer:

Derby Nation, help our sisters out!

November 3, 2007 - 10:31pm
The story lost on the B.A.D. girls, which amazes and disturbs me, is their venue was shut down a day or two prior to the second bout of their 2007 season. If you're not familiar with the B.A.D. girls, they were the darlings of the 2006 Dust Devil, advancing to the second round, and finishing 9th, after ONLY BOUTING ONCE before that! They tied AZRD, one of the most experienced teams in the country, to advance to the tournaments' final 10 teams. They came back in 2007 and held their ground and showed their ranking was not a fluke. They need our help! With a temporary venue an hour out of their market, they'll finish the season, but remain homeless going into 2008. This quote from one of the skaters says it all, "I know I would die, But ask yourself...What would you do without roller derby?"
I am continually pissed off and frustrated and sad about the goings-on of my league, but I must agree... I think I would curl up and die without it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

2007 BDD Pumpkin Carving Contest Photo Gallery

First Place
Nutcrackers by Mike Derhammer
Nutcracker pumpkin

Pinchy McMasshole by Amy Mertl
Derby Dames' Best
Jammer by Queen Kamayhemayhem
CabbageNot blocker

Honorable Mentions & Derby Dames’ Creations
Dr. TeethVVVShe hates the refs
Weston SmithVicious Vivacious VeraRuby Khan
Mike DerhammerJeff Khan