More on Destruction of the Pack

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I wrote a rather agitated blog on destruction of the pack and how Heart Of Appalachia Roller Derby doesn’t understand the rules. (Not to be confused with the four other teams with the acronym HARD) 

Now here I am in Vegas at ROLLERCON learning rules and rule manipulation from Teflon Donna of the Philly Rollergirls. The following is some clarification of destruction of the pack and how it is interpreted by a WFTDA team. 

The following information is further proof that understanding the rules will help sportsmanship and game play. 
 

No penalty is given to blockers who knock a “goat” out of play. However referee’s should then declare the location of the pack. If the blockers are not in play when the goat is out of bounds or out of play they must reform the pack. Failure to do so will award them with destruction of the pack penalty. 

Skating in non-derby direction to force the pack & goat back will also be awarded with an out of play penalty unless the blockers moving in non-derby direction remain within the pack. 

Teflon Donna, “If there is no time given to the opposing team to adjust to a change in the pack your team will be awarded a penalty”

Some rules are slated as illegal action yet have no penalty assigned to the action. 

The team stopping game play must attempt to reform the pack after a no pack call; the foremost skaters are not required to skate in non-derby direction to reform the pack. The rearmost skaters must attempt to reform the pack or be awarded a destruction of pack penalty. . 

If the opposing team is taking the slow lane, (lining up on the outside to slow down the pack) The blockers on the track should skate as far foward as legally possible and maintain speed in a wall the opposing team will have to maintain pace or be awarded a pack destruction penalty. 

Entering Day Three: Rollercon

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Getting here was fun, the planes. The people watching. I thought that our flights would allow us to make Early Bird Registration. Google Calendar stated that it would be open until 10pm. They closed at 7pm. Also when I asked a volunteer what time registration would open in the morning she said “Nine, but you could read the sign.” Of course I had a flippant response, “Well, reading hasn’t helped me so far.” Registering in the morning wasn’t too bad, we were 30 minutes early for line-up and only had to wait an hour to register.
After registration Dotty and I went to open skate to warm up those legs. Then it was time to pick and attend the first class! EXCITING! A side note: I posses a MVP pass, which is for  all access to classes, seminars, challenge bouts, and scrimmages. I studied the RollerCon website, and signed up for the updates, and I am not the only person to be astounded by the following.
I lined up for a two o’clock class. I waited, patiently. Then I hear from some of the other girls asking if another had their token to attend the class. I thought I have an MVP pass, why would I need a token? As it turns out, the MVP pass holders have to line up two hours before the training class they would like to attend and gain a token. Maximum of 60 handed out, or less as deemed by the instructor. Then you may have two hours to do what you like and come back. HOWEVER, let’s say you had the notion to attend two back to back classes. One, in theory, would line up and receive a token for the first class and then return at the assigned first class time to get a token for the second class, hopefully only making one a couple minutes late for the first class. Seems like it would work out logistically. YOUR DOING IT WRONG. Apparently they only had enough tokens to gather them from the incoming class and turn around and hand them out to those waiting for tokens. This would make you more than ten minutes late for a class, and you wasted your time waiting in line for first token, BECAUSE being late scratches you from the class. Depending on the instructor you may watch, if there aren’t “too many” spectators already. As in the case with my Brudda, she attempted this and only got to attend one class.
With this system in place in theory one skater may only attend 4 classes daily.
Some classes are designated for all skill levels, so as a skater you don’t know what you’ll be paired up with or skating next to. This got my knee torqued really well in one class. Listening is important if the drill is intended for a straight line don’t fucking skate directly into another skater because you are not following directions.
The coach of this class told me to be a figure skater. Tried that thanks, on ice. Plus, no one likes a show-off, and when I display my skills that’s always how it’s perceived.
Then I entered the wrong room number for a seminar I wanted to attend. One digit off and I am stuck listening to two hours of nutritional advice on low glycemic index diets. All of which I have read before; I do care about what I put in my body but I also choose to smoke and drink soda. The over arching message of that course was to study as many aspects of athletic nutrition as possible and build something from scratch that works for you.
I was super-de-duper pumped for the sternum blocking class at 8 pm. So Dotty and I got in line for our tokens at 5:45. The lady in charge of tokens handed out all but ten of her tokens to just anyone in line, even though MVP skaters were TOP PRIORITY. I didn’t get a token.  I get too pissed too quickly to notice this so I was just going to eat and go to sleep. A couple moments later Dotty comes screaming down the hall. She had me a token!  Apparently someone is more outspoken and observant than me when angered, she ripped the token lady a new one and forced her to give out the remaining ten tokens.
YES, I did get to attend sternum blocking class! My chest is still a little tender, and my ass too. Thanks Brudda. I learned a great deal on how to refine my sternum blocks and to really put power in those bad boys. I also learn how to take one like a woman. You get hit in the tits for two hours and see how much like superwoman you feel like. We learned this hit in pace lines, and I really only got a chance to interact with one other skater.
“I am so excited! Sternum blocks are my favorite!”
“Then you shouldn’t be in this class.”
Fuck off you fucking fuck. 
The following morning I intended to get up early and go to an aqua aerobics class called Splash & Burn. I woke up at 9:30. Vomiting. Dehydrated, and tired. So I rallied around 10:45 when Dotty and I ran to get in line for a Jam Skating class at 1:30. Fun things are very popular at Rollercon; when we got to the line up there were already 10 people. Jam Skating is like learning to do an ice skating routine. It’s hard work. I am very white and very uncoordinated. Feelya landed all the dance steps right away. I could spin and mohawk and do the “groove” stuff really well.  Then we moved onto floor work. We started in a V sitting position and did like these weird break dancing things. I can’t remember the name. At the end of the move you go from being on your hands and heels to a standing position. I thought my left knee cap was going to explode.
We then went to support Kruel in here Hawaiian team bout. Kruel = Amazing blocker. By the by, our team will always be the loudest motherfuckers in the joint, cowbell or not.
We then attended an amazing dinner at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion restaurant.  It was amazing, really enjoyable dinner with everyone, even if we don’t know who’s fork is who’s. Kruel told them we were celebrating our anniversary and they put little Congrats flyers in the menus and took a photo for us. Brought me to tears. It was precious.

Overall I am still having mixed feelings about this trip, but I am enjoying all the time I am spending with my teammates that are here, and missing the ones that aren’t.

Because really guys, it is just us that acts this way, love you batches.
outside the hotel lobby this happened:
“OOOOOOOOOHHHH, YEEEEAAAAHHH!!!”
Star City Rollergirls skater, “Oh gawd, it’s CVRG!”

Dangerous Secrets: Teamwork.

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I am about to give a good deal away, for free. Free information.
What is normally the number one question a team has when in the presence of a derby idol? What do you suggest for teamwork?
In a moment I will tell you exactly how to build a cohesive team on and off the track.
First let me regale you will a story of a road trip to VA. We all decided to go to the after party before starting our long drive home post bout, just for dinner and a drink with our host team. We all meet up in the parking lot and walk in the bar and start assembling tables for dinner. At the adjacent table sat the opposing team’s bench coach two teammates and two family type folk. Their bench coach turned and said, “You guys all eat together?”
Most of us didn’t know how to respond, being the jackass I am I just said, “Well yeah.”

Building your own team:
5. Spend time together – – Even at practice, most of us have our close teammates that we talk to daily and have inside jokes and all that other nonsense, but when you’re at practice the whole team is there. Talk to someone, especially if their personality doesn’t jive with yours, they might say something that makes you understand their perspective a smidgen more. Ask them how their derby project is doing if you can’t think of anything nice to say.  Skate with girls you don’t normally work with, help them build skills and trust for you on the track. Eventually you’ll be doing something on the track and hear this voice in your ear “I am here! I am with you!” You won’t even have to turn to know who it is or what they are doing. Or you’ll see a look you’ve seen time and time again at practice and immediately know that you need to help get a goat, or elevator doors, or hammer and nail a Jammer.

4. Don’t allow for arguments. – – There are going to be arguments. I know I’ve been in them, but one person is going to have to concede, wrong or right. I have had to concede before, and swallow that bitter lump.  If you’re right the opinion will change in due course, if you’re not right  then: Lesson Learned.  If you see an argument blooming between two people, assess the situation and help the parties build a compromise, they are your teammates so act like you care about both of them.

3. Actually Listen. – – I can’t believe I have to list this so close to numero uno, but no one listens anymore.  Don’t anticipate and build an rebuttal before the sentence is completed. Actually think about what you are hearing. For example, I get asked a good deal of situation questions. “If these people are in these positions on the track and X is happening what do I and what should  we do?” Almost always the first time I hear it, I have heard wrong. I always ask a follow up, or just ask them to repeat slowly so I can focus. If you have a teammate who makes a good deal of excuses, listen to everything but the excuse.  If you have a teammate who repeats the same info/opinion/idea over and over again, point it out that they are saying the same thing, maybe they are just used to not being heard.

2. Maintain your attitude – – No one can drag a team down faster than a negative nancy, or set a team up for failure like spaz, or build a bad reputation like yelling and emotional explosions. My problem is my temper, it’s one of the main reasons I am in roller derby. If your emotional state is all over the place it’s not a good idea to hide it from the team and then explode on them when your fuse is gone. That goes for tempers, hurt feelings, bruised egos, all emotions. Don’t keep that shit to yourself, use your derby wife/bestest teammate to keep you even keeled.  If you get to your emotional capacity, just take a walk, or leisurely skate, get your head together.  I take a leisurely skate, I personally have a habit of saying or doing the things that hurt the most, and I think that is an ugly trait. I take myself away from the situation and think of a way to convey my true issues rather than allowing my mouth to vomit insults.  ANYWAY– Keep yourself even for the team, because sometime in the future someone on the team is going to need your help, and you want to be there for them.

1. Make an Effort – – Solid teams don’t just happen. It takes constant work, and constant apologies. If you can’t apologize you probably can’t be part of a team.  Every team is going to go through slumps and highs, at every point the team mindset is going need work.  Just won a game!? Great! How are going you going to bring your star players back to earth and elevate the players who hate on their skills?
Just lost an important cog in your team dynamic?  What are you going to do to fill her gap and deal with the emotional loss?
Just added new skaters to your roster? How are you going to help them over the stigma of being Fresh Meat on the track?
Teams who look like a bad ass family from the outside have an internal hierarchy that you must use step 5 to build. 1-4 are how to maintain that bond and emotional and physical trust.
Take this advice, because it’s damn good, no matter how much of a bitch you think I am.

My team is my family, and I love those bitches so much sometimes it hurts.
CVRG I would FUCK YOUR COUCH all night long!

Sports & Entertainment

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These are my thoughts on entertainment related to sports.
Every human loves competition, in the U.S. there are billions of dollars that go into sports, and also intellectual competitions anywhere from the courtroom where a judge declares a winner to Jeopardy. We love it, yes? So when we are watching a competition of physical prowess and game-play do we really want to see the referee’s flailing arms and blowing whistles and screaming onto the playing field or into headsets every second of the game? No. Not a single spectator wants to see that. It looks like the players don’t understand the rules or care about honoring the game. Then there will be no butts in seats, no season ticket holders, no merchandise will sell, the broadcasting won’t be watched. This total death of the sport, any sport, all starts with the players and their understanding of the rules. As a player the failure to do so, or blatantly breaking the rules is disrespectful, and will lead fans to be disrespectful and not want to watch, and believe me we want to be watched, because we want to win, we train to win. Game players love competition.

Splitting the Pack

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So I recently went to a derby bout between two up & coming teams in the WV area: BADD vs. HARD.  Both teams are around a year old, one just over and the other just under. Both teams played a very aggressive game, making big hits and having good contact. The experience was amazing from a spectators point of view, lovely really.  
I am no spectator, actually I am terrible at being a spectator. I have opinions and this is what pissed me off.

There’s a rule in derby called “splitting the pack.” Intentionally splitting the pack is against the rules.
6.2.11 OUT OF PLAY PENALTIES

6.2.11.4 Splitting the pack. If a team or group of skaters does not attempt to reform a
legal pack, one penalty will be applied to a single player per team, if applicable, who
seems most responsible (or the Pivot per Section 6.3.2.2).
6.2.11.5 Intentionally skating more than 20′ from the pack after being warned. A penalty
should be applied to each offending Blocker.

Not only did the refs not understand this rule, but HARD played on that ignorance all through the game, over and over and over and over again. In several instances skating in NON DERBY DIRECTION away from the opposing blockers and were only called on it once or twice. The rules clearly state that the team appearing to neglect these rules should be awarded with a penalty for each blocker or the most responsible looking blocker or Pivot. 

I am not OK with breaking to rules to win a game. Making those decisions as a team degrades the quality of the game and the honor of the sport. Referee’s are responsible for knowing the rules and enforcing the rules. THEY ARE ALL VOLUNTEERS, and might not know as much or act on it the way the regulations dictate. Taking advantage of this is poor sportsmanship and says a great deal about the integrity of the team. 
If the offending team just doesn’t know about the rule or neglected to learn it properly they then are at fault for not upholding the standards that are set by the sport, we do this because it’s fun and it’s satisfactory emotionally and physically, but there are rules and regulations and they serve a purpose and deserve respect. 

On the spectator level, I can cheer for who I want when I want that’s the fun part of being a fan.
So sorry to all the ladies I offended with my loud ruckus raising in turn three, I love BADD girls and I will always cheer for them to succeed.    

fuck!

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I JUST WROTE AN AMAZING POST AND I FUCKED IT ALL UP!

Any ways, Beckley Area Derby Dames I wish you luck and I am sorry I messed up all the shit talking I was doing in your favor.

Skate safe ladies, and I hope you obliterate the other team!  Like I said in my un-viewable lost post I want this win for you ladies as much as you do yourselves. I want to see BADD clean the floor with the other team!

GOOD LUCK BECKLEY AREA DERBY DAMES!  
 

Whew!

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So our season is full swing right now and all the hoop-la leading up to our smashing Festibrawl bout on June 16th really had my head and calendar spinning. The week of our home bout we had 4 derby community events, and then we had to host a bout and win the after party! 
 Which we did! In-fact, we partied so hard after our win over OVRG that Kruel – Aid bruised her tail bone.
Last time we played OVRG they stomped us into the ground, for six of our skaters it was their first bout (back in December) the point spread was over 100 points. We refocused after that and taught our fresh-meats everything they needed to be successful in the June 16th bout, and after the bout either the coach or one of their training volunteers told one of our skaters that OVRG needed to lose to a team like us so that they wouldn’t feel so secure and lack luster at practices. I am not sure what “a team like us” is, but I will take it, because we obviously had the other team fooled into a sense of security when they hit the track, which is never what you should feel before a game, a bout, or a mission of any sort. 

We were scheduled to play Hagerstown’s  Mason Dixon Roller Vixens tomorrow, but we had some weather sweep through here. Anytime “weather” happens here mass panic happens and there is no gas or milk for a week. So we cancelled that and the Mason Dixon Vixen’s replaced us with another team. Whomp-whomp. Next time ladies!

Also keeping me busy was a 12 day work week, I was scheduled for 8 consecutive days, with one day off, then three consecutive days, so why not pick up one shift and make it an even dozen. Now that is done and my pocket had monies for a few hours (I dropped my iphone in drank) and immediately bought a new phone. 

Now we have even more shenan’s about to happen because we are hosting DERBY BABY on the 11th! 

 

 

Knee Pains

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Most of the time I like to downplay my knee injuries, not this week. Anyone out there every remember waking up in screaming agony when they were kids? My mom told me they were growing pains, pain caused by the extremely quick pace of bone growth in that developmental stage, verbatim. You try and understand those words as a 7 year old who can’t lie still because their knees ache.  (I’ve been 5’8 since 6th grade)
Well those growing pains are back. Only I’ve caused them myself. Ugh they ache so much, and the pain has caused so much fear in my life. I have never been afraid of more than…..well…..death I suppose, but that’s inevitable. Now though, now I live in fear, even in my own home. My dogs could knock me down when I am home alone, or I could fall getting out of the tub, or I could step wrong and end up swimming on the tile. I am honestly thinking I need a LifeAlert Bracelet.  I am also afraid that I won’t make it up the two steps to our parking area, or I could fall down/up the step for the bathroom. Is my husband going to throw his leg on my leg in bed and hurt me?Image
How long will it take the stiffness to leave my leg when I get up?
How many time will I catch my kneecap slipping to the right?
How many times will I ask for help getting up from sitting?
How many times will I fall because no one was there to help me up? (By fall I mean falling back into the chair after failed sitting-to-standing attempts)
How many times will I drop something and have to kneel down to get it?

   This one happens ERREDAY, and it’s funny. Hilarious, if I wasn’t me. I can’t bend at the waist to pick things up at work, nor can I use my finger-toes to pick things up, so I have to kneel or just kick the object to the kitchen where I can bend down to get it, which is what I normally do.
In the actuality that I have to kneel, it’s hysterical. I approach the ground with the speed of a falling dandelion seed, but with the grinding and popping of a tow truck. Once I reach the desired elevation I look around to assess the objects around me, what is going to aid me off the floor, what can hold my weight. 
If nothing is found I try the old stand-up-quickly-and-trot-off-the-pain technique. We’ve all seen the videos

At this point I feel like I am going to have to go back to see a doctor. I don’t fear or hate doctors, I mistrust them. I wouldn’t trust a doctor to sign their name correctly, that’s a whole other post. 
But seriously my knee has been holding fluid for a week, and the wobbliness is only offset by the tight overworked tendons and the surrounding muscles are achy from walking abnormally.  WA!!!!WA!!! 

I have never dealt with this type of pain before, I have never broken a major bone (noses and toes don’t count in clumsyland) and I’ve only dislocated a hip once, and I was young enough to bounce back in a couple months. This constant pain, nagging at my every move, I don’t know what to do about it.
Actually I know exactly what to do, but then what needs to be done is never the fun or easy thing.
I NEED to see a doctor who specializes in knees. I NEED an MRI not an X-Ray like the last doctor charged me for then told me he couldn’t see anything that I would need to get an MRI as well. I NEED future me to come back and tell me this is going to get better, and not alter the rest of my life.  

Random Tangent.

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So season is just now starting to kick off and being human beings we procrastinated on everything, and now we are scrambling to get our act together, thus the 30 day panic. So things are getting done: 
     I am taking my 25 minute shower before work, well real work.  My phone is keeps blowing up, every ding really translates in my brain to derby! When I first started out in this sport I thought what I neat sport, a nice hobby. Now every waking second of my life is derby, even my public diary. Between practices, planning practices, videos, emails, and lobby-ing, league meetings, board meetings, committee meetings and my real job of serving tables I have no time for anything non-derby related. My poor husband, the only thing he’s got is that he met me post derby, so he’s never known a different me. But I have. I remember all kinds of things about my life before derby. My teammates and I have talked about it, we all had very different lives before derby. I bet we would all agree that our lives are better now because of derby. I know I would, I’ve already agreed to put money on it. But today, we were getting things done and the fastest way to do that is a group text message, so my shower was destroyed! 
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Eat, Drink, Derby, Repeat. This is my life, and that’s how it is.