Friday, December 11, 2009

Well. I can hardly believe a whole month has passed since I last posted, but things have been kind of hectic on my end and in my life, and sometimes it feels like derby is the only thing that keeps me together.

Anyway, the Old Capitol City Roller Girls went to Appleton, Wisconsin last Saturday to play Paper Valley’s B-team, the Flying Squirrels. We lost, but didn’t take it too badly as there were a lot of things playing out of our favor. One OCCRG told me point blank the team we were playing was not the same one she had played in early summer (i.e. there were mostly A-team girls skating), and the referees made some extremely questionable and often simply incorrect calls, like sending jammer GladI8Her to the penalty box several times for back-blocking or pulling on her own teammates (even though it is only an offense if it happens to a skater on the opposing team). There was also a lot of track-cutting that was not called and myself and at least three other OCCRGs took elbows and shoulders to the face. But I guess it was still good playing experience and also a solid example of how things are not always going to go your way at a bout and there is nothing you can do about it – and that is something I simply will have to accept. Although, I will add that the Paper Valley girls were very nice and welcoming.

But we’re not done with the season yet. OCCRG has accepted another bout invitation from the Muddy River Nightmares (formerly the Big Mouth Mickies? I’m not really sure anymore) of Clinton, Iowa and will travel to face them on Saturday, January 30th.

Some of the team, myself included, will also be skating in the January 9th expo called the 4 Rollers of the Apocalypse. Essentially the Quad City Rollers are holding a ‘mixer’ of four motley teams of skaters from OCCRG, Stateline Roller Derby Divas (Beloit, Wisconsin), Rockford Rage Roller Derby (Rockford, Illinois), Muddy River Nightmares (Clinton, Iowa), The Chicago Outfit (Chicago, Illinois) and the Mad Rollin’ Dolls (Madison, Wisconsin). Kind of a tournament-style event. It will be held at the River Center in Davenport at 6 PM. Hopefully we don’t get snowed out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Time to get caught up with the Old Capitol City Roller Girls. We had a fantastically productive four-hour practice Sunday with the Minnesota RollerGirls coming all the way down to coach us privately. While it was a very humbling practice, we added quite a few new drills to our arsenal and we'll be a more formidable team for it.

The roster for the OCCRG versus Paper Valley Flyin' Squirrels bout has been announced and it looks like: Animal Mother, Left 4 Deadwards, Hellyna Bucket, GladI8Her, Killer Baker, Furious George, Triple D. Zaster, Ophelia Fracture, Hitzy Blonde, Recyclopath, VTrain, Anakova, Bat R Up and Toxic Sugar. I'm pretty excited about the line-up myself and road-tripping with some of my favorite gals.

I've continued to make some improvements on a personal front. I'm getting better at parrying blocks while jamming And on a side note I am learning to not take criticism from the coach so personally.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Training for tomorrow

After taking a few days to come down from last Friday's sanguine derby high I can discuss the bout in just a little more detail.

As usual, Ophelia Fracture stole the show by running circles around the opposing the team, including a remarkable 23-point jam. Toxic Sugar earned quite a few oohs and aahs for taking out some of the Quad City jammers.

I myself had a night of personal bests. After having a dismal performance at the Studio 13-sponsored scrimmage --also against the Quad City Rollers-- where I averaged a pathetic 1.3 points per jam, I improved drastically to an average of 5 points per jam at Friday's bout. I even notched 14 points during one jam. I still have a long way to go as a skater but it was rewarding to see some improvement, at least stats-wise.

Yes, experience/more practices factors in heavily but I also finally managed to get a grip on my nerves that helped a lot. I kept my cool and tried to think positively in the hours before the bout, and performed so much better for it. I was relaxed and far more focused than I have been at previous competitions, which I attribute to knowing what to expect (i.e. prior bout experience), reading up on how to manage pre-show jitters and just feeling more confident in my own abilities as a skater.

Other accomplishments? Apparently all those Saturday nights spent attending open skate at the recreation center weren't for naught. I've gotten the hang of backwards skating and I have finally made some progress on T-stops (I'm much more of a plow-type girl).

Also looking to a four-hour practice this Sunday with a few of the Minnesota Roller Girls and I am very excited to announce that the Old Capitol City Roller Girls have accepted an invitation to take on the PVRG Flyin' Squirrels on their home turf in Appleton, Wisconsin on Saturday, December 5th!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hard work = sweet laurel

In case you haven't heard...

The mighty Old Capitol City Roller Girls won their first home bout on Friday over the Quad City Rollers with a final score of 185-91!!!

It was a special night not only because we were victorious, but because everyone seemed to be having a personal best effort. Our jammers skated hard, our blockers hit hard, and we looked out for each by assisting with whips and breaking down walls.

We also had a very good turnout of several hundred people.

Here are some photos from the evening:

MVP Ophelia Fracture (left) toes the line prior to the start

Sweet Abattoir pushes Shelby Flyin into the clear

Yours truly (third from left) jamming

Team meeting at halftime

Animal Mother (second from left) gets a whip from Fonda Cuffs

Ophelia Fracture (red star) scored an amazing 23 points during a single jam

Fonda Cuffs and Toxic Sugar celebrate the win

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Before-party; after-party

That's right. The Old Capitol City Roller Girls are so hardcore that there will be a tailgate before the bout (see below) in addition to the after-party at Vesta in Coralville.

I apologize for not having written in a week; I was hoping to do a lengthy pre-bout evaluation and share my thoughts on the team's --as well as my own-- progress. But as it turns out, with me being the master procrastinator that I am, I realized Monday that I had three papers due this week and a class presentation. So it's been a very sleep-deprived and stressful week for Trip. (My pre-bout anxiety has been relatively low as compared to the past, though I am unsure whether this has do to getting used to competing in front of a crowd or merely being distracted by mountains of schoolwork, as well as a WTFDA take-home test). And while I am not ailing with the flu like a lot of people these days --knock on wood-- I was pretty sore after Sunday's practice when coach Bat R Up mercilessly rammed me several times.

What else? New skates continue to progressively grow more comfortable each time I skate in them. Jello shot night at Shakespeare's was fun and a successful venture for the team. Myself, Left 4 Deadwards and Animal Mother got a whopping 45 minutes of air-time Wednesday on the University of Iowa's radio station, KRUI, to promote our team and Friday's bout. And some experienced skaters may be joining the ranks of OCCRG in the imminent future, which is pretty darn exciting.

That's all for now; I'm fairly close to slumbering but I hope to have a post-bout summary up by Saturday. Wish us luck!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blue's the standard

Left 4 Deadwards, Tynamite and Ophelia Fracture clowning around

It's been a busy past few weeks for the Old Capitol City Roller Girls who are in the midst of preparing to host their first home bout against the Quad City Rollers on the 30th. This includes a slew of activities including ordering new uniforms, securing half-time acts (this time it's the University of Iowa Step Team), setting up sound equipment, selling tickets, etc. Roller derby is very much a do-it-yourself type of sport although personally I find that aspect appealing; I prefer thing hands-on and in its own cheesy way it bonds us as a team.

OCCRG has also been making a lot of promotional appearances; this morning myself, Left 4 Deadwards, Recyclopath and Fast Bettie were on Z102.9 in Cedar Rapids to talk about the sport and our upcoming bout. Next Wednesday at 4 PM myself and a few other girls will be talking on KRUI 89.7, and just last night we had a girl from the Daily Iowan come and film the team practicing and she interviewed Killer Baker and myself. (Sound bytes and links soon to follow.)

Recylopath, Fast Bettie, Left 4 Deadwards and yours truly with Schulte & Swann on Z102.9

After two practices in my new skates since they have been stretched I think it is safe to say they will work out. There's still a ways to go before they will be fully broken in but at least I'm not leaving blood stains on the inside of my boots anymore and the skin on my foot has stopped peeling. So yes; crisis averted.

Cranium CrusHER went in for surgery this morning to plate her broken ankle (see previous posts for photos) and is expected to be out of action a minimum of three months as she works her way from a non-weight-bearing cast to a weight-bearing cast, and finally a special boot. Pollyslamma reaggravated her old knee injury. And Hitzy Blonde came down with H1N1 but is slowly recuperating and is expected to remain on the roster for the bout.

Practices can be more grueling --think four-minute jams for a total of some 45 minutes-- but there's also some fun stuff mixed in, including the ever-popular Blood and Thunder. B&T is a game where the last woman standing is the winner; everyone is using hip and shoulder blocks to take out everyone else. Terribly addictive, that.

But spirits are high and it's evident OCCRG is hungrier than ever for a win.

Bring on the 30th!

[PS-- Don't forget about $1 jello shots at Shakespeare's tomorrow night! See your favorite roller girls and enjoy drink specials.]

Friday, October 16, 2009


The saga of breaking in my new pair of Riedell 695s (aka Black Widows) continues. After skating in them for several practices with no success in even making them a little bit more comfortable, I was ready to throw in the towel. I tried the wet sock trick, rubbed them daily in neatsfoot oil and worked on bending them with my hands, all to no avail. After developing several sores (one bloody) on my feet, I was quite distraught thinking I had bought the wrong size boot and expected to lose a bit of money putting them up for resale on eBay.

But in a last-ditch effort to make them work I called Ivanna S. Spankin of Sin City Skates and had a long conversation. Ivanna herself skates in the 695s and is actually quite fond of them, though she cautioned me that it took her some three months to break them in "the old fashioned way" (i.e. skating in them practice after practice). She encouraged me to find a cobbler who would stretch them over a period of several days.

So Tuesday afternoon I paid a local shoe repairman $4.50 to stretch them. I just got them back today.

And what a world of difference!

I don't actually have to fight to put my foot in the boots. My toes have enough room to lay flat instead of being scrunched up. The 695s just may work out after all, but the big test will be Sunday's three-hour practice.

In other news, the Old Capitol City Roller Girls are quite excited that the Minnesota Roller Girls will be traveling to Iowa City next month to coach a practice! MNRG is made up a very venerable and reputable group of women and they should bring a wealth of information and strategy to OCCRG. I can hardly wait myself.


Finally, here is the x-ray of Cranium CrusHER's ankle from Wednesday night. She ended up with a broken fibula which will require surgery. In the process of breaking her ankle she also tore a ligament on the other side of her foot, rendering it unstable and necessitating the plating of the fibula.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Broken ankle; dream intact


It's not every day I can post photos of this magnitude on the Old Capitol City Roller Girls. Pictured above is Cranium CrusHER's ankle, now a mangled mess after she broke it during a jam at last night's practice. It has yet to be determined whether CrushHer will need surgery (as opposed to just a cast), but she will be out of action for at least six weeks. CrusHER writes:

I think I tried not to fall and so my ankle bent sideways and snapped the bone... when I move my leg I can feel the bones moving.

Never fear, however: Cranium CrusHER has every intention of returning to skate with OCCRG when she is fully healed as she added,

[Husband] Steve just said to me, "I think you need to find a different sport." And I laid there with a smirk on my face and thought "whateva! I will heal and there will be a rematch!!!

Rest up, CrusHER! We'll be counting the days 'til you're back skating with us.

I also took a skate to the head last night myself (and have the bump to prove it), but of course that pales in comparison to CrusHER's real derby injury.

Practice was otherwise a productive one, as it was our first go-round on the concrete floor of the Exhibition Hall at the Coralville Marriott, where our October 30th bout will take place. Personally, I love it. It's a fast surface that lends itself well to speed without being tiring or siphoning off too much energy; super smooth but not so slick that you can't get a hold of it when cornering.

I've really enjoyed the last two practices as we've taken a break from some of the drills and focused more on jamming. It's been a valuable outlet for the stress or negative emotions I'm carrying when I come to practice. The whistle blows, you skate hard, the endorphins kick in. I enjoy the excitement and camaraderie from my teammates, especially Fonda Cuffs who usually responds to someone falling from a well-executed body check with an enthusiastic, "Yeah! Yeah! YEEAAH!"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Feel the burn

The theme for this month's bout on the 30th, in keeping with the spirit of the season, is Monsters' Brawl! (Although as I write this, watching the snow fall outside my window; I wonder if a Christmas-y theme might be more appropriate. Oh, to be an Iowan.)


If you absolutely cannot contain your excitement for the bout (which will be held at the Coralville Marriott), you can get your OCCRG fix a week earlier at Shakespeare's Pub & Grill in Iowa City. We will be serving $1 jello shots starting at 8 into the wee hours of the morning.

Also, In my previous post I reviewed the new roller derby-centered movie Whip It. Since then it was revealed that four of our very own Old Capitol City Roller Girls were interviewed for their take on the movie for the RedBox blog! Definitely worth a read.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Whip It: an imperfect child

Friday night the Old Capitol City Roller Girls went to see Drew Barrymore's Whip It in a local theater.

Yours truly gives it a rating of: ★★★

Whip It
is a valiant but stunted directorial debut by Barrymore, who also stars in the film as Smashley Simpson, alongside Ellen Page of Juno fame.

Page plays Bliss Cavendar, a 17-year-old who is pushed into beauty pageant competitions by an overbearing mother (Marcia Gay Harden). Accompanied by her best friend Pash (Alia Shawkat), Bliss attends a roller derby bout featuring the Hurl Scouts on a whim. She is soon hooked and joins the Hurl Scouts roster. While she knows little about the sport she seems to impress everyone with her speed.

Whip It is charming, funny and poignant in its own coming-of-age way. But there are inaccuracies in abundance and experienced roller derby skaters (or refs, fans, etc.) will take issue with.

Whip It
hardly delves into the grueling practices roller derby dames endure in their quest to be number 1. Despite not having skated in years, Bliss seems to turn into a star player overnight with little effort on her part.

The fighting. There are plenty of illegal maneuvers and abominable behaviors in the film, including deliberate tripping, punching and the like. I found this personally disappointing as I think all teams following the Women's Flat Track Derby Association rules would concur that we have worked very hard to be considered a legitimate sport; not like your mom or dad's roller derby from the 70s where girls socked each other around just to get reactions from the crowd.

The do-it-yourself-ness of roller derby in general is never really addressed. Roller derby is a sport run by its players, save for the few existing professional teams. The vast majority of teams, like OCCRG, don't have private coaches or managers. There's a lot of hard work involved keeping teams afloat by securing sponsorships, planning fundraisers and creating and posting fliers around town.

What did Whip It get right? The camaraderie, for one. Roller derby girls stick together and bond tightly. These are the women you see several hours a week, sweating and toiling together. There really exists a desire to see everyone on the team succeed and excel, whether they are an experienced veteran or veritable "fresh meat." Many ladies join for the exercise and contact and stay for the friendships.

I also give the film props for not being completely predictable, both in the areas of competition and [a budding] romance. Marcia Gay Harden was very much at home in her role of controlling wife and mother, but was very unbelievable as a postal worker (minor quibble). Though the majority of the cast was enjoyable the real scene stealer was the aforementioned Alia Shawkat, playing Bliss' friend Pash. Action sequences were a bit anti-climatic but it's worth noting all of the actresses did their own skating/stunts.

But all in all, Whip It manages to be endearing without overly cheesy -- a difficult task given the cliched follow-your-dreams (heart) message embodied within it. Trip recommends it.

And just for fun:
Showing no mercy to fresh meat Tyrant Angelica (left)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Even keel

While most of the roller derby eagerly awaits Friday's release of the Drew Barrymore-directed Whip It, I thought I'd tackle another facet off the sport: The expenses.

It was inspired by an Associated Press article Women make sacrifices for roller derby, published last month.

The article chiefly focused on Kelly Clocks'em, formerly of the Carolina Rollergirls. Kelly Clocks'em -- real name Abbey Dethlefs -- who had to hang up her skates after three years of roller derby due to the recession, which saw her lose two jobs in the past year.

"The economy is tougher," Miss Dethlefs, 28, said after skating in last week's Wicked Wheels of the East tournament, her last derby event for the foreseeable future. "I mean, it put me out of business."

The loss of employment has left Dethlefs without health insurance --a must for serious skaters-- and money for other side expenses of derby.

"It's gas. It's baby sitters. It's equipment," said Amy Callner, spokeswoman for Baltimore's Charm City Rollergirls. "It's all these things."

Even as a piddly college student, I would venture to say I am fortunate enough to have not had my personal finances impede my skating. I'm still covered under my father's health insurance and have money to put towards team dues and equipment (including new skates, bearings and wheels), as I am employed part-time and lack some of the other expenses my teammates have (i.e. children, babysitters, physical therapy bills, etc.). Yes, derby can be viewed as a costly hobby, though I take issue with the claim that: costs skaters hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year for the privilege of knocking each other around on the track.

Thousands of dollars seems a little extreme to me and I'm not quite sure where the Associated Press gathered their data from. I pay a few hundred in team dues every year but outside of equipment upgrades I don't find the cost of participating to be that staggering -- particularly as a former young girl who nearly drove her parents into the poorhouse with her expensive equestrian hobbies. In fact, I don't consider derby to be any more expensive than any other competitive sport, such as rugby or tennis.

Additionally, there are ways to cut costs. The Old Capitol City Roller Girls will be moving their practices to a newer, less-expensive facility in the community later this fall to defray rental costs. Teammates carpool when traveling to 'away' bouts and sometimes to and from practices to save on gas. We even keep a few hand-me-down skates for new skaters to use.

The bottom line is that in this economy, hobbies are going to be cut back or scrapped altogether. But I think roller derby is affordable for a number of people and I'd hate to think such an article would scare off any potential recruits before they even know what the sport is about.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

明日の私を信じたい だから今 頑張れるの

In case you hadn't heard the Old Capitol City Roller Girls went down in defeat; albeit a very game one, to the Quad City Rollers on Saturday. The final score was 122-109; and the OCCRGs closed quite a bit of ground in the second half to give the Quad City Rollers a real run for their money. It was a super preview of our October 30th bout in which we hope to turn the tables on our more-experienced rivals. We had a pretty good turnout of over 100 people and I'd like to personally thank those who came out and cheered us on.

[Just as fun was the after-party at Studio 13, who sponsored the scrimmage. Lots of alcohol, cage-dancing and even a roller skate-shaped birthday cake (thanks to Killer Baker) for our own Bat R Up, whose birthday was Saturday. Regrettably, the public spectacle of myself dancing exposed my secret of being the only black girl without rhythm ever, as my black dancing gene is cruelly repressed.]

Team stars of the evening were Ophelia Fracture (of course), Bat R Up (in her competitive debut), Left 4 Deadwards and Shelby Flyin'; the latter ending her run with a fantastic grand slam. Bear with me, I'm still working on digging up some actual photos of the scrimmage but I did find this shot of me leading the warm-up in all my rainbow glory:


On a personal level I thought my performance was just okay. I made lead jammer once was able to score a few points while shutting out the Quad City jammer I was up against. But I think I could have done a lot better. I will have to work harder on better deflecting/avoiding hard blocks and hesitating less when trying to find a way through the pack. It does make me a lot hungrier to improve during practices; I am trying to give 110% though right now that is hard to do while simultaneously breaking in my new skates -- I have the cuts and blisters to prove it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The waiting game

The Old Capitol City Roller Girls' first home scrimmage is only two days away! We will be taking on the Quad City Rollers at the Robert E. Lee Recreation Center (intersection of Burlington and Gilbert in Iowa City) at 8 PM. It should be a rabble-rousing event and tickets are only $5, with kids 10 and under getting in free.

I think the team, bias withstanding, is sitting on a very big effort. Plus we have new super cute uniforms (HOT PANTS + RAINBOWS = TRIP ♥).

In other news, OCCRG has the following on their agenda:

September 25th -- OCCRG will be doing meet-and-greet at West Liberty Raceway from 5:30-7:30.

September 26th -- Aforementioned scrimmage versus the Quad City Rollers, followed by a Studio 13-hosted after-party.

October 23rd -- OCCRG will be serving $1 jello shots all night long at Shakespeare's in Iowa City.

October 30th -- OCCRG hosts their first home bout against the Quad City Rollers (location to be determined).

December 11th -- Meet and skate with the team at the Wellman Skating Rink.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Breaking new ground

It's been a strange last few weeks for the Old Capitol City Roller Girls, who are scrambling to get everything in order for next Saturday's scrimmage (see previous post) against the Quad City Roller Girls.

This means more jamming during practices --Woo!-- and more challenging pack drills. But what's most pleasing is see the "fresh meat" (i.e. newer girls) really blossoming. They're getting so good lately that it almost seems unfair to keep calling them fresh meat. They're faster, more cognizant in the pack and just all around hungrier these days. Several of them will be making their debuts in the upcoming scrimmage and they sure are training lights out. Not to turn into a total cheeseball, but I am really proud to have them on the team.

Half of our practices lately have been back at the Robert E. Lee Recreation Center, which might be for the best as we are getting reacquainted with the newly polished hardwood floor there.

I was particularly excited about last night's practice as my new skates --Riedell Black Widows (695)-- had just come in the mail the day before, and I was eager to break them in. The 695 boot was designed for fast-twitch or jam skaters, and I even upgraded them with Swiss Bone bearings and new Sugar wheels. But it was simply not to be.

I was able to get three wheels on each boot but the fourth wheels simply would not slide all the way down on the axle. In fact, they were stuck because it turns out that both trucks had defective axles that were too wide for my bearings. So two roiled phone calls later I was resigned to skating in my old boot and waiting in the mail for my new trucks to arrive.

Once I did calm down --patience has never been my strong suit-- I was able to appreciate the smoothness of the Swiss Bones, and the 'grippiness' of the Sugar wheels. Now I don't expend more energy than necessary when cornering, since I am no longer fighting drifting out and losing ground.

Case in point: The Women's Flat Track Derby Association requires that all skaters be able to complete five laps in under a minute. We did five timed 5-lap sets nearly back-to-back. I averaged 37 seconds for my (5) five-lap sets. It's a bit striking to think back how, many moons ago when I first started derby, I could barely shade under a minute for five laps.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

She'll be gone


It's been business as usual for the Old Capitol City Rollers, save for the fact that we quite suddenly decided to invite the Quad City Rollers out for a Studio 13-sponsored scrimmage on Saturday, September 26th. It will be held at the Robert E. Lee Recreation Center in downtown Iowa City and will begin promptly at 8 PM. All of you local derby fans who have been hungering for a match; here's your chance to see it in your own backyard! This should be an excellent preview of our upcoming official first home bout slated for the end of next month, and is sporting the theme 'Alice in Derbyland.' Super schway.

The tentative line-up is slated to include: Toxic Sugar, Sweet Abattoir, Shelby Flyin', Fonda Cuffs, Killer Baker, Ophelia Fracture, Furious George, Hellyna Bucket, Bat R Up, Animal Mother, Left 4 Deadwards, Triple D. Zaster, Fast Bettie and Quantum Bombshell.

Referees will be T-Bird, DeeVious Doll and Crash Carelli.

In other news, I am beginning to have dreams about derby (in addition to eating and breathing it when I am awake). I'm not sure if I should be alarmed or not, but I thought it was worth noting. Hopefully it's a good omen.

And after about a month of comparison shopping, reading reviews and agonizing over different boots I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade from my trusty SureGrip Rebels to the Riedell Black Widow, better known as the 695 model. It should be a good fit for me --both literally and figuratively-- as it is a newer model with a 3/4-inch heel for "fast twitch (jam) skaters" and comes with aluminum trucks and bolted plate. To enhance the boot I am also adding Swiss Bone bearings and new Sugar wheels, so this girl should be absolutely flying in a fortnight or so.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The plight of the wounded

Late Sunday afternoon to early evening.

I expected to be battling hard at the Cosgrove scrimmage, then chilling out (Oh, bother; what is the term people like to use these days? Chillaxing?) with teammates at a pool party -- sans pool given the unseasonably cool weather.

Instead I sat on a friend's couch with my left foot propped on up on a large plastic container of kitty litter, icing a sizable contusion with a thin fillet of frozen tilapia.

A night of skating at the Wellman Rink with friends on the eve of the scrimmage seemed innocent enough. But fate can be cruel, and I took a hard fall onto my knees in trying to avoid running over a young girl who obliviously skated into my path. The pain, though intense at first, subsided in the minutes afterwards and I continued to skate for another hour or so. In the dark and neon fluorescent lighting of the rink, I could not see the angry red sea of internal bleeding occurring at the site, the result of ruptured capillaries. It wasn't until I got home some two hours later that the extent of it was apparent.

Perhaps I am being overly dramatic. My ability to skate after the injury and the fact that the pain, while smart, was not overly mind-numbing told me that there wasn't a more severe underlying injury, such as a fracture, torn ligament or sprain. For that I am quite relieved, though originally I was concerned the bruise was severe enough that I would be out of action for a fortnight -- an eternity for someone who thrives on athletic activity. Indeed, the heat of inflammation from my knee could probably warm a one-bedroom apartment.

But, after two straight days of elevating and icing my knee for 20-minute periods throughout the day, I can offer that the pain has decreased markedly. The bruise has changed from a bright red to a dull purple -- the result of the hemoglobin breaking down, or so I have read. Rather than risk aggravating it more by doing my usual running, I have been walking on the treadmill on a stiff incline in an effort to maintain my fitness.

The pain has decreased enough that I am even entertaining ideas of skating in Wednesday's practice -- something that seemed out of the question as recently as yesterday. Naturally rushing back and reaggravating the contusion (the very thought of being knocked on my knees during a jam bringing tears to my eyes) is a concern but I suppose I have all of tomorrow and most of Wednesday to treat it with more 20-minute compresses --this time with heat-- and elevations. Worse come to worst, I will skip it and make my return at Sunday's practice.

The silver lining of the whole Wellman Skate Rink visit was that I was able to touch base finally with Teresa, the manager. She seems eager to host a meet-and-greet with the Old Capitol City Roller Girls where we will possibly perform a mock scrimmage and then fans will have the opportunity to skate with us. We are just in the process of nailing down/voting on a date, something I expected to have posted in the next few weeks or so. It'd likely would not be until late November or early December, and would be a fun event to close out the year with after a long season of bouts and fundraisers.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

The perils of derby

It feels like it's been a few strange weeks of practice recently.

Hitzy Blonde has brought back quite the arsenal of new tactics and drills she learned at this year's RollerCon, and she's been eager to put them into play.

Two weeks ago the focus was crocodiles and bowling. Both were taught as strategies most effective when assisted by partners.

Crocodiles are basically a duo thing; one player hits two opposing blockers in succession and then her partner moves in to deliver a second round of blows to those opposing blockers. With bowling one blocker hits two opposing blockers who are side-by-side -- basically trying to take out two people with one hit. (Kind of like bowling a strike when the ball takes out multiple pins.) And if you don't take them out with that one blow, your teammate can finish up the job by repeating the move; I liken this to bowling a spare. Caspice?

It took a lot of practice but I think I'm finally getting the hang of them. Meaning, I can perform them but not at maximum efficiency. At 125 pounds, I don't have a lot of weight to throw around so getting them just right is going to be crucial.

With the Cosgrove scrimmage (see previous posts) coming up on Sunday we have also been scrimmaging far longer in practices. To familiarize ourselves with the surface we will be skating on we --the team veterans, anyway-- held last night's practice at the Cosgrove Institute. Its 1950s gymnasium is so diminutive that the outside line or rail of our track leaves no room for error. As in, one step outside the track and you're in the bleachers or into one of the institute's brick walls.

And if that wasn't enough of an obstacle, it appears the institute's janitors religiously coat the gymnasium floor each night with a thin layer of bacon grease. Yes, it really is that slick. At practice last night we all slid around like dogs on a linoleum floor. I even went down two or three times simply from the lack of "grippiness" -- and I have the rink rash to prove it. After practice, as I sat removing my skates on the bleachers, I noticed unhelpfully that the tread from my right Fugitive wheels (opposite the pushers) had worn away completely.

Additionally, we lost two more skaters due to injuries that night. Benzo Bang, who had only recently returned to skating, re-aggravated her old knee injury. Hitzy Blonde not only sprained her ankle but suffered a "hip pointer," a type of bone/muscle bruise injury that will keep her on the sidelines for at least six weeks. This is on top of her previously torn rotator cuff (shoulder) and plantar fasciitis (heel), so she will be receiving physical therapy now for four different injuries.

With Fast Bettie dropping out and Hitzy Blonde on the shelf the revised line-up for the Cosgrove scrimmage will be:

Farmers' Daughters: Toxic Sugar, GladI8Her, Fonda Cuffs, Left 4 Deadwards, Tynamite, V-Train and Shelby Flyin.

City Slickers: Bat R Up, Ophelia Fracture, Killer Baker, Triple D. Zaster, Animal Mother, Sweet Abattoir and Quantum Bombshell.

On a more positive and personal note, I do feel like I am becoming a more useful and effective blocker during jams. Half the time I see the opposing team's jammer and can react quick enough to block her path (as opposed to letting her sail right past me, which seemed to happen 95% of the time). I'm also better at working with my fellow teammates to communicate and build walls instead of playing like a one-woman team and causing the jam to dissolve into a furious free-for-all.

It's satisfying to know I am improving but satisfying to know, too, that there is so much more room for improvement from where I am now.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

OCCRG sold out

... of jello shots!

I'm elated to announce that the Old Capitol City Roller Girls' appearance at Ugly's Saloon was an overwhelming success. From 8 PM to the wee hours of the morning Ugly's was packed with patrons, fans, roller girls and 700 jello shots. Yes, you read right: 700.

And we sold out of them! With our bottom-barrel prices, bustiers and boundless charm we were able to sell every single cherry and orange jello shot. (Rumor was the orange shots were, um, a bit more potent.)

The team had a mixed turnout of the younger generation and a good deal of, shall we say, knavishly lecherous older gentlemen. The place was packed and there was hardly room to skate from one side of the bar to the other on the thin carpet. A good thing; but tricky nonetheless.

I am proud to say that although there were some close shaves, I did not fall during my entire three-and-a-half tenure at Ugly's. I stayed on my skates and did not partake in the drinks -- okay by me, as I do not hold my alcohol very well. I did my best to sell every jello shot placed on my tray, as I felt responsible for the outcome of the evening since it was I who orchestrated the event with Ugly's owner, Cindy. It was particularly rewarding to see so many dollar bills going towards a team made up of a very hard-working group of senoritas. The bar certainly made a princely revenue as well.

Yours truly (right) with tyro Erin

[Sexy] Killer Baker worked her rear off selling jello shots

Everyone seemed to be having a merry time and although I was loathe to leave before seeing the last jello shot sold, after ten hours of work between two jobs followed another several hours on skates I was thoroughly knackered. A few unsettling shoulder rubs and grabs at my buttocks also hastened my departure.

Still, it was irrefutably worth it and good for my introverted ass to get out of the house for a few hours.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Massacre at the Cosgrove Institute

The battle lines were officially drawn at high noon. On Sunday, August 30th at 4:30 there will be a throwdown of epic proportions at the Cosgrove Institute in Oxford, Iowa.

The so-called Farmers' Daughters (i.e. country bumpkins) who will be slaughtered like pigs --fitting for Pork Day, don't you think?-- are:

Hitzy Blonde
Benzo Bang
Left 4 Deadwards
Fonda Cuffs
Quantum Bombshell

And representing the classy City Slickers are:

Bat R Up
Ophelia Fracture
Killer Baker
Triple D. Zaster
Animal Mother
Toxic Sugar
Sweet Abattoir
Fast Bettie

Oh, yes. There will be a reckoning. I am going to slaughter me some farmers' daughters.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

City slickers, jello shots and farmers' daughters

Mark your calendars!


I am pleased to announce that after a few weeks of negotiations the long-awaited selling of $1 jello shots --no, your eyes did not deceive you; it's true: Dollar jello shots!-- at Ugly's Saloon in Iowa City is set to place. Next Friday, August 21st, starting at 8 PM you can mingle with your very own Old Capitol City Roller Girls and get your booze fix all at once! We will even be decked out in out skates and gear for your viewing pleasure.

In addition to our exhibition in Cosgrove on August 30th, we may play in another out-of-town game on Friday, September 11th. Rumor has it the Sioux City Roller Dames, at the opposite end of the state, are chomping at the bit to butt heads with us on their home turf. Updates will be posted as the potential bout develops; competing against them would have us all on our toes as none of the OCCRGs have lined up with the Sioux City Dames.

Good thing I have been upping my runs to four miles a day (save for Sundays and Wednesdays when derby practice is held). I want to be as fit as I can for future bouts by exerting myself outside of practice, particularly since our most recent practices have focused on learning new moves --crocodiles, anyone?-- and jamming strategies.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

On the go-go

Tynamite and Fast Betty practice blocking.

Where does the time go?

It seemed it was June just a short while ago.

Perhaps it is the unseasonably cool temperatures and intermittent cloudbursts that has me fooled.

But what does August mean for the Old Capitol City Roller Girls? After a busy June followed by a quiet July, August could end up a bustling month. While our first home bout has been postponed to October, it's seemingly in the cards that OCCRG will be making several other appearances this month.

We will be meeting fans and serving jello shots at Ugly's Saloon in Iowa City during the week of the 16th-22nd. We'll have an exact date posted later this week, but it looks like it will be Thursday or Friday evening. It should be a lot of fun; this is a super opportunity for fans to meet, ask questions and just mingle with their local roller girls. And who doesn't love a jello shot?

An exact time and location for the planned exhibition in Cosgrove on Sunday, August 30th is yet to be pinned down yet but it appears our own Toxic Sugar is spearheading this event, which should be an exciting preview of our home bout in two months' time.

NightMere has been in negotiations with the Iowa City Rugby Football Club/Magic Bus crew to make appearances and sell mugs --$20 mugs that will get you in free for the day, and for half-price at all the other games-- at several if not all of their games. Of course, OCCRG will also have their own merchandise (team tee shirts, our famous sex kitten tank tops, stickers, buttons and the like) available for purchase. The first game is against UNI on September 5th.

And finally, it sounds like a few of our girls will be playing for the Quad City Rollers when they face off on against the Mid Iowa Rollers in Des Moines on the 22nd. It appears our amicable rivals have lost a few girls on their roster to injury and asked if any of the OCCRGs would be interested in filling a few spots. Naturally, several of us were happy to volunteer as Sugar N' Splice and coach Banshee of the Quad City Rollers were gracious enough to skate with and coach us for our bout with Cedar Rapids back in June. Those on the team expressing interest were Toxic Sugar, Tynamite, GladI8Her, Fonda Cuffs and myself. I'm not sure if I'll be selected as I lack the experience, aplomb and all-around savviness of the other ladies who volunteered (though I think I somewhat compensate with youthful vigor and enthusiasm). It sure would be a neat opportunity to get some more mileage under my belt and add to a budding résumé.

Keep checking back for more updates!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Calamities and casualties

Last Sunday's practice was an eventual one for the Old Capitol City Roller Girls. Despite missing a good chunk of the line-up due to RAGBRAI, we still ended up having not one but two girls taken away on stretchers to the hospital.

Novice Crash Carelli, ever living up to her endearing name, was skating before practice when she lost her balance and fell backwards. But instead of landing on her bottom or back, it was her cranium that loudly absorbed the brunt of impact. We knew we had a problem when she could not remember the fall or what she was doing beforehand. When asked who the current president of the United States was, she paused before tepidly answering, "Bush?"

Despite this, Crash was still eager to practice and had to be coaxed into removing her gear and skates while waiting for the paramedics to arrive. (Our resident paramedics, Ophelia Fracture and Tynamite, were two of the ladies away biking; but fortunately fresh meat Jackie was there to take control of the situation.) She did have a concussion but would be permitted to be back on skates within a week.

Maybe an hour later we were practicing hip and shoulder blocks when GladI8Her zeroed in on neophyte Tyrant Angelica. She executed the shoulder block effectively and a resulting loud pop was heard as Tyrant Angelica careened into the wall. Tyrant Angelica complained of some neck pain while the same paramedics were called back out to Mercer Park again. It was a worrisome time but a few hours later the news would come back that Tyrant's CAT scan revealed no abnormalities with her spine and she would be released later that night.

Wednesday's practice was far less eventful, and I was beginning to think we were in the clear. By yesterday, our RAGBRAI absentees had returned to swell the population back up to close to its usual numbers. Practice was wontedly grueling, as we went through our arsenal of demanding drills including but not limited to shopping carts, planks, lap-after-lap plows and several games of tags. The veterans and I were performing jams before the studious eyes of the fresh meat when Hellyna Bucket tripped over someone's skate and went down hard.

But they say bad luck comes in threes, and this was third blow to the OCCRG roster. Hellyna ended up snapping her pinky finger at the base in two different places. This injury was doubly frustrating as Hellyna had only been back on her skates for two months following long layoff that began in February, when she fell during practice and broke an ankle. No word yet on how long she will be out of commission.

So it's safe to say OCCRG has reached its quota on player injuries and teammates will be saving their pent-up agression and unbridled fury for the team's first home bout, which is tentatively slated for October.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Of cabbages and queens

Yesterday the Old Capitol City Roller Girls took time out for a fun barbecue at Happy Hollow Park in Iowa City. It was quite possibly the first time most of us (minus a few ladies preparing for RAGBRAI) got together outside of practice at someplace other than a bar, besides skate-cleaning at Helena Bucket's house (a chore in itself).

This also meant husbands, partners, friends and kiddies could partake in the fun as well. Not even unseasonably cool temperatures and overcast skies could keep away the OCCRGs, who had assembled between themselves a sumptuous feast of fancy hamburgers, chips and salsa, grilled veggies, cookies, veggie burgers, homemade guacamole, multifarious fruits and enough pineapple to satisfy yours truly.

It would be unbecoming of me at this point not to give major props to skater Dre, who began organizing the soiree late last month despite a very busy work schedule.

Happy Hollow has relatively modern playground but it was probably Atomic Bombshell's simple two-toned rope which was the biggest hit with the children, who used it for several games of tug-of-war and jump rope. Making s'mores (ingredients and below photos supplied by Left 4 Deadwards) was also popular.

"I like them black," said Atomic Bombshell's daughter Isabel. "So did my mother," I offered inappropriately.

Unidentified meat in the NightMere - Hitzy Blonde sandwich.

Everyone seemed to have a good time socializing and the general consensus is that we should not go too long without planning another get-together. Food and drinks were plentiful, spirits were high and sure enough the sun did come out within an hour of gathering.

Now if we could only get the whole team together next time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Learning curve

July has been a slow albeit productive month for the Old Capitol City Roller Girls, who have been training quite hard, as if their was a bout in the near future.

August is slated to be a far busier month. Plans to make appearances at Iowa City's Ugly's Saloon, the NAPA store and the Wellman Skating Rink
are in negotiaitons. Far more concrete is the plan to take part in a scrimmage/exhibition in Cosgrove, Iowa (about a half-hour drive west of Iowa City), to meet and greet with fans. It is set for Sunday, August 30, with the time to be determined.

On a more personal front, during water breaks at practice, I have taken to staying on the track and sprinting solo for a few minutes. I push myself as hard as my lungs and legs will allow. This is a goal I have set for myself to improve my performance during away jams. Looking back over both my bouts with the Cedar Rapids Rollergirls and the Quad City Rollers in June, I still feel I wasn't pushing myself as hard as I was capable of. I'm pretty quick now --although still nowhere near the fleetness of the untouchable Ophelia Fracture-- and I think it I put my "balls to the wall," so to speak, I'd give the opposing team less time to react; less time to guess my trajectory.

I guess my hesitation harkens to a childhood fear I had of falling. As a track and cross country runner, I was quite lazy -- I only ran as hard as I had to win, often easing up towards the end of an apparent victory. But if I happened to run against a girl of equal of greater swiftness I can remember fully extending myself, really reaching for that finish line. There was this frantic moment where I noticed, during full flight, I couldn't even feel the ground beneath my feet as I pounded the earth. This sensation made me more reluctant to push myself to an effort beyond what was needed to win.

But roller derby is a completely different sport. You need to take those chances, dive for those holes. Tenacity and perseverance may make the difference in dashing through the pack, getting that final point.

I will never stop giving my all.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Keep rolling


With our June bouts behind us and our first home bout likely to not materialize before September, you'd think July would be down time for the Old Capitol City Roller Girls.

Think again.

Coach Hitzy Blonde still has us going through our usual rigorous regimen of stamina drills and core exercises. That means endless pack exercises (think 40 consecutive laps), plenty of crunches and planks, flying basketballs (don't ask), side-stepping along gym floor lines, whips and suicide (fall) drills.

Oh, yes. The falls.

Last week Hitzy Blonde taught us a new fall. Or rather, reminded us of one that all of us veterans had already involuntarily performed -- the Barrel Roll.

A relatively simple concept: Getting knocked off balance or rammed by a skater of the opposing team, the assaulted player absorbs the hit by dropping to one knee and rolling to the side.

Yet, as we found out, there are a million ways to screw it up.

The few friends and family members of the Old Capitol City Roller Girls that came to watch practice were treated to a veritable sideshow of us all making utter fools of ourselves. My first attempt resulted in me rolling up onto my shoulder and yelping violently.

"This," I thought to myself. "This does not feel right." I looked around and witnessed my teammates attempting the barrel roll with little success. Hitzy Blonde, hearing the groans around her, demonstrated again while breaking the roll down into numbered steps.

As I dove into my sixth or seventh attempt, I overshot the distance and rolled into the next lane, nearly crashing into someone. Once the motion had ceased I looked up and found myself looking up Animal Mother's rear end, tan and plump as a honeybaked ham.

Some bruised shoulders and sore necks later, I'm still not sure what we accomplished. Maybe months or years down the road, when I am skating in a bout, a burly, unsavory Amazon will send me flying and I will come out of it unscathed, having instinctly performed the perfect barrel roll.

Or maybe not. But I'll just keep rolling with the punches.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Extracurricular activities

As of 4:15 on Friday, the Old Capitol City Roller Girls were all set for the exhibition/mock bout against the Quad City Rollers at Sturgis on the River. We met in the Fin 'n Feather parking lot and after taking a head count and discussing directions we all piled into our cars and took off. The rain was just starting to sprinkle then and soon turned into a complete downpour. But we trudged on, hoping it was a little bit drier in Davenport.

How wrong we were.

My own vehicle and another OCCRG carload did make it all the way to Davenport. However, a few of our other girls were less fortunate. They made it as far as Walcott only to see a tornado bearing down on them, and had hop off the interstate and scramble for cover in a gas station bathroom.

Back in Davenport it was pouring buckets and the conditions were treacherous: Visibility was poor, street lights were out, roads were flooded and ambulances and police cruisers whizzed by.

In the end, no one was hurt but understandably the girls stranded in Walcott decided to turn around and go home, as it was clear there was no way to proceed with the exhibition with such conditions. But those of us who did make it all the way to Davenport decided to celebrate regardless with pizza and beer --and a cherry piña colada for yours truly-- at Old Chicago. So the trip was not a complete bust.

Today Mother Nature was much more cooperative and the team was greeted by soaring temperatures and sunny blue skies for the Pride Parade in downtown Iowa City. Dressed for the occasion in our uniforms, skates, pads and assorted rainbow jewelry, we skated in the parade and enjoyed handing out candy to citizens and kids. The reception was overwhelmingly positive and everyone seemed to be having a good time. At the nearby Pride Festival afterwards the team set up shop with a table and merchandise. We sold a decent number of shirts and buttons and quite a few people signed up to be on our mailing list.


Stay tuned for a July schedule; OCCRG is planning to make appearances at the Wellman Skating Rink, another NAPA event and Ugly's Saloon in Iowa City.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Knowing succession

This past Saturday the Old Capitol City Roller Girls went up against the Cedar Rapids Roller Girls at the U.S. Cellular Center. Though we went down in defeat we were ultra game and fought tenaciously.

The Old Capitol City Roller Girls themselves are a bit of an underdog story. We formed in November and only made our bouting debut on June 6th. On that day we faced the Quad City Rollers, a venerable three-year-old team; on Saturday we were pitted against a team with eighteen months' experience to our seven. So it was an uphill battle before we even stepped out onto the rink, and we knew that going in. Still, I think we surpassed everyones' expectations.

Especially considering we were encumbered by a dirty head referee who called every penalty our team made but was loathe to call penalties against his own home team. It also didn't help that the scores weren't always correct, as earned points were not always being added to our score. And we were still missing key players Bat R Up (who will be returning to us from Utah next month), Benzo Bang (still out with a bum knee) and GladI8Her (sick with pneumonia).

So, all in all, not a bad effort. And perhaps more importantly, we now know our weaknesses and what to work on.

The last practice before the game was buoyed by the presence of the proficient and ever-supportive Sugar 'N Slice and Banshee of the Quad City Rollers, both of whom generously offered their assistance to the Old Capitol City Roller Girls. (Sugar 'n' Slice herself skated with our team Saturday while Banshee coached from the bench.) New drills kept everyone motivated and Sugar 'n' Splice, noticing my ardor, took the time to show me a few pointers.

"My advice is like candy," she told me nonchalantly. "Take what you like and leave what you don't. But with you it's all about harnessing that power."

On a personal note I skated more far more competently than in my debut in Davenport. I hopped back onto my feet quickly when I was knocked down --save for the time my right toe stop came flying off but that couldn't be helped-- focused on the jam instead of the crowd and held my own blocking against some much larger girls. I also got lead jammer status once, but am still a very long way from emulating MVP Ophelia Fracture.

OCCRG's resident tourbillon, Ophelia Fracture

Monday, June 8, 2009

A newfound hunger/ Outperformance

When I worked with racehorses in Kentucky, we had several maidens (horses who were yet to win a race) in our care. Most of them had never started in a race and were what you would call "green." To make the transition to racehorses much smoother myself and other co-workers did a lot of what we called schooling.

We took them to the paddock, or saddling area, in between races to let them see the crowds up close. We trained them in the mornings to break quickly from the starting gate. Sometimes we shipped them to the track weeks ahead of time to let them get a feel for the surface and acclimated to their new surroundings.

And sometimes --some may argue most of the time-- they run mediocrely in their debuts despite all the preparation. They might become stressed and act out against their handlers, spook at shadows or try to jump the tire tracks left on the racetrack from the drag used to smooth the surface. They may stumble coming out of the gate, become overeager and fight their rider, or maybe the light bulb simply doesn't come on until the end of the race.

But with the experience of one race under their belt, horses tend run much more professionally in their second start. It's a popular betting angle to play the horse who ran greenly in his debut but has, more confidently, put in good workouts since for its next outing.

Sweet Abattoir, Animal Mother and Toxic Sugar representing OCCRG

What does this have to do with roller derby? Perhaps very little but I think it illustrates my experience skating in Saturday's bout versus the Quad City Rollers. I was, to put it lightly, quite green. As a jammer I was tardy at the start, gawked at the crowd when I should have been pushing myself for all I was worth and seemed dazed when knocked down by members of the opposing team.

No, my performance wasn't disasterous but it was far from my best. But while I might I have gotten down on myself for it in the past, instead I felt a burning desire to push myself harder. I feel so much more hungry now to get back out on the track and prove that I can do better. That there is still room for improvement now that I have my first bout under my belt. I now really know and have experienced what it all entails: Traveling to the venue, skating on a new surface, playing against strangers in front of a large crowd.

But enough about me. How about those Old Capitol City Roller Girls, who in their very first bout pushed the Quad City Rollers to a narrow 135-132 win? We gave them all they could handle and then some, despite having first-timers like myself and Shell Be Flying on the roster and missing some of our marquee names (namely Bat R Up and the injured Benzo Bang) from the line-up. A personal best was getting lead jammer status during one of the jams, though undoubtedly the real stars of the night were GladI8Her and Ophelia "Grand Slam" Fracture who blitzed past the Quad City girls like they were standing still.

Left 4 Deadwards is lead jammer! (As designated by the affable Howie Swerve.)

It was a huge effort from a tremendous team who only came into existence last November against a team that has been around for over three years. I couldn't be prouder to be a part of the Old Capitol City Roller Girls, who continue to turn heads and earn respect and new fans wherever they skate.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Promoting and spotlighting

Today a few of the Old Capitol City Roller Girls --namely Fonda Cuffs, Animal Mother, Left 4 Deadwards, Tynamite and yours truly-- made their public debut at NAPA's tool sale on Highway 1. It was a resounding success on all fronts.

With buckets in hand, we introduced ourselves to employees and visitors alike, described our team background and answered various questions ranging from "Where do you skate?" to "Do you girls do private parties?"

The reception was decidedly positive and I think we've secured a number of new fans both young and old. Cruising around the store and in the parking lot in our skates, derby garb and pads we drew a lot of attention and even a few honks from the highway. In the process we raised a princely sum of money for the team and even secured a new sponsor in NAPA. And yes, they fed us brautwursts too.

If you weren't in attendance, you surely missed a good time. The roller girls posed for a slew of photos (definitely keepers!) and handed out fliers, and Tynamite even drove a forklift!

But don't worry, this was but one of several appearances the Old Capitol City Roller Girls will make this month in addition to their scheduled bouts (see schedule in May 17th post).

If you are interested in having the Old Capitol City Roller Girls appear at your own shindig, drop us a line!

Greeting a young fan

Fonda Cuffs shows her wild side

Sweetening up the day for NAPA employees

You know you want some of that

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Derby dreamin'

With less than two weeks to our first official bout of the season, it's crunch time for the Old Capitol City Roller Girls.

That means brutal practices full of sit-ups, stretches, push-ups, planks and endless pack drills. We sweat and bruise and toil under fluorescent lights until our sides hurt, our feet blister and the pungent scent of 'derby stank' fills the gymnasium.

All for the greater cause of becoming the most formidable team we can be, so tough and reputable that other roller derby teams quiver in their Riedell boots at the mere mention of our name.

We're a hungry bunch, with anticipation building towards our packed June schedule. The veterans are rougher, ramming each other during jams well past the "50% hits" strength limit set by the coaches. They grow feistier with each push and fall. Most of the new girls --or fresh meat, as they are called-- stand back and watch, their faces an uncertain melange of keenness and apprehension, save for the few who possess the bravado to join the fray.

I imagine some of the fresh meat feel by practice's end they are in for more than they bargained for, but my eyes scan them all with due acumen. There is unbridled potential there, but with shaky legs on skates and tepid attempts during drills the elite won't make themselves known for some time, adding to the mystery.

But for now we're simply glad to have them here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New beginnings and growing legends

Taking a spin with neophyte Phoebe

How exciting it is to have so many new girls join our team and breathe new life into practices. They are an enthusiastic and plucky bunch who persevere despite frequent falls, labored breathing, cramps and brag-worthy bruises.

And it is so surreal to hear them lean over and whisper, "You're so good at this; I totally suck at it," in a mix of admiration and earnesty. For it seems like only yesterday that I struggled like them; tripping and falling all over the place and failing to keep up with the more experienced girls. I remember feeling frustrated and anxious over the pace of my progress, and wondered to myself if I'd ever be able to compete with the girls I admired most on the team; the girls who seemed so agile and made it all look so effortless.

Certainly, I am much improved now; quicker on my feet and more confident in my ability to strike and evade. I've jammed a few times and it is absolutely exhilerating -- I think I have found my athletic calling.

But I am quick to comfort the discouraged new girl; to pull her aside and confess that I, too, took some time to find my stride. That I truly was a "d. zaster" on wheels before practice and hardwork made my ascendancy as a player much more prominent.

Because they may have been a girl who was a natural at roller derby, but it sure wasn't me.

And I'm okay with that.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A month of fisticuffs, treks and candy

This just in! The Old Capitol City Roller Girls have released their June schedule:

June 2nd -- OCCRG make an appearance at NAPA's auto parts/tool sale from 11 AM - 1 PM.

June 6th -- OCCRG versus the Quad City Rollers at the RiverCenter in Davenport at 7 PM.

June 7th -- Volunteering at the Ped Mall for Children's Day at the Iowa Arts Festival.

June 13th -- Pirates of the Corridor: At Flood's End. OCCRG versus the Cedar Rapids Rollergirls at the U.S. Cellular Center at 7 PM.

June 19th -- OCCRG will be in Davenport to play the Quad City Rollers for Sturgis on the River.

June 20th -- Skating and handing out candy (Yes, FREE CANDY!) in Iowa City's Pride Parade.