Friday, January 30, 2009

From Baby Steps to Leaps of Faith

In day to day life, people set goals for themselves.  From the most simple, such as, "I will recycle one piece of paper today to help the environment",  to others that seem almost impossible, like a two pack a day smoker quitting cold turkey. Such different missions to accomplish for each candidate, and depending on the ambition of the person, the simple goal can become the difficult and vice-versa

If you play a competitive sport, chances are you have plenty of goals that you would like to achieve. Become faster, get stronger, have more stamina, jump higher.  We set goals as individuals and goals as teams. Through watching our predecessors, we become inspired to reach higher, run further, hit harder, fall smaller. Still, one person's easy goal can be another's major hurdle.

In roller derby a simple drill for one skater can be what seems like an extreme obstacle course for another.  For all of those struggling to reach even the most simple of achievements, know that for every skater who glides through drills like they are second nature, there is a skater who is battling to make that first crossover.  Have patience, stick it out and keep trying, because if you really want it, you will do it.

After being taught for over a year how to jump while on skates, for the very first time last night, I performed what could be considered a good jump.  It came to me out of nowhere.  My feet left the floor and the air seemed to just hold them up without my really thinking about it.  I never liked jumping and always dreaded the drills that required practicing this skill.  Still, I tried my best to push myself through even though I was never happy during the process.  Suddenly, last night, I jumped without really thinking about it.  It just sort of happened.  I jumped once, jumped twice, jumped and landed 180 degrees facing the other direction and jumped again.  Are there skaters who can jump better and higher than I did last night? Many.  But that's ok.  I jumped higher than I ever have and that's what mattered to me.  I'm telling you this not to brag or boast, and not to give you the impression that because it took me so long to learn something, it will take you over a year to learn whatever it is you're trying to do (but if it does, that's ok).  I'm telling you this, because I want you to keep the faith, let yourself go, and do your best to have fun in the process of it all.  That crossover will happen, your speed can excel, your hits will get harder, you will learn to stand up on those skates and balance.  Do all that you can to stay focused and always remember that no goal, no matter what it may be, is too small. 


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Throwin' Down in Morristown

The Roller Rebels are going to be spending a bit of time in New Jersey over the next few months and you should all be there to join in on the fun! Read on to see how you can get in on the good stuff.

This Saturday, January 31st, we'll be heading over to watch The Morristown Madams take on The Hudson Valley Horrors.

This is exciting for three reasons. First, the obvious, it's a bout and it doesn't get much better than that. Second, we have friends on both teams and it will be great to see them battle it out and spend some time with them at the after party. And third, two Roller Rebels are volunteering to each coach a team. Yep, once again, Captain Morgan and D-Ball are up against each other. Good luck on the benches ladies!

But the fun doesn't stop there because on Saturday, February 28th, The Morristown Madams have invited us to join them on the track for some hard hitting derby action. Two kick-ass teams will be comprised of members from each league, which should definitely make for an interesting bout. Both bouts will be held at Morristown Inline Rink, 30 Pine Street Morristown, NJ and start at 7:00, doors open at 6:00.

Finally, in March, we make another trip to visit our cute-n-brutal Madams, for a non-stop action scrimmage. Sorry folks, no tickets for sale on this one. Just a bunch of derby girls getting together to knock each other down.

New Jersey never looked so good!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Grazie, Gracias, Danke Shane, Merci!

Writing for the blog has become one of my passions and I always look forward to posting my thoughts on this public bulletin board. I suppose writing has been something I've always loved, but for the first time I feel like it serves a purpose for someone other than myself. I am so honored to represent The Roller Rebels and am thrilled that I am able to get information about the league and roller derby out to the public in a way that people find interesting. So while I'm happy to be able to express myself here, I'm even more excited that I have faithful readers who tune in and best of all respond. I want to send out a big thank you to all of you who take the time out to read my posts. Thank you for reading, thank you for commenting, thank you for your emails, thank you for checking off that little "Etta, this rocks" box. It means more to me than you know. Also, a special thank you to Mega Watts for coming up with the clever name, The Rebel Yell!

Derby plays such an important roll in the lives of so many women and men. It helps us through the rough patches we slip on in life, brings us new family and friends and supports strong, independent women. It keeps us healthy and aids in weight loss and enables us to realize we can do things we never thought we could. It helps us conquer our fears and teaches us the meaning of dedication and commitment. It is our source for fun and our outlet for stress. It is a community where we can all come together and share a common thread. It serves it's own purpose to each individual and it is amazing!
Photos Courtesy of Krystyna

Please keep the questions and comments coming and I promise to do my best to continue to keep all of you informed.

Many thanks again!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stuck Around a While and Got My Kicks

I made it over to Matty T's last night with two of my roller girls, Amaretto Sourpuss and Carnage Electra, for The Elvis Tribute/Food Drive.  The bar was filled from wall to wall with people of all ages who gathered together to help raise money for local food banks and listen to over 45 Elvis cover songs being performed by various talents. The show started at about 9:30 and was still going on after we left at 1:30AM.  We had the pleasure of listening to both female and male performers, each with their own unique sound.  PBRs were just $2.50 and for only $10 and a can of beets, I was admitted to a show that was better than a peanut butter and banana sandwich.  I felt like I was robbing them! In addition, we got to spend some time chatting with our friends Roy and Mike from The Buzzards and a good time was had by all.  It was so nice to see such a huge turnout for this important cause, especially in temperatures below 20 degrees!  This is an annual event, so if you missed this one, be sure to catch the Elvis tribute again next year.

Sadly there were no Elvis sightings, but rock sure CAN roll!


Friday, January 23, 2009

I'm All Shook Up

Well it's one for the money, two for the food, three to hear Elvis covers, now go cat go!

Want to spend a Saturday night doing something fun? How about listening to great music? Want to do both and contribute to a worthy cause all at the same time? Well tomorrow night, you can do just that! Make your way on over to Matty T's in Deer Park where a slew of fantastic musicians will be rocking out for their 15th Annual Elvis Show. The show is held yearly to help raise food and money for the non-profit organization, rock CAN roll, Inc. Admission is just $10 along with a canned food item (or any non- perishable item). All proceeds benefit local food banks and outreach centers. AND, The Roller Rebels' friends The Buzzards will be covering some of The King's greatest hits.

Don't miss this great event!!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Ask Etta

Welcome to the first edition of "Ask Etta", my new monthly column designed to answer all of your questions. Today, I'm going answer some questions sent to me from my lovely new acquaintance and loyal blog reader, Ivanna Shoverova. Ivanna plays for Adelaide Roller Derby in South Australia (see the friends blogging can bring you?!). Thanks for the questions Ivanna!

Dear Etta,
How long have you been involved in derby? I've been involved in derby for one year and three months. I started as a fresh blood in October of 2007.
What/Who got you started? I went roller skating in late September of 2007 for the first time in many years. Roller skating was always something I LOVED and so I decided to check it out again for fun. I went to a local rink where one of our refs and player of The NY Shock Exchange, Rinkworm, happened to be skating. He approached me at the end of the session, gave me his card and told me I should try out for roller derby. I thought he was crazy! I didn't know much about the sport and had the common preconceived notion that it was just a lot of big girls throwing each other around. Ignorance on my part! I looked up the league's website, did a little bit of research, emailed MadDonna (one of our veterans and coaches) and showed up for tryouts......and the rest as they say is history!

What is your set up? I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "set up". Our track?? We practice at a local public skating rink (United Skates of America) during their off hours. The floor is made of wood. We sort of estimate track size on the rink and work within those imaginary lines. Our home bouts take place at a rink (Skate Safe America)that holds hockey games and has a sports court floor. Did you mean league set up??

Who is your most admired derby individual (can include refs/zebras/coaches)? This is such a difficult question because I admire any woman who makes an attempt at playing roller derby, but if I had to choose one person, it would be Captain Morgan, Captain and President of The Long Island Roller Rebels. She is first and foremost an amazingly, fearless blocker and hitter and her dedication to derby and in particular our league, is immeasurable. I admire the way she can take on such demanding responsibilities and still find fun in playing. She is derby!

Thanks so much for your questions Ivanna. I'll have another round of questions answered next month, so keep em' coming!


Send a letter, ask Etta!

Ok readers, in an attempt to quench your thirsts for more Q&A posts, I've decided to feature a monthly "Ask Etta" column. Thank you to all of you who have sent me emails or left comments with questions on my posts. Your enthusiasm is what helps keep me going and I love having you all be a part of this blog. I really want to keep this column alive, so please email me ( any questions you may have. Whether they are league related, in regards to roller derby or not, about another league member, something you would like advice on, something you would like to know about me, it doesn't matter, just ask! This goes for you too Roller Rebels!!

Another feature I'm working on, which was inspired by my teammate Doc Block, is a "Letters to The Ettator" column. Send me an email about your derby experience, or something else you would like to contribute to the blog and I will feature it. Don't be shy, shout it out.!! To start, this column may not appear regularly, but with the help of all of you, it soon can!

If you decide to send something in, be it question or contribution and wish to remain anonymous, that's fine. Just let me know and you will become "Lone Star" of Nassau County or "High Roller" from One Town get the idea.

So stayed tuned this week(especially you Ivanna Shoverova) for the first segment of "Ask Etta". In the meantime, here's a funny letter sent to an advice columnist in The Buffalo Evening News from 1915, found on mister_scantastic's flicker account:


Friday, January 16, 2009

Skills and Skates

Last night Captain Morgan and Roxie Heartless along with help from Psychobilly, ran a skills and skates class. The class was mainly set up to prepare our fresh bloods for their written skills test and to also help them learn more about skates; The various parts, how to clean and maintain them, which skates might be better for various foot problems, etc. The class went well and I think that the fresh bloods learned a lot from it. It was super informative for veterans as well. I definitely learned new things and got the questions I had about wheels and rules answered. No matter how much you think you know, it always seems you can learn something new, especially with the WFTDA rules changing so frequently. Which brings me to my next topic.

A few weeks ago, I came across a website/blog I'd like to share with you. It's run by Rei Zerburnn of the Lilac City Roller Girls (whose logo is adorable). When her search for derby information on the web only returned results for places to buy gear or look up bout stats, Rei decided that it was time to change that. So in an effort to help herself and other derby girls Fishnet Burnns was born. It's a great place to look up derby topics, find new drills and she even has her own shop set up. Since we have our skills test coming up, I thought that some of you might find this article helpful. Check it out and let me know what you all think.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Better Late Than Never

Tonight was our second attempt to make it up to Westchester County. Chest Blockwell picked me up and we trekked up North to attend a Suburbia practice and although we arrived late (due to traffic), we made it! On the way Chest and I joked as we approached the exit where the demise of Captain's car took place two nights earlier. We remembered landmarks and imagined how the five of us looked standing there in the snow.

When we arrived at The Yonkers P.A.L. Center, practice had already started and was about 1/2 way through. Chest and I, still both coughing from whatever sickness we have, geared up, warmed up, stretched and then joined the rest of the welcoming league. IV Drop ran a well organized and fun practice. The drills we participated in were all pack/scrimmage/jammer assist drills. Each one a little different and all of which were great practice for strategy and bouting. We heard that the first half of practice consisted of some grueling endurance and just after a bout! Go Suburbia! Sorry we missed out on that, but we definitely enjoyed the last half!

It was a pleasure to meet ALL of you wonderful ladies (some for the second time). Thank you all for having us. Ann Sane and Suffah Kate, awesome chatting with you both. Special thanks to Taryn Limbs for letting me try on her skates. Little feet deserve comfort too! My skates hurt my feet and I always want to try someone else's on to see how I like them. Unfortunately, no one in my league has feet even close to my size and as you know, there aren't any stores around here that sell skates. So thanks again! El Pass-O, I didn't have a chance to try yours out, maybe next time?

Thanks again for having us ladies. Hope to see you all again soon!

Etta Jams

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Derby In Tow

Late afternoon, I started to get dressed and ready for tonight's event. Hair done and make up on, I grabbed my hat, scarf, gloves and coat and made my way out into the falling snow towards D-Ball's house. One stop to pick her up and then off to Captain Morgan's apt where a total of ten of us would meet up and drive to the Suburbia bout. Her adorable cats Maverick and Goose rolled around at our feet, begging for some attention, but we were too busy with make up application and victory rolling. Soon, we were ready to go. We split up into two cars. D-Ball, FB Mary Kate, Captain, Chest and I were in one car. While Tail Gunner Flo, Amaretto Sourpuss, Doc Block, FB Jenn and FB Jessica were in another. Off we went.

The snow started to come down a little harder and faster than when I first left my apartment, but traffic was moving and we were well on our way. We laughed, listened to music and talked as Chest drove. We were about half way there when all of a sudden, the car would no longer accelerate. Chest's foot was on the gas, but the car was not moving. She somehow made it over to the shoulder just in time before the car just completely shut down. We made a call to the girls in the other car to find out their whereabouts. They had already made it over the bridge and were past us. So Chest made a call to 311 and we got out of the car; her advising us how dangerous it is to be in a parked car on the side of the highway. So out in 28 degree weather, with snow falling and wind blowing, we stood behind the barrier of the snow-filled shoulder. Not long after, a tow truck pulled up to help us out. Great, I'm thinking, he can take the car, but how are we all going to fit in that tow truck? Are we going to have to walk until we find a place to keep warm and wait? Who can we call that can pick us up quickly or at all? Will we make it to the bout? Suddenly, the tow truck driver, whose name shall remain anonymous, told us that one of us could ride in the cab with him and the rest of us could get in the car while he towed it! We complied. This roller coasteresque experience was a first for all of us. We sat there as this cable lifted the front end of the car on to a flatbed, which remained in a tilted position for the entire ride. Chest chatted up the driver about derby and we gained a new fan. He got us to the nearest service station where we waited for Jefferee to pick us up. The driver spoke to us about derby and how he can't wait to come to our next bout. He surveyed us and then said "Do you all play"? We answered "yes". Then he looked over at me and said "Even you"? We laughed as I told him that small girls play too!

As we stood in the tiny, cold office of the station, we still managed to laugh and have fun. That's when you know you're with the right people. Friends who can share a good time no matter what.

Jefferee picked us up, we piled into the warm car and all went out for dinner. So although we didn't make it to the bout, we still had fun being together.

As for the girls who made it to the bout, we all exchanged text and picture messages and they seemed to be having a great time!
So Suburbia, hope you ladies had a great bout and sorry that only half of us made it out to see you. We'll catch the next one!
Etta Jams

Friday, January 9, 2009

May I Take Your Order?

This Saturday, January 10th, I'm heading up North to Westchester County with a few of the other Rebels to watch Suburbia Roller Derby as they split into two teams; Snow Bunnies and Ice Queens, and battle each other out on the track. These girls have helped us out numerous times by stepping up to play for the Rebels when we were short skaters. I'm looking forward to seeing some familiar faces on their home turf. If you live in the area, or even if you don't and are looking for an awesome way to spend your Saturday night, come and check it out. Tickets are just $12 and for only $8 more you can buy yourself some track side seats which include goody bags and get this, waitress service! My question of course is, "Are they roller skating waitresses"? How cool would that be!? I'll take some fries and a shake!

See you there!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Rockabilly Roller

In junior high school there is always a girl who everyone wants to be like, dress like, talk like. Well this Roller Rebel is one who we all want to skate like. Johnny Cash listening, flask carrying, pompadour wearing, with long legs of fury; this rockabilly roller will whip by you so fast, the wind in her trails just may knock you over. Her legs are about the length of some small skaters and it seems as though she can make it half way around the track with just two crossovers. Some skaters are fast, some block well, and some have great form. This derby girl flawlessly possess all of those skills and at the same time makes them all look so easy to do. She is truly devoted to the sport and you will understand this when you watch her skate. To be up against her on the track, I wish you luck because you will probably be left in the dust. Meet the skater who somehow makes it all come together so easily. Roller Rebel of the month, Amaretto Sourpuss!!

Derby Name: Amaretto Sourpuss

Derby #: 214 aka 2Ns

Position: Jammer, Pivot, Blocker

Worst derby injury: I don't get em', I give em'

Describe roller derby in one word: Extreme

If you could invite anyone to play derby with you, who would it be?: My friend Cassie from VA Beach and my puppy Hollywood.

Favorite derby memory: Getting thrown out of the Delaware bout with Jefferee and him throwing a chair.

Tell me something about you that would surprise people: I'm an excellent parallel parker.

Always: Look dangerous

Never: Eat Chipotle or Regine's knishes before a bout

A great skater: Stays focused and never gives up

Before a bout I: Drink 8 hour energy shots with Chest Blockwell

When I am not playing derby: I am drunk

Skate on!!
Want to learn more about Amaretto Sourpuss? Visit the team page on our website and click on her name to view her bio.

Easing On In

I'm happy to say that I and all of the others who were there, survived the first night back at practice. Thankfully, Jefferee and Captain Morgan eased us in. Still, practice was pretty rough for me. I definitely wasn't at my fastest and I could not squat nearly as long as I normally can, but I made it through. I am anticipating the soreness that my arms will be experiencing by tomorrow or the next day (sometimes it takes a couple of days for the pain to kick in). The push ups we did were killer! Start with arms fully extended and lower yourself on the count of 10. Do this without letting yourself touch the ground until you reach number 10 and do 10 repetitions. Have I said 10 yet? Another drill we did was alternating between sprinting and squatting for 15 seconds each. I'm not sure how long that drill was, but it seemed like forever at the time.

Other interesting highlights included:
-lots of new girls
-the return of some first season veterans
-the return of an injured skater (go Beth!)
-Heidi Hoe Bag's surprising new haircut (love it!)
-Josh our photographer there snapping shots

Hey Roller Rebels, have I left anything out? It was so great to see all of you!

Ok, I'm going to try and sleep now, but I'm not sure if that's going to happen with all of this energy I've got. Wish me luck!

Sweet dreams.....

Monday, January 5, 2009

We're Back!

It's here. The night that seemed so far away is finally here. Tonight, we return to United Skates to gear up and get back on the rink for our first practice in about a month. I have mixed feelings about it. I'm really looking forward to seeing some of my favorite faces, talking about the exciting bouts, scrimmages and events to come and getting back on my skates. However, I'm wondering how well I am going to make it through those rough drills after being away for so long and with a little bit of extra weight on me. I'm also still recovering from my New Year's Eve sickness. I've spoken to some of my teammates who share this fear, so I have been reassured that I'm not the only one feeling this way. What I keep in mind is the high I will experience when the endorphins kick in and the thought that I know will hit is "How was I able to stay away for so long". How about the rest of you skaters out there? How do you make it through after taking a break?


Derby in the news!

One of my fellow derby girls (thanks Jenn!) shared a link with the league on our message board today. Roller derby was on CBS news this morning. At first I was just so happy to hear that derby was on TV. Then, as I read the article posted on the website, I was even more excited to see that the featured skaters were the Garden State Rollergirls, a league we know well. Better yet, the bout footage that they presented was one where many of the Long Island Roller Rebels volunteered to help out. If you look quickly, you can catch a glimpse of Captain Morgan, who was guest coaching, #2 who helped out with stats and Astra Zombie and Psychobilly who were reffing. I'm sure if I watch it again, I might see some other Roller Rebels who were there. I too was there that night, along with some of the other girls, to watch and it was definitely a night to remember. Congrats GSR! Here's the video....

Sunday, January 4, 2009


I recently put a poll up on the blog asking if you would like to see more question and answer posts. Only 9 people voted, but they all voted 'yes'. That said, I am going to move forward and feature some new Q&A posts. I've been thinking about the possible ways to go about getting questions asked and answered and I thought I would throw my ideas out to you and get some input. Here are some things I have in mind:

-Veterans ask Fresh Bloods questions
-Readers ask the Ettator questions
-The Ettator asks you questions
-The Ettator asks random people roller derby questions

I'm open to other suggestions as well. So please do let me know your thoughts on this.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 To Do List

Happy New Year to all of my readers! Hope everyone had a blast last night and that you are all recovering well today. What did you all do? I was supposed to meet up with some of my roller girls to see one of our favorite bands, The Buzzards, but I woke up yesterday plagued with a fever and sore throat and so the show went on while I was nestled under the warm covers. I hear it was amazing! I'm not surprised, as they always rock it! Catch you boys (and my girls) next time.

I have some fun things planned for the blog that I wanted to let you all know about. First, get ready to read up on one of your favorite roller girls, cuz the January Roller Rebel of the month will be posted soon! This is one of my favorite features on the blog because it enables us to get to know a little bit more about each member of the league. Of course as the months go on I will continue to keep you up to date with the happenings of The Rebels, but I also have some other fun stuff planned. As requested, more Q&A posts, more contributions from people other than me and something I'm really excited about, contests! I thought it would be cool to give people a chance to participate in something different and get to score some fun prizes. I have several ideas for these, but as always would love to hear your comments and suggestions. Is there anything you would like to see on the blog for 2009?

I do have one thing that I would like all of you to add to your "to do" lists. If you haven't already done so, please join The Long Island Roller Rebels' mailing list. We promise not to send you any spam, just official updates about league events. Simply visit our website, scroll down on the home page, and fill your email address in the little box on the left. Thanks!

Ok, so as always, I would LOVE to hear from all of you. Send me your ideas, suggestions, hate mail (yikes), comments, etc to