Friday, September 25, 2009

Whip It!

If you haven't already heard, which would mean that you live under a rock out in a forest somewhere, a new movie about roller derby is coming out (pre-screenings have already taken place). Whip It, starring Ellen Page, premieres in theatres October 2nd. This long awaited film, giving Drew Barrymore her directorial debut, has got millions of people antsy with anticipation. The movie covers a vast range of fans through various demographics; the lost, rebellious teenage girl, the strange and strict parents, fans of Ellen Page from her performance in Juno, and most of all fans of roller derby.

Most people I've spoken to who have seen the trailer, are in agreeance that the movie looks really good. While I find the same to be true, I do have some reservations. Though the story line looks fun, I wonder, will the film show roller derby as the sport that it truly is? Will drills and skills be embellished to the point that a derby player can see that they're not real? I am a fan of Drew Barrymore, and although I don't always find her acting to be top notch, I do enjoy her as an entertainer (I was blown away by her performance as Little Edie in HBO's Grey Gardens). That being said, I am going in with an open mind and a positive attitude and think that I will leave the theatre feeling good.

What I'm hoping for more importantly though, is that this movie will breathe new life into the world of roller derby. That more people will benefit from all of the wonderful things this sport and community bring. I predict that the number of girls showing up to try out is going to grow as is the number of fans going to see bouts. As a fellow derby player, I can't wait to welcome all of the newcomers!

With all of that in mind, The Long Island Roller Rebels will be making appearances at a couple of movie theatres. Stop on by to see the movie and meet a Rebel. On Friday, October 2nd from 7-9PM, we will be at The Westbury United Artist Theatre and on Saturday, October 3rd from 2-4 we will be at Island 16 Cinemas in Holtsville. We'll be handing out information on both our next bout and our next open house, try out event and answering any questions you have.

For those of you who are a little more adventurous, on Saturday, October 3rd you can lace up some skates and head on over to Hot Skates in Lynbrook, NY for another Whip It event. Join us and radio stations WBAB & WBLI, while we celebrate the opening of the movie. Plenty of fun and lots of give aways!

Get ready to whip it good!

Etta Jams

Monday, September 14, 2009

Not Your Typical Bubble Gum and Legos

Hey Skating Maniacs!

Celtic Thunder once again here to torch you with some great stories from some serious Roller Men!

Today, we take a bull’s eye look at Bazooka Joe # 49 of the Pioneer Valley Dirty Dozen.

But before we do…you see that Lego Bout just below? Pretty neat! Bazooka Joe himself built that from scratch. Talk about for the love of derby! There’s more where that came from.

Before we get into the amazing story by Bazooka Joe, I invite you to come check out

Pioneer Valley Dirty Dozen vs. New York Shock Exchange at
Branch Brook Park Roller Skating Center on September 25th. Doors open at 8. Bout starts at 9.

And Now…

From the Barrel of Bazooka Joe

There have been so many great derby memories and great derby friends made over the years, it'd be hard to cover them all. However, one thing that always stands out in my head happened in Providence a couple of years ago.

In the summer of 2007, there weren't very many men playing roller derby. We had played a game in April with the New York Shock Exchange, (the second full fledged men's flat track team) and had another scheduled in September with Harm City Homicide—the third.

At that time the reception towards men's derby wasn't always warm. We were still getting yelled at other clubs' bouts and receiving the occasional hate emails.

We were contacted by some friends in Providence Roller Derby about doing a halftime expo scrimmage during their home season championship. There were some heavy duty opponents, but our advocates were able to make it happen by pushing us through as "entertainment" rather than "roller derby." We were not able to get two full teams together, but with the help of the Shock Exchange and Harm City, we fielded two mixed teams and played 15 periods during the two intermissions. (Back in the days of 3 x 20 minute periods)

This was the first of many mixed intermission games played by derby guys over the coming years, but that's not necessarily what made it special for me. Providence Roller Derby was the one club that got my girlfriend (PVRD co-founder Pink Panzer) and I hooked on derby. A close friend of ours had moved to Providence and joined up way back in 2004 when they were first starting out. (PRD was the first club in New England) We had no idea what to think, but we went to check it out when they started bouting in May of 2005.

We knew it was all over once the game started. We knew we had to do it. We knew we had to bring it to our area. We started working on PVRD in the winter of '05/'06.

So then in September of 2007, I was playing on PRD's amazing outdoor track. It was a beautiful night and I was having the time of my life, playing (even jamming!) alongside the people I looked up to.

Bringing Derby Back to Pioneer Valley

What inspired you to be Bazooka Joe?

There were a couple factors. I have an old bazooka hanging on the wall in my basement, plus my girlfriend had already taken the name "Pink Panzer," so I thought the bazooka reference was appropriate.

What position do you play for The Dirty Dozen and how long have you been playing?

I usually play outside blocker, but I am also a backup jammer. I have been practicing with PVRD since we started skating together in March of '06. My/our first real game was in April of '07.

Photo taken by M. Isenberg

As we saw earlier, you created a Lego Roller Derby Bout. Tell me your inspiration behind this. Why did you create it, how much work was involved?

I first put together a very basic version of the Lego derby track for our first fundraiser as a way to show people how the game works. After that I decided to make a more deluxe edition.

The first task was to figure out what the scale of the figures was so I could use that to make an accurate track. Once I had those calculations, I had to get lots of bricks. There's a website called “bricklink” where people go to buy and sell individual Lego pieces. I used that site a lot to get the sizes and colors I needed to put the big model together.

Lately I have been amassing more pieces to update the model. If you look carefully at the pictures you can tell how long ago I built it—the team benches are still on the infield. That was somewhat common three years ago but nobody does that anymore. Hopefully I'll have time to rework the “arena” now that our bouting season is over. I have lots of new figures to make the skaters more true to life.

What does derby mean to you? How has it been a positive impact on your life?

Roller Derby is essentially my full time job. There have been very few hours over the past three+ years that I have not spent working for, thinking about or skating with Pioneer Valley Roller Derby.

Trying to run a business and keep a team together has taught me a lot about people. It has put me in situations I'd never imagined and forced me to look at my own values, priorities, needs etc in a hard light. This has been the most challenging and rewarding period of my life.

When you meet someone who is not involved in derby, how do you explain to them the sport and greatness around it?

On the one on one level I don't usually do the hard sell. I try not to preach. I kind of stick to a 'just the facts' approach with a small amount of 'it's really fun' thrown in.

What does The Dirty Dozen do off skates as a team?

All the normal stuff. We hang out, go to movies, watch baseball games, play Mario Kart etc. etc.

What is your ranking/status?

As of right now men's teams are not ranked by any governing body per se. Our record to date is 6 wins and 6 losses in 40+ minute bouts. (the most common format we have played is alternating men's/women's double headers whereby each division does two 20 minute periods)

We are 2 and 1 against the Harm City Homicide, 2 and 0 against the Diamond City Death Kings, 2 and 1 against the CT Death Quads and 0 and 4 against New York Shock Exchange. (We also won a 30 minute half game against the Puget Sound Derby Outcast)

Stay tuned for another addition of Men in Derby!

Want to be a part of of MID blog or know someone that would be a great candidate? Email your suggestions to

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bouting it Out This Saturday

What are your plans this Saturday? If you're not scheduled to see The Rolling Thudercats take on The Ladies of Laceration, I suggest you cancel whatever plans you may have and put this event in your date book! Same bout time, doors at 7:00PM, whistle blows at 8:00PM. Same bout place, Skate Safe America. Same fantastic roller girls!! For more information and to purchase tickets in advance, visit Brown Paper Tickets.

Currnetly, The Rolling Thundercats have a win against The Wicked Wheelers and The Wicked Wheelers have one win against The Ladies of Laceration which means that this bout will determine which teams will make it to the championship this October. What happens if The Ladies win you ask,??Just you wait and see!!

See you all there!!

Friday, September 11, 2009


Though not roller derby related, this is of the utmost importance and I would be remiss to not have touched upon it. I hope you are all well today, all of you, today and everyday. I hope that you can do whatever you need to do on this day to help you through, to remember, to feel - whatever it is you need or want to feel.

I am leaving this as an open post for you all. Feel free to leave a comment and share here anything and everything you need to. A link, a newscast, a thought, prayer , advice, a feeling or a story, your remembrance.

Aside from my own thoughts that bring me back to this day eight years ago, I will share with you the link that I have been visiting throughout the day. It is continuously updated.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Roller Rebels On TV!

Yep, that's right. We're coming into your living rooms. Keep a lookout for our brand new commercial!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Attack of The Skittle

When playing a sport of any kind, most of us always factor in the chance of injury. It may not happen, but it certainly could. This risk you take, this chance of something happening, the what ifs, should not hold you back from competing to the best of your ability. Because in life, you could fall while walking out of your own front door.

I played a bout about a month ago. The Wicked Wheelers borrowed me as a skater when they played against the victorious Rolling Thundercats. It was tough. The packs were fast and the hits were hard. I had to keep on going though. That's just what you do when you compete. If you fall, you get up and you keep on going. At one point, I was pretty sure my thumb was broken and wondered how my shoulders and hips were going to feel when it was over. The bout ended and I was still in one piece.

I rolled my way over to the locker room and stumbled on a Skittle. This tiny little piece of candy sent my wheels spinning off the floor and down on my chin I landed. In the process, one of my knee pads slid to my shin and I banged up my knee. I was not, as the slogan says, tasting the rainbow. I couldn't believe it, I had just skated this rough bout and a Skittle brought me to my demise, or so I thought. But it wasn't over just yet though.

The next morning, I woke up, tired and dehydrated, with a few small bruises and soreness from the bout. Worse though, were my sore jaw and huge black and blue knee from the attack of the Skittle. I went out to meet up with my derby girl D-Ball. As I walked to her car, I tripped, twisted my ankle, went flying in the air and landed on the knee of one leg and the twisted ankle of the other. I was in excruciating pain. My knee torn open, blood gushing down it. My ankle a swollen mess. D-Ball, always there for me, helped me up, iced my ankle and gave me a special Greek ointment for my cut. I looked at D and saw the nervousness in her face, and deep down, I wanted her to laugh. I must have looked so funny flying through the air like that!

I was amazed at the irony of it all. I was hit hard by some really strong women, from left to right, then to the ground and even had some of them fall on top of me. But it was this tiny little piece of candy and my own two feet (which are also quite tiny) that ultimately caused my injuries.

Over the years I've come to realize that I've let fear hinder or blow my chances at some really great things in life. It's not always easy to battle through feelings of apprehension, but overcoming my fright, has taken me to some really, fantastic places, both physically and mentally. People have so many fears; Fear of commitment, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of falling, fear of flying, fear of moving on....etc. There are even the more obscure fears, such as Ablutophobia, fear of washing or bathing. These phobias rattle our brains and can sometimes get up in our thoughts causing us to create these insane defense mechanisms that even we ourselves don't understand. It's so easy to just want to flee, or to say no and not take a chance. You can sit there and "what if" all you want, but it's not going to move you forward on a positive path. It will however hold you back and send your mind into a whirlwind. Working through trepidation, those cold feet and cold sweats are really what's going to get you to where you truly want to be. Because from one day to the next, you really don't ever know what's to come. You might just as easily fall and break your leg getting out of bed as you could falling after you've skated through that rough pack, scoring the points that make your team the winners in the last jam of the bout.

Challenge yourselves, take one step over or even towards, one of those hurdles in your life. Who knows, you just might surprise yourself.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Face The Facts

Hey all its Muscles - here are the answers for the History Trivia quiz I last posted:

1) B - 1922
2) C - Old School Roller Derby
3) D - Professional Wrestling

How did you do on your History Quiz? Anyone get 100%? Good job to all who participated...
If you liked that - I will do another one next month!


Friday, September 4, 2009

BUSTing Out The Hits

Not long ago, one night at United Skates, a bright eyed, inquisitive, young girl showed up to try out for roller derby. Immediately she was a natural on her skates and learned the skills of derby in no time. She carried with her all 27 printed pages of the WFTDA rules at all times and went to her peers to answer some of the more difficult questions. She showed up at practice and every fundraiser and party with the enthusiasm of a kid opening birthday presents. She was determined, dedicated and intent on making roller derby part of her life on a full time basis.

Derby for her was love at first sight and she expressed this love by quickly learning her position on the track and mastering her skills. As she continued to excel at skating, she took her love further. When areas of the league were in trouble, she simply stepped up and helped out without having to be asked. Soon she was head of one of the most involved and time consuming committees, PR. She was truly committed to this new love of hers, and nothing was going to stand in the way of her and her new replationship. Before she could blink, she had become on of the league's most powerful blockers and hitters, was appointed a position on The Board of Directors, joined The Coaching Committee, was voted Captain of The Rolling Thundercats AND is also now in charge of our new Roller Rebels' hot line (631-816-0217). When The Roller Rebels realized that not only could this new skater knock down two players legally at one time, but also play several utterly important rolls behind the scenes as well, they rejoiced!!

If you haven't played against her, I will warn you now. The determination she brought with her that first night she came for try outs, has only gotten stronger! She is ready and confident in knowing that she will take down her opponents at anytime. So beware ladies, you may just be playing against a chestful of power at your next bout!

Ladies and Gents, I introduce to you, the hard hitting, super blocking, always ready to bout, powerhouse, Chest Blockwell!!

Derby Name: Chest Blockwell

Derby #: 7

Position: Blocker, pivot

Worst derby injury: Hurt rib

Describe roller derby in one word: Amazing

Chest Blockwell, center, gets ready to hit C-Roll

If you could invite anyone to play derby with you, who would it be? I think I would like to skate with Joy Collision and Dolly Rocket. of Charm City. I learn a lot from watching their bout videos on the web. They could teach me so much and they are my personal heros.

Favorite derby memory: My favorite derby memory was when we won against Hudson Valley. Everyone played amazing and the celebration was great at the end. There is a great picture of me tackling captain. It was so exciting and the league really needed it!!! Good boost.

Tell me something that everyone knows about you: I LOVE ROLLER DERBY!!

Tell me something about you that would surprise people: Believe it or not I feel bad when I hit people. But it's weird, I do like it.

Always: Skate like you're never gonna skate again.

Never: Not try your best

A great skater: Never underestimates another skater

Before a bout: I always take a 10 minute skate with Psycho Billy. He helps me get into the game and reminds me of strategies and how I should be performing.

When I am not playing derby: I am always playing derby even when I sleep lol.

Chest, waiting for that jammer to come around....poor jammer!