Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Would you like some toast with that JAM?!

Tripsy Rose Lee is back with another post. Last time she shared her personal derby experience with you. Today, she writes to explain more about how the game is played. Read on to learn some of the rules and find out what position on the track might suit you best.

Starting out in roller derby gives you the opportunity to experience all positions in order to find your place in 'the pack'. I wanted to take some time here to analyze the difference in positions from both a technical standpoint as well as a personality/characteristic point of view. For those of you unaware of the type of positions in derby, I will break it down for you a bit. A derby bout is broken up into two 30-minute periods. These periods consist of smaller segments, referred to as 'jams'. Each jam may last up to 2 minutes at a time. During a jam, each team will have up to four blockers and one jammer out at a time (mind you, less if there are any players in the penalty box). Each blocker is assigned to a position, whether it be pivot, inside, outside, or back. I will analyze these particular positions a bit more in depth later on.

First off, you may be asking yourself.. What does it mean to be a 'jammer'? And furthermore, what does it taketo be a 'jammer'? A jammer can be identified on the rink by her helmet 'panty'. A helmet 'panty' is a spandex cover placed over the player's helmet. The jammer will be wearing a star on each side of her head. So now that you know how to identify a jammer, I will discuss the attributes a jammer may have. From a technical standpoint, a jammer should be fast. The reason being is that a jammer is the only player during a jam that can score points. Points are accumulated when a jammer passes through the pack, however, no points are scored the first time through. Jamming requires speed, endurance, stealth, and the ability to think and react quickly and efficiently. As a jammer, you need to get from point A to point B in the quickest way imaginable. Having said that, you have the obstacle of moving your body through a pack of blockers. Blockers from the opposing team are trying their damnedest to prohibit you from attaining your goal and blockers from your own team are there to assist you. With that being said, I want to mention the personality traits that jammers tend to have. First and foremost, I feel it is necessary to be trustworthy. You are depending on your teammates to 'have your back'. They are there to clear a path for you, help you through, and knock over any bitch that gets in your way!! Jammers also tend to be adventurous, strong-willed, and passionate. I have played as a jammer a few times and I can't elaborate the rush of it all. When I have jammed, I felt like nothing else mattered. I had a goal in mind and every other thought in my head disappeared. I would love to be an all-star jammer, like C-Roll or Amaretto Sourpuss, for example. But I have a long way to go to build up my endurance and speed!!

So, as I said earlier.. when starting out in derby, it is normal to play and practice all positions in order to get a feel for the overall game. So, I have played as a jammer and a blocker as well; two very different types of positions. From a technical standpoint, blockers are normally strong players with good aim, balance, and the ability to multi-task. It is vital to be able to multi-task as a blocker because you are required to know where all players are at all times. You must be able to differentiate between whether to play offense or defense. If your jammer needs assistance traversing the pack, you are on offense. If your jammer is through and the other jammer is attempting to break through, it is a defensive game. It is also vital to communicate well with your teammates. I have found that as a blocker, eye contact and conversation can go a very, very long way as far as derby goes. At times you will need to devise strategic plans on the fly, be able to fill in when your friend gets knocked out (aka waterfall), and be overall 'badass'. I find that blockers are generally more aggressive players; tough, resilient, and strong.

Under the general umbrella of 'blocker' as a position.. I can break it down a bit further for you. As previously mentioned, there are up to four blockers out at a time. The first blocker on the line will most likely be the pivot. She will be distinguished by a designated helmet 'panty' with broad stripe going from the front to back of the helmet. The pivot is generally responsible for controlling the pack, or more specifically, the speed of the pack. The pivot should be in tune with all players as well as, and especially, with the captain or coach of their team. It is pertinent to keep your eyes open for directions from the bench... speed it up or slow it down is generally where it's at for the pivot! The inside blocker will most likely be working with the pivot and is responsible for holding the inside line. Many jammers look to take the inside line to get through the pack, as it is the shortest distance to their goal. A good inside blocker will prevent the opposing team's jammer from getting through. The remaining two positions are outside blocker and back blocker, which may work together. As an outside blocker, I feel you need to be a bit fast and a bit aggressive. Back blockers can either work with the outside blocker defensively or assist their own team's jammer offensively. Now, I have vaguely generalized each blocker position, however, specific responsibilities for each position will be dependent on strategic plays.

Whether blocking or jamming, if you are playing roller derby... you are pretty stellar. If you are an observer of the sport, I hope this blog post has served you well and given you a bit of insight on what it means to be a roller girl or guy. There is an unimaginable amount of skill and compassion comprising every single position on that rink at a time, during each and every jam and during every single bout! Learn it, love it, and get your ass on a pair of skates!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

This Christmas

I've been involved with The Long Island Roller Rebels for over two years now. From as long ago as I can remember, I've wanted Riedell 265s. My current skates have hurt my feet from day one and though the type and place of the pain has changed, there is still pain. Unfortunately, I was never able to afford anything better than what I had.

Well, somebody special *wink, wink*, listens to me and knows me oh so well, because this Christmas I finally got them! A brand spankin new pair of Riedells that has yet to come out to the retail world (my other half has some great skate connections) complete with new wheels and bearings!

Get anything derby related that you would like to share? Send me an email with some pics and I'll post em' up here for all to see! Last year I received a great entry from Doc Block and I'd happily post some more!

Hope you all had a great holiday.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Party Recap

Last year snow came down like crazy on the night of the Roller Rebels holiday party. I remember leaving the event and slipping and falling on the ice! This year it was much colder than last and there was even more snow on our special night. I would like to give you all a full report on the party, but truth be told, I was stuck on the train with my man for a good part of the evening. When we did finally arrive at the gala, there were actually a lot of people there. Goes to show you that the Rebels always pull through to keep the derby family together. Roller girls trekked through a blizzard and waited patiently on stopped trains heading east and west due to police activity on the tracks, just to make it to a place where we could all celebrate the past season together.

The food was great and the drinks cold. After some music, we had our annual awards ceremony. Captain Morgan and Butterscotch Cripple took over the mic and delivered speeches, both funny and touching, as they awarded the winning players with custom made necklaces, courtesy of Heidi Hoe Bag. As per usual, she created unique awards. This year the lucky winners recieved a bearing necklace, painted pink with the league name on it. The bearing was put in a cute little box labeled for the award. Thankfully, we can always count on Heidi to come up with something creative.
Congratulations to our winners:
Wicked Wheelers

MVP ~ Amaretto Sourpuss
Best Jammer ~ Amaretto Sourpuss
Best Pivot ~ MadDonna
Best Blocker ~ MadDonna & Ninja Starr
Most Improved Player ~ Hard Cory

Rolling Thundercats

MVP ~ C-Roll
Best Jammer ~ C-Roll
Best Pivot ~ Cyanide Kisses
Best Blocker ~ Chest Blockwell
Most Improved Player ~ Mean Frostine

Ladies of Laceration

MVP ~ Violet Knockout
Best Jammer ~ Etta Jams
Best Pivot ~ Eve L. Taco
Best Blocker ~ Violet Knockout
Most Improved Player ~ Tripsy Rose Lee

LIRR Awards

Unsung Hero ~ Eve L. Taco
Best Booty Shorts ~ Violet Knockout
Hottest MILF ~ Cyanide Kisses
Smelliest Pads ~ Chest Blockwell
Most Valuable Support Staff ~ Captain Morgan, Heidi Hoe-Bag & Number 2
Most Reliable Ref ~ Psycho Billy

Though the night (for me) was short, it was a good time and a perfect end to a successful year for our league. Here are some pictures.....

Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

December Derby

Hello Everyone!

Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving and that you have some fun plans for the upcoming holidays. I took a bit of vacation time and enjoyed some Caribbean sun..........

But, I am back to the blog to give you a little derby update.

For The Rebels, December is a month when we generally take some time off. However, we do still hold practice and classes for our newly accepted Fresh Bloods - welcome girls!! Practices are all about the basics right now and truth be told, sometimes us Vets could use a little brushing up too.

This month we also have our annual holiday/awards party and if this event is anything like last year's, I can't imagine anyone having a bad time. I will be sure to follow the party up with a blog post complete with a list of the award winners and photos.

I've got some other good posts in the works and can't wait to share them with all of you. Including, our 2010 season schedule, new merchandise information, another post from my teammate Tripsy Rose Lee and interesting info on some of our very talented Roller Rebels.

Stay tuned!
- Etta