Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blood On The Track

I am SO happy to introduce to you The Rebel Yell's newest writer, the fantastic Fresh Blood Marcy. Below you will find the first entry for her new column, Blood On The Track. Check in weekly as FB Marcy takes us through her experiences as a new skater for the Roller Rebels.

BLOOD ON THE TRACK: A Fresh Bloods Journey Into Roller Derby

Chapter One – FEAR & 40

July 3rd, 2008 was the day that I turned 40. This was also the day that I decided to stop being afraid. Afraid of failing. Afraid of succeeding. Most of all, afraid of living.

The day I turned 40, I went skydiving.The week I turned 40, I started riding motorcycles.

During my 40th year I met a girl named Jill – You know her as J-Bone.

In the Spring of 2009 – J-Bone started talking about Roller Derby – All derby ALL the time! Every time I saw her – Derby. Meeting up for coffee – Derby. While she was doing all of my tattoos – Derby. DERBY, DERBY, DERBY!!! I didn’t really get it. My only knowledge of Roller Derby was an old Charlie’s Angels episode from the 1970’s, banked track and a lot of clothes lining and elbows to the face. Still, J-Bone was my friend and she was clearly excited about her new endeavor. Never one to slow down, the life of a Derby Girl really seemed to suit her. In fact, I’d never seen her so happy. I was happy for her.

Then it started.

“Marcy, you should come to a bout”

“Yeah, sure, I will”

“Hey Marcy, when are you coming to a bout”

“Soon Jill, soon”

“Marcy, you’re athletic – you kickbox and play soccer, hockey etc – You should try out for Derby!”

“Um, huh??”

There was that nagging fear again. Me, play roller derby? I’m in my 40’s!! I’m too old – too busy – too tired – too…you get the idea.

I suppose I could have come up with a thousand and one reasons why NOT. The truth was, I was afraid. Afraid of falling down, afraid of not being able to skate, afraid of looking silly, afraid of (insert illogical reason here)

Then I went to a Roller Rebels Bout – It was the Intra-League Championship Bout – and I had an amazing time – and I didn’t understand ANYTHING!! I made J-Bone give me a tutoring session a few days later to explain what the heck you ladies were doing out there. What does a Jammer do? How do you score points? Why the heck was everyone getting sent to the penalty box?

Then I went to another bout – LIRR v. Molly Rogers Roller Girls – THIS was the psychic change moment for me and Derby – By the 2nd half of the bout, I.Just.Got.It – It all made (sort-of) sense. I was on my feet, screaming, cheering and getting hoarse! My heart was pumping and by the end of the final jam, I was a little veklempt (that’s Yiddish for choked-up).

I went to the after party and took in the pride of a bout well played, and watched all the girls languish in the “Sisterhood” that seems to permeate from Roller Derby. And at that moment I knew I wanted to know what that felt like. So, on November 17th, 2009 – all 41 years of me stopped being afraid and showed up at United Skates in Seaford, checked my fear and my pride at the door, laced up a pair of rental quads, and pushed off on my journey into Roller Derby. Fresh Blood Marcy was born.

More to come.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

I used to own a T-shirt with a pulp character of a woman on it. There was a speech bubble over her head, which read “I used to be indecisive, now I’m not sure”. This pretty much summed me up in one sentence. Frankly said, decision-making has not been my forte over the years.

Last week my boyfriend and I hung out after one of his Jiu Jitsu classes. Often times at the end of his class, his Renshi gives a bit of a life lesson. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you will know that I’m pretty big on this stuff. I am admittedly, slightly corny, but hey, that’s me. Anyway, Renshi’s words of wisdom for that day were that often times in life we find ourselves confused and the reason for that is due to lack of making a decision. This can sometimes lead to anger, unhappiness and arguments. His theory is that once you make a decision and go with it, you will no longer be confused and thus will feel better.

I was really happy to have learned this. I know some of you are saying, "Etta, that’s SO simple, how could you not already have known that!?!?" Well, sometimes it’s the very simple theories or lessons that I tend to overlook and being such a pro at indecisiveness, this wasn’t the easiest thing for me to grasp. After all, some decisions are really difficult, right?

A few things have come up in the last few months that have made me question whether or not I wanted to play derby this upcoming season. I was definitely confused. I knew I still wanted to be involved with the league, but wasn’t sure to what capacity. To play or not to play? Not an easy choice let me tell you. After mulling it over and over and over, I decided to give this decision making thing a try. It was simple, make a decision, go with it and the confusion will be no more. After re-evaluating my issues; unexplained back pain for months, increase in expenses and finally, many new creative projects that would require a lot of time, I decided to take this season off. I typed up an email to Captain Morgan letting her know that I’ve decided not to play, but would like to continue on coaching and being a PR committee member and of course, writing the blog. I read the e-mail, re-read it and re-read it again and with some trepidation pushed the send button. Panic hit for a brief moment, but then after thinking about it some more, I was happy with my decision. I will still be a part of the league, I can give my back some time to heal, work on my new projects and I can always return to play again some day. The decision was made, the confusion ended and I was calm.

After this experience, which I understand, may seem very silly to many of you, I decided to become a better and more firm decision maker. And when my thoughts are on that see-saw of do or don't and they are having trouble getting off of it, my close friends can feel free to remind me of my decision to make decisions.

I am lucky to be a part of a league that is a family. While being part of this family made my decision to not play all the more difficult, it also felt great to know that I can continue to participate and be a part of this wonderfully rewarding sport!

Thanks to my Roller Rebels for all that you do!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Second Helping of Inspiration

I received an e-mail from Farmer's Slaughter of CNY Roller Derby. She wrote in response to my post about inspiring athletes and a favorite Nike commercial of mine. Farmer's Slaughter shared with me another inspirational commercial from Nike. Though not the one I saw as a kid, this one is still representational of the Just Do It message. Slaughter, thanks so much for sharing this!! Take a look:

Anyone else have anything inspirational you would like to share?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thou ART Dedly

When watching a really talented actor play a role in a film, it's difficult to see them as a real person outside of that character you're watching on the big screen. Much is the same when you watch your favorite sports player. People tend to see them as The Quarter Back, First Base Man and so on. For actors and sports players, the film you watch or the game you cheer for, is just another day at the office for them. They are people like you and me. Ok, maybe not exactly like us, but what you see on TV, in the movies or at a stadium is someone at work, doing their job to make money.

While roller girls do not get paid to play derby, fans tend to have the same sort of idea in their heads about their favorite skaters. A fan goes to a bout to watch a skater perform or play and unless they know one of the skaters personally, it's really hard to see them as anything other than a roller derby player. The truth of the matter is, even though roller derby takes up a lot of time, us skaters do have lives off of our skates. Off the top of my head I can tell you that our league consists of police officers, radiologists, bartenders, musicians, chefs, administrative assistants, college students, mothers, and so much more!

So, I thought it would be cool to show you some of the lives our girls live off of their skates. After all, we do have to pay to play and that's where jobs come in handy.

Today I am happy to feature the amazingly, talented Dedly Weponz.
Art teacher, artist, graphic designer, photographer and of course, derby player.

She holds a BA in Graphic Design from Adelphi University and a Masters in Art Education from The School of Visual Arts. She creates and sells her amazing creations and writes her own blog. Her clients include, Paula Abdul, Kmart, Betsey Johnson and so many more.

A few months ago in her
Etsy shop, she premiered handmade derby wallets. The wallets are made of her original art, covered in vinyl and cost only $15.

Also for sale are some of her prints. The characters illustrated in her art jump off the pages with real expression, bold color and movement.

Here are some images from her sketchbook:

All images copyright Renee Michele Andolina

It's not very hard to see that this girl's got talent and the Roller Rebels are proud to have her on their team. For more information, please visit Dedly's website: http://www.reneemichele.net/

Stay tuned to learn more about what some of the other Rebels do while they're not skating........

Friday, January 8, 2010

Endlessly Inspiring!

When I was younger, Nike introduced the most inspiring commercial as a part of their Just Do It campaign. The ad showed various individuals each of whom had what most of us would look at as a disability. Some of these athletes had no legs, or one arm or were in a wheelchair and each were shown competing in a sport or exercising. As they flashed each person across the screen doing their thing, phrases such as "I'm too tired" or "I'm not strong enough", followed by "Just do it" would coincide with each athlete. The phrases, such as "I'm too tired" were excuses that the average person might make to not exercise, while the athletes proved to make the impossible, possible. This advertisement stayed with me in my mind over the years and to this day, I still continue to think about it. I've searched for it on YouTube, but didn't have success finding it. Anyone remember this? or know where I might find it?

Athletes time and time again prove the amazing things we as humans are capable of, the limits to which we can push our bodies and the strength we have. I came across this article the other day on BUST's website and thought I would share it with you. Please take a look here at how this remarkable woman breaks records and continues to stay strong no matter what she is up against.

Photo grabbed from website See Amy Run

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Best of 2009

I didn't get a huge response to my request for achievements/events of 2009, but with these responses, quality makes up for quantity.......

"I think our recruitment night was amazing! Also, beating the Molly Roger Roller Girls is something I'll never forget." - Baby Bop Yo Face
"Me skating the last 30 seconds of the Wicked Wheelers vs. Ladies of Laceration bout with both hands on Chest Blockwell's boobies. And I didn't get a penalty." - Eve L. TacoThere are just so many amazing things that happened this year, but I tried to narrow the list down. In no particular order, here are some of my favorites from 2009:

- Seeing Cyanide Kisses, Eve L. Taco and Cheeter Steele stay strong, brave and positive after breaking bones. These girls are amazing!!

- Forming our three teams again for the first time in a few years

- Amaretto Sourpuss appearing in Blood and Thunder

- Pete recovering from his heart surgery

- Our fabulous commercial

- Our attempted trip to Suburbia's bout

- Our trip to ECE
And two very personal things for me:

- Finding the person who always keeps me rolling

- Winning the Best Jammer award for The Ladies of Laceration

Feel free to add anything from your lists in the comments here.

Good luck to all in accomplishing everything you set out to do this year!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

For Sale!!

I’ve said before that roller derby is one of the few sports where you can really express your personality through fashion. When it comes down to it, skill is what’s important, but knowing that you can be creative with your gear and clothing adds to the spirit of the sport.

And speaking of clothing, I’m happy to announce that our online shop is finally open for business! Click here to score your favorite Long Island Roller Rebel merchandise. Sweatshirts, T-shirts and so many other goods are available for purchase.

Monday, January 4, 2010

List, Set Out, Achieve

Image from Wikipedia

It’s a new year, a fresh start, a time when many people create new goals for themselves. We make lists, mentally or on paper and we try and cross things off as we go along. If you’re committed to a sport like roller derby, it’s likely that some of your goals will be related to improving your skills or bettering your position within your league. To become a faster jammer, a stronger blocker, to pass your skills test, to be voted the head of a committee…..the list goes on.

One of my goals for 2010 is to make this blog more successful. Already, just a few days into the new year, The Rebel Yell has gained two new followers. Which in derby terms is comparable to taking two seconds off my time trial; a major accomplishment.

Though I bring the news to all of you, I wouldn’t have a successful blog without my loyal readers. I want to thank you all for continuing to read, comment and spread the word about The Rebel Yell. I would also like to ask you, my readers a couple of questions. What would you like to read about in the world of The Long Island Roller Rebels? In the derby world? Email me and tell me what you want to see more of on here and also, let me know some of your resolutions for the new year. I love to hear about your interests and I think that sharing goals can sometimes help others come to realize things that they might want for themselves. One more thing, I'd like to hear some of the goals you've achieved in 2009. I think it would be really interesting to list them all here as a way to give everyone credit for the great things they have done.

Wishing you all the best of luck on achieving your goals this year and every year to follow.

Look forward to hearing from you,