Power Jam Playlist – Vol. 4

Listen to on Spotify | Listen to on Youtube

Who run the world?

Warning: Explicit lyrics, always. 

✪ Nicki Minaj – Chun-Li

✪ Quay Dash – Queen Of This Shit

✪ Miss Eaves – Thunder Thighs

✪ Nicki Minaj – Roman’s Revenge

✪ K Rizz – Yes Bitch

✪ M.I.A. – Bad Girls

✪ Beyoncé – Run The World

✪ Cardi B – Bartier Cardi

✪ Kelis – Bossy

✪ Nicki Minaj – Did It On’em

✪ Big Freedia – Booty-Whop

✪ Beyoncé – Flawless Remix

✪ Stella Mwangi – Big Girl

✪ Cardi B – Money Bag

✪ Die Antwood – I Fink U Freeky

Posted by Jax in playlist

The Case for Mixed Scrimmages

Photo © Patrice Iacovoni

Photo ©
Patrice Iacovoni

“You know a lot of people.” A skater recently pointed out to me during a mixed scrimmage. For someone who doesn’t like to do much outside of practice and netflix binges at home… I do know a lot of people in the local derby community.

I sign up for almost every mixed scrimmage I can find. When I began it was because my team at the time didn’t have a lot of scheduled games. Then, even when we did have a lot of scheduled games, I kept signing up for them.

I know people who have never done mixed scrimmages. I also know people who just recently starting skating in mixers, despite playing roller derby for years. I’m here to shed some light on why you should totally sign up and skate!

  1. You make new friends.
    The same thing that makes mixed scrimmages scary also makes them fun. You aren’t skating with your usual team (or at least not all of them! Sometimes your teammates will sign up to do the same scrim as you). This forces you out of your comfort zone and you will meet new friends from different leagues. Maybe even leagues you’ve never seen skate before! This is great for the derby community and for you as a human being.
  2. You skate with friends from different teams.
    It’s not often you get the opportunity to skate with someone from a different team or league. Mixed scrims give the opportunity for you to do just that. Sometimes you find that people that you work great with even though you’ve never skated together before! ​

    Like Graced Lightning (of Flint Roller Derby) and I!

  3. You learn new things.
    You are going to meet skaters who have vastly different skill sets. Soak up their knowledge like a sponge. We can always, always, always use new tools in our tool belt! The game is constantly changing and each league approaches strategy in their own way. Having a big mix of skaters from all over working together turn into this wonderful melting pot of skills.
  4. You can try new things!
    This season I transitioned into a pivot role. I don’t think it would have been as seamless as it (kind of) has been if I didn’t dedicate time outside of my own league’s practices. I was able to grow in mixed scrimmages by working on building my potential as a blocker. We tend to fall into a rhythm at our own team’s practices and we can break out of that when we play in a mixer. You might find out you are a great brace and you don’t do that much at home. Maybe you’re real good at communicating, but your line already has someone loud enough. Hidden talents await!
  5.  There is little to no pressure.
    The reason you can try new things at mixed scrimmages is because everyone is there to have fun! Yes, winning is fun, and it’s the goal most of the time… but that doesn’t mean you can’t polish new or old skills. No one is going to lose their mind, their ranking positioning, or their spot on the roster if Team Cats beats Team Dogs.

So, give it a try. You might like it.

Posted by Jax in roller derby

Power Jam Playlist – Vol. 3

Listen to on Spotify | Listen to on Youtube

It’s been far too long, but the season is upon us. Here’s another game day playlist!

Warning: Explicit lyrics, always. 

✪ Kendrick Lamar – DNA.

✪ Trap Beckham – Lil Booties Matter

✪ Gucci Mane – I Get The Bag

✪ Kevin Gates – Really Really

✪ Famous Dex – Pick It Up

✪ Young M.A – OOOUUU

✪ Migos – Beast

✪ Ski Mask the Slump God – Achoo

✪ G-Eazy – Gotdamn

✪ ScHoolboy Q – Collard Greens

✪ Nipsey Hussle – Last Time That I Checc’d

✪ Cardi B – I Do

Posted by Jax in playlist

Roller Derby Stopped Saving Me, Pt. 2.5

Photo © David Oliver

It’s been a while. My apologies. While writing this is extremely cathartic, it is also extremely emotionally taxing.

I have had a lot of people reach out and for that I’m grateful. I probably didn’t respond to everyone. I appreciate it so much, but I don’t always have words for my feelings and can get overwhelmed pretty easily.

Many people who are struggling with their own similar feelings having been reaching out with questions. Before I keep drudging through my personal story and personal feelings, I need to say what I think is the fundamental error in the way I was approaching derby.

Being in a sport cannot be your only way of managing your mental health.

A lot of us tend to treat it that way, but it will not solve your problems. It can help, but it can also add to your feelings down the road. For a long time I considered going to practice as a means of escape. Here’s the thing though, roller derby is a SPORT. Your team needs you there and they would probably prefer you focused. Roller derby was not a replacement for actual therapy and medication for me, as much as I wanted it to be.

Your friends also shouldn’t be your only means of managing mental health. They can certainly help! One of my best friends is a social worker and she definitely uses counseling techniques when I come to her with my anxieties, but it still isn’t the solution for me.

Roller derby is a great supplement in managing mental health, but it is in no way the answer.

If you have diabetes, diet and exercise is incredibly important. Here’s the thing, so is insulin.

This sport probably WON’T save you, at least not forever and that’s OKAY.

Therapy and medication aren’t always the answer either. It wasn’t the complete answer for me.
I was still really unhappy at practice even with those life changes. There are other options to explore as well: time spent on other hobbies, changes in your diet or habits, and non-competitive sporting or time at the gym (endorphins!).

My PERSONAL solution has involved a great mixture of things, and even today everything is not 100% perfect. I do have a lot more perspective. My process won’t work for everyone, or even the great majority of skaters who may feel similarly. I am sorry about that, but please know you are not alone.

Some resources:
Psychology Today (a great way to explore therapists and psychiatrists)
Depression in Elite Sport
Depression in Athletes
Roller derby did not save my soul
I Got Here, Now What? Practical Tools for Managing Mental Health and Derby, Part I: Getting There

Posted by Jax

2018: Resolve to be Versatile

Photo © DeFord Designs

“I’ll take the stripe, but don’t pass it to me.”
I hear this a lot at mixed scrimmages. People willing to take one hat, but not the other.

“You won’t need me, but I GOT you.”
That’s what I want to hear. That’s what I tell the jammer every time I take the stripe.

The stripe isn’t for the “line leader” or “pack momma” any more. It also shouldn’t be reserved for your best blocker. If you still have that mindset, throw it away. It’s garbage. You’re not garbage. You deserve better than garbage!

Anyone on the track can communicate, and you’re probably a better team if you all do some sort of talking or mind reading with each other. The stripe is a jammer. Yes, they are a back up jammer, but they should still be a willing and capable jammer! If your initial star is struggling, it’s time for the stripe to take over.

It kills me inside to watch a jammer who did not get lead keep the star on and struggle, fight, and slowly die for two minutes. It kills me more when I know it’s because their pivot is not conditioned to do as good of a job as their jammer.

One of the biggest downfalls a team can have is not being versatile.
If you’re looking to make your team better as a whole, there are a few ways you can do this.

The Basic Plan:
Make a list of your jammers. Make a list of your pivots. Each week have 2 jammers and pivots switch roles for drills at practice and for scrimmage. Your pivots need to be able to jam. I don’t mean just practice jamming twice on scrimmage night. I mean put them in the rotation and force them to jam consistently that night. Also, your jammers need to be able to block! If and when they pass the star, you will want them to be able to immediately switch to blocking and be an equal partner in the line, rather than a weak spot.

The Advanced Plan:
Everyone jams! Everyone blocks! Train everyone to do EVERY. THING. The most terrifying and powerful teams can count on their roster to go where they are needed. This means you are able to pull out all the stops and keep your opponents guessing. Maybe they know how your main rotation jams and they can adjust, but can they keep up the momentum when you swap that rotation out?

Resolve to be versatile next season. If you aren’t passing the star when you aren’t lead, or at the very least taking it off to divide the blockers’ attention… start there. Build on that– train your pivots in the art of truly jamming. Train your jammers to be aware and ready to swap roles if need be. Be prepared.

Posted by Jax