roller derby

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

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

Roller Derby Stopped Saving Me, Pt. 2

Photo © Tom Klubens
Dead Eyes © My Miserable Feelings

I reached out. I took the right steps, or what I felt was probably the right steps.

I talked to friends that weren’t on my team. My team had shit to do, playoffs to prepare for, their own feelings to take care of. I tried to keep most of them out of it and away from it. I don’t know if I did a very good job of that, but I think they know I was trying my best.

“Oh that’s normal. That’s just burn out.” Burn out. It’s just burn out? I guess it’s just burn out. If my life were a television series, this is where the narrator would say, “But it wasn’t just burn out.” I’m sorry if you are here reading this, hoping I would say, “It’s just burn out! Here’s some tips!”

Look, burn out is real! I am not denying that. If my feelings were a lot milder I would agree that I was experiencing the ever so common burn out.

I was doing the things to salvage my relationship with roller derby. I checked in with myself, I took time off, I dabbled in my past hobbies, I stepped back from my roles within the league. I practiced self care like it was my last saving grace.

No. This was more like… the heartbreak you experience after your first serious relationship. Your partner suddenly doesn’t love you. You’ve given them every stupid piece of your stupid self and they don’t want any of it any more. You start to wonder what’s wrong with you, how to put everything that’s broken back together. They can’t tell you what’s changed, but nothing is the same and it blindsides you. Why aren’t you good enough? Why is everyone else happy and having fun? Why can’t everyone see your stupid aching heart and your dumb empty eyes?

I did what I do when I don’t know what to do. I made a list of pros and cons. I would recommend this to anyone who struggles making any large decisions. Or small decisions. I hate making decisions!

My list may have looked like this:

Pros
Teammates = Family
Hard work
……..?

Cons
Feels like work
Scared to try the new, fun things
Even when things go well, it feels empty
Self loathing
Working hard doesn’t necessarily translate to being or feeling good

I don’t know. I don’t exactly remember. I just felt like the cons list was always growing and my pros didn’t outweigh the shit storm in my heart and in my head.

I reached out to my parents. If you’ve seen me skate or coach, you may have met them. If you weren’t introduced, you probably heard these two cheering over literally everyone else in the venue. They come to ALL of my games. They recognized this thing that lights me up and they’ve supported it a million percent since day one. I am really incredibly lucky.

“I don’t think I’m going to skate any more. I hate it.” “What?!” “I hate it. I hate being on my skates. It makes me miserable. I’m tired of trying and I’m tired of being sad and I just want to be done.” “Are you still going to coach?”

 

 

 

Hey! If you do think it’s burn out, or are curious, there are a lot of very helpful blogs on the topic. Here’s a few:
Roller Derby and Burnout
Ask Jam Slanders: Derby Burnout Help!
Avoiding Burnout
Avoid Burnout – Keep Derby Fun!
The Unintended Blowback of Roller Derby Burnout, and Why Roller Skating Will Always Rock My World

Posted by Jax in mental game, roller derby