Oh baby! The other day was one of our first scrimmages, so incredibly fun! On the way to every practice, I blast music in my car to get hyped up. Black Mountain’s “Stormy High” was the choice de jour. The guitars are hard and the female singer’s voice is haunting. Oddly fitting, but an unintended coincidence on such a dark and rainy night. As I arrive at practice, the excitement in the air is palpable and everything from the outside world fades. The girls get their gear on, lace up, and hit the track. The quiet few skates on the pavement before the other girls get on the track is a calming sound. The calm before the derby storm, I suppose.
Our practice space is a covered outdoor space and it was c-c-cold. After a really good warm up, stretching and instruction from our coaches, it was scrimmage time. We toss our helmets into the middle to determine teams and each team gets a couple of ‘seasoned meat’ as coaches. The referees come to our scrimmages so we can get called out for the plethora of penalties we commit. There is a lot to think about as we try to learn the role of each position in the pack and maintain awareness of the jammers’ positions, so somehow keeping our elbows to ourselves gets forgotten. Despite what you have seen from old-school derby, elbowing is illegal. Definitely.
The anticipation is building as we line up for our first jam. The referees blow one long whistle to start the pack rolling…here we go! Two more short blasts start the jammers. There are specific positions in the pack to help the jammer on our team get through the pack and specific positions to impede the opposing jammer. As the jammers approach the pack, the girls all start calling out to each other so that we know where the jammers are at all times. Our eyes constantly dart behind us, shoulder checking, trying to find our jammer to whip and push her through the pack. We’re body checking, booty blocking and shoulder checking trying to clear a path for our girl. The other girls on our team are focused on keeping the opposing jammer back. The moment our jammer gets through the pack and is off racing around the track, our team burst out in cheers as she speeds around the track. But our work is not done. The opposing jammer is coming up behind. We have lines of defence and if the jammer starts to break through it is up to the Pivot, the front position, to get in her way long enough for our team to catch up and get in her way even more. The girls are calling out to each other how to stop her and who she is coming up upon and on which side. Bodies are flying. There are girls knocked to the ground, skidding on their knee pads. Then they are up and sprinting back into play. There are a few big knockdowns where the rest of the pack has to dodge, lifting skates, anything, so our freshie friend does not kicked by the skates rushing past her.
The sounds of the girls calling to each other, knees pads scraping against asphalt, and cheers from the bench is so invigorating! As soon as the jam ends and we switch up the lines, we wait anxiously on the sideline to get back on. The sidelines are a cacophony of heaving breathing, chattering about the previous jam, cheering, and our coaches trying to yell instructions over the noise. In all the excitement, our arms are flailing – common among freshies – so we get a few penalties. It is such torture to sit in the penalty box and watch the jam play on. The penalty is only one minute of play time but it feels like an eternity, it takes all of my self restraint to stay seated when I was in the box. When I get the 10 second countdown to rejoin the game, my heart starts pounding. Finally! It’s time to get back in. I have to wait for the pack to pass so I re-enter play legally, then it’s a race to catch up to the pack. The pack is a blur of blue and green pinnies, star helmet covers and girls weaving in all directions as we race around the track. Here comes the jammers again, the girls in the pack get a renewed sense of determination that shows on every face, the blocking and body checking become more aggressive in anticipation of the jammers and TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET! Arrggghh…..the jam is over!!? My heart sinks a little. It’s like hearing the bell to signal that recess is over, that burning urge to just…play…one…minute…longer. My body is thankful for the moment’s rest but my adrenaline is still rushing!
As practice ends, we’re all exhausted and the sweet and pungent smell of girl sweat fills the air in the change room. I definitely needed a yoga class the morning after but I’m counting down the hours until we get to play again.
TCRG Travel Team’s TOUR OF TERROR continues, this time againstSlaughter County Roller Vixens’ Death Rattle Rollers out of Bremerton, WA December 5th. Here’s TCRG power pivot Chica Bomb with her take on the game:
Those Death Rattle Rollers were a tough team to play against. Holy Moly!
We didn’t have our usual amazing defense for the first part of the first period. Slaughter County definetly dominated, but we managed to get some of our game back near the end, in no small part due to Rollergirl’s sweet 19 point jam that put us in the 20 point lead at the end of the first. We just fought like hell to keep our lead through the whole second period.
There were some huge hits being thrown around by Lamb Baste-her, Feis T, Roller and Booty Quake. And congratulations to Booty on her first game ejection! Final score was a hard-fought 119 to Death Rattle’s 108. Woo hoo!
The other game of the night was played by another one of Slaughter County’s home teams, the Terrormedixxx, against a Rat City Rollergirls Travel Team made up of some veterans and lots of fresh meat that have never played in a game before. It was interesting to watch and the score ended up being super high on both sides.
The impression that I got from the Slaughter County girls is that they know how to fight hard! They never gave up and they just kept on coming with tons of energy and enthusiasm. And man, are their jammers fast!
And they were super nice; they gave us a bag of goodies!
Chica, you look like you’re giving this jammer a bag of your special brand of goodies.
For more Slaughter-rific photos of the game from Nicolas Charest, open The Vault at http://www.Rollergirl.ca/gallery.
Good news! The TCRG 3rd Annual Sock Drive has been extended!
Every year, your favorite rollergirls collect socks for donations to community organizations in the Downtown East Side of Vancouver. Cold feet are no fun, no matter where you live.
Last year we collected nearly 400 pairs. This year, we’re going for 500 pairs!Take any gently used or new socks for donation to your nearest rollergirl before December 15th, and she’ll make sure they get into the right hands.
The day of first fresh meat tryouts was nerve wracking. I hadn’t been on skates in years and I had to borrow skates and gear from one of the derby girls to try out. As I looked around and saw some of the girls that had been practicing all summer long, I wondered if I was in over my head. However, the moment I put on my skates, I knew I would never take them off again.
I officially became part of the TCRG Fresh Meat and have now done 2,846 squats and counting. Somehow, “Circle of Pain” didn’t seem scary when coming from our sweet-talking coaches. Oh. Yep, it sure earned its name! Our coaches and training committee have done so much to build up our skills, they are amazing….but we’re all still shaking in our skates thinking of meeting the seasoned meat on the track!
A defining moment for any fresh meat is coming up with her derby alter-ego. I spent hours thinking of names and running them by friends and family. Suddenly, I have it! I quickly check the international roster of derby names(because every derby name in the WORLD has to be unique)…I check the roster…sh** it’s taken! Brain storm…brainstorm…another brilliant name! Checking…checking…what!? It’s taken too! This continued for a few weeks until I came up with my name. I wanted a tough name and my final choice was based on knives and poison (severing, which went to sevrin, and strychnine, a bitter poison that causes asphyxia or sheer exhaustion). You know, it seemed impossible for us new skaters to come up with unique names, but I was impressed with the creativity from the 2009 fresh meat. The girls’ names are awesome!
Well, here’s hoping I pass the next levels of testing, survive being mashed up by my fellow freshies, and get drafted by one of the sweet-ass teams that make up the TCRG league. I knew I would meet rad girls in derby and I have definitely not been disappointed!
~ Fresh Meat Sevrin Strychnine