Monday, January 31, 2011

L.A. Derby Doll just kicked my ass....

After the amazing (but tiring) weekend of EROC II, me and Lola Rock 'n' Rolla arrived in Amsterdam at our training space right in time.

Cause tonight we had a visitor, and not just some visitor,

Tara Armov from the L.A. Derby Dolls!! Skating for 7 years, she has to be the most experienced Roller Derby player we have ever had at our ADD practices.
Lucky for us, Tara is awesome, and she was more then happy to crack the whip on us.....

Practicing skills and learning new tactic pack moves and drills was just awesome! There is no other word I can use to describe that tonights practice: AWESOME!!

At one of the drills you had to push each other while skating, it's a balance exercise.
I was lucky enough to push Tara around, cause it's not very likely that it will ever happen for real! :p

Also we did a teamwork and communication drill, where you form a wall with 3 girls and you have one pivot. The pivot is the only one with it's eyes open and has to communicate to the wall of blockers and tell them what to do, cause they have their eyes closed. Well you can imagine how much fun this is! But also a very good pack communication exercise.

We did so much more, unbelievable how much information and training one person can transfer in a couple of hours!
We feel very privileged to have had her with us, so Tara thanks again!!!

And yeah, we do hate you now, but in the best way humanly possible. :)

- Furrrocious

EROC II; Nerves kicking in..

Day two; Sunday

On the second day of the European Roller Derby Organizational Conference we concentrated on how to organize Roller Derby on a European level. We had a discussion with all the different countries together, while the refs had two more practices in the other hall.

The discussions were very interesting. We talked about how to organize a European Roller Derby board, and if and why we wanted one.
Europe is still in the early stages of development when it comes to the organization on a Continent level. Lots of leagues are still brand new and have a hard time getting themselves organized, let alone their own countries, which makes it hard to even think about a wider scale like the whole continent. But Roller Derby is growing so fast in Europe that we need to think about it, and we better do it now, so we are still 'small' enough to start organizing ourselves.

We also discussed topics like ranking, categorization of teams/leagues, tournaments, translation of rules, etc.
The whole weekend there was a WFTDA rep present from the USA, Bloody Mary. She explained that WFTDA is very much interested in the development of Roller Derby in Europe, and was happy to see that the Roller Derby Culture is pretty much the same in Europe as it is in the States and Canada. She also explained that WFTDA is really interested in how they can contribute to the further development of Roller Derby in Europe and are working on hiring people just for this goal.
So it was all very interesting. We are all on the verge of something so new and exciting. And we need to figure out collectively how to organize this all in order to maximize our potential as a sport on a European Level.

The second part of the day was the most nerve wrecking....
It was time to Scrimmage!
A full on mixed scrimmage with refs and NSO's, the whole shebang!
There were two scrimmages planned, a beginners and an advanced scrimmage.
All ADD girls were supposed to participate in the beginner scrimmage. Unfortunately Belle Anger had hurt her knee practicing and scrimmaging with the Berlin Bomshells earlier that week. So she decided to not participate in the scrimmage as a player, but joined the officials team and served as a penalty tracker and outside white board NSO.

The rest of us did play. And before the scrimmage we were all really nervous, especially me and my wifey Lola Rock 'n' Rolla...
Dirty Knickers, one of our trainers, always says we are to hard on ourselves, which makes us insecure and well nervous. Walking into the hall with all my gear my hands were sweaty and shaking...
After we all put on our gear and warmed up a bit, the teams were announced. Vegan Vengeance, Sweet 'n' Sinister and Lola Rock 'n' Rolla were all in the black team, with bench coach Devilina from the Berlin Bombshells.
Me, Ruby Doom (former ADD, now Arnhem Fallen Angels), Whippin' Red Siren (from the Rotterdam Death Row Honeys) and Lolli Chop (from the One Love Roller girls from Antwerp) were all in team White, with Foxy F├╝hrer from the Berlin Bombshells as our bench coach.

*Thanks to Michael Wittiger for this great picture

As we went to our team benches it was not only my hands that were shaking, but I was literally shaking on my skates!!
It was a very diverse mixed group in each team, with girls from all these different European countries. Which was just amazing. But also hard. It's hard enough to play your first scrimmage, and then to play against your own teammates was really weird.
But the first stress was not from playing against my teammates, it was when Foxy told me I was playing blocker position 3 in the very first jam!
I was so nervous....I cannot even describe what went through my head right in those seconds before the whistle was blown, and the game was on.
It took only one jam to get over those initial nerves. After that first jam all those endorphins were released and the adrenaline rush kicked in. And all I wanted was to be on that track!
Half of the time I still had no clue of what I was doing. But i guess that's what you get when you are playing for the first time.

Here I fell, I really wish I could say I was taking out that blocker of the black team next to me to get my own Jammer through, but to be honest I don't remember. :)

I do remember a couple of illegal moves I made (oeps!)...
I tripped the Jammer of the other team, I wasn't fast enough with my footwork to get in front and block her or give her a good hit, so I was 'desperate', and saw an opportunity to trip I did! And yeah, she fell and I got a major an was send to the penalty box. I was actually kind of proud to be there. :) I got that Jammer out and it was kind of cool to experience sitting in the penalty box! Hahahaha
Also I got another totally illegal block in, that took the Jammer from the black team out. I was trying to block her with my shoulder/back, but again I wasn't fast enough with my footwork to get to her fast enough, so I just kind of threw myself at her an ended up taking her out with my head, which is pretty much really illegal....(Oeps 2!) Lucky for me nobody called it....

But I also was able to do some totally legal nice blocks. Not much hitting though, really something I need to practice more. I am really pretty good at hitting, but in a 'bout' situation it's so much different then in our little gym.

In the black team Lola and Sweet n Sinister worked hard as blockers. And Vegan vengeance pretty much stole the show with her Jammer abilities!!

She really did an outstanding job!
I am so proud of all of us, for participating in this amazing European Beginners scrimmage. We learned so much. I for sure now what I need to work on more.

One bad thing happened through out the whole scrimmage. In the last jam, my wifey Lola playing for the other team, fell really badly on her ankle and had to stop because of the pain.
While the white team was doing a victory lap (because we won), she was being helped my her team mates. It really sucked, cause after an amazing experience of a first scrimmage this pretty much took away her well deserved euphoric feeling...
Unfortunately injuries are a part of derby...

*later that night we wrapt her ankle in a blanket with ice. Luckily it didn't swell up to badly

The advanced scrimmage was played by a mix of European experienced players and even Texas Wftda rep Bloody Mary played in this scrimmage.
It was of course totally different then the beginners scrimmage we participated in. Seeing skaters like Swede Hurt and Master Blaster in action was awesome. They were all really good. And I saw some moves that got my standing up in the stands and cheering and screaming. ;)

After this amazing day, a bunch of us ended up in the Rock 'n' Roll herberge for drinks later that night.

Ms Miyagi (GGGRG) and my wifey Lola Rock 'n' Rolla.

The awesome Helsinki girls, Tigre Force and Bananaspit and me freaking in front of the camera. :)

It was a good way to end this great weekend. Drinks with awesome derby girls (and guys).
Cannot wait to see you all again on the track and in the bar!

Thanks again to the Berlin Bombshells for hosting EROC II this year. You all did an amazing job and we enjoyed it a lot.

- Furrrocious

Saturday, January 29, 2011

E.R.O.C. II; There is no stopping this virus

EROC II: Day one

So this weekend Bear City of Berlin is hosting the second European Roller Derby Organizational Conference. And we are here with 5 of us representing the Amsterdam Derby Dames.
Belle Anger, Lola Rock 'n' Rolla, Vegan Vengeance, Sweet 'n' Sinister and me.

Yesterday we started with a nice dinner and registration. To be honest, this dinner was all ready exhausting! After being in a car for about 7hours, we went to the dinner. And there is a restaurant filled with all the amazing derby people. To much to handle... I was surprised to see I all ready knew quite a few people. And it was nice to see awesome people like Tigre from Helsinki again, after I met her first in Helsinki last year in June.
So you can imagine the dinner was a good time to network and drink with new and less new derby friends. And therefore it was all really exhausting. Lots of talking and hugging and stuff like that. :)

The Netherlands is well represented at EROC. As I have said in earlier blogs, there are now 7 roller derby leagues in The Netherlands, which is, to be honest, pretty amazing! We are this tiny country and ADD only started a year and a half ago. In that time Dutch Roller Derby has grown out to the new up and coming sport for women in the Netherlands.
I am side tracking all ready, so as I was saying, lots of Dutch Leagues at EROC! East side Rock 'n' Rollers (Enschede), Rock City Rollers (Eindhoven), Arnhem Fallen Angels, Rotterdam Death row honeys, Dom City Dolls (Utrecht) and us. So actually the only ones not here are the brand spanking new league from the north of Holland; Northern Lightning Roller girls (Groningen).
It was so nice to finally meet everybody.
As one of the inter league people at ADD I have been in touch with all the Dutch leagues. But it was good to finally put real faces with the Facebook profile pics! ;)

So we started the day of at 9 in the morning with a breakfast. Which was great.
At 10 all the workshops, trainings and Q&A's started.
I had taken the liberty to make a schedule for our own league reps, to make sure we would maximize the information intake. Cause OH MY GOSH....there is so much info! And there is so much we don't know yet! Luckily we also found out there is stuff we do know, and all ready do :)

I am not going to recap each workshop I have been too, cause I would be typing for another hour and it's all ready to late, as it is. :)

But a couple of high lights (and it was alllll great, just not enough energy to write about it all..)

- On skates training by master Blaster and Devilina. This was absolutely amazing!

- The League organizational structure workshop by Dr. No-No.... No-No has the amazing quality of saying and explaining stuff as it is, but making you feel good at the same time. She gave me the feeling that we are doing a good job with our league and that all leagues and a lot of (womens)organizations have the same kind of issues. Which is so good to realize.

Of course you know you are not alone, but at the same time, because it's new and we are (almost) all new at this, you can still feel isolated and alone sometimes.
But to quote Dr. No-No:
"There is no recipe on how to organize your roller derby league" and "No Roller Derby League is perfect. They are all run by (in-perfect) humans, we can and should strive for perfection, but we are not!"
Which of course I know, but it's good to hear someone say it all so clear and with a really positive vibe.

Well, there is so much more to talk about, recruitment workshops, Dutch leagues discussion, Low Country meeting, etc etc :)

For now I will stop, cause I really need to go to sleep. More EROC tomorrow, including a beginners scrimmage (!!!) Which will be my first ever scrimmage... I am all ready scared shitless!

- Furrrocious

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

ADD 24/7

At the end of last year I was elected as the new president for our league. Before I got nominated and decided I was going to run for president I knew this was going to be a tough job that was going to cost a lot of time....

Now we are up and running as a new board and the work load for the first few months has been quite heavy to say the least...
For all of you out there who have started a roller derby league (or probably any kind of new sporting league), you will understand the blood, sweat and tears it takes to get there...

Don't get me wrong in any way, I am not complaining about the work load or anything like that. I really just want to shed some light on the stage of development we are in as a league and my personal experience as league president.

This past month has just been filled with Derby.
Between practice twice (sometimes 3 times) a week, board meetings, committee meetings and struggling through our policy documents I also try to have a life somewhere in between! But I guess it's not a lie when people say derby is not a sport it's a lifestyle. Because it sure does take over your life!
Of course I am loving every minute of it. But it sure takes a lot of time and hard work.

This week has been back to back filled with derby. We are currently trying to describe our complete league structure and setting up guidelines, rules, etc. And it's awesome on the one hand, because you know while we are doing this, that it will benefit our league, but on the other hand it's hard sometimes to keep everybody in sink and happy.

It does make me very happy to see that our brand new board has been working so hard and are still (mostly) happy at the same time! :)
We have all got our qualities and I really think we are using them to the fullest. Which makes me proud.

This Sunday we have our first General members meeting under this new board. And all our fresh meat will be there too! I am excited. I hope we will be able to get everybody into committees that will fit their qualities and interest. It's all about motivation I guess. Luckily our newbies seem very motivated!!

Next weekend we are off to Berlin (again!).
This time for the second EROC (European Rollerderby Organizational Conference). I am excited about it. Because of so many reasons really.
First of all, we'll see and meet so many European roller derby people again, which is always just awesome!!! But also because of the program they set up. There are sooooo many things we still need to learn about running and organizing a league, teams, bouts, etc.
There are even 'country' meetings being organized. So the Netherlands will have a meeting too, at least with the four leagues that will be represented at EROC.
It looks like it will be a very informative weekend with of course a lot of Derby fun added to it as well. :)

Well that's it for now. I will officially take a night off of Roller Derby now, never thought I would say that, but man do I need it! :p

- Furrrocious

Friday, January 7, 2011

New year, more Derby?!

2011 has just started, and has all ready been overflowing with Roller Derby!
The last day of 2010, I was lucky enough to buy my ticket to RollerCon. And I partied with two of my favorite European Derby girls, my wifey Lola Rock 'n' Rolla and the Devil Doll Gina Gasolina.

After the two week break at practice I was more then happy to go to practice on Monday. It was great to be on skates again. I missed it like crazy. But I noticed soon enough that the two weeks we couldn't practice (because we couldn't use our practice space), was exactly what I needed. For the first time in months my ankles didn't hurt!! Without the help of braces or tape I was able to skate with no pain!
And let me tell you, it was a great feeling.
Because of my ankles I had not been to practice on Monday for two months (!!), so I felt like I missed out on so much...
With the girls that were there we practiced jumping over obstacles (see Lola jumping in the picture). Something I had not done before. I had only jumped over lines on the floor, so this was completely new. And it was fun! I fell hard a couple of times, but I was able to jump higher and further then I expected.

On Wednesday it was time for fresh meat practice. The newbies also had two weeks off, and I was curious to see how many would come. But I guess they were all just as excited as me to be back on skates, cause they came in great numbers. :)
And you might be starting to get sick and tired of me saying this, but they have improved so much! It's just crazy how fast they all grow in the skating abilities.
They started weaving through cones on one leg and even learned how to jump. Warm and fuzzy is all I have to say about it.
Dirty Knickers did a good job on training us. It was fun, but also though. I felt every muscles in my body when I left practice!

The next day I was busy with a whole different side of Roller Derby. I had been working on a present for my derby wife Lola Rock 'n' Rolla, for a while and thursday I finally got it finished!
I gave her (and myself) a necklace with a bearing, and got her name engraved on the side of the bearing.

I wanted to give it to her on Friday. But because there was another team practice that night I was able to give it to her that night. And she loved it!! :)

I normally don't practice on Thursday nights team practice, because I have not yet passed my WFTDA test. But this night was special, Harper Lethal from the Atlanta Rollergirls came out to train (with) us! So I couldn't miss that.
So another night of practice....
Let me tell was hard. Especially at the beginning. My body (especially my legs..) were still aching from last nights practice. But still no pain in my ankles so I kept going. And had a great time. We learned so much from Harper, which was great. We did some positional blocking exercises. Which was really hard on my legs, but my spirit won from the achy legs, and I kept going. It was so much fun to really practice these moves and not just with somebody who would let it happen either. Cherry Poppins gave me a run for my money. She resisted and moved quickly to dodge my blocks. It was great, I learned so much!!

Last but certainly not least, we ended 2010 with 6 roller derby leagues in the Netherlands, and started this week with SEVEN!!
Welcome to the first league in the north of holland:
Northern Lightning Rollergirls from Groningen. They are looking for new members right now, so if you are interested or just want to give them a warm derby welcome, you can find them on Facebook.

Well I am off to have another Derby related night, only this times it will envolve drinking and singing at a karaoke bar with the girls from the Rotterdam Deathrow honeys.

- Furrrocious