Friday, June 28, 2013

East Coast Derby Extravaganza - DAY 1

Oh boy, oh boy, where to start...
Day 1 of ECDX, is the "easy day". Bouts don't start until 6 pm and there are only 2 rinks in use and 4 bouts in total. 
Which seems like not too much if you realize there are 50 in 3 days!
However I found it was not an "easy" day at all! There were a few really intense bouts this first evening at ECDX. The one sticking out was the bout between the two men's teams; New York Shock Exchange and Mass Maelstrom. These two teams were ranked #3 and #6 in the MRDA rankings and was promising to be a very exciting bout. And boy oh boy oh boy it was! 
NYSE warming up

This bout was an absolute nail biter. At first it looked like NYSE would dominate, but maelstrom would not let NYSE conquer without a fight. And what a fight it was. It was epic. I saw amazing agility and hard intense hits. I loved every minute of it. 

NYSE won by 12 points

Another thing that was very exciting and overwhelming some times was the amount of awesome people. :)
I met up with Georgia, Beater and Mark from Montreal who visited Amsterdam almost 2 years ago. It was so good to see them again. And I cannot wait to see the New Skids play tomorrow and cheer for Tush! 

The other bout that was very exciting to see live, was the bout between Gotham and Texas. There are so many "derby legends" (or hero's if you like) in these teams. And watching them play in real life is pretty mind blowing. 
Again there was some really amazing skating, super agile jammers, tough blockers, great technical game play. Loved it. Gotham dominated the first half, the second half Texas came back, getting lead the first four jams of the period. But Gotham, the great team they are, did not let Texas get ahead much and blew them away. Although Texas kept fighting till the end, and because of both the teams amazing game play it was not a boring game at all. 

The unofficial final. Gotham takes the win

This was a good day and I cannot wait till tomorrow. Cause tomorrow I'll be watching some amazing derby, with awesome people. I'll be playing at least one challenge bout myself and I'm sure I'll be joining the pool party. :)
On to day 2....

- Furrrocious 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Banked track adventures

The door of the PJRD warehouse.
When you play roller derby in Europe, you hear about banked track and you can watch it online, but there isn't a roller derby banked track anywhere in Europe.
When I knew I was going to Philly, I got the tip to get in touch with Penn Jersey Roller Derby to try out the banked track. 
So I did, and last night I went out to the PJRD warehouse to give the banked track a try.

First of all I have to say, that I don't think I have ever felt this welcome anywhere before. The ladies and gents from the Penn Jersey Roller Derby league were so nice and welcoming, it made me a lot less nervous. Cause yes, I was pretty nervous. :) 
Before I came out to try the banked track Tara Armov all ready gave me a few pointers, and that made me feel better. As she basically told me to rely on my normal (derby) skating skills, staying low etc. And her tips helped, because they did make me less nervous. But when I actually climed onto the track, I just didn't know how to "start". The PJRD girls just encouraged me and I gave it a try. It was very strange at first. But after a minute or so I started to enjoy it. 
Three of the PJRD teams; Sadistic Sweethearts, Dishonor Roll and the Hooligans (men's) were about to do some "light" scrimmage jams. As the girls were prepping for a bout this coming Saturday.

Sadisctic Sweethearts on the track
I expected to sit out and watch while they were scrimmaging. But their coach "little Richard" (former old school roller derby skater) got me back on track. He explained how to skate the banked track. Then they put me on the team with the Hooligans and after watching a few jams they let me play some myself. 
It was a strange and exciting experience. The first jam was like my very first jam on the flat track... It felt like complete chaos and I had no idea what was going on. 
But as the jams went on it got a little less scary and weird to skate on the banked track and I could focus a little more on the game it self. 
Although, that by it self was hard enough too, as the rules on the banked track are a lot different then on the flat track. There are a lot of different rule sets in the USA. Different rule sets for flat and banked track. And the ones that PJRD play by have some fun elements that seemed very forgein and weird to me. Like the fact that the pivot can become jammer as soon as the opposing jammer has passed her or him. That way the jammers are actually always racing. And the lead jammer, is just the jammer that is in lead. Another thing that is a lot different under the WFTDA rule set.

It was a lot fun to play these jams. The only thing I found very scary was to actually hit people. We are used to hitting a certain way on the flat track and it is just not the same on the banked track. I just felt like I would injure somebody if i would hit them normally. I think the gravity thing in combo with hitting on a banked track just freaked me a little. The other coach, former old school roller derby skater, Skip, explained me later how the hitting differs from hitting on the flat track. And it made more sense then. 
It was a very fun and educational practice for me and I loved it. 

A few of the Sadistic Sweethearts and their trophy

Except for the girls and guys from PJRD being super welcoming at practice they also showed me around town in Philly. :)
General Tso Fine (The Hooligans) and his sister Misfortune Cookie (Sadistic Sweethearts), took me to a few bars and hooked me up with some awesome PJRD merchandise. And to top it all off they dropped me off at home safe and sound as well. :)

It really was a pleasure to join a practice with PJRD and hang out with some of them. Any European that's ever around Philly and wants to try out the banked track, make sure to contact PJRD!
Want a preview of their warehouse? Here are a few more pictures:
The track

They have their own lockers, love that!

I don't care bear from the Hooligans is a H.O.S.S.A. fan. ;)

- Furrrocious

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Party! Party! Party! BLOCK PARTY!

Last night I was lucky enough to attend a Philly Rollergirls league practice.
First of all, coming from a little league in Europe it is pretty awesome when you get to skate with a league like the PRG. There are some really amazing skaters on PRG. Several of which play in a little team called team USA. 
I'm sure that people who skate with such "derby famous" and just all round amazing skaters it might not be such a big deal. Cause I'm sure it becomes "normal" at some point. But again, coming from a league in a country that never heard about roller derby 4 years ago, it's a pretty big deal when you get to skate with people that have over 9 years experience. 

When I arrived at practice I heard that they changed some stuff around and there would be 1 hour of drills and a 2 hour scrimmage. Normally they don't have visitors participate in scrimmages, but because this change was made last minute, they would make an exception.
I was super stoked and quite scared at the same time. But especially stoked! 

I was glad to see some familiar faces when I was warming up. Damage Dahl visited the Amsterdam Derby Dames about 2 years ago. And it was good to see her again. 
Also a new friend, Wendy Whiplash, was there and I was happy to see both of them. 

The first hour of drills was ran by Diva, a very experienced skater, who also happens to skate for team USA. 
It was great to work on backwards blocking for an hour. And I learned some new stuff that I'll be able to bring back to my league. 

After the hour of drills the 30+ girls there split up in the three travel teams that PRG has; The Liberty Bells, Independence Dolls and Block Party. 
I was able to join the Block Party. 
All three teams scrimmage against each other, so by playing with the Block Party we were up against The Liberty Bells and the Independence Dolls. It was such a great experience to scrimmage against such experienced skaters. 
Here I am on the line as a jammer. 
I jammed several times and even got lead jammer once. :)
It was really fun to play with the Block Party, we rocked it. 
Me and the Block Party.

I'm so grateful to get the change to skate with and against the Philly Roller Girls. It was a great experience. 
I sure hope I get to skate with them again this weekend at ECDX.