January 14th in Eau Claire, Wisconsin! Woo-hoo!!!!
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January 14th in Eau Claire, Wisconsin! Woo-hoo!!!!
The Iron Range Maidens are getting ready for the 2012 year. Our motto? “We’ll Do Better!” On January 14th we travel to Eau Claire, Wisconsin to face the Chippewa Valley Rollergirls again. We played them at home in September, and though we didn’t win, we learned A LOT.
Need something to do in January? Come see some ROLLER DERBY!!!
Check out these videos to get a little taste of what’s to come!
It’s the 2nd season of the Iron Range Maidens and while I’m no superstar, I do know how to skate, sorta. So that first year excitement and fear isn’t propelling me like last year, and I need to kick myself in the can to work harder, learn the game better and train off my skates too.
I go through this whiny little thing to myself at practice. There’s always a point where my feet start to ache some. Then because my feet hurt I get the old shaky legs when we’re doing knee drops and turns. Then I start that negative self talk to myself, “why did I miss practice so much last week? What am I thinking? I’m 42 and the girl next to me is NINETEEN years younger than I am! WHO AM I KIDDING?”
And then the derby magic kicks in a little. We do some five on five, some game play, and I squat my place on the line and hit a couple of women and before I know it, I’m having fun. And I’m not telling myself I can’t do this crazy thing.
Until tomorrow night’s practice when I do it to myself, all over again.
She didn’t need to qualify it, believe you me, I took it in the best way possible.
I know I’ve been doing this roller derby thing for a year now, and I should be used to this flip in body image. Maybe I was scarred by all those years in the “pretty plus” department of JC Penney.
New mantras to repeat: solid is good, solid is good. Dynamite comes in small packages. Dynamite comes in small packages. solid is good, solid is good. Dynamite comes in small packages. Dynamite comes in small packages.
We’re ramping up for our big derby bout this Saturday September 24th at the Hodgins-Berardo arena in Coleraine and YOU are cordially invited. It’s called “Smack to School: the Sandra Dees vs. the Rizzos”. Yes, that means you are at liberty to dress up like your favorite movie EVER, “Grease”! Audience members and skaters can embrace their alter egos of the good girls or bad girls or the prep/jock boy vs. the bad boy and come join the fun.
Bar/doors open at 5pm and the bout starts at 6:30. Advanced tickets $8/$4 (students ) available Clusiau Sales & Rental, Reed Drug or www.brownpapertickets.com.
Day of bout tickets $10/$5 (students) 5 & under are free!
Hope to see you there! Look for the solid, stick of dynamite with the skirt and the Butterscotch on the back!
I am Helen Killer
Most days, I wake up as Melissa. I get out of bed, take a shower, get a little breakfast, and have a chat with my offspring. Pretty usual stuff, really. I let people in who need to merge, even though they are cutting in the line. I open doors for people, I comment on babies and puppies regarding how adorable they are. I get my work done, I do the laundry and cook dinner, watch a little television and go to bed. Just like any other person you meet.
But there are other days. On these days, I wake up as Helen Killer, or just Killer, as my teammates call me. On these days, I am more likely to ask what is going on with your hair than to tell you it looks nice. If you are trying to merge, try some where else, because I worked hard to cut in front of the ten people that I did to get my spot in line, and you can have my spot when you pry it from my cold dead fingers. Rather than comment on how cute you puppy is, or how adorable your baby is, I will probably bite your dog and avoid your baby, because not everyone has the ability to be objective about their ugly children. Best to stay away.
On these days, I like to tie on a pair of skates. I also have a fondness for booty shorts and stockings. I like tighter fitting clothes and if you have a problem with my muffin top, you will probably want to keep that thought to yourself. I have a fondness for big hits to anyone in my line of vision.
Don’t worry. There is a place for Helen Killer. No, its not a state prison, it’s a roller derby track. On the derby track, there is no room for being nice. A few months ago, I had some minor surgery for my sinuses. (FYI, Helen Killers sinuses have never caused her an issue. She doesn’t need a tissue.) Killer was no where to be found for about two months, and I had to fill in for her. I don’t know what Killer brings to the table, but I can tell you, I am no substitute for Killer. I can hit people, but I always apologize for it, and sometimes I help them up again. And when I get hit, I whine about how bad it hurt and complain that I will probably have a bruise. Killer likes bruises.
By now, you likely think I have some type of mental disorder. I work in mental health, so I know what you mean. Maybe I do. But at this point, Killer seems to be in high demand and has found a socially acceptable place to insult your children and hit people. Seems pretty healthy to me.
It’s been a crazy summer, and I for one do not mind that fall is coming. It’s my favorite time of year, plus roller derby practice starts up again in earnest with three days a week at the Hodgins-Berardo arena in Coleraine, Minnesota.
So how did roller-con end up? Well….I’ve been to lots of conventions before – exciting stuff – library conventions, public radio conventions, social media conventions. This was my first roller derby convention, and it was amazingly NOT like anything I’ve been a part of before. I’m proud to say I made it and emerged the other side without felonies, tattoos and only a few minor bruises.
Magic and I journeyed home after a few days of relaxation at Lake Las Vegas, then drove like hell the rest of the way (in honor of Bert of course). After I got home I slept briefly then got back in the car and went down to Roller Revolution in Minneapolis to buy my new skates. My friend Christa met me and after she was tempted to try roller derby herself we had lunch and a fun stroll through the U of MN campus and our memories there. Papa and Curv Vicious were AWESOME to work with at Roller Revolution, and I can’t wait until I’ve completely broken in my new skates. The next day the Iron Range Maidens made quite the impact on the Grand Rapids Tall Timber Days parade, skating alongside bigtime supporters Tom Clusiau’s.
Here’s some photo highlights from the trip.
It’s been a super busy few days at rollercon, and most of the time I’m falling down so I don’t have time to take photos. Had a great day of learning some basic skate techniques, turns, and skating for better blocking. Getting real close with Hellen Killer was the theme of the day. And my aching feet! Found out my skates have a bolt sticking up through them that is causing a callous AND they are 2 sizes too big. Yikes. I’m hoping to leave rollercon with new skates!
Last night I went to watch the late night open scrimmage where Magic Pants was reffing (he’s the one with the orange helmet). Check out a few of my fuzzy photos from the night.
Is it wrong to admit how nervous I was this morning? The thought of actually SKATING with the hordes of badass derby girls that have descended on Vegas was a little too much. I’m not the tattoo bad ass derby type. But I am the derby type that marches forward… and shows up at a class and puts my skates on even if I look like a dope. I went to 2 on-skate classes today and 1 classroom session, besides watching a bunch of scrimmages and hanging out with the Iron Range Maidens who trickled in during the day. And with Magic Pants of course, who magically changed my wheels for me for the skate surface I was falling on a lot today.
Here’s some things I learned today:
-we are not the only derby girls that have stinky skates and equipment
-turn your shoulders for crossovers non-derby direction. This turning shoulders thing REALLY helped me in crossovers and smoother transitions. Yay to teachers Dirty Debbie Harry and Donna Skatrix. You guys ROCKED!
-guys at Indian restaurants in the food court get a HUGE charge out of derby girls. And I took pride when they said to me, “I bet you can knock some people down. You have big arms!”
-everything is instantly easier when your derby peeps show up
-sleep is a good thing. So is peanut butter and bread from the nearby walgreens
-Helen Killer likes her giant cans of corona!
Today was the final day of the ref clinic for Magic, with a scrimmage of the No Coast Roller Derby Girls at 2pm. After loading up our car, hanging out a bookstore/coffee shop where coffee is “totally free” if you ride your bike, I headed over to the Pershing Center to watch the scrimmage and take some photos and maybe even do some recording.
Turns out it was a WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association) training, so none of that was allowed.
But it was still cool. I heard some awesome cussing, saw some cool moves, and realized how much I have to learn yet about roller derby. Here’s a few things I noticed:
Booty blocks – the Iron Range Maidens practice these a lot, but I had never seen a skater kind of pop her booty, and knock a girl down behind her with her butt. It was awesome!
Trapping – when you knock a jammer out of bounds, don’t just take off – in fact, invite your teammates over so you can trap her
new phrases like “step on the gas! Give it more gas!” and “don’t be a boy!”
On to rollercon!!
A day to myself in Lincoln, Nebraska, with temperatures up to 90 degrees. What is a roller derby girl going to do with herself? My perfect plan of the day was visiting the National Roller Skating Museum. Thanks so much to James Vannurden, the director/curator of the National Roller Skating Museum, for coming in to open special for me.
He gave me a thorough, quick tour of the place, starting with the exhibits of the earliest known rollerskates. I recorded my interview for my road trip audio documentary, and hopefully you’ll be able to hear him sometimes soon. I’m sure James thought I was nuts, my eyes huge, holding a microphone out to him and grinning like I did when the doors opened 5 minutes early at the Nisswa Rollerena when I was 11 years old.
It’s not a big place – a room really, but it’s a quintessential slice of Americana that is captured in every little detail in the joint. Like the roller skating in the White House exhibit. I think James said that there were 5 known cases of rollerskating in the White House where sitting presidents allowed their kids to skate. The last was Amy Carter, and there was a cute picture of her in her 80′s bespectacled glory, holding her cat with a pair of white Garfield the Cat rollerskates in front. There was also an exhibit from one of the women who ran for Miss America in 1989. She didn’t win the crown, but did well in her talent competition of roller dancing and donated her trophy and tiara to the museum.
And then there was derby. Sigh. Starting in 1935, Chicago entrepreneur Leo Seltzer created something called a Transcontinental Roller Derby where teams of a man and a woman were pitted against each other in a marathon across the country. He eventually created the game of derby in 1948′s post-Depression America with a banked track that became wildly popular on television and radio. It’s waxed and waned in popularity over the years, but now has a HUGE resurgence across the countries – some say there are 100 new teams forming across the country every year! The museum had a nice display of the past AND future of roller derby.
I asked James- the-curator who were the regular visitors of the National Roller Skating Museum. “Kids on field trips and busses from nursing homes” he said, “or, if there’s a national roller skating competition going on in town.”
And, of course - Butterscotch Bitch – a 42 year old derby girl reliving the joy of youth on skates while my husband is attending the roller derby referee clinic before heading out to the National Roller Derby convention in Vegas.
Tomorrow is Magic’s last day of the ref clinic, and I’m planning to go to the scrimmage with the No Coast Derby Girls of Lincoln, Nebraska. Can’t wait to watch and learn!