Friday, 30 April 2010


Ok, the names to decide between are: Scarlett O'Slaybelle, Nina Hate, Anna Cleavers, Joanna Bitchslap or Cheri Von Scarring. Cast your votes!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

what's in a name?

I'm resting my leg today, and good lord I am SO BORED! Last night I was so sore I could hardly bend my leg, walking upstairs was a real mission and trying to get my leg in to bed took both hands and a lot of effort. Sleep seems to have done the trick though, it's far better today...just a twinge now really. There is a real silver lining to all this: the only reason the fall hurt is because I fell awkwardly on it and pulled a muscle. I didn't hurt my knees or wrists in the slightest (yay for my pads!). This means that if I had fallen correctly it would have been totally painless, therefore there is no reason to be afraid of falling!

So, while I've got my leg propped up and have nothing but time on my hands I'm going to start thinking about a derby name. The name is an important part of being a derby girl: it's a unique persona, and no two are the same. This alter-ego is who you are on the track, and allows you to leave Jane the housewife/mother/daughter/employee behind and kick some serious ass. All this being said, I'm struggling to think of anything punchy enough. So far I have:

Cheri Von Scarring
Nina Hate (in tribute to my favorite alt pin-up and clothing designer, Nina Kate of Jane Doe latex)
Anna Cleavers (a bit like Ann of Cleaves...just popped in to my head while I was at the gym one day)

What do you guys think?

I know the number I want though- 86. I work on A6 and it sounds similar (and it's a trauma ward, how appropriate!)

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Love hurts. So does derby.

Well, I'm sat in my living room with my leg up and an ice pack on my quad. I've told myself over and over that I need to be prepared to fall and get right back up again. This evening, that theory was put to the test.

Ok, first: the velodrome.

It is an awesome, AWESOME place to skate! The tarmac on the main stretch is lovely and smooth, and the roundabout is perfect for practicing cross-overs. The banked track on the side looks scary, but I've decided that by the end of the summer I WILL conquer it! Sian managed to skate quite a bit of it and I was very, very impressed. I was skating quite confidently, just getting my pace up when I hit a bit of rough ground. I didn't fall, and thought 'phew, that was close!'. Then I hit the second rough patch, and went down like a sack of spuds. I know falling is an inevitable part of skating, but I managed to fall awkwardly and somehow pull my left leg underneath me, pulling my quadriceps in the process. OW! I got back up and tried to skate it off, but it hurt too much so I got myself on to the grass and rested it. I can't feel too sorry for myself though: one of the Brawlers managed to go over on her ankle and had to be carted off on a wheel chair - hope she's ok, it's the first official injury! Although I was gutted I missed out on skating time, I did get to chat to some of the other girls and I have to say they're all absolutely lovely. There is a plan in the pipeline for a trip to London to watch the London Rollergirls, which will be cool and mean we can spend time bonding (drinking)!

Time for a hot bath, deep heat and rest. No skating until Sunday (which sucks) but Sunday is the day we train with Kelly from Rainy City Rollergirls, which is going to be amazing! As long as my leg is better by then, I'll be happy.

...ladies and gentlemen, welcome to thunderdome..I mean, velodrome!

Since my last post, I have done two things: 1)I went to see 'Whip It' at the cinema and 2) I've been skating every day for at least 30 minutes, in an attempt to get my confidence up and get rid of the wobbles that have been plaguing me.

So first, the film. I really enjoyed it, although I did think it was a film I would have LOVED had a been a few years younger. The derby action was fun, fast and furious (although any fighting would quickly get you sent to the penalty box, which didn't seem to happen much in the film!) and Juliette Lewis was a great nemesis in the form of Iron Maven. I did irk me slightly that Bliss only fell about twice, and was then whizzing around the track- nothing like real life! However, I don't think anyone would want to watch endless falling and wobbling as Bliss learns to skate- and it would make the film too damn long.

As for the skating...I've noticed a little improvement in my confidence. It no longer takes me 10 minutes of fear and wobbling before I feel ok on 8 wheels, and I can now move slightly faster than your average hedgehog. Tonight though, it all gets in to an entirely new world of terror- the Brawler girls are skating at the velodrome. For those not in the know, the velodrome is huge. Like quarter of a mile every lap huge. Since my preferred method of stopping is still hugging the wall, this fills me with dread. I figure I have two choices: a) put my knee pads to the test and fall like a lady or b) bail out in to the grass (at least that will be softer, although definitely less dignified!). I will post later and let you know how it goes...

On a positive note, Sunday's training is going to be lead by one of the ladies from Manchester's own Rainy City Rollergirls...I'm so very, very excited! It'll be great to be taught by a pro who has played in bouts...and also remembers what it's like to be a bambi on rollerskates. I've been looking at the riedell website today, and I now how extreme skate envy. Think I know how I'm going to be spending my bond cheque...

Monday, 26 April 2010

The 'C' word

No, not that C word...get your minds out of the gutter! The word I mean is 'confidence'. This seems to be thing thing I am most lacking in at the moment.

In the past week or so I have probably spent more time on skates than I have ever done before (including as a child!). This has been quite a shock to the system after years of playing it safe on my own two feet. I've also attended two proper training sessions (indoors, on nice smooth surfaces); one with the Cardiff Dragon Dolls, and one with the Tiger Bay Brawlers.

At the Dolls training, I was quite literally thrown in at the deep end- falls were run through quickly, followed by drills of them over and over. My poor newbie knees didn't know what hit them! However, after a few goes I got the hang of it and even started to enjoy throwing myself to the floor with abandon. Even getting back up wasn't as hard as I'd imagined. Then came the laps, with tasks (single knee fall, skate on one leg, crossovers ect ect) and by then I felt fairly ok on 8 wheels, and was very disappointed when the hour was up. I didn't realise just how hard I had been working until I took off my pads- sweaty knees and elbows galore!

In contrast, the Brawler ladies held a longer two hour session, which covered not only the basics of skating, but the basics of derby too. Even though I knew most of it from internet trawling and generally reading/watching anything derby related I could get my hands on, it was still nice to have a run through of all the rules. There was an emphasis on how everyone would be learning together, and developing our skating skills with the aim of getting the minimum requirements set out by the WFTDA (and believe me, it's a pretty extensive list). One look at the booklet I was given (they were that organized!) and I felt fear in my throat: will I ever be good enough for this? The answer is yes, yes I will. I will practice, practice, practice until skating feels as natural to me as walking. Until I'm not afraid to fall down, and get right back up again. I've promised myself I'm going to do at least 30 mins a day on my skates. Even if it's just going around the dining room in my house, or the tennis courts by Maindy pool (even if they do have the worst surface in the world to skate on- rough as hell and covered in stones/twigs/bottle caps/broken glass). It's the only way I'm going to get confident, and before I even start to think about technical ability this is what I need to achieve.

and so it begins...

Hello and welcome! My name is Jo, and I'm a newbie skater in the wonderful world of roller derby. I've started this blog for a few reasons: 1)I want to keep track of my progress over the coming weeks and months, 2) I want a place I can talk about derby, and express my thoughts and views and 3)I want some day for a newbie to look at this and find it a useful resource, whether it be ideas for training drills or to take comfort in the fact that we all started out looking like Bambi on ice!

So first, what is Derby? And why, as a nurse working on a busy trauma ward have I decided to join a sport that means I will probably end up spending time in work as a patient?!
Wikipedia (ah, the font of all knowledge) describes roller derby as 'an Amerian-invented contact sport—and historically, a form of sports entertainment—based on formation roller skating around an oval track, with points scored as certain players lap members of an opposing team.' On the face of it, yes, that's about it. But look closely, for modern derby is a lot more complex than the derby of the 50's. gives you a better idea of what the game is, and saves you from having to read my waffling for the better part of a page.

So, on to my next point: why do I want to do this? Well, the long and short of it is that it looks like a hell of a lot of fun! For a nation that loves our contact sports, we've been suprisingly slow on the uptake. This is possibly because roller skating is not quite as popular here as in America - most towns over the pond have public skating rinks, whereas finding a place in Cardiff that will let you train is a bit more tricky as most sports halls worry about the damage to the floor from the skates. And frankly, it's also going to be a good way to get rid of pent-up aggression, make new friends and seriously kick some ass.