Monday, July 14, 2014

Greensboro Counterstrike

Greensboro Counterstrike at their first scrimmage. Picture by C. Oswin

It is official! Greensboro Roller Derby now has a B-team and it is called Greensboro Counterstrike! The B-team, just like the Gate City All-Stars A-team, is made up of players from all three home teams. This does not mean that we will not have our lovely home teams, they still exist, but we have now moved away from home team season and moved into A and B-team season. Greensboro Counterstrike is made up out of players who are working towards becoming Gate City players, however, the teams are not completely static. Throughout the season you will see some of our B-team players playing with the All-Stars and the other way around. The rest of the season you will get to see double headers of both our A and B-teams taking on travelling teams from all over. 

Butternut Squasher

The coaches for Greensboro Counterstrike are the lovely duo of Butternut Squasher and Sass Squasher! They are very excited to be working with the newly formed Counterstrikers and will help the team kick some serious butt this season!

Sass Squasher

The Counterstrike players are:

Andraste #219
BloodyMaryGoodnight #31
C. Oswin #46
Glitt-R-Done #5363
Hugs 'n' Hisses #H155
Moonfight Sonata #272
Independent Claws #77
Pants. #508
ShropDead #1134
Sigourney Cleaver #1013
Suture Fancy #U81
Thoreau HerDown #3P0

The captains for Greensboro Counterstrike are Sigourney Cleaver #1013 and C. Oswin #46. Here are their profiles to let you get to know them a bit better!

First up, Sigourney Cleaver!

Sigourney Cleaver #1013

Sigourney Cleaver as described by C. Oswin: Cleaver is a freaking powerhouse amazon. She is a great blocker and I always hated going up against her as a jammer when we played against one another! She is nerdy and funny and can booty-block you with the best of them. She looks really intimidating, but is actually incredibly nice. I am really looking forward having her as my co-captain this season!
Sigourney Cleaver #1013
Your goals for your team this season: All I really want from this season is for my team to become better, smarter players. The experience of playing against people from other leagues will be invaluable. I want us to learn to work together, to play off each other's strengths, and to balance out our weaknesses. And if we manage to strike fear in the hearts of men in the process, so be it.
Favorite move on skates: My favorite move is just to get in someone's way. There's nothing better than knowing someone is trying to get around you and JUST CAN'T.
Best derby memory: My best derby memory is winning MVP; I struggled so hard to get through freshmeat, and to be considered most valuable by another team was just huge.
Worst derby memory: I try not to hold on to any of the bad stuff, honestly. I suffer from jamnesia, so every jam is a fresh start. It's all a learning experience, and the good far outweighs the bad.
Best advice for new skaters: Never give up. Just NEVER STOP TRYING. As long as you're out there, you're learning and growing. We get so wrapped up in what we think we're doing wrong that we miss what everyone else is seeing.

 And now, C.Oswin:

C. Oswin #46
C. Oswin as described by Sigourney Cleaver: Winnie is ridiculously talented; her footwork is incredible, she's super fast, has lots of fantastic ideas about how to make us all better players, and just seems to have an all-around positive attitude. She's great at seeing what's going on out on the track and how to improve, what's working, what's not working. She's going to be a great captain for Counterstrike's first season.  
Your goals for your team this season: We are brand new and therefor need to develop as a team and come together as a unit. I think we can be a very good team, and need to be, as the B-team is the future of Greensboro Roller Derby. I want us to work hard and find new ways of doing things, becoming better skaters in the process.
Favorite move on skates: I love jamming and skating fast, but I also really like skating backwards. Doing 360 turns are a lot of fun and so is jumping.
C. Oswin #46
Best derby memory: It was in scrimmage school, and we were just out of fresh meat. I had been jamming for just a couple of weeks and was put up in a lineup against the incredible Whip-O Snapher. I was terrified but somehow miraculously managed to get lead jammer and score before she did. It is seriously one of my proudest derby memories. It was mainly pure dumb luck, everyone was so focused on her being so awesome and helping/blocking her, that they ignored me in the process and I was able to slip by on the inside line. Another great derby memory is beating the Betties in our last public bout. It was the first bout I had ever been in where we won, and it was an incredible feeling knowing I had contributed to that.
Worst derby memory: The day after the win against the Betties, a closed warehouse bout against the Nightmares. I had gotten hurt the day before in the shoulder, but was so high on adrenaline that I didn’t really notice. But within the first 15 minutes I got hit twice by one skater in the same shoulder and then got a can-opener to the chest by another which caused me to fall and land on that shoulder. I was out of the rest of the bout with a lot of pain and I think I cried for like an hour and a half straight, it was awful. I think it was both pain and disappointment since I felt I was letting my team down.  
Best advice for new skaters: Basic skating skills, basic skating skills, basic skating skills. The foundations are incredibly important, regardless if you have been skating a month or 8 years. Know where your center balance is and learn how to move your body based on that. You also need to believe in yourself, you are much stronger, braver, faster and more able to kick butt than you think! And don’t forget to breathe! You will get better, as long as you work your ass off, it’s just a matter of time.

Normally Winnie and Cleaver play on different hometeams!

Come watch the Counterstrikers play DaVille Vixens on August 9 at the Coliseum. Gate City will also be playing Carolina Roller Girls on the same date and spot, so gear up for an exciting double header! Advance tickets can be found online at Brown Paper Tickets, in person at Cycles de Oro, Seven Sagas Tattoo, Stumble Stilskins or enquire with your local favorite roller girl. For our August and September bouts, we are also running a Living Social Deal, details of which you can find HERE. Seriously, who doesn’t want to save a ton of money and watch incredible roller derby? 

As usual, all images not credited in captions are taken by Frayed Edge Concepts LLC

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June news round-up

A lot of things are going on with Greensboro Roller Derby here lately!

We were featured in 21 Things You Need To Know About Greensboro Before You Move There. We were unaware of the distinction before the article was published, so it was extra fun to discover our name as number 21! You can check out the article HERE.

By Frayed Edge Concepts

This weekend we played the final two bouts before the home team championships. The Mad Dollies defeated the Battleground Betties in an intense, hard-hitting bout at the Greensboro Coliseum Saturday. It was a bout with surprisingly few penalties and incredible performances from both teams. It was also The Mad Dollies’ captain A-Ha Gabor’s last public bout with GSORD. She will be missed! Images from the bout can be found on our Facebook page and on our sponsor Frayed Edge Concepts LLC’s Facebook page.

By Edward Fields

Sunday the Mad Dollies played yet again, this time going up against the Elm Street Nightmares at a private bout at our warehouse. In a sweltering hot bout, the Nightmares were victorious and are going on to play the Battleground Betties at the home team championships on June 28th at 6 pm! This is our annual Star Wars themed bout, so be sure come out and support your favorites for the championship title! As this is a link-happy post, HERE is the link for that event!

June 21st we are hosting a stand-up comedy fundraiser at the Idiot Box in Greensboro. All ticket sales go to GSORD, so please come out and support us! A Come and hang out with your favorite roller girls and have a laugh! It will be hosted by Eric Trundy and comedians Elsa Waithe (NYC), Katherine Lloyd (Raleigh) and Ryan Higgins (Chapel Hill) will be there to provide the entertainment. Tickets are only $5 at the door and the event starts at 11 pm.

Ka$h Honey with Pinky La Pain (currently on maternity leave)

After such a packed season of Roller Derby, don’t you feel an itch to be a part of the hard-hitting action? Do you want to skate, NSO, ref or volunteer? Well, then we have the event for you! On June 26th we are having an interest meeting and an open skate, where you can come out and actually skate with us along with get information on how to join! It will be at Skateland North at 6:30 pm in Greensboro. Bring the family, everyone can skate and hang out with us, the more the merrier! After all, derby is a family affair! 

If you decide to join us as a skater, the next Fresh Meet tryouts are July 13th. Please email for more information, and do come to the interest meeting on June 26th!

Some of the girls from our last Fresh Meat!

Now, just because we are having our Home Team Championships does not mean that the season is over. Far from it! This year, Greensboro Roller Derby is forming a B-team, which will be run in side by side with our All-Star Team. Those skaters in GSORD who are not on the All-Star team will instead play of the B-team (name to be announced in July. Want to come to the big reveal party? Information will come soon!). This will allow more skater travel experience and the chance to bout teams from all over the east. You will have a chance to see the new B-team play on August 9th at the Coliseum! Our All-Stars will also play the Carolina Rollergirls the same date. Be sure to add it to your calendars!

Have you seen that you can now buy tickets for our bouts online from Brown Paper Tickets? Be sure to order your tickets for the Championship Bout there! Now we are also offering child tickets.

See you on June 28th at the Roller Wars Championship Bout at 6pm!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Gear and safety

Hitter Miss with the memorable "I'm fine, I'm fine, I just can't breathe!"

Derby girls are some of the toughest people you will ever meet. Roller derby is a full-contact sport and hitting is constant and encouraged. If you cannot take being hit, you really shouldn’t play roller derby. However, where there is hitting, there will also be injuries. No matter how many safety precautions we take, there is going to be people getting hurt and when ten people are hitting each other constantly at high speed, mistakes will be made. This is why roller derby is a highly regulated and organized sport.

Frosty Snowmean and A-Ha Gabor
When you first join roller derby, you will not be hitting people right away, nor will you scrimmage (basically practice bouts) for quite a while either. First, you will learn your basic skating skills. The stronger your basic skating skills are, the less you will fall, and when you fall, you will do so in a safe manner, minimizing injuries to yourself and others. Only after you have become proficient in falls (yes, we do actually practice those!), how to get back up, many different types of skating skills, stops, and such will you even begin learning how to give and take hits. This is initially done at a very low speed. Only after you have passed your minimum skills test and a written rules of derby test (both can be found here) will you actually start scrimmaging. In GSORD, we have a full month of scrimmage school before you can be assigned to a team and begin bouting.

However, even with extensive training, injuries happen. To further minimize injuries, we wear certain mandatory pads and safety equipment. As you can see in the picture, we wear (from top to bottom); helmet, mouth guard, elbow pads, wrist guards, knee pads, properly fitting skates. In fact, if you do not wear these, you will not be allowed to participate in training, scrimmages or bouts. 

Image by A. Barr, M. Faille, J. Rivait / National Post

The helmet is incredibly important, as we most often skate on concrete. With the force that goes behind many of our hits, were you to hit your head you would get seriously hurt, or even worse. This is why it is important to have a well-fitting, snug helmet, with properly fastened straps.

The mouth guard protects not only the teeth in the case of a facial hit (which results in a high block penalty for the offending skater), but also helps prevent concussions.

The elbow pads are great for protecting your elbows when you fall, but can also get a lot of skaters into trouble. We are not allowed to use our elbows for hitting in derby, but it still happens very often that someone gets hit with an elbow. That extra plastic shell on the elbow pad can make for quite a painful hit, especially to the face. This is why skaters need to be careful to keep their arms tucked down or back when in a busy pack.

Wrist guards protect our wrists, especially when falling and catching oneself against the concrete. However, they can also be very useful if someone accidentally skates over your hands or wrists when you have fallen.

Your knee pads are the pads that are going to take the most beating more than all of your other pads combined. This is why it is important to invest in a pair of really good ones with plenty of padding. The really well-padded ones can feel clumsy and cumbersome for new skaters, but you get used to it fast and you will be happy you bought them. As we are supposed to fall mainly on our knees, we need to protect them. Falling on knee-bruises is incredibly painful and best avoided.

The skates you wear are a highly personal choice. As per WFTDA rules, they have to be quad skates, but from there, we chose the kinds we like. Some skaters like really low skates, whereas others like ones with a little more ankle support. The wheels are also different based on preferences. Wheels come in different width, core, hub, and durometer (hardness). Some skaters like slim wheels, some like wider. Some use plastic hubs, some metal. Some skaters like their wheels to be very grippy, some want them hard so they can go faster. Some skaters use a combination of both.

Betty Switch

Sometimes you will see skaters with additional gear, such as shoulder braces (Our Betty Switch is a good example), back braces, shin guards, facial shields and more. These are fine to wear, but are not mandatory. Our sponsor Derby City Skates sells gear and much more, be sure to check them out!

At the beginning of every bout, and also usually right after half time, the skaters will line up and the referees will do a gear check. This is to make sure that nothing in broken and that everything is correctly fastened. They do this to further ensure everyone’s safety on the track. To ensure further safety, we also have a medical team at all of our bouts, in case something was to happen. We love to play, and we love to play rough, but we always want everyone to be safe!

 Shit does happen though ;-) 

Progression of a derby kiss, image courtesy of Jess the Ripper
Broken finger, image courtesy of  Helluva Hooker

(Unless stated, all images by Frayed Edge Concepts, LLC)