Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Meet the Team: The Battleground Betties!

As Greensboro Roller Derby's inaugural season draws to a close, it's time for the final installment of Meet The Team! Earlier in the season, we introduced you to The Mad Dollies and The Elm Street Nightmares. As the season's championship bout approaches, we're proud to present the team that completes the Triad's favorite triad: The Battleground Betties!

The Battleground Betties are calm, cool, and collected in the face of chaos. Their minds are sharp and their bodies are strong. The Betties join a proud tradition of firebrand women throughout history. The qualities that made these women strong live on in the Betties: the irreverence and skill of Annie Oakley, the craftiness and allegiance of Betsy Ross, the bravery and sense of adventure of Sacajawea, the moral compass of Sojourner Truth and Susan B Anthony. The Betties are best described by their manifesto:
Heads high. Shoulders back. No retreat, no surrender. Raise our shields and face the storm. Rise above the noise and skate with honor. Bring to the track only valor, courage, commitment and strength. Leave behind anger, grief, and self-doubt. Stand in solidarity with our soldier sisters. Every day, in every way, the Battleground Betties are keeping the peace.
Some facts about the individual Betties:
  • Schoolya Child: Team captain of the Betties, Schoolya is a skilled derby strategist. Her ability to identify the patterns of play lends itself to successful battle planning. On the track, Schoolya jams and blocks fiercely and with finesse.
  • General Sew: Schoolya's co-captain and a quick-witted derby tactician, General Sew is both a crafty jammer and spicy blocker. As if all that weren't enough, her brutal hits have been known to make opponents wet their DerbySkinz.
  • Smackson Pollock: This top-notch jammer splatters her opponents in the process artfully dodging them. Smackson's eye for detail and nimble footwork propel her through the pack to victory.
  • Pinky la Pain: A tiny terror on the track, Pinky la Pain's nimbleness keeps the opposition guessing. Pinky may be small, but she brings a queen-sized dose of pain.
  • Foxy News: With hard-hitting blocks and decisive cuts, Foxy News performs with journalistic integrity. This just in: Foxy News makes other teams' jammers say "no comment."
  • Lita Revolution: With the voice of the people cheering her on, Lita's shoulder of justice rises up to depose the opposing jammer. Viva la revolucion!
  • Electric Cher: Do you believe in life after a hit from Electric Cher? Elegant and elusive, this statuesque all-around player  makes opponents wish they could turn back time. 
  • Ka$h Honey: Think you've got the lead jammer market cornered? If you're going up against Ka$h Honey, think again. Ka$h rules everything around the track.
  • Awesome Sauce: You won't want to marinate in the pain Awesome will give you. She spends her time on the track knocking jammers out of bounds like it ain't no thang. This sauce is the boss.
  • Lotta Moxie: This spunky siren will put you on the floor with her hellacious hip checks. Lotta's ample supply of moxie fuels her tenacious jamming, too.
  • Minimum Bruise: When Mini blocks, the bruises you'll end up with are anything but minimum, and her jamming is a study in stealth. Like a charged particle, she delivers a nasty shock as she zaps through the pack.
  • St. Knives: This born blocker is "the patron saint of your mom." She's watching over you, and she will not hesitate to cut you.
  • Glitt-R-Done: If her sparkling smile doesn't knock you out first, one hit from Glitt-R-Done is all it will take. When you wake up in traction, take a look at what's left of your body. Is that a bruise in the shape of a Lisa Frank-style dolphin riding a unicorn? I think it is.
The Betties' coach, Colonel Heavage, is a man of few words, all of them meaningful. Heavage crafts winning strategies and inspires his players to skate to the top of their potential. Physical fitness is of particular importance to Heavage. His bootcamp-style practices may leave rollergirls wincing, but those winces turn to prideful smiles when the muscles he helps build do their job in a bout.

The Betties have said goodbye to several players this season. These Betties are gone but not forgotten:

  • Goodie Two Bruise: This blocker's goodness was little consolation to jammers who ended up on the floor after a hit from her. Goodie's rational approach to the game was an invaluable asset to the team.
  • Atta Girl: A fiery jammer and formidable blocker, Atta Girl's chutzpah is sorely missed.
  • Moloko Violet: One of Greensboro Roller Derby's original top jammers, Moloko is a real kick and good for all sorts of lashings. Her ferocity will not be easily replaced.
  • Elle McFearsome: As a blocker and jammer, Elle's strengths included speed and stealth. Though fearsome to opponents, her absence makes our hearts grow fonder.
  • Mama D: As they say, if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. Mama D's spankings were not enjoyed by opponents, but her teammates miss her warmth and generosity.
  • Erica Slapton: This all-around player was the cream of the crop. Darling, you looked wonderful all the nights you spent on the track.

The Battleground Betties will be competing against the Mad Dollies in the league championship bout this Saturday. Don't miss it! After the championship bout, we can't wait for you all to see what Greensboro Roller Derby's home teams will bring to the track in 2012. Keep an eye on our website or Facebook page (don't forget to click "like"!) for more details.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Fishnets

So I am writing, yet again, about the depths into which roller derby has strengthened my soul. I usually focus on the athletic aspect, because that is what roller derby is: a sport. But, for now, I want to focus on the other aspect of roller derby that I currently completely depend on for survival: the sisterhood.
Full disclosure, I am going through a break up. It sucks. Super hard.

Break ups are the absolute worst. They crush your spirit. Drain your resources. Make you question things about yourself you never would have before…maybe even things you previously liked about yourself (example: my former ability to take pride in knowing all of the Teen Moms' names).

I am eating like crap and drinking like a fish. On the occasion, I cry at Hallmark commercials (but, to be honest, I did that before). I completely rely on my dog for daily emotional support and I have a regular seat at my favorite local bar (Westerwood, what what!). I don’t sleep much. Though that may be in part because I am really intrigued by the Real Housewives marathon Bravo keeps pumping out (are there different casts, or do they all just have the same plastic surgeon? Good lord ladies!).

Side note: I am in no condition to feel your “damn! She watches a lot of reality TV” judgment. Capiche?

When you feel alone and confused you need a friend. But I've got a league, a tribe, a die-hard to-the-end sisterhood watching my back. Not a day has gone by since my break up where someone from Greensboro Roller Derby hasn’t done something to make this pain more tolerable. Most of the time, they didn’t even know they were giving me that push to just get though the day. A phone call here, a beer shared there; the little things that make you know YOU WILL SURVIVE THIS HEARTACHE. You will get out of bed. You will brush your teeth. You will not stalk his Facebook.

My sisters in roller derby are my rocks, my sheroes, and my confidantes. You know that old saying, “your true friend will help you hide the body”? Try having an entire league of true friends. Not even CSI: Miami could solve that murder! (I told you-I watch a lot of bad TV. It helps!)

Another side note: I am in no way planning to murder anyone.

Roller derby practice helps redirect the pain of a break up in away no amount of Lifetime movies ever could. In roller derby, you are going to fall. A lot. If you don’t fall, you aren’t trying very hard. You are just coasting. This applies to real life. My motto, in life and in derby, is GET BACK UP. I can get back up because I have sisters. I have people to help me stand up when getting up is too hard to do alone. I will fall, because I don’t coast. But I will always, always GET BACK UP.

Yes, this is really my leg. The handwriting is Shrimp n' Grit's, the tattoo is by Paula Enscore.

I will get through this break up. But I could not do it without my derby sisters. I could not do it without my skates. I could not do it without our sisterhood. I need my league now like I never have before. And my league has not let me down.

To my sisters of Greensboro Roller Derby, and the derby community at large: this wears-her-heart-on-her-sleeve skater SALUTES YOU for getting her to the other side. You know what side I am talking about, ladies. We have all been there. And thanks to the bond that is roller derby, we don’t have to do this thing alone.

Humblest thanks,
Miller Lightnin’

PS: A special shout out to Pickle Joose, Schoolya Childs, and Shrimp n’ Grit. You ladies are my heart.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Where are my elbow pads?! And other derby stress-related dreams...

It's official, roller derby has entered my psyche.  I had my first roller derby stress dream.  What exactly is a derby stress dream, you may ask?  Why, they are not unlike those wonderful school stress dreams we've all had at some point.  You know the ones I'm talking about; you can't find your locker/can't remember its combination or my personal fav, I have one exam to pass so I can graduate and I haven't been to the class all semester.  I still to this day have those and I've even become frustrated in my dream because I'm not in high school or college anymore and I already graduated from both!

This particular dream, I was late for practice, trying to strap on my gear as fast as I could except I couldn't find my elbow pads.  I found every other player's and none of them matched or even fit me.  They were too big or too small.  I was in a panic trying to find my own, frantically looking up at the clock and watching as practice was going on and I was unable to find my stupid elbow pads.  Yes, I know it sounds silly but I tell you it did not make for a restful night's sleep.

I suppose there could be a deep meaning somewhere in there.  Stop comparing myself to other skaters, or to let go of the mental blockages, or maybe that I think about derby way too much.  It's probably all of that.  However stressful it was, I was surprisingly happy about having that dream.  I guess it cements the belief that derby enters your entire being, infecting your system.  It gets in your brain, your blood, your bones, and your subconscious. 

I just hope I don't have any dreams about showing up to a bout with only my pads on.

Derby <3,
Katie Overstreet

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lessons of Fresh Meat

I just started derby about three months ago.  I say “started” instead of joined because technically I’m not even on a team yet. Rather, I‘m a member of a group of derby novices that has been lovingly labeled “Fresh Meat.” (Sounds inviting, right?)  The last time I skated I was sporting a pair of pink and white Strawberry Shortcake quads sometime circa the mid 80’s.  Before tryouts, I bought a $40 pair of kids skates from a used goods sports store because I wasn’t entirely convinced that my body would remember what to do when I put them on.  That being said, it could only have been by some freak force of nature that I made it past tryouts.  Perhaps that same supernatural phenomenon deemed me derby worthy solely to reinforce some timeless lessons that were initially learned at about the same time that I first started to skate.
Currently, my fellow “freshies” and I are in the initiation stage to the sport of derby that I like to compare to what Catholics call limbo, or “the edge of hell.”  The variations in the utter and absolute pain experienced during this part of the process are endless.  Back spasms, muscle cramping of all kinds, random bruises found in the most obscure locations, skin abrasions, a plethora of knee injuries, the multitude of torment is boundless.  We are talking serious trials and tribulations; derby is not an easy sport.  Inevitably, at some point, you will get hurt and you will want to quit. A good number of freshies do. Which brings me to Lesson #1 :  PERSEVERANCE.
The first day of practice was probably pretty similar to what it felt like the very first time that I swung my leg over the cross bar of my first big kid bike, decorated in a Rainbow Brite theme with her caricature on the seat, rainbow colored streamers, and complete with training wheels.  While I can’t really remember the sensation of gripping the handle bars tight and hoping that I don’t eat sidewalk after my dad lets go of the seat, I can imagine what it must have felt like. Learning the sport of derby is just like that. Everything is new.  At every practice there’s a new method of falling or a different way to come to a stop.  Maybe you’ll learn how to catch air the next day and jump your first obstacle, or figure out how to skate backwards without falling on your tookus.  Last, but certainly not least, maybe you’ll experience the satisfaction and adrenaline surge that directly follows learning how to drop a shoulder and pound a fellow freshie. Lesson #2 :  CONTINUING EDUCATION.
I don’t really know many of the vets.  I know their names, both derby and by birth, but I haven’t actually had a conversation with the majority of them yet.  I have, however, had the privilege of witnessing most of them in action during vet practices and at local derby bouts.  Every freshie has their favorite vets for various reasons and I’m no different in that respect.  Betty Rumble constantly maintains a carefree demeanor with ease in the midst of air born bodies and derby violence.  General Sew’s fanciful footwork never ceases to fascinate freshies and fans alike.  East Pound-Her Down’s hits will keep even the oldest of vets looking over their shoulder.  But hands down, my all-time favorite vet to watch skate is Elizabeth Hauntgomery.  It’s something about the chick’s game.  She plays with grit, with passion, and she’s so well rounded.  She can block, she can pivot, and God help you if you’re on the opposing team and she’s on the jammer line.  As for me?  At this point in my derby career, I can safely say that I am really stinkin’ good at falling. In fact, I’m downright awesome. But I’ve got dreams and ambitions, man, and I’m going places because of the importance of Lesson #3:  GOALS.
OK.  That’s all I’ve got today, but more than likely you’ll be hearing from me again. Hopefully next time it’ll be accompanied by a badass derby name.  But for now, my name’s MB and I’m proud to be a freshie for Greensboro Roller Derby.