Monday, July 28, 2014

Derby Names

There are a lot of things about roller derby that we find ourselves explaining again and again:
NO, we don't elbow/punch/trip/bite each other;
YES, we wear protective gear;
NO, we don't get paid to do this;
YES, the game has actual rules.

But there is one thing that many people already seem know about from the get-go: Derby Names.  So if you've ever imagined yourself in any kind of roller derby capacity, you've probably visited the "what would my name be?" rabbit hole thought loop.

Gate City with names on display

In the earlier days of derby, every new skater had to choose an absolutely unique name.  You'd come up with something awesome and clever, then check the twoevils list to see whether it was already taken, then go back to the drawing board.  If a new player's desired name was even deemed "too similar" to that of an established player anywhere in the world, she would have to come up with something else.  Nowadays, roller derby is just too big for such formalities.  You can take your brilliant name idea to Derby Roll Call or just google it ("Tori Famous Roller Derby", "Holy Hanna Roller Derby", "Keira Fightley Roller Derby", etc.)  to see if there's already a player with the same or a very similar name.  If so, you can contact him/her to ask permission to share the name.  Generally it's not a problem if you live in different regions of the U.S., but it's still polite to ask.

Many skaters aren't keen on sharing a name, and it's no wonder.  This is a big decision, an identity marker you choose for yourself, and something that many of us put some thought into.  Take, for instance, this Greensboro Counterstrike captain:

C. Oswin
"I am a big nerd and a huge Doctor Who fan. Clara Oswin Oswald is one of the most recent companions to the Doctor and is one of my absolute favorites. I wanted to find a name that was unique, but still reflected who I was. I picked C. Oswin as a homage to Clara, and also realized that if you say it fast enough, it sounds like “See us win”. I did my research and found no-one else with a similar name in the derby world. My real first name also stars with a C. I almost picked Elli Smash&Dashwood for Elinor Dashwood of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, however, we already have an Ellie (Ellie Mae Crammit) and I wanted to avoid confusion. Apparently Grandmaster Bash desperately wanted to call me Ozzy when I got drafted to the Mad Dollies, however, most people call me Winnie."

Like Winnie, almost every player has a derby nickname.  Just as most people aren't casually called by their full first and last names, teammates tend to shorten each other's names for easier communication on the track.  Your team's natural tendency towards abbreviation is another thing to consider when you're choosing a name.  Sure, Sisyphus might be a sweet derby name, but do you really want your pivot yelling "SISSY!!!" on the track?  Ok, maybe you do.  It's something to think about.  Of course, you can avoid the whole thing if you choose something short and sweet and awesomely original, like Pants.

A few other things to think about: 
-Do you want your name to be accessible to the general public or would you rather be known by some clever wink-wink-nod-nod jargon?  Having to explain your derby name does get old, but having a name that perfectly suits you is so satisfying that it might be worth it.   
-Swears can make you sound pretty tough and wicked.  But do you think you might want to be more mainstream?  Will you want to be on the news, where a name that isn't family friendly might not be welcome?  And you might have to tell your name, with a straight face, to your grandma and your nieces and nephews.  (Of course, thoughts about this vary from league to league.  Here at GSORD we tend to keep the names fairly clean.)
-Don't choose a name that is too similar to a famous skater!  You really don't want to be known as Suzy Hotbod in the derby world.

So what's your derby name gonna be?  Give us your short list!

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