Sunday, December 18, 2011

knowing my place

It's been a couple of months since I've actually played roller derby. I've been learning the reffin' and all game and scrimmage opportunities have been given over to figuring out if I'm a giraffe or a zebra.

Photo by Richard Lowes.

I am both.

Last night, though, I got to play. Reffing, I'm sorry to say, does not improve physical game play skills. It does help with understanding the pack and how it moves and the game overall. I felt yesterday that I knew what was going on quite well. But having the ability to do anything about it was another matter entirely.

Photo by Richard Lowes.

I also know quite a bit more about legal game play and the tendency to shout out infractions is already well established. Colour, number, penalty - I called it mid-jam. I did not say, 'tweet!' Though I might of if the penalty-maker didn't take my moment of distraction while I brooded over the essential unfairness of it all to knock the wind out of me.

Reminder: be a player or be a ref. You can not be both at the same time.

And it's true. All of our refs in our league are also players. I've seen them on countless occasions trying to be both and what usually happens is that someone gets knocked down. Jammers who stop skating so they can signal to the jam ref, shouting at the pack refs, declaring, loudly, "Pack is front!" or, worse, rhetorically asking, "Where the pack? No where! That's right, there is NO pack! Call this shit already!" instead of, ohIdon'tknow, trying to reform the fucking pack.

So, yes, that was me last night. Briefly. I'd like to say that momentarily losing the ability to breath is enough of a wake up call that I shall not try to ref while playing. At least that's my intention.

Of course, I probably would of taken that hit no matter what I was thinking at the time. Last night I travelled down to Calgary to play against the Hellions, CRDA's all-star team, as part of their try out process. They are a group of women with some badass skills and it's completely unsurprising how they can dominate little ol' me.

Another fun thing was I got to meet CRDA's Dazzler.  I love meeting derby bloggers.  I always get this little thrill, sort of like meeting someone famous.  Of course, us writers are usually famous in our own minds, so I think my thrill is justified.

Thanks Calgary for a great scrimmage and your fabulous people! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

the Lexi defense

I was going to post something about all the lovely things happening in my little part of the derby-verse and maybe throw something in about a little thing world cup thing-y, but I'm not feeling very much like a reporter today so instead I'm going to tell you about my girl Lexisonfire.

 Lexisonfire by Papa Razzo.
You know, I'm not entirely sure that's even the proper way her name is spelled or spaced.  I'm a little bit crap about derby names.  There's all sorts of odd spellings and strange symbols and I never get the joke.   Word games have never been my strong suit.  Perhaps that's why I'm a blocker.  And a ref.

In fact, I am not sure of the actual given names of most of my derby friends, either, unless they have somehow resisted the pressure to make their Facebook name their derby name.  I myself identify myself now through my derby name on Facebook, mainly after realizing that 99% of my 'friends' were derbies.  Most of whom I would not recognize without a helmet on.  News from any family or non derby friends has long ago been buried under an avalanche of derby related updates.  Sorry family, but there is no Dana, only Zuul.

But back to whatshername, Lexi.  I'm really feeling the need to tell you about her.  First of all because I have all sorts of great pictures of her.

Whatsherface by Richard Lowes
And also because I'm having a really hard time with her lately.  Frankly, she's a bit of a thug.

Hammer and nail by Papa Razzo
I won't go into what started it (though it involved a fire drill, a ball, and all the restraint I could muster to not clock the bitch) but my urge to generally push around, check and knock down Lexi has been great since that day. 

Of course, wishing to knock Lexi down and actually doing it are two different things.  I will tell you now, with no small amount of pride, that my very first knock down ever was on Lexi, but it's actually a rather unusual happening.  The first problem is that she's a sturdy player and track aware.  She also has a wicked hit.  I've seen her hit players hard enough to get air time before crashing into the boards on more than one occasion.  She also excels at surprise hits towards the center.  This is one blocker I'd keep an eye on, even if she wasn't picking on me.

Yep, there it is.  By Richard Lowes.
But here is the other thing.  Just warming up before practice, I like to take a few pot shots at Lexi, but instead of dodging or telling me to fuck off, Lexi drops a shoulder and drifts up to meet my block like a torpedo locked onto a target and we collide like an iceberg hitting a large cruise ship.  The big problem is that, being approximately the same weight, my hull fails to crumple and we basically bounce off one another and experience a bodily vibrating sensation akin to striking a metal pole with an aluminum baseball bat.

Kind of painful.  And not smart.

You'd think I'd learn.  Or she'd learn.  But no.  Stupid is as stupid does and now it's gotten to the point that when we lock eyes upon each other during a free moment, Lexi squints her eyes and sneers while she takes her mouthguard down from her Snork parking position on her helmet and I have another ill fated go at her.

Kind of painful.  And not smart.  But good fun!

So, in honour of Lexissomethingorrather, I hereby am abusing my blogging powers and presenting to you something un-derby that you may not know about Lexi but that may, one day, save you from the same bone jarring slide into the wall that others have suffered.

Got your notebook?

Alright, the goods.  Despite her generally great taste in music, Lexi is physically compelled to dance to Metallica.  As in, if she hears even a few riffs of Metallica while out listening to a band or in a club, she will rise from her seat like a young maiden under a vampire's spell and waft towards the dance floor to thrash around in a trance until the fit is broken by a change in music. 

It's un unusual affliction, but, then again, Lexi is an unusual individual.

So, if you ever see Lexi coming on the track or in a dark alley and she's squinting at your while unhinging her mouthguard from her helmet, quickly start humming the chorus to Enter Sandman to save yourself.  Instead of hitting you, she'll be overcome with a fit of head banging and you can safely make you get away.

xoxo Lexi!