Amarillo’s RC-RD (Randall County Roller Dames) hosted a mash- up bout this last weekend. Skaters came from as far as East Texas to New Mexico to bout. We had a really great time with a pretty good sized crowd cheering us on. I learned LOTS, as I do every time I put on skates. I grew more confident throughout the bout, timing my hits and blocks better towards the end. I found that it was a lot easier to get up after falling when all that adrenaline is flowing through your veins!
The ‘stars’ of the night were Judith Priest, a wicked fast Jammer, and Big Red, a scary blocker. Judith was not only fast, she could take and give hits really well. I found that every time I went for her, she found some crazy extra speed last minute and jumped just out of my reach….good job. Big Red was on the opposing team, she usually took the inside front (pivot or two) position and held it! It was VERY difficult to get our Jammer past her. A lot to learn from both of them! I took some good hits from Smash… she is super fast, and hits super hard. Yup, pretty sure I was airborne once!
Things I learned:
–HIT! Doesnt matter what’s going on, dont think about it, just hit someone from the opposing team.
–WATCH for your Jammer, but HUNT the opposing Jammer. It seems though you are skating forwards, looking back is the only place your eyes should be. Make holes for your Jammer, and do ANYTHING to stop the opposing Jammer. This includes: blocking- get infront of her and slow her down with wide legs and rear end in her face. hitting- find that star wearing chica and TAKE HER OUT! push out of bounds- lean on or push her out of bounds, then SLOW DOWN. She cant come back on to the track in front of you, so if you slow, you slow her down. This technique takes a bit of practice to remember in that moment what your goal is. My mind seems to want to discount her for the moment and find the next threat.
–SLOW the pack for your Jammer if she looks tired. Actually we found that when we slowed the pack down we were more effective at blocking the opposing Jammer as well. We were able to
communicate better and form some fairly solid walls as blockers.
–IDENTIFY the big bad players, and find a way to get them in the penalty box. Some blockers are easily distracted or will plow right into your back if you slow in front of them. 4 major penalties and they are thrown out of the game!
–TALK it out loud. When you see a Jammer coming, say it out loud! INCOMING BLACK! OUTSIDE WHITE! It really really really helps to know whats coming up when you cant see for some reason, or are engaged in other parts of the pack.
-if you are going to FALL, make sure you do it small. Sometimes a fall is inevitably a mess… but most falls should be small and get up quickly. Keep your fingers/hands off the track. Practice those squats so you can have the muscle to get up quick and toe stop run to catch up.
–HAVE FUN! Sure, you can get caught up in rules, ref calls, skater relations, and mistakes. No matter what, don’t forget why you are skating! I’m skating b/c I want to have fun!!! This is my hobby, and no drama is going to get me down. 😀
–Make Friends. Every time you skate with other leagues, you have something really cool in common with them all, DERBY! Use it for conversation, and make some really great friends.
Thanks to all the refs, RC-RD girls, skaters, and especially Big Red for putting on a fun mash-up. I hope you find some new recruits and this sport grows in Texas and around the country. If you are interested in Roller Derby, and not sure if your city has a league, click on the WFTDA link on the right. They have all official leagues and apprentice leagues listed on their website.