Tag Archives: Roller Derby

And I get a new name!

Having realized that structure is essential to my mental well-being and that getting out of the house is absolutely vital for my sanity – and thus the general health of my marriage – I have made big plans to leave the house today.  I wrote down time frames and everything.

It seems, however, that I am out to get myself, and I make little deals with myself all day to get out of actually stepping through the threshold and out into the world.  Example:

Me1: “Bird, you will walk the dog at 2pm and then get your butt to the library and apply for some jobs and graduate schools! Okay?”
Me2: “Sure!  That sounds fine, and totally reasonable, except I just put in this banana bread and I can’t very well leave it baking alone in the house.  How about I walk the dog at 3?”
Me1: “Well, fine, you can walk the dog at 3, but then, to the library you go!”

I’ll spare you the whole monologue, but let it suffice to say that it is 4:27 and I am sitting in a rather comfy chair in my dining room.  Foiled again!

But here’s what I am doing: setting things up that I just cannot get out of.  For example?  Roller derby.

I know, I know, we broke up.  We broke up twice, or maybe three times now.  Yes, it’s an on-again-off-again relationship.  But you know that first true love who you promised to always love, forever and ever, no matter what, even if you married other people and had families you would always love each other at least somewhere in your heart?  Well, Roller Derby and I did that.

While I’m not skating right now and I’m unemployed, I realized that I sort of need roller derby, especially since otherwise, I would never leave the house. So, as a former coxswain, I have decided to be a referee.  I have been to 3 scrimmages in this role, and you know what? It’s kind of awesome, and not enough people talk about how awesome it is.  It’s roller derby without getting hurt; it’s roller derby without the jitters before the whistle blows – because, ahem, I am the one blowing the whistle.

I have a ton to learn: the rules, in detail, the hand signals, how to skate while paying attention to whether other girls skating are following those rules, all while not falling over or getting run into or skating into the coaches yelling at them from the sidelines.

Anyway.  I don’t have much to say beyond that I’m excited, that I am leaving the house, and that, while my heart has been broken once or twice (or, um, three or four times) by roller derby, I’m still really, really excited to be a part of it again.*

Now tell me: what do you do to get out of the house?  How do you keep from going crazy?  If you think I’m not going crazy, just wait for the video on tomorrow’s Flying Dingo.  Yes, a video… of dog boots.  Coming soon from a Crazy Near You.

*Side effects vary, but already I’m working out religiously, because how can you not want to be in shape when surrounded by women made entirely of muscle and brute force?  I feel better already. Also, now I don’t have to feel sad every time I see that I still have a Roller Derby tag on my blog. Woo hoo unexpected side effects!



Filed under Roller Derby

Thanks, Roller Derby Rejection

Someone recently happened upon my blog after doing a search for “didn’t make roller derby team.”

Whoever you are, I am so, so sorry. It really sucks, doesn’t it? Like, it really, really sucks. You know that already, so I’m not going to tell you about why it sucks; you have your reasons and I had mine and they were probably quite similar, but if they weren’t that’s okay, too. But here’s something I got out of it: not making roller derby can be really awesome.

i LOVE not making roller derby!

When I didn’t make roller derby the first time around, I threw myself into this blog. I started writing and planning and through that have discovered this amazing community of strong women who care about being strong women and inspire me to think about who I am and who I want to be in this world. And that’s all off skates!

When I didn’t make roller derby the second time, I realized that I couldn’t stay in a job that was not fulfilling for me. I realized I had been waiting for derby to come along and fulfill something in me, and when that didn’t work out, I decided I would have to do it myself. So I quit my job (um, last day isn’t for 2 weeks), stocked up on part time stuff (hello having four jobs right now), and was amazed to find so many people supporting me and my decision. I was amazed at how strong I felt in making that decision.

If I had made roller derby the first time, I don’t think I would have started writing. If I’d made it the second time, I would probably still be in a job that isn’t doing much for me (which I sort of am, but really proud of myself for leaving in two weeks. Yay me!). So, Internet Search Stranger, I think that this could be something really, really good for you.

Turtle gives you a thumbs up for the awesome turn your life is taking. It is taking awesome turns, I swear!


On another note, if you play or follow roller derby at all, you might have heard of the roller derby quilt.

You guys, I am sort of famous by association! I totally know the Roller Derby Quilt Mama, aka Dreadnought, because she used to be my Freshmeat Mama, and before that she was my across-the-street-neighbor, and before that she was a carpool buddy.  She is awesome, and she is an epic skater (yes, I called you an epic skater), and she also really loves her quilt in a way that is inspirational.  Skaters from all over the country have been mailing her squares, and she posts pictures of them here; you should definitely check her out, and send a square if you can!

Even if you have never heard of her or the quilt and you don’t wear roller skates, you probably think roller derby is cool enough that you want to rock some awesome derby merchandise – all while supporting Dread and her Amazing Quilt.  Luckily, you now have that opportunity! Click on the image to buy pretty things.





Happy Friday! I hope your weekend is or isn’t full of roller derby, depending on what you prefer.

(Oh, and today I plan to actually fill out the ref application. Yay!)

Did anything that seemed heartbreaking and horrible for you turn out to be something wonderful?  Please tell me and Internet Stranger your happy hopeful stories.


Filed under Roller Derby

Butt Bruises, etc.

Some of you indicated that the quality of this blog (and all wedding-related blogs, really) would be vastly improved by an increase in the number of photos of butt-bruises.  And thus, I bring you the infamous bruise that I got while, ahem, playing roller derby.  By which I mean, the bruise I got while skating in a circle and then falling down.

thumbs up for bruises well earned by doing simple things.

I should add that this beauty is actually much prettier now than it was when Turtle took this picture five days ago.  Not sure how many of you get regular bruises, but they change colors and look really nice 1-2 weeks later.  What I’m trying to say is that roller derby is a very educational sport.

Speaking of roller derby, tryouts were on Sunday, and we’re supposed to hear about the first round of cuts today.  The whole thing is a complicated process that I will try to explain while not boring all of you who have no interest in standing on eight wheels and hitting people.  If you’re interested in how the game works, check out this video:

Anyway, late last week the Top Secret Tryout Location was revealed in an exclusive email, and on Sunday about 70 potential freshmeat showed up for tryouts.  We were numbered, photographed, and warmed up by skating for a few minutes before being divided into four groups.  During the official warmup, we had to do things like balance on one foot at different times, skate *very* low, and go through series of squats and coasting.  After that, we spent time at four different stations: interviews, stopping (where we demonstrated three different stops), learning a new skill, and backward-to-frontward transitions.  After that there was a surprise (uh, yay?) Hell Skate, which was ten solid of minutes of solid skating – not sprinting, exactly, but fast, good form, and did I mention ten solid minutes?  Um, I’m a bit out of shape.

me, in full blurry derby-tryout gear

Anyway, blah blah blah that was all the technical stuff I had to say, and here is the non-technical stuff:

It was kind of awesome, and completely inspiring.  I only really met the people in my group, but I got to skate with everyone during the warm-up and hell skate, and there was an awesome variety of people there.  Clearly a huge age range, some ethnic diversity, and definitely a wide range of skill; the thing that seemed to stand out for everyone, though, was how hard they were trying, how hard they were pushing, and how excited everyone was to be there.  I came home sore and excited, and also pretty stinky.

In the car on the ride home, I got to spend some serious quality time with a friend of mine I talked into trying out (Hi E!), and this is a huge part of the roller derby thing, too.  You guys, you do get to hit people, and that was a huge part of this whole thing when I worked at the rape crisis center; I had a lot of anger I needed to get out, and derby was a safe place to hit people while getting a huge endorphin high.  Since then, it has transitioned into something else: it’s still a place to find some great endorphins, but it’s also a place to meet amazing people and really make connections, whether they’re connections with my shoulder into their side or the connections we make in the car on the way there or on the way home.

Group 4 rocked: thinking of all of you today!

We hear from the league today about the first round of cuts: keep your fingers crossed for me and for everyone else who’s ready to put their heart into this thing.

P.S. Please <a href=”mailto:littlemissroughit@gmail.com”>email me</a> any and all awesome derby name ideas.  I once had two, but they’ve both been stolen from me; they were Rumble Pie (#3.14159) and Little Miss Roughit (#8 legs, and the inspiration for this blog), just to give you a sense of my style.  Grammatical and literary-inspired names are more than welcome.

P.P.S. Someone came up to me at tryouts and asked if I wrote a blog because her friend reads it! Someone I don’t even know!  You guys, I’m famous.  Thanks, Friend of Roller Girl, for making me feel famous.


Filed under Roller Derby

The Perfect Size

There have been a lot of posts about losing weight for your wedding, losing weight to fit into a dress, losing weight so you feel better.  You know, being a woman and losing weight. Or thinking about weight.  Or noticing other people’s weight.  Anyway, it all sucks and there actually is something that we can do about it; even if it doesn’t feel big, or like a huge, life-changing step, it does make a difference.  Watch this:

We can all not encourage weight loss just for weight loss.  We can try to aim for healthier, not smaller.  Roller derby has played a huge role in this idea for me: in roller derby, whatever size you are is a great size: if you’re big, you can be a big blocker, if you’re small, you can avoid other blockers and come out of nowhere; if you’re fast, you might make a great jammer, and  if you’re slower, maybe blocking is for you.  I think this is part of what appeals to me so deeply about roller derby: whoever you are, you’re the perfect size.  We need to hear more of that out in the world.


Filed under other, Roller Derby

You either do it or you don’t

I started this blog 30 days before I didn’t make the final cut in roller derby. Writing was my backup, my safety, my “if I don’t make roller derby, I need something to really pour myself into, and writing and wedding planning will be it.” When I didn’t get drafted to a team (along with only 5 other people), I was absolutely heartbroken. Apparently I’ve blocked out much of the memory, but Turtle angrily recalls how hurt I was. I think this blog served me well, giving me something to do – and getting accepted to Weddingbee gave me more motivation to write regularly and keep it up.

At the time, I said that not playing derby for a year would give me time to plan my wedding, and then once I crashed, post-wedding, and started to feel antsy and like I needed *a thing* again, derby tryouts would roll around. And it’s that time, now. Now is when I should be going to skate clinics and wearing my ankle weights and committing to doing this things.

I’m surprised at how reluctant I am to get back on my skates (expensive, beautiful skates I used for a month). And I couldn’t really name why it felt so hard until I watched this:

If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, the part that hit me starts at 13 seconds.  She says, “I came into this thinking, like, oh yeah this is going to be fun, it’s going to be a hobby. But once you get into roller derby, you realize that it’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.  And, um, you either do it or you don’t.

Well, and that’s really the thing, you guys.  If I do it, I’m going to do it with everything I’ve got.  I’m going to be thinking about it all the time, walking sideways up and down stairs (good thing people didn’t see me on the stairs at work last season), answering the phone at work while doing squats (yeah, some clients probably wondered why the receptionist seemed out of breath when leaving confirmation messages).  And if I don’t make it, I will be heartbroken again.  It would be like doing this whole wedding blogging thing, and then finding out we’re not getting married two nights before the wedding.

derby practice, all padded and thirsty

The first time I stopped skating, I made the choice.  I couldn’t drive 3-6 hours for a 2 hour practice multiple times a week.  And when I broke up with roller derby, I had to spend a lot of time away from it; I didn’t go to games, I didn’t watch youtube videos (a previous addiction), I didn’t read the blogs.  And then stupid Ellen Page, who I already had a thing for, made that stupid movie that wasn’t even an accurate representation of the game. Though, admittedly, it’s not too far off… and also, it is what made me try out for BDD.  Skip right to the 1:53 mark:

If you missed it, she says, “I am in love with this.”  And that’s the thing, right?  I was in love with it.  And I will be again.  And if it’s just three months of skating with awesome people and getting my butt into shape… then that’s what it is.

Ugh, I guess I should go dig all my skate gear out of the basement and try coming up with a new name.


Filed under Roller Derby

Speedy McSpeederson

Speed Metal is pretty much the coolest person in the whole world.  Well, besides Turtle, but I’ll forgive Metal for not cleaning up after me all day yesterday – it is not in the “Skater Sister” job description, which I think is probably appropriate.

Metal was one of my skater sisters during my several months trying out for derby, and she was pretty much amazing.

Reasons Metal is awesome:

  1. Her dog is really cute.
  2. She plays roller derby.
  3. She’s a super supportive skater sister while still being completely honest and pushing you!
  4. She has an awesome sling!

Ways you could also be awesome:

  1. Get a cute puppy.
  2. Play roller derby.
  3. Get an awesome sling!

As many of you know, the process of trying out for roller derby is pretty intense, involving months of practicing and basically pretending you’ve already made it, because you need to dedicate so much time and energy to it.  Then after a couple of months of learning how to skate for derby and learning how to play, there is a final scrimmage with all the freshmeat, and the captains make their decisions that evening.

So imagine going through all those months and putting in all of that effort, only to have someone fall on you during the last scrimmage. The result of this:

my clavical is broken and may be disconnected from my sternum floating around. Vicatin tells me I want to go to ikea after xrays and barf on my phone.

But derby girls stick together!  Check out this sweet email to the lady who broke her:

Dear dread,

I’m glad you crushed me (and other BDD girls) because when ppl ask
(like millions of nurses and doctors) I can say a really rad girl
smashed me :D.


Metal just opened her shop a couple of weeks ago; right now she only has slings but hopes to have accessories for unbroken folks in the future – including awesome fanny packs!  She also plans to have crutch pads soon – which I can tell you would be amazing.

Her slings are made for practicality and comfort: they are reversible! So that you can choose which fabric feels best on your skin day to day or which pattern suits you… there’s also additional fabric on the strap for extra comfort along the neck.

After Speed Metal broke her collar bone and had surgery, she had to wear a sling all the time, including while showering and sleeping.  She had only two slings from the hospital, and said, “about 2 weeks in the hospital issued slings I began to break out in a horrible itchy rash on my arm from the scratchiness and lack of ventilation from the material.”

Even though she couldn’t even go to the bathroom on her own, she felt the need to be productive – something I totally understand.  Since eating and watching TV made her sick, she started crafts!  Even on a crazy amount of drugs and with only one functional arm, she made the sling you see her wearing in the picture above! She also made the tutu she’s wearing *and* the one her adorable dog is wearing!

Getting injured skating and trying to stay a part of it while your teammates are surging ahead of you is a really tough process, probably even harder mentally than it is physically.  Here is what Metal had to say about her healing process:

February was the beginning of the derby season and I was being carted from event to event with my eyes glazed over. I was feeling better that I had a sling that was soft and cool and new bandages that were also more ventilated. As I started to regain my sanity and got over my intense withdrawal from opiates I continued to go to bouts all over New England to pass the time which was normally allotted for skating. It was pretty awesome to have strangers come out of the stands at bouts or stop me in the grocery store asking me where I bought my ‘fabulous’ sling. It was a relief to have conversations turn away from how I got hurt to how awesome my sling was.

This February was my anniversary of my injury and the month in that I am healed enough to remove my plate. I decided to turn that pile of fabric I have impulsively bought over the years into slings as part of a small healing process. Now that I’m ‘healthy’ I haven’t entirely gotten over the mental hurdle of the possibility of succumbing to another traumatic injury. That original sling is a small reminder that I got through the experience with the love and support of derby girls, family, lots of drugs and health insurance. These new slings are helping me through a new hurdle in life which is dealing with teetering on the edge of unemployment as an art teacher in this economy. Speed Slings has become my bridge between art, derby and work (or lack there of). I also have a new appreciation for morphine because its really hard to sew and I’m using two hands this time.

By the way my hospital suites (all 4 of them) were the most happenin’ place to have a derby party thanks to Killay, Quick Sandy, and Lil’ Paine

So if you skate or don’t skate or know someone with an aptitude for getting hurt, go check out Metal’s shop, and become a fan on facebook!

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Filed under Roller Derby

In search of a THING

I realized a little over a year that I need a *thing.*  More about this in a minute, including what I mean by “thing.”

When my last two relationships ended, we had some sort of closure conversation – I don’t remember whether they were in person or via email or what, but I do remember that both people said that I was “too intense.” At the time, I really had no idea what they meant, and the second time left me sort of reeling, because if two people saw it, it must be true – but I didn’t even know what it meant.

(Side note: on my second real date with Fancee, at a yoga/tea cafe place, she told me that one of the things she liked about me was my intenisty. Sold! to the lady with the curls in her hair!)

The day after I passed my level one assessments for roller derby (the first time around), I was skating outside and fell.  My knee ballooned up and at the ER they determined that my bones were all in place and in the appropriate number of pieces, but that I may have torn my ACL.  I was given some nice drugs and some less-nice crutches, and that was when I realized that I needed a thing.

That is, because of my obvious inability to skate around in circles and hit people, I did not know what to do with myself.  At that time, roller derby wasn’t just something that I showed up for twice a week – it was something that I showed up for, but it was also something I researched, talked about, watched videos about, read blogs posts about, and organized the newsletter for.

And herein lies the “thing.”

It turns out that I need something to focus on like this.  I need something to take up my time the way roller derby did.  After I hurt my knee and couldn’t skate, I spent some time coaching but then I fell crazy in love with this pretty lady and we had our big adventure.

And then when that stopped being new and shiny and we needed a little bit of breathing room, we got a dog! Well, or I got a dog, and that dog has managed to be my/our thing for a good long time.

Then we settled into a routine with the Beast, and we moved in together and started sharing Beast responsibilities, and I settled into my job, and I finally had the time and ability to focus on roller derby again.

So I did go back to roller derby, tentatively at first (“fine, maybe I’ll try out, I can always quit after a week”), but then I was into it, excited about what team I might skate with, about the people I was already skating with, and emotional about ever saying goodbye to any of the people we’d been skating with up to that point.

And at some point I will stop mourning the way things turned out, I think; but in not being chosen for a team, I lost my *thing*.  I keep telling myself that the last time this happened, when I fell and hurt my knee, I fell in love and things are turning out wonderfully on that front. But really, this time around, I suddenly have a lot of time and I’m not sure where to focus my energy or my interest.

I don’t know if it’s a strange thing for me to need something to focus on so intensely.  That two people brought it up as a negative thing makes me think that it is unusual – but who knows?  When I was a kid, any new activity warranted thorough research into everything about that activity, whether it was horseback riding, or having ferrets as pets, or poetry… I threw myself into whatever it was and sort of left everything else behind.  Do you do this?  How would you cope if whatever it was you were doing was taken away?

I think that my intensity can be a good thing, but it can also be a drain, and not having something to do with it is draining now.  My working plan is to focus on wedding-related things, and writing about wedding-related things, and then get married, and then right around the time I’m coming down from that high should be when roller derby tryouts are… so fingers crossed for that.


Filed under Marriage/Wedding/Engagement, Roller Derby