Recently, our league changed things up slightly. In keeping with the trend of other derby leagues, we now have what's known as an A,B and C structure. Our travel team, the Lumbersmacks is considered our 'A' team. The home teams, Daughters of Anarchy, and Reines of Terror form the 'B' team, and then we have our newly formed 'C' team which is yet to be named, so for now we lovingly call it the Smash Squad. I'm really a fan of this new structure. I don't know that everyone shares this opinion, but I really like the principles behind it. As I understand it, the best benefit of it is that it allows all skaters to thrive and become the best they can be. As they progress to a different level they are able to push upwards. It matches skaters with similar skate skills, and so success, as a team is easier to achieve.
I can't go back in time, but if I could I think I would have had great success starting out on a 'C' team. I would have probably been better suited to starting with skaters who were as new to derby as I was. Ones who understood the sport at the same level, and who have similar abilities on the track. Would it have kept me from being a 'bubble player'? I'll never know. But, this structure creates less likelihood of even having bubble players on the rosters. It matches skills, so that there isn't a decided list of strong skaters vs weak ones. I think that only positive things can come from such a concept.
I'd be really excited if I was drafted to this very new, first time ever Smash Squad, because it's fun to start up a new team. I was around when ROT was newly formed. Coming up with a team name can be fun and challenging. Choosing team colours is exciting. You learn so much about yourself and your league-mates. You're part of something that is bigger than you. We're so proud of our 'C' team. I've seen the names that are being voted on and it's amazing. Soon we will be sharing the roster of our newest team. We are now 4 teams strong in our League, and we can't wait to share its name with you! You won't have to wait long! We have a new batch of Fresh Meat about to pass their minimum skills. It's a good thing.
This weekend our League is hosting a double header and I'm skating in the first bout. That means I am busy cleaning my skates, attending to event details, and filling my mind with strategies! It also means I have no time to write. So, short and sweet today, leave a comment letting me know which 4 teams are playing this weekend and you could be the winner of two free tickets.
photo by David Hodges Photography
No sooner do I say that it's Winter Warpath (WW) time that it's over so fast that the only thing left from it are bruises and after-party memories. 'Smacks were successful in their game against the 'Sirens, 227-196. It was an exciting game to watch, and I'm sure even more exciting to play. With the new WFTDA rules in place, derby is not only faster paced, it's now become more exciting to be a spectator. Referees, non-skating officials, skaters, and coaches all adapted quickly to the new rule-set which should make for an exciting season in the ever-growing and constantly changing world of flat-track.
Skaters from all over Atlantic Canada descended on Moncton once again for a weekend of fun, athleticism, competition and derby love. I'm pretty sure AniBiotix wins the award for best bruise. If you follow Muddy River Derby
on twitter, then you'll know all of our skills winners, but more officially, here's a list!
1st place Team: Snipress and Dodge 'N Charger
2 place Team: Knocker Walker and General Malaise (herein known as General Knockout)
3rd place Team: Loose 'N Lawless and Epileptrick
Scrum Starts Competition: General Knockout
5 Lap Race (full contact): Brad Pitiful
Speediest and Last One Standing: Snipress
Congratulations to those that placed, and to any of the 16 blocker-jammer teams that were brave enough to compete in skills.
In case you didn't get enough skating with Warpath, you won't have to wait too long. In just under 3 short weeks is a double-header like none you have ever seen. For the first time ever, MRR's own fan-favourite Daughters of Anarchy will take on Reines of Terror in a full-length bout. If that's not enough for you, right after the winner is declared, PEI will take on Fredericton in another full length bout.
Join us at Agrena C
at the Coliseum (entrance and parking in the rear) on February 23rd. Doors open at 6pm. Admission to both games is only $12, or get in for $10 with a non-perishable food item that goes towards YMCA's Caring Community Program
. If you haven't seen derby played with the new rules set, now is your chance. What are you waiting for?
The buzz for Winter Warpath
is really growing. It's not surprising that it's drawing attention, being the first time the bouting season has started so early in the year. Usually we have to wait for the ice to be removed from our regularly used playing surfaces, but with a little ingenuity the Coliseum Agrena C is being transformed to house Winter Warpath. Today, our very own Eve McQueen and Narbruzzi joined the Information Morning Moncton program at CBC to talk not just about the event, but all things Muddy River Rollers. Take a listen
There is always something exciting going on in our League. Today is no exception, and I'm sure I would have no trouble writing about something every day if I chose to. Here's a little rundown on a day in the life of MRR!
From 1:00pm-3:00pm we'll be hosting our Open Skate at the Moncton Lion's Club at 55 Mark Street. We've been opening our practice space to the public since late Fall every Sunday. It gives people the opportunity to come and try skating in a stress-free environment, practice their skills, or also just the chance to have fun and let loose. We have gear to borrow, there's no experience necessary, and it's only $7.00 per person or $3.00 for kids.
At 3:00pm our Fresh Meet group will come in, and today is particularly exciting because it's the last day of the Learn to Skate program, which means Skills Testing for 2 hours. The combination of nerves and enthusiasm is in the air. A group of dedicated mentors, including team captains, have been training these skaters for 12 weeks. It's satisfying to work with a skater from their very first practice all the way through to skills testing, and one of my favourite derby things! I wish them all luck. Especially with the written test with the new rules! Our next Learn to Skate
is only weeks away (beginning February 10th). Let us know if you think derby is for you! If you're in love with the whole derby world, but skating isn't your thing, we are also in need of eager Non-Skating-Officials. No experience is necessary, as you will be trained by our Head NSO, Crash 'N Bury. Please email
her if you are interested.
To shake things up today, our travel team, the Lumbersmacks are practicing from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. They are getting ready for Saturday's game at Winter Warpath
against the Shipyard Sirens
. RDAC Nationals in March, in Edmonton are only a short time away. If the ladies aren't skating, then they are fundraising. If you are into pizza then you should let them know. They have a sweet deal going on with Pizza Delight. If you want more info, just email
them adding "pizza" into the subject line, or drop by their facebook fan page
and leave them a message. Should you simply want to donate
, it's as easy as clicking on the link on our MRR home page.
If that's not enough skating for one day, then there's still another hour where MRR practices from 6:30pm-7:30pm. Many of us are brushing up our skills for Sunday's Black and White Scrimmage, and/or skills competition at our Winter Warpath
event, sponsored by Neon Skates
. We're really eager, especially because there will be loads of derby gear for sale, but mostly because it's an event that is drawing skaters from all over Atlantic Canada!
Should you want to join us at the Coliseum Agrena
to see skaters from around the Maritimes, admission to the public is only $5.00 on Sunday. This is the first time that MRR has hosted an event that will also include a Co-Ed scrimmage.
What a busy day in the life of derby. I can't wait to get it started, and to see everyone at the upcoming events!
It's been a long time since I've written anything derby-related. In the Fall I just seem to loose all of my steam and some of my derby love and I long for off-season. I ache for a morning to wake up to realize I have no derby demands, but to recharge my batteries. I know that skaters all feel very differently about off-season. Some thrive on it and others loathe it. I, myself, grow so much during it that I couldn't help but love it. I take advantage of the 4 weeks off, conveniently during the Christmas holidays to focus 100% on the family that supports my derby passion. Scratch that, we all know it's an obsession.
Not every family is like mine, but many can relate. I've missed Sunday dinners with them for a couple years now in favour of practice. Our summer weekends are given over to bouts, with the orphans NSOing, and the derby widow managing the event. We juggle our schedule to make room for fundraisers and community events, and simply helping out derby gals in need. Because of that, come December, I like to take the time to refocus the family, remember who each other are without derby, and to give a chance to air the house out from 4 sets of gear.
More importantly, I get to ask myself what I want to put into the coming season, and what I want to get out of it. I'm a planner by nature, so it's no different when it comes to playing this sport. Surgery and systemic infection knocked me on my ass last September, and it was hit and miss how much practice I could make it to, or how much I could participate up to our off-season. Time away from skating gave my body a chance to heal even more, and those few joint issues I had throughout the year all but evaporated. I came back with renewed passion, energy, and love. I came back with new skates from Neon Skates
but they are being held hostage by Canada Post. That's code for them taking too long to arrive, due to my impatience, not anyone's negligence. I also came back to some very hard and fun facts…all of which will help me grow as a woman, a skater, and an athlete.
Here's what I learned in 4 short hours of skating last night:
1. it's only about 3 hours of skating when I take two half-hour breaks, even if I still have my skates on!
2. since I wasn't skating like a maniac for months I must have become smarter because I needed to adjust the chin strap on my helmet.
3. there is such an energy when people reunite, even after only a brief absence, and they delight at your stories again despite having probably heard them before.
4. almost everyone has clean gear (almost), mostly due to our travel teams branded "Smack the Stink Out" gear spray.
5. 4 months away from skating (only one month an official break) and I'm back where I was last year at this time.
6. everyone, and I mean everyone is tougher than me, and for once it's not hard on my ego.
7. Winter Warpath
is only three weeks away! We are still in need of NSOs so email me
if you want to be part of the action
8. grownups love Lego; especially when it comes in the form of a personalized derby skater.
9. some skaters can take a month of skating and you can't tell the difference; I'm not one of them and that is okay.
10. the 2o13 season is going to be out of this world!
No matter what you do in derby, there is one thing you can't seem to get around, and that is fundraising. No matter how large or small your League is, at some point you need to reach out to the community and find support. It's not enough to spend every extra cent a skater has on dues and gear. There never seems to be enough. So, each gal has to dig deep in her pocket, or jump on board that month's fundraiser. Some days it's fun, and easy. Other times it's not. Finding the fun, and the balance is often the biggest challenge. I like to call it the Zen of fundraising. Others call it putting the FUN in fundraising.
The only way a group of women can figure out what works to raise money is to try. Much of the time it works. On a very odd occasion, it doesn't. In my opinion (although it's not shared by everyone) the best way to learn is from mistakes. It's a quick and easy learning curve. Don't be fooled, because it's a very painful one. No matter what you plan and how, there are egos involved. Every last one of us want the least amount of effort for the maximum return! Call us silly, but we want to enjoy ourselves. I don't know if that's an MRR thing, or a derby thing. Our League likes to laugh, and giggle, and dance while we're raising money.
Coming up with new ideas, and inspired choices that appeal to the masses is a challenge that faces all teams, not just the flat track derby ones. Planning on-line and off-line has its own set of quirks. Some take offence to every written word, and others shy away from the invitation. Each member has an individual perception of how their League should run, and just how they fit in. It's a fantastic little dance, and if we pay attention to each person's role then there is the potential for incredible success. We often underestimate the skills of our members in helping with derby events. It's not because we don't value them; it's because we aren't aware of them. Often it takes a little sleuthing to find your skater's talents off-track. Be your own Sherlock and dig around. I promise that you will be rewarded for your efforts.
This past weekend at Slay of Fundy
, I was reminded that derby girls are my heroes. I prefer to call them women, but that's a whole other blog, so I digress. Since I am a derby girl, that makes me my own hero and that's narcissistic. Again, another blog. Where am I going with this? Ah, yes. There's nothing like coming down off of a tournament high. It's even more interesting that I actually am experiencing it even though I didn't skate a single jam. Not one.
I was tournament Head NSO which was new for me. My experience in the past with both Muddy River Rollers' Atlantic JAMborees was an asset, but this was to be my first time at an RDAC
function. Fog City Rollers
put on an A1 event, and they should be proud of hosting Atlantic Canada's first flat track roller derby tournament. I haven't even finished unpacking, and I'm eager to sign up for next year!
The interesting thing about roller derby out here in the Maritimes is that it's still a relatively new sport. Our oldest vets all claim around three years of experience. Which means that everyone is still learning. I'm in awe of how open people were to change things on the fly over the course of the weekend. It impressed me to see how flexible skaters, officials, and organizers were to doing things differently than they were familiar with. There were bumps in the road, and you can never please everyone, but the overall tone for the weekend was productive and positive.
My role as an organizer and official gave me a unique perspective to witness the versatility of the women who come to this sport. They are tough and community-minded, business women and moms, athletes and artists. Many of them did so much more than skate during the tournament. Every aspect of derby was represented by women, from vendors to photographers, announcers to event managers. The amount of things that need to happen to make a weekend like that successful are too numerous to list. It was beautiful to watch. I have such respect for everyone who had a hand in organizing and executing this memorable 'first' of mine. Tournaments are run for women, largely in part by women. It's empowering.
Where does that leave room for the men? Well, let me tell you: there's a huge place for them in this sport. They are coaches, referees, announcers, photographers, NSOs and more. Derby men event manage, or drive skaters to the emergency room. They manage benches and babysit derby orphans. They are fans and sponsors. Because of this, they are valued. The men of derby that I've come to know and love are dedicated, and have the upmost respect for the skaters. So maybe my hero worship should include not just the women of derby, but supporters of derby. It's a vibrant, passionate and fun group of people. I'm grateful to be part of it all!
If you're eager to become involved in this derby world, Muddy River Rollers has a number of Learn to Skate Programs during the skating season. The League is always recruiting Skating and Non-Skating Officials. More information is available on the webpage
, or by contacting our recruitment committee
I cannot believe there are only 9 more days until over 200 skaters, refs, NSOs and volunteers will flock to Moncton to be trained by some of the most well-known and loved skaters in the derby world. Dr Johnny Capote, Lime, and Viv the Shiv return this year, to be joined for the first time by Bonnie D. Stroir
. There's nothing better than a boot camp. It's fun, and exciting, and everyone comes away with new skills and tricks and a better understanding of their sport. It's when derby grows, and with us hosting the event, it is when East Coast Derby grows.
So much goes into creating training camps like these, and the behind the scenes crew is working like mad to make sure that we run as smoothly as we did last season. There are never enough thank you's to all of the people who put in countless hours on what seem like endless lists of tasks that need to be performed before, during, and after the event. It's going to be hard to top last year, but we're sure going to try!
Friday the 13th brings us a bout between our own Lumbersmacks and Maine's Rock Coast Rollers
. If you can answer what the mascot of the Lumbersmacks
is, you will win 2 tickets to this bout. The first person who leaves the right answer in a comment below and shares this post will win. The tickets will be waiting for you at admissions.
The rest of the weekend
is filled with skater, NSO, ref and even announcer training in the mornings. Afternoons will have teams taking to the track to compete in 20 minute bouts. If you can tell me how many teams are participating this year, including our two home teams, Daughters of Anarchy and Reines of Terror, then you will win 2 weekend passes. Just leave your comment below and share, and the first person will have tickets in their name waiting at the door.
In the case that you are missing out on JAM12 this year, guess what? Wherever Dr Johnny goes, Canuck Derby TV
is never far behind. Tune in to watch all the bouts, and don't forget to donate.
Did you know we have a twiiter page? You really should come on over and follow our tweets @muddyriverderby. Also, we have a snazzy fresh fan
page on facebook that you should join to keep tabs on everything flatt-track. Keep your eye on my blog if you are attending. I'll be doing regular updates between now and JAM12. I can't wait to see everyone again, and to meet all of the new faces that will be joining us for the first time!