Believe it or not, a roller derby conference in Las Vegas did require a notebook and pen. Seminars and roundtable discussions on topics ranging from Budgeting and Bookkeeping For Derby and Junior Derby, to Balancing Sport and Spectacle and Building a Better Line-up, served to educate newbies with start-up leagues as well as jaded established league members. (Kudos to all who lead these classes – I believe I am smarter now than I was on July 30th. I know it’s hard to believe.)
Behind the hair-raising action on the track, roller derby has all the yawn-inducing business aspects one would expect from any organization. Committees and meetings and minutes, oh my! Derby is run by skaters, so sharing the tools of the trade can be more than helpful for individuals and the sport as a whole. That jammer in booty shorts with the Maori face paint? She may be the President of the Board of Directors. Show some respect (off the track)!
Part of getting smarter involved getting very, very sweaty. The Las Vegas heat (dry) combined with the workouts of top-notch coaches from across the country created exhausted yet elated skaters (wet). The Rev’s popular Falling For Smart People addressed an unavoidable facet of derby and the key ingredients to avoiding injury and staying in the game. Bonnie D. Stroir and Smarty Pants offered Beginning Jamming and Beginning Blocking (or Use What Your Mama Gave You) respectively, while Sadistic Sadie and derby’s most-quoted sage, Coach Pauly , served up Advanced Confident Jamming and Advanced Blocking and Pack Dynamics. Every level of skater and every nuance of strategy and skill set was broken down and taught by heroes of derby. For those who couldn’t be on-skates (injuries, lack of insurance, jitters) watching classes was a less risky way to pick up tips to try at home at a later date.
I personally benefited the most from workshops held for roller derby announcers (a group I’m proud to affiliate with this season as I nurse an injury). Imagine fifteen or so demure, soft-spoken and mature adults listening respectfully as Val Capone and AK-40 oz wax poetic on the ins and outs of effective bout announcing and communication with officials. Now erase that ridiculous vision from your mind and picture the real deal – more than half a dozen megalomaniacs (myself included) vying for the spotlight and laughs as we try to one-up each other with one-liners, one-two punches and one-on-one mutual admiration societies. Yuck. I feel dirty just remembering it! I seem to recall the referees in attendance calling “gross misconduct” and fleeing. Good call.
This week’s photo by Cajun Eject-her.
Bonus educational video this week (speaking of getting smarter), roller derby how-to produced by Gem City Roller Derby from Dayton, Ohio!
Next week, ROLLERCON, part 3: Get Married?!