Derby News from elsewhere

Roller Derby World Cup: Day One

DerbyLife - December 6, 2014 - 3:38am

After waking up at 4 AM and boarding a 6 o’clock flight, I arrived at the venue before 10 AM already feeling like I’d had a very full day. But I’m so glad I dragged my butt to the airport, because what I found when I got to the venue in Dallas was incredible.

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, so in lieu of writing a small book on the subject, I’ll share these with you instead.

South Africa’s cheering squad


The Australian mascot picks a fight.

The Australian mascot gets back to the important business of watching great derby

This is a hotly contested honor, but I think the West Indies might have the best fans. Maybe someone will prove me wrong today?

A zebra and friends from Canada hang out with the herd of steer outside the venue

Everything sounds more serious when it’s said by a guy in a luchador mask

If this is Day One, I can’t wait to see how huge Sunday gets!


For live tweeting and more pictures of Australia’s mascot, follow @Emdash8212. If you’re there, please share your pictures with @myderbylife!

WFTDInsurance Enrollment and Renewal 2015

WFTDA News - December 4, 2014 - 2:50pm

WFTDInsurance enrollment/renewal 2015 is now available online! Beginning today, skaters who had WFTDInsurance in 2014 will receive an email prompting them to renew their coverage, and league insurance representatives will receive emails with information to renew or purchase general liability coverage for their leagues.

The price per person of coverage for 2015 is $70 per person for member, apprentice, and MRDA leagues. The cost of coverage for non-member and unaffiliated skaters is $75 per person. The cost for juniors is $40 per person. The deductible for people with primary insurance is now $2,500 while the deductible for those without primary insurance remains at $7,500.

General liability coverage will be $300 for member, apprentice and MRDA leagues, and $350 for non-member leagues. The cost for junior leagues is $250.

The benefits and limits for the coverage have not changed at all, nor have the claims process or deadlines. WFTDA will continue to offer continued reciprocity coverage with MRDA, USARS, JRDA, CRDi RSC, and Francis L. Dean.

Alcohol liability and inland marine (property) coverages are available for additional fees. Contact for more information.

How do we enroll?

Instructions and information will be emailed to you within the next 48 hours. You may also renew by going to, and going to your profile page. The link to renew is next to your insurance ID.

Top Ten Tips for Attending the B&T Roller Derby World Cup

DerbyLife - December 3, 2014 - 5:03pm

10. Plan ahead. Circle in your program what games you want to see, otherwise you could get swept up in the action on one track and kick yourself later on. “I can’t believe I missed Team ____!”

9. Don’t be bashful (part 1): Everyone there is attending for derby love. Be open to it.

8. Don’t be bashful (part 2): Get to know the chants and cheers of different countries. There’s nothing like learning a new song to cheer on a team.

7. Hydrate. Whether you’re skating or not. (Cause let’s face it – you can’t just prepare for the afterparties an hour before. Train for it!)

6. Budget. Decide how much merch you can buy BEFORE you leave for Texas, not while at the venue where you will want to “buy all the things.”

5. Buy early. All merch is limited, and who knows how many t-shirts Team ____ will have. If you decided on what merch you would buy before going to Texas, you can get it all on the first day, and then have no worries about missing out later on.

4. If you want to get autographs from or photos with your favorite skaters, please do so respectfully (also, figure out what you want to have signed before you finish packing!)

3. Texas can throw a lot of different temperatures at you in a single day – make sure you bring some layers so that when you come out of the venue, you aren’t shivering all the way back to the hotel!

2. Prepare in advance for the craziest after party imaginable. Perhaps have a doctor on call if you have a weak heart, liver, skeletal system, etc.

1. Be open to other cultures. With people from all over the globe coming in, people may move at different speeds or act differently. Embrace it, have patience with everyone, and have an open heart to this amazing experience.

WFTDA Releases December 2014 Rules Update

WFTDA News - December 2, 2014 - 1:36pm

The Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) has released a new version of the Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby, to update the edition published in March 2014. This is the eighth edition of rules the WFTDA has developed and published since the organization created the first shared rules for the sport of women's flat track roller derby in 2005.

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The changes, which were approved by WFTDA and Men's Roller Derby Association (MRDA) member leagues, are primarily focused on routine revisions and updates, to include Publications and clarifications since the last publication. Some of the more significant changes, which were reviewed and developed by the WFTDA Rules Committee with input and guidance from WFTDA and MRDA member leagues, include:

  • Designating the Official Score as that visible to Officials, Skaters, and audience members, including additional clarification to address points awarded in error
  • Adding new language regarding forearm/hand penalties to penalize use of hands/forearms significantly altering opponent position, trajectory, or speed rather than length of contact (to better align with standard of impact)
  • Clarifying language to address the inability to earn both a Jammer Lap Point and Not on the Track point within the same pass
  • Providing the ability for the Head Referee to designate NSOs to call and enforce penalties for which the NSO is in a position to observe such penalties (e.g., removal of safety equipment, penalty box violations), as well as some additional modifications to Official Discretion
  • Allowing for the use of an Official Review to be used for other purposes as needed by the team (such as a timeout) if no review is requested

Some Rules Q&As were also updated as part of the rules release, including Q&As regarding Failed Star Passes and Destruction of the Pack before Pack Speed is Defined.

Updated Standard Practices and Hand Signals will be released by January 1, 2015. As the Appendix A has been changed to display only track specifications, a new document that outlines how to lay the WFTDA standard track will be released in the coming weeks.

Teams may begin playing under the new rules immediately. All WFTDA-sanctioned bouts must be played under the revised rule set starting Jan. 1, 2015.

The WFTDA Rules Committee will continue to use to collect feedback about the rules from skaters, officials, coaches and other interested parties.

View or download the new rules, read a summary of changes or download the line-by-line change detail document at Rules Central. The updates to the iOS and Android apps of The Official Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby, and the printed rule books will be available in January 2015.

Give Us Your Feedback on!

WFTDA News - November 30, 2014 - 4:07pm

Did you watch any of our live broadcast coverage on this year? If so, we want to hear from you! Please take a few minutes to complete our survey and help us continue to improve our broadcast products. Survey

Survey respondents will be entered into a drawing to win some WFTDA swag!

2014 Black Friday Derby Sales Roundup

DerbyLife - November 26, 2014 - 6:13pm

We always encourage derby people to support the others who are running their own derby businesses. To thank you, these fabulous folks are offering great discounts on all the derby gear and swag you need to ring in the 2015 season right. Click on the business names to go to their websites. Enjoy! (Feel free to add more derby deals in the comments below if we’ve missed any.) *** Bruised Boutique Select wheels, apparel, protective gear and more up to 75% OFF Skates up to 50% OFF including Riedell, Antik and Bont Roller Derby Stomp 2 Nylon Skates $119.99 ($50 OFF) Buy a set of Sure-Grip Zombie Wheels get a set of Qube Juice Bearings FREE Buy two sets of Faster Wheels get one set of tires FREE ($80 value) 5% OFF All Protective Gear, All Bones Bearings, and All Faster Wheels – Can be combined with Sponsored League discounts! Not Sponsored? Email to get your league sponsored before the sale! *** Bruised Skate Noose

Check out our 'Black and Bruised' weekend sale. Nooses are only $15 when you use the coupon code BLACKANDBRUISED2014 (free shipping to the United States). Get the original 'Over the Shoulder, Roller Skate holder' for all of the derby folks on your holiday list! 50+ colors and patterns to choose from!

*** Connie’s Skate Place 10% back in Skate Bucks *** Derby Girl Designs Black Friday thru Sunday – Buy one pendant, get one 50% OFF* with coupon: BOGOPENDANT50 *Excludes clearance Cyber Monday 30% OFF STOREWIDE with coupon: CYBERMONDAY30 *** DERBY LITE Roll Out Fitness Skating Classes Save 10% on registration fees & Wrap Hoodies with coupon code EMDASH at and Derby Lite offers fun & effective Fitness Skating classes in locations nationwide for women with zero to World Cup experience. *** DerbySkinz DerbySkinz’ Holiday Sales begin early and last late! Beginning Monday 11/24 and lasting through Wednesday 12/3 you will get 15% Off Everything (see site for exclusions) on and through December 31st receive 10% off all Uniform orders. *** FASTER SKATES
Faster FESTIVUS box set – up to $50 off! From Black Friday until December, 31st 2014, FASTER and Bruised Boutique are offering up to $50 off on the Faster Festivus box set, which normally retails at between $230 and $240. You can get the best of FASTER with this offer, which comes with a set of two dual durometer tires ' perfect for the gear nerd who wants it all or for those trying FASTER for the first time.This box set includes:
2 sets of Skinny or 59mm ‘Demi’ Tires – your choice of Demirojo, Demilune, or Demiurge
1 set of FASTER hubs pressed into one of the above sets of tires of your choice
1 set of Full Demirojo (92/96a) tires
1 set of Skinny or 59mm ‘Demi’ Tires – your choice of Demirojo, Demilune, or Demiurge1 set of FASTER hubs pressed into one of the above sets of tires of your choiceAll this for only $190! Only 25 box sets available as part of this sale, so get in quick!

   ***  Fast Girl Skates: The world’s first roller derby storefront, serving skaters of all shapes and sizes since 2007. November 27 - December 1

A full 5 days of “Cyber Monday” discounts! Get 20% off everything store-wide with discount code: CYBERMONDAY. That’s right, order gear and gifts, skates and accessories from your favorite derby shop and SAVE BIG in the process! Want to get your holiday shopping done early? Perfect. Need to upgrade your protective padding or skates? Now is the time. Take advantage of our diverse selection of items, and support derby owned and operated business instead of those big box online retailers. 


*** fiveonfive magazine
25% off an annual subscription ***

Inspired Insanity

Inspired Insanity may be Australian but we can still join in the Black Friday frenzy! We're offering 20% off storewide for one day only! Remember, we're from the future *robot voice* so our Friday is your Thursday! Don't miss out, check your time zone against Melbourne AEDT. Coupon code ' blackfriday


Sourpuss Clothing
Black Friday: 25% Off Everything / Nov. 28-30 / Use Code: BLACKFRIDAY (one word ' all caps ' retail only)
Cyber Monday: 40% Off All Sourpuss Brand housewares (no code needed) ' 15% Off Everything Else / Code: CYBER *** Sport Suds Laundry Detergent Give new life to stinky training clothes and gear. Sport Suds laundry detergent dislodges odour-causing bacteria and oils from fabrics and rinses them away. Black Friday Blow Out! 35 % off your entire order and FREE SHIPPING! Enter promo code BFRIDAY35 at checkout Black Friday (coupon valid 12:01 am Nov 28 until 11:59 pm), Coupon valid for first 1000 customers Cyber Monday Blow Out! 35 % off your entire order and FREE SHIPPING! Enter promo code CYBER35 at checkout Cyber Monday (coupon valid 12:01 am Dec 1 until 11:59 pm), Coupon valid for first 1000 customers

'Dissing' Derby: In Defense of ESPN

DerbyLife - November 25, 2014 - 2:34am

Roller derby is a fun but busy enterprise. Anyone who is involved in roller derby as a skater, a coach, a volunteer, or even as a writer or photographer documenting the sport, knows that the fun is at times all-consuming.

It's from this pacey experience that the words, 'I can't, I have derby' are summoned as an excuse for everything from postponing a dinner date out, to declining a wedding invitation, to ditching out on your pals.

For some of us, our efforts spent in roller derby, and our focus on it, can sometimes cloud our perception of reality as it exists outside the rink. Such was the case this week in an article entitled 'ESPN Snubs Roller Derby In Spite Of Overwhelming Fan Vote' written by Carly Quick, and posted on Devaskation's occasional blog.

Though I was a little late to the party, here's the lowdown:

ESPN The Magazine polled its audience via social media, asking which among a list of sports like derby, rugby and wrestling, should get more coverage. The Mag chose rugby the winner in a methodology that suggested that responses weren't weighted equally. Thus, the Mag made an editorial decision (perhaps premeditated) and passed on any definitive commitment to cover more roller derby. And so one writer then let the dogs out, accusing ESPN as a whole of dissing derby.

Posting on their blog and then on social media, Devaskation summoned the usual barbs against mainstream anything.  Commenters piped in about how ESPN must be 'boneheads' and 'chauvinistic.' Because, you see ESPN hates roller derby. And thus, the 'snub.'

Unfortunately, in their rush to judgment the authors didn't look closely at who they were actually talking about in the first place. So let me explain a few things.

ESPN The Magazine is a magazine. Yes, it's published by ESPN, but is produced by a group of editors that do the magazine only. ESPN The Magazine isn't ESPN in its entirety. If you're following along, I'll throw this out at you: ESPN, a media enterprise owned by Disney, is made up of a lot of different parts.

There's ESPN The Magazine, there's ESPN Films, and there's also the television channels and production companies. There's the X-Games, an experiential marketing and sports events enterprise that is wholly owned by ESPN. Also, there is ESPN Internet Ventures LLC, better known as, which is who I write for.

Sure, all of the parts are related like one big Reality TV show family. But editorial decisions within one venture largely have nothing to do with the other parts of the family.

Therefore impugning 'ESPN' as a whole, as a mean group of people dissing derby, is patently false and irresponsible. It's sort of like saying that because Michael Phelps is 'a pothead' that all US Olympic swimmers are potheads.

Sure I understand that there is some discontent about that fact that (at least not yet) you can't turn on SportsCenter or NBC News to find the latest scores of local derby or Divisionals. I can speak to the fact, as a writer who covers sports, that propagating derby is sometimes an uphill climb. But not one without earnest.

First off, getting an idea transformed into a published article, either for a freelance journalist or a staffer, isn't as easy as writing a pitch. That goes for major sports as well as newer phenomena. The first three times I attempted to get roller derby into print at ESPN my best result was a 'no thank you.' Later, an open-minded editor of mine helped. The article that I pitched on Bonnie Thunders 'which I offered to submit gratis' was what made ESPN sit up and take notice.

The piece entitled 'Meet ' the LeBron James of roller derby' was something that I thought (if I was lucky) would post at 6 AM on a Sunday morning. Instead the editor, who also picked the title, ran it first thing on a Wednesday. The article went viral. From there, there was an interest in derby, even if those of us who write about the sport had to explain to our editors what a pack is.

Hardly ignoring the sport, ESPN has had me write six more features on roller derby, with each reaffirming that there is an audience, small in media terms perhaps, but a very enthusiastic one that is ready to read. Also, I am not the only one who has written about roller derby for ESPN.

Jane McManus, who plays on and off as Leslie E. Visserate with Suburbia Roller Derby just north of Manhattan, normally covers NFL topics for ESPN New York as a part of her full-time role with ESPN.

Between pressers with Coach Rex Ryan of New York Jets, or her coverage on SportsCenter about serious national topics like the Ray Rice domestic violence affair, or even her 'office photos' from near the sideline at the Super Bowl, Jane regularly cites roller derby as a first love and always makes space for it.

McManus initially posted her series of derby articles on three years ago, first confessing to being 'crazy in love with roller derby' in her post on ESPN's Page 2, November 11, 2011. Within the series, she gave WFTDA and Champs its first mentions on ESPN and in major sports media.

But wait, there's more! More from the network that (supposedly) ignores roller derby.

Last summer Devon Maloney covered a weekend of ECDX in 'We Went There: East Coast Roller Derby Extravaganza 2013' for Grantland, ESPN's classy online sports magazine. Maloney, A Los Angeles-based writer –whose ability with words I can merely be envious of– covered not only the bouts, the action and the stars of the competition but also delved deeper into derby's culture, its people and its psyche.

'One of the defining qualities of any successful DIY, grassroots movement, especially in this era, is the blurred line between player and spectator' Maloney wrote. 'In the event that derby isn't able to break into mainstream athletics, it could still sustain itself as a community indefinitely.'

In addition to the works of Jane McManus and Devon Maloney, D'Arcy Maine, an ESPN staffer who writes on a variety of sports, profiled a 77-year old named Janette Morris, a derby player in the 1950s, who returned to the joy of skating.

Within the thousands of words the four of us (and many more) have written about roller derby, there have been profiles on World Cups, how to watch derby and basic tactics. We've also documented why players like Swede Hurt, Sarah Hipel and Juke Boxx have crossed borders and continents to play derby, how Atomatrix and Oly helped force the sport to evolve, and why Sandrine Rangeon ditched 10 years of playing hockey on the international stage to join derby as fresh meat. These stories and their depth hardly represent a snub of the sport.

There's also no mention of kitsch, fancy clothes or fishnets, nor the (mis)perceived ideas that the non-derby world has harbored about the game we love. Instead ESPN's coverage has been all about the growth of the game and its athleticism, as well as the influence that roller derby's women have had on both women and men across the globe.

That said, it's a free country. I know people have differing opinions. And one good thing about new media and social is that everyone can have a voice and spark discussion.

Yet, scorn of mainstream sports media by people within the derby community for its past omissions or allegedly 'ignoring' roller derby doesn't help the game in any way. If the goal of both players and fans is more recognition for derby, then yelling at ESPN and others for a supposed 'snub' is counterproductive. As counterproductive as its stick-it-to-the-man hipsterism is laughably quaint and old.

One of roller derby's most heralded rules is a simple one. 'Don't Be a Douchebag' embodies the idea that people respect each other and have general civility in the way they go about things. The rule also implies, to some of us at least, that roller derby is concerned to be fair-minded. Getting your facts straight before you start shouting from rooftops also falls under the same category.

While the author's intent was probably nothing more than to call a foul on those who might dismiss derby's greatness, their argument was half-baked. Facts matter.

So, I'm sorry, Devaskation. Sorry to call you out. But you got it wrong. Nobody at ESPN is ignoring roller derby. As someone who both plays roller derby and has written about derby, I can say' it's quite the opposite. Next time, do your homework.

Derby Migration

DerbyLife - November 14, 2014 - 2:27pm

By Sugar Hit

What roller derby skater doesn't dream of the big time? Skating with the best of WFTDA at championships and play-offs must be empowering, exciting, and loads of fun. From the bottom of the world, in Australia and New Zealand, it looks like a good time anyway. But with the exception of a small number of teams and leagues, the closest skaters from Australia and New Zealand get to top-level competitions is through live-streaming (and even then, it's fingers crossed the feed doesn't cut out).

And so, over the past few years, skaters have left Australia and New Zealand and wound up playing derby in the Northern Hemisphere.

Susy Pow left Newcastle Roller Derby League in Australia's NSW and found her way to Baltimore in Maryland, where she jams for the Charm City Roller Girls. Kitty DeCapitate returned home to the London Roller Girls after a successful stint with the Victorian Roller Derby League. New Zealander Olivia Coupe moved there too, and has made a name for herself with London Brawling. Fellow New Zealander Goregasm is with them as well, moving up the ranks to make the London Brawling squad this year. And in the past year, Hannah Jennings from New Zealand has completed TWO transfers to top-level leagues – first, Terminal City in Canada, before she settled in Portland, USA, with the Rose City Rollers.

DerbyLife asked them a few questions about their move, how it's changed, what advice they'd give to other skaters who want to do the same, and whether they'd ever come back.

DL: Can you give us a history of your derby career before you moved?

Susy Pow (SP): I began skating with Newcastle Roller Derby League in September 2009. In early 2011, I went to England/Paris/Berlin for a month and stopped in to practice with London Rockin' Rollers, London Roller Girls and a boot camp in some regional part of England. That trip and watching roller derby online live at 3am sparked my interest in international derby. Also I went to Toronto, Canada, as a jammer and blocker for Team Australia.

Olivia Coupe (OC): I began learning to skate and playing roller derby in 2007 after seeing a Pirate City Rollers game. Soon after I joined their fresh meat programme and worked my way into their new home team Mascara Massacre. We won our first game against the Black Heart Bruisers which was somewhat of an upset and I spent most of the game as the pivot which basically involved me turning around telling my team to go faster. I really had no idea what I was doing.

Goregasm (Gore): I started with Richter City Roller Derby in Wellington, NZ, in 2009 and fell head over heels in love with the sport (as you do). I skated with RCRD for a total of two years and I had earned my All Stars (A travel-team) shirt by the time I left to travel.

Goregasm, photo by Phyllisophia

Kitty DeCapitate (KDC): I actually began playing roller derby in London in 2006 before derby existed in Australia. I moved back to my hometown Melbourne in 2009, so I joined VRDL as an already established player. My time at VRDL was pretty amazing, it always felt like we were doing something big and momentous (as it did in London too). We became WFTDA members, got to play Texas and Rat City, got our own training warehouse, won TGSS twice, travelled to the US to play in tournaments. It was pretty exciting to be part of all of that since just as I left London, London Roller Girls were really starting their international campaign.

Hannah Jennings (HJ): I started playing derby in early 2008. I skated with the Pirate City Rollers in Auckland, NZ, for my first three years. I got to skate in New Zealand’s first ever interleague game and was part of the first NZ team to take part in an international tournament. I helped form Auckland Roller Derby League in 2011 – we were unbeaten in New Zealand during my time in the league and I was part of the team that won the first NZ derby champs, which was pretty amazing! I left New Zealand in mid-2013, and was accepted onto the Team New Zealand training squad in early 2014, which I am very thankful for. I hope I can represent my country in Dallas this year.

DL: Why did you decide to move overseas? Personal reasons, for a new job, or to be closer to top-level competition?

SP: Personally, I had wanted to move to the US to increase my derby potential since getting a taste for derby competition in 2010. It's an all-encompassing aspect of my life that has afforded me many many friends, new family and a wonderful supportive husband (the latter of which I met at Rollercon 2012). I knocked over Dan (Ogden Smash ' after the poet Odgen Nash) during a black and white scrimmage. I like to say that I was jamming, jumped the apex, put a foot down on the track and hip checked him to the floor. He says it was after the fourth whistle and that I was airborne. I prefer my story. We exchanged details and just kept talking every single day until it was obvious that I was meant to be by his side. We feverishly looked up visa details, booked flights and rented an apartment in Baltimore, MD USA. Baltimore' because I wanted to strive to play with a D1 team.

OC: Auckland was getting a bit small for me and I wanted to travel around Europe then live and work overseas. I knew there were two good leagues in London so that helped me decide where to settle and at the time London was of a similar level to Pirate City Rollers.

Gore: I never actually planned to move to the UK (I left New Zealand with a friend to travel the world). We kicked around South America for three months and our outbound tickets from Rio were to London. We had planned on staying there for a few weeks then moving to either Berlin or Barcelona, just to have a bit of a life adventure. I was never attracted to the UK, it didn’t seem exotic (or warm) enough for me. By the time we arrived in London we were totally broke and had to get jobs ASAP, which kept us here for a bit longer. Eventually I started skating with London Roller Girls. From the first training I knew I wasn’t moving anywhere soon: the level of training and coaching was SO good, so so good. Even though I didn’t move to London for derby, I stayed here for derby, and I live here for derby. I don’t think I will leave London until I am done with skating.

KDC: It was pretty clear after about six months of being back in Oz that I pined for Europe again. I LOVED everything I was doing with VRDL and it was great being back with family but there was just something missing. I felt quite isolated from the rest of the world, and really missed the adventure of London, the travel, and the opportunities.

HJ: I moved out of New Zealand to be closer to top level roller derby. My partner at the time and I moved without any jobs lined up and only a little pot of savings to our name, but it was important for me to get out and be part of top level WFTDA play while I’m still young. My father even told me that if I was going to “pursue this bloody derby thing” that I better do it now before my knees and hips give out. Thanks, Bruce Jennings. (I get my charm from my father.)

I actually moved to Vancouver, BC, Canada first. Moving within the Commonwealth is very easy, and obtaining a one-year working holiday visa was a breeze. I skated with the fabulous Terminal City Rollergirls from the time I moved over from New Zealand until earlier this year, when I transferred to Rose.

DL: How hard was it for you to make that decision? Did you have to justify the move to anyone, yourself included? Were your friends and family back home supportive of you?

SP: I felt a little bit uncomfortable telling my derby friends that I was moving to the US for a guy. That's not the first thing they'd expect me to say 'well, hey I met a guy and I'm moving to America'. Worse still was when Berzerker (VRDL) found out that I was moving to Baltimore. Berzerker was a founding member of Charm City Roller Girls and warned me (the day before I moved!) that Baltimore had high crime levels and was not somewhere I should move!

Gore: My friend who I moved here with, though she tried to be supportive, was always pretty scornful of how much time derby takes up my life. She would always say how I lived in one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in the world and never saw a second of it, which is absolutely true. She was also worried (and I agree with her) about how it was affecting myself as a person. Because London is such a bitch to get around, it takes an hour, at least, to get to and from training. Which means that when you train four days a week, and have a job and stuff, there is very little time for anything else. I use to be a very creative person. I used to paint and draw a lot. I used to do a lot of theatre. I love to travel. I barely do any of that anymore.

KDC: I can’t say the idea of playing for Brawling again wasn’t exciting for me, but because it was actually such a long protracted process for me to get back there, we really HAD to know this is what we wanted. (I had opened a small business that I had to sell, and it took over 12 months on the market, with eight months of that in the country on my own as my husband moved back to London earlier). Everyone was really supportive of the move though, as much as they wanted me to stay.

HJ: The decision to leave New Zealand was made years before I actually did it. I toyed with the idea of moving to Melbourne or Sydney, and explored a thousand different options that could lead me to the States, but didn’t actually make tracks to move until I found myself without work at the end of 2012. It was extremely liberating, particularly as someone that had been building a career in a very gung-ho fashion since I left university. In the end, leaving my friends and family wasn’t that hard – so many of my nearest and dearest live overseas now that it was pretty much a rite of passage that I left. What was hard was leaving the league that I had built – I was a coach, a captain and a head of media, and handing it over was much, much harder than I could have anticipated. Thankfully Auckland Roller Derby kept in touch for help throughout the rest of the season, which cushioned the feelings of abandonment to some extent.

DL: Was your current league open and supportive when you arrived? Did you have to fight to “prove” yourself and your skills?

SP: When I emailed through a transfer request, I wasn't really sure what the response would be. Most WFTDA D1 teams expect you to be playing for another WFTDA league to qualify you for a transfer. I think that my stint on Team Australia might have swayed them to accept me in. Or maybe my sheer tenacity' that seems to get me places.

It was definitely hard work integrating into the league. Obviously you knew everyone in your former league including what their assets are and when to steer clear of them. That's a learning curve that only time will solve. I've never been interested in hearing from other people 'you won't like her' or 'she's drama' or 'you should try and get into this home team' and it's made it a lot easier to integrate with everyone.

I feel like anyone who joins a high level WFTDA team is going to have to prove themselves. Most Top 20 teams have solid rosters already and when you're looking to fit into that, you're going to have to showcase what you've got, but be more than ready to push aside some of your prized skills for team integration. I chose the hardest path by entering Charm City Roller Girls as a jammer, but still managed to make the majority of line-ups throughout 2013. The most exciting adventure I've had with Charm City Roller Girls was joining them at WFTDA D1 Playoffs in Salem, Oregon. I was not listed to skate until the day prior to leaving for Oregon but was coming to support my team anyway. We have quite a deep jammer capability within our team so it was thrilling to be called upon at the last minute to play. I was so proud of my performance across the weekend and jammed solidly throughout three games ' in the end, my stats were within the top bracket of jammers at the tournament.

Olivia Coupe by Sean Murphy

OC: The London Rollergirls were so welcoming! Slice Andice kept in touch via email and when I arrived she let me crash at her house and took me to training. I remember when we arrived everyone was outside sunning themselves (sunlight is still a bit of a novelty for Brits so we make the most of it). The hall was tiny – enough for a track with no buffer. I was so unfit and had to sit out during some of the drills and it was a real wakeup call that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was. This was at a time when no one cross trained and people still smoked socially. I was lucky to join them at a time when I was skilled enough to make the main league but I knew I had a lot of work to do.

Gore: London Roller Girls has a huge number of people in the league and we get a lot of visitors and transfers, so it's hard to tell who is there to stay and who is passing through. The training style is also very different to a lot of other leagues. When we train, we train: there is much less mucking around and social time. I wasn’t really used to all this so I actually found London Roller Girls a pretty unfriendly league to join. It was pretty hard for me to make friends, and making friends is one of my special skills. As well as that, there are literally some of the best derby players in the world there, and it can be pretty intimidating. In fact, I almost transferred to the other London league, the Rock N Rollers. I understand now why I got that unfriendly impression at first and now I always try to make new people feel welcome. I am really glad I didn’t transfer in the end.

As I move up the ranks, so to speak, I get that feeling of pressure to prove myself more and more. I am on the charter for London Brawling, who are currently ranked #3 in the world. We have a re-draft every 3 months but the league is so competitive, so full of amazing skaters, and everyone is pushing themselves and improving every day. The coaches and captains are always watching, so the need to prove yourself is strong. Not a lot of people know that the London Roller Girls' B team “Brawl Saints” are actually the top team in Europe after Brawling. They have only ever lost one game to a team that they have since beaten (Tiger Bay Brawlers). This means that there is a whole team, a whole REALLY good team, biting at your heels. If you don’t work hard enough, there is someone else ready to take your spot.

Kitty Decapitate by Kim Lee

KDC: Moving BACK to your old league is probably an even weirder experience. It was great, because I already knew a lot of people. But also it was weird because there were people I had never met before who were established players. It had actually been three years that I had been away. A LOT had happened without me; shared collective experiences that I had no part of. I felt like London Roller Girls was still my league but I still had to get to know it afresh. Everyone was super supportive and nice though. I started with a bunch of other transfers (Jen Sykes and Sarah Oates from Glasgow), so we went through the process together of being part of the C Team (anyone not in the A or B team is on the C Team) until the first travel team draft. I was a bit nervous to be honest, going from being a Coach and Captain within VRDL, to then wondering how I stacked up against a Play-Offs standard team. I did worry that perhaps I wouldn’t have shown the selectors enough to be put on the charter straight away. Turns out I didn’t have anything to worry about, and got a place at the first draft. The experience did really make me focus on improving my weaknesses but also my strengths, and every training session is a challenge.

HJ: I moved to Terminal City with the skills I had built up in New Zealand and no idea of what it takes to compete internationally. I turned up to Terminal the week of their all-star tryouts, so not only did I have to try and work with new people that thought I sounded a bit funny, I also had to cope with the increase in competition. I made the all-star reserve program and served out the rest of the season learning from this great bunch of skaters and improving my skill set. When I transferred to Rose City in February, it was like history repeating. I once again found myself heading into travel team tryouts really swiftly, and had to adapt to the higher level of play. Moving from WFTDA #37 to WFTDA #4 was a big jump – on my first day of tryouts, someone plowed so hard and fast that their butt bruised my quad, and stopping Rose’s jammers felt like trying to stop a group of very agile, very aggressive skyscrapers. I was very grateful to make the Rose City travel team – alongside my best friend and Auckland Roller Derby league founder Elicia Nisbet-Smith – and we both now skate for the B-team, the Axles of Annihilation. Axles and the Wheels of Justice practice together, which has meant that my skills have had to adapt, change and grow… and I’ve had to get over the fear of being flattened by one of those skyscrapers! But all in all, I’ve felt welcomed by the leagues that have taken me in, even if they don’t understand some of the words I say from time to time.


DL: What’s the most notable differences between derby from where you’re from, and where you are now?

SP: When I left Australia, the most notable difference was that NRDL had a really definitive group of skaters who were travel team capable. I honestly felt safe in my position on the team. The skill level across the board is extremely high in the US. I find myself being compared to skaters who have been speed skating since they were 6 years old or who began playing derby 10 years ago.

One of the biggest game-play differences is that every manoeuvre is quicker, sharper and more precise. It's like comparing playing pinball drunk at a bar to rocking up at the pinball world champs knowing exactly how you're going to win. It's really hard to compare the two worlds of roller derby without feeling derogatory but it's a marked step up.

OC: I feel like derby in New Zealand moves a lot slower. European teams which were founded 3/4 years ago are now beating Division 2 teams in the US. I’d like to see more New Zealand leagues make steps towards joining WFTDA and getting ranked because their is some crazy talented skaters back home. For London our goals were simple – to play at the most competitive level possible, to be the first non North American WFTDA league, and to make playoffs (back then it was still called Regionals.) We’re currently ranked #3 in the world thanks to changes in the ranking calculator and some big wins against Division one teams at our Anarchy in the UK Tournament. Being isolated from every other Division 1 team in the world makes it really hard for us to get high level games, but our isolation has also helped us because I think people underestimated us in the beginning. I really respect teams like VRDL in Melbourne who haven’t let their isolation slow them down.

Gore: When I was with Richter City Roller Derby there was only a handful of leagues we could play at a competitive level. Our goal for a long time was to beat the Pirate City Rollers in Auckland,  who are a good team, but are just one team and with a very specific style. I think a variety of competition leads to more dynamic growth within a team. Being challenged by many styles of play allows for that team to learn from those styles, absorb them and inevitably develop. A good example of this is London Roller Girls vs Pirate City Rollers. Both leagues started at almost exactly the same time, yet on the world stage, LRG shines and PCR is almost completely off the radar. I think it is just really hard to keep up being so far away. (Newzealandisstillthebestplaceonearth)

KDC: The sporting culture is different in the UK. ‘Women playing a contact sport’ is still a ‘thing’ here. Though I have to say, playing for LRG you are in a bit of a bubble, and even more so in Brawling, because everyone is so super focused individually to excel. Though it was very similar with the All Stars in VRDL too, we were really driven to do whatever it took to reach the next level.

I also started bench coaching and coaching the men’s team Southern Discomfort as my husband had started playing with them. Getting involved in mens derby was a really different aspect as it didn’t exist in Oz when I left. It was so great to be able to use my experience to help a really young but very talented team and see them become a fully fledged legit team, and as they have improved, it has been great to skate against them. It has definitely improved my game.

HJ: Derby in New Zealand is on the right track. My league back home is really passionate about staying up to date with what’s happening internationally, so we always took up opportunities to be coached by international coaches. While I feel that New Zealand teams will have to travel to North America more to test and grow their skills, I think leagues that choose to be proactive about their learning and progression can go a long way to bridging the gaps between us and them.


DL: Has playing derby overseas changed how you play? Are you taking on new positions, has your skill level and commitment increased? What’s been your biggest “I made the right move” moment?

SP: I feel like I retained a lot of the 'serpentine' skating style I developed back in Australia and bolstered that with stronger leg positioning. I picked up a whole bunch of tips and tricks, mostly from I.M. Pain and Holly Gohardly about where to be on the track and how to move my feet.

The coolest thing, and one of my dream roles within the league, was to be a WFTDA Rep. I love the whole concept of the association and was always pushing for my Australian league and other leagues to become WFTDA Members so that eventually we could have our own region (back when regions were a thing!). I currently look after Vendor relations for our bouts as well as being the WFTDA Rep.

Playing at WFTDA D1 Playoffs was a huge 'this is awesome' moment. I imagine the feeling of joining Team Australia at Blood & Thunder World Cup 2014 will feel just as epic.

OC: It’s changed my life! As a skater and a person I’ve grown a lot. It makes me really proud to skate for a team which defies all the odds and continues to get better. We also have some of the best coaches in the world – shout out to Stefanie Mainey, Kamikaze Kitten and Ballistic Whistle who have been instrumental to our success.

My level of commitment has increased ten fold. It’s made me think about how I can get stronger, faster and fitter. Right now I’m skating 3 times a week, and cross training 7 times a week to improve my skating and prevent injury. I’m still a blocker, I’ve dabbled with jamming but I don’t have the footwork or strength for it. I jam occasionally to test out my agility at scrimmage but I focus on blocking which I love more and to make sure I keep my spot on the roster.

It still blows my mind that I got to compete at WFTDA Regionals in 2011 and subsequent playoffs and Champs. I’m so grateful for everything that this sport has given me. I even met my wife through roller derby. Sometimes I have to remind myself of this when I miss home and I’m cycling in the rain to training, my whole body aches, I’m sleep deprived and I want to just be back to Aotearoa and lying on the beach.

Gore: I skate for London Brawling, the current WFTDA #3., and also for England, who are number 2 after USA. That means I can say quite confidently that I am pretty good at roller derby. When people ask me how London Roller Girls got so good, I always say the same thing: we have a handful of AH-Mazing coaches who are so are committed, talented, hard working, smart and utterly inspiring (shout out to Kamikaze Kitten, Stefanie Mainey, Kitty Decapitate, Juke Boxx, Olivia Coupe, and Ballistic Whistle). Being at the learning end of these coaches 8 hours a week is like being at the best bootcamp of your life ALL the time. I never take this for granted. This level of coaching has turned me into a dynamic, smart, strong, active player. I would say I am now around 700% better at roller derby than I was before I started training with LRG.

We have three on-skates training sessions a week, each between 2-4 hours. Then we have a two-hour off-skates session with a group called Dynamic Sports Academy who work with specialized sports conditioning. We also have a free skate session on Friday evenings where you can go and practice stuff on your own, which I usually attend. On top of that I try to go to to the gym or do some sort of work out four-five days a week. It sounds like a lot, but the league is so competitive that this is not uncommon. In fact, I often feel like I am not doing enough.

However, even though on paper I must be a good skater, I pretty much always feel like I am not good enough. For example,when I made the Team England squad, my pride was minimal because 18 of my team mates also made it. If I learn something new, or improve at something, my initial feeling is often “why am I only learning this now” rather than feeling proud of myself. The more I move up in derby, the more my confidence drops. A while ago I went to a boot camp with two of my Brawling team mates, and none of us were certain whether or not we should go in the advanced group or the intermediate group. (The answer from the coach was “Advanced. You’re a bunch of idiots”).

KDC: I no longer jam for Travel Team games, which is different, but a direction I had wanted to take for a while. My commitment has increased. My schedule is: Monday night team strength and conditioning, Tuesday skating, Thursday skating, Friday I go to a derby open skate session where I get to practice stuff over and over in my own time, Saturday I train with or coach the men’s team Southern Discomfort, Sunday is scrimmage day, and I work in another 2 strength and conditioning sessions somewhere in there too. Plus I own a skate shop with fellow ex-pat Goregasm.

I suppose being part of the first non-American team to make it to Champs was pretty epic. Also I think opening my shop. For a long time I knew I wanted to get out of hairdressing, and so everything falling into place when I moved back here, and being able to have that change, definitely confirmed it for me.

HJ: Not really. I am still a keen communicator and narrator on the track, and I still block very similarly to how I did at home – I just have more weapons in my arsenal now that I play with people who are at a higher level than me. My skill level has definitely increased but my league work commitment level seems to be levelling off to a more healthy level – my volunteer hour quota has definitely shrunk! Back home in my small league of 30 people, 20+ hours a week was pretty standard, whereas here, there are 500 people to share the load and I put in more like 20 hours per month.

Every day I wake up next to the person who (for reasons I can’t even explain) loved me enough to help me move here – who challenges me to get better and levels with me when I get frustrated or disappointed in my training trajectory. And four times a week, I get to walk into a place that I used to watch on TV, and play roller derby with the world class skaters from inside my TV. Every damn day I know I made the right move.

DL: If you were to move home, would you keep playing roller derby or would it be too different for you?

SP: If I moved back to Australia there's a very slim chance I'd move back to Newcastle. Besides amazing coffee, my parents and knowing every person I walk past in the street, Newcastle isn't somewhere that I really want to move back to. Who knows where we'd end up ' maybe Brisbane or Melbourne. I'd almost certainly keep playing roller derby and if I was unable to, I'd be coaching or officiating.

OC: I’ve neglected my career to focus on skating so I think when we move back to New Zealand it will be the first steps of retirement and a chance for me to focus on my job and family more. But never say never.

Gore: I won’t move home until I am done playing derby at a competitive level.

KDC:  won’t be moving back to Melbourne any time soon. If I did, yes, I would continue playing. VRDL are on such a great upward trajectory also, that it really wouldn’t be too different….just further to travel to play international teams! BLURGH!

HJ: Oh derby, you better believe that I’m not moving back to the land of free healthcare until the WFTDA has ruined me and my wife’s knees and hips for good. Dad, you were right!

DL: Does anyone back home say to you “I wish I could move like you have”? What advice would you give about moving overseas for derby?

SP: Every so often I get a message in my inbox asking me about which visas I came to the US on and all these questions about my experiences. A few people have already made the big step, for derby or for love. Or maybe both! I have Southern Hemisphere friends playing for Rose City, Terminal City and Boston right now who sure as hell aren't going home any time soon!

I say, go for it. If you lost your job at home, you'd just find another one. If you needed to move apartments, you'd just find another one. If you break a bone, use the travel insurance you should have bought before you left! If you don't like it anymore, go home or go somewhere else. The world is a really massive place but there are friendly roller derby people EVERYWHERE.

OC: To anyone in New Zealand considering moving overseas and continuing to play derby – DO IT! I love travel more than I love roller derby (which is a lot). Living in other countries opens your mind to new ideas, new people and new experiences. Playing roller derby means you already have a huge network of people to help you settle in. It helps massively if you already have and EU or US passport and if you don’t – go before you are 30 as most youth visas have a cut off age.

Gore: Be ready to commit. And be ready to get your ass kicked.

KDC: I would always tell people to do it, but that’s because I favour change over stagnation in life in general. If you want to do something, do it. We are pretty lucky in London, people do move here all the time because it is such a central European hub. We have had many transfers who have moved to London with derby being their top priority. I would say that if you are planning on moving to a top level team, you need to be prepared for what that might mean….you may be an A Team player in your league, but moving to a well established team, you may have to try-out, you may have to join the Rec League, you may not make the A Team. So be mentally prepared for that and be prepared to meet that challenge.

HJ: I don’t think I’ve had anyone saying that they wish they could do the same, because at the end of the day, where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you truly want to be a crazy person that moves 10,000 miles away from home to play an amateur sport, you can do it! All you need is the desire to do it, money to move and enough smarts to understand the legal processes behind immigration. My only piece of advice to people wanting to emigrate is – do it right the first time. Get the right visa, save enough money, and make sure you leave your home league amicably and cleanly (you’ll need their letter of recommendation, after all!)

Rules Regarding Skater Numbers to Change in December 2015

WFTDA News - November 13, 2014 - 3:44pm

By the end of next year, the Rules of Flat Track Derby will no longer allow skaters' roster and jersey numbers to include alphabetic characters. WFTDA member leagues voted to approve the changes in September, but they will not go into effect until December 2015 to ensure that teams have plenty of time to adopt the changes.

Member leagues also voted to increase the minimum size for jersey numbers to 6 inches (15 cm) and added a requirement that all of the characters in the skater's roster number must be printed at the same size. Currently the minimum is 4 inches (10 cm).

These changes do not remove rule, which states:

"A skater may have small characters preceding or following their skater number on their uniform (e.g., 55mph, where 'mph' is considerably smaller than 55). These small characters are not considered part of the skater's number and they may not inhibit the legibility of the skater's number whatsoever. The maximum size for the small characters is 2 inches (5 cm)."

The WFTDA Rules Committee has developed a graphic to help illustrate the changes.

VRDL Grand Final ' Home Season ' Sunday 23rd November - November 10, 2014 - 2:49pm
VRDL Home Team Bout Finals, Small final for 3rd and 4th place plus the Grand Final bout and 2014 Title, Sunday 23rd November Click here to buy tickets GAME ON! Doors open at 2:15pm 3.00pm: Game 1!  Small Final, Playoff … Continue reading →

You're a Jammer, Harry!

SSRD - November 9, 2014 - 10:47am
The Charmers will cast their best petrifying spell on the Dollys who will scream 'EXPELLIARMUS!' As they set out to disarm those who stand in the way of victory.

Gotham Girls Roller Derby Defend Championship Title

WFTDA News - November 3, 2014 - 9:58pm

Gotham Girls Roller Derby, of New York, New York, narrowly defended their title of WFTDA Champions, their fourth consecutive year taking home the Hydra trophy and their fifth Championship title in WFTDA history.

[cms:image url:"/tournaments/2014/championships/champs-d1-winners.jpg" show-caption:yes align:center thumbnail:team-page]

The Rose City Rollers, of Portland, Oregon, placed a very close second to Gotham, losing in the final jam of the final jam by just 3 points. The B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls placed third among the Division 1 teams.

The tournament MVP was Rose City jammer Loren Mutch, who was also named MVP of Rose City's playoff tournament in Charleston, West Virginia, last month.

In Division 2 action, the Detroit Derby Girls, of Detroit, Michigan, had a more comfortable win over the Rideau Valley Roller Girls, of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, to win the D2 Championship. Bear City Roller Derby, of Berlin, Germany, took 3rd Place in Division 2 with a thrilling 1-point win over the Fabulous Sin City Rollergirls of Las Vegas, Nevada.

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The tournament had the most international participation of any Championship in WFTDA history, with teams from five countries competing throughout the weekend. It was the second trip for London Rollergirls, and the first time that teams from Canada, Germany and Australia qualified for the tournament. Melbourne's Victorian Roller Derby League was the first team from heir country to earn a spot in Championships, and were eliminated by London in the quarterfinals.

The international 2014 WFTDA Championships were held Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in Nashville, Tennessee's Municipal Auditorium and hosted by the Nashville Rollergirls.

Congratulations to all the participating teams for making it to Championships and playing their hearts out, and thanks to all the officials, announcers, sponsors and volunteers who supported the tournament. Special thanks to tournament hosts Nashville Rollergirls for welcoming the WFTDA community to their city!

Final Bracket

Click to download PDF

WFTDA Champs 2014: Nashville Survival Guide

DerbyLife - November 1, 2014 - 5:28am

By Dani Doom

The WFTDA roller derby Championships will be held in Music City, Nashville, TN this year.  Home of The Grand Ole Opry, The Ryman Auditorium, The Bluebird Cafe, all the honky-tonks on Broadway and about a thousand other venues where you can hear music every night.  However, almost all of you will be busy enjoying the absolute best derby in the world and the amazing after-parties hosted by the Nashville Rollergirls.  Here’s a little guide from a rollergirl and Nashville resident that may help during your visit.

One of the first things I do when I go to a tournament, as a skater or spectator, is scout out a good grocery store.  The Turnip Truck (www.theturniptruck.com970 Woodland St. Nashville, TN) is a locally owned natural foods store and great place to stock up on snacks and healthy/organic foods.  And while you’re there, you can go ahead and drop by Asphalt Beach Skate Shop (  Asphalt Beach is located directly across the street from Turnip Truck and no more than 10 blocks from the Championship’s venue at Municipal Auditorium.  Asphalt Beach has the largest derby department of any skate shop anywhere in the country.  It stocks size runs of Reidell, Bont, Luigino, and Antik skates and has a track in the store where you can try everything out.  They stock every wheel you can imagine.  They mount plates and do expert repair.  Plus, anyone affiliated with roller derby receives an automatic 10% derby discount.  This is a must see shop.

Another thing I like to do, barring i’m not skating in the tournament i’m attending, is map out where I can get in an outdoor skate and a gym workout.  There is no off-season when it comes to training to become the athlete I aspire to be.  Shelby Park ( has my favorite greenway.  There is a solid 8 mile loop that I skate 1-2 times around.  It’s beautiful, there are bridges, and quite frankly it’s just fun to skate while surrounded by nature.  After a great endurance workout, I like to hit the gym the next and even sometimes the same day.  Gym 5 ( is a sponsor of the Nashville Rollergirls.  My teammates and I love this place.  It’s a full-service gym, only $9 for a day pass, just 10 minutes from the venue and nearby Turnip Truck and Asphalt Beach.

If you happen to have any country music cravings while you’re in NashVegas, Lower Broadway has more honky-tonks in 5 blocks than any other city.  Robert’s Western World ( has the absolute best guitar pickers down there and they stick to that old country and western music like Hank played.  Only a few doors down is the famous Jack’s Bar-B-Q, which carries a variety of sweet and vinegar sauces.  YUM YUM!

Speaking of food, my four favorite restaurants in convenient proximity to Municipal Auditorium are:

5 Points Pizza (, Koto (, Calypso Cafe (, and Thai Phooket (at 207 Woodland St. Nashville,TN)

Last, but not least, my favorite place to get coffee and tea is Garage Coffee ( in historic Marathon Village, which is also the location of American Pickers’ Antique Archaeology.  Antique Archaeology is the TV show’s retail store.  Plus, there are several other neat shops to visit there while enjoying a hot cup of joe.

Hope everyone is able to make it out to Nashville! See ya there!

Bracket Bonanza Winners for 2014 Playoffs

WFTDA News - October 30, 2014 - 12:00pm

While teams have been focused on wins on the track, some fans have been celebrating their own wins in the 2014 Bracket Bonanza games during the international 2014 WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs.

The winners were:

Sacramento - AK40oz (chosen by random drawing after a three-way tie)
Evansville - Roxy Rockett
Salt Lake City - HerHeiny Granger
Charleston - Ashley Ronson

What does it take to come out on top of a competitive bracket pool? Roxy Rockett, a longtime skater with the Carolina Rollergirls, said her secret to success was research.

"I have been playing this bracket game since it's inception and I would always feel so bad for the teams I chose to win, because it never failed that they would lose their first games out. Sorry about that guys," she said.

This year, she reviewed teams recent game stats and compared teams' scores against common opponents. She also used her knowledge of the teams as a longtime skater and fan to consider their overall strengths and weaknesses as well as recent roster changes.

If you think you have what it takes to take on these champions -- and hundreds of other roller derby fans -- enter the Bracket Bonanza at This year's winner will get a free viewing pass for the 2015 Playoffs and Championships. Entries are due before the first whistle at 2 pm CDT Friday!

Beating the Fear of Falling

DerbyLife - October 23, 2014 - 1:13am

One of the first things a new skater must confront is a fear of falling and getting hurt. Some lucky skaters are fearless by nature, and others have already overcome their natural human fear by playing other aggressive sports. But what about everyone else?

Your body and brain have a very understandable desire to protect themselves from injury. So the first thing you'll need to do is show yourself that falling doesn't mean getting injured'even if it might hurt a bit.

Step one in that process is to make sure you have good pads. It's not enough to resurrect the terrible Walmart pads you used that summer you learned to rollerblade at age 12. Those won't cut it in a sport that's as physical and high-impact as roller derby.

Get a good set of kneepads that are meant for roller derby or vert skateboarding and make sure they fit well and don't shift around when you move. They'll stretch a bit over time, so too tight is better than too loose. If your kneepads move around or are a bit too big, or you just want more padding between your knees and the track, consider getting a set of knee gaskets also. There are different types of gaskets, but they're usually a tight neoprene sheath with some form of gel or padding around the kneecap. They have made a world of difference to me over my seven seasons playing derby.

Once you're well-protected, you should practice falling properly. This will make it less likely that you'll injure yourself in a fall, and make you feel more in control. Most fresh meat programs spend a lot of time teaching new skaters how to fall properly before getting into contact or advanced skills.

If you're learning on your own, the first step would be mastering the 'controlled lowering' or touching one knee to the floor in a controlled way, then getting back up and continuing on your way. You can practice it in sneakers first. Take a step forward, then gently touch your knee to the ground until you're balanced on one foot and one knee. Hold that position for a second, then stand up without using your hands. Keeping your core tight by squeezing your abs will make it easier to stand back up. Doing this will help create the move in your muscle memory as well as strengthening your legs and core so it will be easier when you try it on skates. You can wear kneepads or gaskets for this if you want.

After you feel comfortable with that, try it on skates while stopped. It will be more challenging to stay balanced and keep from rolling, but keeping your core tight will help. When you're doing that like a pro, try doing it from a rolling start.

Make sure you're sliding and tapping your knee gently, not slamming your knee down on the track'you've only got two of those!

Having good pads and learning how to fall safely are two of the most critical ways of preventing injury in roller derby. If you can tell your brain that, you're well on your way to becoming the fierce, fearless skater that you want to be!

Once you feel good about knee falls, you should to practice falling again and again until it doesn't phase you.

There are a few other things to think about if you're still feeling nervous about falling. Thinking about how you're going to get back up is an advanced move that can help take the fear out of falling. If you're already planning your next move, your brain won't have time to freak out or dwell on the fear.

I also find that adrenaline can make me more fearless. Try skating a few hard laps or listening to an awesome pump-up song as you put your pads on.

Finally, work on overcoming the fear with a positive phrase or mantra. If you dwell on your fear, it might end up getting bigger and more unmanageable. If you tell yourself instead that you can fall and everything will be fine enough times, you'll start to believe it.

What are your favorite tricks for getting over the fear of falling?

This is an excerpt from Em Dash’s upcoming book, Derby Life: Stories, Advice & Wisdom from the Roller Derby World, live on Kickstarter through October 24th.

WFTDA Announces 2014 Championships Officials

WFTDA News - October 22, 2014 - 11:14am

The WFTDA is pleased to announce the skating referees and non-skating officials for the international 2014 WFTDA Championships, to be held in Nashville, Tennessee, Oct. 31-Nov. 2.

WFTDA tournament officials are selected through a review of applicants' experience and qualifications, staffing tournaments with highly trained and experienced officials.

2014 Championships Officials

Thanks to all of the outstanding officials who applied and congratulations to those who were selected for tournament positions!

WFTDA Releases Rules Of Flat Track Roller Derby in German, Announces Revision in December 2014

WFTDA News - October 21, 2014 - 10:05am

The WFTDA is excited to announce the release of the official German translation of the Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby. The March 1, 2014 edition of the rules is now available in German.

[cms:image url:"/news/wftda-rules-german.jpg" align:right show-caption:no] The release of the German version follows the release of the rules in French in July 2014, and now makes the publication available to speakers of three languages.

The German translation represents the hard work of a team of volunteer translators:

Bastian Hollschwandner, 'Riff Reff,' Stuttgart Valley Rollergirls
Carmen Tobler, 'Lucy Cat Rolls,' The Hellveticats - Roller Derby Lozärn
Carolin Rück 'Horribell,' Barock City Roller Derby
Jürgen Schnabel, 'Ghastly Giggler,' Barock City Roller Derby
Marcus Günther, 'Jam Pain,' Stuttgart Valley Rollergirls
Thomas Eckhardt, 'Der Könich,' rocKArollers - Roller Derby Karlsruhe
Annette Fälchle, 'Nitro Netty,' Stuttgart Valley Rollergirls
Magdalena Glocke, 'DeviLena,' Bear City Roller Derby
Kilian Brenker, 'Formalhaut,' Bear City Roller Derby
Molly Stenzel, 'Master Blaster,' Bear City Roller Derby

'Our German translation team has worked hard to release the German translation,' said WFTDA Managing Director of Games Karen Kuhn. 'We are currently working on finalizing our Spanish translation. Our next goal is to extend our translations to other important WFTDA standards, tests and resources to better support the growing number of skaters and officials worldwide.'

The next annual revision of the Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby is due to publish December 1, 2014, with updated translated versions in these languages following shortly thereafter.

Download Rules in German

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Die WFTDA Veröffentlicht Die Spielregeln Für Flat Track Roller Derby In Deutsch Und Kündigt Revision Für Dezember An

WFTDA News - October 21, 2014 - 10:03am

Die WFTDA freut sich die Veröffentlichung der offiziellen deutschen bersetzung der Spielregeln für Flat Track Roller Derby bekannt geben zu können. Die Edition vom 1. März 2014 ist nun auch in Deutsch erhältlich.

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Die Veröffentlichung in Deutsch folgt der französischen Version vom Juli 2014 und bedeutet, dass die Publikation nun in drei Sprachen verfügbar ist.

Die deutsche bersetzung ist das Ergebnis der harten Arbeit eines Teams bestehend aus ehrenamtlichen bersetzern und Redakteuren:

Bastian Hollschwandner, 'Riff Reff', Stuttgart Valley Rollergirls
Carmen Tobler, 'Lucy Cat Rolls', The Hellveticats - Roller Derby Lozärn
Carolin Rück 'Horribell', Barock City Roller Derby
Jürgen Schnabel, 'Ghastly Giggler', Barock City Roller Derby
Marcus Günther, 'Jam Pain', Stuttgart Valley Rollergirls
Thomas Eckhardt, 'Der Könich', rocKArollers - Roller Derby Karlsruhe
Annette Fälchle, 'Nitro Netty', Stuttgart Valley Rollergirls
Kilian Brenker, 'Formalhaut', Bear City Roller Derby
Molly Stenzel, 'Master Blaster', Bear City Roller Derby

'Unser bersetzungsteam hat hart daran gearbeitet diese bersetzung fertigzustellen', so WFTDA Managing Director of Games Karen Kuhn. 'Momentan arbeiten wir daran die spanische bersetzung fertig zu stellen. Unser nächstes Ziel ist es, unsere bersetzungen auf weitere wichtige WFTDA Standarddokumente auszuweiten, um die wachsende Anzahl an Spielern und Offiziellen weltweit besser zu unterstützen.'

Die nächste jährliche Revision der Regeln für Flat Track Roller Derby ist für den 1. Dezember 2014 vorgesehen, die aktualisierten bersetzungen sollen kurz darauf folgen.

[cms:file-download url:"/rules/wftda-rules-german.pdf"]

WFTDA Rankings Calculator Algorithm Adjusted, October Rankings Released

WFTDA News - October 18, 2014 - 10:10am

With the recent update to adjust the calculation of a team's strength factor in April 2014, the WFTDA Rankings Committee re-evaluated the value of the game type multiplier in the rankings algorithm. This multiplier gave additional weight to tournament games, with Championships games being the highest value and regular sanctioned games the lowest.

With input and approval from WFTDA Membership, it was concluded that with the improvement to the strength factor algorithm, the use of the game multiplier did not realistically reflect the true value of a game score. Therefore the game type multiplier was removed from the algorithm.

Starting with the October 2014 rankings release, the rankings algorithm no longer incorporates tournament weights.

More information is provided in the updated Rankings Calculator White Paper.

October 2014 rankings are available here.

MRDA Champs 2014 Preview

DerbyLife - October 17, 2014 - 4:12pm

This weekend, October 18 & 19, men's roller derby hits its commanding heights, as the Puget Sound Outcasts host the 2014 MRDA Championship, entitled 'Maritime Mayhem.' Originally scheduled to take place at 'The Rat's Nest,' home of the Rat City Rollergirls, Mayhem's venue has been moved from Seattle to the Tacoma Armory, in Tacoma Washington.

Actions starts bright and early Saturday morning as the two-time national champions, Your Mom Men's Derby take on the Texas newbie sensation Denton County Outlaws at 9 a.m. Following the kickoff bout, the St. Louis GateKeepers play the lads from across the pond, facing off against Southern Discomfort of London, England. And in the afternoon, Mayhem's contest shift gears into local rivalries relocated, as the New York Shock Exchange again face the Massachusetts marvel Mass Maelstrom Roller Derby, while tournament hosts Puget Sound start off against familiar faces from Portland, Oregon's Bridgetown Menace.

Here’s a rundown on the eight teams that will be facing off each other this weekend.

#8 ' Denton County Outlaws

The Denton County Outlaws, the #8 seed, hail from just outside Dallas, Texas. They set up shop in March of 2012 and hit the flat track with reasonable success before launching their 2014 season with a terror streak. Closing out the late summer, DCO climbed up the MRDA Fall Rankings to snag the #8 spot and a coveted slot at MRDA Champs.

Kung Pow, a longtime skater and key member of the WFTDA-member North Texas Derby Revolution was one of the founders of the new men's league, and acts as the Outlaws' coach. Setting up a men's league back in '12 seemed natural, she said, adding that 'the interest in our area was high for men’s derby' as many husbands or boyfriends of women's derby players within Denton savored their chance to play. KP said that much of the Outlaws' quick success comes from their work ethic.

'Their talent on skates is out of this world and their teamwork is top notch. They care about each other, and hold each other accountable,' she said.

After a decent showing at Spring Roll earlier this year, Denton County picked up important wins mid-season, and eventually beat both the Deep Valley Belligerents and Arizona at the Southwest Sausagefest in August.

DCO's roster, featuring Haterade, Sexual Chocolate and others, regularly puts forth a well-rounded mix of athleticism, pace and competitive if opportunistic play. The Outlaws are certain to add a spark of new excitement in their Champs debut this weekend.

#7 ' Southern Discomfort Roller Derby

Just a year after their sister team, the London Rollergirls, crashed the party at WFTDA Champs last year, London Town is serving up Southern Discomfort as Europe's first ever contestant at the men's championship.

This spring So Disco went on a whirlwind roller derby tour of the US, spending much of it in the Midwest battling top teams like Your Mom, Mass Maelstrom and the GateKeepers. Completing their 'seven bouts in nine days' tour, the Londoners also played the Twin City Terrors, the Capital City Hooligans, Denton County, and the CT Death Quads, all of whom London beat.

Southern Discomfort's #7 ranking probably belies their team's versatility and ability to pose a threat to the usual powers in MRDA at the Championship. Like their counterparts in New York City, Southern Discomfort stocks a well-rounded arsenal of able jammers and double-threats, flanked by hard hitting blockers of the best measure. Notable players to keep an eye out for include jammer Ballistic Whistle and versatile blockers Rolling Thunder and Sutton Impact.

As the holders of 2014's European Cup and MRDA's first international visitors to Champs, Southern Discomfort look to stoke a new fire in one of the premiere events in the sport.

#6 ' Mass Maelstrom Roller Derby

Perhaps three times will be a charm for the Mass Maestrom, who face their archrivals, the New York Shock Exchange, in a first round spar, for the third time in 2014.

At MRDA Champs 2013, the Maelstrom held their own, beating Magic City in their first bout 212-144, before bringing a respectable fight to Your Mom in the second round, losing 173-119. In the end, Mass took fourth place overall after a consolation round final battle with St Louis in which the GateKeepers won 168-102.

Stocked with veterans who have played roller derby from the beginning of the men's game, the Mass Maelstrom can hang with any of the top teams and is in a good position to place within the top four at Champs this weekend.

#5 ' Bridgetown Menace

Portland had a hell of a weekend at RollerCon this summer, gunning back to back against both the St Louis GateKeepers and the New York Shock Exchange in two bouts which saw them fight hard without a win in either matchup. That said, Portland's men are a rough-and-tumble squad that boasts an excellent workmanship and team approach that has made them a force to be reckoned with and a persistent threat to the top teams in MRDA.

With able players like jammer Chad Von Sausageclause, Don Juan and Cougar Bait, the Bridgetown Menace are a team that likes to put out hard hits and play with opponents' minds with the hope of taking them out of their element. At Champs 2012, Portland was bested by both New York in the first round and the Mass Maelstrom in the consolation, but put up a good contest in both bouts. Last year, the Menace handily beat Deep Valley 250-107 before being narrowly edged out by Puget Sound, who they face first this time around, at 3 pm Saturday.

If Portland can outplay the hosts in their first bout, as a reward (barring any unforeseen outcomes) they get to face two-time Champions, Your Mom, up next.

#4 ' Puget Sound Outcasts         

Like New York, St Louis and Your Mom, the Puget Sound Outcasts –who host the tournament for the first time this year– have a cast of well-traveled skaters that would make up dream roster for almost any roller derby enthusiast or observer.

Well-known names like Quadzilla LK, Speed Dealer, Slamilton and Radillac, to name a few, represent  a team full of double-threats and tough blockers that would make almost any talent in the game flinch.

In 2013, Puget lost narrowly in the first round by 12 points to St Louis, and following that, manhandled the Magic City Misfits before another close final bout against Portland's Bridgetown Menace.

Retooled and ready, the Outcasts look to land a heavier footprint on MRDA this weekend, having worked all season to strengthen their game and streamline their assets and style of play to take down Your Mom. Though Puget will have a real fight in their first matchup against Portland, their squad is as equipped as any to stage a possible upset this year at Champs.

#3 ' New York Shock Exchange

After a hard-fought title bout in 2013 that ended in second place finish at MRDA Champs, the New York Shock Exchange have rebooted and retooled their game to continue their push for the top prize. Nearly a half dozen Shock players took part in the first-ever Men’s Roller Derby World Cup in March, ahead of the 2014 MRDA Season. In the mix, their captain, Jonathan Rockey aka 'Jonathan R,' bagged the Most Valuable Player award at the World Cup in England while also showing up in a feature article about the tourney and the rise of men's roller derby on

An ever-positive and analytical jam master, Rockey looks at this season and its preparations as one big project, with each bout and new opponent as a learning opportunity and a challenge.

'We constructed a new blocker methodology that we first tested against the Connecticut Death Quads in a closed scrimmage, (and) our first public game was a crowd-pleasing, slobber-knocker victory [at ECDX] against our regional rival, the Mass Maelstrom,' Rockey said.

New strategies or not, NYSE boasts a list of guys on their roster who can jam, block and do it all. Maulin Brando and Abe Drinkin' and other veterans of the team know the competition and their own style of play well enough to let Rockey run wild, racking up points while wearing the star.

2014 showed yet again what the New York boys are capable of. In August, the Shock Exchange won the Mohawk Valley Cup, outskating the Quadfathers, 498-27 in the semifinals, while also putting the hurt on the Mass Maelstrom a second time, winning 306-70.

Last year, New York slipped by the St. Louis GateKeepers to get to the final game at Champs. Citing this year's clash at RollerCon, Rockey called the latest matchup against St. Louis a 'nail-biting blood bath,' one that likely foreshadows the intensity to come this weekend.

Spectators at Champs this weekend should not only expect NYSE to go far at Champs, but should also expect this perennial force in roller derby to make a lot of noise. And to top it off, they get a third chance to rile up their East Coast rivalry with a first-round crunch against the Mass Maelstrom on Saturday.

#2 ' St. Louis GateKeepers

The GateKeepers moved up a spot to #2, and it shouldn't come as any surprise. The St Louis men bowled over everyone this season, capping it off with a critical win over the New York Shock Exchange 161-153 in Vegas, to remain undefeated in regular season play.

Moreover, the GateKeepers look the likely challengers, if any exist, to take down two-time champion Your Mom this weekend. They nearly did it two years ago during MRDA Champs 2012, when in the last jam of the final the GateKeepers led by four, only to concede a quick grand slam, losing the title to Your Mom by one point.

Despite the rivalries and this year's success, St Louis captain and co-founder Magnum PIMP doesn't expect his men to waltz into Tacoma with any presumptions or a chip on their shoulders.

'We played some tough competition during the year so we're happy to have executed well against high-level teams. This is the deepest team we have brought into the MRDA Championship,' Magnum said.

'Looking at the rosters of other teams, it looks like they are sending their best teams to date as well,' said Magnum. To their own credit, St Louis counts some of the best in men's derby as a part of their squad, including Percy Control, Gnat King Kill, Debaucherous Prime and Neil Death Experience, all of whom joined Magnum on Team USA.

Maritime Mayhem, according to Mangum, is set to be a great display of men’s derby. '(The Championship) will have many rematches of storied rivalries and the action will be intense,' he said.

The GateKeepers start things off with MRDA's first-ever international clash at Champs, against London's Southern Discomfort.

#1 ' Your Mom Men's Derby

Winners of the last two consecutive MRDA Championships, Your Mom Men's Roller Derby hails from Des Moines, Iowa, yet has names on their roster from all over the country. Much like the Oly Rollers did in 2009, Your Mom burst on the scene, upping the ante on competition by rostering a team full of exemplary, world-class speedskaters who learned how to play effectively as a team.

Some of the familiar names on the roster this year include Sugar Boots, Seahorses Forever, Twinkle Toes, Dirty Larry, B. Stang, and the Muse brothers, Frank NotSoHotra and Peter Pan.  New additions to the Champs roster include Steven “Rollomite” Carter and league newbie Jeremy “Jer-onimo” Britton.

The MVP Blocker from last year’s Championship, BS Smacker, was one of eight of Your Mom's players to make Team USA and the World Cup in March. Despite personal accolades and consecutive titles, BS says that he looks up to his teammates, and that much of the team's success comes directly from their coaching.

'(Your Mom's) Coach Mark Muse pushes all of us each and every practice to strive to be the best we can be,' BS said. '(Our) progress through the season regardless of our opponent is/was to better our self each and every time we hit the track. We are as hungry now as a team as we were the first time I attended practice back in 2012.'

While it's fair to say that Your Mom has all the tools in their arsenal needed to repeat their performances from the last two years and take their third-consecutive MRDA title, the champions will have to earn it. And they know that.

One of the best parts about Champs this year is that the roller derby community all across the world will get a glimpse of what men have done to further build the game.

According to the MRDA’s website, the bouts will be streaming live on, though no mention of the event was listed on their schedule at the time of publishing.