August 19, 2011

Derby Weekends Rule!

A week ago, I had the phenomenal chance to have a full derby weekend. It started with a skate cleaning party at my house on Friday night. Several team members and I took our skates apart, some of us in a more *focused* method than others, and cleaned, replaced, and oiled all sorts of skate pieces. Once that was done, we watched "Whip It" and stuffed our faces with pizza. Don't judge us-- we were carbing up for our Fresno scrimmage the next day.

Saturday, five of us drove inland to Fresno, and participated in the first Central California Area Derby Black and White Scrimmage. Our girls were divided between the two teams, and we got to skate with both Atomic Assault and RocknRolla girls-- lucky us to have two fantastic teams to learn from! The flooring, sports court tiled on dirt, was not something we were used to, but we tried our best to stay vertical no matter how many times gravity took us down. We had such an incredible time learning all sorts of moves from both the Tidy Whities and Black Power, that we talked strategy for a week straight. We went back to Circuit Jerks the following Tuesday with all sorts of ideas to work on.

Sunday, I drove to Oakland to watch the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls host the Golden Bowl. As I sipped champagne provided by the make-shift bar, and munched on derby-owned Spoonful of Sugar cupcakes, I wrote all sorts of notes on my phone so that I could tell my derby sisters all about the strategies I saw working for these champion teams.

Here are some of the stand-out plays from Sunday's final two games:
  • jammers hit each other straight off the line at the second whistle
  • every jammer juked
  • pack would take a knee to slow start of jam or pack speed so that it's jammer would have an advantage
  • getting in and out of penalty box chairs takes lots of practice in graceful skating
  • pivot & blocker, one in front of the other, would be last line of defense for opposing jammer by playing pull cart while blocking; touching would not last more than 3 seconds, but the pivot did all the leading, and the blocker looked over both shoulders at all times while touching forward while pivot maneuvered track
  • if your pack is holding the other jammer while your jammer is coming round the track, slow the pack down to let your jammer score more easily
  • on the other hand, speed up if opposing jammer is coming into pack
  • if pivot speeds up, follow!
  • if one blocker is on opposing jammer, speed up and help out; recycle, recycle, recycle!
  • if you fall, get up fast!
  • if you see your jammer fighting blockers, help her out!
  • hop out of a booty block
  • if you skate out of the pb box behind the pack, help block the opposing jammer in the back
  • jammers constantly jumped corners
  • hit as many girls out of bounds without going out of bounds yourself to get them out of the game earlier
Watching all four teams, especially the Texecutioners, who brought the score from half-time of 26- 90 (Chi-town) to a final score of 121-132, was a true learning experience. I felt kind of traitor-ish because I didn't enjoy yelling, "Bay Areaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" as much as I enjoyed yelling, "Texas, Texas, kill kill kill!" I'm just lucky that I got to watch the best of the best play in my extended back yard. As I drove home from the North Bay to the South Bay, I contemplated that this had been one helluva well-rounded derby weekend.

So, what have you learned from your latest derby adventure?

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