It’s a longstanding tradition for me to grouse about how much fun other people are having at RollerCon. What Happens In Vegas leaks out all over your stupid Facebook feed. Maybe a better person would be happy for their friends, but not me! I’m a regular, jealous person who’s greedy for fun.


Not all of us are going to RollerCon.  Show us how much fun you’re having at NOT RollerCon, and you could win a super cool prize!

The Rules

Send me a picture of you having an awesome time anywhere other than RollerCon. Email to frisky.sour at gmail, or tweet @littleanecdote. Enter by 5pm Pacific on Tuesday, July 29th.

I’ll share the best ones*, and we’ll all feel better about our life choices.

Best picture gets a prize! I choose under my own iron rule. Maybe I’ll even choose more than one winner, if I’m feeling generous.

No nudes.

The Prize

Your choice of:

Some of us enjoy simpler pleasures.

Some of us enjoy simpler pleasures.

*So, if you enter, you’re giving me permission to share your pictures, but they’re still yours and you own them. Let me know if you how you want to be attributed.

Be patient with yourself.

Are you frustrated with yourself because you can’t pirouette like Bonnie Thunders? Girl, she was a figure skater for years and years. Of course she can do a pirouette. Check out the roster for the 2008 Gotham Girls All-Stars at WFTDA Nationals (back when it was still called Nationals and I saw Gotham skate for the first time, my jaw on the floor the whole time):

Ana Bollocks
Anne Phetamean
Ariel Assault
Beatrix Slaughter
Bluebonnet Plague
Bonnie Thunders
Brigitte Barhot
Cheap Skate
Donna Matrix
Fisti Cuffs
Ginger Snap
Hard Anya
Hyper Lynx
Kandy Kakes
Raggedy Animal
Scarlett Rage
Surly Temple
Suzy Hotrod
Sweet Sherry Pie

Vicious Van Go Go was skating for Texas at Nationals 2008.  That’s seven people on this 2013 Championship roster who have been skating at this level for that long. There’s no reason why you should be able skate like that after a few months or even a couple of years. Let’s be honest – most people never will. Don’t put that expectation on yourself. Just be your best self, whatever that looks like today.

Oh, here we are, winning Easterns in 2007. Photo by Glenn Fitzpatrick via Flickr creative commons.

Oh, here we are, winning Easterns in 2007. Photo by Glenn Fitzpatrick via Flickr creative commons.


Gotham talks about their “hive mind.” Somehow, they’re all on the same wavelength. They know what strategy to implement, and they do it together. Practicing and playing together helps this happen. You know what else hives do? They buzz. Gotham’s blockers are always talking, yelling, and pointing. That’s easy. You don’t even have to be good at skating to do that. (Communication was always one of my strong suits, for better or worse. Another one was “following directions.”)

Keep your head in the game.

Do you ever see Gotham skaters freak out on the bench or argue a call? Nope. Have you ever yelled at your screen for a skater to get to the penalty track faster? I have. But it’s never been a Gotham skater I’ve yelled at. There’s something to be said for discipline.

Stay with your friends.

All of those blockers could shut down most jammers one-on-one, but they don’t have to, because they stay together.

Blocking is a team activity.

Sure, the last line of defense will block one-on-one for short periods of time. Other than that, you don’t see Gotham breaking off from their walls very often to make big hits.

Hard work pays off.

Those women work really, really hard.


What else have you learned from watching Gotham play?





Per request, I’ve covered the cold truths about ice cream (hahahahaha) with these definitive ice cream power rankings. Eating ice cream every night for a couple of months has prepared me for just such an undertaking.

I can, and will defend these positions if necessary.

  1. Peanut butter cup
  2. Cookie dough
  3. Salted caramel
  4. Cookies and cream
  5. Mint chocolate chip
  6. Chocolate w/ brownie chunks
  7. Strawberry
  8. Vanilla
  9. Vanilla/chocolate swirl
  10. Chocolate cherry
  11. Caramel praline
  12. Tin roof sundae
  13. Fudge ripple
  14. Coffee
  15. Chocolate
  16. Neopolitan
  17. Peanut butter swirl
  18. Pistachio gelato
  19. [Berry] crisp
  20. [Fruit] cheesecake

GTFO: rum raisin, rocky road.

Please opine in the comments if so moved.

Me at the Tillamook Cheese Factory in 2008, looking exactly like my mom and eating ice cream.

Me at the Tillamook Cheese Factory in 2008, looking exactly like my mom and eating ice cream.

GUYS ALSO I’m having a contest next week (edit: not next week, the week before RollerCon. Geez, the way people talk about it you’d think it started tomorrow) for people who are not going to RollerCon, so stay tuned. If you are going to RollerCon, stay safe. Two copies of Roller Derby for Beginners are headed to Las Vegas right this moment for the charity raffle, so be sure to talk it up around the watercooler for your old pal Frisky.

“Have you heard of Roller Derby for Beginners?”

“What is that, a book for people who are new to roller derby?”

“Yes, but so much more. I heard Roller Derby for Beginners is going to be totally naked for every challenge bout.”

“Is that allowed?”

“I hear Roller Derby for Beginners has a full bar in its room that it brought in the trunk of its convertible all Fear and Loathing style.”

“Wow, no way!”

“They say Roller Derby for Beginners started and shut down the pre-pre-pool party.”

“I didn’t even know there was one.”

“What you don’t know could fill a book, newbie.”


Small victories

Here’s a little anecdote for you.

Back in my day (2007! time, where hast thou gone?), we didn’t have to pass the 27-in-5. It wasn’t a 25-in-5 either. Nope. We had to be able to skate 20 laps in 5 minutes in order to be bout eligible. I knew this going into my tryout for the Bleeding Heartland Roller Girls. I also knew that we didn’t really need to be able to pass it in order to be taken in for training. (Like many leagues in their second year of existence, their criteria were 1) did you show up to the tryout and 2) did you make it through without screaming obscenities at anyone.)

When I tried out, I got 19 laps in 5 minutes.

Including falling down.

And I felt great about it.

The thing is, I *almost* got 20! I only fell down because some other girl was flailing near me! If that hadn’t happened, I might even have gotten all the way to 20! Sure, I should have been able to handle some flailing, but still – I felt great about my accomplishment.

Obviously, it’s something I remember to this day. Actually passing my 20-in-5? No recollection.

Small victories: it’s all relative.

Photo by Joey Cannon via Flickr creative commons

Photo by Joey Cannon via Flickr creative commons

What’s your favorite small victory? Maybe you jammed against your hero and forced a calloff? Or not losing a game by as much as you thought you would? The first time you did a hockey stop and spun yourself around in a 360? Let’s us know in the comment.


As roller derby has grown, so has the call for money and donations. I KNOW.  I don’t share every request I see, but here’s a cool opportunity. Tyger Bomb (who has been featured here because she paints amazing helmets) is printing up t-shirts with this design to support a Rose City skater who recently had a bad tib/fib fracture.

Design by Richard Miller by Calyx Design, and don't you copy it without saying so, please.

Design by Richard Miller by Calyx Design, and don’t you share it without saying so, please.

Illustration by Richard Miller of Calyx Design as a tattoo for Tyger. (He’s also a superfan and a good dude. Hi Richard!)

SERIOUSLY, how could you not want this on a t-shirt? It’s a bonus that the proceeds go to Angela’s medical bills. Angela is an active Rose City Wrecker with 4 kids and an urban farm. A broken leg and the accompanying bills are a sincere bummer.

Pre-order the shirt here.   As of July 18th, you can pre-order shirts via Teespring.  Lots of different sizes and sizes are available. Order today! You’re got two weeks.

Thanks, internet!


Since we’re here and talking about worthy causes, I don’t think I’ve actually said anything on the blog about Rob Lobster. You can get another awesome t-shirt to support him in his fight against brain cancer. Eff off, brain cancer, seriously. Or, you can donate directly to the cause. Team Lobster!

Welcome once again to the Frisky Power Rankings, where I rank women’s flat track roller derby according to my whims/in-depth knowledge.

I’ve only started to think about how all the WFTDA rankings are going to shake out . Luckily, other people think about that for me. That’s a relief. The less thinking, the better! (Thinking is fine, but the outcome is not always all it could be around here.)

  1. Gotham. I’m going to be googling “what time is it in London” a few times before we’re done.
  2. Texas. Not a big victory over Denver, but we all know Texas’ ways of sharpening up just before tournament season.
  3. Bay Area Derby.  Not consistent in their scores against Angel City, but consistent in beating everyone who isn’t Gotham.
  4. Everyone else. London? We’ll see soon.
  5. Ice cream. It’s supposed to be 97 in Portland today, what the hell. ICE CREAM PLEASE.
  6. London. See above RE: Gotham.
  7. Rose City. Seem to be rolling in Serelson and Rivas to the rotation just fine, thank you. (Would you look at the point differential per jam for Serelson right this moment. Okay. Wow. Such points.)
  8. Angel City. Angel City, you are doing so great. If not for ice cream, you would be right up there.
  9. Denver. #1 for strength of schedule so far, geez.
  10. Windy City. Maybe performing a smidge below the high expectations set last year, but not too shabby.
  11. Minnesota. Putting up some nice results. Such nice ladies. Nice!
  12. Victoria. So much power in one month. I knew all along they were good. No, really.
  13. Philly. I put them over Atlanta last month, so now I feel super smart. Imagine me with my thumbs in my suspenders, looking all pleased.
  14. Rocky Mountain. Keeping up with contenders. GUYS I JUST REALIZED why Rocky Mountain’s B-team is called The Contenders. I played against them like three years ago. And still.
  15. Atlanta. Standing pat in May with mixed results.
  16. Jacksonville.  I bet they eat a lot of ice cream.
  17. Charm City. …and just when we went through that whole Rocky Mountain thing, I’m starting to look smart again for last month’s ranking.
  18. Terminal City. Outside of a Canadian-on-Canadian loss to Montreal, some great results lately.
  19. Oly. I wouldn’t want to see them as a five seed.
  20. Rat City. They definitely don’t want to see Oly as a five seed. 

…I like ice cream.

What do you think?

Oh, btw, have you commented on the roller derby hall of fame post? Do that. It’ll be fun.

I was enjoying some idle thought the other day, as I do, and I was thinking of how many skaters might be at “Roller Derby Hall of Fame” level.

Did you know there IS a Roller Derby Hall of Fame? It’s true! According to the website, there have not been any major developments in roller derby since 2004. Hm. Some of us would disagree with that.

Let’s make a fun fake one.

Who would be in your modern roller derby hall of fame? Let’s set some parameters:

  • Must be currently retired for at least two years one year (Ed: it’s more fun this way) (the possibility of un-retiring is fine; four people in the other hall did that)
  • Flat or banked doesn’t matter
  • Must not be a verified terrible person (if they murdered someone, must have had a good reason, etc.)
  • Niceness/off-track popularity/winning the after party shouldn’t necessarily factor in, but Contributions to The Sport can

Make your nominees below. Who are they, who did they skate for, and why were they so great?

I have an idea for at least one….

Beyonslaaaay! Photo by Mark Nockleby via Flickr Creative Commons

Beyonslaaaay! Photo by Mark Nockleby via Flickr Creative Commons (also, sorry Tef)

“It is illegal for teammates to prevent an opponent from passing them via grasping, linking, or forming an impenetrable wall.”

Seems simple enough, right?

I’m not so sure.

It seems like, at least with some skaters I know, these penalties are shrouded in mystery. Referees explain how they’re called, the players listen, then get frustrated because they get penalties that they didn’t expect.

You don’t often say, “Oh, oops, you’re right. That WAS a multi-player block.”

Where is the confusion coming from?

Just as an illustration, here’s the penalty rundown of the the Madison vs. Ohio game played recently at BrewHaHa.


Those penalties are significant, guys. (We might also need to talk about forearms and cutting. Especially cutting. But that’s a discussion for another day.)

So, skaters. Tell me. How confident are you that you know what a multi-player block is, and how they’re called on the track?


Let’s chat below!

For most people, the forearm isn’t particularly strong. If you wanted to push someone over, one would normally need to engage the rest of one’s arm, as well as some back, abdominal, and/or leg muscles.

Roller derby players, however, seem to create high impact regularly, using their forearms. How could this be?


MS paint job by yours truly

Susy Snotfaucet, of Ruined Valley Roller Derby, works hard on off-skate exercises to carefully sculpt her forearms. “My girlfriend is a drummer and a carpenter, and she used to show off her forearms like she was tough. Now mine put her to shame. I try not to get forearm penalties, but what are you going to do? You can’t do squats all the time and not even things out with consistent forearm training.” Ruined Valley incorporates wrist curls and farmer’s carries in their off-skate regimen.

Strong forearms help with grasping and pulling. Strangely, forearm penalties don’t seem to correlate to whips and other assists, which seem to be waning in popularity.

Other benefits of strong forearms include increased power behind a punch. Derby players rarely punch anyone, except maybe to get jazzed up for a game, but the perception of being someone who COULD punch the opponents’ lights out may be desirable in some cases.

Wiles Davis, who skates with the Peachtown Perverts, says his forearms are a point of pride. “Show up for tryouts with puny forearms, and you get laughed out of the gym. Strong forearms show that you’re serious about training.” But what about penalties? “Well, you win some, you lose some.”


A while ago, I wrote a post about roller derby drama that was pretty popular. The basic idea (oh go read it) was that most of the time, when people are complaining about “roller derby” creating drama, they really meant the people within roller derby. There’s plenty of drama and problems in any other given human endeavor.

This is true.

But in making my point, I was a little glib.

Yes, it annoys me when people misdirect their annoyance onto a group of people. Someone might say, for example, that “no one in Portland can drive.” It’s not really a Portland issue – there are lots of bad drivers everywhere. Portland has its own brand of bad drivers. Here, you’re more likely to be stuck at a four-way stop because the person with the right-of-way is trying to wave you on. In other places, two cars will try to go at the same time (and the car behind one of them will try to make it, too.) Bad drivers are not a Portland problem. They are a car + human problem.

That isn’t to say that we should dismiss a discussion about dangerous intersections in Portland.

We shouldn’t dismiss all discussions that involve interpersonal problems as “drama” either.

I know that some of you just liked that post for the Venn diagram, so here’s another one.


Maybe “roller derby” in the abstract doesn’t jump out and steal your girlfriend, but there are facets to the sport that create trouble spots.

Forced volunteerism

Everyone has to pitch in to make the system work. Eventually, some people are going to pitch in more than others. Those aren’t necessarily the people with more time to spare. A few people will never, ever, volunteer for a duty that everyone’s supposed to be volunteering for (what is that all about, seriously) and their teammates will get tired of covering the slack. And on and on – the more work there is, the more management there is, and the more opportunities for anger and annoyance.


Adrenaline runs high when you’re skating fast and hitting people. People will get hurt. There’s an opportunity for targeting. Injuries can make a huge impact in life outside derby,

An aside, if you’ll allow me:

I’ve been watching basketball for about 14 years. There are some players that are seen as hotheads – they can’t keep it together if they’re pissed. Before roller derby, I didn’t understand them. At all. Why can’t a professional player keep it together? Me, I can pretty much keep it together in most circumstances, but I’m a pretty even-keeled person in the rest of my life (this may be an understatement) and my livelihood is not on the line when I play sports.

I’ve had teammates, though, who absolutely cannot handle the heat. They are physically unable to do it. It’s just their makeup.


No one’s getting paid here! Oh, wait. A few people are getting paid. More money causes more problems, as the kids say.

And it’s expensive to play. Ever pay for a plane ticket to play derby and not play more than two jams? It does not feel great.

High-level amateur play

You work your ass off 4-5 days a week, pay your dues, put volunteer hours in, promote, lose time with your friends and family, and get injured all for the chance to play.  After all that,  you can still get benched for the “best of the team.”


You can decide how much crap you’re going to put up with.

What some people call “drama” is sometimes a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

I’m not going to tell you not to put up with any crap, because if you did that, you would not get along with anyone or get anyone done. You can’t have an expectation for perfection, because ain’t no one perfect. You can get along with people you don’t like much, and do things you know someone else ought to be doing. That’s part of life. But how much?

You set the limit.

Life is too short to suffer through your hobbies and pastimes. Is your captain not rostering you, and being vague about why not? Are you getting body shamed? Is there a serious inter-personal issue? Are you being bullied or harassed? You absolutely do not have to put up with that. You can try to fix it, or find a new team or a new league. You’re a grown up person, and you can decide. Don’t let anyone dismiss your concerns with the word “drama.”

Just like in any other arena in your life, your feelings are valid.

You do you.


We also talked on Twitter a little bit about how “drama” as a term can be applied in a pretty sexist way to dismiss women’s concerns. I’m not really prepared to type about that today, but feel free to chat about it in the comments here.









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