Update your bookmarks, people! All the cool people are heading over to Roller Derby for Beginners.

I’ve updated that site to make it more useful for new or wannabe skaters. Now it’ll be updated regularly with new posts from skaters and writers who know their stuff. Today, there’s a post from Elektra Q-Tion from the You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me Loose Wheel blog. I know you’re gonna love it.

As for little anecdote? It’ll still be here, but no new posts for the foreseeable future. See you over at the new joint.


The long version…

This wasn’t meant to be a roller derby blog, you know.

It was supposed to be just little anecdotes. A project to record the small and funny things that pop up in life. A way to practice regular writing amidst working full time at a desk and practicing roller derby three or four days a week. When I started it, I blogged a lot about roller derby, plus a little about whatever I was doing at the time: trips to the beach, recipes, garden updates. Eventually, it became just roller derby.

Then I retired, and wrote a book about roller derby. Then I quit my job and became a freelance writer. Then I didn’t have much time to play or watch roller derby, and I didn’t always have something to say about it.

Plenty of other people do have a lot of really interesting and insightful things to say about roller derby, so I intend to highlight those voices. In that light, I’d like to introduce the new Roller Derby for Beginners.

Thanks for being there.



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

Oh hey, did something happen this month?


Yeah, maybe a couple of roller derby games?

Something about Scald Eagle and a Coke?

I have so much to say about this, so much to unpack, that I haven’t been able to write much about it at all. But the Rose City Rollers won champs, people.

  1. Rose City Rollers. They did iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!
  2. Gotham. There’s been a chink in the robot armor, to mix metaphors, and Rose City was able to pry it open just enough. With….2-2 formations? Offense? They rolled back the year in a surprising and interesting way, and I’m into it. OBVIOUSLY.
  3. Victoria. Now who’re the robots? Will people figure out the Victoria defense over the next year, and will Victoria be able to adjust? Do they really practice EVERY DAY? Is that healthy? I worry about you, ladies! But nice freaking work!
  4. London. Should be super proud of a #4 finish in this field. Could’ve been a different story, with a 12-point game against Rose in semis.
  5. Angel City. The top four is a separate field right now, but Angel City is knocking at the door. Not knocking at heaven’s door. That would be a bad joke.
  6. Texas. Where were you when you realized that Victoria was running away with that game? What does that say about where Texas is right now?
  7. Bay Area Derby. How long can they play 2012 derby? Well, it worked to a point!
  8. Jacksonville. Bad luck meeting Gotham in the second round, but… you’ve got to meet someone.
  9. Minnesota. Who knows what could’ve been with a couple of different decisions down the stretch? We know this: They put a scare into Texas in the first round.
  10. Denver. You always expect Denver to have a few cards to pull out at Champs, so it was a bit surprising to see that first game slip away halfway through the second.
  11. Rat City. Just not able to put many points on the board against Angel: 101 in one and only game at Champs.
  12. Arch Rival. Represented themselves well at their first champs appearance. We’re watching you now!

What do you think? Who has power?  Let us know in the comments. Dish freely, or send me anonymous tips at @littleanecdote so I feel cool. (It doesn’t hurt to ask.)


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

Wow, everyone! I don’t feel like making jokes this month! And there haven’t even been enough games or changes to make jokes about, so it’s tough to rally. Maybe some gifs will help? What do you all like… puppies falling asleep?


That episode has some serious issues with manatee ecology, by the way, though Alec Baldwin is v. good as always.

I know you like ice cream. How about Ron Swanson and ice cream?

What about, instead of analysis or jokes, I just assign a Halloween candy to each team? ‘Tis the season, after all.

Okay, sounds good to me.

  1. Gotham. A Wonka Bar with a golden ticket,
  2. London. Smarties: But the British kind.
  3. Victoria. Violet Crumble.
  4. Rose City Rollers. Peanut butter cups.
  5. Texas. Hershey’s bar (fun size).
  6. Angel City. Skittles.
  7. Bay Area Derby. Butterfinger.
  8. Denver. Smarties: But the American kind.
  9. Jacksonville. Laffy Taffy.
  10. Rat City. Wax teeth.
  11. Minnesota. Milky Way.
  12. Arch Rival. Almond Joy.

What do you think? Who has power?  Let us know in the comments. Dish freely, or send me anonymous tips at @littleanecdote so I feel cool. (It doesn’t hurt to ask.)


I updated Roller Derby for Beginners. It’s been two years–can you believe it?–since the book came out, and roller derby has changed since then. So, I added some things, took others away, and generally tried to make it more helpful.

Just for you. Because I’m nice and I want you to succeed and be 50% less confused.

When it’s ready, I’ll let you know and probably do a contest or something, okay? Okay!

Unfortunately, I need to spend my blogging time formatting it before it can be printed or whatever (this is actually a huge bummer), so this week, you get some inspirational Beyonce gifs.


Okay bye let’s talk Champs sometime!

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

Oh cool, it’s October, when I end up looking either really smart or like a total dunce. I didn’t do too bad! I had Jacksonville in the top ten! Well, I had Philly in the top nine, but things happen. Rat surprised most of us, didn’t they? Not the biggest surprise of all time or anything, but it was like…

and when we were all…


Or, I dunno, maybe you were like…

  1. Gotham. My prediction: They are going to play this weekend, and people who’ve not been paying attention this year will be pooping their figurative pants. So to speak.
  2. London. Largest margin of victory in a first place game at D1 Playoffs… so far.
  3. Victoria. Big wins over Madisonite and Rocky Mountainous, but they’re no surprise anymore.
  4. Rose City Rollers. Headed to Champs with a bye is looking pretty good right now. Cuz did you see that game against Texas.
  5. Texas. Dang, I am glad that archives exist, because that was one hot game.
  6. Angel City. I feel like Angel City should be off at its own table until they play this weekend. Calm down, we’ll get to you.
  7. Jacksonville. Awwwww yeah, you earned your second place spot. Nice skatin’.
  8. Bay Area Derby. I–hmm. You know–huh. I still have no idea, people. They have a strong blocker core that’s been around, but a new jamming crew, and it seems like they’re sticking with what they know while everyone else is making Victorian Boxes and stashing panties. Am I wrong? (I am 65% sure that I am.)
  9. Rat City. Where did you come from? Oh, Seattle, right. (I wasn’t being literal.)
  10. Denver. Going in to Champs as a third seed is better than not going at all, but it’s not ideal.
  11. Arch Rival. What a year so far, huh? (Also, yay Party Foul, former Bleeding Heartland Roller)
  12. Philly. Love you, Philly. You are going to the championships of my heart.
  13. Montreal. I dunno, when’s the last time Mick Swagger coached them? Do they still have some of that pixie dust sitting around?
  14. Minnesota. Lost a lot of personnel this year, but you never do know. Successful programs are that way for a reason.
  15. Rocky Mountain. Not a bad performance at playoffs, and that game against Victoria will only help them train for the future.
  16. Atlanta. Atlanta played against Tampa, so we finally got a little separation here. Nice work, skaters.
  17. Dallas. Dallas makes a name for themselves, after hosting and doing a damn fine job skating, too.
  18. Tampa. A lot of positive to take from their playoff experience, despite the first-day loss.
  19. Crime City. I thought Stockholm was the Swedish team to beat; I was apparently incorrect.
  20. Terminal City. Went in a seven seed, came out fifth place. Not too shabby.
  21. Sun State.  Flew too close to the… Texans. I don’t know, I’m sorry, how many Good Jokes do you expect out of this thing, anyway?
  22. Team United. I thought of a Bad Joke for this one that I will not share. You are welcome.
  23. Windy City. They peek back in with a good seed for playoffs. One never does know.


What do you think? Who has power?  Let us know in the comments. Dish freely, or send me anonymous tips at @littleanecdote so I feel cool. (It doesn’t hurt to ask.)

Okay, so you want to play roller derby, or you’re thinking about it. If so, you probably want to learn how to rollerskate. That’s a lot on its own. Going to the rink and skating around in circles is indispensable training, but it’s not the only training you’ll need. Exercises for roller derby are in order.

Oh crap. You’re going to have to work out! Don’t worry, it’ll be kinda fun! Sometimes!

A little more flexibility wouldn't hurt, either. Photo by istolethetv via flickr.

A little more flexibility wouldn’t hurt, either. Photo by istolethetv via flickr.

Getting in roller derby shape means having the endurance to last through a grueling practice, the ability to jump, juke, fall and recover, and preventing weaknesses that might lead to (eep!) injury.

Here are a few exercises that I recommend for new skaters. For all exercises, start slow and build up. Consult a professional (doctor or trainer) if you have questions or health issues, then get started.


Get some cardio training in, especially if your major exercise the last few years has been Netflix and chill. Interval training, or interspersing higher intensity bursts with lower intensity training, can help you get ready for the rigors of this sport. Again: Start slow, and build up.

Building balance

Just standing on one foot every once in a while will help you work on your balance and ankle strength. One-footed lunges, squats, BOSU Ball or balance board work take things to the next level.

Work them gams

Squats will probably be a big part of your training regimen even after you start skating, as so much of your time will be spent in a squat position while you’re skating. This position “loads” power in your legs so you can explode out of it. Kabam! Just knocked your opponent into the stands. Sweet. But not all squats and bodies are created equal, and you don’t want to work one muscle group at the expense of others, so make sure to throw some lunges, calf raises, and other exercises in there too, okay?


Your legs will be doing a lot of hard work in derby, but your upper body isn’t just along for the ride. Is your top half a lazy freeloader? No! Drop and give me 30… seconds of plank. Then in a couple of weeks, gimme 45.  Etc.

Check ya neck

Do some gentle neck-strengthening exercises when you have the chance. Don’t worry. They’re easy. They’re really more like stretching with a purpose. A strong neck, some say, can help cut concussion risk.


That’s a start. Check out Roller Derby Athletics’ list of The Top Ten Exercises for Roller Derby Athletes, too.


Do have an exercise that makes you rave about the results? What do you wish you had done more of before starting roller derby?



We’re in the middle of D1 Playoffs here, people, and it’s time to check in.

How’re we all feeling? Holding up? Getting all the action you were hoping for? Disappointed that games aren’t as close as in D2 Playoffs? Fine with that as long as the Sunday games are interesting? Surprised that Philly is out? Surprised at any of the point spreads? Seeing any new strategies that you have to discuss? Loving all the star passes and stashes? In love with any new skaters?

You were in love with Freight Train before, right? Well, if you weren’t before…

Let’s chat in the comments!

(I’m also looking for more gifs, so help a sister out here.)

(It’s pretty cute when you hear your husband laughing at something he saw on Facebook, and it turns out to be this…)

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

AHHH DIVISION ONE PLAYOFFS ARE COMING. Tucson is NEXT WEEK. I’ll be seeing Team United play for the first time! Will Bricktator play against BAD? Victoria plays more games! WHOA it’s all going to be awesome. THEN DALLAS ACK HELP so exciting.

  1. Gotham. They’ve been cruising along all year, crushing all teams in their wake, like usual. *drums on laptop with thumbs, blows airs up through bangs*
  2. London. Beat Rose City by a handy margin in London. Now, Rose might have been touristing it up a bit, but 129-193 is no small margin.
  3. Victoria. Will everyone be on to them now that they’ve studied the tape from Victoria’s last visit to the States? Will people ever get that “Victoria” is a proper noun and “Victorian” is an adjective? WE SHALL SOON SEE.
  4. Rose City Rollers. Hoping they’ll stomp everyone with their pegacorn hooves pretty soon. (Biased.)
  5. Denver. I have to give Denver the edge over Texas here, as they beat them in May. I have a tendency to underrate Denver, too, but they consistently make it happen.
  6. Texas. You’re great, and I can’t wait to watch you.
  7. Angel City. Just lost to Texas, beat out BAD, so let’s snuggle them up here between the two. Cozy!
  8. Bay Area Derby. But seriously, they only lost to Texas by 13.
  9. Philly. Close result against Denver, win over a surging Montreal. Not a bad August.
  10. Jacksonville. Daang, looking strong, looking strong.
  11. Arch Rival. Slide down a bit on loss to Jacksonville.
  12. Montreal. Just lost to Philly to 12. Don’t sleep.
  13. Minnesota. No games this month, I don’t know, so let’s just save the cut-and-paste (tough on the wrists after a while, geez) and leave them here.
  14. Sun State. Are they ready to surprise at playoffs this year, or do they need a year of seasoning? LIKE I SAID ABOUT THEIR FELLOW AUSTRALIANS.
  15. Team United. So much power, and I’ve never seen them play. What a world.
  16. Atlanta. A game against Texas is a pretty good warmup…
  17. Tampa. …so was a game against Arch Rival.
  18. Stockholm. Sometimes teams are ranked and it seems like they should have power but I have no clue. Let’s be honest here.
  19. Terminal City. Just beat Rat by one, but at home. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN.
  20. Rat City. I ask you.
  21. Rocky Mountain. They haven’t played since June. Yawn. That does it for your power!
  22. Dallas. Yeah, sure, why not?
  23. Nashville. Whoo, congrats! A win at D2 playoffs gives you power.
  24. Kansas City. Sames.
  25. Ice cream. Hey, we’re getting serious this time of year.
SO EXCITED. Photo by tailsandfur via flickr creative commons

SO EXCITED. Photo by tailsandfur via flickr creative commons


What do you think? Who has power?  Let us know in the comments. Dish freely, or send me anonymous tips at @littleanecdote so I feel cool. (It doesn’t hurt to ask.)

Roller derby gear bags can seem like a bit of an afterthought, especially after you’ve put so much time and money into getting your skates and pads together. A lot of people just find whatever will fit all of their stuff. When their first bag gives out, they have more time and experience to find something that works more efficiently.

I’ve gone through three or four duffel bags in my roller derby career. It’s just not something that I’ve wanted to spend money on, though I’ve cursed this decision as I’ve trudged my way through too many airports with my skates hitting me in the rump with each step. Maybe if I’d spent $100 on a bag in the first place, I wouldn’t have had to spend $20-30 three or four times. Learn from me, people.

Cat in a duffel bag hee hee

Open up that bag and let it air out! Photo by cornfusion via flickr creative commons

If you’re just going to carry your bag from car to practice space and back again, feel free to go cheap. If you’re planning to travel for derby, consider a rolling bag.

What do you use to carry your gear? What do you love about it? What do you dislike? What do you wish you had thought of before you bought a gear bag?

So you’re new! That’s cool! Let’s talk about what you can do to get ready for your first roller derby practice or tryout or serious skating session, whatever form that may take. Whether you have a day or a month to get ready, there are a few things you need to do, and a few things it’s nice to be able to do.

This is a very very short and sweet list, because people and leagues and situations differ. Feel free to follow up with me and ask questions as needed.

Procure skates and stuff

You’ll need gear. Probably the whole shebang: Helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, mouth guard, wrist guard, and skates. But, maybe not! Maybe your league can provide skates because you practice at a rink, or maybe there are hand-me-down pads available to try out. Make sure, and then prepare as needed.

Pick out your first day of school outfit

Think of function over fashion, people. Wear something non-restricting, and not so loose that it might become a hazard to yourself or others if you fall down. Palazzo pants might be comfortable, but if your pant leg gets stuck in your wheel, that’s bad. Most people wear workout clothes. Running shorts or pants and a top will work fine for your purposes, as long as the pants aren’t too slippery. If you’re coming from work, do not, I repeat: DO NOT forget to pack socks.

Maybe leave the tutu at home this time. Photo by Jamie via flickr creative commons

Maybe leave the tutu at home this time. Photo by Jamie via flickr creative commons

Figure out when and where you’re supposed to go

Skating rinks are fairly easy to find, since they want people to go there and give them money. Warehouses that are converted to practice spaces, on the other hand, might be in a part of town you don’t usually frequent, might be unmarked, and who knows what the parking situation is. Budget plenty of time for traffic, parking, finding the place, maybe finding the right door or room once you get there… and then time to go to the bathroom, fill your water bottle, and put your gear on.

Formulate your practice day plan

Make sure you eat enough throughout the day of practice, but not too much right before. Drink plenty of water, and have a big water bottle that you can bring (full, if at all possible) to practice with you. Bring snacks for after, and a change of clothes if needed. Do you need to bring dues or paperwork to your first session? Get that ready to go ahead of time so you’re not stressing out about it.


It’s okay, it’s probably the first time for a lot of other people, too! And if not, they all were new once, too. Most leagues are more than excited to get new recruits. They do not expect you to pick things up right away, they don’t expect you to be cool or have an awesome playlist on your phone or to know which way your wrist guards are supposed to go on. They just expect you to do your best. They also probably hope that you’ll be willing to volunteer to clean the lost and found every month because everyone hates that job.

That’s what you should do in order to get ready for your first practice. Simple, right? Of course, if you have more time, you can get ready in other ways as well...

Roller skate

Go to the local rink and mix it up. Get comfortable on skates. You can’t exactly practice derby at open skate time, so practice side-stepping fallen children. Start and stop. Skate backwards. Couple skate. It’s fun!

Watch roller derby and learn how it works

There are plenty of people who go to their first practice before they ever watch a game. If that’s you, more power to you! Study up later. However, if you can go into your derby career with a solid base of knowledge, you’ll be ahead of the game. (Don’t literally get ahead of the game, though, because then you’re out of the engagement zone. See? There’s a lot to learn.)

Familiarize yourself with your league

Meet up with new leaguemates, and get together to skate or just hang out. If there’s a league forum or group (good luck with that), log in and wade through the issues of the day. Or just find the important stuff like policies and calendars. Or juicy stuff, I dunno, it happens sometimes. This will give you a better idea of what you’re in for in general: volunteer requirements, email load, etc.




What questions did you have before your first practice? What would have been helpful to know?



*Hey, the updated version of Roller Derby for Beginners just came back from the proofreader today. Now all I have to do is re-format the whole thing for printing. Again. *sob*

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