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

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIIIIIME OF THE YEAAAAR

Division One Playoffs are just around the corner, everyone! Next weekend!

This is really when teams have to show their power. There will probably be surprises. One would hope so, anyway. I hope to look really stupid this time next month due to lots of awesome surprises.

  1. Gotham. Let’s be real: They’re not going to get a challenge until November.
  2. Bay Area Derby. Beat Texas and Denver in late July. Yep.
  3. Texas. Didn’t exactly blow out Atlanta, but we can call it “decisive” I think.
  4. Everyone else.
  5. Rose City. If they do really well at playoffs, I’m boosting them up to the top tier there. I’m doing it!
  6. A whole game on WFTDA.tv without an outage. Ahhh, feels so good!
  7. Angel City. Have they really never played Texas? Let’s fix this.
  8. Windy City. Beat Minnesota! And Minny is really good right now!
  9. Minnesota.A loss to Windy on neutral ground is gonna dip you a few places, but this is a tight group here. Nothing to be ashamed of, ladies.
  10. London. Have they really never played BAD? Let’s fix this.
  11. Denver. We only have to wait a week to see how they stack up against Minnesota (yaaaay)
  12. Apple pie ala mode. Yes, ice cream is still on the list, but now it has a buddy.
  13. Victoria. We have to wait a month to see how they stack up against…everyone. International rankings are volatile, but teams outside the U.S. are exceeding expecations this year.
  14. Teams from outside the U.S. Let’s give ‘em a hand! Bear City! Rideau Valley!
  15. Philly. Philly gets a little playoffs bump because I have a feeling they’ll rise to the occasion.
  16. Atlanta. Holding Texas to 160 points is no small feat.
  17. Rocky Mountain. They’re playing the Portland Dudes this weekend. “Do you want us to come to Portland?” “NO!” cried many bearded men at once. “We don’t mind! We’ll go to you! Nooooo problem!” Anyways, I hope Rocky wins. No offense, dudes.
  18. Jacksonville. No action this month. Standing pat.
  19. Charm City. Beat Montreal, lost to Philly. Sounds about right.
  20. Rat City. Remember what I said last month? Yep.

 

What do you think? Please tell me all of your opinions. I don’t get out much anymore, and I need to dish via the internet.

ARE YOU EXCITED?

I’m going to need a little bit more enthusiasm than that.

Getting closer.

YEAH IT IS.

Hi internet.

You guys know that I wrote a book called Roller Derby for Beginners, right? I hope so. I wrote it because when people start roller derby, they get very overwhelmed. With information. With lack of information. With the decisions that go along with buying gear. With injuries. With emotion. With excitement. It’s an overwhelming time.

I am here to cool out the roller derby beginner. There, there. It’s going to be fine. This is hard. Enjoy it while you can. Be careful. Stop beating yourself up. Take it one day at a time.

Etc., etc.

I know that not all of you beginning or wannabe or potential wannabe types aren’t going to buy the book. My budget is tight enough that I can’t spend $14.95 on a book right now. I feel you. But if you’re going to start roller derby for real, I guarantee you that Roller Derby for Beginners will save you AT LEAST that much on ill-fitting skates and cheap pads. Cheap knee pads are not worth it. There’s free advice.

Roller derby beginners of the internet: what do you want to know about? What would you like to read here?

I have a whole page of entries for newbies, in case you’d like to peruse that. What’s missing? Let us know in the comments, won’t you?

And while I have you here:

  • This is hard.
  • It is worth it.
  • It will take a long time to get good.
  • It’s not just you.
  • You smell terrible, but we love you anyway.
Photo by Masonite Burn via Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo by Masonite Burn via Flickr Creative Commons.

Someday, if you work hard enough, you’ll have a famous jammer score on you in a bout, too! (Many times over.)

Some day,

 

Before we had the internet, if you wanted to see some cute baby animals, you had to go find some. Or, if you’re my age, you could go to the poster store at the mall and flip through the animal section. How many of us have been bolstered by kittens emploring us to “hang in there“?

THANK GOD we have the internet now, because we can look at puppies and kitties whenever we want.

I don’t know about you, I get a little tired of those pictures with inspirational quotes over them. “It’s not how many times you fall, it’s how many times you get back up again.” Maybe I feel like enjoying some floor time. I’ll get back up eventually.

Hang in there, friends. Get back up so you can look at cute dogs.

 

Photo via Flickr by joysaphine

Photo by Flickr user joysaphine

 

Photo by Flickr user XA55Y

Photo by Flickr user XA55Y

Photo by Daniel Stockman on Flickr

Photo by Flickr user Daniel Stockman

Photo via Canine to Five on Flickr

Photo by Flickr user Canine to Five

This last one is for my Rose City Rollers to remember during grueling summer endurance practices.

Photo by Flickr user PKub

Photo by Flickr user PKub

If you want to make your own, obviously we want to see that.

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

  1. Gotham. How cute was it with all those people at the London game gushing over Gotham? They are amazing, I know! I’m sorry you had to wait that long to see it in person!
  2. Ice cream. Not number one because sometimes you’re trying to scoop some out of the carton and it goes flying on to the front of your cute dress (not that this happened to me yesterday or anything).
  3. Bay Area Derby. We don’t out TOO much stock in RollerCon results, but looking good.
  4. Texas. Drop below BAD. They beat Denver by a little. BAD beat Denver by a lot.
  5. Everyone else.
  6. Rose City. Oh, nothing, just bopped on down to L.A. and beat Angel City and Minnesota. Is that hard? (Checks fingernails, whistles)
  7. Minnesota. Beat Angel on their own turf! Ladies! I am impressed!
  8. Angel City. Damn, those were some close and fun games. More like that, please.
  9. London. Came up against a machine called Gotham, did about as well as most would expect.
  10. Denver. Once again, we don’t put too much stock in RollerCon results, but they beat the teams they were supposed to beat.
  11. Windy City. Beat Montreal. Cool.
  12. Victoria. No games in July, but we won’t blame them for that. They’re kind of far away.
  13. Actual mountains. Ah, crisp air! Deep blue lakes! Let’s go camping, guys.
  14. Rocky Mountain. Maybe looking a little sharper? Good time of the year to start moving toward your peak, if so.
  15. Philly. No games in July, but we won’t blame them for that. ECDX is Kind of a Big Deal.
  16. Atlanta. Solid result against Naptown, yep yep, this all checks out.
  17. Jacksonville. Beating other Florida teams, yep, you bet.
  18. Charm City. Wins over Suburbia and Toronto, okay, that’s cool, I gotcha.
  19. Rat City. I was going to say some mean stuff about how Rose is going to beat them soooo bad later this month but maybe I’ll just do a virtual handshake and say may the best team win. I’m from Portland; I have Feelings about Seattle.
  20. Terminal City. Okay, next month it might be Montreal or Ohio, so keep up the good work.

Oly is off the list for not going to a WFTDA tournament. No tournament, no power.

AAAHH ONLY ONE MORE MONTH UNTIL TOURNAMENT SEASON STARTS

What do you think?

**
Hey, internet buddy! Please consider giving some power to Team L0bster by joining the team, rocking the t-shirt, or getting a necklace. I mean, it won’t turn you into Mutch Mayhem or Scald Eagle, but at least you’ll look good.

Photo by Regularman

Team Lobster! Photo by Regularman

Screw you, cancer, seriously.

RollerCon looks amazing, but there are lots of other fun and exciting and fulfilling things to do. (Related: Retiring from roller derby.)

What did I do while RollerCon was happening? Well, nothing too out of the ordinary. Mr. Sour was out of town for work, so I spent a lot of time at the park, narrating everything out loud repetitively, trying to avoid major head bonks, etc. Here’s a sleep-deprived selfie for you. (Baby Sour is TOO CUTE FOR THE INTERNET so you’ll just have to imagine him looking mildly confused.)

photo (6)

 

Other people who had fun at NOT RollerCon

Draggin Lady, aka Nami, aka the person who makes Rose City events so awesome, went camping and ziplining. She may have been a little nervous about it.

rollerfun6

Spocker (Rose City ya’ll) wasn’t at RollerCon or ComicCon, but she dressed up as Dazzler for a party anyway. And looking fiii-oine, too.

spocker!

Shenghis Khan and Mary Prankster from BAD just went ahead and hung out at the pool at home (and got lots of texts from their buddies at RollerCon, whatareyougonnado).

rollerfun2

Absolutely Scabulous from Santa Cruz was planning on going to RollerCon, but decided to do this four day, three night solo hike in the Sierras instead. 

rollerfun4'

These Minnesota Rollergals went to a mixer, hung out with a cute dog (one big plus over RollerCon), and played at the park.

nonrollerconfun

@sithlet and John Maddening were doing…this. I think it’s some kind of computerated game.

rollerfun5

And the winner is…Absolutely Scabulous! Expect an email in your future.

I mean, look at this, are you kidding me, the whole thing is awe-inspiring.

rollerfun3

I think I need to get up to some mountain lakes ASAP.

*

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Did you skip RollerCon this year? What did you do instead? OR: What awesome things are you going to do this summer? Tell us all about it!

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.

So.

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
Beyonslay
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.

Communicate.

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.

Edit 8/26/2014: If you’re seeing this now, I’m not sure how you can get the shirt, but you can contact me and I’ll try to see if there’s a way. Or contact Tyger Bomb directly.

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!

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