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It’s always seemed strange to me to attribute some kind of overall descriptor to a calendar year. Was 2014 Good or Bad? It had its high points and low points. I suppose it’s nice for all of us, as a culture and as communities, to take a small breath periodically to pause and take stock of the world around us before moving on to (usually) do the same old crap.

2014. I hope you liked it, because you don’t get to do it over again. The good news? If you hated it, it’s not coming back.

My highlights of the year? Quitting my office job and starting out on a freelance career. If you have a desire to do this, with enough savings to keep you afloat for six months to a year, and a wide social support system, I recommend this highly. I traded drudgery and security for uncertainty and freedom. That is a good swap for the soul and for life. Of course, you have to be willing to promote yourself if you want to strike out on your own. (BTW, I’m looking for new projects now! Mostly web content and blogging, but I’m flexy. Let’s chat.) (Also, buy my book, Roller Derby for Beginners.)

As a Portland sports fan, I couldn’t ask for much more from 2014. Am I supposed to choose between the Gotham vs. Rose game and the Damian Lillard shot? Do not make me choose. Rose City didn’t win the game, and I went away heartbroken, but couldn’t be more proud to have tried on that second place medal at the airport a few days later. It felt really, really good. It felt even better with the travel team being so vocal about appreciating people like me. Wreckers and alumni. Just-okay skaters who love and look up to that team. We appreciate it.

What a goddamn game that was.

 

2014 wasn’t all leisurely mornings sipping coffee while working on my laptop, or sunny summer days at the park rolling a ball around with my gorgeous baby. There was also a string of car repairs, putting stress on our savings account at our least-lucrative time of year. My best friend from childhood passed away a few weeks ago. We weren’t friends as adults, but there’s something visceral about losing someone who was so much a part of the way your life was shaped. She was a week away from turning 34. A new year isn’t a guarantee. I try to remember that I have to do cool stuff while I can.

With that being said:

May your 2015 be filled with joy.

May your skates fly fast, and your falls be gentle.

May you have the strength to be as ferocious as a wolverine, and as gentle as a manatee, as the situation requires.

May you finally bring out that outfit that you’ve been to shy to wear, for you will truly Rock It.

MANATEE sighting in Portland!

MANATEE sighting in Portland! 2014 has this going for it.

 

Thanks for reading, everyone! You’re the best!

 

 

 

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

Once again, we’re just doing top 12, as there haven’t been many (if any) (should I look) (nah, too lazy) sanctioned games.

(Okay, I felt bad and looked it up. There was the European Tournament but not any top-tier action that we’d be concerned about here on the FPR.)

NEWS FLASH. There’s a new team on top of the Frisky Power Rankings, for the first time ever since the inaugural list in March 2013. If you want mathematical rankings based on who’s beaten whom recently, the internet has you covered. My list is based largely on feelings of who has momentum at any given point.

I couldn’t be more pleased to know that they belong there.

 

  1. Rose City Rollers. Who’s first in the hearts and minds of WFTDA fans right now, despite getting silver medals?
  2. Gotham. Still pretty good, but beatable. Definitely beatable. In theory.
  3. Bay Area Derby. The one loss to Rose Champs is their first loss since…Gotham in 2013 Champs.
  4. London. Played up to their number one seed
  5. Denver. A narrow loss to BAD is still a pretty good showing.
  6. Texas. Mathematically, they did better than expected at Champs, but we all knew that would happen, right?
  7. Victoria. Excellent first showing at the big show! Sorry about the travel bill!
  8. Philly. Gave Denver a good game there.
  9. Windy City. Met an unmovable force in a determined Rose City team.
  10. Angel City. First-round loss to Texas? It’s happened to worse teams, ladies.
  11. Minnesota. The Southern Hemisphere beat out The North this time.
  12. Rocky Mountain. Someone has to go out in the first round, but Rocky didn’t go down easily.

Honorable mentions:

  • Taylor Swift dressed as a pegacorn
  • Presents
  • PIE with ICE CREAM
  • Loren Mutch, because are you kidding me right now

So you didn’t win the Hydra, WOJ. Shake it off.

 

 

Hey, you! Yes, probably you! You have something to share about roller derby, don’t you? Your experiences make you unique, but other people can relate to them, right? Hey, probably. (I’m talking to you too,, officials, wannabes, and fans.)

We want to hear from you.

No, I haven’t blogged since the Rose City/Gotham game. What is there to say about that game? A LOT. THERE IS A LOT TO SAY. And I would have loved to say it to you, but my heart was a bit broken over the whole thing, and life was busy, and there you have it. That’s not an excuse, but it is a good time to remind you:

I want your guest posts. I want them so bad, I will pay you for them in Real American Dollars.

If you like to write, and you have thoughts and feelings that you think other people would be interested in, pitch frisky.sour at gmail and we’ll talk about it, okay?

Strategy and tips for beginners are of particular interest, but I want to know what you’re excited/mad/passionate about right now.

I’ll see you back here for December Power Rankings if not sooner.

Yeah! Keep being awesome!

 

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

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OMG.

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It’s actually happening.

What do you do when you get nervous? I get very quiet and type a lot of periods to try to demonstrate that feeling to the internet.

 

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For this extra-special set of Power Rankings before WFTDA champs, we’re just doing the top 12. Because. They’re my power rankings. Deal with it.

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Is this what I think the games will play out? Not necessarily. It’s a gauge of their power. What they do with any given 60 minutes, who knows? “What’s why they play the games.”

  1. Gotham. Always #1 in power until someone proves otherwise.
  2. Bay Area Derby. Un-de-feat-ed! *clap clap clap-clap-clap* So far this year! *clap clap clap-clap-clap*
  3. Rose City. As a fan, I’m just gonna say: I believe.
  4. London. They were looking pretty locked in at playoffs. Can they keep it up? They also added Kid Block. She is good at skating.
  5. Texas. Yes, they lost to Windy at playoffs, but Texas always brings it at champs.
  6. Windy City. If they can keep up the momentum, who knows?
  7. Victoria. Don’t choke on your musk sticks if there’s a completely international game this year.
  8. Denver. Only this low because everyone else is so awesome. No one’s going to take this team lightly.
  9. Minnesota. It’s supposed to freeze in Nashville this weekend. DOES THIS MEAN WINTER IS COMING?
  10. Angel City. Hard to tell, but flashes of brilliance.
  11. Philly. Shenita Stretcher is back. Does that give them the firepower to match up against Denver?
  12. Rocky Mountain. I have a wide screen, and I can’t read this roster. Am I old? I might be old.

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

  • Disc Jockey Agent Meow. Especially in regard to boombox parties.
  • Baby Sour in a skeleton costume
  • Halloween candy

 

What do you think? Please spill in the comments. Also, tell me what you do when you get nervous.

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!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Baby Sour isn’t a baby anymore, you guys. He’s 14 months old, walking, and firmly into toddler territory. Babies don’t walk over with a book in hand and yell at you to read it while they turn the pages.

Yes, he walks now. Time to take him skating, right? Suuuure!

I usually work in the morning (as a freelance writer, call me), but Mr. Sour had to work this week. Off to Preschool Skate we went.

Bubby feet

Not pictured: roller skate shirt

 

I know. No skates. He wore his Fisher Price skates over his shoes while the bigger kids got their lesson, and he even let me drag him for a couple of feet before he started crying. He even took a couple of steps with his hands held! Not bad for only knowing how to walk for a few weeks.

Then I got to eat a cookie because they serve cookies for the kids and Baby Sour is too young. Sweet.

I started skating when I was 25. Sure, I’d been to the rink once or twice a year as a kid, but I had to re-learn every time I went. No, I was not good at skating. It took me forever to learn when I started derby. You can play derby even if you’ve never skated before – it’ll just take you longer to pick it up.

 

When did you start skating? 14 months? 14 years? 41? Still going strong?

 

 

BioSkin calf sleeves and my good-looking pedicure

BioSkin calf sleeves and my good-looking pedicure

A few weeks ago, I to my first Wreckers (Rose City recreational program) scrimmage. I’ve been to Wreckers practice, and I’ve been to open black and white scrimmages. The difference is that at open scrimmages, there are usually 20 or more skaters on each side. You get to skate probably five or six times in an hour.

At Wreckers scrimmage, there were eight people on each side. You get to skate five or six times in a row if you’re so inclined.

It was taxing.

I think I mentioned two or three times that geez, maybe I should work out.

Two days later, my glutes and quads were still bothering me when I get up and down. With a one-year-old child, I get up and down a LOT.

BioSkin sent me, your faithful blogger, a pair of these calf sleeves to try out. (Full disclosure: they sent them to me for free, and if you buy anything via the link on this page (over there —>) I get a small percentage of it. I like money. Money buys snacks. I ain’t getting rich off of you, and I only want your money if it’s spent happily and you get something awesome in return, my sweet internet friends.)

They’re compression sleeves, but for your legs. Leg sleeves. Did they make my calves less sore? Hard to say. Some people say these sleeves help with muscle soreness and shin splints. I can say this:

  1. I didn’t have my usual spate of cuts, scrapes, and small bruises on my shins.
  2. I was comfortable. It was a nice fall day, and I wasn’t too hot or cold.
  3. My calves did not seem much more sore than they usually do? It’s hard to gauge.
  4. I think…I’ll keep wearing them. I have generally tired and sore muscles and calves just from carrying around a 23-pound child all the time, and any extra support I can get is great.

 

Do you wear any kind of supportive gear? Knee gaskets, shoulder sleeves? What do you love? Let us know. The people’s parts are sore, and we have questions.

DSC_0470

Me in white jamming, possibly after cutting the track. Photo by Audrey Kim.

 

 

Yaaay, the four playoffs are over, and champs are coming! In just three weeks, twelve of the WFTDA’s top teams will compete for the Hydra, and it’s gonna be awesome.

The little bracket conversation I’ve seen over the last few days goes something like this:

  1. All of these matchups look great and fun
  2. Yay for international teams
  3. If anyone can beat Gotham, they’re probably coming out of that BAD/Rose side of the bracket, so yay for those brackets

What if we still had regional tournaments instead of s-curve playoff seedings based on rank?

What would the matchups look like?

Of the 12 Division 1 teams playing at Champs, there are:

6 from the former West region
3 from the former East region
2 from the former North Central region
1 from the former South Central region

These top 12 teams are also the top 12 on both Flat Track Stats and June 2014 WFTDA rankings.

But what would the “Top 12″ going to Championships look like with the old seeding system by region? Using Monday’s Flat Track Stats rankings, I took the top three from each former region.

EAST
Gotham Girls Roller Derby (#1 FTS, WFTDA 1)
London Rollergirls (#5 FTS, WFTDA 3)
Philly Roller Girls (#10 FTS, WFTDA 12)

WEST
B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls (#2 FTS, WFTDA 2)
Rose City Rollers (#3 FTS, WFTDA 4)
Denver Roller Dolls (#4 FTS, WFTDA 9)

SOUTH CENTRAL
Texas Rollergirls 895.2 (#6 FTS, WFTDA 6)
Jacksonville Roller Girls (#13 FTS, WFTDA 14)
Atlanta Rollergirls (#14 FTS, WFTDA 13)

NORTH CENTRAL
Windy City Rollers (#9 FTS, WFTDA 11)
Minnesota RollerGirls (#11 FTS, WFTDA 8)
Detroit Derby Girls (#21 FTS, WFTDA 44)

Victoria (#8 FTS, WFTDA 5), Angel City (#7 FTS, WFTDA 7) and Rocky Mountain (#12 FTS, WFTDA 10) would be left out in the cold, with men on the internet saying,  if you wanted to go to Champs, you should have won your games, stop complaining! (I’m still a little bitter about this. Come on, men of the internet.) Detroit WILL be at Nashville, playing for the Division 2 title.

 

I think we can all pretty much agree that the twelve teams fighting for the Hydra are qualified to be there and make for compelling roller derby games. But most of us would also agree that we’d love to watch our teams play at a tournament closer to home, and it’s a bit sad to see the empty venues for the regional tournaments.

Is this a good tradeoff?

Let us know what you think in the comments, won’t you? (Male opinions mostly welcome.)

no justice for you

Photo of Besterns 2012 by Nocklebeast. Looks a bit different in the stands now.

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

New [information] has come to light, man.

 

The Dude

 

Jacksonville! London! Windy City! Denver! So many teams have played so well through the playoffs. Are you guys happy about the matchups so far? What do you think about the matchups this upcoming weekend? AHHH ROSE CITY help help I’m getting too excited.

  1. Gotham. A score differential of 104 is the lowest since…” blah blah blah C’MON CHAMPS
  2. Bay Area Derby. Pretty dominant at their playoff.
  3. London. DAMN GIRLS. Beating a Windy City team by 95 that just beat Texas? I MEAN DAMN.
  4. Windy City. Look at you, up above Texas. Just by 3 points’ worth of power, though.
  5. Texas. Looked a little more disconnected than we’re used to by this point, but don’t ever ever count them out at champs.
  6. Everyone else.
  7. Rose City. I think they’re good enough to be over the hump here. But they haven’t shown it when it counts. YET. SO SOON.
  8. Denver. Still keeping those gnarly walls together and making other teams cry.
  9. A whole game on WFTDA.tv without an outage. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
  10. Angel City. Real good. Not BAD good right now, but real good.
  11. Derby Central. Thank yooooooooou you’re the best.
  12. Minnesota. I’m so happy they’re headed to the next thing! And in decisive fashion!
  13. Halloween Candy. Please state your preferences below.
  14. Victoria. Is that #3 seed about right? Will they struggle after losing a major rotation jammer to injury? I love that air of mystery that international teams bring to tournament play.
  15. Philly. If only I knew they could stay down here. I’m scared of playoff Tef. As we should all be.
  16. Atlanta. Atlanta is looking pretty solid. A couple of us Rose fans were looking at them and doing a bit of Twitter collar-tugging recently. Given the right situation, the right day…
  17. Rocky Mountain. I don’t know if they’ll make waves at Champs, but they’re going. That
  18. Jacksonville. DAMN, they played one great half of roller derby against London! It was like London thought they would win and Jacksonville knew they COULD win. So cool and collected and awesome.
  19. Charm City. Plays their asses off at playoffs, waves, and says, “We’re still here!” We see you!
  20. Montreal. Plays their asses off at playoffs, winks, and says, “Nous sommes encore ici!” We see you, you’re wearing neon!

 

What do you think? Please tell me all of your opinions.

(GO WHEELS)

(GO CANDY)

Halloween Candy

I’m over bingo, everyone. I tried to make jokes. It wasn’t working.

So! Send me your pictures of you watching derby! It’s like Cats of WFTDA, but much more inclusive. Send me a picture of your pizza in front of the laptop. Or your watch party. Or your live view. Or your selfies with Kanye at the airport, whatever.

(I don’t even know what I’ll do next week, but I’m getting excited/nervous for Rose City to play.)

YES! Send me your pictures of your cute dogs and girlfriends and teammates and dreammates and your fancy big screen setups and snacks.

Tweet them @littleanecdote, or email to frisky.sour at gmail. I will repost some of them.

Send them by 11:59 p.m. Pacific on Sunday the 28th.

The winner will get a copy of Roller Derby for Beginners or a MYSTERY PRIZE. The last MYSTERY PRIZE turned out to be a lobster necklace. This time, it might be stickers or something because geez I’m kinda broke.

Baby Sour

I watch with the sound off a lot.

**

SO! What are you looking forward to this weekend? Best matchups? Potential spoilers?

 

 

Playoffs Bingo: Evansville

Have you ever been to Evansville, Indiana? I have! I remember the venue, which was pretty kickin’. I remember the the skating surface they had laid down kept coming apart. (This was like 7 years ago you know.) And there were clowns. As entertainment. Actual clowns. I hope, for your sake, that they have re-considered this entertainment option.

The only thing that I know about Evansville is that they’re famous for serving brain sandwiches in many of their dining establishments. It used to be cow brain, but these days, pig brain is the thing.

Yep!

Along those lines, I will warn any vegetarians who are attending: avoid Amish buffets. Or any buffets, really. Assume that everything that can be cooked in lard, is.

And with that, I give you this weekend’s DERBY/BINGO cards.

(I attempted a 25-clue board, but it was going to take waaaaaaay too much time, sorry peeps.)

Evansville AT HOME

Playing at home? PROVE IT. Send me tweets.

Evansville LIVE

Playing at the venue? Have lots of fun!

 

 

 

 

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