Giving Thanks: Derby Girl Edition

As the holiday season comes around, we hope you’re surrounded by friends and family, good food and, if you haven’t been too naughty, hopefully a present* or two.  Being a derby skater gives us plenty in life to be thankful for, but it also makes us even more thankful for things we didn’t realize were quite so important to us before we started doing spectacular things on eight wheels.  Here’s our list of things that Atlanta Rollergirls are particularly thankful for these days:


  • Tampons- While many of us may be regularly thankful for their existence, they take on a new light of usefulness the first time you use one for a block-gone- wrong that ends in a bloody nose.

giphy (2)


  • Owning “too many” bandanas- If you’ve been skating for as many years as I have, there’s a period in your life when you needed one for every possible color/outfit you could wear to practice.  Now, owning that many is SUPER handy for when the practice space is so hot and sweaty that you need a fresh one after the first hour.
  • Honey, dates, electrolyte powder, blocks/gummies- After you’ve put everything you have on the track and you realize that there’s still 30 minutes to go, there’s nothing better than finding this in your bout kit for that second half pick me up.
  • Athletic pants that keep me from looking like I peed myself- Black, specifically.  Because as a skater, you will inevitably be hit so hard that you pee a little and you’re obviously not going to leave practice for that.  Besides, it took long enough to find the right middle ground of “not so thick that I’m sweating to death, but not so thin that everyone is aware that my underwear has spots,” so they’re going to be used to the length of their usefulness, dampness and all.
Our practice space doesn't have air conditioning!

Our practice space doesn’t have air conditioning!


  • Skinny jeans going out of style- This is happening, right? Please lord let this happen.  We’re mostly tired of leg prisons in general, but these are just torture.
  • Bananas and peanut butter- At this point, most of us live off electrolytes** and protein.  This is a staple in our pantries and carry-ons.

giphy (3)

  • The opportunity to wear myself out skating fast and hitting people when I’m stressed out or anxious-  Therapy** is expensive.  Endorphins and body checks* are not.  Take that, problems.
Sexy Slaydie taking out her feelings about being the only on-track Gotham blocker on the Bay Area jammer in the 2013 WFTDA Champs.

Sexy Slaydie taking out her feelings about being the only on-track Gotham blocker on the Bay Area jammer in the 2013 WFTDA Champs.


  • Epsom salt, arnica cream, advil- See post above about skating fast and hitting people, and this bullet writes itself.

  • The memory of the smell of my pads that makes me reconsider eating a whole thing of Cool Ranch Doritos-  Imagine that combination of hot practice space, endurance, heavy hitting, protein and Icy Hot.  Yeah, we’re super thankful that you wash your pads (or are well aware if you didn’t).
Waaaaay less appetizing if you know what a well-loved wristguard smells like.

Waaaaay less appetizing if you know what a well-loved wristguard smells like.

  • Socks- There’s nothing worse than going straight to practice after work and forgetting socks.  You start to get surprisingly less creeped out when wearing someone else’s dirty socks after the first few times.  I guess that’s something to be thankful for?
  • Immune system- Sharing water bottles, dropping mouthguards on the floor (and immediately putting them back in your mouth), spending too much time in cars and airports, and Con Crud.  Thinking about it, it feels like we should probably have died of germy-itis a long time ago, so thanks immune system for keeping us rolling!

*Good gear can be pretty expensive, now that I think about it.  Maybe ask for it as a present?
**I am not a doctor or a dietician, nor should I be (obviously), so I hope these are taken with the jest intended.

Please eat good food, wear all of your protective gear and take good care of yourself, guys.  We’re thankful you’re alive and well and look forward to seeing you again next season.  Happy Holidays!

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Starting her “A Game”: From Rec League to Fresh Meat

In February 2014, I attended my first Roller Derby Bout.  I knew right away that I had to play!  One of the Roller Girls was walking around with a sign that said, “Questions, ask me!”  That’s how I was introduced to the ARG Rec League.

Brandy with Rec League, enjoying a Jukes victory!

By March, I was enrolled and had all my equipment.  I started in the ARG Rec League “G” class where I learned the basic skills and fell right into the group with ease.  They were the group of friends that I never knew I needed.  Both my children were in high school, and I needed something to fill the void of simply being the “mom-taxi” for them. Rec League became the silver lining of my week.  

Watching the Roller Girls execute a move in a bout on Saturday and then having the ARG trainers break it down for me in Rec League on Sunday was so invigorating.  As my skills developed, I really wanted to scrimmage and maybe – just maybe – play on an ARG home team.  I worked my way through the Rec League skills assessment and was able to attend my first scrimmage in July 2015.  It was scary and amazing all at the same time.


Fresh Meat!

I watched my Rec League teammates’ skills progress along with mine.  We all had a sense of pride when someone would execute a perfectly placed hit and knock us down.  It sounds odd, but our sweat, laughter and training bonded us like sisters. Several of the Rec League players went thru the 2015 mid-season Fresh Meat process and were drafted onto teams.  That was like watching my sibling go in the 1st round of the NFL draft.  Even though I missed practicing with them in Rec, I was so happy for them.  Eventually, I got the bug and wanted to join them.

With the support of the trainers and all my Rec League teammates, I am now in the current Fresh Meat group working with the Atlanta Roller Girls.  I am taking the skills that I learned in Rec League and stretching them to the next level.  Being able to apply a skill that was learned in a controlled practice into a scrimmage scenario is a challenge.  It’s taking time and effort, but is rewarding in a way that is very hard to explain.

As my derby journey progresses, I have learned a couple of big lessons:

  • Consistent effort over time = success
  • Friendships forged thru a sweaty training and smelly pads are the strongest
  • Encouragement comes in many forms – even a simple smile from the player who scored big or had an amazing apex jump in the last bout

My goal and biggest wish is to be on a home team playing for ARG.  I want to be the Roller Girl handing out Rec League flyers to everyone I see. Derby is the most fun and challenging thing I have ever done (other than raising children – HA!).

Voted #1 Rec league 4 years in a row!

 Sign up for our next Rec League G class, starting Jan 3, 2016, HERE!

Posted in Blog, My Take on Derby, Rec League, Training | Leave a comment

We may have gotten beat, but we are not defeated: WFTDA D1 Playoffs through rookie lenses

Slams McKenzie just completed her first season as a DSDG skater. Here, she tells us what it was like to skate in her first ever WFTDA Division 1 playoff tournament. You can read more of her writing on


The whistle blows and every molecule of strength and energy I have is hurled forward into the middle of London’s defensive formation. I inch my hip around the inside blocker and the front-point is on my chest. The outside blocker rolls around to the front as the blocker on my chest turns her shoulder into my sternum before sliding herself into a deep forward facing plow-stop. I release and attempt to use my own blockers, who are busy holding London’s jammer to a slow crawl, as a shield to speed around London’s defense. Enemy blockers catch me off the line and I exert everything I have forward against their defensive hits. I hear the other jammer whistled off the track for a penalty after a minute. My legs are completely numb. My team tries to play offense for me, but I can’t get my legs to move fast enough to inch through the offensive holes before a London blocker is on me again. I hear my blockers talking to me, giving me direction, cheering me on, but I have nothing left. Eventually my offense, my only hope of getting out of this push-forward-attempt-to-juke-and-fail hell, has to set up to play defense because I’ve been in the pack so friggin’ long the other jammer is finished with her penalty. “What a penalty kill!!” I can hear the announcer shout.


Posted in Blog, My Take on Derby | Leave a comment

State Wars 2015: The Scores (Re)Awaken

Having skated for 7 full seasons now, I’ve seen it repetitive times.  You get the list of questions for your skater bio and they’re mostly the same: “Derby name and number.  When and why you started skating.  What your best or most embarrassing moments in derby are.”

For the longest time, my answer to my Greatest Derby Moment was “making the New Jax City all-stars my first tryout.”  After a few years, it changed to “Coming into the 2013 playoffs as the 8th seed and leaving 6th,” also with New Jax City.  Last year, that all changed.

Team Georgia logo, 2014

2014 held the first ever State Wars tournament, held in Daytona Beach, Florida and put on by iDerby LLC (owned by Jeremy “Streak” Strecker). 20+ states came in from all over the US, putting together the best rosters that they could manage, to play for state superiority bragging rights.  Some states’ rosters were full of well known, top-tier levels skaters, while others were a hodge podge of available all-stars, game hungry B-teamers and hopeful newbies.  Everyone wanted a chance at State Wars glory and for this one unique tournament, we all had that chance.

Last year, I made Team GA, along with a good number of my other Rumble Bs, a couple of Dirty South Derby Girls, and a handful of talent spread across the rest of the state.  We practiced as often as we could around so many teams’ other schedules and space availability and scrimmaged with the Atlanta Rollergirls and the Atlanta Men’s Roller Derby team as much as possible.  We had some pretty fantastic things to show for it.  When we got to Daytona, we were excited and ready to show the rest of the country what Georgia had in store for them.

Rosie jamming during the 2014 State Wars tournament Copyright Bold City Photography 2014

It was a challenging weekend.  We played three games our first day, losing our first game in a close match against Team Massachusetts, 152-131.  We followed up with our first victory, taking Team Maine 251-129 and finished the day with a tough loss to Team New York, 257-80.  I remember that Team New York game very vividly, because I ended up jamming (which I don’t typically do) until I thought I would vomit and blocked almost as much.  Specifically, though, I remember a good steady few seconds where I had my butt against (and was successfully blocking!) Miss Tea Maven, the Gotham all-star.  Despite what felt like a devastating loss, I wear those few moments of glory like a badge of pride and, riding the high of that memory, I cannot wait to see who Team GA gets paired up against this year.

For 2015, we have some AMAZING talent on Team GA, ranging from a hefty number of Dirty South Derby Girl all-stars to some surprising up-and-coming small town talent.  I’m excited beyond words to take the track with these ladies and see what this team can do.  After such an amazing tournament last year, my current “highlights of my derby career” now include not only the 8th-to-6th seed jump in the Richmond playoffs with Jacksonville, but also those fleeting seconds of sitting on one of the best jammers in the world.  Maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll get to add “scored points against my old New Jax City team mates” to my list of favorite moments in my derby life.  “Named must your fear be, before banish it you can,” right?

A sneak peek at the 2015 State Wars team, fresh off a scrimmage win against Team SC.

“State Wars Roller Derby is focused to provide a competitive, geographically structured, national roller derby tournament. It is our mission to give selected participants the pride and honor of representing their current state [. . .]  

We are looking for the best team your state can offer, State Wars wants the best charter your state can build to come and compete versus the other states in the nation.

We hope you will join us and help to make this tournament great.”

State Wars will be held Friday, December 11th, 2015 through Sunday December 13th, 2015.

The Ocean Center

Address: 101 N Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach, FL 32118

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Derby 101: Pack Definition

Are you new to derby or just looking to brush up on your rulebook skills? Wayne Mooney is your man! This week, he’ll explain just what the deal is with that “pack” thing.

There’s an old saying that goes “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” That doesn’t really apply in roller derby. Your opponents generally do a terrible job of helping you form a wall for one thing. It’s like they aren’t even trying to hold their own team’s jammer. Plus, when they do get close, they generally get too close and bump into you, which is annoying because you are trying to play roller derby and they are GETTING IN YOUR WAY. It’s not as memorable, but a more appropriate version for roller derby would be “keep your friends close and at least one enemy within ten feet”.

See, in order for a bunch of blockers to be the pack, all the blockers (and pivots are just blockers in fancy hats) have to be grouped together so that each are within 10′ of at least one other blocker in the group. They can be all clustered together, or they can stretch it out until they reach nearly halfway around the track. It makes no difference. There also has to be at least one blocker from each team in the group because birds of a feather may flock together, but unless… unless there’s some other kind of bird with them, they… uh… They don’t form a pack. A bird-pack. Man, whatever. Birds can’t skate anyway. They got them tiny legs.

See what the ref on the right is doing with his hands? When a new pack gets formed, a ref points to the new pack with their hands, like so. Photo: O-Jen Ishii

See what the ref on the right is doing with his hands?
When a new pack gets formed, a ref points to the new pack with their hands, like so.
Photo: O-Jen Ishii

Is there some part of the rules you’ve always wondered about? Let us know, and Wayne will do his best to unravel the mysteries!

Posted in Blog, The Rules | Leave a comment

Support your Atlanta Rollergirls this Feel Good Tuesday at Yeah Burger


When you do good, you feel good. On Tuesday, you can do good, feel good, and eat good at the same time! That’s because your Atlanta Rollergirls have partnered with Yeah Burger in West Midtown for a Feel Good Tuesday.

What’s a Feel Good Tuesday, you ask? It’s a special spirit night for ARG fans, friends, and family, where Yeah Burger will graciously donate 10% of all sales to our league. (Did you know we’re a 501(c)(3) nonprofit? It’s true!)

We’ll be hanging out, eating burgers, and repping our favorite sport from 6pm to 10pm on October 27. There are vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options available, so everyone’s invited. Bring the whole family! Bonus points if you wear an Atlanta Rollergirls shirt. Infinite bonus points if your whole family wears ARG shirts!

If you’re still not convinced, we humbly suggest that this is your perfect (and maybe only) opportunity to ask your favorite rollergirl the most elaborate rules question you can think of while she has a mouthful of burger.

Here’s the menu, if you want to peruse.

Derby is a tight-knit sport. We really value your support as a community. We hope you come out and see us!

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Championship Bout Recap

This game did not start well for the Sakes—jammer penalties immediately handed the Apocalystix 3 consecutive power jams, which they turned into a 26-0 lead less than 5 minutes into the half. Within minutes, the Stix had given back 2 power jams, but their formidable defense powered by Captain and all-star Queen Loseyateefa prevented the Sakes from making up the distance. When the box cleared, the Stix’s all-Star jammers, Trouble MakeHer and Slams McKenzie, kept the points coming. Although the Sakes kept the score within a 30-point range for the first 15 minutes, Stix defense visibly wore down the Sakes’ 3-jammer rotation.
Photo: Clay Walker

Photo: Clay Walker

Grudge Match: Denim Demons vs. Toxic Shocks

The Demons drew first blood with a 10-0 jam, and established an early but narrow lead. About ten minutes into the first half, a power jam gave the Shocks an opportunity to take the lead with a 13-point margin. But the Demons’ jammers quickly rallied, and their defense, anchored by all-star Wild Cherri with AmsterDAM on the outside line, managed to keep the Shocks’ all-star jammers under control. In spite of great wall work by the Shocks, who played short an all-star blocker and veteran jammer, momentum shifted decidedly in the Demons’ favor after that brief Shocks’ rally. As the half drew to a close, the Demons led by 60 points. In the second half, the Shocks matched the Demons’ points fairly closely in the first few jams, but the Demons held onto that margin, extending their lead at one point to 189-108. The Shocks put up a serious fight, however, putting up 40 unanswered points late in the second half. But it was not enough to pull within range. Demons took home 3rd place, 202-153.

Photo: Clay Walker

Photo: Clay Walker

MVP blockers were AmsterDAM for the Denim Demons and Deathskull for the Toxic Shocks; MVP jammers were Nutella Ferraro for the Denim Demons and Afro Dykee for the Toxic Shocks.

Photo: Clay Walker

Photo: Clay Walker

Championship Bout: Apocalypstix vs. Sake Tuyas
This game did not start well for the Sakes—jammer penalties immediately handed the Apocalystix 3 consecutive power jams, which they turned into a 26-0 lead less than 5 minutes into the half. Within minutes, the Stix had given back 2 power jams, but their formidable defense powered by Captain and all-star Queen Loseyateefa prevented the Sakes from making up the distance. When the box cleared, the Stix’s all-Star jammers, Trouble MakeHer and Slams McKenzie, kept the points coming. Although the Sakes kept the score within a 30-point range for the first 15 minutes, Stix defense visibly wore down the Sakes’ 3-jammer rotation. By halftime, the Stix had pulled out to a 124-41 lead. Sakes’ jammer The Boss grabbed lead in the first jam of the second half, but the Stix continued to dominate lead calls and point scoring, extending their margin to 80 points midway through the second half, and ending it with a decisive win at 243-137.

Photo: O-Jen Ishii

Photo: O-Jen Ishii

MVP blockers were Emma Wantsome for the Apocalypstix and Brick Walls for the Sake Tuyas; MVP jammers were Slams McKenzie for the Apocalypstix and The Boss for the Sake Tuyas.

Photo: O-Jen Ishii

Photo: O-Jen Ishii

Posted in Blog, Bout Recap | Leave a comment

Evil Olive tells us why she’s excited about Full Metal Bracket and why you should be, too

One of my favorite things about playing roller derby is pushing myself to improve. I can’t make myself a natural athlete or a derby prodigy, but nothing can stop me from working hard, doing my best, and pushing my limits. I love the feeling of achieving a goal I set for myself–whether it’s a big goal or a small one. There are few things as personally gratifying as coming home from a practice sweaty, smelly, exhausted, and knowing that I got better at something–even if it’s something relatively small. Stopping faster, pushing harder, moving faster, evading a particularly fearsome blocker.

This spring, I achieved one of my bigger goals, one of the biggest I’ve had in my six seasons of derby: to be drafted to Atlanta’s B team, The Rumble Bs. This season’s Bs has one of the strongest rosters I’ve seen since I started skating, and I was honored and elated to make the cut. What’s even more exciting is that getting drafted to the Bs allows me an opportunity to fulfill another huge ambition on my derby bucket list: to represent my league in a tournament. This weekend, the Rumble Bs are headed to Austin Texas to represent Atlanta in Full Metal Bracket, an event hosted by the Texas Rollergirls in which the top 10 B teams in North America will compete in a weekend-long, single-elimination tournament.

I have never been more excited about an opportunity to play. Now, less than one week out, it’s essentially all I can think about. If I miss the deadline for this blog post, it’s probably because I was thinking about the tournament.

Rumble Bs gonna get ya. Photo: O-Jen Ishii

Rumble Bs gonna get ya.
Photo: O-Jen Ishii

The Bs are coming in as the 7th seed, and we’ve got a packed (and exciting) road ahead of us if we want to come home with a medal (and we do!).

The Bs kick off our tournament weekend at noon on Friday, facing off against Rat City’s Rain of Terror from Seattle Washington. While Rain is coming in as the number 10 seed, that rank belies the team’s strength: after the seeding for this tournament was finalized late this summer, Rain of Terror went on to beat three other B teams ranked above them: the Philadelphia Independence Dolls (entering as #9), Denver’s Bruising Altitude (#6) and Bay Area’s Team Gold (#2). It seems that Rain of Terror may be the under-ranked sleeper of the weekend, and will definitely be a challenging first game.

If the Bs beat the Rain of Terror, we will go on to play Bay Area’s Team Gold later that same day in the Bs first doubleheader experience. Team Gold is one of the newest B teams at the tournament, in its first year of existence. While Gold has lost to both Rose City’s Axles of Annihilation (#4) and Rat’s Rain of Terror (#10), they’ve beat Sacred City’s WFTDA chartered team twice in close games. While it would technically require a seeding upset, the Bs hope to leverage their veteran core and experience practicing as a unit to best Team Gold.

A win against Gold would very likely mean a match against the 3rd ranked Texas Firing Squad, our South Central neighbors with an impressive 797.6 ranking on Flat Track Stats[1], which is on par with several WFTDA Division 1 chartered teams. In layman’s terms: they’re really, really good. Firing Squad has played an aggressive season, competing in two major tournaments, and securing wins against the Axles of Annihilation (#4) and the Independence Dolls (#9) as well as Angel City Derby Girls’s Shore Shots and Rocky Mountain’s Contenders.

With a win against Firing squad, the Bs will play for the Gold, likely against Gotham’s Wall Street Traitors. A loss to the Firing squad would still put us in medal contention, playing in the 3/4 game, most likely against Rose’s Axles of Annihilation.

Frankly, as soon as I hit the track Friday, I will be proud of how far I’ve come. I’ve learned so much in my time practicing with the Bs, and I feel like I’ve really improved. …However, in the spirit of achieving another big goal, I’d really like to come home with a medal!

Buzz Buzz!

 (1. Footnote for stats nerds: Flat Track Stats is a well-known website that aggregates bout statistics from WFTDA interleague games, and uses a computerized algorithm to rank and evaluate teams. This is especially useful to compare two teams who may never have played against one another, or even against a common opponent.)

Posted in Blog | 2 Comments

This Saturday: the Championships are upon us!


Bout 1: Toxic Shocks vs. Denim Demons @ 5pm

The name “Grudge Match” has never more truly fit than it does with Saturday’s first matchup. Last season, we saw these two teams meet in the Championship game where the Demons won on a 20+ point game-changing final jam. The Shocks then defeated the Demons the next time they met in this season’s opener, by a more-than-marginal point spread of 100+ points. But it seems the Demons are here to make some noise. They are the only team to beat the dominating force of Sake Tuyas so far this year, and although they lost by a mere point spread of 27 points the last time they played the Sakes, they seem to have picked up their game and brought back the hard hits and long scoring passes we’ve all come to love from seasons past.

But the Shocks have put up their share of points as well this season. The game they played against the Stix in August was starting to heat up in their favor during the second half, with multiple 20+ point scoring runs. Not to mention the Shocks’ defensive blocking style of strong, aggressive walls that will never let a jammer slip by untouched. Both of these teams are looking to prove themselves this weekend. Who will you stand with? The shocking ladies in green, or the denim cladded demons in blue?


Photo: O-Jen Ishii

16619159895_664efea6ae_z (1)

Photo: O-Jen Ishii

Bout 2: Sake Tuyas vs. Apocalypstix @ 7:30pm

The (quite literal) golden girls of the season are going head to head with the all-time league underdog in the final bout of the season. Although the Sake Tuyas and Apocalypstix have only lost one game each this season, it was the Sakes who beat the Apocalypstix in the season opener, and it is the Apocalypstix who have never – in the history of the Atlanta Rollergirls – ever won a championship game.

Both teams have hit this season with a high level of intensity. Since the re-draft during pre-season, these two teams have been playing to do nothing but win. Both teams have offered extremely physical and aggressive jamming to match both of their strong, tight defensive playing styles. This will be a game for the history books. Will the underdogs finally get their day? Or does the golden skate belong with the ladies who love it so much, they’ve made gold a primary color?

Photo: O-Jen Ishii

Photo: O-Jen Ishii

Photo: O-Jen Ishii

Photo: O-Jen Ishii

Don’t have tickets? Don’t worry, you still have a chance to catch the action! Tickets are available online or in person at Powerhouse Skates. Family packs and VIP upgrades are available, too!

Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

I Owe Roller Derby

My roller derby career will come to an end next month. As my final game nears, I find myself reflecting on roller derby and the impact it has had on my life. I owe roller derby for many great things in my life; I could even say that I owe roller derby for my life. Okay, not technically, but I could argue that I owe roller derby for the resurgence of my life.

When people find out that I play roller derby, all of the responses are all the same: “that is so badass,” “that’s cool,” “that is a tough sport,”  “you must be strong”… and these responses all shed light on the fact that most people know nothing more than this: roller derby is fast, tough, and “cool.”

They do not know that roller derby is a life changing experience that can quite literally turn your world upside down – in the best way possible.

There is a very popular quote by retired skater Bonnie D. Stroir that states, “Most find roller derby in transitional periods. We ruin our bodies to save our souls and for some reason that makes perfect sense.”

Roller derby resurrected my life. I know I’m not alone here.

Photo: Clay Walker

Photo: Clay Walker


Posted in Blog, My Take on Derby | Leave a comment