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Derby 101: Destroying the Pack

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 what happens if one team tries to run away during a jam. 

You may have noticed that at any point in a game of roller derby, there are large parts of the track that aren’t being used. “Why,” you almost certainly haven’t asked yourself, “don’t the skaters spread out more? Then they’d have more space and wouldn’t keep accidentally running into each other all the time. Someone could get hurt!” I suppose I might answer by suggesting you watch a sport involving fewer collisions. Perhaps ice dancing. Or competitive kitten snuggling. (Go Raptors!) On the other hand, you may have read the question above and asked yourself “Yeah… Why don’t they spread out more? The jammer would have to go farther to get all her points.” That’s a much better question, and it deserves a real answer.

If the Demons stopped suddenly, or if the Sakes sprinted away, somebody would be going to the box. Photography: Chris Albright

If the Demons stopped suddenly, or if the Sakes sprinted away, somebody would be going to the box.
Photography: Chris Albright

The rules require that the blockers maintain a pack, and just like anything else in the rules, there are penalties for failing to obey. More often than not, this rule is broken when one team treats the other like they’re the gross kid on the playground who ate boogers and smelled like old ketchup. They either take off running and leave the other team behind, or they’ll stop suddenly and let the other team run on ahead without them. When this happens, the skater most responsible (ie, the kid who yells how gross the booger kid is and makes up a rhyming nickname) is given a penalty for destroying the pack, and everyone else has to drop what they’re doing and make a new pack. After all, the other team may smell, but they have feelings too, and the rules of derby demand that you play nice. Well, nice-ish. The rules do allow hip-checking, which I always got in trouble for as a kid.

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Let’s see some tattoos!

On the list of all-time classic pairings, rollergirls and tattoos has to be pretty close to the top. Derby fans may get glimpses of tattoos as their favorite rollergirls speed around the track, but they don’t always get to hear the stories behind them. We asked some of your Atlanta Rollergirls to show us their tattoos and tell us a little about what they mean to them.

Lez Dispenser (DSDG, Toxic Shocks):

This is my derby tattoo. It’s a bird (in Denim Demons colors) with a turbonegro hat and it has Hank eyes. I used to roll out with a fake bird on my shoulder at every Denim Demons bout. It stemmed from the “put-a-bird-on-it” joke. 4 years of rolling out with my bird before the skakeup. Now I’ll always have the bird with me and a reminder of my Demon days.

Nutella Ferrero (Rumble Bs, Denim Demons):

This is Ganesha, a Hindu deity. Remover of obstacles and provider of wisdom. It is also a cover up from a previous tattoo. I got my Ganesha on Mother’s Day 2003 in honor and memory of my mom who worked extremely hard to help me go to school and live some of the dreams she wasn’t able to do herself. She was a constant source of wisdom and a remover of obstacles.

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Hale Damage (Jukes of Hazzard, Denim Demons):

It just so happens my first ever tattoo is in fact a derby tattoo. It’s on my left forearm, strategically placed so it can be seen in between my wrist guard and elbow pad. It’s the original Atlanta Derby Brats logo, since I started my derby career with them at their birth in 2010 and continued there for 5 years it felt right to get the logo to remind me where I came from after I turned 18 and aged out.

 

Rosie Derivator (Rumble Bs, Denim Demons):

#1: When most people think of a turning point in their lives, they think of rebirth and subsequently phoenixes. I thought “this is the point where I came back to life, so obviously I need a zombie, right?” Derby was the thing that brought me back to life during/after a horrible career and marriage. So I wanted my zombie pinup on my arm to remind me of that.

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#2: When you spend most of your life being a nerd/bookworm, it never really occurs to you that eventually you will play a sport with a playoff-level team. Competing nationally with Jacksonville are some of my favorite memories of derby. We referred to our team spirit as “Sparkles Momentum” and she will always be a reminder of coming much further than I ever thought possible.

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#3: This should have been my first derby tattoo, but timing made it my third. My derby wife (Robin Gunshows of the Marble Falls NightMares) and I met in Virginia in 2009, where we both began our derby journey. Life moved her to Texas and me to Florida. She came through Atlanta last year, heading back to VA for a class reunion, and we were finally able to get our derby wife tattoos. Six years (and many miles) into this crazy journey, and she’s still the best and most wonderful wifey a derby girl could ask for :)

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Ida Backoff (Jukes of Hazzard, Denim Demons):

My arm is inspired by my grandmother Ida. It is a reflection of one of her most favorite activities, gardening. She lived in a home in Morris Park area of the Bronx, as urban as urban can be. But the backyard was an oasis. My fondest child hood memories are of playing in her flower garden. The flowers in my tattoo represent her most favorite (and now mine which I keep in my own garden), peony, gerba daisy and zinia. Although not a garden flower I also added her most favorite African violet. As with my derby name I get to carry my grandmother with me everywhere. I am reminded of the lessons she taught me and all of our memories. She is with me always.

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Rage Appropriate (skating official):

I have this derby related tattoo that my crew got at the World Cup last year the night before we officiated the championship bout between Team USA and England!

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Nora Gretz (Rumble Bs, Toxic Shocks):

I knew I wanted a pinup derby girl when I joined roller derby and after six seasons I thought it was time. She wears our ARG uniform and in a art nouveau style has all of the ARG teams surrounding her. From left to right… Demons, Stix, Sakes, Shocks, Bs, DSDG… And a red feather for the Atlanta Men’s Roller Derby team who I help coach.

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Do you have any derby tattoos of your own? We’d love to see them in the comments!

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July Bout Recaps

Bout 1: Denim Demons vs. Sake Tuyas

The Sake Tuyas struck first with a 8-0 jam lead, compliments of Sake jammer the Boss. The Denim Demons fought back, and took the lead for a while, until the Sake defense held the Demons’ jammer long enough to take back a one-point lead. But the Demons began to pick up momentum and were able to capitalize on several Sake penalties. New Demons’ skaters, Hale Damage and Human Missile Crisis, made a fantastic first showing as jammers, and the Demons held control the rest of the first half. To the undefeated Sake Tuyas dismay, the first half ended 127-39 Demons lead.

The Sakes had a major comeback in the second half. The Demons’ jammers began to accrue penalties, and their blockers followed suit. The Sakes capitalized on the situation, and recent Sake transfer, Saikou, with the help of her offense, had several high scoring jams. The point spread was closed to a cozy 40 points, but it wasn’t enough to pull a lead change. The Demons took home their first win of the season against the Sakes 196-153.

Crisis gets a push from Cherri towards Siouxsie. Photo: O-Jen Ishii Photography

Crisis gets a push from Cherri towards Siouxsie.
Photo: O-Jen Ishii Photography

Bout 2: Red All-Stars vs. Blue All-Stars

The first ever Red vs. Blue bout, featuring dream teams made up of the Atlanta Rollergirls’ best skaters and captained by ARG all-stars Queen Loseyateefa and Wild Cherri, lived up its billing as one of the most exciting and competitive of the season. Filled with lead changes and major rallies on both sides that made every jam into a potential game-changer, the bout also featured a match-up between two distinctive derby strategies. Blue team relied heavily on the Atlanta Rumble B’s more mobile zone-style defense while Red team stuck with the Atlanta all-stars’ tighter, flatter defensive walls. The success of both strategies held points-per-jam to a minimum on both sides for the majority of the bout, and which team won lead jam and points was often determined by short packs or power jams. By the middle of the first half, however, Blue team had eked out a narrow lead that held steady around 20-25 points for the rest of the half.

Red team came back from halftime on fire, picking up 2 lead jams and taking advantage of short blue packs and a power jam, for a 28-0 scoring run. Another power jam for Red gave them the largest lead of the bout at 161-108. After a time out and regrouping, however, Blue rallied and began to make up some of the distance, outscoring Red 36-12 as the clock wound down to the final minutes. Then Red jammer High Jinxxx took a brutal hit and a bad fall that left her immobilized on the track. When it became clear that she needed medical attention and could not be moved, captains, coaches and referees agreed to call the game as only a couple of minutes remained on the clock. The final score was 178 Red – 152 Blue.

The big win for everyone was finding out later that night that Jinxxx was okay – look for her on the track at Atlanta Rollergirls’ home team bouts next month!

Baller vs. Trouble Photo: O-Jen Ishii Photography

Baller vs. Trouble
Photo: O-Jen Ishii Photography

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Red vs. Blue: whose side are you on?

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Have you ever wondered what would happen if you pitted Creative Loafing’s 2013 Best Local Athlete, Wild Cherri, and Creative Loafing’s 2014 Best Local Athlete, Queen Loseyateefa against each other? So did we. And so, on July 11 at 7:30pm, we give you the ARG All-Star Red vs. Blue Bout. Your favorite Dirty South Derby Girls and Rumble Bs are mashed-up to battle it out in this all-star smackdown. So who do you stand with? If you’re still on the fence, we’ve got words from Queen and Cherri to help you make up your mind.

TEAM RED

Team Red, led by Queen Loseyateefa, features players like Madditude Adjustment, Desi Scarnaz, Rosie Derivator, and Trouble Makeher.  That’s a ton of power and finesse in a single package! We asked Queen about her feelings about taking on Team Blue this Saturday.

Are there any superstar players or special moves you’ll be counting on for victory?
Queen: Being a Voltron team means that everyone is an equal contributor. At any given moment on the track any of the 5 chosen to skate in the jam could amaze you with what they might do. I’m excited to see what Team Red will showcase on Saturday.

What’s it like for you to play against your DSDG and home team teammates? What’s at stake? Are there bragging rights involved?
Queen: I for one have mixed feelings about not having all my usual team mates. On the one hand, I’m honored to be included in the first ever Red vs Blue public bout because I think its going to be a true clash of derby titans. On the other hand I’m excited to play with some people that I’ve never been on a team with to see if we can make track magic together. As far as I’m concerned regardless of the outcome, this is a win for ARG and our fans because this bout will be epic.

Team Red Roster:
Choke Cherry
AmsterDAM
Desi Scarnaz
Genie in a Battle
High Jinxxx
Lez Dispenser
LuxFurious
Madditude Adjustment
Nattie Long Legs
Evil Olive
Queen Loseyateefa
Rosie Derivator
Rudi Huxtabrawl
Sissy Splaysek
Slams McKenzie
Trouble Makeher

TEAM BLUE

Team Blue, led by Wild Cherri, features players like Baller Shot Caller (who skates for Team USA alongside her captain), Rebel Yellow, Totalitiffian and Hate Ashbury. This is the only place in the Southeast where you’ll see two Team USA skaters skate together, and you won’t want to miss it! Cherri shared her thoughts about what to expect this weekend.

What special attributes does your team (team RED) have that will give you an advantage over Queen’s team (team BLUE)?
Cherri: This game is going to be amazing and not one you want to miss. My team is loaded with strong, strategic players who have been working hard for the final games of the IL season. You’re going to see some hard hits and great laughs.

What’s it like for you to play against your DSDG and home team teammates?
Cherri: For the last couple years Queen and I have shared a home team as well as our DSDG all-star team. I’m ready to go toestop to toestop with her on the track.

Team Blue Roster
Baller Shot Caller
The Boss
Alicia Brains
Brick
Wild Cherri
ICU Dead
Erykah Ba-Doozie
Afro Dykee
Hate Ashbury
Helga G. Pa-SMACK-i
Jean-Juke Picard
Axtual Malice
Maul E. Cule
Rebel Yellow
The Ruffian
Switchblade Siouxsie
Totalitiffian


Regardless of whose side you choose, one thing’s certain: this Saturday’s bout is sure to be some of the best, most competitive roller derby you can find in the Southeast. 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.

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Jukes and Jams Tournament 2015!

This past weekend, your Atlanta Jukes of Hazzard hosted derby teams from around the Southeast at a top secret location for our first ever Division 3 invitational tournament, Jukes and Jams. The five invited teams– the Muscogee Roller Girls, the Marietta Derby Darlins, the Spartanburg Deadly Dolls, the Tragic City Rollers, and the Jukes– played as many bouts as we could cram into a two-day period. Congratulations to the Jukes, who won all their bouts, and thanks to all the teams that made it out!

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Photography: Blaine Cone / The Derby Retina

Here are the final scores from Jukes and Jams 2015:

Day 1:

Muscogee Roller Girls 161 vs Marietta Derby Darlins 201
Tragic City Rollers 105 vs Muscogee Roller Girls 185
Atlanta Rollergirls Jukes of Hazzard 153 vs Marietta Derby Darlins 147

Day 2:

Atlanta Rollergirls Jukes of Hazzard 198 vs Tragic City Rollers 103
Spartanburg Deadly Dolls 98 vs Muscogee Roller Girls 418
Marietta Derby Darlins 235 vs the Tragic City Rollers 159

Photography: Blaine Cone / The Derby Retina

Photography: Blaine Cone / The Derby Retina

Double extra bonus points for the Tragic City Rollers, who were low on numbers throughout the weekend but still managed to play with more heart and fight than anybody else. We had a blast hosting this year’s Jukes and Jams, and we hope to see y’all at the next one!

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Meet the newest members of the ARG family!

At Tuesday night’s Debutante Brawl, we welcomed the midseason transfers and rookies of the Atlanta Rollergirls, we announced the newest members of our most competitive travel teams, the Rumble B’s and the Dirty South Derby Girls, and then we danced and drank and had a blast. Even if you missed out on the fun, you can still welcome the newest additions to your favorite teams! Our suggestion is to read these names out loud in a booming voice and then start dancing in your chair for a DIY mini-Deb Brawl.

Apocalypstix

Bam Grier 54
Remy Nah 936
Snarls Darwin 66

Denim Demons

Hale Damage 46
Human Missile Crisis 1962

Toxic Shocks

Minnie VanDryver 74
ProtoKILL Droid 30

Sake Tuyas

Saikou 564

Rumble Bs

Evil Olive 808
Luxfurious 718
High Jinxxx 312

DSDG

Maul E. Cule 602

…and if you’re at work and you’re too shy to dance in your chair, just mentally superimpose you and your friends’ heads onto Bey and her backup dancers.

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“Everything came full circle” for one of our newest rollergirls

Did you know we just got a whole new crop of rollergirls? Earlier this month, brand-new rookie Minnie VanDryver skated in her very first bout. Here, she tells us about her journey from fan to skater. 

Four years ago, I was bored of doing the same old thing on the weekends. I googled “fun things to do in Atlanta” and Atlanta Rollergirls roller derby came up. I bought tickets for a group of friends and we had a blast. Then I decided to check it out again. Loved it even more! The next time I went to the website, I noticed information about the Recreational League. I was so excited that I could actually learn how to play! I joined for the next session and couldn’t wait to put on my skates.

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Her first bout as a fan…

I was star stuck when I found out the actual rollergirls were our coaches. All of the coaches were patient, informative and made sure they taught us how to be safe. I met a TON of awesome people in Rec League. I was excited to meet people from all walks of life. I was becoming more fit and less stressed out from everyday life. After about a year; I heard about fresh meat try-outs and knew I wanted to go for it. A group of us from Rec League tried out and made it in together.

Fresh meat was challenging, intense and AWESOME. Our fresh meat class bonded even more, pushing each other to do better. We worked hard to be able to get to the level where we could scrimmage with the teams. It was so exciting to get to play in a real life derby jam. Initially the rollergirls knew to take it a little easier with us. They gave us tips and advice on how improve our skills. I earned a few bruises but my adrenaline was pumping so hard I didn’t feel anything. Through a series of assessments (some I did not pass the first time), I became draft eligible, which was a huge goal of mine.

...and her first bout as a rollergirl! Photo: O-Jen Ishii Photography

…and her first bout as a rollergirl!
Photo: O-Jen Ishii Photography

Even though I didn’t have to wait long to hear I was drafted, the wait seemed to take forever… The day we found out what teams we were drafted to was amazing. I was drafted to the Toxic Shocks which was the very first team I ever saw play. Everything came full circle: from fan to rollergirl! I am so happy to be part of a wonderful organization full of truly talented people. I hope that anyone who has ever thought “I wish I could do that”, would! There are so many levels of training for whatever you are trying to get out of it. Some ladies show up not ever having put on skates and within no time they are blocking, stopping on a dime and getting healthier! The time to join is NOW!

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June Bout Recaps

Bout 1: Atlanta Jukes of Hazzard vs. Muscogee Roller Girls

This rematch on the Jukes of Hazzard’s home turf was everything Atlanta roller derby fans could have wished for – a competitive bout that ended in a solid victory for Atlanta. The Jukes jammers won nearly all the early lead calls, but solid Muscogee defense kept the scores per jam low and the bout remained extremely close for most of the first half. Ten jams into the game the score was just 16-12. Then a series of Atlanta jammer penalties about midway through the first half turned the tables in Muscogee’s favor. Fortunately for Atlanta fans, Jukes defense—marked by effective recycling and solid, slow walls—kept Muscogee from converting back-to-back power jams into big scores. Muscogee took the lead, but only by a slim margin. Then near the end of the half an Atlanta Rookie, Marzipain, scored a whopping 25 points in a single jam, giving the Jukes the first substantial lead of the game. By the end of the half, the Jukes led 93-55. The second half began much like the first, with Atlanta dominating the lead jam calls and both teams trading low-scoring jams. Although the back and forth made for an exciting game, it nevertheless allowed Atlanta to maintain a comfortable advantage. About 20 minutes into the second half, the Jukes put up a quick unanswered 30 points, cementing their victory.  The final score was Atlanta 195, Muscogee 128.

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Tagher Lily sneaks by on the inside line. Photo: O-Jen Ishii Photography

MVP blockers were Emma Wantsome for the Jukes of Hazzard and Dodgeher for Muscogee; MVP jammers were Marzipain for the Jukes and Jett Fuel for Muscogee.


 

Bout 2: Apocalypstix vs. Toxic Shocks

In this much-anticipated first match up between the Toxic Shocks and the Apocalypstix, the Stix jumped into an early and decisive lead. Although the Shocks gained their share of lead jam calls with all-star jammer Afro Dykee, strong Stix defense, anchored by all-stars Queen Loseyateefa and Madditude Adjustment, held Shocks scoring to a minimum. The Stix outscored the Shocks nearly 3-1 in the first nine jams. A nine-point point jam by pinch-hitter Lez Dispenser introduced a brief rally by the Shocks, but then a series of Shocks jammer and blocker penalties soon passed the advantage decidedly back to the Stix. Capitalizing on a series of power jams, the Stix finished the half 125-57. The Shocks came back strong in the second period, with their all-stars Baller Shotcaller, Rebel Yellow and Ozzie Kamikaze putting up a powerful defense and holding the Stix back to mainly single-scoring passes, while Shocks jammers matched the Stix point-for-point. The Stix soon gave back their own share of consecutive power jams and blocker penalties, but the Shocks were unable to convert the opportunity into the big scoring runs they needed. Both teams scored exactly 81 points in the second half, but it was not enough to address the early advantage gained by the Stix. The final score was Stix 206, Shocks 138.

Face off! Photo: O-Jen Ishii Photography

Face off!
Photo: O-Jen Ishii Photography

MVP blockers were Protokill Droid for the Toxic Shocks and The Ruffian for the Apocalypstix; MVP jammers were Afro Dykee for the Shocks and Trouble MakeHer for the Stix.

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Don’t miss out on Saturday’s ferocious rematch and home team showdown!

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Bout 1: Atlanta Rollergirls Jukes of Hazzard vs. Muscogee Rollergirls @ 5pm

Atlanta fans, rev your engines, because the Jukes of Hazzard are here to bring the noise. On Saturday they are facing Muscogee County’s premier roller derby team, the Muscogee Rollergirls, from Columbus, GA.

Although this is the Jukes of Hazzard’s first home game this season, the Jukes have actually already seen the Muscogee Rollergirls this year in April when they travelled to Columbus to face MRG on their home track. The Jukes lost by a near six points, and have been training since. Needless to say, the loss did not dampen their spirits, but instead lit a fire, and now they are ready to take MRG on as an opponent on Atlanta’s home turf.

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Bout 2: Apocalypstix vs Toxic Shocks @ 7:30pm

What a match! The Apocalypstix and Toxic Shocks will be facing off for the first time this season with one win and one loss each under their belts. Neither wants to be defeated for a second time, and both will stop at nothing to achieve the win that will put them that much closer to the Atlanta Rollergirls‘ Championships.

Last season, we saw the Shocks go undefeated until an upsetting 20 point winning last jam by the Denim Demons in the ARG Champs, while the Stix lost all but a single game. Since the re-draft, it looks like these teams are on a more even playing field, and the Apocalypstix may even have advantage considering they have achieved a better point spread than the Shocks against both of the other Atlanta home teams this season. But, especially seeing as how both of these teams have seen roster loss due to player injury, today could be anyone’s game.

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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!

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It takes a derby league: derby and pregnancy

My journey in roller derby is similar to many others. Through the seven years that I played, I challenged myself in ways that I never would have imagined. Physically, I pushed myself through grueling practices, back-to-back games, and recovery from major injuries. Emotionally, I grew tremendously; I learned how to take success and defeat gracefully. Professionally, I began to understand how to be a leader of fierce, independent women. Roller derby changed my life. It gave me the confidence to know that I could achieve anything I wanted.

I took this confidence into the next stage of my life: motherhood. In the fall and winter of 2013, I embarked on the adventure of becoming a mother. The majority of 2014 I spent pregnant; coaching and NSO’ing, not having any idea what I had gotten myself into.

Eight months in! Photo: Shannihilator

Eight months in!
Photo: Shannihilator

Although I was confident in my ability to succeed l on my own, it became readily apparent to the mothers in the league that I needed help when I posted my minimalist baby shower registry: a car seat, a pack-n-play and some diapers. After all, I could just get what I needed once the baby arrived, right? A Boppy Pillow? Sounds frivolous; I don’t need one. The self-proclaimed “ARG Mom Army” stepped in to advise. They set me straight: You need a Boppy Pillow. Really.

Baby shower onesies. Derby girls are great with puns! Photo: Shannihilator

Baby shower onesies. Derby girls are great with puns!
Photo: Shannihilator

The support wasn’t limited to other mothers; there are plenty of others who offered their advice, their time, and their professions. (Did you know that ARG has a therapist, a nurse, and a lactation consultant?) I remember sitting at my kitchen table after the last guest left from the baby shower. I was overwhelmed with love. All these people had come together to celebrate me and the life I was bring into this world. Everything was going to be ok.

For someone as headstrong as myself, it was both humbling and a relief to have people around to back me up. My league-mates knew me well enough to know that I wouldn’t ask for help, and I wouldn’t want help, but I would gratefully accept it. Plus, just try keeping a cute baby away from Queen Loseyateefa!

Queen, Fro, and Oliver. Photo: Violent Beauregarde

Fro, baby Oliver, and Queen.
Photo: Violent Beauregarde

I’m forever thankful that my journey in roller derby is supplementing my journey into motherhood. It takes a village. Or a derby league.

The ladies can't resist this cutie. That's why everyone calls him Oliver Clothesoff. Photo: Shannihilator

The ladies can’t resist this cutie. That’s why his derby name is Oliver Clothesoff.
Photo: Shannihilator

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