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Be-Twitched!: ARG’s Favorite Videographer Speaks

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Photo: Basil Gravanis

Kevin Borke, aka Twitch, has been documenting our every bout on video for the last four years. During that time, he’s become an Emmy-winner and such an integral part of our league that he’s not allowed to leave. No really, we won’t let him…

OK, first things first. Can you confirm or deny the rumors of your retirement? It seems that I’m not allowed to quit…last time I even suggested it a skater yelled at me, told me I’m never allowed to leave. But I have a plan…I’m going to have to fake my own death and then move to the mountains of Montana and live off the land for the rest of my life where no derby girl can find me. Seriously though, having just ended my fourth season…I think five sounds like a nice round number to go out on. But that could of course change, and I could be threatened with enough bodily injury to keep me for a sixth season. (more…)

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DSDG at WFTDA D1 Playoffs, Charleston, WV

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Photo: David Carter, davidacarterphotography.com

Atlanta’s All-Stars, the Dirty South Derby Girls, performed the amazing feat of making it to the WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs this year in Charleston, WV. We had fierce competition from three stalwart teams, Indianapolis’ Naptown Rollergirls, the Rose City Rollers of Portland, and Philly’s Liberty Belles. If you missed watching the bouts live, check out these recaps to see how it all turned out!

DSDG vs Naptown
http://www.derbycentral.net/2014/10/atlanta-4-confounds-naptown-5-224-81/

DSDG vs Rose City
http://www.derbycentral.net/2014/10/d1c-rose-city-1-topples-atlanta-4-211-94/

DSDG vs Philly
http://www.derbycentral.net/2014/10/d1c-philly-3-cracks-atlanta-4-183-116/

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Derby 101: Eating the Baby

1338791488_161e73e741_oUnless this is your first time perusing Derby 101 with Wayne Mooney, you’ll know that in the course of explaining the details of roller derby I have a tendency to say things that are less than 100% truthful—things that some might even describe as blatant falsehoods. For instance, I once claimed that derby is played in quad roller skates because “inline skates attract giant bees” when, as any first-year student of American history could tell you, that the real reason is that inline skates were banned by the Treaty of Wichita that ended the second American Civil War in 1603. I bring this up because I want to be clear that when I say that today I will be talking about rollergirls eating babies, I am talking about a really truly true, real thing that really truly happens in roller derby. Metaphorically.

3234684182_5ff37ac65f_zThere are some variations in the details of how “eating the baby” plays out, but the basic idea is that one jammer delays the other jammer (the “baby”) long enough for the blockers to catch up to her and draw her back into the pack (the “eating”). Once the other jammer is stuck back in the pack, the first jammer takes off again, gaining at least a head start over her opponent and possibly even managing to lap her for an extra point. Pulling this off requires the jammer and her blockers to co-ordinate their actions, making it a tricky maneuver. It’s also a very risky one. One of the best ways for blockers to counter the other team’s attempt to eat the baby is to try to eat the other baby first. Picture a hungry, hungry hippo. Its neck stretches to an unnatural length. Its mouth, hinged open, advances with the speed of a striking cobra, then slams shut, sealing its prey inside. So hungry, hungry that it will not delay even long enough to chew, the hippo swallows its food whole. This nightmarish plastic god of consumption is the pack. The goal for the jammer, then, is to nudge the other within range of the hippo’s gleaming, unused teeth without being eaten herself. To the hippo, however, they both look like small white plastic marbles. To the hippo, all of us look like small white plastic marbles. Beware.

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10 Questions with Jammunition

With her crazy jukes and amazingly fast feet, it’d be easy to think that Jammunition spends all of her time and talent on the track. But it turns out that, among many other things, she’s just as talented at designing awesome t-shirts that help propel DSDG to victory in the playoffs. Read on to learn more about this multi-faceted lady and how to get your hands on one of those shirts!

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Photo: O-Jen Ishii Photography

1.If ARG had a yearbook, you’d be the “Skater Most Likely to _________” In my mind, I would love a really impressive superlative like “Skater Most Likely to Stay Out of the Box,” or “Most Likely to Score Grand Slams.” But realistically, I would probably be voted the “Skater Most Likely to Miss the Plane.” (more…)

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The Iron Woman: An Interview with Insinerator

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Photo: Robin Henson

Insinerator is the Cal Ripken, Jr. of the Atlanta Rollergirls! She’s the longest tenured skater who has never retired, transferred, or even taken a break. Still, all good things must come to an end. Though she’ll return to coach DSDG to victory next season, Sin is retiring. We sat down with her to find out the secrets of her amazing tenacity. 

How and when did you initially get involved with ARG? My first exposure to ARG was when I went to see the first Expo Bout at All-American Skate in Stone Mountain. I just loved it…it had thrills, chills, and spills. Even back then, in the infancy of the roller derby resurgence, you could see the combination of athleticism and strategy at work. There was so much going on all at once. The crowd loved it, and you could tell the skaters were having a blast. ARG was hosting a meet and greet the following week to recruit new members. I only had a few birthday parties of skating from childhood under my belt, so I was lucky to join ARG when I did. ARG embraced this Bambi-on-skates, and I am grateful they did. It is precisely THAT attitude that drew me in- the vision, commitment, camaraderie, enthusiasm, dedication, kindness, and persistence of the OG’s to make ARG happen.

What changes have you seen in the league during your tenure? We’ve come a long way baby! It’s pretty incredible when you look back and see how far ARG has progressed since the beginning. Three home teams expanded to four, one inter-league team expanded to three, DSDG, once an up-and-comer, now ranked in the top tier in the world and was competing in the post-season championships.  Once again, I think it is important to recognize the women who helped form ARG in the early years. A tremendous amount of thought went into every decision as they put the building blocks in place for the foundation of ARG –what would be in the best interest for the league, not only in the present, but in the future. That solid foundation has served ARG well as it has grown and developed. We have been fortunate to be able to not only keep pace with, but be among forefront of, the roller derby evolution. Over the years, the opportunities we’ve had have increased enormously from our membership numbers, training space, competition venue, travel, marketing and PR exposure, to fan involvement. I am proud that over the years, as ARG’s framework becomes more extensive, the league’s mindset stays true to its mission and continues to be what would be in the best interest for ARG not only in the present but in the future.

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Sin and derby wife, Queen Loseyateefa

It takes a lot of persistence to play so many seasons consecutively, especially given that derby is so physical. Did you ever have a situation where you thought you would have to give up skating due to either injury or just life outside derby? How did you power through? Thankfully, I never had an injury that kept me out of commission long-term. I had a brief stint where I was sidelined due to some nerve impingement in my shoulder. It was a difficult period, mostly because I did not want to let my team down. What powered me through my injury is that same as what powered me through life’s hectic periods- ARG. ARG has been my support network, my cheering squad, my sounding board, my competitive outlet, my rock. It is an incredible feeling knowing that such a remarkable group of people have your back and want the best for you.

Being a coach as well as a rollergirl and seeing so many skaters come through the league must give you perspective on what it takes for a skater to be successful. What are the traits you’ve seen repeated in those that become great derby skaters? I think the biggest thing that stands out to me about our great derby skaters is that they GO FOR IT! There is no hesitation or fear to try something or learn something new. They’re all in—100% committed to the process and to improving their skill. They are also great students of the sport– they observe, they ask questions, they tinker with their technique, work on their strengths and their weaknesses. They are open to receiving and giving feedback. Our great derby skaters recognize there is as much to gain from being the student as being the teacher. Roller derby is a team sport and the great derby players know that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  They understand that the strength and support of their pack/team/league enables them to do their thing and shine bright!insin_highres

What adventures do you have planned for life after retirement? TBD, but I do hope to continue my role as trainer to DSDG in the upcoming season and I am eager to see what life is like as a LORD :).

 

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An Announcement from the President: Bruze Orman

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Photo: Danielle Boise

We wrapped up our 2014 Home Season on August 30th with a very exciting and intense Championship Bout (Congrats, Denim Demons!!). For fans, that means some time to get super-excited and re-energized for ARG’s 2015 season, and for many skaters, it’s a chance to rest and prepare to come back even stronger in 2015! Still, despite some time off the track, the work of running the league doesn’t stop in the off season! League members work tirelessly to keep the business running all year long. Often that goes without thanks or visible appreciation, but we continue to do it, for the love of derby. (more…)

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A New Normal: Scout SnipeHer on Psoriatic Arthritis

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Photo: O-Jen Ishii Photography

My retirement from derby…

I’ve been reluctant to talk more about why I’m retiring from skating with the Atlanta Rollergirls this year. In the light of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, I am starting to realize that while it’s my choice if I don’t want to talk about my health issues, if I don’t then there is no hope of people becoming more educated on the issue. The issue is that I have an auto-immune disease, Psoriatic Arthritis. I’m at a stage that most days I can carry on with my daily life without many people realizing what I’m going through. It’s not a condition that you can really see because it characterized primarily by varying levels of joint pain, inflammation, and damage. So if I’m able to hide the fact that it feels like my hands are in a vise, or I’m just run down from my system working overtime, then it appears as if everything is normal.

The reality though is that my “normal” changed significantly in 2009, and is still continuing to do so. I was diagnosed late 2008/early 2009 and it took almost a year to find a medication that would start working for me and my body to start stabilizing. I’ve experienced everything from the drugs having no impact at all to severe allergic reactions. I have a weekly injection that I now take, Enbrel, that so far is doing a good job of keeping major symptoms at bay and (hopefully) slowing my rate of joint damage. For those that didn’t know me prior to my diagnosis, you’d probably be surprised that one of the biggest impacts I experienced was a noticeable impact to my energy level (yes, I know! If you think I’m a border collie now, trust me, this is a “toned-down” version  ) This also requires me to sleep more than I ever have in the past because I still like to do “all of the things” and it takes me longer to recover.

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I’ve never really talked about my PsA because I never wanted it to factor into my derby career and because I’m stubborn as hell. I wasn’t going to let this disease dictate what I could and couldn’t do. But after 4+ years, you could say that things are starting to catch up with me and that my body is wanting a new “normal.” I take longer and longer to recover, and I sometimes have to sleep 12-14 hours a night on the weekend to make up for my output during the week. If I do have a flare up, that too takes a toll, as keeping such a hectic schedule makes it harder for my joints to recover and prolongs the episode. While I have pushed through these past years because of my love for the sport, my body is now telling me it wants to rest, and I know now I need to let it on its own schedule. Because resting while I have a team counting on me means I rest according to the season schedule, or my work schedule, not my body’s schedule! My body and I have come to the agreement though that rest will come after DSDG goes to Champs in November.

I still consider myself one of the lucky ones because while I may have to hang up my skates, I can still bike, hike, CrossFit, and so many other things. Not everyone with my condition is so lucky, and I may be living on borrowed time and not be able to do those things in the future. It’s a day by day thing to see what my body may have in store for me down the line, so I try to make the most of it while I can.

While it saddens me to be retiring, I am so very fortunate that over these couple of years I’ve had the chance to skate with and against so many different skaters, and against some of the best this sport has to offer. For that, I will forever be thankful. Those are memories no one, nor PsA can ever take away from me.

If you’d like to learn more, you can go to http://www.psoriasis.org/psoriatic-arthritis or please feel free to ask me. It’s time I started talking about Psoriatic Arthritis more in hopes of helping others understand if they know or come across someone in their life that is struggling with this condition.

And with all that said, watch DSDG in playoffs in Charleston, WV the first weekend in October as we pave our way to Champs! I want to end this season with a bang!!!!!

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August 30, Champs

This competition started long before these teams laced up their skates. Intimidation tactics had started a rivalry in the weeks following playoffs as each team banded together to promote their upcoming championship victory. The Denim Demons hadn’t held the golden skate since 2012, and hadn’t actually defeated the Toxic Shocks since 2010. The Shocks had not lost a game all season, and as reigning champions, were looking to continue their dynasty. 



When the first whistle blew Shocks jammer, Jammunition, waited patiently for her moment, lulling the Demons blockers into a false sense of security, and ran hard up the inside line, gaining lead jammer. Demons jammer, Nora Gretz, followed quickly after, leaving Jammunition time to score only two points before calling it off. The Demons defense were not to be taken so easily the next time, as Ozzie Kamakazi knocked the Shocks jammer out of bounds, and Switchblade Siousxie pulled her back behind the pack to allow their jammer, Afro Dykee, time to gain a solid four points. From the beginning, this game was very physical with a variety of take-outs, take-downs, and soul crushing, un-moveable, defensive walls that both of these teams are widely known for. Both teams’ jammers had to be light on their feet to score anything at all. As they juked and jumped around powerful hits and solid walls, it was obvious all players on the track wanted a piece of that championship golden skate. The half ended Demons – 99, Shocks – 54.



The second half proved even more violent than the first. Shocks blockers Rebel Yellow, Desi Scarnaz, Violent Beauregarde, and Scout SnipeHer, held the Demons jammer back long enough for their jammer, Nutella Ferrero, to score multiple natural grand slams in one jam, but a jam later the Demons answered back with Lez Dispenser, Queen Loseyateefa, and Rosie Derivator drawing a back block on the Shocks jammer, allowing ChokeCherry to gain back those critical points. The score went back and forth several times as each team fought for the chance to call themselves champions once again.



The Shocks took the lead with less than five minutes left due to a botched star pass by the Demons, leaving the Demons without a jammer at all for over half of a jam. This, followed by a jammer penalty, seemed to spell disaster for the Demons, leaving them 10 points behind with only 35 seconds left on the clock. When the whistle blew to start the last jam, the building filled with noise from the ecstatic fans. Both jammers were held for an entire lap before ChokeCherry broke free, and in a whirlwind scored 24 points before the final whistle blast. Demons win 181 – 170.

Demons MVPs

Jammer – ChokeCherry

Blocker – Rosie Derivator



Shocks MVPs

Jammer – Trouble MakeHer

Blocker – Scout SnipeHer

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August 30, Grudge Match

As the Sake Tuyas and Apocalypstix took to the track, the air thickened with competition. The Sakes were looking for a repeat of the season’s opener in which they defeated the Stix 192-126. The Stix were looking for redemption. Not only for the season opener, but their entire season. They had come within points of victory each game, but had lost their footing in the final minutes of every bout. The Stix where hungry for a win to finish their year, and the Sakes were anxious to leave them sitting in fourth place.



Apocalypstix jammer, The Boss, hit the pack hard at the first whistle, and slipped around Sake wrecking balls, Shannanigan and Whoa Nellie to earn lead jammer, but Sake jammer Wheelin’ Jennings was hot on her heals, and matched points with The Boss before the Stix jammer was able to call it. Sake powerhouse, Merchant of Menace, blasted through on the inside line to earn lead jammer in the second jam, leaving Stix jammer, Slams McKenzie, to fight and juke her way out from behind the seemingly never ending positional blocks and recycling hits the Sakes have mastered over the years. Sakes took the lead, but the Stix answered back with a jam which tied the score directly after. The two teams alternated lead several times before the half ended at a close Stix – 77, Sakes – 62.



The Sakes started with a boom in the second half, stealing the lead back again and keeping the Stix at a halt for the first couple jams, but the Stix defense hit back hard, shutting down the Sake jammers long enough for the Stix to regain lead. Even when Stix jammer penalties could have spelled doom for their chance at victory, Stix blockers such as Slamborghini, Axtual Malice, The Ruffian, and Madditude Adjustment worked together to kept the Sake jammers in check, allowing the Stix jammer to come out of the penalty box and score back some points that were lost.

With barely a minute on the clock the Sakes held the lead by a narrow two points. Fans were standing, cheering for their favorite team. “Let’s go Sakes!” was answered with a roaring, “Let’s Go Stix!” The Stix jammer took lead by fighting through on the inside line, and with heavy offensive work from her blockers, was able to gain the four points the Stix desperately needed to take the win. But the game wasn’t over. There were still seconds on the clock, which was all the Sakes needed to steal back the win. Stix jammer, Genie in a Battle, lined up against Merchant of Menace. The outcome of this grudge match weighed heavily on who would become lead jammer. As the whistle blew, Menace was trapped by the Stix blockers long enough, for Genie to take the outside edge, juking two separate attempts by Sake blockers to knock her out, and take lead jammer. Stix win 146 – 144.

Stix MVPs

Jammer – Slams McKenzie

Blocker – Madditude Adjustment



Sake MVPs

Jammer – Wheelin’ Jennings

Blocker – InSINerator

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Get Ready to Yell! ARG Championships are Here!

ARG_AUG30_2014_sliderOur last home bouts of the season are here! This is the last time this year that you can witness the heart-pounding action of our ARG home teams. You know you don’t want to wait ’til next year! Come straight from Dragon Con in your gold Princess Leia bikini, pick a side, and get ready to yell!

The Sake Tuyas take on the Apocalypstix for the 2014 Grudge Match. Both teams fought hard during playoffs in bouts that could have gone either way. They’re bringing even more excitement to the Grudge Match- they’ve got something to prove! The Denim Demons take on the undefeated Toxic Shocks in the Championship bout that will have you at the edge of your seat and cheering! Playoffs were tough for these teams but they came out on top for a reason- they’re ready for anything. Who will take home the trophy?

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Photo: Neil Bainton

The Apocalypstix took on the Toxic Shocks at playoffs and had a roller coaster of a ride– closing the Shocks’ lead to just three points late in the game, they just missed their shot at the Championship bout. But they’re back and ready to show the Sake Tuyas what’s what. The Sakes fought tooth and nail against the Demons in playoffs in a bout that went back and forth. Now the Stix and Sakes face each other for the first time since the beginning of the season. The Stix have grown this season- the addition of utility player Slams McKenzie mixed with jammer The Boss and all-star blocker Madditude Adjustment could spell disaster for the Sakes. But the ladies in red have a very special talent– teamwork. With captain Amelia Scareheart‘s leadership, the Merchant of Menace‘s heart and knockout blocking by Woah Nellie, this game is going to get crazy.

Photo: O-Jen Ishii

Photo: O-Jen Ishii

Well, well, well. These two teams meet again. In what seems to be a replay of the 2013 Championship, the Demons and Shocks face off. The road through playoffs was bumpy- both teams fought hard to get here. Led by blocker Queen Loseyateefa, the Demons are ready to take home this trophy. With jamming by Afro Dykee and Choke Cherry, they have a pretty good chance. But if we’ve learned anything about the Toxic Shocks, it’s to never underestimate them. They have some of the best jammers in the business- Jammunition and Jean-Juke Picard are living up to their names, and captain Nattie Longlegs is ready for anything. This is one for the books!

Still don’t have your tickets? Grab them while they last either online or in person at Powerhouse Skates. We can’t wait to see you there!
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