Friday, February 20, 2009

Four Corner Feud Predictions!

Yes Derby addicts, this weekend is the 4 Corners Feud and I'm here with some predictions for ya to chew on. Six teams will compete for the FCF prize...braggin' rights and a bathtub full of cheap Margerita's! As for myself. I dont touch Margerita's anymore. Ya and 'lil ole Margerita had a bit of a disagreement waaaay back and well...Margerita KICKED MY SORRY ASS! And I'm not going back there again. But some of you may still like Margerita, maybe even LOVE her. But not me. You can have a bathtub full. And I dont need that brown paper bag full of Peyote buttons neither you desert dwellin' psychos. Hey I'm allowed to say that-I used to dwell in the Land of Enchiladas. Thats New Mex to you.

On to the bouts we go...all rankings are FTS just to throw people off.

#20 Denver v #28 Tuscon

Ya know, one of these days I'm really gonna have to come up with some kinda nicks for these 2 teams. I'll jump right in and tell ya that I'm laying big money on Denver in this one. Denver schedules some Major League games but come out on the losing end most every time. I do respect the fact that they arent afraid to go up against the likes of KC, the Rosies, the Carols and the Mighty Gothic Queens (who laid a serious beat down on them...221-37. OW.). Eventually all this painful experience is gonna pay off and the Major League brutes that they've gotten nailed by will make them strong. More than strong enuff to defeat the inconsistent Tuscon. Will Tuscon be able to overcome the many losses that they've suffered the last few years? They keep taking on the big hitters and except for a win against Dom they just keep on faltering. I keep thinking that at some point they're gonna sneak up and knock someone out...but it never happens (except for that one time when they caught the Rocks sleepin'). And it wont happen Saturday either. Denver shall triumph.

#17 the Pikes v #40 Cactus City

Do I need to even say that the Pikes are gonna emerge victorious in this bout? They have been impressive in the last year and despite slips against killer teams like KC, the Dukes and the Rocks they have a totally solid, physical team that is capable of pulling off a major upset, much less worrying about emerging victorious against the spiralling AZ. Cactus City went down to the Rosies, Sac City and the Rocks last year and there is nothing but a vague, fuzzy memory of the days when they used to defeat teams like the Rats and the Madolls. A VERY distant memory. Wonder what would happen if AZ and Tuscon joined forces and became a Phoenix Superteam?? Then the Pikes would hafta be scared...and only then. But until then Psycho Babble will be smiling at the afterparty and sharing a Margerita with Deranged.

#11 the Dukies v Denver or Tuscon

Hell yes I'm gonna pick this one because frankly it doesnt really matter whether the Dukies face off against Den or Tuscon does it?! Dukes all the way...flat out. And it wont be close either. With the Dukies skating soon in their new digs they hafta be full of energy and optimism, to say nothing of the amazing run that they had last year. I still wanna see what they do this season to totally buy in but really the Dukes have always been competitive. And its not like they have a pool of skaters like NYC or Chi-town does to pull from. From the Land of Entrapment they come...and this time they're not gonna be sneaking up on anyone. The 'Burque will be proud. Some of you Albucrackee fans will be obligated to buy Muffin, Kamikazee and the gang some Huevos Rancheros at the Frontier upon their return! deal?

#15 the Killer Rocks v the Pikes or AZ

Lets face it-the Rocks are gonna be going up against the Pikes in this one and for my cash it'll be, hands down, the best bout of the Tournament. The Pikes would just love to get some revenge and shoot down the Rocks and indeed they are capable of doing so. They're physical, they have some depth, and have a nice corps of Jammers. I really like da Pikes. But just not as much as I like the Rocks. I freakin' love Rocky Mtn. I am gonna come right out and say that I think that they're gonna win this 4 Corner Feud. I mean...I hate to bring this up...but this is the same team that beat down a fine Prov squad 137-9!! Really!! They also beat Bean City and that one shocked the hell outta me. On the flip side Tuscon snuck some sleeping pills in the Rocks Aquafina and RM ended up going down to them in a very close bout 96-92. Ummmm...what!?? But yeah-sign me up. The Killer Rocks are champs and they'll play like champs this weekend. How ya like me now Frida?

To be continued...

Monday, February 16, 2009

NRG Warning Belles v NEO

Saturday was a very surreal experience for me. I received a call from my biker buddy Shel who told me that one of our friends had died from a sudden massive stroke. Two years ago he had won a court case against a former employer and was awarded a HUGE sum of cash. He went out and bought every toy he had ever wanted. He grew up in our "old neighborhood" and was one of the gang. As a result, because of some lengthy phone conversations, I missed the D and B pre-bout gathering.All of this on top of my Dads battle against cancer that has been tougher than we thought it was going to be. He has missed chemo a few times now due to a low white blood cell count. Cancer is a bitch. I must admit that in light of all the other weird things that had happened the last few weeks ( I know that you know what I mean) I was considering blowing off the Belles v NEO bout. To be frank...I wasnt sure that I was in the frame of mind to absorb any more negative energy. I felt drained. I was really down.

Then, as I was considering bailing out, I just got dressed and headed out the door. I was on full auto-pilot as I headed out to the fairgrounds. And I didnt have a ticket either. I expected that I would be participating in the Derby TV show and would be able to get in when Dill and the gang headed in after the pre-bout deal. But the TV show didnt happen due to some vague reason (the University wasnt participating as expected, student manpower, etc, etc.). So I made a call to a buddy who hooked me up (thanx man-you know who you are!). I arrived at the Fairgrounds and the said friend came out and gave me the ticket. Still feeling very removed from my body I wandered in VERY early and there was already a crowd forming. And here is what I experienced:

* When I went in I was greeted by a fan nicknamed "Bear", an OTR trucker who had never gotten the chance to go to a bout before. He walked over to me and said, "Are you Biker Dave?". And so we talked about Derby. Then Amby saw me and came over and gave me a big hug and said she wanted me to join her at the front of the line. I always feel kinda self-conscious about that going to the front of the line kinda stuff, but went anyway. No one seemed to really care. She had brought her son and he was "holding" our place. As we waited a fan passed out and the paramedics scooped her up and took her in to get checked out. She was coming out of her fainting spell as they carried her in and she seemed somewhat dazed and embarrased. She was fine.

* When we were allowed in Amby took off to get primo seats in turn 1 and I walked over to NEO's merch table and scoped out an awesome tee that was designed to look like the cover to Kiss's "Destroyer" album. They had only ONE XL and I said, "I've GOT to have that!" and bought it immediately. Apparently I had missed 4 Leaf Cleaver waving at me, which she reminded me of later (sorry 4 Leaf! I would never knowingly not acknowledge you!). I saw Brutha Tom K and stashed my heavy ass leather jacket behind his merch table. I always love talking to Tom, he's a great guy. I wandered over to turn 1 and ran into Smackie O. We had a very nice conversation and must say that she is such a blessing to NRG! You are too cool Smackie...thanx for the good vibes.

* Had several interesting conversations with some fans I hooked up with Lux. Got hugs from a few of the Siren Rollergirls and I was beginning to pull out of my fairly depressed state. Talked to Wally Wabash, Mr Flake and some more of the "regulars". I met Entropy which was nice. Saw Willy J Madden who could cheer anyone up (he IS a stand-up comedian ya know). Before long it was time for the bout to start and I was feeling that Derby energy welling up from within and my mood was shifting to excitable.

* As I fully expected Blue jammed brilliantly considering that this was only her second bout. I am really excited about that Rollergirl! I had named her Blue "Meanie" but screw that...from here on out I will refer to her as "the Natural". I like to think that I have a pretty damn good eye for Jammer talent and I am here to tell ya that "the Natural" is going to be a freaking excellent Jammer for the Sirens before long (sorry I.R.). She just has that rare IT factor. Really. When I consider the relatively short length of time that she has been skating I'm very impressed. She is on her way. Believe that!

* I had never even seen Noxious Donna skate but I had gotten some advanced reports that she was pretty damn good and she didnt disappoint at all. One of the things that made an impression on me is her self-confidence and swagger. I LOVE that in a Jammer and she's going to be another very interesting young talent to keep an eye on. Swagger is only worth a damn if ya back it up and she did.

* Is Ana Slays Ya/"Rockstar" gonna be w/the Belles permanently? Or was this just a way to get some more rink experience under her belt? I really believe that she made one helluva Pivot. Set the pace well, blocked where she needed to and helped to open up holes for her Jammer. I would have never thought of putting her at Pivot but it waa a stroke of genius by I.R.!! VERY nice work Rockstar! I think that I like her better at Pivot than Jammer at this point.

* Can I say that Psych-em-out Sandy took a real leap this bout? I guess I just did. I felt that this was her best bout performance. She laid some NEO skaters OUT! She opened up gaps for her Jammers and played with spirit and FIRE. I was truly impressed at her progress this time out...are you reading this Sandy?? Stick it out Rollerhead! We love you...

* It was nice to finally see Elle Conquistador out on the track! I was wondering if this skater even existed!! I spoke to her briefly and we laffed over the fact that her picture was a black silhouette in the bout program...the lady of mystery.

* At half time I ended up talking to Mizz Understood for about 15 minutes and that skater really delivered some healing energy to my weary soul. MU put my mind at ease and made me feel GREAT. probably dont even read this blog but I hope that ya hear thru the inevitable grapevine that I really, really needed that conversation. For real...thanx MU!! You f'n rule.

* I hafta say that I was pretty impressed with 'lil Teeny Houdini. If she can learn to get down nice and low like the Chosen One than she will be very, very good as a Jammer for NEO. How in the hell wouldja lay a legal hit on that Teeny if she got reeeaaal low??? Ya couldnt! She was cool. When I finally met up with her at the Afterparty she was kinda shy, and I was lucky to get a pic with her. I like Teeny!!

* It became fairly apparent early on in the second half that there was no way that NEO was gonna dig their way outta the hole that they had dug in the first half. I was struck by how CONFIDENT the Belles looked out on the floor. The chemistry was very strong and as I've said before...if you have a strong team chemistry you will go far. Beyond your talent, skill-level or bout experience. And when you add in the fact that the Belles HAVE some talent and skills you have a potent mix. It will be interesting to see how they fair against ROCK next month on the road...

* It was also nice to see Valerie Hurtinelli skating for the Belles. While not quite the mythic figure that Elle had become ,I was starting to wonder if I would ever see this Rollergirl skate!! Good job out there Val!

* Bear told me that he wanted to go to the Afterparty but he needed to find a ride and I said, "Ride over with me dude!". And so he did. He patiently waited for me to take my pix, rap to skaters and take for f'n ever to finish up my post-bout ritual. We got out to the classic Saab turbo and ripped over to Birdy's for some festivity. Some MUCH needed festivity as far as I was concerned. Bear bought me a beer so hey he must be a true Derby fan! Ha! I hooked up with NEO skaters Chrissie B Hynde, Twin Pistol, Pepper Insult (nice bruise!! Heehee!) and Suicide Blonde. They were, of course, blown away by Naptowns crowd. We have heard this before havent we?? Yeah...we know we KICK ASS. Anyway, after getting Twin to blush by remarking how many guys in the crowd "oohed and aaahed" over her I found out that NEO's tee-shirt deal kinda sucked so I'm gonna hook those girls up w/a much better tee-shirt deal thru a guy I work with who has a side business screen printing for Racing teams. A MUCH better deal. Gotta get Suicide hooked up! BTW...I thought that those NEO skaters were awesome...very friendly and full of heart. They will do well, they just really need more fan support to feed their will and ambition. Fan support is something that NRG hasnt had to stress over too much. Naptown is a fan-magnet.

* I found this bout to be a healing salve for a depressed and anxious soul. I needed to be with my Derby people more than I can express here but believe me when I say that it couldnt have come at a more critical time. When I finally left at 2AM I was feeling a little drained...but a GOOD drained. An optimism somehow found its way into my heart when I needed it. Yeah...the Derby Goddess sent me Her 'lil believers to see that somehow, some way I left that bout in a far better condition that the one I was in earlier that day. Thank you Derby Goddess!! Praise to you!


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Alan Streets - Sublime Cityscapes

Alan Streets is an incredible young artist from England who now lives in NYC and paints everyday ( when the weather allows) outdoors from Sunrise to sunset. His cityscapes are absolutely incredible. I hope to be able to buy one of his paintings. Some go for as little as $600. His medium is acrylics on canvas. You can see the documentary "My Name is Alan and I Paint Pictures" on OVTV on Feb. 15th. This excellent documentary will air 3 times that day. Hopefully you get Ovation TV and will be able to catch it. I am very impressed by Alans commitment to his art and the long hours that he puts in everyday to become the best painter that he can be. You can go to to check out his paintings that he is currently selling. I believe that Alan Streets is the most incredible painter that I have seen in years and would simply like to spread the word about him and his art.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

My "Gut Instinct" Rankings- Top 15

Ya know...I cant really get with the politically-influenced WFTDA rankings and I have seen the inherent weakness in the math-geek FTS rankings. I still REALLY pay attention to the math-geek rankings tho (love those dudes at FTS!). And so I have to say that the DNN Power Rankings is very cool. And 1-4 I would totally agree with DNN's set list, but after that??? Mmmmmm...thats where I would have to offer up my own rankings. Based not a bit on politics and only somewhat on algorithms I have developed my own setlist. My criteria is strictly gut instinct. So here ya go:

1- the Mighty Gothic Queens of the Universe
Who else?? Are u kidding? Right now the Queens are in their own world. Its them and then the fight for 2nd place. Unless Suzy Hotrod, Bonnie Thunders and Cheap Skate quit the team today its the Mighty Goths and everyone else.

2- the Crushers
Chi-town deserve 2nd place, no question about it. They have proven themselves in battle and they will likely remain 2nd to the Goths. I wouldnt be shocked to see them nailed by Liberty or the Original Muthas, but yeah...a solid 2nd.

3- Liberty City
Philly really blew me away last year. I have come to believe in Liberty in a BIG way. And DNN?? I gotta admire ya for placing them one notch ahead of the O.M.'s and I totally agree with the ranking. On the right night the Cheese-steaks are capable of beating anyone. But dont u dare bet against NYC.

4- the Original Muthas
TX is very capable of defeating Liberty or Windy but for right now they ARE 4th. Just dont piss them off tho. They have a way of making you painfully aware of the fact that they started this whole thing and are more than capable of teaching everyone a lesson real quick-like.

5- the Carols
It seems that I rubbed some o' those Carols the wrong way. And I heard about the disses directed my way a few weeks ago but I dont let that get in the way of my gut instinct ya know. If the Carols played the Rats or the BADasses tonite my cash would be on the Carols...flat out. And some of you Carols may not like me but nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will ever get in the way of my Princess America worship. Ya got that? P.A.- I am madly in love with you. Absolutely on my top 10 list of Modern Derby Jammers.

6- the BADasses
Here's where I just wish I would have watched a lot more footage of a team. I will make the commitment right now to watch as much of the BADasses as time allows the next month or so. I KNOW they are real good. I KNOW they are very skilled. But I really need to delve into the details on this team. Still...gut instinct mandates that they go 6th.

7- Bean City
Yeah, this is a serious jump but I just FEEL like these Rollergirls are 7th. Hey, there's no explaining the vague preferences of the instinct ya know? There's just something about this squad that I totally buy into. Plus ya really gotta believe in ANY team that has a skater named Pussy Venom dontcha?? Thats worth a couple of notches right there! PLEASE tell me that there's a Pussy Venom tee shirt...gotta have one. NOW.

8- the Rosies
the Roses absolutely blew me away more than a few times last year and for good reason...they are freaking kick ass. Before this year is out I fully expect them to make a major run in the Nationals unless something really weird happens. UFO abduction, Firecrotch gets arrested, ya know...THAT kinda shit. The Rosies are killer. Believe that West Coasters!

9- Deeeetroit
At this point I fully expect some heat. I mean, the Rats are probably writing me hate mail about now. But hey, there's no explaining my instinct. Car City just feels right at #9 to me. AND they have one of the greatest Jammers in the land- Racer McChaseher. Any team w/Racer is gonna be badass 'kay? In all seriousness, if I had to get with my Derby bookie today and place a bet on a D-town v Rats game, or a Car City v KC bout, or a Deeetroit v Dukes game , $$$ are totally on Racer and her girls. Sorry.

10- the Rats
Coffee City probably wants to kill me by now but I call 'em like I see 'em. It just seems to me that something has slipped w/this team in the last year. They've lost a few skaters and I dont think that the team chemistry was the same as in years past. They could come back this year and prove me wrong. Or they could continue to slowly slip down the ladder. We shall see.

11- the Dukies
I was very seriously tempted to put them at #12. Really. Good thing I dont live in Albucrackee anymore because Kamikazee Kim would probably go off on me big time. Yes, they had an incredible run in the Tournament last year and shocked everyone. Yes, they have an impressive squad with a whole lotta heart. But I just need to see more of this team before I'm ready to rank them higher than 11th. What I'm saying I guess is that their run last year may have been a little fluke-ish. Or maybe not. If they make a run again this year than yeah...sign me up. I'll be a total believer.

12- Lovely Charm City
I adore you know that. LCC will continue to rise up this year. Maybe its just a hunch but I think that the Charmers are gonna shock a few teams and I was seriously tempted to put them higher than #12. SERIOUSLY tempted. All opponents of Lovely have been warned. I love this team.

13- the Rocks
What??? No freakin' KC YET?? Am I out of my Jaeger-chuggin' mind?! No. The Rocks are poised to be the team that they were born to be now. That, and I just have a strong instinct about these skaters. I would be a bit surprised if RM didnt finish higher than #13 at the end of the year. They have the skills to move on up if they keep developing.

14- the Warriors
Finally. Look, KC could bounce back and it wouldnt be like they snuck up on anyone. But there's no getting around the fact that the loss of Snot Rocket is a serious blow. Is there anyone who didnt think she was one of the most incredible Jammers ever?? And what about Xcelerator?? She retired too I guess. Thats gotta REALLY suck for the Warror fans.Look...beg, plead, cajole, blackmail, do whatever ya gotta do to get one of these Jammers back into the fold KC. I mean, maybe you've got some young, fast, outstanding all-world Jammers that I am not aware of but losing both of those all-stars is a killer. Will KC ever be #1 again? Honestly...I just dont think so.

15- the Pikes
In my mind there's a major drop off between #15 and #16 and the Pikes make the cut at #15. They won a few they shoulda lost and lost a few they shoulda maybe won but you can say this about the Pikes...they weren't boring. I will be curious to see if they can continue to build on what they accomplished last year or whether they begin to back-slide. Still...#15 feels about right and they hafta be admired for turning their team around the way they did last year, And I've gotta say too that the Pikes have a nice 1-2 punch in sisters Psycho Babble and Deranged. REAL nice.

Just going top 15 here. Maybe I'll get around to 16-30 at some point when I have a little more time on my hands.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

10 things I am sure that you dont know about me...

1- I am a total Indiaphile. Which means that I have an unquenchable interest in Indian culture, religion, art and cinema. And yes, Bollywood stuff too. My obsession with India began many years ago and I have some pretty cool Indian stuff that I have managed to collect. India is the ultimate dichotomy...incredibly beautiful but also terribly ugly. I like to think of India as representative of the human condition. I have a keen interest in can google it.

2- Back in the '80's, when I was a wild youngster (as opposed to a wild oldster) I was the Lead Vocalist/Lyricist for Bent, an old-school Goth band. My stage name was Dave Grave. We did fairly well. We broke up due to all the typical band drama that kills off way too many bands, at which point I became Lead Vocalist for a metal band w/a nice Goth vibe called the Web. And yes, after too much band drama we also broke up (translation: I shacked up w/the Lead Guitarists ex...and promptly got engaged!). The cool thing was that I got to travel and play all around the southwest. I got to hang out w/Jello Biafra from the Dead Kennedy's and still have a letter he wrote to me on "Alternative Tentacles" stationary. He wanted to sign Bent to his label.

3- Many years ago I began customizing motorcycles. I put together a great radical '70's style chopper that I dubbed Elvira. Nowadays I have 2 custom bikes...a BMW R90/6 "bobber" that I ride occasionally and an awesome 1700cc Roadstar that I have dubbed Elvira 2. I freaking live to ride! Any idea yet how I feel about winter in the midwest?

4- My interest in Roller Derby actually started with Banked Track. I was a total "Banked-track Snob" and ignored all the Flat-track leagues that were popping up all over the country. I had the attitude that Banked-track was so much faster and more exciting than Flat-track could ever be. And there was that connection to the old school Derby that couldnt be ignored. However, when Indy got their own Flat-track team I figured, "Ahhh...what the hell. May as well check it out". The rest, as they are keen to say, is history. Do I even need to say how crazy I got over Flat-track derby?? Naaaahhh...didnt think so.

5- I lived in Albuquerque, Mew Mexico for about 6 years. There was an incredible underground music scene that totally thrived in the '80's. My band, Bent, played live on KUNM radio. Everyone knew everyone else in the scene and we all, for the most part, supported each other. I miss the Land of Entrapment...aaaahhh Albucrackee. I had a cool apartment in the Sandia foothills for a while and when I looked out the lil window from my shower I could see the majestic Sandia Mountains. We used to hike up in the mountains, dodging rattlesnakes and picking up pinon nuts off the ground which we greedily ate. It was beautiful baby.

6- I have an old pukey Pug dog named Winston. He smells like a dead body and wretches constantly. He gets to gagging and choking and its just a matter of time until he blows. Its really nasty. I have had him since he was 8 weeks old. He is now almost 12. long do Pugs live??

7- I absolutely LOVE old European cars. I have had 2 Saabs, 2 VW's, an Audi and a BMW. I currently drive a great old Saab 900 Turbo convertible. One of the best cars I've ever owned. I gave my other Saab 900 to my son, which he STILL drives back and forth to Indiana State University. Saab makes awesome cars (until GM came along...doh!). I have my eyes open for a great deal on an old Volvo 240 in good shape. They are freaking bulletproof!!

8- I am a "Commercial Sales Rep" for Lowes. Which is a fancy way of saying that I sell huge piles of building materials and obscure hardware to Contractors, Custom home bulders, Drywallers, Painters, Framers, etc ad nauseum. Lowes has insisted on promoting me and I will soon be what they like to call a Millwork Specialist. Yeah...dont ask. I live 2 miles from work, and that my friends is KEY. I love being able to go home for lunch. Its kinda like being in High School. Hey...I said KINDA.

9- I attended IUPUI with aspirations of becoming an Architect. Had I known that becoming an Architect consisted of taking classes like "Stress Physics" I would have never considered it! I eventually dropped out when life got in the way and I was tired of being broke all the time. Ramen noodles suck.

10- I have an incredible collection of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" memorabilia. I will say flat out that Buffy TVS is my all-time favorite TV show ever and nothing, I mean nothing, comes close to Buffy in my opinion. That show had it all: drama, comedy, horror and sci-fi. I also have quite a few "Angel" items too. I have all of the dvd box sets to "Buffy" and "Angel". My obsession with all things Vanpyr has never subsided and to this day I am a pushover for practically any half-decent vampire movie or TV show. So yes...that means that I am one of around 12 people that actually watched and enjoyed such TV shows as "Blood Ties" and "Moonlight". I loved the "Blade" and "Underworld" movie series of course. I am such a Goth sometimes...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

For the newbies, freshies and not-up-2-speeders!

Ya know, given that not everyone out there is aware of all my nicknames for different derby leagues, I will provide the following cheatsheet:

Naptown- Race City
Brew City Bruisers- Beer City
Angel City- the Angels
Duke City- the Dukes, the Dukies
Providence- the Prov
Hammer City- Hammered C, the Hammers
Arizona- the AZ, Cactus City
Atlanta- the ATL
B.A.D.- the BADasses
Big Easy- Cajun City
Boston- Bean City
Carolina-the Carols (so THERE...)
Charm City- Lovely Charm City, the Charmers
Connecticut- the Conns
Detroit- Deeeetroit, Car City
Dominion- Dom
Ft Wayne- F-Dubb
Gotham City- the Goths, the Mighty Gothic Queens
Grand Raggidy- G-Rag
Houston- Rockit City
Mad Rollin' Dolls- Madolls
Minnesota- the Minnie
Philly- Liberty City
Pikes Peak- the Pikes
Rat City- the Rats
Rocky Mountain- the Rocks
Rose City- the Rosies, the Roses
Sin City- the Sinners
Texas- the Original Muthas
Windy City- the Crushers, Chi-town, the Windys
Arch Rivals- the Archies
Burning River- the Rivers
Cincinnati- Tricky Cincy
Oklahoma- the Vicdolls
Sacred City- Sac City
Sioux Falls- the Falls

So now yer caught up on my nicks 'kay? So don't get lost and bewildered and left behind 'cause ya got no excuse now!

And so it's just you and me now...

So its just you and me...

I have decided that it would be best to no longer post my blather on the Naptown boards at this point. The reasons for this decision are somewhat complex and "involved" but it is for the best, at least for now. I steadfastly refuse to "back off" or "ease up" on my posts because to do so would be at the cost of my integrity, passion and courage. I write from the heart and always will. I am quite proud of that. I will continue to rub folks the wrong way., make enemies, cause discord and raise hell. Its just my nature people, On the other hand I will also make friends, strengthen relationships, provide insights, create discussion and analyze Roller Derby as I see it. And that is as it should be. Be warned tho...the gloves are off. I will have some thoughts that I haven't felt comfortable expressing before and I'm sure I'll be painting a big 'ole target on my chest as usual. The haters can piss off...

And by the way...may I say...CAROLS CAROLS CAROLS CAROLS CAROLS infinitum.

10 Keys to winning Roller derby!

Wanna know how teams win games consistently? I have come up with 10 keys that define winning derby. Take a look at teams at the top of WFTDA and you will discover that these teams possess most, if not all, of these keys:

1- Team Chemistry
In my opinion this is perhaps the most important thing that a team can possess. If a team has excellent chemistry they can go beyond their skill level. They can pick each other up when a bout is getting rough. They can encourage each other, give psychological energy that translates into a winning spirit on the track. Teams go very far on chemistry as their chief trait.

2- Attitude
Attitude is closely related to Team Chemistry, but is also related to veteran leadership and coaching. Rooks pick up on the general attitude of a team quickly. Is there finger-pointing? Are there little cliques on the team? Is there assigning of blame for losses? Or does everyone accept responsibility for the play of the team? Is there a "winning attitude"? A winning attitude is contagious. It is far easier to be a negative force on a team than a positive force. Skaters that have a positive attitude are a real blessing on any team. Leadership from the Coach(es) are also critical to the success of any team and Coaches and veterans must act quickly when a negative attitude begins to take root on a team.

3- Skating skill and speed
Although there are skaters who are "naturals" they are the exception. Skating skill and speed mostly comes from drills and hard practice. Speed really pays off in the upper echelons of WFTDA and it has been shown many times that the ability to simply outskate your opponent translates into wins...especially in Tournament play.

4- Endurance
Endurance also comes from practice and acclimation. Excellent conditioning has won many a close game and its value cannot be under-estimated. I cant tell you how many times I have seen quality endurance win games!! An average team skill-wise can defeat superior teams if they arent winded late in a close bout. A team with strong endurance can chip away at their opponent and simply wear them down.

5- Strategy
Really, strategy comes from the Coach(es). A game plan not only needs to take into account the traits and skills of the opponent but also must be ADJUSTABLE. At least at half-time, if not during play. One of the keys to any winning bout strategy is to always make sure that your teams strategy is not forced, but rather is custom built for the existing strengths of your team. In other words...the Original Muthas strategy is going to be radically different than Lovely Charm City's, or it had better be if you dont want to frustrate and stifle your teams personality. Every team possesses their own unique strenghts and weaknesses and strategy MUST reflect this. To attempt to "superimpose" a strategy on your team will only lead to frustration and losses.

The health of a team is oftentimes a matter of luck, but injuries should be addressed if they are beginning to pile up. Conditioning and flexability are of course key to the avoidance of injuries. There are many factors when it comes to team health but it is always important to step in when an injured player insists on playing when she has suffered a significant injury. Derby is a tuff sport and there are many, many instances when a skater can continue to play and not do further damage but ya hafta know where to draw the line. I would much rather lose my best Jammer for the rest of the game than lose her for the next 3 bouts because I let her play too hurt.

7- Depth
Bench depth is incredibly important and if ya take a look at the top teams in WFTDA you will quickly see that team depth is incredibly important to a teams success. You can only go "to the well" so many times during a bout and the trend to keep going to the same Jammer constantly will lead to burn-out at least if not injury. Burning out your 1 or 2 best Jammers is definately not a good idea. There needs to be a solid core of 3-4 Jammers even if only 2 are "featured" Jammers. This is true of the Blocking and Pivot positions also. Depth is often the cure to injury issues as well as a key to overcoming them. Any team that desires to play near the top of WFTDA is going to need to constantly develop skaters, if for no other reason than the issues of injury and retirement. The turnover for most teams is fairly significant and only through the constant recruitment and development of new skaters can depth be solid enuff to absorb the loss of players.

8- Experience
Bout experience is incredibly valuable, particularly in Tournament play. As bout experience increases so should the level of your opponent. If you want to see your team crack the top 25 in the rankings you are not going to get there if you dont consistently "step up" the level of the opponents that you are bouting against. Experience breeds confidence and calm under pressure.Experience builds team chemistry too...that ultra-important quality I already discussed.

9- Well-rounded Rosters
If all your skaters ahve a similar skill-set its going to be very difficult gaining any traction in the rankings because, frankly, your not going to win more bouts than you lose (if you take on quality opponents). Any successful Derby team has a well-rounded roster of skaters with a variety of talents and skills. A great Jammer doesnt usually make a great Blocker and vice-versa. Any quality team needs a variety of "body types" and temperaments. If every skater on your team is a hot-head youre gonna have problems. Likewise if all your players are the low-key and soft-spoken you will also have issues. Its definately preferable to have different personalities that can compliment each other both in practice and under the pressures of a heated bout.

10-Fans/ Crowd atmosphere
Last, but by no means least, are the fans of a team. A loud, energetic atmosphere can do AMAZING things to the spirit of a team. And it can also intimidate and shake up your opponents concentration and spirit. I have seen a crowd pick up a team during close bouts that lead to victories. Every team should always attempt to attract fans and participate in the community to build good rapport with fans and potential fans. A friendly, approachable team is golden when it comes to attracting new fans and creating loyal fans.