Talk Derby to Me

This post is special to me. In the few months I’ve been writing this blog it’s sort of become my pet and it means a lot to me. A few weeks ago I received my first ever comment on a post and in it a request for a specific post. Well, here it is. This post goes out to that reader. Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting. Now, as per your request, let me explain roller derby to you.

In the few months I have done derby I have been asked dozens of time how the sport works and, almost always, when I try to explain people’s eyes glaze over. It’s a confusing sport to understand, especially without visuals. So I am going to try to break it down to it’s simplest form and incorporate visuals. Here goes.

For those that don’t know, roller derby is played on a oval track and each game is called a bout. Each team has five people one the track at a time, four blockers and one jammer. The jammer is easy to recognize. She is the skater with the star on her helmet. The jammer is the only skater who can score points. Below is an example of how skaters line up. A pivot is, in the simplest terms, a fourth blocker.

derby lineup
Image from Limerick Derby

When the whistle blows a “jam” begins and the jammers fight to get through the blockers. The first jammer through becomes lead jammer. Once they come back around the track, jammers again fight to pass the blockers. However, this time every blocker (or opposing jammer if they have not made it through yet) passed is a point. Jammers keep fighting for points until the jam ends. The jam ends in one of two ways, the lead jammer calls it off or two minutes go by. A lead jammer calls off the jam by tapping her hips. Skaters then line up for a new jam. Play continues for two thirty minute periods. At the end of the bout, the team with the most points wins. Below is an illustration of someone gaining lead jamming status.

Lead jammer
Image from Montreal Roller Derby

Now, that is the bare minimum. Any player on the track can get called for any number of penalties and when they do that skater must serve time in the penalty box, similar to hockey. That skater’s team must then skate shorthanded. Jammers can also be called for penalties. This gives the other team’s jammer an advantage.

The two teams of blockers must stay within 10 feet of each other to remain in play. If they are spread too far apart without having one player “bridge the gap” they may no longer engage with jammers. This can help with game play strategies. Below is an illustration showing how blockers, in this case blue blockers, can become out of play.

pack
Image from RollerDerbyNotes.com

If a jammer cannot get through a wall of skaters she can choose to pass her “star” or helmet cover signifying her jammer status to the pivot. However, if she does this the new jammer cannot earn lead jammer status, even if she makes it out of the pack first.

Lastly, players can choose to play offense which basically boils down to assisting your jammer break through a wall of blockers instead of trying to hold the opposing jammer. Offense can also be played passively.

Now that’s a lot of words all at once. Words are much harder to understand than visuals. So if my rambling did not help you get the gist, here is a video from the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association:

I hope you now have at least some understanding of the derby world. If you have lingering questions, please feel free to ask. Watching derby is one of the best ways to learn derby so, if you’re in the area, come out and see the Circus City Derby Dames skate in their two home bouts of 2017 on July 22 and September 16.

Thanks for the request and thanks for reading!

 

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The Unattainable Credit Card

It may be time for me to come to terms with the fact that I might not be meant to have a credit card. This is a part of adulthood that I cannot seem to master. The other day I received another rejection letter and I find myself nearing a quarter of a century still not possessing a credit card.

Now, don’t get me wrong I’m not foolishly applying for cards left and right like a desperate, crazy person. I just have horrible timing. The first time I applied for a big girl credit card I had just graduated college and hadn’t started paying off my loans. I applied for and was declined a Target card not long before because I’m cheap and I wanted a discount on the TV I was buying. The big girl card was declined because I didn’t have enough credit history and had applied too many times.

Unfortunately the week following my rejection prior to talking to a woman at Chase bank I was terrified. The reasons they listed for rejecting me were written in such a way where I was positive someone had stolen my identify. Not cool credit check people, not cool.

The lady with Chase bank explained to me after a few months of paying higher rent and making loan payments I would probably have a much easier time attaining a credit card and to consider starting with a store card because those are easier to get. Alright cool.

A few months later I acquire a Kohl’s Charge card and, more recently a Gordman’s credit card. Feeling like a pro I finally decide to attempt to apply for a real person credit card again. No dice.

This time there was a huge miscommunication I was not aware of. Somehow during my move last year my WE Energies bill stayed in my name for about two months longer than it should have. However, I did not know this. I never received the bills or any phone calls or anything so the account never crossed my mind. Well, it should have.

When I received my my most recent rejection letter this week one of the reasons listed as to why I was not eligible for the card was “serious delinquency.”  I panicked and immediately tracked down the free credit report I was allotted me following my application. I owed $127 to WE Energies. The charges were in collection and Harris and Harris was trying to get the money from me. Good to know.  Harris and Harris did call me a few times but I thought they were just telemarketer type calls and asked to be taken off their call list…oops.

I am willing to take the blame. I do not blame my landlord and, although I wish WE Energies would have made more of an effort to contact me, I do not blame them. I don’t even blame the new tenant living in my old apartment for waiting too long to change the bill over to her name. I should have made a phone call or something when I moved. I was terribly busy around the time of my move and am by no means surprised I forgot, but it sucks.

I have paid the fine and now I must wait to try yet again for a credit card in the future. Today sucks. Credit cards are stupid. Today I don’t want to be an adult. I am open to any advice and/or suggestions you may have on what type of card I should look into moving forward or how long I should wait. Anything really. Help me adult.

An Abundance of Apologies

I have an apology problem. I apologize for everything. If you were to bump into me I would apologize. I apologize when I hit people at derby practice…where you are supposed to hit people. Once I even apologized to a mannequin I ran into at a store and then when I realized it was a mannequin and didn’t need to be apologized to, I apologized again.

If you think I’m ridiculous, that’s okay. I do too. If you understand where I’m coming from, know you are not alone. I need to stop. Much like my double apology to the mannequin in the middle of Rue 21 a good number of my apologies are unnecessary.

“Stop apologizing!”Have you ever heard those words before? I have. So many times. you’d think I would learn. I apologize because I don’t want to offend anyone, bother anyone or get in anyone’s one. I also apologize because I’m awkward and I use apologies as a shield socially.

I’ve been on the other side of the apology as well. When someone apologizes for something out of their control or that is not their fault I feel bad. Especially if they continue to apologize. But I quickly forget this as soon as I become the apologizer.

An article from Psychology Today makes some really good points about excessive apologizing and offers some alternatives. If you have the time, it’s worth the read.

I never really thought that apologizing all the time might undermine an actually apology or that saying thank you more often instead would have more positive results. It’s time that I embrace my imperfections.

You know what, sometimes it’s not my fault. Sometimes I need to say no. Sometimes I don’t know the answer and sometimes accidents happen. I’m going to cut myself a little slack and, if you have my problem, you should too. We all should.

Love at First Bout

Reflections on my first bout

When I told people I was going to be skating in my first ever roller derby bout I was almost always asked if I was scared. And the truth is, I was. Not because roller derby is “dangerous” like everyone assumes because I had to work my butt off to pass a set of minimum skills requirements to be out there. And not because it’s a “unique” sport to get into because it’s an awesome sport to get into. I was scared because I was terrified of letting my teammates down, of not being good enough and of being a hazard on the track. I also experienced typical game day jitters and anxiety.

Then I got out on the track. My nerves were gone instantly. Not because I had a new-found confidence or anything, but when you’re out there skating you don’t have time to be nervous. All you can think about is where the jammer is.

I remember questioning my positioning a lot. I was never sure if I was 100% where I was supposed to be and I fell more times than I would like to admit. Going into half time I remember feeling super excited because derby is awesome and a little bummed because I was wishing I was skating better.

Fortunately, the second half did not disappoint. I felt more sure of myself and as a team we improved considerably, gaining lead jammer status, building stronger walls and putting everything out on the line. Just writing about it makes me feel a new surge of pride for my team. We did not give up.

I think I personally played better as well. The first half of the game is all a blur for me, but I can remember instances in the second half where I contributed to the game and did good things. I also earned my first ever penalty…oops.

So many emotions go into a bout. Excitement when you do well, disappoint when a jammer gets by you, anger at yourself when you fall or earn a unnecessary penalty and pride when you get to watch your teammates kick some butt. When it ended I remember feeling super high on adrenaline and super satisfied.

I wasn’t ready for the game to end. I was ready for another bout right away. I don’t want to have to wait to play again. I learned a lot throughout the bout, but I also learned just how much I love derby. I am so glad I joined the Circus City Derby Dames. Just being part of the derby world is fantastic. The timing of this post is perfect since International Women’s Day was yesterday. And let me tell you, the women in this sport are strong, confident, kick ass role models. It was definitely love at first bout.

Photo by Arthur Horino

The Purpose of my Words

Millions of thoughts demand my immediate attention
clogging my conscious and swirling in my brain.
It’s when I reach for a pen or my fingers touch a keyboard
that they are finally able to pour out of me like rain.

With each word I write and sentence I author
the fog dissipates and the air around me feels lighter.
My fingers fly across the keyboard and as my sprits lift,
I know I was meant to be a writer.

“Does anyone see your blog?” I have been asked this question countless times since I started writing posts in December. The truth is sometimes I don’t think anyone does. That could come down to any number of reasons. Maybe I forgot to share the post on my personal Facebook page, didn’t make the post enticing enough or the post didn’t interest potential readers. But you know what? That’s okay.

If I reach just one person who enjoys my post, that’s enough. If I don’t reach a single person, that’s still enough. The truth is, I write for me. Yes, the concept of the blog is to reach out to other 20 somethings with the same day-to-day struggles and successes. But also I’m one of those 20 somethings and getting those words out of my head and onto a page is truly wonderful.

I don’t need a pat on the back for each post I write, and frankly, sometimes I’m not satisfied enough with my work to feel I deserve one. Did you like the poem from above? It is also called “The Purpose of my Words.” I love poetry and have been writing poems on and off for years. Sometimes I share them and have even been published a few times, but mostly I write for me.

It’s pretty fitting that today is Dr. Suess’s birthday. He is my idol. He inspires me to keep writing poems and other works. So if you’ve read any or all of my posts, thank you. It’s an honor to share my work with you. To everyone out there that hasn’t, that’s totally okay. You do you and I’ll do me.