We’re Number Two

Last weekend was a milestone for me. It was a number of different things. It was my first time playing…

  1. In a real roller derby bout,
  2. With the Bombshell Brawlers, and it makes me sad that I’m not actually on that amazing team,
  3. Against non Winnipeg Roller Derby League players,
  4. More than one game in one day,
  5. In a different country, and
  6. For any sort of ranking.

It all happened extremely last minute too. While at practice on Thursday, one of the girls that was supposed to be playing sprained her ankle badly in the last five minutes of practice (and I’m so glad you’re able to hobble around again!).

I was already going down to Grand Forks to cheer for our team, so I offered to play, not realizing that I would actually be added to the Brawlers’ roster, and not realizing it was a tournament. Even when I was added to the roster, I was an alternate, meaning I probably wouldn’t play.

Until more people playing developed the “Manitoba plague” that seemed to be going around the league, in which case our bench coach said, “you’re definitely playing.”

For those who are unaware, sports haven’t been a big part of my life for a long time. In fact, I haven’t played a team sport since I was in elementary school playing soccer… where I was benched for most games. So being thrown into a game situation is still extremely nerve wracking to me, when it really shouldn’t be.

All of the ladies in our league are far different from when I played soccer though. They’re all extremely supportive, and even if I would go out and have a crappy jam, I’d still get a pat on the shoulder and was told not to worry about it and that the next jam would be better.

Even the players on the other teams were reassuring! The first team we played, the A-Town Roller Girls, came up to us a few times after the bout to tell us how awesome we played.

Now of course the tournament wasn’t all peachy perfect. Playing three games in one day was one of the most exhausting things I’ve had to do. I remember a moment during our second game where I was sitting on the bench staring into space, extremely tired, when our bench coach tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey. Your teammates are beside you, work out a plan.”

By the time the third game came around, we had gone from 13 players down to 11. One player suffered from food poisoning and another girl got a toe stop to the back of the neck and was brought to the hospital. Two other girls didn’t give up, but were still struggling with past injuries. It reminds me of this one quote that’s been going around throughout our league that sums it up almost perfectly.

We ruin our bodies to save our souls, and for some reason that makes perfect sense. - Bonnie D. Stroir

No matter how bad some girls injure themselves, it always seems so difficult to leave the community.

The third game we played was against Brandon’s Gang Green, and by half time, we knew there was no way we were going to win the game. We were far too behind, and far too exhausted.

So instead we decided to have some fun instead! We started cheering, “Brawlers! Brawlers! Brawlers!” We also danced on the line while we waited for jams to start, and started trying trying some moves that we would normally never try during a bout (like jumping the apex. Kudos to the girls who tried!)

And at the end of it all, we were so thrilled that we not only made it through the day, but also won two games in the process. When we were awarded with medals we all started cheering, “we’re number 2!” like in the movie Whip It! and I’m sure I can speak for all of us that I couldn’t be happier to be number 2.

The Bombshell Brawlers for the Grand Forks tournament!

The Bombshell Brawlers for the Grand Forks tournament!

It’s weekends like this that really make me see how much this sport has had a positive impact on my life, even if I have and will suffer physical pain from it. The pros most definitely outweigh the odds.

Don’t believe me? Hear it from other members of the league as well! Eden Ramsay, a CreComm student that finished her second year this year, made a small documentary about the WRDL that sums up how I feel perfectly. Check it out below.

(Insert shameless self promotion): Have you wanted to come check out roller derby? We have a fun themed game coming up! Our Pride themed bout is on May 30. Check out the WRDL website for more information. I also have tickets and there will be more at the door.

After a Year of Waiting…

…I’ve finally been drafted! You’re now looking at one of the newest players for the Winnipeg Roller Derby League’s BackSeat Betties.

BackSeat_BettiesWhy am I so excited? Well, there’s a few reasons. Roller derby is the first team sport I’ve played since I was in soccer in grade 4 (where I was benched most of the time), so playing a team sport usually means you want to be on a team, right?

Now they had a legitimate reason for making my Fresh Meat group wait… They wanted us to acquire more “derby brains” and prove ourselves to the league since being at part of the WRDL also involves volunteering.

Now I did have the chance to be on a team… this past fall they did draft to our travel teams, but unfortunately being a poor lil’ student, I couldn’t afford to be on a travel team. So I was one of… maybe five or six people in the league that wasn’t on a team.

Honestly, I didn’t mind that much before, because I still got to scrimmage and play with some of the best women I’ve ever met, and we weren’t biased or anything because of me not being on a team.

But, I almost felt slightly ashamed when people outside of derby would ask me, “so what team are you on?” and I’d have to say, “actually… I’m not on a team yet.” I didn’t want people to think that I was such a bad player that I couldn’t get on a team or something. That wasn’t the case I swear! I’m not that bad at derby.

So hurray! Look world, I’m now a Bettie. And not only that, my derby wife, Nikki (Hakuna MyTatas) is also on my team. Since day one, Hakuna and I were never on the same team because we’re similar body types and have a similar skill level, so getting to play together is even more exciting.

That and each home team in the league have their own sort of personality, and I feel like the Backseat Betties suit me the best of all the teams. I don’t party enough for the Valkyrie’s Wrath and I’m not prestigious enough for the Corporation.

So to the lovely ladies that chose me for their team (Foxy and Rantz), you guys are awesome, and I’m ready to kick some derby butt this summer with my new teammies.

(Insert shameless self promotion here) If you want to come watch me fall all over the place (but still kick some butt), I’ll be playing with the Betties on June 21st at the Fort Garry Curling Club. You should probably come check it out.

Apparently I like Falling

After reading Kieran’s blog post last week about quick feet, it made me think about an article I wrote for a class last semester that I had completely forgotten about.

And after having my big project proposal rejected this week and now being sent back to the drawing board with a new deadline that’s very fast approaching, I decided to take my own advice.

Falling and Getting Up, Fast (and not just in roller derby)

I lined up on the jammer line and stared at my opponent. The stars on our helmets were like targets and the blockers were out to get us and not let us pass. I was so nervous when I jammed that my heart started racing.

As the jammer it was my job to score the points by passing the blockers; one for each blocker I passed. I had to do everything in my power to impress my new teammates and that meant scoring more points than the girl staring back at me.

The whistle blew and we took off, pushing our way through the pack of blockers. I fought my way past each blocker and was almost through when one last girl stood in my path. I skated towards her, hoping I could sneak past her.

She smashed me in the shoulder and threw me outside of the track. I landed hard on my knees. Staring at the ground for a moment, the only thing going through my mind was “so much pain, so much pain, so much pain.”

My mind began to clear as I realized I needed to get my butt up. Slowly inching my way up and back on the track, I felt so disappointed and thought my teammates must have felt the same way. The other blocker scored her points; I’m pretty sure I scored none.

It’s common in life that if you fall, you have to eventually get back up. But playing roller derby has pushed that one step further for me. When I fall, yes I need to get up, but I need to get up fast.

The rule in derby is two seconds. If I can’t get up and back in the game in two seconds, I’m hurting my team. Now every time I fall hard, instead of thinking, “So much pain,” I tell myself, “Okay that hurt. Now get up and keep moving.”

The truth in all aspects of life is that sometimes, no matter how hard I fight through the pack, there’s going to be that one blocker that’s going to cause me to fall. What matters is how I deal with it.

If I stay down or take my time getting up thinking about how much it hurt me, that blocker and the other team win. If I get up fast and take them by surprise, I win. Even if I get knocked down again and again, I’m still getting in that blocker’s way and eventually that whistle will blow and the jam, or the other problems in life, will be over.

Eventually, that problem is just going to be another bit of history. I don’t want to dwell on this roller derby jam or other problems I face in life. It’s entirely my decision how I choose to deal with misfortunes in life, and now I choose to get over them quickly and move on.

Get Out! (side)

I think it’s time.

I think it’s time to finally crack open the door and slowly walk outside squinting my eyes. It’s a land that’s become so foreign to me after this monstrosity of a winter. This week Winnipeg got above 10 degrees Celsius, which I thought would never come.

What this truly means for me is two things: I’ll have to give Sadie a lot more baths (like WAYY more baths), anddd I can dust off my old outdoor wheels, and go for a roller skate outside. That’s right, outside!

What’s that? There’s still snow on the ground you say? Yeah, I know. One of the many things about Winnipeg that could be better is our lack of places to roller skate over the winter. For roller derby we even have a difficult time finding somewhere to practice because most floors large enough for us to skate on are covered with ice over the winter.

That being said, the only other place is Wheelies. I don’t really want to go into details about that place… but it’s limiting there.

So hurray! Outside! This means I can get skating again, one of my favourite things ever, regularly. The path will probably be filthy, and cracked. It’ll probably be cold. I’ll definitely have to layer up, wear a toque, find some mitts, but I bet it’ll be worth it.

As I’m sure everyone knows, going outside is also healthier for you than being inside. Considering it’s almost the middle of April, I would say it’s time to just suck it up and get out there already.

I’ll definitely try this skating thing on Saturday or Sunday, and see how interesting the experience of roller skating beside piles of snow is. In the meantime, get outside! Enjoy the warmer weather! Walk your dog, look up at the sun, go for a drive and not slip and slide, anything at all.

Eat Paint

THIS IS IT FOLKS.

After months of blood, sweat, and tears, us first year CreCommers have finally finished our magazine projects, and I could not be more excited.

For those of you who are unaware of the magazine project, in our second semester we get put into groups of four or five people and are told to create a magazine, entirely.

I was paired up with the amazing group Reynold Beniza, Jade Markus, Brett Madill, and Marc Lagace. Together we created Paint Eater, an urban arts & lifestyle magazine. We have articles about B-boys in Winnipeg, graffiti, outlaws, DJs, and photographers capturing all of these talented people.

Our magazine cover. Photo by: Jade Markus

Our magazine cover.
Photo by: Jade Markus

We got the chance to go to breakdance practices and take all of our own photos. It made me wish I could be as awesome as some of these guys and spin on my head and what not… Maybe someday.

Everyone got a crash course in how to design a magazine, and it was one of the first times in CreComm that we got to write a journalism article that was longer than 400 words.

Anyways, our final magazine is FINISHED and ready for all of you guys to see this Friday, April 4,  at the Magazine Trade Fair! We’ll have a booth set up at the Red River College Princess St. Campus from noon until 4 p.m. for you guys to come check out our magazine!

We’ll also have rap Mad Libs, a cool graffiti tag thing, some Red Bull samples, and some sweet videos of B-boys (some that we filmed and some from good ol’ YouTube). And of course we’ll have copies of our magazine for you to flip through and check out.

And while you’re there, why not check out some of the other CreComm magazine booths? There will be lots of free food and activities. It’s bound to be a good time and you’ll miss out if you don’t come, believe me.

Here’s a little video I put together of some local B-boys at one of their practice spaces. Hope to see you all there on Friday!

The Wall Sit Challenge

Some people may think I’m crazy but one of my favourite exercises is squatting. Now, I have reasons for this… mainly because it’s what helps me not fall on my bum so much in derby (see my other post about falling properly to see that I definitely need some assistance with this).

But yes, in roller derby we have this thing called “derby stance,” which is basically holding a squat for as long as you’re on the track. Why? Because people can’t knock you over as easily, your strides are much stronger… and that’s about the only way I can possibly make a wall beside someone who’s way shorter than me.

So yes, one of my fellow derby players, Pocket Rockette, posted on Facebook the other day something called the “30 Day Wall Sit Challenge.”

It’s pretty simple. Every day you do a wall sit for 10 seconds longer than the previous day. For 30 days. Which equals to 300 seconds (or 5 longgg minutes) on the last day. I’ll be starting this… wonderful… challenge tomorrow morning at 10 seconds.

Want to join me? You definitely should, because, I mean, I think that muscular legs look better than, say, things like this thigh gap trend currently going around. I know some will disagree (I’ve already had a comment about it), but strong legs are more achievable and, in my opinion, better.

So in order to do this well, first you need to do it correctly! Squats (or wall sits) can be fantastic for your legs and bum, but they can also be detrimental to your knees and painful on the back if you don’t do them correctly.

Generally, the rules are that your knees should never stick out farther than your feet. If they are, rearrange yourself so that your feet stick out farther than your knees. When your knees are out farther, there’s much more pressure going onto them, which is bad. Bad. Bad.

Now I’m going to throw in some more fun derby lingo (since there’s so much of that), and say that the best way to get good squatting or wall sitting form is to have your bum out and your tickets up. Your “tickets” are around your chest region, hint. So keep your back up straight, and stick your bum out like you’re about to sit on a chair, but, you know, don’t actually sit on that chair.

The 30 Day Wall Sit Challenge has also started the hashtag #30dayfitness to use if you want to brag about your progress if you would like to partake.

So enjoy squat town! I know I will… maybe.

30-day-wall-sit-challenge-chart

Fun Ways to Exercise: Going Downhill

I haven’t done a fun way to exercise recently, and although I never got to actually try this place since we were there on an assignment, it definitely looks fun. I mean, what wouldn’t be fun about gliding down a hill really fast? And, it’s not far from Winnipeg at all.

So this past weekend in Creative Communications we were sent off into the wonderful lands of Manitoba and outside of the Winnipeg border to do a journalism and advertising assignment. I don’t know about you guys, but I definitely didn’t think there was much going on outside of Winnipeg within Manitoba.

I went with my pals Corey and Brett, and we went up to Stony Mountain. Yes, the place with the prison and not much else. Except we actually found that there IS one neat place there, Stony Mountain Ski Area.

The skill hill opened in Stony in 1966, and has been running every year since. They now have six routes, different jumps and features, snowboarding and skiing, and lessons. I’ve never actually been skiing or snowboarding before, but this little place made me want to try because it was definitely no where near as daunting as some of the bigger hills.

We talked to the owner of the ski hill, Gary Dewar, who told us about the snow making process (which takes them about 500 hours per winter, yikes, right?), and the evolution of skis and snowboards.

In recent years, they’ve actually started to make skis look more like snowboards because of better maneuverability. New skis are shorter and slightly wider at the ends, so although snowboarding took over as the most popular, skiing is making a comeback according to Dewar.

Dewar also said that the hill is facing the perfect direction so that the wind just sort of glides over it, making it more tolerable on those awful windy days. The sun also hits the hill in a certain way that it doesn’t melt as quickly, which is kind of neat too.

So since that snow just never seems to stop falling… why not get the most of it while it’s still here? Stony Mountain is only about 25 minutes outside of Winnipeg on Old Highway 7.

Since hours vary and there are lots of different prices for different things, you can always check that stuff out on their website at www.skistony.com.

Oh, and if you find yourself famished after skiing and snowboarding, there’s a cute newish cafe in the town called Summit Cafe. Go check that out too. It’s pretty swell. Did I mention the floors there are made out of pennies?