November WARDian of the Month: Kronie

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Team mate Missy Quinn and Kronie at Home Game Grand Final

Team mate Missy Quinn and Kronie at Home Game Grand Final

How did you first hear about roller derby?

I first joined WARD in 2011 after being invited by a friend to go to a home game. I fell in love with it all and decided to join!  After making it to level 3 I found it to be too difficult to keep it up with post grad studies so had to leave :(  Luckily I kept in contact with Vector who convinced me to give it another go at the start of this year. It was then I realised I had had a giant derby sized hole in my life all this time!

What is something that you know about roller derby now that you wish you knew when you first started?

That the mental game is just as important as the physical one. Also what an amazing, supportive community derby is! So don’t be so scared

What is the roller derby goal you are working towards right now?

Forever trying to do better at lateral movement/side surfs. They will be the death of me! Also staying focused on the task at hand during scrims.

What do you do to keep your derby brain switched on?

Trying to get to as many training sessions and watch as many games as possible. And do all of the things all of the time!

Who in WARD is inspiring you at the moment?

Beers and Holly for their incredible derby skillz, dedication to the league and wonderful coaching.
Chi chi for her amazing organisational skills and contributions.
Shannon for her perseverance and general sass.

What keeps you enthused about roller derby?

Seeing WARD members achieving their goals; seeing what a positive impact derby has on people’s lives in general. I’m also super proud of the way WARD has made efforts to change problematic language and be more inclusive.
WARDian of the month Kronie

WARDian of the month Kronie

Who do you nominate as our next WARDian of the Month?

Lolpop for her hard work in all things derby and Luna for her general awesomeness.
Roller Derby

October WARDian of the Month: Beers

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Thanks so much for making me WARDian of the month!!!

I really don’t enjoy talking about myself, so I’m going to use this opportunity to instead say thanks to all of the people who have made such an impact on my life over the past 4 years at WARD. Those that have been around since I started will know that I have grown and changed a lot over that time, and I am very grateful to WARD and the people that I have met along the way, that have given me the courage and confidence to be me.

Roller Derby really is a wonderful sport that allows people to be themselves, to be proud of who they are, to challenge themselves, to be supported, and pushed just a little when they need it. My most favourite part is that it’s an enjoyable way to keep fit and there’s always a new challenge, new strategy is the best!  WFTDA Champs are on this weekend, and my advice to everyone is to WATCH IT!

Photo Credit:  Matt Moore

Photo Credit: Matt Moore

I have had the privilege of being a part of Sirens and Top 30 this year as well as having the role of Top 30 Co-Captain alongside the amazing Rolla, and President.  I am constantly inspired by the people I get to be around each and every week.  There are so many people like Tiny, who gives up her time each and every week to coach our skaters, organise assessments and put together coaching rosters each cycle; Rolla, who is an invaluable asset to this league (I hate to think how many volunteer hours she has racked up over the past 6 odd years!);  Chi Chi and Penny who put their hands up for Manco roles even though they were still quite new to the league; Vector who gave up who knows how many hours developing code to make our systems more manageable.  The list goes on and on.

And of course my final thanks goes to Juicy.  She is the voice of reason and keeps me sane when I sometimes (always) take on a few too many things! #juicyistherealmvp

Ouchi plus 5

September WARDian of the Month: Ouchi Meowchi

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How did you first hear about roller derby?

I went to a bout with my Mum a few years ago, and it’s been in the back of my mind since then.  I desperately wanted to join but my low self-esteem kept telling me not to because there was no way I could ever be good enough.  2017 rolls around and a post for the WARD November intake somehow worked its way onto my FB feed.  I don’t know what possessed me, but I sent in an email asking for information.  In that same timeframe the WAYWards vs South Sea Sirens match took place, and I dragged Mum along to it.  It was witnessing that game that made me determined roller derby was going to be my sport.

Ouchi - demo

Photo Credit: Shannon Ferguson

What is something that you know about roller derby now that you wish you knew when you first started?

It’s not just about rolling around in circles and hitting people.  It’s so much more technical than that!

What is the roller derby goal you are working towards right now?

I am very very keen to earn my zebra stripes.

What do you do to keep your derby brain switched on?

Research!  Looking up rules, teams, gear and watching bouts on Youtube.  Though NSOing is definitely the fastest way to learn about the game.  I find the best way to keep switched on is to be involved, even when I’m not actually skating.

Who in WARD is inspiring you at the moment?

So many of my fellow Level One-ders!  There are so many new skaters who have barely ever skated before, and they have such awesome give-it-a-go attitudes.  I love training with them, and they really inspire me to keep going.

Ouchi - groupWho do nominate as our next WARDian of the Month?

So. Many. People.  I may sound biased being the league secretary, but everyone in the sectretariat stream has worked so hard since I joined – Vector, Pat, Bex, Amber, Fury.  Amber especially, as she took on the Risk and Safety Officer role, which is an area that needs a lot of love and attention.  Also, Max Power for helping me out so much with learning to HNSO; there is no way I could have done it without her.  We have an awesome league with so many hard-workers in it.  It’s hard to narrow it down to one.

 

slender jam 1

August WARDian of the Month: SlenderJam

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How did you first hear about roller derby?

I first heard about roller derby from Cannon Bill, whom I had met a few times at general sessions and in passing at work. We spoke and he asked about my inline speed skating and asked me if I’d be willing to give derby a go. After some thought and encouragement from my partner Emma, I agreed, got my hands on some quads and off I went! I broke those quads in the first scrim I ever played, and then moved onto the Bonts I have today.

slender jam 4

Photo Credit: Alex Porebski

What is something that you know about roller derby now that you wish you knew when you first started?

Since then, I’ve come along to as much training as possible and always endeavor to excel. After only a few months of playing derby I tried out for the Australian team. Then, to my very surprise, I got in! Something I wish I knew in the beginning, however, is that the mental game and mental preparation is just as (if not more) important than physically preparing for games, training and scrims.

slender jam 3

Photo Credit: Richard Tompsett

What is the roller derby goal you are working towards right now?

At the moment, my derby goal is to help other skaters and jammers improve their skills and pass on my skills that the Wizards taught me, bettering West Australian derby and creating friendships and fun for everyone. I put my hand up as a jammer coach and WARD have accepted it, so I can start working towards that goal.

What do you do to keep your derby brain switched on?

I try to keep my derby brain turned on as much as I can, but that’s not always a possibility. I train with some bio-metric exercises that allow me to build movements into muscle memory, so even if I’m not in the best mindset or just having a bad mental game, my body will hopefully react on its on. When that fails, I have my team! I listen out and someone will tell me if I need to snap out of it and get with the program.

Gabriele Sluraro

Photo Credit: Gabriele Sluraro

Who in WARD is inspiring you at the moment?

Right now, everyone at WARD inspires me. Everyone has different motivations and reasons for getting into the sport, different drives to succeed and improve and different goals on where they want to be. That variety compels and inspires me to do my best to facilitate growth, improvement and a helpful amount of giggles to the mix of people who attend each session.

What keeps you enthused about roller derby?

Since returning from World’s and Wizards, enthusiasm towards derby was at a low. The inability to push myself meant that I came to training unmotivated and was probably an impediment to other skaters. After re-evaluating my priorities and my motivations, I worked on bringing others up to my level. Since that decision, I’ve come to training ready, motivated and happy.

slender jam 5

Photo Credit: Richard Tompsett

Who do you nominate as our next WARDian of the Month?

My next nomination for WARDian of the month goes towards Luna and/or Rolla. When either of them are injured they always attend to lend any and all support to the skaters.

Featured Photo Credit:  Albany Roller Derby

Photo Credit:  City of Canning

July WARDian of the Month: Missy Quinn

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How did you first hear about roller derby?

I first heard about roller derby from my parents when they both signed up with inner west roller derby league in Sydney.  Mum was a bouting skating and Dad is a Ref.  Due to our location at the time, roller derby wasn’t really present till the year we were posting out to move here.  The bonus was Dad and Mum were posted to Perth the same year.  Basically, Mum talked me into attending a few social skates with the kiddlets and see how we all go, as I grew up skating.  Before I knew it we were attending Rolloways every Friday night.  Dad kept pointing at the WARD intake posters every time they popped up.  I finally decided to come along and check it out.  I must say I haven’t looked back.

What is something that you know about roller derby now that you wish you knew when you first started?

Since I am still new to roller derby, so to speak, I think I wish I knew how much speed hurts (kidding), that roller derby is more than just skating, bouting and winning, that roller derby is family.  Especially with WARD it’s all about the friendships, the support you receive and how each and every skater has their own journey of achieving their own goals and where they see themselves.

What is the roller derby goal you are working towards right now?

I am currently working towards my Level 3 assessment.  I am slowly improving on my left foot plows and trying to stay in derby stance and not pop up when receiving or giving hits.

What do you do to keep your derby brain switched on?

I like to NSO at scrims and bouts.  I find it helps to keep my derby brain switched on, as I get to see visually what is happening, while I am also learning the rules and strategies.  Also by attending NSO and skating clinics.

Who in WARD is inspiring you at the moment?

Hmm, this is a hard one as there are many skaters, refs and NSO who inspire me.  To me, everyone at WARD is very inspiring in their own ways.  Each person brings something special to WARD.

What keeps enthused about roller derby?

All my WARD peeps.  I appreciate all the advice given to improve myself as a skater.  I just love the support everyone receives but also gives.

Who do nominate as our next WARDian of the Month?

Tiny for all her time, support and love she puts into each and every skater.  No matter what, she is always there for you.

Photo Credit:  City of Canning

Danger Ref 1

June WARDian of the Month: Hermione Danger

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What is something that you know about roller derby now that you wish you knew when you first started?Danger Portrait

I’d never been part of a team sport before joining WARD and I had no idea how much work it takes behind the scenes.  On a personal level, all the skaters, referees, and NSOs are working to improve their skills, get to training sessions, coach new skaters and officials, plus all the work that goes into keeping a league afloat (and that’s A LOT).  Then, on the night of a game, not only do we have all the skaters that have trained so hard to be there, but all the referees and NSOs and volunteers that are calling penalties, keeping the skaters safe, keeping score, tracking penalty box times, MCing, setting up, taking everything down, staffing the door, running the bar, selling raffle tickets – it’s absolutely huge!  The first time I saw a roller derby game I was focused on the skaters, but I’m so glad I know now how many other people there are working hard to make roller derby happen; it’s really incredible.

What is the Danger Ref 2roller derby goal you are working towards right now?

I have a couple of chronic illnesses and I’ve been going through a rough patch lately so my most immediate goal is balancing my health with derby.  I think sometimes this is the hardest goal I have to work on because it’s very easy to feel discouraged and think it would be easier to quit.  And it absolutely would be!  But then I’d miss out on working on my other goals, like learning to referee in the Front Inside Pack Ref position, Head Ref at a home game, and referee at an interstate game.  I’m also keen to work more on my backwards skating (I want to be fast enough to stay with the pack!) and transitions at high speed.

What do you do to keep your derby brain switched on?

I love the hypothetical rules discussions that we have in the Developing Referees group. I also like to watch videos of roller derby games; I pretend I’m one of the refs and try to catch penalties!

Who in WARD is inspiring you at the moment?Danger with Jeneva

I don’t want to single people out, but I’m inspired by everyone in WARD that pushes through their struggle.  It might be challenges with their fitness, living with chronic illness or injury, or just balancing all that life entails while showing up to derby, but everyone who does that inspires me.  This doesn’t exclude the people who need to take breaks!  If you’re a human who’s trying their best, then you inspire me!

Who do nominate as our next WARDian of the Month?

I’d like to nominate Die Lithium as the next WARDian of the Month; not only is she a wonderful, generous, and kind person, she is a great skater and coach.  I love watching her play!

 

Sin Photo - Jammer

May WARDian of the Month: Sin

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I am truly honoured to receive this aWARD and it has come at a hard time for me in my Derby journey, with injuries keeping me off skates for what seems like an eternity.  I miss all my teamies and it’s easy to feel a little out of touch at times.  So thanks for letting me know I am appreciated!

I wasn’t a sporty kid growing up and never really had the opportunity to take part in team sports outside of school.  Derby was the first time that I actually felt part of a team.  This is one of the things I love the most about this crazy sport and although I found it later in life, it came at a time where I needed to find something for me.  As a Mum of two and self-employed full-time worker, it’s very easy to be caught up in the needs of family/work life and you just start to exist.  For me, Derby became my breakaway and something that I looked forward to each week.  As my skills grew, so did my confidence and my love for the sport.  I was more than happy to take my time progressing through the levels, and making it onto home teams was more than I ever expected.  So I’ve currently hit a bump in the road and have had to accept that I need to give myself time to repair.  Who knows where this journey will lead me but Derby and WARD will always have a piece of my heart.

Our leaSin Photo - Teamgue is so full of inspirational people so deserving of recognition for the time and effort they put in to making WARD what it is:  our T30 skaters who work so hard to improve themselves and also give up their own free time to coach everyone else; our refs and NSOs – without them I’m sure we would be a truly unruly bunch!; the committee members working so hard behind the scenes to keep everything running smoothly from assessments, coaching plans, organising venues, liaising with other leagues, facilitating training for NSOs and Refs, and generally managing all of our member information … the list goes on.  WARD is made up of so many fantastic people and I am so grateful to be a part of that team (with or without my skates on).

I’d really like to take the opportunity to encourage our new (and old) Wardians to take that next step and offer your help as part of the WARD Committee.  As they say, many hands make light work and it really isn’t that scary.  Who knows?  You may learn a new skill and also get to spend time with an amazing bunch of people.

Matthew Boggs

April WARDian of the Month: Dean

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April: WARDian of the Month: Dean

How did you first hear about roller derby?

I ran in to a Derby skater at a general session at Morley and we got to talking. I had seen a few videos prior and had always thought it would be something that I may be able to be a part of in a coaching capacity from the skating side of things. The first live game I ever watched made no sense to me at all. I had had no explanation of the rules or how the game was played, so it was always about the skating for me to begin with.

What is something that you know about roller derby now that you wish you knew when you first started?

After shoulder surgery I certainly hit differently and advise others to do the same. Early days playing saw some skaters constantly using the pointy end of the shoulder to hit. I now wish that we had had the advice to use a more broader hitting style. Being constantly hit in this manner led to the surgery.

Matthew Boggs

Matthew Boggs

 

What is the roller derby goal you are working towards right now?

For anyone that may have not noticed I kind of love to skate, and to share my knowledge and abilities with others is pretty neat for me. I love being a part of the Fresh cycles. Nothing warms my heart more than to be a part of a skaters evolution from, “I can’t do that” to “WOW I’m playing in my first scrimmage”. There is no set time how long your Derby journey will be, but there is enough support at this club, that if you persist, you will enjoy it as you reach each of your Derby destinations.

Good skating is hard. Playing a contact sport on roller skates is even harder. Self doubt is hardest of all, but there are so many helpful people at WARD that want to see you be a part of this kooky sport and will happily give their time for you to help meet your goals.

 

What do you do to keep your derby brain switched on?

Uh? Scrambled eggs with cream, bacon on cheesy toast what?

Who in WARD is inspiring you at the moment?

Everyone. Anytime I see YOU try something tricky or develop new skating skills it rewards me. Then there is the NSOs and Refs that give their time to help make it possible for the games to happen. Love those people always as you can’t play without them. Those within the club itself (much more deserving than me for this gong) that make it all happen, from Manco to people helping fund raise and volley. There are so many smiles wherever you look around this place. That is inspiring in itself.

Mitchell Photography

Mitchell Photography

What keeps you enthused about roller derby?

I am really enjoying watching the enthusiasm and drive of each skaters journey. From fresh skaters trying to nail those tricky moves to higher level skaters trying to improve and grow. With time, help and persistence I believe that any skater can reach a goal they strive for in a supportive environment. It is every individual giving a part of themselves that makes a club what it is and if I can be a small part of that and begin to help others love skating the way I do then that is plenty for me.

Who do nominate as our next WARDian of the Month?

About 200 people before me that should be acknowledged. I am in awe of people like Luna who gives so much time and hair to being a ref and helping others. Beers and the sturdy crew behind the scenes that keep the wheels of the club turning. Peaches, Jimmy, Holly and Fang taking on jammer roles, the intensity of skaters like Minx that give 100% every time and skaters like Violence that just keep at it. New arrivals to level 3 like Nachos and Doughnuts have so much future. New Freshies that give their time to volley and NSO well before they can play. So many great people. Maybe I should just nominate WARD itself if that isn’t too cheesy.

Matthew Boggs

Matthew Boggs

 

Photo Credit:  Matthew Boggs

March WARDian of the Month: Shreddy Mercury

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How did you first hear about roller derby?

Not long after I saw the film Whip It, I bumped into Skully Crossbones at work and she was in the middle of a conversation about derby.  It took her about a year to convince me to sign up, but I haven’t looked back. (Thanks Skully!)

What is something that you know about roller derby now that you wish you knew when you first started?

That I didn’t need to be so scared!  I had no idea what the derby community was like or if I was capable of playing a contact sport.  It turns out I had nothing to worry about.  WARDians are super friendly and supportive and I’m stronger than I thought.

Photo Credit: Matthew Boggs

Photo Credit: Matthew Boggs

What is the roller derby goal you are working towards right now?

Having a better understanding of what’s going on on the track.  Being new to scrimmage, it still feels a bit chaotic.

What do you do to keep your derby brain switched on?

My derby brain is still in training!  Right now, I’m just throwing myself into everything I can, and absorbing as much as possible.

Who in WARD is inspiring you at the moment?

The other members of Team Fresh (the new level 3+ skaters) for their fantastic attitudes, especially when thrown into the deep end at scrim.  Snuggles (Suzanne) for her resilience.  Rina for her hard work NSOing, doing stats and reffing, in addition to skating.  Every WARDian who shaved their heads or waxed their legs for WARD’s Greatest Shave on the weekend.  There are so many inspiring people in WARD and I could easily keep going!

What keeps you enthused about roller derby?

Seeing the more experienced players’ derby skills on the track – they’ve trained really hard to get where they are. Playing other sports helps too – it adds balance to my life and it’s great cross-training too.

Who do nominate as our next WARDian of the Month?

Danna for her infectious enthusiasm both as a skater and NSO.  I’ve never seen her without a smile on her face.

Featured Image Photo Credit:  Matthew Boggs
Photo credit: Hermione Danger

March: Roller Derby Gear – A Freshie’s Guide by Shreddy Mercury

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One of the first, and most daunting, decisions that people need to make when they join a derby league is their gear. Hopefully this guide is helpful to somebody out there!

What do I need to buy?

WARD skaters wear:

  • Helmet
  • Mouth guard
  • Knee pads
  • Elbow pads
  • Wrist guards

Skates

Most skaters start off with some kind of polyurethane (vegan leather) boot and a nylon plate. These are on the cheaper end of the scale and are very comfortable. Depending on a number of factors, these skates might last you anywhere from six months to a couple of years. Mine lasted for about a year, and I was skating a few times per week.

A good fit is very important, so I’d recommend trying on your first skates before buying (rather than buying them online). If you can, get a proper fitting at a skate shop.

Helmet

Get a good-quality helmet that fits properly (i.e. snug but not headache-inducingly tight). You want to protect your brain, don’t you? Look for brands such as S1, Triple 8, Nutcase, TSG, Pro-Tec and Bauer.

Mouth Guard

Dentist-made mouthguards will cost an arm and a leg, but they give your teeth amazing impact protection. Most skate shops sell decent “boil and bite” mouthguards too- these are often less bulky than the dentist-made ones, and they can also be easier to talk and drink with.

Kneepads, Elbow Pads and Wrist Guards

Buy the best kneepads you can afford. You don’t notice how important your knees are until you hurt them. Expensive derby kneepads can be bulky, though- at first, I thought they were RIDICULOUS and had no idea how I’d skate in them. But you’ll get used to them very quickly, and the bulkier kneepads force you to bend your knees more- perfect for derby.

Good elbow pads tend to be less expensive than good kneepads. I’d recommend the kind with velcro straps at the back (so they open right out), not ones that just slip on. I’ve learned the hard way that the ones that don’t open up at the back are IMPOSSIBLE to de-stink, but then maybe you’re not as stinky as me.

Cheaper wrist guards will often have a big “bump” where the palm of your hand is. These are fine for fresh meat. I’ve heard that they can hurt your teammates in proper game play, though- so wrist guards with a flatter palm area are a wise investment if you’re thinking longer-term.

Good knee pad, elbow pad and wrist guard brands include: Triple 8, S1, Pro-Tec, 187, Deadbolt, Atom, TSG and Smith Scabs.

Stopping the Stink: Protective Gear

Image: Some lovely clean WARDian gear from DerbyFest this year.

Image: Some lovely clean WARDian gear from DerbyFest this year.

You’ll find heaps of guides on this all over the internet. Here’s what works for me.

At minimum: take your protective gear out of your bag after every practice. If you have a tiny washing line, hang your gear up and put it somewhere airy. (A bit of sun can help, too- but it can eventually damage elastic.) You can spray it all with an alcohol/disinfectant spray if you like. Brush your mouth guard with toothpaste

Once this stops working: hand-wash or machine-wash your gear (check what the manufacturer recommends). If you’re machine-washing, separate it into separate wash bags so it doesn’t all stick together. If your mouth guard looks gross, soak it overnight in a mixture of 50% water, 50% white vinegar, then rinse it well.

Stopping the Stink: Skates

Those really well-padded freshie skates get super stinky! I used to spray them with an alcohol spray and air them out, but this often wasn’t enough to stop the stink. A number of my friends swear by the moisture absorbers sold by skate shops. Otherwise, fill a sock with kitty litter and put it in your skates.

Less-padded boots will generally get less stinky- just make sure you’re airing them out after every practice.

Interested in skating with WARD? Hit us up on the WA Roller Derby Facebook page, or e-mail info@warollerderby.com.au. We have a new skater intake every 12 weeks; no experience needed!

Shreddy x

Featured Image Photo Credit:  Hermoine Danger