Friday, June 18, 2010

Making The Team

So Derby Helper,
Im asking you for advice if you have a second to give it. I am trying out for a derby team this Saturday & I wanted any tips that would help me stand out from the rest. The tryouts only consist of basic skating ability since the rink we will be trying out on doesnt have derby insurance. I can speed skate, on derby skate ( rollerblader for 13 years & just bought derby ones last week) crossovers, figure 8s, changing elevations, ive been working on my sideways skate that Im not the best at, I would like to do the jammer position since Im fast & little. I dont take shit & I work construction for a living so I know a lil about rough & tough. Question...does size matter when it comes to selection a player...

Any advice you could offer would be appreciated. Thanks for your time

Hope to be aka P**** R***

Well to address your last issue first, the International Rollergirls Master Roster says that the name you want is available so you're set there unless some jerk puts your idea on some internationally-read roller derby blog somewhere. (Not guilty!) More importantly however, the apprehension you are feeling as your tryout date approaches is completely normal. You know what you can do on skates but you don't know yet how that will translate to the derby world. Fast & little is a perfect recipe for a jammer so I think you're on the right track there but don't rule out being a blocker because some of the most effective blockers I've seen are shorties who are nimble enough to maneuver through the pack and keep getting in the jammer's way over and over again. Given the set of skills that you listed, I think that the skating part of the equation will take care of itself for you. All you need now are a few ways to earn the favor of the rollergirls who will be evaluating you. So to help you seal the deal, here are three sociological tricks you can use use to earn their acceptance:

Show Your Tattoos
Roller derby hurts.  Tattooing hurts.  It's no coincidence that girls who are attracted to derby tend to have tattoos.  Having a tattoo shows that you're willing to endure pain to achieve something.  Having two or more tattoos means that you didn't just do something that one time when you were too drunk to make a good decision, and also shows that you were willing to go back under the needle already knowing full well how much it hurts.  High pain tolerance + willingness to suffer to achieve a goal = perfect roller derby candidate.  Since you're in construction, I assume you have at least six or seven pieces of ink so make sure to wear something that shows every bit of work you have that won't get you arrested.  (Note: Every piercing you have that isn't in your earlobe counts as two tattoos.)

Look Badass
The same way that uninformed voters tend to vote for whoever they think looks the most "leader-ish" in their campaign pictures, derby folks who haven't seen you skate yet will make a subconcious decision about your potential based on the toughness of your attire.  Since they are basically trying to figure out how good you will be at intentionally plowing into people you don't know at full speed, you will not get nearly as much mileage out of a freshly-ironed, sunshine-yellow "WWJD" t-shirt as you will from a ripped black t-shirt that says "I love my AK-47".

Contribute To Their Non-Solid Caloric Intake
That's a fancy way of saying, "Buy them some booze."  This is a tougher one to pull off, but if you do it right, it's worth it.  Before the tryout, say something like "I just got paid today. After we're done, who wants to go to Barney's Pub to celebrate?"  This gives them positive reinforcement that is associated with your success.  If you are anywhere close to the borderline skills-wise, the thought of a frosty mug of beer they didn't have to pay for will tip the scales in your favor.  Booze is the lifeblood of roller derby.  Harness its power.

Hey readers, the comments are right below if you want to tell her anything I missed!

(Also, congrats to Sally Strych9 for getting your tattoo publicized twice!)


  1. We put the Freshmeat through an excruciating fitness test. The ones who opt to crawl instead of giving up -move on! So don't give up and push 110%. We also look for Team spirit- that is the girls who go back and help the ones crawling without having been told to do so.

  2. That is Sally Strych9's tattoo haha.. (she's one of our skaters and founding members of OKVD)