Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 21 Bout Recap

All Stars Captain - Lollypopya
On Saturday September 20, the Mid-State Sisters of Skate All-Stars faced off against the Harbor City Roller Dames from Duluth, MN. This was the third time in 16 months these two teams met on the track, with the first two times ending in Harbor City’s favor. For our final home bout, the Mid-State All-Stars were thrilled to be hosting Harbor City, a team that is always fun and challenging to play. Harbor City was without some familiar faces on their roster due to retirements at the end of last season, while Mid-state was skating without two of their veteran all-stars Poundstooth and Miss DeRobato.

The first few jams proved to be both exciting and full of strategy, with Mid-State earning lead jammer, but only able to pick up a few points at a time. This was the theme throughout most of the game, with only a few jams with multiple scoring passes for each team. The game had a total of 55 jams, with each jam averaging less than 40 seconds! Final score, Mid-State – 212, Harbor City – 68.

As always, Harbor City was a great team to share the track with. They were a tough competitor with a short roster of only nine skaters. We are extremely thankful for our opponents, officials, fans and the support we get from our family and friends. Without all of these people, we would not be able to play the sport that we love. We hope to see some familiar faces for our final bout of 2014 when we take on the Chippewa Valley Roller Girls on October 4th.


All Stars Co-Captain - Korean Lunchbox
The stars aligned for the Mid-State Sisters of Skate last Saturday as they took on the Harbor City Roller Dames from Duluth, MN. The underdog, Mid-State demonstrated tremendous effort with tight defensive walls and well-timed jam call offs. Harbor City showed phenomenal effort as well, but Mid-State got off to a strong start ending the first half at 134-33.
Throughout the second half, Mid-State banked up more points knowing that every point counted in this sanctioned game. At the final whistle, Mid-State was declared the clear winner at 212-68.
“This was one of the biggest bouts for us and sets the bar higher for future games,” said Korean Lunchbox, team co-captain. “Being in synch on the track is so important and was key to our win.”

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September 13 Captains' Bout Summaries

Bout One was played by the Pearl Jammers against Chippewa Valley Roller Girls:

By Rose Redrum, captain
of the Pearl Jammers
In a wonderful example of derby love, the Chippewa Valley Roller Girls stepped in at the last minute to fill a spot in the Mid-State Sisters of Skate's last double header of the 2014 home season. Always tough competitors, CVRG and Mid-State's Pearl Jammers fought for every point in every jam. The Pearl Jammers were down some skaters and brought in a few from the Dairy Airs and welcomed back an alumna, Jan-Hell Razor in order to round out their roster.  Both teams smiled and joked on the jammer line but they were all business once the whistle blew, throwing hard hits and putting up tough defensive walls.

The first half set the stage for the whole bout, with several lead changes as the blockers' solid walls forced the jammers to work hard for the points. CVRG's double threat of Stunt Double and Arm & Slammer made it rough going as they worked to knock jammers out of bounds and reset them at the back of the pack, with Deja Vu using the same strategy for Mid-State. Going into the second half, a remarkable 15 point jam by Giant Slayer, in her debut with Mid-State, tied up the game and put Mid-State within the reach of the win.

The score seesawed back and forth with jammer penalties hurting both teams. The Pearl Jammers were down, with one jam left in the game and a score of 168-171. Natural Born Chaos took the jammer line. Her jam earned Mid-State three points but CVRG managed to eek out four points as well leaving the final score at 171-175. 

Mid-State's All-Stars will face off with Chippewa on October 4th in Eau Claire, in what should prove to be an interesting rematch for a lot of Mid-State's skaters.

Bout Two was played by the Sweet Dairy Airs against Keweenaw Rollergirls:

by The Euthanizer, captain
of the Sweet Dairy Airs and
BubbleWrap, co-captain
 The Sweet Dairy Airs ended their home season with a victory of 220 to 121 against a competitive group of skaters, the Keewenaw Roller Girls from Houghton, MI. Solid walls, effective play calling, and laser-like track awareness led to an early lead in the first half. Communication between the bench, the jammer,  and the blockers led to steady defense and the execution of many strategies that the DA's have practiced through out the season. At the beginning of the second half KRG began creeping up points-wise and the DA's started to show a little wear. However, Coach Russ and Bench Coach Josi regrouped us and refocused us and we were able to turn our lead into a definitive victory. 

The Sweet Dairy Airs have progressed this season as individuals and as a team. Many DA's set personal derby goals that led to Saturday's victory. From footwork, to internalizing strategy, to keeping a zen bench; the DA's improvements personally led to cohesive teamwork and a well deserved team win. The DA's know that it is not one individual that gained that win but a well executed team effort.

As  Captain of the Dairy Airs,along with my co captain Bubblewrap we are very proud of this group of ladies and it has been a honor working closely with everyone.  They have been a dedicated group of skaters at all skill levels and experience that have shown what great teamwork looks like. Lazermoo ladies! See your Dairy Airs on the track next season!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Musings from a Head Non-Skating Official

My name is Jordy Death and I am the Head Non-Skating Official(HNSO) for the Mid-State Sisters of Skate 2014 season and here is my story:
Jordy Death
I got into roller derby about four years ago when I saw the MS-SOS booth at Crazy Days (now Discover Downtown in Stevens Point, WI). I remember that once I started to learn how to skate I desperately wanted to pass my skills and 25 in 5 (now 27) so I could be the all-encompassing bada** on the roller rink and become derby legend.
Unfortunately it just was not in the cards for me; work, school, and bad knees prevented me from skating. But all was not loss, oh no! Enter Private Itchy from the Brewcity Bruisers. Itchy taught me how to penalty box time at my first MS-SOS game that I NSO’d at. I learned a lot that night and was so very thankful to be learning from one of the most experienced NSO’s that I have met. I knew then that NSOing was how I was going to keep my derby dream alive.
Over the course of the last few seasons with MS-SOS, I learned various NSOing positions, such as score keeping, penalty box managing, and line up tracking but the penalty box was always my home, my domain, the place where I felt the most comfortable. Sure I had thought about becoming a HNSO someday, but that was long off in the future, once I was more experienced with rules and the different positions. Lo and behold my chance for greatness was thrust upon me when my derby wife Anita Bandaid and our head ref Vomit Comet called me up asking if I would be at all interested in becoming the HNSO for the 2014 season. After a lot of begging and pleading on their end I reluctantly relented and said yes. It wasn't because I didn't want the job, I very much did! It was because I was scared silly; I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I ended up doing a bit of research before our first game. I was able to find various message boards dedicated to reffing and NSOing and found some paperwork for ‘first time HNSOs’ which really came in handy. I made a check list of things to bring, and a roster of who was NSOing and what their job was.
Since my background was in theater I was able to relate being a HNSO to being a stage manager. You need to make sure all your players (NSO’s) are in their proper spots before the curtain and that you have the right props: clipboards, pencils, stop watches, whiteboards, markers, whistles, etc.
In all of my leadership experience I have learned that it is best to be as professional as possible and try to stay calm in tough situations. Your NSO’s look to you for guidance, so if you don’t know the answer to a question, be honest, but also be sure you find someone who does. The beautiful thing about derby is that there is always someone who will know the answer.
Now that I am going to school in Milwaukee, I have to plan my trip and supplies needed for the bout out. Thankfully most of my NSO gear is left at my home in Stevens Point. During the WFTDA Championship games in Milwaukee last year I had a custom NSO Official T-Shirt made which I wear to all the bouts I’m NSOing at. Of course any plain black shirt or official WFTDA pink is acceptable when NSOing, if you show up in team colors be sure you have a plain black shirt readily available or you will incur the wrath of your HNSO.
So here is my little check list of supplies that I make sure I have every time I HNSO/NSO at a bout:
  • Official NSO black t-shirt
  • Extra black shirts
  • Clipboard/whiteboard combo (it’s a whiteboard Velcro-ed to a clipboard, makes life a lot easier when you’re in the box managing)
  • Two stop watches
  • Whistle
  • Pens/pencils/whiteboard markers
  • All needed paperwork including roster of NSO’s and refs. (Thankfully my league pre-prints the needed paper work for me, because they are awesome and love me)
  • Padfolio, this is where I keep my notes from previous bouts and my little speech during introductions
  • Bucket for the penalty box (you know, in case a skater comes in and might vomit)

In the end you hope for the best but prepare for the worst, life is easy when you work with great teams and people who can grasp what their job is. If all else fails, you can always dance it out at the after party.

Friday, August 15, 2014

August 9 and 10 Captains' Bout Summaries

by #1214 Korean Lunchbox
Co-captain of the All Stars 
In one of the best competitive match ups of the season, the Mid-State Sisters of Skate took on the Cedar Valley Derby Divas on Saturday, August 9, 2014. The teams arrived ready to play, both battling for a win in this WFTDA-sanctioned bout. As the first whistle blew, it became apparent that every player on the track was going to give 110%. The game progressed, with Cedar Valley capturing the lead, but Mid-State tying it up in the second half. Defensive strategy was the name of the game and jammers from both teams fought to earn every point on the scoreboard. Despite the tremendous efforts put forth, Mid-State finished with a 12 point loss, 146-134.

It was a derby-filled weekend for the Sisters as they arrived to warm up at 7am on Sunday for their closed-door WFTDA-sanctioned bout against the Mississippi Valley Mayhem. Early as it was, skaters came ready to play. Again, showing team fortitude, Mid-State quickly took the lead and continued with a defense-heavy strategy. And, it worked. Mid-State finished the bout with a score of 331-121, a 210 point advantage.

The weekend a great example of our team banding together for a shared goal and I am extremely proud of each and every player. Long hours of practice and scrimmages, and a positive team attitude, made two huge wins in my opinion.   

Double Derby
By: #99 Lollypopya
Captain of the All Stars
On Saturday August 9 at Arnott Lions Park, the Mid-State Sisters of Skate (MSSOS) hosted the Cedar Valley Derby Divas (CVDD) from Waterloo, IA. For both teams, it was the first of two sanctioned bouts for the weekend. The strength of CVDD’s defense proved itself early on, as they sent the MSSOS jammers to penalty box five times in the first eight minutes of play. The MSSOS defense met the challenge, keeping the damage from CVDD’s power plays minimal, while their jammers found a rhythm. From then on it was a back and forth fight each jam, but CVDD maintained the lead they had gained early on. The period ended with 53 points for MSSOS and 66 for CVDD.
The second period was even more intense that the first, with the score difference in the single digits multiple times. After a couple of power jams, MSSOS took over the lead. With a few minutes left on the clock, CVDD rallied to score lead five straight jams and take over the lead. Final score 146-134 CVDD.
Bright and early the next day, the first whistle blew for a sanctioned bout of MS-SOS and Mississippi Valley Mayhem (MVM) of La Crosse. Shortly after 8 AM, and before everyone had finished their morning coffee, the bout was underway. MSSOS took the lead with a 14-0 jam to start things off, and never gave that lead up. Both teams kept the penalty box crew busy, racking up a combined total of 86 penalties. MSSOS did a great job of taking advantage of their own power plays, with multiple jams over 25 points. Final score 331-121 MSSOS with the win.
Although we came up short against CVDD, the number of successes in both games is something to be proud of, and something I am proud of. We saw things we have been working on coming together, and know what we need to perfect in preparation for our next bout. A big thank you to CVDD and MVM for being a part of a great weekend.

Friday, July 18, 2014

July 12 Captains' Bout Summary

By Rose Redrum
Pearl Jammers Captain
Even though the Pearl Jammers was the more experienced of the two Mid-State Sisters of Skate's teams, they did not take victory for granted. The Dairy Airs' sense of cohesion and team work were definitely a threat. Going into the July 12th bout against the Dairy Airs, the Pearl Jammers had to deepen their jamming bench and jam skaters that usually didn't wear the star, like Angela SmAshes.  That strategy as well as powerful defensive walls with blockers like Deja Vu, Hells Belski, and Buss-N-U-Up, proved to be too much for the quick, agile Dairy Airs Jammers.

The theme of the night was derby love, in spite of the fierce competition and skaters thoroughly enjoyed skating against their league mates, sharing the track for introductions and the post-bout victory lap.

The Pearl Jammers used offense off the line to get their jammers through first most of the time. DA jammers just couldn't manage to break through enough to gain the advantage of lead jammer. The Dairy Airs fell behind in the first half and never quite made up the difference, plagued by penalties and losing Korean Lunchbox to a broken plate. Regardless of the score, the Dairy Airs fought until the very last jam and the score on the board was just a number.

The Euthanizer
Dairy Airs Captain
The Mid State Sisters of Skate home teams had their first bout against each other on Saturday, The Sweet Dairy Airs took on the Pearl Jammers. 

Despite the loss against them, we held our heads high. We were very proud of ourselves! We worked very hard to accomplish many things we have been working on the past couple weeks. 

Our team stayed positive and had a lot of fun on the track. We did some great hitting and had lots of hugs afterwords. 

Thank you PJs for an awesome game!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

You Can't Keep a Good Derby League Down

By Rose Redrum

For the past four years, The Mid-State Sisters of Skate have been looking for a permanent, year-round practice/bouting facility. We have made countless calls, sent emails, letters, and looked at tons of empty buildings.

Until we find our perfect forever home, we practice at the Lion's Club's building, where we have hosted every single one of our home bouts. We have never had to cancel a bout, even when the roof leaked and we feared the rain wouldn't stop in time.

The vagaries of a non-climate controlled facility are many. Our skaters and fans suffer with heat and cold. Usually, our polished concrete floor is as smooth as silk (but hard as iron when you fall on it.)  Last Saturday was different.

You see, we have suffered a cold, rainy spring and a late summer here in Central Wisconsin. And our concrete floor hasn't had a lot of time to get warm and stay warm. Concrete is porous and that makes it great--it can adjust and flex with the temperature without cracking. But as the outside temperature rose on Saturday, our floor started sweating--literally. Ever hold a cold can of beer on a hot day? The moisture condenses on the outside of the can as the liquid inside begins to rise to the temperature outside.

When we got to the venue and realized that we had a problem, we sprang into action. We knew we needed to raise the temperature in the building so we threw open the doors, plugged in the fans and hoped for the best.

The best wasn't good enough. So we turned to BubbleWrap's husband. Mr. BubbleWrap has experience working on highways, with concrete and agreed that the temperature needed to be raised fast. That was when he got the torch.

Mr. BubbleWrap spent HOURS going over every inch of the track. And it worked. BubbleWrap and Euthanizer followed him around with the propane tanks, slowly drying up all the moisture while our track rats worked with the tape and the rope to reinstall the track boundaries.

We begged for patience and apologized to our visiting skaters. We had a fabulous crowd, most of whom weathered our problems with us. 

It proved to be too much for some of our visitors and as the Pearl Jammers prepared to take the track, the other team decided not to skate and forfeited. Luckily, Team Unicorn from Madison's Mad Rollin' Dolls
were ready to skate in minutes and our double header became a single header as the Sweet Dairy Airs took on the Unicorns.  The final score was Team Unicorn: 304 to Sweet Dairy Airs: 92.

And we had an AWESOME time! We do everything we can to run our league and keep our skaters safe. Our love for derby knows no bounds. Like most DIY Derby Girls we GET. IT. DONE.

So many thanks to Mr. Bubblewrap, Team Unicorn, the fans and to Chubby's Photography for the fantastic photos. As a thank you to our fans, all tickets for our next home bout on July 12 will be just $5. Kids still get in free.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

If the Skater Can't Go to RollerCon, Bring RollerCon to the Skater

by Rose Redrum

Not every roller derby skater can afford to go to RollerCon--that annual derby extravaganza where skaters can take classes from the rock stars of the derby world. I’ve gone twice and managed to bring back a teeny bit of knowledge to my teammates. When our Training Director asked who we'd like to have come do a workshop with us, there was no question in my mind who we should choose.

Mid-State Sisters of Skate is bringing a bit of RollerCon to Central Wisconsin in the bold, brassy, blonde form of Dirty Deborah Harry.

Dirty Debbie (aka Deborah Labriola-Monterrosa) hails from Orange County, California and the OC Rollergirls.  The OC is steeped in derby culture, with flat-track, banked-track, juniors, and co-ed derby teams.  DDH grew up in a skating family and has skating in her blood. The daughter of a skating instructor, a speed skater, and having grown up a rink rat in her uncle’s skating rink, she is a natural teacher and a kick-ass skate mechanic to boot.

A one-two combination of a killer smile and a wicked sense of humor makes her students feel at ease, no matter their own skills. Her teaching philosophy is simple: She teaches to all skill levels at the same time. Rather than focus on watching a super skater execute jumps and transitions, newer skaters can focus on their own body and skates and learning how to make them work together.

Debbie watches a track full of skaters, offering encouragement and positive reinforcement--quick to cut off the “Oh, I can’t do THAT” with “YET--you can’t do that, YET.”

The average derby career is short--three or four years--so the influx of skaters always presents a fresh flock of newbies, nervously scooting around the track, insecure and unsure if they’ll ever reach a point where they can feel confident and powerful enough to play the way their heroes play.

DDH is the living embodiment of that confidence. She has shared the track with derby royalty like Atomatrix and Quadzilla, but travels with world (literally, continents) to teach nervous new skaters how to do transitions or make simple jumps and blocks, or work with veterans to improve their skills. She is quick to remind veterans that no matter how good they are, there is ALWAYS a better skater out there. And that means that there is also someone YOU are better than.

After her last session at Rollercon in 2012, I sat down and had a beer to discuss teaching derby. She is down to earth and self-deprecating. She is a warm, funny, and caring person who really believes that reaching newer skaters is key to helping the sport.

Making skaters feel comfortable and confident is an important step to building a derby player. Derby is a game and it should be fun. Laughing at yourself and keeping your performance in perspective is a good way to improve. It’s also hella fun.