My winter boots finally died. Mr. Nitro said it was because I was just bragging about what a great buy they were 18 years ago. Seriously, 18 YEARS. I bought them in Austria for about $60 Euro. I looked down at them fondly yesterday, and saw the huge crack in the bottom. Wah!
I guess that got me feeling nostalgic about the skates I have owned. I started skating (after a 25 year hiatus) about 4 years ago. We took the kids skating and my daughter couldn't get enough of it. So I started taking her to the rink. You know all about rental skates... well, it felt like I was starting over every time. Eventually, I found a pair at Salvation Army and dolled them up with Sharpies.
Seriously, what was I thinking? These things eventually damaged the top of my feet so that they were numb all the time.
My first "real" pair of skates were sportier for sure. Really low end speed skates that chewed up the skin on the inside of my right ankle... but I soldiered on until the callous got strong enough and I didn't blister EVERY time. These skates got stolen out of my car in my garage, causing me to file my first ever police report. I think the main reason they were stolen is because of the outdoor wheels and decent bearings. Lots of skateboarders around here... I kept looking, but I never saw my wheels on some punk's skateboard. Lucky for them.
My next pair were too big. I'd prefer not to talk about how that happened. Suffice it to say, it was my own dang fault. That pair has been gifted to someone who actually has feet that size, so that story ends happily ever after.
When I started Derby-ing I got my current pair. They are these here. A bunch of us have them, and they fit my feet perfectly. (See? I can be taught! Eventually.) They were not so expensive that I couldn't replace them every couple of years, and it's looking like that's gonna have to happen. BUT, I skate every chance I get, up to 7 days a week for hours at a time, so they've been good ones for me. I have, of course, changed the wheels and bearings... uh, several times.
Join us on February 22nd
for a night of excitement in this roller derby double header! The
action begins with Rhythm & Bruise in a coed bout at 6:00 PM and the
double header action continues at 8:00 PM as the women of The Rockford Rage take on the Midwest Derby Divas. Proceeds from the bout will benefit Project Help Rockford. We will be accepting donations at the door so come help out and have some fun.
Doors open at 5:30 PM and the bouts start at 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM.
Ticket are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Children 4 and under get
in free and tickets for children 5-12 are $5. We have group rates too!
For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the things I LOVE about Derby is that it gives me people to talk to about bearings. Mr. Nitro, bless him, would get a glazed over look when I wanted to talk about skates and skate maintenance. Right after my first time at Fresh Meat practice, we talked about wheels and bearings and I thought, "Ahhhhh.... these are my people."
I never played a sport, let alone a team sport, before joining the Rockford Rage. I never had sports equipment to care about. The fact that I now regularly change my wheels still blows my mind.
Back to bearings... I figure there are two main camps about bearing care: You clean 'em or you replace 'em. I have tried cleaning my bearings, and there are multiple YouTube vids about how to do this. Pretty sure I didn't do it right and/or my bearings were beyond cleaning. I now replace mine every year. It fits my lifestyle (lazy).
Take 2 Jammers... one from each team... they're the ones with STARS on their helmets.
Take 8 Blockers... four from each team....
And CRASH! BANG! BOOM!
OK, what the heck just happened? It can really look like a cluster-cuss at the start of a jam...
Lemme try to break it down for you.
Starting with the Jammers... the STARS on their helmets give them special powers... ooooh.... they're the only ones who can score points. AND if you are the 1st jammer through the pack, you receive the bonus EXTRA power of being the only person on the track who can call the whole thing off. Yowza!
Now for the Blockers. If you're a Jammer, 4 of these Blockers are your BFFs who are trying to make a path for you by knocking the pudding out of the other team's blockers. Your blockers are also trying to stop the other team's Jammer. The other 4 blockers (I'm sure they're lovely people off the track!) are trying to knock YOU down. Boo. And they're trying to let their own Jammer through. The Blockers have a certain amount of wiggle room in their positions (tee hee), but basically they are known collectively as "THE PACK," and as such, must stay together... ish...there are RULES, you see...
If you notice one of the blockers with a STRIPE on their helmet, that means they are the PIVOT. This is the "Bossy-Pants Blocker." She is the one who can direct traffic, so to speak. She tells her team where to go. In the nicest way she can while yelling commands. Well, it IS derby and not a tea party.
But, Nitro, how do the Jammers score points? I'm so glad you asked.
Let's say the 1st Jammer is through... she has passed all opponents and her own team... she is now Lead Jammer. She must now skate and skate and skate and catch that darn PACK. She will now score one point for every opponent she passes, including the other Jammer (if she's still stuck behind your own blockers). It's possible for both Jammers to score points in one jam. It's also possible for neither to score.
But these are finer points for another day. I hope this helps. Let me know in the comments section if you have any derby questions you want answered. I will totally be able to make something up at that point.