Come visit us on Saturday, October 25th at Barrett’s Haunted Mansion in Abington, MA if you dare…..
Tickets are on sale beginning at 6:30 until closing - see time schedule here.
The mansion opens at 7pm and will close when the last group has gone through.
We are open RAIN OR SHINE. We will only close if the weather is too severe and becomes a danger to our customers and staff. In this case, we will make an announcement on this site and our phone system and signage as soon as we can.
Until I met Goldie Gloves
By Tyson Smitherman
Howdy everyone, I am known to the derby community as I.M. Fallen, and have been asked to share with you my experience of finding derby and a little about my journey as a skater in various capacities. So hold onto you helmets, check your safety gear, and let’s go!
Like many, I had a somewhat circuitous route to derby and likewise that route included the movie Whip It. This was not my first exposure to roller derby; I had watched banked track on network television when I was kid, and later watched many iterations of roller derby-like sports as well. Rolling has always been in my blood and many of my happiest moments have been with wheels beneath my feet. I have been skating since I was about 4 years old, so (needless to say that is a pretty long time ago) about 35 years and change. In that time I have been a rink rat, an aggressive inline and quad skater, and an inline speed skater. I love to skate. I have made my living skating at times, having served as floor guard and resident teacher at several rinks. I am sure many of you have benefited from this love of skating and teaching others how to skate better. This certainly makes me happy.
I remember finding Mass Attack Roller Derby, and thinking those women look mean. Actually I found them several times on the Internet, and then one day I was driving to Skater’s Edge to skate with some blader friends and remembered that MARD practices at Silver City Sports Center. So, I looked them up again, and this time I contacted Sixx Tatt and asked about checking it out. She emailed me back and told me where to come and when. That fateful October evening I arrived at SCSC with a pair of blades and my figure skates. My life was about to change. I have social anxiety and am quite introverted, which is probably why I love skating so much; it gives me something to connect with another without having to make an actual connection. When I got there all these new people around me, and I had no idea who Leesa Webber/ Sixx Tatt might be and that made me very, very nervous. So I just stood there until someone talked to me; while I honestly don’t remember who approached me (I think it may have been Bootiful Banshee) I do remember two things about that encounter. First, whoever it was, was very welcoming and second, Sixx hadn’t arrived yet, but would be there soon. I was a little relieved that I had not come out for nothing and these people all had roller skates.
Soon Sixx arrived and we were introduced. We talked for a few minutes about what I wanted to do. At the time Sixx was the Head Non-Skating Official and suggested that since I was so new to roller derby that it might be best to learn the game as a NSO while I trained to be a skating official. By then practice was beginning and I really wanted to skate. I told Sixx that I really wanted to be a skating official, and the question was posed “when was the last time you skated?” I looked at my watch, and replied, “I was on blades yesterday, but quads it’s been a while.” Sixx smiled and said something to the effect of “let’s see what you’ve got then.”
Then, I met Goldie Gloves. In much the same way that one does not simply enter the mythical Mordor; one does not simply meet Goldie Gloves, one sits at the feet of a roller derby paragon and learns a different way of life. My meeting with Goldie was, and has been, life changing and affirming. There were a few other fresh meat who were working on skills to level up, I was quickly relearning what quads felt like again. I felt like I was back towards square one, although I didn’t stay there for long. I was working on my skills for the greater part independently with Goldie checking one me from time to time; within a week or two I was asked if I wanted to take an assessment and see where I was at, with little to lose, I said I would certainly like to do so. I remember my first try at the 25 laps in 5 minutes and how I was pretty sure that I was going to die, even though I came pretty close to making it. The rest of the assessment I recall as being pretty easy, although transitions and I did not completely get along yet. I could only confidently transition counterclockwise front to back and then clockwise back to front, I was not yet the tornado I would become.
I found transitions frustrating, and by then I had met MARD’s in house skating official, Saturday Night Beaver. Both Beev and Goldie encouraged me to work on the things that were difficult, what Beev called the “squirrely” parts, and to know that I was going to fall. I hate falling! I still hate falling. Did I mention I don’t like to fall? Alas, time passed and I worked diligently at every practice to do the things I could not do. These things I had never been able to do. For every time I did a comfortable direction, I practiced the “squirrely” ones 3-4 times. I think the proof is in the skating, and you can judge for yourself if I was successful.
There are only a few things I can say with surety. When I found derby, it was ready and waiting and accepted me for who I am. There was no judgment, perhaps a little protection of one’s sisters when a strange bear like man shows up that no one knows. But, I cannot blame anyone for that, and I am just as protective of my derby sisters. I can say I needed Derby, and I am pretty certain I always will. I can also say that I would not have as a firm a grasp of the rules as I do without Sixx, Beev, Evilyn Tent, and Goldie; constantly pushing me to learn them and usually making it fun. The last thing I can say for certain is without Goldie Gloves there would never have been I.M. Fallen or Smitherman #777 with Team USA aspirations. All of my earliest derby memories contain Goldie; every milestone of skills or rules was and has been shared with her. When my wife, Atl Ignite, joined derby; the first person she met was my friend Goldie Gloves. My oldest daughter, Lisha, wants to grow up to be like Goldie; and I think that is a pretty great goal.
My journey will probably not be yours, but I will be there with you if you want. I will give you a hand up when you fall and show you how to do the skill better. I will tell you falling sucks, but if you are not falling you are not learning. I now fall often, but for me it is usually trying to do what I thought was impossible last week. Now I have a fairly successful referee career, and I am rostered member of Mass Maelstrom. I have come a long way in the last two years, and I have further left to go. This journey started because of roller-skating, but it has become so much more than the skills I have developed. I have gained so much, friends from all over the globe that I can’t imagine being without; a team of crazy Vikings that has afforded me brothers and sisters to do battle with.
Two parting things: first “be your own hero,” derby idols come and go, but you are stuck with you, so work hard and be amazing. Second, find a derby mentor and work with them, then be a derby mentor. I am so glad at the end of my sparkly derby rainbow was Goldie. I hope all of you are so lucky.
Interested in officiating? We are always recruiting skating and non-skating officials! Please contact us for more information!
Due to a scheduling conflict with our A-team competitors, Mass Attack Roller Derby’s October 11, 2014 home game has been cancelled. We apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment of our fans. We appreciate your continued support.
Please join us for our last home game of the season, this Saturday, September 20, 2014, at 4:15pm. Up first, Mass Attack All Stars battle Worcester Roller Derby’s Warriors, followed by Bloody Bordens versus WoRD’s Warheads. Help us celebrate the end of our season at the after party, hosted by Home Plate Bay Street Grill, at 1094 Bay St, Taunton MA 02780. See you there!
Stay tuned & see what we have in store for October. It’s sure to give you a scare!
Mass Attack Roller Derby
Respect. Family. Friends. Home.
These are words used by our league members, when asked to describe MARD.
The term “derby love” is used frequently in our community. We believe there’s a greater meaning behind those two simple words. Our league fosters a culture of respect and responsibility, holding skaters, referees, non-skating officials, and volunteers accountable to a set of standards called our Code of Conduct. Upon joining MARD, each league member signs a copy of the Code of Conduct, acknowledging their responsibility to behave accordingly. Enforcing the Code of Conduct and offering a Mediation Department allows our league to be a positive presence in the roller derby community, creating a safe and welcoming environment for all. At Mass Attack, THAT is what derby love is all about. For more about our league, please email massattackrollerderby@
On November 3rd we will host an open recruiting night, where your roller derby journey begins! You will have an orientation into the league, sign waivers, meet league members and get to see what roller derby practice is all about! Open recruiting will occur every three months, the next recruit class will be in August.
Your first practice will be a mandatory information session. You will get an introduction to MARD and meet its members. You will review our freshmeat program so that when you strap on your skates at practice #2, you will know exactly what is expected of you and what playing roller derby is all about.
We encourage all new recruits to join us at our monthly Meet and Greet at Silver City Sports Complex for public skate session prior to attending new recruit night.
Please contact us so that we can send you all the paperwork in advance and reserve your spot at open recruiting night!
XQZ Moi recently became a scrimmageable skater! Congrats, XQZ!!
So as I sit here patiently awaiting second assessment results I started thinking back on how I got to this point…for a second time.
My first thought is the “F” word. No, not THAT “F” word. Frustration! It’s that moment where your ego creeps in and you start to doubt yourself. It happened for me my second practice as a new level 2 skater when we were mixed in with the vets for the first time. I felt like I was letting them down by not knowing what I was doing. My sticky feet were anything but “sticky”, I could barely keep up w/ the pace line and I was taken down twice while skaters were taking hip whips off me. All this and we haven’t even started hitting yet! Eeeek!! Did I give up? No! I did what any fallen skater does, I picked myself up, got back to my place in the pace line and went for round two!
Throughout this process I’ve had to keep reminding myself that I am learning everything all over again. I was constantly apologizing when doing drills. Not because I felt bad for hitting my league mates. It was more of a “Sorry I am terrible at this!” I almost felt bad for the vets, as if I was taking away from their practice, like they weren’t getting challenged. But I have to say, I am so grateful that my league has the skater sister program!! Every practice my skater sister Thunda Storm would come get me and ask me what I felt I needed to work on and then show me or give me tips if I was struggling and was always encouraging me!
Somewhere along the way my confidence started to grow. I was focused, eager to learn and really excited about derby again! Slowly but surely, my laps started to increase (started at 25 in February. Now up to 29), my sticky feet got better, my stability has gotten better and I can keep up with the pace line.
So, here are some tips from me to you about level 2
- GIVE YOURSELF TIME! It may not seem like it now, but you will improve, you will get stronger & faster. Let it come naturally and try not to get too frustrated when you don’t land a perfect hit your first time trying!
- DON’T LOOK DOWN!! This is one I got from Storm. Sticky feet? Don’t look down. Transitions? Don’t look down. Turning toe stops? Don’t look down.
- DON’T THINK ABOUT IT…Just DO IT!! Trust me, I know it is easier said than done. But seriously, don’t think about it! I remember the practice where I finally was able to do a turning toe stop at a moderate pace. Storm was skating next to me and while she was talking to me, she did a TTS. I didn’t realize it until after the fact, but without thinking as soon as she started to do hers, I was doing one at the same time. If you think about it too much your ego will creep in and you will start to doubt yourself. Just do it!
- ASK FOR HELP!! I have found that when we (the level 2’s) have asked our league mates if anyone is going to open skate, the vets are more than willing to work with you and help you! Goldie Gloves, Bootiful Banshee & Killtrocity have been awesome resources in helping me with my hitting! And then Dorkus for sitting out of a strategy drill to explain to concept us. From my experience, when you ask for help and really apply what you are learning, more experienced skaters will be more patient with you and willing to help, because they can see that you want to learn and are trying!
- DON’T TAKE THINGS SO PERSONALLY!!! This was a big one for me to learn to get over! Derby is a competitive sport, people are going to yell on the track and maybe get aggressive, probably knock you down. Let it go! We all take on different personalities when we get on the track, hence the Derby Names!
Most importantly….HAVE FUN!!! This is an amazing sport!!! You should be learning the skills you need but you should be having fun as well!
Until Next time…
Hits & Bruises
Mass Attack Roller Derby is a new WFTDA member league! The WFTDA is excited to extend full membership status to 16 additional leagues today, following their successful completion of the WFTDA Apprentice Program.
The new Class C members can now enjoy the benefits of full WFTDA membership, including competing in sanctioned games and becoming eligible for rankings. This group of new members includes leagues from Australia, Finland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The WFTDA now has 258 member leagues and 99 apprentice leagues.
We would like to thank Boston Derby Dames and Providence Roller Derby for all their help and assistance throughout the course of the apprentice program!
Join Mass Attack Roller Derby on 6/21/14 for friendly & ferocious back to back bouts!
The Mass Attack All Stars and Petticoat Punishers meet again. Be ready for some edge of your seat jams, as these familiar foes face off. There’s nothing better than hard hits with a side of derby love!
Up next, the our Bloody Bordens bout the Brawlin Broads. We can’t wait to see what new tricks the Broads bring to the track. The Bordens are ready to “make ‘em BLEED!”
Forever Paws Animal Shelter is our featured organization, receiving the profits of our 50/50 raffle. Check out their Facebook page to see how you can help, & stop by their table on bout day.
We know bout day wouldn’t be complete without the AFTER PARTY! Join us at Home Plate Bay Street Grill, 1094 Bay St, Taunton MA 02780.
My derby journey began with MARD this past November. I came to recruit night and watched a practice before joining. I had reservations. Coming in brand new to the sport, and having not skated in many years, I wasn’t sure if I could hack it. While I am naturally thin, I also knew that I was out of shape.
I have never enjoyed exercising for the sake of exercise. I get no pleasure from going for a run or hitting the gym. What I was looking for was an activity that would help me get stronger, but that was also fun.
Enter the ladies of MARD and the sport of Roller Derby. Derby is the first team sport that I have ever felt was really team driven. All the ladies (and gents) have been nothing but encouraging. Every league member offers tips, tricks and just overall support. I have never been put down by anyone at derby. Knocked down perhaps- but not put down. Ever. (See the first rule of roller derby.)
Respect and obey the first rule of roller derby and your derby league will become your derby family. My derby league is my derby family.
Since November I have told anyone who will listen about this wonderful new world of derby that I have joined and the question I am asked most often is, “But aren’t you scared?”
All I can say to that is that I’m scared of only two things in life; losing one of my children and my bank balance. Truly that’s about it. But… derby players can be intimidating.
Scientists, graphic designers, electricians, school teachers, mothers- people transform at the rink. Much like Peter Parker or Bruce Wayne, the league becomes empowered as the derby gear gets strapped on. Everyone grows about a foot instantly and resemble linebackers all geared up. Many have piercings and tattoos and “don’t mess with me attitudes.”
But you know what- it’s liberating to let go of all the day to day stuff, to show a little aggression and assertiveness. My advice to those who are intimated is to tell Dr. Jekyll to step aside and let Mr. Hyde come out to play.
The second question I am asked as a newer skater is always, “doesn’t it hurt?”
Yes it does and as a matter of fact, I got my very first derby bruise last week! But the surprising thing about it is, it also feels really good. I do it twice a week, every week, for fun.
Intimidation and fear of pain factors aside, as someone who grew up skating I figured myself to be a fairly decent skater who would catch on quickly and easily- really how different could derby skating vary from rink skating?
Quite a bit actually. (Be prepared for derby stance. It burns, it burns, it burns!)
While at first I found the learning curve frustrating I quickly realized that it was OK that I had a lot to learn. Watching the scrimmages for myself I realize that I really need to nail the basics before I am ready to bout. I’m no longer in a super hurry to level up and I would say the same to anyone else joining derby or new to the sport.
Take your time and get it right.
Derby skating is about applying basic roller skating skills with the blocking and checking of football players, the leaping and twirling of dancers, and the intelligence and maneuvering of a chess player- in 2 minutes or less. To be good at any of these things, it takes practice, patience and time.
I push myself every week whether I am planking, doing hip checks, skating in a pack, practicing turning toe stops or jumps. I have been skating a few months and have so much I still need to work on. Every week I sweat and stink.
I’m proud of my improvement every week.
It’s hard to explain the satisfaction you’ll feel when you get hip-checked and don’t fall over, or better even, when you land a really good hip check and a league mate rubs her hip and says “that’s the spot!”
Learning and playing roller derby, while a team sport, is a unique journey. Be inspired by your league mates, ask questions, push yourself, fall and get back up. Seriously fall- a lot, you’re going to in a bout anyway so learn how to do it well and how to recover quickly. Don’t be discouraged if it takes you longer to master a skill than someone else, take pride in your individual accomplishments.
Oh- one last thing, take a good look at your bod, your butt specifically when you start, it is going to look even more fantastic in a few weeks!
Does this sound like something you want to try?! We have a meat and greet this weekend at Silver City Sports Complex! Come say hi and get to know the ladies of Mass Attack Roller Derby!