Mass Attack Roller Derby: Respect & Responsibility

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@gmail.com.

Open Recruiting Night

Jen groupThe first Monday of August MARD 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!

Moving on Up!

XQZ Moi recently became a scrimmageable skater! Congrats, XQZ!!

XQZ and Animal

Storm, Gwen Animalsattack and XQZ Moi

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!

XQZ Moi and Goldie Gloves

XQZ Moi and Goldie Gloves

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

XQZ MOI

MARD is WFTDA member league!

wftda-logoMass 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!

Frenemies: a Mass Attack & Bay State Brawlers Derby Doubleheader

Frenemies Photo by Debra Whitehouse

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!”

Doors @ 4:15 pm, first whistle at 4:45 pm. Don’t be late! Get tickets online for $10.
or $12 at the door. Kids 12 & under get in FREE. RSVP on our Facebook event!

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.

Be prepared for derby stance. It burns, it burns, it burns!

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. Jen groupDerby 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. Jen

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! 

XXOO
Jen

 

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!

Mass Attack is BACK: a Roller Derby Doubleheader

Saturday, April 12 at 4:15 PM
1 Lawton Ave, Taunton, Massachusetts 02780
We’re baaaaaaaaaaack! Join Mass Attack Roller Derby at our home season opener on Saturday April 12th at Silver City Sports Complex.

Up first, Mass Attack All Stars take on Rock Coast Rollers’ Perfect Storm. This is sure to be an exciting bout against the newly appointed WFTDA member league.

In the second bout, our Bloody Bordens face off against Rock Coast’s Breakwater Blackhearts. Lots of new faces on the Bordens’ roster bring fresh talent to the track. You don’t want to miss it!

Doors @ 4:15 pm, first whistle at 4:45 pm. Don’t be late!

Kids 12 & under get in FREE.

Get your tickets HERE

Home Plate Bay Street Grill, at 1094 Bay St Taunton MA is where you’ll find MARD’s after party!!! See you there!

Fresh Meat? No, Fresh Start!

Welcome to the brand new MARD Fresh Meat Blog! We have several of our current fresh meats (new, not yet scrimmage-eligible skaters) writing about their derby experience. Enjoy!

By XQZ Moi

XQZ Moi at practice in 2011  Photo by Ian Ameche

XQZ Moi at practice in 2011
Photo by Ian Ameche

After only one season, I left derby. I had my reasons and at the time I felt they were valid. Looking back I realize part of it was me getting in my own way. With a lot of thought and encouragement from both league mates I stayed in contact with, and a few special non-derby people in my life, I decided to give it another try. I loved derby the first time around and didn’t want to give up on something I love!

            Coming back to MARD after a three year hiatus, it feels like a COMPLETELY different experience. A lot has changed in my time away, with the game and the league, all for the better. I was a little nervous to come back but…the warm welcome I received the night of fresh meat orientation let me know I had made the right decision. In a world where everyone is trying to “find” themselves, the moment I walked through those familiar rink doors, I knew I was back where I belonged! And so my derby journey begins…again.

 

XQZ Moi bouting in 2011! Photo by Ian Ameche

XQZ Moi bouting in 2011!
Photo by Ian Ameche

Joining the fresh meat class, I did have an advantage. I have skated and bouted previously. I knew what to expect. If you’re like me, coming in to a new experience can be intimidating, especially derby! Not knowing anyone, not knowing where to go, what to do. You know, like wondering why your jaw hurts during and for three days after practice, only to find out, if you had just read the directions that came with your mouth guard, you would have known you needed to mold it to actually fit your mouth! Or not knowing you put your helmet on backwards. Having some of these experiences makes me remember what it’s like to be new. I enjoy being with these women and sharing in their new journey. I DON’T think I’m better than them. I think about ENCOURAGING them! Passing along little tips that helped me, like making sure to loosen your trucks if you want to be able to slalom or have an easier time with plow stops. Also, if you want to get the most out of your wheels, make sure to rotate them!

Starting fresh I know there are skills I didn’t learn the first time around. My advice to any one coming in to derby for the first time:

1. Don’t be in a rush to level up. Yeah, there may be skaters that move on before you. So what? Take this time to really master the basics! They will only make you a better skater later on.

2. You can always get lower. We all know derby stance is a b*tch! Back aching, quads burning…Squat down another inch.

3. No one is ever going to judge you as harshly as you judge yourself! Derby is a “judgment free zone”. We build each other up. Not knock each other down…eh…well unless you’re on the track, LOL. Which brings me to…

4. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to fall! We all fall down, it’s part of derby. The most important part is that you don’t give up but get back up! My favorite quote comes from a poem about life. But I think it relates to derby as well:

“…Life will hit you…HARD…in the face…wait for you to get back up, just so it can kick you in the stomach. But…getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs just how much they like the taste of air…” – Sara Kay

PLEASE don’t give up! You have an entire league of amazing women behind you, who have all been where you are. Every one of them is cheering you on!

5. Spend time with your league mates off the track. Derby is an amazing family. You will create some really strong bonds that will last a lifetime. Not to mention they’re probably the only ones who won’t get sick of talking about derby with you! And who knows…you may just find yourself a derby wife or two!

So….here is to our derby journey! Let’s Roll!

Hits & Bruises,

*XQZ MOI

 

2nd Annual Roller Disco!

Join MARD for our 2nd Annual Roller Disco on Saturday, May 3, 2014, 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM!

Every Candid Moment Photography

Every Candid Moment Photography

This year think leg warmers, jelly bracelets, neon leggings, Valley Girl, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Go-Go’s, Run DMC, Rubik’s Cube, PAC-Man, boom boxes, ADIDAS Shell Toes, and rainbows forever.

For $10, you get two hours of skating to amazing music, raffles, prizes, photos and more!

You do NOT want to miss this fundraiser!
Prizes awarded for:
* Most Excellent Outfit
* Totally Rad Outside League (most in attendance)

Invite your friends and start planning your outfit!

*this fundraiser is an all ages event. $10 per person.

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