My MARD Fresh Meat Journey

Last October I joined my best friend for an afternoon adventure to one of our usual 66830311-b3e9-43f9-b3cd-7bcbc2291373haunts, The Pour Farm Tavern, in downtown New Bedford. It was due to be an excellent afternoon as the local Beard and Mustache Guild teamed up with the Pour Farm for the “Great Pumpkin Beer’d Fest” a celebration of beards and beer, both things I particularly enjoyed.

What I didn’t realize when I walked into the courtyard adjacent to the bar was that I was about to be handed a flyer that would change the course of the next year of my life.

My friend Jess and I wandered the courtyard, chatting with acquaintances, drinking pumpkin beers, and occasionally shuffling through a crowd of people to watch a local band play. It was in this mass of music fans that I bumped into a woman holding a stack of flyers. The woman turned to me, and over the course of a short conversation between handed me a flyer from her stack and said, “You look like you should play roller derby.”

For the next few weeks I thought about that conversation, and about roller derby. All I knew about the sport was from the movie Whip It and my own vague preconceptions about women beating each other up on skates. However, I was longing for something to fill the void created by graduating out of all of my college athletic and social groups and it looked like roller derby might just be the right thing for the job.

I’ve always loved a challenge and starting out with MARD’s fresh meat program certainly was one. I’d never really roller skated and through the course of the first few practices had to learn how to skate, fall, and generally not hurt myself. It was frustrating, unnerving, but through it all it was fun. The coaches and the veteran skaters were always supportive and they really helped me and my fresh meat class thrive. We gradually got better and better and by the time the summer of 2015 hit I was feeling confident and energized about skating. I wanted to level up (we have a three level system, level 1 being fresh meat, level 2 being what you can think of as the intermediate skaters, and level three being the named skaters) and I wanted to show the league that gifted me with dozens of new friends what I was made of!

Thanks to the coaches, and all my new friends I was able to push myself and move up to level 2, where I am today. Level 2 has created several new challenges for me but I know I will conquer them all and in time become a named skater!

 

Blog Post by Fox in Docs

Eight Wheels, Boob Sweat, and Sisterhood

Seven years ago, my friend Rachael Rayge joined roller derby and I thought she was

Jessy - Fresh Meat Extraordinaire

Jessy – Fresh Meat Extraordinaire

absolutely out of her mind.  Who would possibly put their bodies through that?  Why?!

I went to one of her first games and sat with my jaw open.  I was terrified.  I was intrigued.  I’ve always been plagued with self-doubt,  perhaps an abnormal amount of such.  I could never do that,  I could never be like her.  Shelf that idea.  I heard derby whisper my name that night but my head said, “You can’t do it”.

Two years ago, another friend of mine FunkePunkeMonke had mentioned to me that she had joined Mass Attack Roller Derby.  I was secretly jealous.  Where do my friends keep getting this strength from?  Everyone was sure, confident, self-aware, and so supportive of their team.  You could see their level of commitment and passion just oozing from their skates.  I sat and watched her game much like I watched Rachael’s game.  That night derby spoke a little louder… but again, my head said, “You’ll never make it.”

In January of this year, after a series of life changes since the last time I saw a derby game. I saw an invitation pop up on my facebook by Captain Tufts, a friend and  derby official.  Was this a sign??  Derby screamed this time out of nowhere… and my head said “Fine.  But if you get hurt, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

My first practice, I remember putting my loaner elbow pads on upside down and thinking, “I am a hot mess.  What am I doing here??”  I fixed my pads, laced up my rental skates… and got the courage to head out on to the floor.  Instant faceplant. It hurt too.  After multiple attempts looking like Bambi learning how to first walk (or in this instance, skate) I got back up.  I started to roll.  I was shaking like a leaf.  I almost cried because I thought “ok this is it—this is where I quit.  I can’t.  I can’t do this.”

Then suddenly impending “Doom”. But, in a good way.  Doom is the name of my skater sister who came up behind me out of nowhere and grabbed my hand.  She made me

Jessy and her skater sister, Doom

Jessy and her skater sister, Doom

instantly feel like I belonged. Like, this was where I needed to be.  “Don’t be nervous.  We’ve all been there.” she said.   I think, at first it’s hard to imagine when you are looking around at all the vets to think that they used to be like you once.  I mean, how is that even possible?? They whiz by you and you just stand there in awe… half because you want to be friends with everyone because they have such great attitudes and half because you want to be like them. You aspire to be like them.

At my first practice, I met an amazingly supportive coach named Banshee and an exceptional group of women, who much like myself, were emerging from their comfort zone.  We were all in loaner gear that was hand-me-downs from vets and too big or too small rink rental skates and just looking at each other.  We skated our first lap and I knew.  Wobbly strangers who kept falling… but we were falling together.  I knew just as I watched these women of all walks of life, diversity, and backgrounds that they had heard that derby voice too.  Like me.  All of them for different reasons.  That’s when I felt that this was truly a family.  We were all new sisters.

It’s been two months now and I am already far from where I started… and I don’t mean the shaky leaf on skates.  I mean seven years ago, sitting in the crowd watching all my other friends accomplish their hardest goals.  Being a spectator in life is no longer in the cards for me.  Each practice Doom keeps up with me asking me every time, “What’s one good thing you did today at practice?”…Sometimes I answer plow stops or crossovers, or the out of breathe garbled, “I didn’t die” and she laughs.

It took me years to finally do this.  To do this for me.  To prove to myself that “I can”.  I am tough.  I am a damn sweaty-boobed warrior on eight wheels…especially with my new sisters behind me.

P.S.  If you’re looking for a sign to join derby like I was, this is it!

 

Blog post by Jessy Chaves

 

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Mass Attack Roller Derby has found a new home with Carousel Family Fun Center of Fairhaven

For Immediate Release: Mass Attack Roller Derby has found a new home!

   mardJanuary 13, 2016

Fairhaven, MA — Mass Attack Roller Derby (MARD), Southeastern Massachusetts’ internationally ranked flat-track roller derby league, has found a home after a very long search. MARD will now call Carousel Family Fun Center of Fairhaven their new home base, having practice and hosting their 2016 season home games there.

Last summer, after a change in ownership at their last practice space, MARD found themselves temporarily without a home. The league was forced to find a new venue to practice and host games. Due to the lack of consistent practice space and venues that could accommodate a regulation-sized track, MARD was forced to cancel their last three games of the 2015 season. MARD’s skaters spent the summer months practicing outdoors in parking lots and on basketball courts and found a temporary home at the Driscoll Ice Arena in Fall River during the rink’s off season. MARD’s 2015 Board of Directors worked tirelessly to find a space that would accommodate the league’s needs at an affordable price for the volunteer/skater-run 501c3 non-profit organization.

“We cannot express what good news this is for our league. Losing our practice and game space in 2015 was a huge blow but we made the most of an unfortunate situation. We skated on broken glass-covered parking lots and dusty concrete floors with chipping paint, but ultimately it made us tougher, better skaters and brought us together as a league.”  says MARD’s president, Malice Paul. The league will host four double-header home games at Carousel in 2016: on May 14th, June 4th, July 16th, and August 13th. Both of MARD’s teams, the All Stars and Bloody Bordens, travel throughout New England and beyond to play other leagues. But, the ability to host other teams in 2016 is a relief for the league.

Partnering with Carousel has afforded the league the ability to increase the number of practices per week and therefore step up their training. “Carousel has given us an opportunity to expand our total training hours per week, allowing MARD to become more competitive this season.  Furthermore, having a consistent home allows our players to focus on their training rather than worry about practice logistics, which is a big deal for a volunteer-run sports business,” says Coaching chair Shock’n Roll. All levels of skaters, from beginners to veterans, will practice twice weekly at Carousel.

“We are really excited to be working with such an inspiring and successful woman owned and operated business such as Carousel.  Roller derby really is about empowering each other to accomplish goals both on and off the track and having a relationship with a business woman who has accomplished so much is really exciting and uplifting for us as a league,” says Vice President Terpedo.

For more information on MARD and to stay up to date on their events, check out their website at www.massattackrollerderby.com. They are also available on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Mass Attack Roller Derby is seeking a new home!

Photo by Daneurysm Roller Derby Photography

Photo by Daneurysm Roller Derby Photography

Southeastern Massachusetts’s Internationally ranked women’s flat track roller derby league is seeking space for league practices and public games.

Our skater-owned and operated 501(c)3 non-profit sports league called the former Silver City Sports Complex in Taunton home since 2013. A change in rink ownership occurred this April, and practice times remained available through the end of July. The league was able to rent space at Driscoll Skating Arena in Fall River until the end of August, until the skating arena installed ice for hockey season. After renovations this summer, new rink ownership informed us that other options were chosen moving forward, such as private functions and artistic skating.

To keep our teams competitive, we require consistent access to practice space. Our teams practice two nights per week. At this time of year, weather can make outside practices a challenge. We’ve been hauling a trailer full of borrowed lights and a generator to a basketball court when indoor practice isn’t possible. Ideally, we’d like to form a relationship with a roller rink, warehouse or gym space, and perhaps add a third night of practice.

Our practice time is spent teaching newer skaters core skating basics and endurance prior to learning contact, and working with seasoned skaters on conditioning, hard hits, technique and on-track strategies.

We’re currently seeking a public, indoor location for our October 17th and November 14th games, and the 2016 season. The floor surface needs to be suitable for skating, free of major obstructions.

In addition to providing live, flat track roller derby to an audience, Mass Attack Roller Derby’s games provide exposure to other local nonprofits such as the Taunton Boys & Girls Club, Silver City Teen Center, and Animal Protection Center of Southeastern MA. A different nonprofit is provided a presence at each game, and receives the proceeds of their 50/50 raffle. We believe it’s important to support the community.

How can you help? Please share our link on social media and let us know if you know of a space that may suit our needs. Including direct contact information for the recommended facility is super helpful. Our email address is  [email protected]com.

We appreciate your support of local roller derby!

Your friends at Mass Attack

Get Your Roller Derby On With Mass Attack!

Hey Friends, we are on TV!

Come check out our Derby 101 video and some awesome skater profiles on our Mass Attack league members!

Derby On Demand

You can find our videos on Xfinity OnDemand by searching for “Profiles” if you use the X1 platform, or by going to your “Get Local” section and selecting “Roller Derby” under the sports category.20150605_142337

 

If you want to get in on the action live time come see our next game!  It’s a double header, so there will be twice the action!

Bring a chair and sit track side on June 13th!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Thank you to Comcast for taking the time to get to know us and producing these awesome videos we are so excited and grateful!

Where’s Your Journey Going to Take You?

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Marie posing as part of a positive body image campaign in 2015 Photo taken by Jodie Ponte

Everyone’s derby journey is different. Mine hasn’t quite ended up where I thought it would after a year and a half, but that’s what’s great about derby, you can do so many different things. I remember my first day as a freshie. I was nervous, as I hadn’t been on skates in at least 15 years. I was convinced (and so was my mom) that since I can barely walk without injuring myself, I was ultimately setting myself up for many visits to the hospital.  My first practice involved a lot of me giving myself pep talks about not being scared – all while watching the rest of the MARD ladies skating and hitting and being generally awesome.

When we sat down to stretch at the end of the night, everyone went around and talked about what had brought them to derby. It was one of the first times in 29 years that I truly felt a connection to such a large group of people. Everyone was so positive and uplifting. By the end of the night, when I was walking out of the rink, I had forgotten all of my concerns about not being good enough and instead I replaced the negativity with all of the positive things people had said. After all, they had all been where I was at one point (though I’m still convinced that at least a handful of them skated out of the womb).

Once I finally leveled up to a 2 with my group of freshies, I was proud of myself. It hadn’t been easy after coming back from sickness and minor injuries, but everyone was once again encouraging and it helped silence the voice in my head that was saying, “I will never be able to do this.” During practices, or even open skates, every single league mate was willing to offer words of wisdom or to show me how to properly transition, hockey stop, etc. (even if it was the 79th time I asked). When the time came for assessments, the other skaters were there to help and make it as comfortable as a test can be. My major struggle, and the one thing I was determined to really nail, was jumping over the pad. It was something I was never able to do during practice, as I was constantly over-thinking it.  I didn’t make the jump the first time around the track. Making my way back to the pad, I kept telling myself to just do it and to stop worrying. The second time around, I cleared the jump! I was so proud of myself that I actually yelled from excitement. The part that really got to me (and made me cry) was the fact that I wasn’t yelling on my own – the rest of the skaters on the track were yelling from excitement with me. Though I didn’t end up passing the assessment, I walked away feeling accomplished and supported.

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Bootiful Banshee, Mutha Trucka, Havana Heartbreak, Marie, and XQZ Moi at the 2015 MARD photo shoot. Picture taken by Spanks Red Hot and Sue Doe Nymph

Due to injury, and life getting in the way, I have had to step away from the skating part of derby. I was voted to be on the 2015 Board of Directors, so I am still able to be a part of a league of people I have grown to love. The amount of respect, support, and encouragement that my fellow league mates give each other on a daily basis is something I hope to never lose in life. Despite not being a current skater, I have never doubted that they still have my back. So, even though my journey started off with me skating and I am currently on the BoD and no longer skating, my love and support for these people hasn’t faltered. I hope to be a part of derby and MARD for a long time to come. I’m excited and ready to see where my derby journey will take me.

Blog post by Marie Desrosiers

May 2015 Featured Org – Boys & Girls Club of Taunton

MARD believes in giving back to our community. Every game we highlight a featured organization to bring awareness to charitable groups in our neighborhoods. For our May 2nd doubleheader our featured organization is The Boys & Girls Club of Tauton.

Feature Org BGCTauntonAbout

The Boys & Girls Club of Taunton is a safe, healthy place where the young people of our community can learn, grow, and have fun.
Mission

The Boys & Girls Club of Taunton gives youth in the Greater Taunton Region – especially those who need us most – a sense of hope, belonging, and purpose, as well as the skills they need to overcome life’s challenges and give back to their community.
Overview

Their “Clubhouse” is located at 31 Court Street in downtown Taunton. They are open every day after school and during most school vacations. Club Members may drop in at any time to engage in supervised activities led by our caring staff. Please visit their Membership page for details.

In addition to serving as a daily drop-in facility for young people, the Boys & Girls Club of Taunton offers a licensed Child Care program, several youth and adult Sports Leagues, the Tiger Sharks Swim Team and Swim Lessons.

Each summer the Boys & Girls Club of Taunton also operates Summer Camp at Lewis Park, a fantastic day camp facility located on 45 acres at 388 Harvey Street in Taunton.

Click here to visit their webpage or click here to visit their Facebook page.

April 2015 Featured Org – Silver City Teen Center

MARD believes in giving back to our community. Every game we highlight a featured organization to bring awareness to charitable groups in our neighborhoods. For our season opener our featured org is Silver City Teen Center.

teencenter

About

Created to be a safe haven for Taunton’s teens, ages 13-19. Violence in any form, toward any person is unacceptable.

Mission

To promote safety, health & wellness for Taunton’s youth by creating a safe haven.

Organizational Overview

The Silver City Teen Center now located at the St. Thomas Church Hall, 111 High St., Taunton MA, is the result of an October 2008 National Make a Difference Day anti-gang, anti-youth violence & underage drinking prevention project to create a safe haven for Taunton teens ages 14 – 19. The initial project, for which the teen center received a $10,000 award from the Paul Newman Foundation & USA Weekend News, was a collaboration between the Taunton School Committee, the Mayor’s Office and Southeastern Massachusetts Voices Against Violence.
The SCTC supports an open enrollment and services/activities/programs are at no cost to families. At the request of the community, in 2011, the teen center amended the ages served to 13-19.

Silver City Teen Center members have multiple opportunities to participate in public service events to raise awareness about public health issues that directly impact them such as teen dating violence, bullying/cyberbullying, underage drinking & drug use; teen depression, self-injury and suicide prevention. Teen center volunteer staff are trained in these issues.

Tutoring is available free at the SCTC. Home tutoring is available on a sliding scale fee. Job readiness and college research support are also available.

Snacks & water are available & a meal will be served each day

Click here to visit their web site or here to view their Facebook page.

MARD is now 501(c)(3) recognized

A message from our President

Mass Attack Roller Derby is proud to share some very exciting news: our application to become a 501(c)(3) charitable organization has been approved by the IRS!

MARD remains a skater owned and operated league, run by volunteers and dues paying skaters. Any profits from ticket and merchandise sales pays for our practice space.
Receiving approval as a 501(c)(3) opens doors for our league, allowing access to grants, and makes donations and sponsorships tax-deductible! Access to funding via generous gifts helps MARD reach a goal of sustainability for the long term.

The research & application process was not easy, and a few hard-working ladies made this happen. HUGE thanks to Gwen Animalsattack, EH-Radiskator, Sixx Tatt, Jezebel Crush, Trouble’s Braids, & Evilyn Tent for all of your hard work!

Thanks to our fans & friends for your support!

Derby love,
Bootiful Banshee, #187
President

Make our derby dreams come true with a tax-deductible gift




Interested in sponsoring Mass Attack Roller Derby? Email our Sponsorship Team at [email protected]

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