Friday, July 31, 2009

Follow the Heathers on Twitter

Heathers Twitter power.

They're tweeting. Follow them and their awesome tweeting power.

Last Blast for Sump Pump

As you may recall, last April Rose City Rollers luminary Sump Pump sustained serious injury with a fractured jaw while skating in a bout, and RCR and friends (including Delta Cafe and Flat Track Revolution) banded together to raise over $3,000 to help our friend out. And Sump Pump has healed up and is looking good and happy.

But now that the insurance dust has settled, we find that a substantial liability persists: deductible and expense cap aside, there were some items that insurance just didn't pay for, so total uncovered medical costs exceeded $10,000.

So we're going to give Sump Aid one last blast before we take the PayPal button down. If you can give a little more for Sump Pump, please do.

Click the "Donate" button in the upper right-hand corner of this page to help.

Many thanks.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Heathers Pouring Beer at Bones and Brew

Once again this year as in years past, the Heartless Heathers will be pouring beer for a great cause at the 15th Annual Bones and Brew Festival


Date: August 1 and 2, 2009
Admission Cost: $3
Suggested DonationTimes: Sat 11 AM - 9 PM ~ Sun 11 AM - 7 PM

The 15 th Annual Bones and Brew Festival, Aug. 1 and 2, benefits the Oregon Zoo. Last years event drew more than 4,000 people to Portland 's historic Pearl District and raised more than $11,000. This year's family and dog-friendly event will be a celebration of the American Backyard BBQ and include: BBQ vendors, a BBQ contest, Kobe Bleu Ball eating contest, Dog Vendors, Charity Dog Wash, 20+ Microbreweries and Live Music.

Action Central will be the Rogue Distillery and Pub, at NW 14th & Flanders. Live music and other events. And bones. And brew. And Heartless Heathers.

Go along and have a good time.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ringer takes two Silver Medals at Quad Nationals; RCR moves up to 3rd in the West

Last Saturday, Izabell Ringer blazed around the track in Peoria in a few different events to take the Women's Masters Division overall Silver Medal, and an additional Silver in Mixed Relay at USARS Quad Nationals. It was a day of conquering adversity as her Mixed Relay partner suffered a dislocated shoulder, and Ringer herself was knocked to the floor by a dirty opponent during her individual heats. There is a photo of the floor burn that we shall not reproduce here without the burn owner's permission.

In other happy news, Rose City's Wheels of Justice moved up above Rat City and Bay Area teams to third place in WFTDA's Western Division Rankings.

They will spend that car wash money well.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Axles of Annihilation 133, Rat City Rain of Terror 67

Oh, my stars and garters.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

RCR 120, Carolina 62

Well, what do you know about that?

Oh, I must write that down.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Double Secret Carolina/WoJ bout doin's

Okay, so maybe "SOLD OUT" doesn't mean as much when you are only talking about five lucky people and their guests, but fear not WoJ'sters. The mighty DNN will be honoring us with a trip out west to bring the action of this bout to I know I have happily wasted some of my lifetime watching DNN's online feeds. Like ECE a couple of weeks ago. Yes, pre-City Championship here, I had the pleasure of watching Carolina fire back from behind and beat Boston 82 to 81 in the last two minutes, in my own home.

So you too can check it out if you haven' here. Or just go to

Now, if you don't want to sit and watch derby in the privacy of your own home, perhaps in your underwear enjoying a KFC Sadness bowl and a few PBR's, you can join the derby crowd at Kay's. Yes, right up the hood from the Hangar, Kay's at 6903 SE Milwaukie Ave. will be hosting a live feed viewing party. So you can still get your crowd scene on even if you aren't part of the crowd at the scene. Either way it's probably the only way to catch a bout you don't want to miss.

Now if you bother with DNN's Power Ranking silliness, you already know Carolina holds the 10 spot on their charts. Our beloved WoJ is sitting at number 12, which could mean our Wheels could gain some Top Ten status with a win. Now I realize this is "just" the DNN Power Rankings, but currently this system is the only overall master rankings of all the teams across the country, that actually moves with play throughout the season. It doesn't mean shit if WoJ doesn't win in Denver in October. Until then, a win against Carolina and some improvement in ranking don't hurt us none. You can check out DNN's pre Bout Preview here.

So don't just sit there, unless you want to. In which case, here is the link to view the bout... AGAIN.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Coach Izabell Ringer leads those SickTown Derby Dames to victory...

The Centralia (aka Rainy City) Rollerdrome played host last Saturday to a double header featuring Rainy City and Treasure Valley battling it out with SickTown Derby Dame Vs Fort Lewis Bettie Brigade on the under card. The venue was a great small town rink that had some of my favourite roller derby accessories, a beer garden, indoor plumbing and air hockey.

Both SickTown Derby Dames and Ft. Lewis are relatively young leagues, in fact it was Ft Lewis' first bout but the action didn't lack from the experience. The bout was close through most of the first half. There were plenty of major hits and solid jamming skills displayed by both teams leading to a close halftime score of STDD 77 Ft Lewis 63. After the half, Sicktown built on the gap with some great jams from Rice Crackr, St Nick and Hot Boxxx. Though Ft. Lewis was not going quietly, even the monstrous Tamazon and Legs Le'nor could not keep the SickTown dames from the win. In the end STDD racked up 137 over 115 points for Ft Lewis.

As for the main event, it was a hard fought or more accurately a brutal bout that ended with some controversy.

The thumbnail view is: Rainy City, on the backs of some of the speediest little jammers around came out strong and fast. Treasure Valley battled the speed game with some tough defense and hard hits. The first half was chaotic in my opinion and would end with Treasure Valley down 47 to Rainy's 71. The second half picked up just where the first half left off in terms of aggressive play. With just under 20 mins left in the second half, Rainy City up 89 to 63, ANGxiety Rush of Treasure Valley took an elbow and was knocked unconscious. This stopped play and ultimately the bout.

The coach for Treasure Valley had had enough and forfeited the game.

The major problem (and huge distraction for me, hence the lack luster NON recap of the bout) was the lack of officiating. It was so bad that I don’t remember details of the speedy jamming styles of Holly Hobble or D.V.S. Dicer (A mini version of Blood Clottia) because I spent most of the time yelling, pointing and being disgusted by what I saw as Roller girls gone wild…and not in a good way!

Now as I crawl out on a limb here, there are three caveats to my comments.

#1) I am not a casual derby fan. I would stack my understanding of the WFTDA rules against 99% of the "Fans" at that bout. (Noz, Nepalm Beth and Mercyful Kate would have to be excluded. Kanna, George and my daughter Bailey would no doubt be my biggest competition) but I know what I saw.

ii) I realize I am holding Referees that are "Volunteers" responsible for their actions or lack there of. I am not bitching about the score board operator, the people running the door or the score whore here, these are the OFFICIALS of the bout which, pay or NOT, comes with responsibility. It also comes with the expectation that you need to not only KNOW the rules, but be willing to enforce those rules.

C) Most importantly, I am not dissing ANY LEAGUE, TEAM or PLAYER. I am not trying to discourage people from seeing bouts in Rainy City, in fact I would encourage everyone to go check out their bouts and's got a funky factor of 10 and they are good people that are working their asses off to make derby a vibrant part of their community.

All that bullsh!t said...

Early on, I thought the ref crew was just new and figuring out how to work together. I thought they would work through the bugs and that they would get it together. Then I thought they were trying to give some room to Sicktown/Ft. Lewis because they are relatively new teams. By the time Rainy City and Treasure Valley hit the track I was completely frustrated by what I saw as an absence of enforcement of the rules.

In as much as the poor ref'ing hurt any of the teams, it also helped. Of course the skaters figured out they could get away with stuff and so they did. That's not an insult, each team has to play the bout that is happening; taking every advantage they's the nature of sports. Now with Sicktown and Ft Lewis, they are young developing teams, so they didn't have the skills yet to do the kind of damage Rainy City and Treasure Valley could, and did to each other.

At the half, I said that I thought the calls were lopsided but Bailey called “bullshit foul” on me, saying "Treasure Valley may be behind in points, but they are beating the crap out of Rainy and even IF, Treasure Valley has had more box time but there are still only being called for part of their shit." Later she would make the most damning statement which seems to boil the bout down to its essence, "How is this a WFTDA sanctioned bout? It looks more like Renegade Roller Derby."

And indeed it did appear to be lawless.

During the second half, people around us figured out that we had some more understanding of game basics and starting asking both us questions about rules. It was ironic because I would say "You can't do" this or that and then they would point out that it was just done. I could see skaters looking at the ref's because they KNEW what they just did...and they were puzzled they weren't called for it. This of course was contrasted by calls that were made for no visible reason.

Eventually this all led to a skater down, which though I enjoy seeing a tough hard hitting bout, a skater on the floor is always scary. Treasure Valley's coach made a tough but wise and as I have said in other venues...a brave choice. The coach chose the best interest of the players over the game. I can only imagine how rough things would have gotten as they got to the usual passionately played ending of the bout.

And so begins the aftermath...

I sent a quick text to Elwood, he was up in Oly for the big Hot Rod Honeys bout. That got me a follow up message and eventually I sent him my assessment in an email.

The next day saw an inquiry from Miss Mel Mangles of Rainy City and this morning, the same thing from their coach Ryrod.

All of which, got the same story…

It is clear that the entire Rainy City organization recognizes there are some growing pains here, that there is a problem and they intend to fix it. Again, though they hosted the bout I don't really blame them for shit. I think it is reasonable to expect a level of professionalism from those that make the choice to wear the stripes.

Yes, I have had various issues with refs over the course of my Roller Derby Fandom, but I have always respected what they do. The result of this bout is a deeper appreciation for all the Refs in the Rose City and across the country that take the responsibility seriously. I hope that the Officiating crew assembled for this bout learns from the experience. I did. I learned just how valuable the rule set is...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thoughts from a fan, geek, volunteer and [occasional] staff dude

Alright, I was going to wait until JeLLyPiG wrote up his always fantastic Post-Mortem of the bout, but I find myself unable to hold my tongue (or typing fingers) any longer.

I basically have three points I want to make, and I'll try to do so in as respectful a manner as possible, but I gotta say there have been some things a brewin', largely in the peripheral derby community, that I find utterly disgusting, and I can't let that stuff stand without expressing my own opinion.

Point 1: The RCR officiating crew (refs, stats, auxiliary staff) are top-to-bottom some of the best, most professional, and hard-working bunch you'd find anywhere in the derby world! Widen that out to the larger world of amateur sports in general, and I still doubt you'd find many who work harder or are more passionate and committed to their respective sports.

I've been a fan of roller derby since, oh about 2003, and I've always known RCR has a bunch of good refs, who are well-respected nationwide, doing a job that is difficult and complicated. Still, it wasn't until this year, when I got to see them working "from the other side" if you will, that I realized just how hard the job is. There are literally dozens of places where mistakes can be made, information being communicated can be lost, calls being missed or blown, rules interpretations must be brought to bear on new situations, and of course, there are "challenging" personalities (skater and fan alike) making an already tough job that much more difficult.

I make this point because, it has become almost commonplace for people to start lobbing insults and abuse, even after the game is over, at refs and other officials - and sometimes I think it goes over the line. I'm not saying don't be passionate about the sport you love (or in the case of skaters, the sport you play). I'm not even saying don't be critical, or disagree with the refs. What I AM saying is that I can't respect someone who is unable to articulate their feelings with a little respect.

Basically, if you think you can do a better job, then strap on some skates, set aside 25-30% of all your free time, and go be a ref. Lord knows they wouldn't turn you away! But be prepared to actually read those rules you like to bitch about. And make sure you attend the ref practices, meetings, and rules discussions. Don't even think about missing the countless hours of scrimmages in the league. Oh, and don't hold your breath thinking that anyone's gonna actually compensate you for your time!

Point 2: Sports are governed by rules. Roller Derby is a sport. Ergo, Roller Derby is governed by rules. YOU don't write the rules. I don't write the rules. Cheering fans of the Betties who pulled out a heroic victory over a High Rollers team that was about 2 minutes away from snatching away the 2009 Championship don't write the rules. Disjected, frustrated GnR fans who watched their team come unglued again don't write the rules. Skaters sent to the box don't write the rules.

Nevertheless, the game is governed by rules. You don't have to like all of them - lord knows I got a few I can't stand - but the rules are the rules. Athletes who play a sport must understand the rules. They don't have to like all of them any more than you or I do, but if they want to be successful, they had better put in the time to figure them out, and learn what the appropriate strategy for every given situation is.

There has been a lot of discussion recently over the "stopping on the track" strategy that we witnessed at the last bout, most of it vilifying the Heartless Heathers for implementing the tactic against the Guns 'n Rollers (oddly, no one seemed to mind when GnR did it against the High Rollers earlier this season. Or when the Wheels of Justice did it against Rat City, also this season).

I'm going to assume that you fully understand that what they did was LEGAL, and totally allowed under the rules that govern the sport (and it's arguably still allowed under the new 4.0 rules - I'll discuss that more in a future post). So why is anybody upset if the team broke no rules?

Is it because it's "boring"? Well, that's a subjective opinion, to which you're entitled to hold, but I have to disagree. I find it immensely satisfying to watch a team of blockers, in the heat of competition, synchronize their efforts by focusing all their hits on a single opponent, lock that opponent down with them, then drag her back away from her teammates, thus exerting control over the pack and effectively taking their opponents out of the game.

That is control. That is strategy. That doesn't come without practice and team chemistry. That is roller derby. Boring? Hardly, but we obviously are gonna have to agree to disagree.

So, let's say you think it's boring. Well, the good news for you is that you don't see it happen much. I couldn't confirm this without seeing the video, but I've heard it said that the Heathers employed the strategy 2-3 times in the last bout. Since the strategy really only makes sense when the opposing jammer is in the box, and penalties are only 1 minute, that means the most we saw was 3 minutes of this. Out of 60 minutes.

Think about that for a second. Are you really upset because you were "bored" for 3 out of 60 minutes? That's 5% of the game time! And I'm not counting the many team and official time outs, just the regulation bout time. To put that in perspective, do you realize that there are roughly 30-40 total jams in a bout, and that teams are allowed 30 seconds after each jam to line up (i.e. clock ticks, but no derby happens) - that means, conservatively, there are 15 out of 60 minutes (or 25%) where NOTHING happens. Do you think THAT is boring too?

I can't help but think there's something else going on here; something more behind all this "outrage". Especially when you understand that BOTH teams engaged in it, yet only one is being criticized.

Maybe you think it is "cheap", because you want to see them skating fast all the time. To that all I can say is, expand your horizons a bit. In the NBA there's this thing called the 24 second shot clock. That means that you can hold the ball in your hands and do nothing for 24 seconds before you have to give the ball to the other team. At the end of almost every game, if you've got the lead, that's exactly what you do. Is that "cheap"? In the NFL you're allowed 4 downs, with like 30 seconds to call a play on each down, before you turn the ball over. You know what happens when you're down to the final 2 minutes, have a lead, and you get the ball back? You don't call a play, you just kneel down over and over until the clock expires and the opposing team can do nothing. Is that cheap?

Alright, I really could go on and on even more about this, but I'll just quickly wrap up this point - if you are bitching about what you saw there are two things you should do. One: send WFTDA an email explaining what you do and don't want to see in future versions of the rules. Two: Grow the eff up!

Point 3: The Heartless Heathers are the greatest roller derby team in RCR, possibly the world. Not because they won the 2006 & 2008 Championships. Not because they were undefeated against 3 of the 4 teams in the league this year. Not for any accolade they've earned individually or as a team on the track.

In my opinion the Heathers are the greatest team because they embody everything I want to see in sports. They have skilled skaters, yet they are always trying to improve. They have strong new talents, but still have the guidance of experienced veterans who have logged more hours playing the sport than many have even wearing skates. They are a team that supports each other, but of equal importance they support the league and the greater derby community. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone in the league who works harder at the non-team stuff than the Heathers. Be it coaching and mentoring youth derby or the new recruit "Fresh Meat" or raising money for charities, the Heathers get it.

They're fierce competitors, surely, because that's what athletes do. But after the heat of the moment has passed, win or lose, they always give respect and love to their opponents. I've been able to witness the heights of their success, basking in the glory of their multiple championships, but I can honestly say that I've never seen them in higher spirits than when they congratulated the High Rollers who beat them both times in 2009 - a feat no other team could pull off even ONCE!

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, although I know the team has likely seen some angry, virulent stuff flung about in recent days - just know where it's coming from. And know too that your fans, friends, and family love you and support you.

So, thanks Heartless Heathers for a great 2009! Not without it's ups and downs to be sure, but wow what a ride! To those moving on, you will be missed and remember: Heathers POR VIDA means for life!

To those returning for next year, good luck in the off-season! I hope to share a drink and/or a laugh with you this summer, knowing you'll be back stronger than ever next year!