The Junior Co-ed Derby Debate or: How Teenage Boys Could Be Learning About Feminism On the Track

A very important article about making changes that make derby and everything better.

Derby Frontier

Written by Kevin Dennison

A recent article on Rollin’ News entitled South Side Derby Delinquents – The Lost Boys: Where To Put Male Skates After Age 11? has reopened conversation on the age old debate of sex/gender segregation in sports and I can’t help but feel that the wrong message is likely to be sent to young boys through all of this. It seems that once the magical number of 12 is reached, there are a lot of concerns that it is at this age where male skater’s “testosterone is peaking and self-control is often-times lacking.” What kind of message are we sending young boys when we say that they can’t play with the girls anymore because their coaches, their role models, their mentors and other adults do not trust that they can “control their bodies and their emotions enough to resolve to not make inappropriate contact on the track”?

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Jammer breath

I have a new favourite sound – jammer breath. It means my line is strong, slow, calm and doing exactly what it’s supposed to. When I can hear the jammer breathing behind us, getting frustrated, stuck and tired, I get more calm and resiliant. When our jammer is through, and the other team needs to come back and spring theirs, well fuck. That’s a good start to a jam.

Lately I’ve been trying to work on getting my focus into my lower body to get a stronger drive and seam. But when I do, i fall on my ass. I think I need a stronger core first.

I’ll be playing with the B-52 Bellas on August 16th. Nbd.


Unforgettable Firsts

My first real invitational bout. The first time hearing my name from an announcer (GI Jones is killer by the way, my husband feels like he has a better understanding of the game after listening to him) and the first time getting to sing the national anthem at a game I’m playing in. My first time getting to introduce myself when I hear my name. My first time really having a bench coach (Wolfman is super positive and constructive. I love having a stranger tell me he’s proud of me), and my first time having a real bench to sit on. Although I hated sitting, I’m too into the game and get too nervous. Though you can’t tell from my shit eating grin.


My first time jamming (3 times this game) where I didn’t get completely gassed after and I even got lead for one of them, and possibly a
point! My first time where I was really focused on staying with my team and not concerned with how much I accomplished in each jam. My first time on my hard wheels on a slippery floor (could not slow down!) and my first forearm penalty 😦 My first time jamming and blocking against Hockey Stop – and she is one hell of a force. My first time playing with these awesome ladies


My first tied game


And my first victory lap. I got to high five my own little man’s hands. Best first of all.



One more awesome first:


Like really kick ass sex with no orgasm.

Every once in a while, I need to stroke my ego a bit and just be fuckin amazed with how far my body has come. A few years ago, I would have never dreamed of going to a hot yoga class. But now, after derby, Body Pump, MMA, why would I be afraid of any physical activity? So $5 Fridays at a new hot yoga studio? Fuck yeah. I’m going.

It was the best. Ever.

Like, really kick ass sex with no orgasm; you’re both so mentally in tune with each other that just the sweaty, beautiful sex is all you need. That’s what hot yoga is like. There’s a lovely scent in the room and every body is pouring sweat and the lights are dim, so you can’t really see. It’s just you and this beautiful black man’s soothing voice. At the end, the beautiful black man brings you a cold towel sprits with more of that lovely scent and I swear I almost cried. I felt, so fucking good.

I loved that I could do every pose without needing a break and not once did I need to breath through my mouth from exhaustion. I haven’t needed to think about Bertha in a long while, maybe she likes feeling kick ass too.

All the derby

I’ve now got about 5 scrimmages under my belt including one rookie rumble. I really wish I’d written a post right after I finished it, because it felt so amazing seeing all all my kick ass coaches reffing with shit eating grins on their face the whole time. I felt I could really get things accomplished blocking against jammers that needed a little more time – I forced a couple cut tracks and even delivered a couple hits.

I’ve noticed a few improvements in my game over the last few weeks. Firstly,

I’m less hands-y. I don’t have to use my arms for balance so much, though I still have a long way to go in this area.

I was not blocked out once while jamming. I think I will keep this a goal for ever. I will stay strong and solid and tire the shit out of their blockers. Then I will build on that foundation and try to get some explosive speed worked in. I was also far less tied this time post jamming.

Egg catching. Blocking against super strong, fast jammers like Lock Jaw, it hurts to try and stop her dead, then as you’re recovering from the hit, she blows through you. I think that there were a few times that our team really caught her well and stopped her for a few seconds.

Immediate goals to work on:

Using my team. I leave each jam either thinking that I accomplished something, or I didn’t. I think that’s the problem right there. I need to feel ONE with my team. Since I’m not on one yet, I don’t know everyone’s style and forget to use names or forget what to say. I think this will just take time. But next time, I’m going to stick to my partner and try to talk more.

Hits. I’ve had the goal for a while to hit one person a game. Sometimes I do, mostly I don’t. Timing is so hard and our jammers are so fast. But I have caused a couple sneaky cut tracks where I gently push them out and hold them there. Those are effective because they can’t help but get the penalty, but still, more hitting bitches needed.

My first real bout is Sunday. An invitational with lots of rookies on both sides. I’m so excited!
After every scrimmage I think “I wish I could do this again tomorrow.” I want all the derby!

Win win win

Today was my first real, full length scrimmage. I went in with the goal of not getting hurt, or badly hurting anyone else, and any other moment of triumph would be bonus awesome. Win, win, and a little more win. I helped block Kris My Ass for like, 3 seconds! I love watching her jam, even if she’s against me, it’s so exciting. What an amazing athlete – my life is awesome because I get to play with women like her. So many amazing women! I can not describe how lucky I feel to be apart of this. Everyone has something to teach you. Every game, you can become better than the last because of the people around you.

Tonight’s tips: stay with your partner and don’t chase (I think that last part was more specifically for me as a freshie).

When bridging, don’t look ahead. Only look back. You need to watch that 10 feet barrier and maybe you have more space to take. Watch your rear bridge person.

Things to work on:

Im super hands-y. I didn’t need anyone else to tell me this one, I could feel myself groping for people all the time, and I just tried my best to make sure they were my own teammates. I really need to work on my fast twitch muscles and getting good balance so I can be more solid on my own.

Fucking up the other team’s shit. I have no idea how to help my own jammer.

Some more firsts that felt good:

Lining up for equipment check/a ref reading my number out loud

Finishing a jam with a good moment in it

Pivot helmet covers

My proper number on my arm

A penalty free game (don’t know how many I’ll have)

Being in a pack with the women I’ve idolized for a year. They are even more terrifying and awesome when they’re hitting you for real. (Though I’m sure they were holding back a little)

Love this life.

Practice this shit!

My first couple real league practices have been awesome. I love being able to skate twice a week, everything is getting easier much faster.

Every scrimmage like drill starts by me having a huge “What the fuck just happened?” moment, but those start to fade and you are able to grab a moment here and moment there of great satisfaction. I’m hopeful that those moments will become more frequent!

Here’s a list of things we are doing and I should work on them often!

1 – 3 turns. This is a one foot transition. Outside edge to inside, or vice versa, any combo you want. Much easier to do when rolling.

2 – one foot hop. Use your core, maybe swing your arms, keep your knee up high.

3 – jumping from your outside edge on one foot, to the outside edge on the other foot. Another type of one foot transition.

4 – this one is amazing. Scully, then when your feet are farthest apart, jump. You are pushing off on your edges and you gain speed!

5 – skating on one foot and using your edges to turn. From what I can see, most of the girls use their hips for this one a great deal.

6 – 360 jumps. This one actually looks like it start more like a normal 360 transition with a jump at the end. Strange side note, I seem to do 360 transitions very very well on my bad side.

7 – kick ass drill, hockey stop pyramid. With a partner, you are both on the track facing each other, one facing derby direction, the other opposite. One goes to the other side of the track, hockey stops once, the partner follows. Then you do two, partner does two. Etc all the way to 10, then back down. Once you have stopped, come out of it pushing off your outside foot and crossover your inside. It gives you a big step across the track! I’m realizing how essential the hockey stop is. When going fast, it gives you the fast stopping power you need to be safe. It’s the most important thing I’m working on right now. Also, I hypothesize that the plow I do always with my right foot might not be great for my ankle.

8 – backwards crossovers. Two crosses with one side, two with the other. Pretty simple.

9 – skating in opposite derby direction. I felt like a baby camel out there.

10 – backwards skating on one foot. That shit hurts.

11 – toe stops. Always.

Suffice to say today’s focus was on edges, hopping and one foot skating. All skills that I can work on at Lloyd’s. Or I need to check in with genesis! They probably have their track open now.

Love this league, love every practice. Kick ass life.

Exactly where I’m supposed to be.

These last two month have been hard. Harder than anything I thought I could endure. My father in law passed away and we are about to leave our lives here and move to Vancouver Island at some point during the next year. So when I say that I really needed today, I hope you fully grasp my meaning.

My first time skating in two months, so I wasn’t expecting any miracles. But I prayed to those who loved me who are gone now to give me one day where everything worked out just as it should.

Holy fuck. It did.

25.5 laps, a quick test and “Get the fuck in the line!” God, I’m so happy.

I want to remember how awesome the following things felt before they become normal.

The feel of someone writing a number on my arm.

The love from amazing women who are proud of me.

Busting through a line my very first time jamming.

Hearing that double whistle.

Calling off the jam.

Seeing my number at the corner of my eye for the rest of the day.


Driving home feeling like a fucking rock star.

Getting home a realizing that I’ve sustained an injury!


Celebrating something I’ve been working over a year to achieve.


What a fucking perfect day.

The hurt makes it beautiful


Today was the most bitter sweet of practices. I still have a respiratory infection, so I wasn’t sure how I would do. I was coughing pretty bad at the end of each drill, but during the drills I was kind of ok. So I thought I would try my laps and just cough really bad when it was over. I figured it was only my anxiety that was trying to talk myself out of it all together. So after I began, Bertha slowly started to sabotage me in every way she could. The muscle I pulled over my hip started to burn, my blister on my foot would not shut up, and then my throat started to close. So I pussed out and went and got my puffer. I was so wanting today to be the day, it’s been a year now since I started derby and my laps won’t let me get fucking anywhere.

Great drills with hitting today, a super smart pace line. Once through the weaver does the hitting, next time through the weaver gets hit. Loved it. Very helpful for working on timing. I find that I put all of my mental efforts into taking the step and forget all about shutting the car door. We finished with hitting in a pack, when your number is called you have to hit as many people as you can. What beautiful chaos.

The bitterest part of today was the loss of my Dragon. It was her last practice and I know she’s going to leave a huge hole in our league and my life. I will forever be trying to catch up to you and I hope we can have a monster smack down on the track one day. You’re beautiful, I’ll miss you.

It’s close.

Last week rocked. It rocked my socks off. A full practice of hitting and blocking and 25 in 5:15 as a pack (which left me with a hope that if we weren’t staying as a pack I might have made it). I love hitting, I feel like a fighter getting amped up before going in the ring. My timing has gotten better too. We practiced hip hits slowly with a parter stepping in front and using that step to springboard us up into their leg. Seemed super impossible for me in the one on one drills. But when putting it in a pace line, something just clicked. My second time through I was hitting consistently and it felt really natural. This of course is the most un natural setting for lining up hits, but we have to start somewhere,

Oh, and shit, after all of my whining at how much I suck at everything, I have to brag about my epic ass. It’s good – it’s really good. I can’t wait to actually scrimmage to see if it holds up against a real jammer totally laying it on, but I’ve got those C cuts down, I have the wiggle, and anyone jamming against me gets knocked off their balance right away. I love it, other than how incredibly exhausting it is.

I’ve had the flu for about two weeks now and it’s almost depressing me. The gym in Monday killed me and I’ve taken the last two days off. I hate it, everyday that passes that I don’t work on endurance could mean another week that I don’t get my laps. The weather is almost nice enough to path skate, I love it. Outdoor path skating every day will be huge for me. I’m thinking, 30 minutes skate with my babe, 1.5 at the gym, 30 minutes skate home, things will really start to improve. Did I mention I lost 7 lbs? No big deal.

Plank 50 sec
Inverted 1 min