grrfeisty: Behind the Scenes: Houston Roller Derby

Monday, February 17, 2014

Behind the Scenes: Houston Roller Derby

It's been a while since I've shared any behind the scenes of Houston Roller Derby. In the past it was easier because I wasn't actually playing yet, but now that I have the honor of skating on two teams, things get a little hectic between meetings, tasks, and preparations. I felt the need to make an effort this time around and am glad I did because Bayou Music Center really fixed up the dressing rooms...which made for a sweet back drop. :)


Walking down to the dressing rooms at Bayou Music Center.

This past weekend we played our first bout of the 2014 season. Bout Day is always intense...especially for game one. Nerves are going crazy, minds are going crazy, bowels are going crazy - no, seriously, it's an incredibly anxiety-ridden day! :)


Part of the bout day process includes arriving at our venue about 3-4 hours before the actual game. The Derby Brothers [an incredibly dedicated group of volunteers] have already set up the track, and there are designated teams and skaters assigned certain tasks [set up, break down, etc]. Teams also have warm-ups and meetings within certain time slots and must gear up and down throughout. During any "down time" we'll typically be doing make-up, taping up feet/joints, or eating some kind of dinner/snack/energy gummies.


BG Smack's Boss ring.

Brawlers and the Sirens take the track.


Because my team played in the second bout, we had time to watch part of the first. During this time we try to interact with fans between catching glimpses of who we'll be playing next month. :) At halftime we gather for our last meeting and gear up. Everyone agrees that playing in the second game sucks due to extended butterflies and delayed drinking.

Reading pre-game letters. Top to bottom: Mini-Me // Bloody Hell // Sox Star.

Our coaches wrote us personalized letters before we hit the track. The note did wonders for my mental game. Sweet words of wisdom and encouragement are just what you need before attempting some fierce skating.


I love our fans [and that they use hashtags]! I snagged these off Instagram! 

Kinda sweet to compare this on-level photograph to the Instagram photo above. :)

Thanks to Hung L. Truong for the photographs!

The bout was nerve-racking! We kept our lead throughout the game, but it was never an exceptionally large lead. I could tell that feelings of anxiety were effecting me and it took a few jams to shake it off. The Valkyrie walls were tough, I was ping-ponged around, and one of our jammers was injured. Like I said, the first game is always a doozy. I am incredibly thankful for my team, coach, and captains. Without them I couldn't have grown as much as I have in my 3+ years skating for HRD. It was a sweet, sweet victory.

Top Left: derby track, broken down and stacked up // Top Right: the fab four - freshmeat 2011

After the game, skaters will typically visit with friends, family, and fans for a bit, do their "team awards," and then it's time to break down. The Derby Brothers take apart the track while we pick up trash, fold chairs, along with a slew of other tasks. Once we've cleaned up, we can check out the after party, depending on how battered and bruised you are feeling. :) We are off on the Sunday after bout-day [thank goodness!], but come Monday it's back to the grind! Gotta get ready to do it all again next month! :)


Interested in some professional action shots? See this post and this post.
Dying to read my derby story? See the post I shared recently over at The Clueless Girl's Guide.

Find your own league here.

My coach, Kiki, recently posted about the importance of staying healthy as a derby girl. Read up!

xoxo

[[Houston Roller Derby is a non-profit organization. Skaters pay dues that pay rent on our practice space as well as game space. We set up and we clean up. We've got different kinds of fundraisers [from luaus to skate-a-thons], committees, and volunteers....we do it all ourselves, nobody is paid. That's why we need fan support, which should be easy because it's so much fun to watch!]]



Let's be pals!! All over! :)

36 comments :

  1. My brother loves basket ball. I sue to play soccer but have no time for sports now.

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  2. How neat! I live near houston, but I've never been to the roller derby. Now it feels like I have!

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  3. Wow, Roxy! I can't even imagine what this must be like. It boggles my mind. For one, I would not fare well being bashed around. (I think I am a sissy). lol You must really have to love what you do in order to do this.

    When I was growing up, we watched Roller Derby on television all the time. I have seen it a few times since then, but not much.

    I can absolutely understand your coach's comment about staying healthy.

    What was the catalyst for you getting involved in this sport. I would love to hear more, and I will go check out your other articles.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  4. What a cool group to be a part of. I've always thought Roller Derby was cool since seeing the movie Whip It. Thanks for sharing some behind the scenes info and photos.

    Best,
    Raki

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  5. What fun seeing all your photos - I'm at a loss for words and that's saying a lot! Your post reads about as fast as you must on your skates; it just keeps moving - full of energy and smart journalism! I thoroughly enjoyed this. Bet you could write one whopper of a book!

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  6. Hi Roxy! This is Paulina and the Comentathon brought me to your blog. I love skating, I used to skate a lot growing up. It looks like a fun sport to watch I'll have to find some videos maybe I'll get hooked!

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  7. I love sports and always love to watch roller derbies. I'm way too stiff to ever be able to skate like you do, but I'm in awe of you!

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  8. Very cool! I love that your coaches write you personalized messages before hand.

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  9. That looks like fun. And your pictures are pretty awesome.

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  10. This was so fun! You took me on a trip to roller derby (although I imagined a different sound and smell than my bedroom...) and I loved it! I must admit, I have never been to a roller derby, but it sounds like a lot of fun! And, I bet it is a stress relief for you! :-)

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  11. Wow!! My cousin did/ does roller derby here in town! Her bouts were usually on days that my kids had something so I was never able to make it and I'm nt sure if she's doing it this year but now I understand!! Wow!! I watched roller derby as a little kids back in the.... well then I would be giving my age! Lol! But didn't know the hold up was as intense! Thanks for sharing!!

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  12. WOW! Roller Derby is very cool! I have never been to an actual roller derby event, but it looks fun and very competitive with some really strong women!

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  13. I'm a huge fan of derby and my bestie plays and her hubby is a rev. I have witnessed with her how derby has changed her life and given her the self confidence that her ex husband sadly pushed inside. I am a firm believer in all that derby stands for when it comes to empowering women and I hope that all women get the chance to experience in their life in some way.

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  14. All I know about roller derby is from an episode of Bones. We live in a more rural area, so that's probably why. But I loved seeing your photos and experiencing it through your eyes!

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  15. I'm a sports fan and this looks so exciting. I would love to watch one of your games one day. I can't skate to save my life.

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  16. ah when i was that young.... :D

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  17. I have never been to a roller derby but the pics make it looks awesome!

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  18. I've never been to a live roller derby but we watch some on TV. This was a really cool look behind the scenes. Thanks for it. What fun!

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  19. Roller derby seems to be making a comeback. I considered joining a team, but I have too much on my plate right now. Looks like so much fun!

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  20. Looks like so much fun! Great pictures!

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  21. I got so excited while reading your post! It's as if I was there cheering! I'll be reading more of your posts! You write beautifully! Stay exciting and fun!

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  22. What an interesting post, thanks for sharing! Looks like a lot of fun!

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  23. I have never been to a roller derby event.

    I liked your post, explanations, and photos. It looks like a lot of fun!

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  24. Love it! Actually Kaleah's blog is how I found yours (sorry I've been so quiet since finding you, haha) and you make me wish I could do derby!! The last few years there's always been something that's stopped me (like that I'm currently 8 1/2 months pregnant, haha) but I swear one of these days I'm going to go to recruitment!

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  25. How cool! I've herd of a roller derby, but didn't know the specifics of it. Thanks for sharing your story and experience.

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  26. Wow - this was great :) I've always loved roller derby when I was a kid. How fun!

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  27. Cool! My husband and I were just talking about roller derby the other day and trying to think of the name of that Drew Barrymore movie. We still haven't remembered it yet.

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  28. I found that very interesting. It's not my sport, but I can see why some people would love it!

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  29. This was awesome! I felt like I was right beside you....particularly in preparation. I LOVE your writing style...so much like living it....although I've been on roller skates <10x my entire life.

    Keep doing what you love...on and off the rink!

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  30. Thank you for all the pictures. I have heard of roller derby and knew what it was, but the pictures gave me a great way to see what it is all about. And congrats on an awesome match!

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  31. I have always wanted to go to the Roller Derby here in GA, so nice to hear your perspective

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  32. So interesting! I had no idea the roller derby was still around. I remember watching it on television in the 70's. I am sure it has changed some since then. Be careful out there!

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  33. That looks so fun, I have only seen it on tv. Its great to see that it is still something people do :)

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  34. An interesting sport! Thanks for giving us an inside look!

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  35. This is so cool to see the background of skaters. I'd love to attend a game and support you but I live in Atlanta. I know we have a league here so I'll make sure I check them out sometimes in honor of you. :)

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