Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hot pants and fishnets and roller skates ... OH MY!

As promised, it's time for me to tell you a little bit about my (not so) secret life as a rollergirl. First, some good news: my team won on Saturday night, and I was named MVP of the game!!! Pretty awesome, right? I was pretty excited. It was my first MVP, and there was definitely some fist pumping and whooping when they announced my name. Here's a photo from Saturday night of me blocking:

photo by Joe Medolo

Before we begin, here's a little video for those of you who are going, "Roller derby? WHat's that? Is there BALL?!" (for the record, no, there's not).

So the quick and dirty on me and derby: I started playing roller derby in 2007, when the Bleeding Heartland Rollergirls were recruiting for their second season. I had been to all the games of their first season, and it looked so fun that I knew I wanted to play. I skated with BHRG until the summer of 2008, when I moved to Boston for work. That's when I started skating with the Boston Derby Dames. Almost three years later, I'm a skater for the Wicked Pissahs, I manage the Boston Massacre (BDD's all-star travel team), I serve on the BDD Executive Board (which makes me a part-owner of the league), and I am also a skater representative to the Women's Flat Track Roller Derby Association (WFTDA). Oh, and I recently started doing sponsorship and website work for my friend Dee Stortion's skate shop, The Bruised Boutique.

Me (Mona Mour) using my teammate Anita Bangher 
for support while I block the Cosmonaughties' Mrs. Dash
Photo by Joe Medolo

I love roller derby, which is why I'm involved in all those things in the paragraph above (which amounts to about 20 hours per week of roller derby, minimum!). If I could figure out a way to make a living off roller derby, I would (and believe me, I'm trying ... working for Dee is officially my first derby-related paycheck). As much of a passion as I have for writing YA, it's only matched by my passion for strapping on my roller skates and playing the game. It's tough, both mentally and physically, and I'm incredibly proud of myself for the fact that I've played the sport for going on four years now. Taking up roller derby was probably one of the bravest things I've ever done.

Here's a video of one jam from Saturday's game. My team is the Wicked Pissahs (in red), and I'm the one in the white helmet. if you turn the volume up, you can hear the announcers talking about my blocking strategy!

A couple notes on the strategy to help you understand what's going on. The blockers are trying to stop the opposing team's jammer (she has a helmet cover on her head with a star on it). You can see my team (in red) blocking the opposing jammer (in blue). At a couple points, you'll see one of the red skaters with her arms outstretched. This is because you can only engage (ie, hit or block) when you're "in the pack." When you get 20 feet in front of or behind the pack, you're out of play and not allowed to do anything. You can keep your blocker in play (and thus allow her to keep hitting the jammer) by doing something called "bridging," which in essence keeps your blocker from being out in no man's land and allows them to still hammer away at the opposing jammer.

There's so much about derby I could share, but when I sat down to write this post, I realized it was getting LOOONG. To tell you the whole story of roller derby in general, my story specifically, and then discuss just what derby means to me and those that play it? That could fill and entire book. Instead, I've decided to do a couple things... if you send me questions about roller derby, I'll be happy to answer them in a post! I'll also be doing an ongoing series on my roller derby world so that you can get a glimpse into what it's like to live this totally different life (some days I'm Mona more than I'm Lauren!).

So if you have questions about roller derby, feel free to shoot me an email and I'll be happy to answer! lemorrill at gmail dot com.

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