Written by Z Machine
Derby is a pricey sport. Between the large amount of gear required, the cost of skates, league dues, and travel costs, it can get pretty expensive to play. I'm a graduate student, so my budget is tight, but I've found a few ways to make playing derby more affordable. Here's some tips for derby finances, from your first practice to travelling with the team.
Look for a new skater program that lends gear to participants. You want to make sure derby is for you and get the basics down before springing for your own gear. This also gives you more time to look for deals on your own stuff when you're ready for it too. You can get one piece at a time and research what styles and brands you like instead of rushing to buy a whole kit.
Buy used gear. Plenty of people buy gear and discover derby is not for them, or upgrade and want to get rid of their old gear. Roller Derby Recyclables on Facebook is a good group, or see if anyone in your league is selling their old stuff. I'd still recommend getting a helmet new, because protecting your brain is important!
On that note, make sure the gear that you get works for you. Try on your teammates gear and skates to find a fit that you like before buying your own. If you have a skate shop nearby, try on a bunch of different skates. Compare prices between in-store and online, and don't forget to ask about any discounts available to your league members.
Buy basics you can upgrade. If you buy beginner skates, you can change out the wheels, bearings, and toe stops to upgrade and customize them to how you like. I added insoles and ankle booties to make my skates fit better, and changed out the toe stops, all for a much lower price than buying new skates.
See if your league has scholarships for dues, uniforms, or travel costs. PRR offers these, and can even adjust the due date of league dues to better align with your paycheck dates. Most leagues should be willing to work with you to ensure that the cost of league membership isn't an impediment to your participation.
Travel to away games with teammates. Splitting the cost for gas and hotel rooms between 4 people instead of one or two makes travel more affordable for everyone. To reduce out of pocket costs for skaters and avoid waiting for reimbursement, PRR has the league book the hotel rooms. PRR also subsidizes the cost of the hotel to reduce the burden on skaters. Another option would be staying in local skaters' homes at an away game instead of in a hotel.
Consider DIY options or use things you already have. Some people buy gear bags, but I just use an old duffel bag I already had. You can sew your own skate leash with a few supplies from the craft store. There's plenty of recipes for homemade gear spray out there. I DIY-ed a scrimmage shirt with iron on numbers. These things usually fall into the "unnecessary but nice to have" camp, but this is a place you can save money too.
These are just a few tips to consider as you progress your skating career. Hopefully they help make derby more affordable!
Hello! Loco here. I'm the Bench Coach for Palouse River Rollers All Stars.
One of my most important responsibilities is to advocate for the team in terms of how penalties are being assessed. This is a skill that varies from game to game, as different Officiating Crews react differently to different approaches. In general, it’s not too hard to speak with the Head Referee in between jams about clarifications, information from skaters, or things I may thing were assessed in error.
If talking in the limited window between jams is not going to be effective to handle something, I can call an Official Review (OR). Let’s break down how ORs work.
Each team gets 1 OR per period. If you call an OR, you are looking for an officiating error. Points could be wrong, a penalty could have been missed, or a penalty may have been called in error. To win an OR, something has to change. If nothing changes, the team that called the OR has lost their OR for the period, and may not explicitly challenge any calls that are made for the rest of the period. As mentioned in the first section, you can still approach and discuss with the officials, but your formal ability is gone. If the team calls a successful OR, they retain their review. This means you can call ONE more OR in that period. That means the maximum number of OR’s one team can call in a game is 4. Call first in the First Period, retain, call a second. Call third in the Second Period, retain, call a fourth. It does not matter if it is successful or not, you no longer have a review after a second use in a single period.
The other use of an OR is as a clock stoppage. This means if you have an OR available, you can call it, inform the officiating crew that you are using it as a Time Out, and you get a 60 second break. As mentioned before, since no change occurs, this use of an OR means that you lose it after. The most common use of this is near the end of the First Period, because you do not get any advantage to not using your OR in the First Period, since it effectively resets at halftime.
Still with me? Okay! I know, OR’s are complicated.
Now that we know you don’t always have to use an OR to get adjustments to the officiating, and we’ve gone through how they work, let’s talk about using them. In no particular order, these are the points of emphasis we discuss about ORs.
So! Now we know how OR’s work, and what we are looking for when we call one, let’s do it!
For this write up, I will use an example from our recent tournament in Montana. One of our skaters was assessed with an Illegal Contact (Late Hit) penalty.
So, I held up my hands, making an O shape with my forefingers and thumbs touching, while also saying “Official Review” out loud. The Head Ref calls in the following people. The Captains (C’s) and Designated Alternates (A’s) for both teams. The Captain must be on skates, the Alternate may or may not. If anyone who is a C or A is in the Penalty Box, they cannot participate. As we called the OR, the Head Ref would say “This is (Team Color)’s Review”.
This is where it gets interesting. There is a blend of art and technical knowledge for making your case. Sometimes you make a very simple, direct statement. Other times you need to discuss impact spectrum, officiating discretion, or who exactly was the initiator. This was my argument, as close as I can remember.
“We would like the late hit on our blocker rescinded. While we acknowledge they did make contact with the opposing Jammer during and possibly after the Jam ending whistles, the hit did not meet impact spectrum. The Jammer was not knocked down, nor significantly off balance. As the Late Hit implies it was made after the whistles, I would like to point out that in between Jams, there is no ‘in bounds’ or ‘out of bounds’ so the fact that the jammer was knocked out of the track has no bearing on the impact.”
Depending on your Head Ref, they may ask clarifying questions. It is also not uncommon for the other team to express a view, or for the Head Ref to repeat back or paraphrase what you are requesting. Then, they discuss the call/no call with the other officials to decide if they agree with your argument.
In this case, they did agree. Our blocker made contact that they did say was after the whistles, but they agreed that the Impact Spectrum had not been met, so the penalty was removed. We retained the ability to call 1 more OR for that period.
So How do you win an Official Review? You offer clear information about what you are requesting to change. You make sure that you are confident in your interpretation, You offer reminders about any Official adding information to the review. You make your case in the most persuasive way you can. Again, this doesn’t always mean a lot of detail. Sometimes an OR is just making 3 Officials who all saw a little bit talk about it, put it together, and conclude that you were correct. Obviously, knowledge of the rules helps. But just because you know the rules doesn’t mean they saw what you did. The most important thing when you call an OR is to accept the results and move on. Sometimes, you lose an OR about something that the other team knows they got away with, and they stop doing it because the Officiating Crew is watching more closely. Or, the next time they do it, it gets called because it’s fresh in the Crew’s mind. Sometimes, you can Win the review even if you don’t retain it.
Now get out there, and win one!
WRITTEN BY: LADY MCDEATH
I'm kind of a cross-training fanatic, bearing a recently given name of Lady McHyphy. I started cross-training to assist with weight loss and to improve the strength of my left leg. To be quite frank, cross-training is the only reason I can do derby successfully. If I hadn't spent hours in the gym, I can't honestly say whether or not I would have passed my minimum skills. So I want to give the breakdown of cross-training success in a sense. My version may not be everyone else's version of what works to stick it out with cross-training.
1. What's your why?
A huge part of being successful in adhering to a cross-training plan is identifying why you are doing it. What is driving you to hit up the weights or hop on the treadmill? Without a clear intention of why you are doing it, your adherence will wax and wane based on exterior factors. Your why can range from injury prevention to stronger hits to being able to increase your endurance. It needs to be a why that you view as worthwhile. It can't be just because someone else wants you to do it. My personal why can vary depending on the time of year and mood. It cycles pretty consistently between maintaining muscles for derby, weight management, and mental health.
Ah, that word. I hear people say that they lack motivation at times. To which I reply, motivation is finicky at best. Motivation isn't in our control at times. Dedication and determination are however. I have my days where I want to be lazy. Hell, I have my weeks where I want nothing more than to lay around. On those days or weeks, I have to go back to my why. Sometimes, it's helpful to look at a short-term why. For instance, having a game in two weeks that you have to at least maintain a certain level of fitness for. Sometimes, I trick myself into being okay with just a participation award. I love going hard in the gym, but if my motivation is absent sometimes I content myself on the fact that I just made it to the gym for a workout. Visualization is another trick I use. Anyone that knows me, knows that I hate cardio and just want to lift. I need cardio though clearly. So sometimes what I do to get myself to do cardio is visualize game scenarios that require fast movements, like lateral movement spanning the track to catch the jammer or chasing the jammer down. Sometimes when I'm feeling extremely masochistic, I visualize myself as a jammer running away from the blockers while screaming "AHHHHH" in my head.
3. Pick an activity that you like.
Cross-training can look different for everyone. For me, it's lifting lots of heavy weights. For others, it might be crossfit, dancing, yoga, etc. Finding an activity that jives with you will help with the sustainability. My recommendation is that the activity balances out some of the ways that derby creates imbalance in our bodies. You don't necessarily have to do that though, or cross-train for the intention of improving your derby game. I think cross-training for your mental health is fine. I also think cross-training primarily for injury prevention is great. Find the system and the drives that work for you.