Thursday, 29 December 2011

Post-Holiday Haul: Gifts and Roller Derby

After a long period of holiday radio silence, we're back to our regular blogging schedule. Sorry for the long delay! I was taking care of two golden retrievers and finishing essays, both of which I'm still doing, but doing so after December 25th makes a big difference.

Today, I'm getting a little personal - my family celebrates Christmas and being an underfunded student (as if there's any other kind) I asked for a few pieces of derby wear. My father and brother ended up going to Rollerbug in Toronto. A mainstay of the Toronto derby scene, Rollerbug operates in the same space as Cardinal Skateshop. Despite being ravaged by holiday shoppers, the store staff helped them pick out two gifts.

In my family, we have a habit of putting clues on our Christmas presents. This first derby gift said "Round and round she goes, where she stops the rainbow knows." The gift? Rollerbones rainbow booty shorts. An American company, Rollerbones sells wheels, apparel and other accessories. They were at the World Cup this year and were very personable.
Mine's the rainbow.

My second gift was labeled "Wear protection" and inside was the gift I wanted most this year - Smith Scabs knee pads. No more masking taped up pads for me. These white-capped knee pads won't mark the floor where we practice and green is my colour. They fit well and I'm really excited to try them out and use my old pads as my outdoor spares. Look for a product review once I've put them through their paces.

Now, more generally, birthdays and gift-giving holidays can be a great time to nudge your friends, family and partners (if they're gift-givers) into focusing their attentions on the roller derby side of things when it comes to selecting your present. The folks who like us (or have us as their Secret Santa recipient at work) often do want to get us things we'll like and we need to be clear if we want to make their shopping easier. Getting smaller derby-related gifts can help you stay under budget yourself and avoid gifts you'll never use.

And not every derby gift is an expensive as a new pair of skates.  Remind folks who are looking for gift ideas for you (at any time of the year) that, for example, a Protech Mouth Guard only costs $25 Canadian. Depending on your needs, wheels, bearings, maintenance gear and skating apparel can all make great gifts without breaking the bank. And gift cards to sites like Rollergirl can add up or save you that extra $10 when you might need it. And chances are that you will.

This Monday, look for a special post on New Years resolutions and roller derby.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Beaver Fever: An Open Letter to Team Canada

Dear Team Canada,

At last weekend's World Cup, you won. Not second place, but the whole damn thing. You showed derby teams from across the globe what heart, swagger and dedication mean. You sang and danced (wonderfully, I might add). You played great derby. And yes, you came in second, but you scored more points against Team USA than all of their other competitors combined.

But here's what else you did. You inspired derby girls - ones flying in to support their national teams who couldn't help but cheer for you in the final, ones who took the bus to Toronto and slept on a friend's floor to see you play, ones who came home ready to work that much harder because of the example you gave them. You scored a 40-point jam against the fabulous Team England. You wore hockey helmets. You broke your clavicle. You made us yell your names, just by being as amazing as you are.

When I think of the World Cup, here's what I remember: LuluDemon's grace and speed on the track, Windigo's awesome blocking, SmackDaddy's ability to play any goddamn position, Killson's ability to get the crowd going - every player from Team Canada pulled the weight of a nation behind them and they did it with incredible strength and spirit.

Being at the World Cup was a chance to watch the greatest roller derby players in the world, and that's you, all of you.

© Jules Doyle - Type2BPhoto

Thank-you. Thank-you. Thank-you.

Your fan,
Cthulhu Lemon

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Cthulhu Lemon's Guide to the Roller Derby World Cup

Today is the first day of the Roller Derby World Cup with Canada and France facing off at 5 pm. For those you not in need of my previous post on watching the World Cup without a ticket - volunteers get in free, remember - this is a short guide to taking on the World Cup without getting lost or passing out on the TTC.

Preparation: Getting Your Wheels Up

1) Check to ensure you have the essentials: tickets, cash for buying merch and food, blankets if you're planning on hitting the bleachers and collapsible chairs if you're in for suicide seating.
2) Get some rest ahead of time! This is going to be very busy.
Map of Downsview Park
3) Check your maps. If you're not used to getting to The Bunker, check out instructions at the Downsview Park website. Alternately, take advantage of the WCRD Bus! It's $10 for service all through the World Cup and you might bump into your favourite skater from Team Finland. Further details are at the link!
4) Research any special options you need. Are you vegan? Do you or a friend need accessible seating? Plan ahead and then it's smooth skating from there.
5) Prioritize. Are you there to watch Team Ireland? Are you collecting team merch? Or do you really want to focus on the finals? Make sure you plan for when you may have to choose between two amazing things.
6) Exchange contact info with league-mates and friends you hope to meet up with. "Meet me at the door" will not work.

On Bout Day(s), or, Hold on to your Helmet Panties!

1) Get up and to the venue early! Account for travel time and crowd-navigating time.
2) Support the teams and organizers by buying merch, if you can afford it. Don't make them fly back to Australia with t-shirts in tow.
3) Take photos. Make your Facebook friends jealous.
4) Meet other fans and players. Hit up the after-parties. One cannot live on derby alone. Make some new friends you can trade training secrets with.
5) Don't try to do everything. Burnout can wreck your weekend. Take breaks and give yourself time to rest.

After the Shenanigans

1) Thank whoever let you sleep on their floor.
2) Sport that sweet merch you bought.
3) Start planning for next year.