Friday, July 15, 2011

Skating in Sacred City

To try and stay in reasonable roller derby shape, I put some feelers out and tried to get in touch with roller derby leagues in the places we’re staying for more than one day at a time. One of the leagues that gave me permission to practice with them was the Sacred City Derby Girls based in Sacramento. 

Sacred City practices 4 times a week. They have a warehouse that they rent and have totally made their own. They practice there, but hold bouts at a local skating rink with a wood floor. They put in their own sport court for the warehouse. (It could have just been me, but it felt a lot smaller than our track.) They have a kitchen with a beer tap, sink, water coolers, microwave, coffee machine, fridge. They also have a vending machine that has regular stuff like power bars, gum, energy drinks, and chips, but also has crew socks, Chapstick, and bandanas. They also had several couches, a couple of bathrooms, an area that was upstairs that had a Bowflex and some stationary bikes. They also had big benches lined up in rows for skaters to put on their gear.

I signed a waiver to skate with them and asked if I could take some pictures. They allowed me to take some, but not of their white board which had some strategy stuff on it. They said they are pretty secretive about what goes on in their league and don't share with other leagues which they admitted could be good for them and bad for them because then other leagues didn't share with them. I'm kind of surprised they let me skate with them!

They said I should have brought shirts with our league logo on them to sell. They would have bought them. DARN!!! I wish I had thought of that:( Next time I take a cross-country trip, right?

Sacred City is ranked in WFTDA as 8th place in the west for the first quarter of 2011.

It felt pretty great to skate with them. The practice was fairly easy because it was their fresh meat and fast track (advanced fresh meat) combined practice. They warned me that the next practice (fast track only) would be much harder.

This practice was conducted by Malevolent, a B-team skater from Sacred City. In roller derby there are several types or levels of teams. A recreation league team is purely for intra-league bouts two teams within the same league skating against each other for promotional bouts. B-team skaters are more advanced and sub for A-team skaters as alternates and often travel to compete, but are not as competitive as A-team skaters and their games do not count as far as rankings. A-team skaters are the all-star traveling team that skates against other leagues in competitive bouts for ranking. Rankings only come into play once a league is a registered member of WFTDA or another roller derby association.

I practiced again with them on July 6. WOW! Fast track practice with Sacred City last night was HARD!!!!! It was way harder than our league practices, even when some of our whip crackers are coaching. Part of it could have been because their warehouse doesn't have air conditioning and part of it was because it was 3 hours long.

We had 10 minutes to work on whatever we wanted at the end of practice. I chose to ask one of the coaches for help with my backwards skating. I learned a lot since she used to be an artistic roller skater.

The team also stretched as a team at the end of practice and did a hands in with a "Sacred" shout. Shadow Soldier stuck a sweaty sock in there instead of her bare hand.

In other notes, if Coach Shadow Soldier was trying to explain something and skaters were talking, she made us all do 10 push ups off the track. Sherlock Home Slice was also coaching, she went around and critiqued everyone and kept telling us to lower our butts, face forward with our chests up. They were both drill sergeants on the track. But saying that, when I tried to buy a Luna bar after practice out of their vending machine and it got stuck despite some hard booty blocks to the machine by me, Sherlock Home Slice put some money in it and said the league could pay her back to get the Luna bar out. I bought a shirt, they've got labeled bins of shirts according to size, all styles mixed together and Shadow Soldier threw in a bunch of stickers and two pins for free. She also works at Cruise Skate shop in Sacramento and recommended the Heartless 93's for me since I like a slimmer wheel and faster skates.

On July 9th I skated with their fresh meat/fast track skaters again. This practice was much harder than the other Saturday practice. They had an A-team skater called Kneel and Weep coaching and she was almost as tough as Shadow Soldier and Sherlock Home Slice. We started off without our skates doing floor work which is something completely new to me. Our league is always on skates during an official practice. We also worked on a lot of the more difficult stops in derby as well as how to most efficiently skate around the track. I learned a lot in this practice as well. It helps to skate outside the league because everyone does things differently.

Next week I'l be skating with Garden Island in Kauaii. I've been trying to contact them and one of their skaters happened to be skating with Sacred last night so I got the info on when and where their practice is. The week after that skating with Bay Area Derby with hopefully a practice with Santa Cruz and the Sac City Rollers if I can fit it in.