Friday, August 29, 2008

CAMPAIGN FOR REAL BOOTY: JINXY DV-8

I'm excited to bring a bit of education to the masses today, because I'm super excited about the booty that I'm about to present - she's an important figure in the face of modern-day roller derby, but she's not a skater. She's a jeerleader. I'm prpud to present today's real booty: Jinxy DV-8!!!



Jinxy DV-8, Founder and CEO of the United Roller Derby Jeerleaders Association and founder and captain of both the Bomb Squad, official Jeerleaders of the TXRD Cherry Bombs, and the Lonestar Jeerleaders, Official Jeerleaders for TXRD, started out in 2004 when the Cherry Bombs were conceived, and she’s been jeerleading ever since. A cheerleader for about eight years, Jinxy knows quite a bit about working a crowd, but that’s not her only qualification to get derby fans riled up as a jeerleader. She also did gymnastics for about 10 years and has been involved in dance for over 20 years.



“I'm not a skater, but I'm a jeerleader and I'm a big girl,” Jinxy says. “I'm proud of it and I'm proud that my big ass can ghetto roll to all the songs that skinny little things can't. I can do stunts, lift bitches and not even bust a sweat. I can perform the way I did when I was a skinny cheerleader and I know there are girls who can't do the same. I heart roller derby and jeering my derby gals on!”

“I'm 5'4" and I was an early bloomer,” Jinxy says. “Not necessarily overweight kid, cause I was extremely active, but I always had a big butt and big boobs, I'm a Latina. After four kids, my rump didn't really look like it did in my early 20's. But after getting back into dance and cheerleading, it's still big, but it's much firmer and I love it.”

“My husband, who was used to going out with skinny minnies, told me that he has become addicted to my butt and my curves,” Jinx proudly stated. “It's true, not a day goes by when he doesn't swat it, grab it or try to bite it.”



She goes on to say, “Well because of that, he's really inspired me and helped me regain confidence and love my butt again. It wasn't all him though; being around real women in TXRD and roller derby has really brought my confidence up higher than I ever could get it on my own.”

Jinxy shares why she loves being a jeerleader. “I love my Amazonia friends and their lovely curves. It's what makes a woman, and to be honest, I've never been more propositioned about my curves in my life since roller derby. I have derby fans, derby stalkers too, even though I'm a cheerleader, and yes, I love it,” she says. “I love being able to do most of the things I did in school and be 30! I love that my kids look up to me and see that I'm still doing my dreams as well as being an awesome mommy.”



I was really excited when Jinxy submitted her booty, because I must admit that I didn’t know much about jeerleading, but I have always wanted to know more. Turns out that jeerleading, like derby, is extremely organized on a national level.

“[The] United Roller Derby Jeerleaders [is] an organization that unites jeer squads from all over. We have squads in NY, LA, down south, midwest, in Canada and last we heard there was a squad in New Zealand. We're mainly comprised of people who not only LOVE roller derby but LOVE dancing and cheering just a little bit more than skating.”



But who are these jeerleaders, I asked. Can anyone do it? Do you have to have had cheerleading experience in the past?

“The Majority of the current jeerleaders out there were at one point actual cheerleaders or had some dance experience. However, anyone can join a jeer squad, [and] there are leagues out there who would really like a jeer squad,” Jinxy says. “I think as long as you bring in a sense of humor, some creativity and a willingness to learn as you go along, most anyone can put together a jeer squad.”

But what about formal organizing?

“Squads can sign up directly to be included in the Association and receive all sorts of learning tools, cheers, starter kits and be included in the Yahoo! group where you can receive support from our veteran jeerleaders.”

“We hold a yearly Jeerleader Competition, the last two were during RollerCon, and we're hoping to have it there again. We also offer jeerleader workshops [and] roundtables workshops at RollerCon as well. Next year, we hope to have more dance workshops, stunt workshops and roundtables.”

But, luckily, if you’re interested in being a jeerleader or starting a jeer squad for your league, you don’t have to wait until RollerCon 09. Anyone interested in starting a jeer squad can email Jinxy to request a starter jeerleader packet. Jinxy also points out that “if any of the other veteran jeer squads are close by, you may be able to have them come down and train your new squads. For instance, my squad, the Lonestar Jeerleaders may be helping out the HARD Rollergirls in Corpus Christi start out their squad!”

Roller derby and the people involved in it have always surprised me, and the jeerleaders are no exception.

“We are busy bees,” Jinxy says, “but our main focus is to help others out there and continue building the foundation for professional roller derby!”

Jinxy’s squad recently won Best Performance, and you can see the winning dance here.



A big thanks to Jinxy for not only schooling us as to what jeerleaders are and do, but also for representing for the very important support staff of roller derby and cheerleaders everywhere. When else have you ever heard a cheerleader publically praise her own ass? Well, you have now.

Hey, Jinxy, perhaps your squad can put together a cheer encouraging other cheerleaders to be fierce like you. It could be called “Eat a Fucking Sandwich” – crass, I know, but I had to say it. Seriously, JEERLEADERS RULE! THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lucky Seven

Dear Previous Self,

I’m writing you today to inform you that I have changed. Specifically, I’m a different person now than I was seven years ago.

My mom often tells me that the collective “they” say that a person significantly changes every seven years. A quick Google search reveals conflicting information as to whether this is an accurate statement. The only somewhat convincing piece of literature I found is from 1965, and as a Developmental Editor by day, I know that citation is too old to matter in 2008. Still, from personal experience, I know that I am a much different person than I was seven years ago.

Seven years ago I was insecure. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin, and I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get a boyfriend. It was an almost two-year dry spell. I was dating a lot, but all the guys were losers; a hippie I had an English class with, a mormon who was looking for a second wife, and two guys who went AWOL from the Navy.

Seven years ago I was a bad ass. My bad-assery was a poor attempt to hide the sadness of rejection I put myself in a position to feel almost daily. Even I didn’t like my harsh exterior, but at this time I didn’t have a clue of how to go about changing that.

Seven years ago I had different goals and dreams. I thought I wanted to be a part of the corporate world – that I wanted to climb the corporate ladder. I wanted to get married one day. I maybe wanted to have kids one day.

Seven years ago I was still Agnostic. I always was skeptical of any one god or divine being, but I still believed in something.

Seven years ago I had just taken the leap to live by myself and on my own. I felt it was something I needed to experience, and this quite possibly marks the beginning of the upswing. The beginning of all the outside factors that have transformed me into who I am right now. Today, seven years ago, I reluctantly went on my first date with J.

Over the last seven years, I’ve learned a lot about who I’ve wanted to be, and although the progress was slow at first, I have moved toward that.

Different things happened that enabled me to become more secure about myself (and less of a bad ass). I remember J telling me he thought I was cool, because I had a “real job” and lived by myself. I had never thought about myself that way before. As time went on other things helped me become less insecure: new jobs, roller derby, and the death of my dad, as strange as that sounds.

In the meantime, I learned to let down my guard and be honest with people instead of putting up a front. This helped me be honest with myself and has had many implications in the past seven years.

My dreams changed. I went from wanting to be part of the machine to wanting to control my own smaller machine. In a way, the machine is my life, and I decided I wanted control. I want to be the person in charge of my future. I learned to listen to myself and what I wanted. I realized that kids weren’t in the picture for now or the foreseeable future (I like playing with my machine better). It took more time for me to shed the dream of marriage, but I finally came to the realization that marriage is but a state of mind, not something sanctioned by the government, and I could be married at any time I wanted to. Perhaps I already was.

The most difficult thing for me to get a handle on has been spirituality. I desperately want to have it in some manner, but I’m impatient on getting it. I went from blind faith prior to seven years ago to practicality (Athiesm) and I’ve landed somewhere in the middle, where I’m not comfortable even labeling what I believe, because I know it’s changed so much over time. I’m open to there being something, but the only glimpses I’ve gotten of it have been ordinary.

I lived by myself for 2 years, and 5 years ago I bought the house I live in now with J. Living with someone else you’re in a relationship with presents you with a different way of thinking than you have to perform when you live alone or with a roommate. Concessions have to be made. You have to get to know yourself better to know what’s really important to you – what’s worth standing up for and what really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things (a perfectly clean and de-cluttered house).

Throughout the past seven years J has been the one constant – he’s been along for the ride with me and me with him. No doubt he’s also a different person now than he was seven years ago. Hopefully he attributes as much of his growth to me as I attribute my growth to him. At times when felt insecure, he let me borrow some of his security. At times when I was scared, he let me borrow some of his courage. And at times when I was happy, he shared in that, which made those times even happier.

So, my former self, I just wanted to remind you to keep looking forward. The past seven years have been a rollercoaster ride, but rollercoasters are fun. Keep that attitude, and hopefully when we speak again in seven years we’ll feel the same way – or even better.

Sincerely,

Me

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Turn the Fan on ‘High’ Please

In our past 3 seasons in Charm City, it’s always been difficult for me to tell what the fans like and what they don’t like. For a long time it seemed that attendance would go down at our bouts when we were hosting another league. It’s true, Charm City does love its four home teams, but I think the tide turned for the All-Stars this past Saturday in their bout against Carolina.

I have never heard our audience be so loud.

If you’ve ever seen me announce, you know that I damn near scream my head off. I have a very loud voice, and I take a cue from my stage-acting days (don’t ask) by projecting even more than I probably need to with a microphone. My assumption as an announcer is that if I’m loud, the crowd will be too. I want to get the fans excited, you know?

After a slight scoreboard/projector debacle, Dirty Marty went first and announced Carolina’s roster. The one thing I can say is that CCRG’s audience has come a long way from booing the opposing team. It took a while for us to convey that although we appreciated their misplaced affection, booing was not appropriate. Last Saturday Charm City played nice and clapped for the Carolina ladies (and they each earned a cookie).

What was to come next shocked me. I went on to introduce the “11th ranked Charm City All-Stars,” and as soon as I announced the first skater, everyone in the bleachers stood up and cheered like maniacs, and they kept it up all the way through the last skater. I was blown away. I had never heard a crowd that loud during introductions.

Baltimore’s always been great about supporting CCRG, even when they didn’t quite understand the game… which seems for the most part to have been largely up until this season. Again, I was thrilled and surprised at the collective AHHs and OOOs that emanated from our audience at all the same points I too was cringing and cheering. I was so proud that they all knew the game so well.

The crowd kept up their momentum all night and perhaps even saved more than I knew they had for the very end. CCRG pulled out a huge win over a mixed Carolina team (about 5 all-stars and the rest b-teamers), and when the last jam of the night was called, the crowd was once again on their feet cheering so loud that I could not hear myself screaming into the microphone with a speaker right next to my head. “Holy shit!”

Fans rushed from the bleachers down to the rink and elbowed each other more than a group of passengers who had just flown trans-atlantic at a baggage claim just to get the chance to slap hands with the winning team. Jeff the DJ turned to me and said, “This is incredible!”

I had goosebumps.

Even now, 3 days later, I can’t stop thinking about the energy our fans brought that night. It puts a smile on my face. I’m so glad it did the same for them.

Thank you, Charm City!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Old-Lady Tits

I’ve been thinking about my grandmother a lot lately, after my mom and I went to visit her in the nursing home last month. At first she was completely opposed to the idea of a nursing home, but my grandmother surprised my mom and I by telling us that she’s happier now than she has been in years. In the evening (and by evening I mean starting at 2:30pm), she tells us, “We all sit outside in the hallway and get to laughing so hard that we just can’t breathe.” And I start to think about how similar that is to my friends and I sitting on my front porch with a few beers. Perhaps my grandmother and I are more alike than I had thought.

Even though she’s happy, she laments for her youth. She has told me over and again that getting as old as she is sucks. She isn’t suppose to walk without her walker, but she hates using it. Sometimes she sneaks and doesn’t use it, but she knows full well she could land in the hospital again if she falls. She has a cataract in one eye, but they won’t operate because they’re afraid she won’t come out from under anesthesia. Other than that, she’s “still kicking” as she puts it, and she’s actually very healthy for someone who is 91 years old. The part that sucks, she says is that she doesn’t feel 91, yet she’s stuck in this body that simply doesn’t work anymore, and knowing that conundrum scares the shit out of me.

As I’ve watched both my grandmother and my mom age (my mom’s in her 60s), I’ve realized that for all their troubles they have had something I won’t have – the support of their kids.

I came to the realization maybe 10 years ago that I don’t think I want to have kids. For many people, this is the most horrible thing that can come out of a person’s mouth, but it’s the truth. And I’ve had the presence of mind to realize that if 10 years later I still don’t have any interest or desire to have a child, then I shouldn’t do it just for the hell of it. It simply hasn’t ever fit into my lifestyle, and I doubt it ever will (at least within the time I’m still fertile).

Although I can’t ever see myself having children, for some reason I always see myself as an old lady with children who care for me like I see my mom do for her mom. I think I think this way because I don’t know any different. I don’t know any elderly people who don’t have children – I’ve never come into contact with anyone that fits this description. I wonder what it will be like. Will I be able to advocate for myself? What if I won’t be able to? Who will?

My grandmother had 4 children and raised a grandchild as her own. And by the time she was my age she was in the thick of it. She asked me last time I saw her when I was going to get married.

“Never,” I replied.

She didn’t push any further and actually accepted my answer, but I knew she must have been confused by it.

Sometimes I think we’re alike, and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I think the ways I think we’re alike are simply part of the human experience, and one day if any one of us lives to be 91, we may also feel trapped in a body that no longer works, frustrated by being old.

My mom’s always concerned with my grandmother’s appearance (and mine too…), and so before we left visiting my grandmother, my mom had to make sure her collared shirt under her sweatshirt was fixed just so. My grandmother, like a child, snatches her shirt away from my mom, and in doing so flashes us her old-lady tits. Down to the knees may be an exaggeration, but down to the waist is certainly not. I don’t understand why my grandmother has always been opposed to wearing a bra – I can’t ever remember her wearing one. And she isn’t a small-chested lady. If you’ve ever met me, I can paint an accurate picture in telling you that I take after my grandmother in the boob department.

“Put that down, Mom!” my mom giggles. “Tara doesn’t want to see that!”

The truth is that I already have, for my entire life. I always wondered why my boobs looked so much unlike my moms. She must have taken after her father’s side, because looking at my grandmother’s tits was like looking in a mirror – a funhouse mirror that stretches and warps things to the extreme, but a mirror nonetheless. My grandmother thought it was funny – maybe because she’s old and doesn’t care or maybe because she has a warped sense of humor.

Okay, so maybe we are alike after all.

Monday, August 25, 2008

...Up in Here, Up in Here!

Last week I damn near lost my mind. The week after a vacation is always bad, but last week seemed particularly bad, even for the usual week-after-vacation blues. I came back to a gazillion unread e-mails, a tedious project that’s a month behind schedule, if not more, and additional work I didn’t know I needed to do because a coworker resigned. And that’s just my day job. On the derby side, I’m behind in getting some sponsorship structural pieces to some people, I’m up against a million deadlines for the WFTDA tournaments, I still need to do my sponsor recap for RollerCon, and I found out that I lost a huge sponsorship deal for my league because a regional office was abruptly closed for an indefinite period of time. Oh, and did I mention I’m out for the rest of the season? Yeah.

Each night I came home from work, paralyzed by the thought of the sheer amount of what I still had to do. No matter what I worked on, it seemed that I was neglecting something else, and of course it was all due yesterday. And even though yesterday I was stressed out, today just kept getting worse, each day up until Friday.

I had one mission for Friday as soon as I walked in the door of my house – get fucked up. The dog, however, had something else on his mind. He wanted to go to the Lake, so in the midst of an enhanced cleaning frenzy (it makes me feel better to see results somewhere), I dropped everything and took Calvin for a walk.

Since it was Friday, the Lake was kind of dead – not many people were there, which was fine by me. I just wanted to do one lap and then get back to scrubbing the kitchen. I usually bring my purse to the Lake and then stash it in the car, putting my car key in my sports bra, but for some reason I only brought my ID and $10, which was already in my pocket. As I left I remember thinking, “Why am I bringing money?” but I brought it anyway.

I’m pleased that I finally got one of those nifty dog-shit bag holders that attaches to your leash, so I don’t have grocery bags stuffed down my pants. I take the dog for a crap off in the grass before we start our walk, and the bags work perfectly. I’m concurrently psyching myself up to have a good time at the Lake, because if I really had my way I’d retreat into my bed for the next week and half with a bottle of Valium and a How Do I Look? marathon. And so we start our 1.3 mile walk.

We only get maybe 50 yards when I see a kid sitting on the side selling water. This is a common thing during summer in Baltimore – someone will get several cases of water, ice them in a cooler, and sell them to passing motorists at intersections around Baltimore for a buck. This kid was doing it at the Lake. I thought “who brings money to the Lake,” but then I remembered that I did and figured I’d get a bottled water, even though I already had one in the car.

“You selling water?” I ask.

“Yeah, a dollar,” the kid replied.

“Okay, I’ll take one,” I said as I handed him my ten. “Have you ever sold water here before,” I ask.

“I’m here every day,” he said.

Knowing he’s full of shit, I say, “Really? Because I usually skate here at least several times a week and I’ve never seen you here before. You should come on Tuesdays and Thursdays, because they’re way more packed than a Friday afternoon – you’d make more money on those days.”

It pisses me off when people think you’re creepy for trying to help them out, and the kid kind of gave me that impression, but whatever.

He hands me my water.

“Okay, well thanks,” I say and start to walk away. “Oh, wait, did I get my change?”

“No,” he chuckled, as if to tell me he knew full well why I had forgotten to get it.

He took this wad of cash from his pocket that made me wonder if selling water on the side of the road in the summertime was really a front for something else. There’s no way some kid has a grand in his pocket from selling water. I take my money and my water, and I thank him.

As I walked around the Lake sipping my water, all the stresses from the week just seemed to float away. As hard as I had tried to force myself to calm down and relax on all the weeknights before, the results didn’t compare to that walk around the Lake. Not only that, but I had several amazing brainstorms as we were walking, and I was actually excited to get home and write them down. I don’t know if it was the clean air or being surrounded by nature or maybe just the act of walking, but by the time I made it back to my car I was invigorated.

I pulled out the water bottle I originally brought for Calvin, and I tossed the bottle I had emptied on my way around the Lake on to the floor of my car. I noticed that the water-selling kid was gone, and I wondered how he got all his stuff packed up so quickly, two coolers, a table, and a beach chair – it was as if he was never there at all.

Maybe he wasn’t.

Friday, August 22, 2008

CAMPAIGN FOR REAL BOOTY: HOLLY GOHARDLY

In honor of tomorrow’s bout at Charm City against Carolina, I thought it would be all too fitting to showcase some meaty Charm City ass. A pivot and blocker for both the CCRG All Stars and my teammate on Speed Regime, I give you Holly Gohardly!!!

Photo by globalglenn.

“I [once] had a rollergirl tell me she worshipped my ass, which was pretty funny.”

“I like my ass in derby because it serves a purpose,” says Holly. “It's one of the few times where taking up space is a positive attribute.”

“I didn't always like my booty,” Holly admits. “I felt the traditional self consciousness that the media imposes on all women. ‘Hey look at me I'm 5'9" and slender and have a small butt that fits in my bikini,’ and here I am trying to stick my butt into a size L bikini bottom and it still doesn't fit! But the weird thing is that my jeans get smaller and smaller every time I go to put them on, and that must mean my behind is getting bigger but I like it more and more.”

Photo by EPMD.

“When I first started derby, Cherry Violence told me that your ass will get a lot bigger playing derby, and wow, that was spot on. But I think being physically active has a large roll to play as well in being and feeling better about yourself and your changing body as you get older and your metabolism starts to slow down.”

After briefly playing for the DC Rollergirls, Holly joined Charm City in May 2007, but the start of her derby career in Baltimore was riddled with injuries, most notably an AC separation followed by a complete AC tear and necessary surgical repair. But that injury only made her a better player.

“When I was ’oft’ injured and couldn't block, I would come to every practice and work on my footwork. When I felt comfortable pack skating, I still had a hard time getting over the psychological fear of hitting with my shoulder or moreso, getting hit in my shoulder, so I put about 95% of my effort into booty blocking,” Holly says. “I don't look at the 6 months that I was unable to scrimmage or bout as a negative thing, I see it as an opportunity where I was able to get comfortable on and trust my skates and learn how my body reacted and moved on skates. When I'm blocking in the pack I kind of find the other players with my booty, if they're up on it then I'm going to knock them down.”

Photo by fordprefectajt.

“I admire larger women in sports,” Holly says. “I cringe when I hear about how only ‘fit’ and ‘good looking’ women should represent the sport. That's total crap. You don't have to be 120 pounds or less to be fit.” Holly goes on to say, “But on the other hand I get disgruntled when larger women are constantly putting themselves down and bowing out over their weight without a second thought. Anybody can be successful in this sport and that's the beauty of it.”



Tomorrow holly and the rest of the CCRG All Stars take on Carolina at home. When asked how she plans on using her booty at the bout, Holly doesn’t falter – she knows exactly how she’s going to use it.

“I plan to use my booty this weekend to dominate the Carolina defense. How can they score points if my booty is taking up 2 places on the track? I'm excited we've got a big booty brigade lined up for this game so you will see flying booties everywhere!”

If you are interested in being featured in the Campaign for Real Booty, please e-mail me a bio and pix: cindylop-her@charmcityrollergirls.com

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rebuilding Muscle and Confidence

It had been a month since I last had on skates, but yesterday after work I put them back on and went for a skate at the Lake. I had vague memories about how good I felt after skating, but I couldn’t quite remember the details of how I felt clearly. It’s weird how you can remember everything about the bad – like the pain I experienced after each shoulder injury – but you can’t quite remember anything about the good – like the endorphins you get from pushing yourself when you exercise.

It was a beautiful late summer evening. The high here in Baltimore has been the low-to-mid 80s the past couple days, which is cooler than normal, but I’m so not complaining. The great weather is what encouraged me to get out there in the first place.

It’s weird. I feel guilty skating outside at the Lake if I know our league has practice that night, and this guilt has kept me from going to skate at the Lake in the past (even if I’m injured). Last night was our scrimmage practice, and it was a no brainer that I couldn’t make it to that, yet I still felt guilty about thinking about skating at the Lake. Thank buddah I said “fuck it” and went anyway.

I skated 6 miles. I only know that because I know the Lake is 1.3 miles around. It makes me wonder how many miles I typically skate at an endurance practice. Shit, it’s got to be more like 30-50 at those practices – the floor we skate on is wood, not pavement, so you go faster, and my 6 miles on pavement and with gummy outdoor wheels only took me about 40 minutes. I wish there was such a thing as a skate pedometer…

I pushed myself to do certain things for certain periods of time while skating around the Lake. For instance, when I got to the shaded area, I made myself get really low and sprint without letting my skate wheels leave the ground. I could tell I hadn’t skated for a month, because my hips and a portion of my calf muscles were burning. Still, it was a good burn. It made me go harder and faster all the way up until me predetermined point of stopping.

When I was done, I sat on my rear bumper and took off my gear. I was sweaty, but it was great. There was a cool breeze blowing, and everything sort of slowed down as I saw the other people at the Lake walking by or riding their bikes. I stopped for half a second to watch the breeze move the trees in the distance and feel it against my stinky, sweaty head. “I’m glad I did this,” I thought. “I needed this.” I think part of my elevated stress level is due to my not having skated for so long. I need skating. I need it for many reasons.

Once I had cooled down and packed up, I stood up and stretched. As I did, I glanced down and saw my thigh muscles bulging out of my legs. I’ve been super self conscious about having lost some muscle since, well, May when the first shoulder injury occurred, and I was shocked to see that I still had muscle definition in my thighs. On the way to the Lake, all I could see under my stretch pants were the ripples of cellulite that have appeared since my muscle tone has decreased, but on the way back home all I could see was muscle.

I may have to take a break from contact and scrimmaging for the remainder of the season, but that doesn’t mean I’m quitting. There are a lot of unknowns out there, like “What if I hold off until January but when I go back I still get reinjured?” and “What if I don’t get to play Pivot because my spot has been filled?” I’ve been thinking about the unknowns a lot, and my fearing their answers has kind of paralyzed me. For now, I have to ignore them, put them out of my mind, and deal with them later – when I am ready to return full force.

As for this weekend’s bout, I was going to go set up and then leave. I’m having a hard time being around skating and not being able to skate. It’s horribly depressing. Then I got a text from Dirty Marty inviting me to announce with him. I didn’t respond at first, but I eventually accepted. I can only pout long enough. It’s time to end that and move on to the rebuilding phase. As hard as it is, I know I need to keep moving forward and not look back. I know I said this year was my year, but maybe I was wrong. I suppose next year could be my year. Now I just need to make it happen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

WARNING: Don’t Do Yourself or Your League a Disservice by Ignoring the Big Girls

Today’s entry was going to be a whiney, tearful entry about how I have to sit out the rest of the season because of my shoulders, but then I was told something that got me all riled up. It’s better, I suppose, to be riled up than to be dwelling in ones own self pity, so more on the shoulders later. For now, a warning.

To all those leagues, coaches, and players who ignore the big girls; who don’t help them grow or show them how to use their size to their advantage; who focus only on the jammers and the star players: don’t do yourself or your league a disservice by ignoring the big girls. Because one day, when those women find out exactly how and when to use their bodies to their best potential, you’re going to be knocked flat on your ass, and in my opinion your being knocked on your ass should happen sooner rather than later, if it were to actually knock some sense into your head.

I’m angered to think that people in positions of power within derby are not doing everything in their power to help everyone grow. Most people see derby as a place for people who never belonged to belong, but that idea is completely negated if the only people that are embraced are the thin, fast, naturally athletic tattooed girls.

Your league may discriminate against fatties, but some of the top leagues in the nation don’t. Have you ever played against another league? Have you ever been laid out on the floor, having the wind completely knocked out of you, by one swoop of the ass of a big girl? If not, I hope you get to experience this very soon.

To all you big girls out there who are on leagues that don’t value you, I suggest taking every opportunity to play with people not on your league. Many times neighboring leagues will invite people from their state or surrounding areas to join them for a practice or scrimmage – go. If you ever attend ECE, sign up to be on a team of people you don’t know, and learn from playing with them. If you’re ever at RollerCon, attend the on-skates training, sign up for challenge bouts on Freemont Street with people you don’t know, and attend the night time mixed scrimmages. Petition your league to have a B Team – a team that anyone can join as long as they are able to scrimmage who can challenge other leagues’ B Teams. Make opportunities for yourself. And never give up. Never.

And when you get really good, become a coach. Lead by example. Include everyone. I guarantee you you’ll not only change your life but someone else’s as well.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Good vs Evil

Have you ever been somewhere and known that either something bad was about to happen or maybe already was happening and you just weren’t aware of it yet? It’s not a feeling of being uncomfortable, but a feeling of utter sickness and disgust at something so vile and wrong – something that borderlines on evil, no matter what scale you’re using to judge what’s “right” and what’s “wrong”.

I remember having this feeling once when I was fresh on the college scene. My high-school best friend was dating this piece of shit for a boyfriend, and he didn’t like me because I saw right through him. Still, it didn’t stop him from becoming an even bigger douchebag and running a drug ring through our dorm room, where he lived half the time in half a room with my roommate and me and a continually lactating pit bull.

One night I knew something was going down – I could just tell. Turns out a friend of the douchebag had just tried to pull a fast one on another friend of mine, Dan. Stole something from Dan and went running. Dan was crazy, and went after him with a knife. Police were knocking down our door, and with drugs in our room and me going to college on nothing but grant and federal dollars, I had to make the no-win decision to rat them out, so I would be exempt from being kicked out of school (and losing my tuition) when they found the drugs.

The douchebag and his friends had always given me the willies. Even when I didn’t know for sure he was a complete piece of shit, my intuition was already ranking him high on the piece-of-shit meter. I knew something was wrong with him. Dishonest. Conniving. Out to get something, and not in a fair way either.

I’ve been to Vegas close to ten times, but until last week I had never been to The Palms. I thought the media’s scolding of Dina Lohan’s decision to allow her and her youngest daughter to live at The Palms for several weeks to a bit overboard at the time, but after having spent all of several hours in that VD-infested cesspool I now understand all the hubbub.

The Palms gives me the willies. I could tell something was off as soon as the cab dropped us off. Tits and ass to be seen from a mile away and silicone as far as the eye could see. Everyone there was thin and tan and bleached and cinched and enhanced and injected. “This is gonna be fun,” I thought.

A work contact had scored me and my friends 10 VIP passes to Moon, the new hip nightclub at the top of The Palms. Shit, you should have seen the stares we got as we breezed past the $60-cover charge line to wait for the VIP elevator. Not only were we not tanned, bleached, tucked, or injected, but we also were heavily tattooed and wearing the “I don’t give a fuck” looks on each of our faces. It’s hard not to in a place like that, where for the love of buddah you don’t want to look like any of the women, who kind of scare you, and you are trying your hardest not to be approached by any of the men, who are all dressed in the same uniform of dark denim jeans and white buttoned-downed shirts with ties and sweater-vests (why are sweater-vests are back “in”?!).

Although I never saw anything sinister going on at The Palms, it still made me more uncomfortable then being at a strip club with a priest. To the people we came into contact with, it was all about appearances. And you knew they were only there to hopefully see a celebrity, get wasted, and get laid like it was spring break all over again. I suppose that’s why I’ve never wanted to stay at The Palms or even go there before – I don’t run with the type of crowd that highly values the material and superficial. That’s not to say that we all aren’t material to some extent, but my friends and I aren’t out to “look better than you” or take, take, take.

To me, life’s too short to try and buy the person you want to be. And I don’t think you’ll be happy even if you are the perfect weight with the perfect hair, boobs, and lips. I think it says more about a person to expose his or her flaws than to try and cover them up with surgery and expensive clothing.

It’s funny how I could have seen two radically different sides of Vegas within the same month. On one hand, there’s the people who strive to look better than you and who feel they are better than you – the people at The Palms. On the other hand, there’s the people who are happy you’re happy, even if you are fat and pasty-white, lying in a bikini, covered and bruises and bad tattoos – anyone at the IP pool during RollerCon. Then there’s the middle ground, where most of us exist outside of derby on a day-to-day basis.

I just hope I bring more of the fat rollergirl attitude to the majority of my life than I do the silicone Barbie. I like the fat rollergirl much better. And really, when you compare the two, shouldn’t we all?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Student Becomes the Student-Teacher

Tomorrow morning I leave for my real vacation in Las Vegas, where I’ll celebrate the end of my 20s with 8 girlfriends. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for so long (over 6 months, to be exact) that I actually forgot about my actually 30th birthday, which is in early September. Thirty. The big three-zero. Half of my lifetime ago I was 15, I worked at a summer camp, and I was a completely different person. Back then I thought I was fat, but I wasn’t. Today I’m the same height and 20 pounds heavier. I’m choosing to think that the “smarts” I’ve accumulated in the subsequent 15 years have deposited themselves on my thighs and buttocks. All this learnin’s got to go somewhere, right?

This past weekend we hosted some houseguests from Boston, J’s friend Carlos and Carlos’ friend Steve. Carlos is a bit older than us, maybe in his 40s, but he’s a rad guy. His friend Steve is 21. It’s been a while since I’ve hung around a 21-year-old boy. Everyone has known someone like Steve. He’s the last of three boys. He likes to do risky things, like ride his motorcycle 120 MPH in Boston at night after a few beers (and by a few, I mean a few 6 packs). He has burnt down wooded areas unconsciously while naked and tripping on acid in the middle of the night, throwing rocks at cars to get someone to help him, because even he realized he was way too high. “Cops like me,” he said. I don’t think he’s ever been arrested, but he’s probably come damn near killing himself several times, because he’s done stupid shit out of sheer boredom.

He kept up the bad ass exterior around the guys. In fact, he’s actually kind of quiet, but his second night with us we chatted a bit about his motivations behind doing things. He came out and said to me, “I don’t understand why I do stupid shit.” I instantly thought, “I know where you are.” I’ve seen friends in his position and even been in his position a few times. I asked him questions that were meant to get him to arrive at some sort of conclusion about why he acts the way he does. He’s a very smart kid, but he’s bored. Heck, he’s dropping out of college to join the Army. He answered my questions and asked me what life was like for me at that age. And as much as I ramble, he actually listened to me talk. It was then that I felt more like a mom giving advice to one of my kid’s friends than a peer.

Maybe it’s all in my head. I don’t think I’m worried about turning 30, but maybe I am. Perhaps “worried” is the wrong word. I’m not quite sure how I feel about all of this.

After the way I handled the job offer business, I can tell I’ve matured – even in the last 5 years. Would I trade that to be 25 again? Nope. Even if I am facing an age with a zero attached to it, I’m happy to know that the world does get clearer as you get older – as you mature. I’m glad I no longer do stupid shit, but I don’t regret it. Just last week I had a flashback while working in Excel at work – talk about an awkward 5-minute trip. I digress.

Approaching 30, I realize I’m still very far away from coming close to knowing it all. I can only hope that my next ten years will teach me as much as my last ten did. Maybe then I won’t be freaking out about the next zero-ending number – 40. Ha! Who am I kidding? I will be freaking out. But, look at the bright side. If I start saving now I can probably afford a tit lift* and some Botox by then. Crap. If I do that, well, then I won’t have learnt anything!

(*please don’t mark my words, because I really do want a tit lift and will likely get one if I can ever afford it! Ha!)

Monday, August 11, 2008

The All Day Meeting

The all day meeting I'm involved in is really putting a damper on my writing a blog entry today. Perhaps later? Perhaps not.

Regardless, have a great day with your bad selves!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Yo Quiero Booty

You want booty, you say? Me too. How shall we rectify this?

Well, you could submit pics of your bee-hind and a short bio about who you are and why you love the junk in your trunk to me at cindylop-her@charmcityrollergirls.com

I don’t have any complete entries today (please submit 4-5 sentences about your ass when you send me pics of it), so let’s get out there and campaign for The Campaign!

Wanna see someone you know featured one Friday? Send me their name and contact info, and I’ll get on their ass.

Let’s keep this rollin’.

XO,

Cindy Lop-her

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Best Present of All - Your Gift to Yourself

Have you ever gotten a present that you really didn’t want?

I’m not talking about the flu or herpes or anything like that. I’m talking about receiving something the gift-giver actually thought you’d really like and put a lot of thought into, but regardless it’s just not you.

I know I’ve been the gift giver in this situation before. I seem to be this person to J, my boyfriend, every time I have to buy a present for him. Two Christmases ago I got him a bunch of clothes. He was really unhappy, and some of them are actually still sitting in a bag next to our front door because he planned on returning them. The following year, last year, I decided to do a 180 and get him gifts that were along the lines of what he would get me: electronics. Of his gifts, I got him satellite radio, the receiver, and everything he needed to hook it up in his car PLUS a receiver that hooked into our surround sound, so he could listen to it at home. His response? He was disappointed, because he thought I was getting him a Wii. I had no idea he wanted a Wii. He hated the satellite radio, and “cancelled” it after the first 6 months that I had prepaid for. I put “cancelled” in quotations here, because he actually didn’t cancel it – he just never paid the bill, and my credit card has been charged ever since, even though no one in our house is listening to it.

I’m rarely the person who gets something she doesn’t want, but recently I did.

The day before I left for RollerCon, I got called into a meeting with my boss and the HR manager, and I was offered a new job within my company. I’ve got to say that the act of being offered a new job is great, but the job itself was not something I wanted.

Since I’ve gotten back and sent my “thanks, but no thanks” e-mail, I’ve been in a lot more closed-door meetings. I got asked the question, “If you could have any job that currently exists in the company right now, what would it be?” I know I answered “wrong” for a working professional, but I told them that I didn’t think any other job in our company would make me happier than the one I was currently in now. This, from the girl who at her last review put up a stink because she had no job path – nowhere to go from here.

What’s changed in the past 9 months? I don’t know. Okay, I do know, but I’m almost afraid to say it.

Being offered this job forced me to start thinking about what I do want out of my life as a working professional. There’s things I’ve thought of doing and things I’ve thought might happen, but I’ve remained in the job I’m currently in for the past 4 years. Luckily, my current job is so low stress that I don’t mind working on derby sponsorship during lunch breaks and once I come home from work. So what if I’m not completely satisfied by my “real” job?

I’m satisfied by my derby sponsorship work. And I actually told my “real” job that when I turned down the offer. It’s kind of like telling your boyfriend that you don’t want to marry him, because you’re not completely satisfied with you relationship, but no worries, because you’ve found a “friend with benefits” and you’re not going anywhere because you’re comfortable living with your boyfriend and have found a way to make it work for you. How wrong is that? It may be something you do, but you certainly don’t tell anyone. Oops.

Thing is, I’m an honest person, and for some reason I’ve transferred this into my work life, something many people will tell you never to do. In some aspects, business is all about working people and playing your cards, bluffing when you have to. I’m over it. I just don’t care to play that game anymore. Over the past 3 to 4 years I’ve learned some valuable lessons about business and interacting with others, and it’s all due to my involvement in derby. I suppose having to figure out how to work with 60 other women you just met brings you up to speed real fast. And what I have learned that I value most of all is to cut the bullshit, cut the conniving, cut the angles, cut the bias, and most importantly cut the personal yearning for power. None of these tactics work. Sure, they may work in some instances, but when they don’t, they really fuck everything up. I’ve learned to be honest in business, something that’s as rare as steak being cooked at an Outback during a rolling blackout. And honesty – doing the right thing – has opened more doors than angles, bias, conniving, and bullshit all put together.

So, was it right for me to be so honest at my “real” job? It certainly has thrown some people for a loop, but in the end they can’t really be mad, because I’m just being honest – not malicious or conniving.

I want professional growth, and I may or may not find it where I currently am. It was nice to be offered a new job, and I could have taken it and enriched my career in a way I am not currently doing, but I think I learned more by listening to what I truly want and having the courage to say no. Sometimes saying no can open more doors than saying yes. You just may have to wait a little longer, and I’m okay with that.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Still Not Skating… and Hating it

Last week’s marathon banner hanging, banner takedown, and banner re-hanging really took a toll on my shoulders – yes, both of them. I think all the activity, with hands over my head holding the weight of sometimes 7’x14’ banners, has kept my left shoulder from healing as much as it could have by now. Not only that, but my right shoulder, injured in May, has now faced a setback as well, as I’ve been feeling more pain in it than I have in over a month. So, when will I get to skate?

That’s the question that’s been on my mind. August is a free month for us, but we have a bout September 13. I’m thinking that might be pushing it. Our final bout of the season is October 25. The decision now is: do I play in October and risk not being fully healed, or do I just sit out the rest of the season, allow myself to completely heal, and just promise to kick ass next season? The rollergirl in me is leaning toward option 1 – in fact, she’s whispering in my ear, “Maybe you CAN play in September…” The practical side of me is leaning toward the second option of sitting out the rest of the season and being able to train full throttle for the next season. It’s a difficult decision.

In the meanwhile, I’m turning 30, and I can’t help but wonder what this recovery time would be like if I were still 22. I guess there’s no use thinking that way now. Shit, I was in way worse physical shape when I was 22 than I am now. But, if I were in the shape I am now and 22, would I be healing faster?

It’s impatience. I’m impatient. I know patience is a virtue, but no one has every called me virtuous. I’m still very much involved in derby, which makes every scrimmage I watch and every bout I attend more painful than the last. This weekend I’m scheduled to attend Virgin Fest with my league on both days. The only catch is that I’m announcing instead of skating – boo! Don’t get me wrong, I love Dirty Marty, and I love talking, but I think I love skating more. The absence of my ability to skate has made skating even more attractive to me than it probably was before.

I tried to convince myself last week that just watching was good for me – it would help me learn and see different plays, angles, and moves more clearly, so when I got back into scrimmaging I would be a better player. Will it work? I don’t know. Right now watching other people skate is like seeing a recently ex-boyfriend holding hands with someone I know and hate.

I suppose just like heartbreak, I can’t dwell on my inability to skate, because it will only make things worse. What scares me the most is being separated from my love of skating for so long that I become an old maid who wears shoes without wheels on them at all. But I’m not ready to do that yet. I’m just getting started (even if I'm over 3 years in).

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Vacation: The Quick Fix

For as hectic as RollerCon was for me, I still wasn’t prepared to get back to the grind and come to work today, but I did. I was greeted 40-minutes into my workday with a voicemail saying that I needed to attend a 9am meeting. Fine. What I didn’t know was that it was a 9am to 3pm meeting, and I was so not prepared to sit in one spot for that long!

Being away from the norm for a while really highlights how you truly feel about your “normal” life. For instance, I was super excited to see J. I saw him from across the baggage claim, and I couldn’t have been more excited. I just wanted to squeeze him, and I’ve been doing so ever since I got home. Before I left, I was focused on the lawn not having been mowed and the like, but none of that mattered when I saw him after having been away for 5 days.

Another example is today at work. I couldn’t help but think that if the meeting I had been sitting in on was about derby, I would have had more to contribute and I could have been more focused. I like my job – I really do. And I wouldn’t want to do anything else, unless I could make a living doing derby business. I guess my having been thrust full force in the derby world for a week was extremely fulfilling, even if it was hectic and tiring.

I then started thinking about people who never get to go away from their normal lives. People who don’t vacation (staycation not included), who don’t get to go away for work, or who just don’t ever leave their neighborhood or state. I think you get so weighed down by the little annoyances in life, that things get confusing and you never have the chance to step back and assess what you really want. I could be wrong, but I know being away helps clear my head.

I remember hearing about generations of families who have never left West Baltimore. If you aren’t familiar with that part of town, the majority of it is extremely unsafe with tons of drug activity and something like 95% of all murders that take place in Baltimore (which is why the majority of us living here don’t consider the once murder capital of the US unsafe – we never go there). I once heard a man describe West Baltimore as its own country. Sure, it’s in the US, but the people within it live by different rules. They have to in order to survive. And many of these people know nothing else. The man relayed a story about a family who had never left a 6 block radius for 3 generations. Was their perception of the way life had to be warped by being in that environment for so long? I don’t know, but their ideas about what was “good” are certainly radically different from mine, and I only live on the East side.

I read an article on CNN.com several weeks ago talking about the new health threats associated with not taking a vacation. Because gas is so expensive and people cannot afford to go anywhere, they aren’t releasing stress and the number of heart attacks is on the rise. Not taking a vacation could kill you (but, then again, isn’t the heart attack a byproduct of all the fast food you eat because your work schedule is so hectic?). I’m not sure you can really blame heart attacks on not taking vacations, but someone will – heck, they already have.

That’s the thing about us as Americans. We’re in “reactive” mode, instead of “proactive” mode, at all times in our lives. We take vacations to get away, not really to enjoy ourselves or where we’re going. We go to forget the lives we lead 99% of the time. Sure, vacations may give us a glimpse of our true wants because our minds have the chance to clear, but what we really should be doing is living our lives outside of a state of hyperstress on a daily basis. I think we’re pretty much “stressed out” all the time, but when we actually say we’re “stressed out” we’re hyper stressed. That’s why not taking 7 days out of 365 a year can kill a man. That’s why our bodies immune systems are so low that they cannot fight off bacterial infections and viruses that have been around for a long, long time, but that in past generations have been fought off by healthier immune systems. So, we come up with instant-gratification type solutions – quick fixes: vacations and antibiotics three to four times a year.

I need to stay focused on what I really truly want and what’s important to me in the day-to-day. And I resolve to try and find something to lower my day-to-day non-stop stress level too. Really, I want to live my life being proactive, not just reacting to all the other craziness in my environment.

Monday, August 4, 2008

RollerCon 08 Recap: Thursday through Sunday

Well, RollerCon 08 was a blur. It was huge, it was fun, it was drunken, it was informative, it was collaborative, and it was tiring. Over the course of the week I was really, really impressed by the acceptance of all forms of derby – banked track, flat track, and men’s derby.

Thursday through Saturday was pretty busy for me. On Thursday I found the best margarita in Vegas, thanks to a man I was chatting with while in line at Chipotle on Wednesday. We started talking about derby when he was 20-people deep, and fifteen minutes later he had paid and all he had to show for it was a margarita. I questioned this. “It’s the absolute best, most strong, cheapest margarita in all of Vegas,” he said. I tried it, and I agree! It’s a damn good margarita.

On Thursday I took on a shift at the raffle booth so Chess Tosterone could get away for a few and go to some classes she had wanted to attend.

I finished out the day at the night scrimmages chatting with a very quiet Chica Loca, who had gotten sick the day before and lost her voice. I was lame and went to bed early – like 1am – but it felt really good to get a good night’s sleep.

Friday was off the hook. Earlier in the day my wife, Flo Shizzle, and I, along with Joy Collision and Dolly Rocket, went out and got 1-year anniversary tattoos. We each kissed a piece of paper, made the guy scan it, and got each other’s lips tattooed on our asses. It’s funny, because only after we were mid-tattooed did Flo and I realize that that was how we met. She had shown up to try out to be an announcer at a bar we were holding auditions at. I was in the bathroom showing someone my Mr. Boh tattoo (lower back/upper butt), and in comes Dixie McKill (Flo’s announcer name), a stranger, who I told to “kiss my ass,” and she did it. She also let me use her lipstick after that (it was good lipstick), and the rest is history.

I was exhausted from all the running around on Friday and almost didn’t make it to the Black and Blue ball – let alone dressed in what I had brought. Mercy and Hurt convinced me to go, so I did, dressed in my big blue beehive wig, corset, and booty shorts. Hello (me with a fellow beehiver)!



It was a great time. We three hooked up with X Khan and Chica Loca and decided to go back to the hotel to attend the Vagine Regime party we were invited to.



On the way there, the Billy Joel “Dealertainer” began performing, and we lost Chica to him. She was the only person going apeshit over Billy, and it was so damn cute.



We finally made it upstairs, saw a belly dancer at the party, and decided to go back downstairs to smoke.



After that it was back to the Mai Thai bar to drink and have fun. It was there that I ran into two of my sponsors, the makers of Hell on Wheels, the movie that was being pre-released at RollerCon. Here we are, Carson, me, and Bob (in my wig).





The night was full of “other people in my wig” pictures.


Rocket Mean


Dolly and Joy


Dolly looking "astute"

I got to bed at 5am, and Saturday’s Sponsorship Meeting was interesting, because I was so afraid I was going to toss cookies during it. It wound up going well, and I think the newbies really appreciated all the information from the vets: Rocket Mean, Hambone, X Khan, and myself.

Saturday was the day I had to wrap everything up, since I was being picked up for the airport at 5am Sunday. The night was a bit crazy, as I kept being postponed in being able to go to the Derby Wedding. I never did make it, but that’s okay.

I’m going to end this long recap post with a quote from Loretta “Little Iodine” Behrens that she left on the RollerCon planning Yahoo Group. I think it exemplifies the true spirit of what RollerCon is really about:

“My word to each and every one of you is: enjoy your time, try to be the best skater you can be, and show all the naysayers that you respect your sport – it will give more to you than you can ever imagine.”

In addition, I would add collaboration. RollerCon is a place to go and meet new people and learn new things. No one knows it all. We each hold a piece. And it's great to have a forum to collaborate!