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Skater of the Month: Sasha Degrader

Sasha Degrader, Photography by D.E.sign

How did you find out about roller derby?

My brother told me about SVRG.  I had just gotten out of prison (for the last time) and did a lot of sitting on my mom’s couch with nothing to do, trying to stay out of trouble.  As soon as knew it existed I was committed to doing it.  The fact that the last pair of skates I wore was from Toys ‘R’ Us made no difference to me.  I paid for bootcamp and all my equipment by modeling through Craigslist.  Had I not done that, there would have been no way I could have afforded bootcamp.

What kind of skating skills or athletic abilities did you have before starting derby?

Me and my bestie, Corey, were die-hard roller skaters as kids.  We used to lube up our wheels with my mom’s sewing machine oil and go skate down any downward slope we could find.  I also played softball from t-ball through college at DeAnza.  I was a catcher, 1st baseman, and right fielder.

How did you derive your derby name?

My derby name is a parody on adult film star, Sasha Grey.

What is your primary position?

Blocker

What is your greatest strength as a skater? What do you contribute most to the team?

I think my greatest strength is that I love feeling out of control.

What has been your greatest experience on the rink?

The Sk808 Tournament was probably the most fun I’ve had at any derby event.

What’s your worst injury?

The most annoying injury ever is a hip flexor injury.  It’s like you’re injured but not.  It takes months to heal and never totally goes away.

What are you looking forward to the most this season?

I’m looking forward to our downtime to catch up on my endurance and strength conditioning.  I am also taking figure skating lessons starting in November.

What do you contribute to SVRG *off* the track?

Sponsorship is my new mission.  I have no idea what I’m doing, but I know that whatever I do, God wants me to be successful.  It will be a good learning experience and any failure is in not trying at all.

How do you spend the non-derby part of your life? What other hobbies and interests do you have?

I work two jobs.  I work with Lindsay Lohanded at her office during the afternoons, and I work at Coffee Society on the weekends and some weeknights.  I do H & I,  and I go see bands play with my fiancé, Jack.  Sometimes it’s really nice to just do nothing though.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give women interested in playing roller derby?

You have to make sacrifices if you want to do it, but if you do it right, it should change your whole life for the better.  I wouldn’t trade this for anything.  It’s going to be hard; you have to want it.  There has to be no other option.

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Reflections on SVRG’s 2011 Season

What’s the old saying? You don’t know where you’re going unless you look back to where you’ve been? Two thousand and eleven has been quite the year for Silicon Valley Roller Girls.

By the numbers, let’s take a peek at each of our teams’ performances this year. For those of you who are new fans of SVRG, we actually have three full teams: A (a WFTDA-ranked team), B, and C-level teams.

Hard Drivers (C-level)
vs. Rollin’ Roulettes WIN (158-72)
vs. Cal State WIN (236-41)
vs. Monterey LOSS (202-88) *unofficial score

KillaBytes (B-level)
vs. Sac City WIN (119-118)
vs. Undead Betties LOSS (132-147)
vs. Ressurection WIN (149-69)
vs. Pikes Peak B WIN (140-67)
vs. Jet City B WIN (106-78)
vs. Battle Borne WIN (169-126)

Dot.Kamikazes (A-level)
vs. Slaughter County LOSS (182-104)
vs. Humboldt WIN (119-84)
vs. Angel City LOSS (187-81)
vs. Pikes Peak A WIN (147-120)
vs. Jet City A LOSS (129-68)
vs Angel City A LOSS (118-143)
vs. Tuscon LOSS (109-91)
vs. Assassination City WIN (248-40)
vs. Sin City WIN (198-63)
vs. Lava City WIN (226-56)
vs. Dockyard WIN (219-58)

I really love this image that Flat Track Stats creates. It gives you an across-the-year view of how our WFTDA-ranked team did.

As with everything in life, after you reflect, you just keep on moving forward. So what’s next for SVRG? Our last home bout for the season takes place on Saturday, October 15th at our dear old San Jose Skate.

The Dot.Kamikazes will be taking on Blockwork Orange (Orange County Rollergirls) and the Killabytes will be facing  Atomic Assault Central California Area Derby.

Buy your tickets at BrownPaperTickets.com here. And hell, we even took $3.00 off for this game because we love our fans that much.

See you there!

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Skater of the Month: Teddy Wreck-Spin

Skater of the Month: Teddy Wreck-Spin

How did you get into roller derby?

I was originally asked to announce for SVRG. I saw how much fun everyone was having on skates so I decided to join in.

What kind of skating skills or athletic abilities did you have before starting derby?

I played a little bit of football and baseball when I was a kid. I rollerbladed when it was really cool. My whole family is very athletic, it was time I joined the party.

How did you derive your derby name?

“Teddy Ruxpin” was the creepy talking bear from the ’80s. Someone else thought of it for me and I took it. I’m horrible at that sort of thing.

What is your primary ref job?

I love to jam ref. Front inside pack is also a favorite of mine. I love skating backwards.

What position would you choose to play if you played roller derby, and what would you be known for on the track?

I think I would do best as a pivot. I’d be best known for ruining your day.

What is your greatest strength as a ref? What do you contribute most?

I’m pretty capable of skating all ref positions. I like to be able to show up to a bout and have many options to be able to help out.

What has been your greatest experience on the rink?

I’ve met so many amazing and beautiful people through derby, the SVRG zebras/skaters are the best. In the 2 seasons I’ve reffed derby I’ve also lost almost 70lbs. Derby has changed my life. I don’t like to think about what I would do without it.

What was your worst injury?

I fell on my skate once and got a wheel up the butt. Sitting down was tough for about a week. Luckily, that’s the worst I’ve been hurt.

What do you contribute to SVRG *off* the track?

I recently took over as head of PR/Marketing for SVRG. It’s been great to work with these girls in such a capacity. SVRG has done a lot for me and I like to give back.

How do you spend the non-derby part of your life? What other hobbies and interests do you have?

I work in radio.  I also have my own podcast, teddyandchris.com.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give other men who are interested in being a referee?

Being a skating ref is 80% game/rules knowledge and 20% skating. If you know how to skate that’s awesome, but you need to know the game. I like it when a skater approaches me before or after a game and says, “I’m so glad you’re here.” It’s the best feeling.

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SVRG at Home: August 20th, Double-Header

Photo by LeVar Hurtin' (IGP PHOTO)

We’re baaaaaa-aaaccckkkkk! SVRG Comes Home for our August 20th Double-Header!

by Absolutely Scabulous, #.08 BAC

After two months on the road, your Silicon Valley Roller Girls are back home on August 20th with a double-header derby extravaganza. Your Dot.Kamikazes are matched against Slaughter County Roller Vixens’ Saint’s of Slaughter, with the KillaBytes bouting against our friends from the East Bay, the Undead Bettys.

SVRG burst into the 3rd quarter ranked 12th in the Western Region (see full regional rankings here), giving this home bout some serious weight playing 13th ranked Slaughter County. Record-wise, teams are fairly evenly matched with SVRG (7-4) playing more games than Slaughter County, but Slaughter having an undefeated record (5-0). As always, rankings and records don’t hold the full story; Slaughter County boasts two Olympic skaters, Alyssa Davis and Ceilidh Sligh, respectively known as Toucan Slam and On Da Sligh. SVRG got a sneak peak earlier this year, watching On Da Sligh at the Wild West Showdown. The Dots are fired up with a fresh roster of all your favorite skaters ready to take on the Saints!

The Killas are gearing up to take a byte out of the Undead Bettys. Word on the rink is that the Bettys have stepped up their game play, and become some seriously fierce competition. SVRG loves playing the Bettys—their sportswomanship, strategy, and overall clean gameplay makes them solid competitors.

Tickets for this double header are selling out quickly, so buy yours today at Brown Paper Tickets. Pricing for this event is $15 for general admission and $8 for the kidlets. You can’t beat those prices with a stick (or a solid shoulder block)!

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Skater of the Month: Newton’s Slaughter

How did you find out about roller derby?

Friends of my friends wanted to start a league when I was a freshmen in college, and I thought it sounded cool but I was too afraid of getting hurt! Then, the summer I graduated, I had a lot of free time on my hands. I had seen fliers for the Glass City Rollers in my favorite Toledo bars, and just thought, ‘What are you waiting for? You can be scared when you’re DEAD!’

What kind of skating skills or athletic abilities did you have before starting derby?

I got picked on a lot in grade school gym class, so I’ve always been more interested in solo, non-competitive sports like running, weightlifting, and roller-blading. Maybe that’s why I like jamming so much!

How did you derive your derby name?

Physics is my geeky guilty pleasure – and you can’t explain a good whip without citing Newton’s laws of motion!

What is your primary position?

Jammer! When I block, I love playing the 2 spot to a great pivot.

What is your greatest strength as a skater? What do you contribute most to the team?

I take feedback really well and I have a positive attitude that just won’t quit. This is a fun sport and if we’re not here to get better, then what are we here for?

What has been your greatest experience on the rink?

At my first exhibition bout, I passed the pack 4 times in a power jam – Coach Panda told me not to worry, that I didn’t have to get the unicorn at my very first bout.

What was your worst injury, and how did you earn it?

Nothing too terrible yet. Once I got hit in the eye, and it was all red and puffy, but later I realized that I had put hot pink eye-shadow on right before the game and it really wasn’t that bad.

Who’s your biggest fan?

My partner Romel! Sometimes I suspect that he only wanted to ask me out because I played roller derby!

Who do you like to partner up with on the track? Which teammates do you work well with?

I communicate really well with Bad Tempt-Her and my wonder twin, Maui Howlee. And Stevie Knickers always reminds me to “use the ass for good!”

What are you looking forward to most this season?

My goal this season is to roster for the Killabytes at least once – here’s hoping!

What do you contribute to SVRG *off* the track?

I am the Volunteer Coordinator on the Bout Production committee. I had major fun at the last bout putting everyone to work; everything went so smoothly! These girls really know their bout day tasks!

What’s the one piece of advice you would give women interested in playing roller derby?

Pinpoint one skill to work on each practice – just one goal. You’ll really feel your accomplishment if you can keep and achieve just one goal a day. Case-in-point, my first scrimmage, I had five major penalties. The next scrimmage, my goal was to significantly reduce this number. I was able to focus hard on the goal and I ended up with no majors at all!

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Skater of the Month: Broken BabyDoll

Photo By Dave Wood Photography

How did you get into roller derby?

I found out about SVRG back in May of 2007. For my birthday I went to see B.A.D. play and some girls from SVRG where there representing. I was completely hooked after the first jam and wanted to get involved as soon as possible. About a week later I went to the rink and bought a cheap pair of skates and started going to open skate. About mid-June I went to my first practice and never looked back.

What kind of skating skills or athletic abilities did you have before starting derby?

I hadn’t been on skates since I was little. I got my first pair when I was 3 years old. We use to go to the local skating rink in Missoula, Montana, until it was closed down. As far as other skills I played basketball and used to dance.

How did you derive your derby name?

One of the skaters that would help us out Little Miss Sunshiner helped come up with the name. Because I was so small I got knocked around and she kept saying I looked like a baby doll being thrown. The Broken part came because I want to keep my nickname BB. Go figure that about a year later I would have two back surgeries and really live up to the name.

What is your primary position?

I play both blocker and jammer.

What is your greatest strength as a skater? What do you contribute most to the team?

My brains and understanding of the game.

What has been your greatest experience on the rink?

My greatest experience was playing my first game after having two back surgeries.

What was your worst derby injury, and how did you earn it?

Sadly, I sprained my ankle while doing spank alley.

Who are your biggest fans?

My family. They have been supportive since day one and continue to be so.

Who do you like to partner up with on the track? Which teammates do you work well with?

I like to partner up with everybody. I can’t think of one skater in particular. I pick different ones based on what skill I want to focus on.

What do you contribute to SVRG *off* the track?

I am the Head of Safety.

How do you spend the non-derby part of your life?

I have no other life right now.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give women interested in playing roller derby?

Be willing to listen and work hard; it does pay off in the end.

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Skater of the Month: Cannonball Iztik

Cannonball Iztik #Long 9

How did you find out about roller derby?

I live around the corner from San Jose Skate, which has a huge banner hanging in the front that says, “SAN JOSE SKATE – HOME OF THE SILICON VALLEY ROLLER GIRLS.”  Eventually I figured, what the heck, let’s see what it’s all about. And here I am.

What kind of skating skills or athletic abilities did you have before starting derby?

I’ve played just about everything competitively: volleyball, soccer, badminton, Parker Kempo, basketball, softball…I was heavily involved in field hockey for several years, and played for the Futures, which is an Olympic development league. Unfortunately, I got severe shin splints and chrondromalacia in both knees, which stopped me from participating in any sports that involve running. I moved on to cycling, which is low-impact for joints, and finally roller derby. But all that previous activity doesn’t compare to roller derby. This is by far the most intense, athletic sport I’ve ever played.

How did you derive your derby name?

I’m a huge klutz. Epic. Legendary, even. My friends gave me the nickname Cannonball because of it, and Cannonball Iztik is a combination of Cannon and Ballistic. It also sounds like “Cannibalistic,” which is a plus.

What is your primary position?

Blocker. I’d rather hit a target than be a target.

What is your greatest strength as a skater? What do you contribute most to the team?

I don’t give up. Ever. Even when I should. Roller derby is not a sport that’s easy for me. I have no coordination, grace, or endurance, which means that I have to work very, very hard at every practice. Luckily I’m part of an amazing, encouraging team, which makes it easier to plow through the tough parts.

What was your worst injury, and how did you earn it?

I completely ruptured my ACL last year and continued to skate for 8 months. That sucked. It was my first time back on skates after a bout of pneumonia, and I’d probably lost a good amount of muscle mass, but decided to skate anyway. I scrimmaged at 100%, and my ACL was a casualty of that bad decision. I finally had ACL reconstruction last week and am already walking without crutches, so hopefully within the year I’ll be able to get back up to fighting shape.

What do you contribute to SVRG off the track?

Since I’ve been injured for so long in my derby career I’ve had the opportunity to work a lot behind the scenes, mostly doing bout production for SVRG’s home games. This year I was volunteer coordinator, as well as day-of coordinator for a couple of bouts. That really kept me busy and engaged with the league!

How do you spend the non-derby part of your life? What other hobbies and interests do you have?

My free time is usually spent buried ankle-deep in metal CDs, cover art, magazines, flyers, and recently vinyl albums. Death metal, black metal, thrash, doom, sludge, symphonic, poly-rhythmic, battle, folk, NWOBHM, technical, progressive, whatever…I listen to it all. Having recently moved to San Francisco, I’ve found a small but true group of underground metalheads, and it’s made me a very happy Cannonball.

Other than that, I’m a graduate student heading for a Master’s in Special Education with an emphasis in moderate/severe disabilities. I’m currently working as a behavior specialist, and a bicycle mechanic when possible.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give women interested in playing roller derby?

Don’t give up. Never, never, never, never, never give up. There are plenty of women who will pass you by without seeming to break a sweat, but do not give up. Derby is one of those few sports where greatness is based on more than ability. It’s based on guts and perseverance as well.

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