Category Archives: Roller Derby

Skater of the Month: CynTax

Photo by Jim Cottingham

CynTax is known on the track for her endurance, speed, agility, and wily jammer moves. In a sport where size often matters, this 5 foot tall, 110-pound skater uses her small stature to her advantage by deftly sneaking through the pack unnoticed. She has received several accolades over her 4-year derby career, including Jammer MVP (Most Valuable Player) on 9/11 against SAC, KillaBytes’ 2009 Takes a Lickin’ and Keeps on Tickin’ award, and she skated 315 laps (approximately 24 miles) in 2 hours at our first annual skate-a-thon fundraiser in 2009.

How did you get into roller derby?

I watched the Rollergirls reality show on A&E in early 2006, and they mentioned that teams following the new format of all women’s, full-contact roller derby were springing up everywhere in major cities across the country. I knew after the first episode that the sport, the culture, the athleticism, and the lifestyle were for me, so I looked online and found the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls of Oakland, the only Bay Area team in existence at the time. I joined B.A.D. Girls in January of 2006 after a short stint with the San Francisco Bay Bombers. After suffering a painful back injury, I retired from B.A.D Girls in June of 2007. I thought my derby career was over, but after lots of physical therapy, my back healed and I felt the derby itch once again. Looking for a team closer to home, I found the Silicon Valley Roller Girls in August of 2008.

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

I was very heavily into gymnastics competition all through my childhood. I really feel this training has been extremely helpful in roller derby. In particular, it has helped me to better take falls by rolling out of them or “crumpling” to reduce the impact to any one particular part of the body. As far as skating goes, I am a child of the 80’s, so skating parties were a weekly staple in my life. Until I started my roller derby career in 2006, I hadn’t skated since the late 80’s. It was like riding a bike in some ways, but it still took time to build upon those basic skating skills.

How did you derive your derby name and number?

I’m an accountant and that’s semi-unusual in the derby world, so I wanted my skate name to reflect my profession. My full skate name is supposed to be CynTax Terror, but I wasn’t quick enough to add the Terror part to the national registry. The number, 1040ez, is the standard short form for tax preparation. Get it – short form? During tax season it really is CynTax season because I’m working crazy hours while trying to keep up my attendance at derby practice, so I can make the rosters.

What do you contribute to SVRG and roller derby in general off the track?

My current role with SVRG is as the announcer liaison on our bout production committee as well as one of three WFTDA reps for our league. As the announcer liaison, I seek out great announcers for our bouts, keep them informed as to our timelines and needs as well as making sure their needs are met.   I prepare a 20-page handbook for each bout that details anything and everything our announcers would need to know to make MC-ing our bouts go as smoothly as possible while making it as interesting to listen to as possible.

As the voting WFTDA rep, I keep a close eye on the national WFTDA forum looking for any mandatory votes our league needs to participate in to keep our membership in good standing. I gather the materials needed for our league members to cast their votes and then I transmit our league vote to WFTDA.

In the past, I was the finance committee head for the B.A.D. Girls, and I spearheaded the submission of their nonprofit application to the IRS. I believe we were one of the first or second leagues in the country to do so. This paved the way for other leagues, and now it’s pretty much the standard practice for roller derby leagues to go through the application process to become a nonprofit organization. Years ago, it was a big deal to get the IRS to recognize roller derby as a nonprofit sports organization that promotes female athleticism. We had to fight tooth and nail for it.

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

I am pretty active. I think participating in other forms of physical activity when you do a physically demanding sport such as roller derby is important. I like to run, lift weights, participate in yoga, golf, or anything that comes my way, really.

I also like to cook. I don’t have time to do it often, but it’s the only creative thing I do. I get in trouble if I’m too creative at work, lol.

I started a book club for our derby league. We have about a dozen members. We discuss one book a month. Each member contributes a book, and I really like this idea because it gives us all new things to read that we might not have normally chosen on our own. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the selections.

What are your long-term derby goals?

I would like to keep playing roller derby for as long as my body will allow me to. I’ve suffered lots of derby-related injuries, including a broken nose, ribs, and fingers. I’ve had lots of problems with my back and knees from the stresses skating puts on the body. I guess if I had to pinpoint a goal it would be to one day be the oldest member on the league. I’m gaining on the few members older than me.

What advice would you give women interested in playing roller derby?

It’s a little intimidating to join a league, but well worth it if you can muster up the guts. Things are much more organized these days. Our league has a bootcamp we put on a few times a year to train beginners in the basics and help them pass their minimum skills tests and ultimately become a league member. So, I guess my advice is to first decide if you’re serious, because it takes a lot of practice, time, blood, sweat, and tears. If you are serious and you give it your all, you will discover some of the most rewarding things in life, make new friendships, and become more fit than you’ve ever been. After you have decided to make the commitment and be serious about it, don’t let the setbacks ruin your enthusiasm. I was lucky that I had years of skating under my belt when I started derby, but I had lots of obstacles to overcome with my size. I didn’t get put on my first roster until I was with SVRG for nine months. Derby comes naturally to some, but more often than not, it’s a skill that takes lots of practice to learn. Being a good skater is only half of it.


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Filed under Roller Derby, Silicon Valley Roller Girls, Skater of the Month, SVRG Skaters

Adopt a Silicon Valley Roller Girl!

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Congratulations, Santa Cruz Derby Girls!!

We are happy to announce that our sisterly rivals, the Santa Cruz Derby Girls, have been accepted into the Women’s Flat-Track Derby Association. We are very proud to welcome them to WFTDA. Congratulations, ladies!

And, it will be all the sweeter when we beat them in October 🙂 Get your tickets now to come down and support SVRG in their doubleheader at Santa Cruz on October 23 when Silicon Valley Goes Home…with the WIN!

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SVRG KillaBytes destroy Humboldt Redwood Rollers, 259-121; Dot.Kamikazes felled by Humboldt All-Stars, 125-75

Two great bouts! Sorry we don’t have any pictures to share (let us know if you find any!) Check out this article from the front page of the sports section in the Humboldt Times-Standard.

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Last chance for $10 tickets to the last SVRG home bout of the season

You know you’re coming, so why not save some bones and go ahead and buy your tickets NOW! Visit Brown Paper Tickets to get  $10 tickets to our superhero themed bout, United We Skate, on Saturday, September 11. You will get to see a mini-bout by Derby 2.0 (our junior derby girls aged 7 to  17), plus all the hard-hitting action you’ve come to expect from the KillaBytes and the Dot.Kamikazes. Full details are here.

The $10 price is only good through this Wednesday, August 25th, so don’t miss your chance!!

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Skater of the Month: Retox Fox

I am very grateful to my awesome teammates for bestowing this honor upon me. However, interviewing myself is a little meta and a lot awkward. Take a shot with me and let’s roll:

How did you get into roller derby?

I was getting signals for a couple of years. As soon as a team started up in my hometown, Louisville, my dad cut out every newspaper article or ad about the Derby City Roller Girls and mailed it to me, but I didn’t have a team where I was living (in the seventh circle of Hell, or southwest Florida). When I moved to Tucson, my BFF/roommate told me he thought derby would be a perfect match for me, but grad school was eating me alive. My final push was actually seeing derby in the flesh—a friend took me to Virgin MusicFest in Baltimore and I got to see the Charm City Roller Girls demo. Then I decided I had to look into it–the timing was perfect and I really needed a new outlet. I was fortunate to find SVRG, which at the time was accepting even non-skaters like me.

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

Because my dad was a baseball coach/athletic director, I was a total jock. I played competitive softball, soccer, and volleyball growing up. I’ve  had a kickboxing phase and a gymrat phase, but now my time is devoted to derby and volleyball (which my SVRG teammates refer to as my “dirty mistress.”)

As for skating skills: ha! My first time on the rink I was congratulating myself for not having to use the wall to stand up.

How did you derive your derby name?

I’ve always been Fox, and being a damn proud Kentuckian I am rather fond of bourbon, hence the “Retox” rather than “detox.” Maker’s Mark is a favorite, so I went with 90 proof as my number.

What is your primary position?

I have no desire to have a star-shaped target on my head. I prefer to block at 3 because it requires a lot of versatility: you have to know when to switch to work with the front of the pack or the back of the pack, when to switch from offense to defense, and be able to communicate things in both directions.

What is your greatest strength as a skater?

I’m big on strategy and like to think I can make quick decisions in the midst of the jam. It’s easy to line up with a plan, but with this sport you never know when you’re going to lose someone to the penalty box or your opponent is going to spring an effective counterstrategy. You have to reevaluate the situation every few seconds, decide on a plan, and quickly communicate to your teammates to execute that plan.

What has been your greatest experience on the rink?

Skating in June against the Denver Roller Dolls’ Bruising Altitude was just phenomenal. The venue is amazing, their fans are great, and the skaters themselves are super nice, fun women to spend time with. And although we lost the bout, we owned the afterparty. I just wish Beth Sentence didn’t break her ankle during the bout.

What is your worst injury?

I sprained my ankle twice when I was just starting derby, and unfortunately it didn’t go well since I had broken that one before. It not only kept me off skates for nearly 4 months, but the collective damage now severely limits my range of motion, which is sooo not optimal for skating. I should point out, though, that both these sprains were due to my dirty mistress, volleyball, not derby.

Who’s your biggest fan?

My boyfriend, who is amazing. He came to see me skate in a bout for the first time last August, and the very next morning we were at a skate shop getting him fitted for his own pair of skates. He is very understanding that my free time is on a timeshare with derby and doesn’t complain if I’m up late handling derby business or jetting off for an away game on the weekend. If he ever sees me wince or hears me complain about being sore, he is quick with a massage or a beer. Dreamy.

Which teammates do you work well with?

On the track, if I’m up front, I work well with Knuckles DeVille, BootyVicious, and Mauly Anna. In the back I like working with Belle Wringer, Bones, or Sadie Mae Gutz because I can read where they are going and thus complement their coverage—and they’re hard hitters so it always makes my job easier getting sloppy seconds with the opposing jammer.

Off the track I work well with Absolutely Scabulous, Satan’s Kitten, and Zootown Throwdown doing head stuff. And Bitch Puddin’ and I work our livers together. It’s great just to be surrounded by so many awesome women.

The jammer shall not pass. Photo by Jim Cottingham

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

I am the Head of PR and Marketing, I contribute to Community Service and Safety committees, and I run this here blog. I try to help out with anything involving writing, editing, or running surveys since those be my goodest skills. As a personal trainer, I like working out with my teammates or sharing exercises with them that can help them recover from an injury or develop strength, balance, agility, and flexibility. However, I make sure to counterbalance the healthful contribution by supplying baked goods en masse, like Oreo truffles, bourbon brownies, and a variety of cookies. NOM NOM NOM. I am eating a brown sugar oatmeal cookie as I type, and it’s rad.

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

Places you will find me: on the volleyball court, with a book, in my kitchen, at the bar, or behind the wheel on a road trip. And, too often, working in front of my ‘puter. My life is awesome because every day I get to read/write, eat, and sweat. That’s happy.

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

Commit. Roller derby really doesn’t work as a half-assed hobby; it is a lifestyle. You have to commit your time, mind, body, and, in cases involving demons, your soul.


Filed under Roller Derby, Silicon Valley Roller Girls, Skater of the Month, SVRG Skaters

Tickets now on sale for the last SVRG home bout of the season, Sat., Sep 11!

It is our last home bout of the season, and we have a lot of roller derby in store for you at San Jose Skate on September 11! First, we will have the public debut of our Derby 2.0 junior derby teams, the MicroChicks and the Web Bruisers. Girls ages 7 to 17 that have attended our junior derby summer camp and other sessions will be taking the floor at 5:30. The KillaBytes will then take on Sac City’s Folsom Prison Bruisers at 6:30, and the Dots will be challenging the Choice City Rebels of Northern Colorado at 8.

Again we are rewarding our hardcore fans: we are having an early bird special, so anyone who purchases online at Brown Paper Tickets before August 25th will get adult tickets for only $10!! After that, tickets are available online or at the following ticket locations at $13 for adults, $8 for kids: San Jose Skate, Psycho Donuts, Streetlight Records (Bascom location only), and Jack’s Bar & Lounge. Door tickets will be $17 for adults and $10 for kids.

A portion of the proceeds from the bout will be donated to Career Closet, which aims to empower women to return to the workforce by preparing them with business attire and confidence! Donate a work-appropriate accessory, such as jewelry, shoes, scarf, or handbag to the Career Closet vendor table and receive a FREE SVRG giveaway!

As always, we will have a beer garden, raffle, and half-time entertainment for your enjoyment. Come get some of our last official derby action of the season here in San Jose!


Filed under Roller Derby, Silicon Valley Roller Girls, SVRG Bouts