It’s the Safety Dance …
So if you know me from QCRG, you know I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to safety gear. In particular, helmets. It’s all due to my injury my first season (grade IV concussion with a brain bleed).
As I mentioned, yesterday I was a ref for the first time at RC12. During equipment check, I pointed out to one of the jammers that her helmet was too far back on her head. She explained she wears it back because she’s short and when she squats down and the helmet is in the proper position, she can’t see up. I explained a helmet kept me from a serious injury; she fixed it no questions asked.
Today I geared up for my second bout to ref – Blockers v Jammers – and during equipment check, told a skater her helmet was too far back – guess who it was? Yep, same skater. She apologized and said she thought she had it down where it needed to be. Showed her where it should be, she tightened it up and was all set to play.
The bout started and she was a spitfire jammer for the Jammers weaving in & out of the co-ed blockers. About 8 minutes into to the 30 minute bout, she was jamming and got her feet taken out from under her. When she landed on turn two, it was her face that made direct contact with the floor. This happened right at the back of the pack in front of me and when I saw her head bounce, I immediately called the jam off and yelled for the EMTs.
She didn’t move up for what seemed like forever but in reality was less than a minute. The OPR talked to her and she responded, moved a bit but didn’t get up. When she did talk, I could see blood in her mouth and the beginning of a puffy, bloody lip.
The EMTs responded quickly, assessed her and she was able to get up off the track under her own power. And, as it goes in derby, play resumed while she was cared for on the sidelines.
At the end of the bout, as I removed my jersey – someone called my name. I turned to find her standing in front of me with her arms outstretched. She hugged me tight and said she just wanted to thank me. When she fell, only the tip of her nose and chin took the brunt of the fall. She said she knew if her helmet had not been on correctly, it would have been much worse. As it was, her lip was swelling and she had a small bruise already showing on her chin – but that’s all she had.
My point to all this? Pay attention to your gear. Make sure it’s on right. And if a ref tells you something isn’t right, fix it and keep it that way.
We don’t do this to be assholes, we do this because we want you to be safe, have fun and keep coming back.
No one wants to be taken off the floor for an injury … so do the safety dance and practice it every time you put on your gear. Safety should always be first, last and everything in between.
#vegasbaby but safely!
~Boo D. Bloxx
First Day Jitters — Wednesday
First day of RollerCon is kind of like starting school or a new job. You walk in hoping to make a friend or find someone to talk to and see a friendly face. Then you realize the love of your sport makes the thousands of people in front of you all your friends. All you have to say is “where are you from?” and the conversation starts to flow … soon you have a lot of new friends and people to hang out with. Classes become sorority parties where you’re able to take the best of those around you and improve yourself.
RollerCon is an amazing experience. This is my third time here and the butterflies of worrying about making friends aren’t as big in my stomach since there are many familiar faces for me this year in the zebra huddle.
If you play derby and can make the trip, you need to come to Vegas at least once to experience RollerCon for yourself.
I officiate my first bout later today and NSO for another. I definitely have some butterflies but getting to see friends from all over the country from RC11 is great and already making new friends too.
Late Tuesday, July 24
Looking out our hotel room window and what a great sight. It’s our hotel pool filled with derby folks at 8:00 p.m. having a blast and the RollerCon party hasn’t even officially begun yet.
It’s a little surreal to come to Las Vegas and realize that this thing called roller derby that has made a huge impact on your life has affected thousands of other people too.
Imagine walking into a hotel and as far as the eye can see is derby people. Derby people come in all shapes and sizes and being surrounded by so many of them in one place is totally amazing!
I’m guaranteed to have a stiff neck by the end of the week straining to see people’s backs. The creativity of derby names is just amazing and getting to talk to people about why they picked that name or how they came up with it is so much fun. And I get to share how I came up with my name too.
I’m planning to post pictures of great names on Twitter – so pop over there to follow us at @qcrg.
Off to bed early tonight in preparation of NSOing, reffing & classes tomorrow.
Good night from #RollerCon
Very early Tuesday, July 24
So, you’re a fan of roller derby or a skater or a ref or an NSO. Then you’ve heard of RollerCon, right?
Wait. What? You haven’t?
Well, think ComicCon but replace all the role-playing, costume-wearing fans with strangely named, costume-wearing athletes and add in photographers, volunteers, announcers and a ton of officials – both on and off skates.
RollerCon happens every July in Las Vegas and just before it starts, airports around the US and the world fill with skaters clutching their carry-on luggage that contains their skates, freshly washed pads (because you don’t want to upset your roommates with your personal stink), and fun outfits for the challenge bouts and sponsor parties.
What do you pack? Usually too much.
For example, I’m sitting in my living room looking at the large suitcase on my couch that is overflowing with clothes. I’m wondering if I could possibly need that many t-shirts, socks, derby pants, booty shorts, and miscellaneous accessories – and I haven’t even packed my gear yet. Yep, this is what a derby girl or guy goes through before RC: pack, repack and get it all together and hope to get some sleep before you’re up at the crack of dawn (or earlier) to catch your flight to Las Vegas.
But it’s not just about the fun clothes or gear or packing. There’s also the prep in your “other” life too. You need to make arrangements for your kids (2 legs or otherwise), your derby wife or real-life wife or husband and, of course, getting time off from your day job. RC starts on a Wednesday and runs through Sunday night. During those five short days you have an opportunity to learn from, watch, meet and even play against some of the best players in the world. It can be completely overwhelming. There is so much to do, so much to see and so much FUN to be had – both on and off the track.
So, for the next week, I will be blogging here and tweeting via @qcrg what I’m seeing and experiencing at RC12. I hope you’ll follow along. And if there’s something you want to know – tweet it to @qcrg and I’ll do my best to post a pic of your favorite player or ref or attempt to get your questions answered.
~Boo D. Bloxx
Afterword: Boo made it onto the plane (after getting bumped only once) and should land in Vegas shortly.