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Roller Derby Blog | January 2014

Derby Fest

Derby Fest

28th January 2014

By Blockodile Dundee

So, how was y’alls Derby Fest?! I tell you what – for me, it was better than I could ever have imagined.

It can be easy to find yourself feeling a bit blasé about derby when we pour so much of our time and energy into it. To tell you the truth, I’d been feeling that way for a little while – in short, I’d lost a bit of that lovin’ feeling. But the long, long days of Derby Fest, surrounded by passion, roller skates, light bulb moments, determination, and heroes (plus spending countless hours chatting and laughing with some of the coolest people I know) threw me right back in there.

This is my fifth season skating, and while I’m still learning all the time, it’s been a good while since I had a legitimate light bulb moment. You know the kind I’m talking about – someone says or does something, and in an instant you’re transported to a higher plane of understanding, where strategy and opportunities to revolutionise the way you play tumble from the sky into your bulgy brain bits. Or something like that. So, in the spirit of lessons learned, here are the things I learned at Derby Fest.

1a. All the cool kids wear Bont compression pants.

1b. The cooler kids buy them discounted from VRDL.

2. Never, ever, eat Mexican cuisine from a food truck an hour before a game, you guys. Just don’t do it. Honestly, never. This is never a good idea.

3. Smarty Pants knows what’s up. She is one the smartest players I’ve ever had the privilege of standing near. Having skated for ten years, she probably knows derby better than most of us know how to blink. She won DNN’s Skater of the Year for 2013 and her presence at Derby Fest made it abundantly clear why.

4. Serelson CANNOT BE PASSED. That’s why her hair’s so big; it’s full of secret blocking techniques. I fully expected this to be the case, but experiencing it first hand in the AU vs US game was a total eye-opener.

5. The Roller Derby Australia tees and tanks are SO SOFT. So soft, you guys. Like baby chickens. People liked them a lot, too.

6. Minnie and PT of Hit and Miss magazine are exceedingly delightful. I’ve been writing for the magazine for over a year now, but being Booth Buddies at Derby Fest was the most time I’ve ever spent chatting with them. Top birds, those two.

7. Tui Lyon’s mental game is off the hook. “No twitch” was a game-changer for me.

8. Akers is my new favourite skater/human EVER. Not only is she a mega babe who is completely hilarious, but her blocking is actually breathtaking. I mean that in both senses – she charged me when I was skating backwards and it was about 70% terrifying. (Check out Richard Tompsett's photo aobve of Akers' class Brick Wall Blocking. Swoon town.)

9. Skate Nooses are where it’s at. Hattie at our skating rink reprimanded me pretty severely when I kept leaving my skates in with my sweaty gear, because parts of them kept rusting up. Plus, now I can roller skate to cafes and not have to awkwardly lump my skates around when I get there.

10. Team Australia will be a force to be reckoned with. Over the course off our first time skating together – the challenge bout against the US coaches and friends – the improvement we saw in the team was incredible. I am so beyond excited to see what we can do with a year of team training under our belts.

On that note, we just returned from our first training session together in Melbourne this weekend just gone, and I can’t WAIT to tell you all about it next time!

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