Roller Derby: Much More Than Skating

IMG_6672

 

Last weekend, a spectacular gathering of sportsmanship, community, and innovation came together for a weekend-long event in the most unsuspecting place. At a sports center tucked away in Bucks County, Feasterville to be exact, that’s 45 minute drive from the heart of Philadelphia, the roller derby community gathered for the 10th annual East Coast Roller Derby Extravaganza (ECDX) produced by Philly Roller Girls and the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA).  

In just over a 48 hour span, 44 roller derby bouts were played across three different rinks providing non-stop game viewing. Athletes and their fan base took planes, trains and automobiles to get to the event- literally. The variety of accents and dialects that could be heard during the weekend were plentiful-and included travelers who journeyed from Canada, England, Australia and beyond.  

For many, the Roller Derby strikes thoughts of the Ellen Page, Whip It, film. But for the hundreds of attendees that participated at ECDX, in addition to the thousands who listened to the bouts from home via online streaming, roller derby is a way of life.

As a disclaimer, I am not a roller derby player. Nor do I lack any coordination that would allow me to function on wheels.The sport appeared on my radar back in 2012, when my co-worker, Erica, began talking about her involvement with the sport.

IMG_8429Over time Erica (known as Double H in the derby world), became one of my best friends, and I began to hear all about this female-dominated sport that has been continuously growing around the globe. Through it, she shared about the amazing friendships created through the sport, and her own derby-themed love story.  My 1st time watching roller derby was 2013, when she asked me to attend a bout she was announcing so that I could keep an eye oh her young son. While babysitting, I took in everything that was going around me. The derby names everyone goes by(some of them still make me blush), passionate fans waving handmade signs while screaming their hearts out, and women who willingly lace up skates to participate in a game where it is a strong possibility to end up with a bodily injury. Still even knowing that the impact looks worse than it actually is, I wince and get concerned when I watch Erica get knocked around on skates. Being a spectator of roller derby is not for the faint of heart.

Since that initial experience, I have evolved from derby babysitter to multimedia volunteer for ECDX. 2016 marked my 4th time at the event, making it  my most engaged involvement. Throughout the weekend, I worked with the legion of ECDX volunteers who put their blood, sweat, tears and talents into the annual event.

Most, if not all, people who made ECDX possible sacrificed hours of their personal lives to bring the event to life- encompassing multi-faceted roles including photographers, announcers, referees, merchandisers, broadcasters, recreational planners, and maintenance. To say that their dedication to making the experience a memorable one is a labor of love is an understatement.

Throughout the weekend, I was able to work alongside another creative mind, an event volunteer and skater named Taco Cat, to capture video and photography. Each day, we worked on producing and posting short 30-90 second video clips for fans following along on Facebook. Additionally, we worked on producing Facebook Live reports throughout the weekend, all made possible by using an iRig microphone and my iPhone 6s Plus.  You can check out some of my favorite shots and video clips below, and also by liking the ECDX Facebook page.

 

Continue reading

Advertisements

Favorite shots from 2015

 

Below are a few of the most memorable photos I’ve taken over the past 365 days. From capturing the resiliency of the human spirit at my job at Penn Rehab, experiencing childhood through my nieces eyes, enjoying year two as a crazy cat lady,crossing off items off my to-do list and watching two of my best friends walk down the aisle- it’s been a year for the books- photo books that is!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Vegan Pies, Wings and Skaters- Oh My!

My camera has been able to allow me to meet tons of interesting people and witness events that I would never had experienced if I was not taking photos. In January, I had the opportunity to take photos of The Philly Roller Girl’s Vegan Pie and Wing eating contest at The Abbaye in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia. Philly Roller Girls is the women’s roller derby team in Philadelphia, and is part of the WFTDA. Last year I actually participated in the wing eating contest, but this time around I chose to snap photos instead of sucking down wings. If you’re interested in roller derby, check out the WFTDA to find a league near you!

IMG_6762 IMG_6747 IMG_6772 IMG_6691 IMG_6674 IMG_6740 IMG_6780 IMG_6784 IMG_6795

Continue reading

101 Things That Happened in the Last 365 Days

Facebook now has a new app that will create a short video clip about the highlights of 2014. To be frank, 2014 can kick rocks. Most of the year was spent dealing with stress, unhappiness and grief. But somewhere in the middle of the emotional roller coaster of the year, I managed to do a whole bunch of cool things. 2014 can only be summed in one cliche, corny phrase- Life Goes On. 

Here’s a 101 memorable things that I did this year. Thank you for reading my ramblings, commenting on my essays, and/or being in my life this year.  I’m still wrapping my mind over some of the shit that went down over the past 365 days, so I won’t even try to guess what 2015 will hold. 

101 Things That Happened in the Last 365 Days

 Participated in a vegan chicken wing eating contest- This was a disaster, no one warned me that seitan expands once it’s wet. But it benefited Philly Roller Girls, so it was for a good cause!

1391845_10201909350669979_599485444_n

Participated in a cupcake eating contest.It was my first large amount of sugar after clean eating for 40 days, let’s just say that night I wanted to die

10007278_10154024497765063_5144531572346966883_o

Went on an upside roller coaster- I actually tried frantically to get off the Batman Coaster but the attendant didn’t hear me so I was stuck going through with it

IMG_8727

Went to Six Flags- We meant to go to Belmont Beach, but the signs for the safari seemed more exciting

10505471_10154308733495063_1981676153139654630_n

Had an article go viral- I was annoyed about how much online dating sucked, and wrote an article about it one night after work. Apparently people like that kind of thing.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 7.11.14 PM

Got published on Bustle

Got published on Literally Darling

Found out I was a social introvert

Took photos on Citizen Bank Park’s field before a Phillies Game 

Missed a plane transfer

Had my article and face appear on Yahoo.com

10441050_10154611005510063_689271897408726041_n

Flew to California

Put my feet in the Pacific Ocean

\

Went in a hot tub under the stars at night in California

71686_10153762859540063_1276533975_n

Had my face appear on a HuffPo email 

1553159_10154620927330063_6564715721070230811_o

Continue reading