Charm Stories

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Meet the Trouble Makers

Photo courtesy of Tyler Shaw

by Sadie Stingray

Flat track roller derby is expanding across the globe, and here in Baltimore, the Charm City Roller Girls are doing their part in that expansion. Last year saw the introduction of their third interleague team, the Trouble Makers. In their freshman season the Trouble Makers brought derby back to the up-close-and-personal fan experience through their games at Skateland in Dundalk, and they ended their rookie season with an impressive 4-1 record. They’ll kick off an exciting second season on Saturday June 13 as part of an action packed triple header with Female Trouble and the Harm City Havoc. Buy your tickets now!

This team of skaters possesses an array of game experience, but they are ready to throw down with a smile and work their way towards becoming CCRG’s future All Star skaters. Their game play takes derby back to its foundations, building their strategy on having a strong footing in core skills – speed control, solid walls, consistent communication on and off the track. From a strong foundation, the team builds into the techniques being used at the world-class level today – diamonds, triangles, and all other hidden gems to come.

Leading the Trouble Makers this year are captains Sadie Stingray and Tearin’ Tina, and coaches Smearin’ Off Ice, Natty Bones and dropping in to help with drills, Punchwrap Supreme. Ice brings her 4 years of experience as a skater for CCRG’s Junkyard Dolls and Female Trouble to whip the Trouble Makers into shape, running them through practices designed to support the development of the team’s skills and strategy.

Analyzing their work on the track, Ice and Punchy develop drills to challenge, strengthen and mold the skaters into peak performance shape. Natty Bones, former skater for Harm City Havoc (formerly Harm City Homicide, Baltimore’s men’s derby league) and coach for CCRG’s Female Trouble, devises our pack formations, pairing skaters that complement each other into packs that lead and learn from each other in a synergy designed to control game play and assist our jammers into lead positions, scoring point after point in pursuit of another winning season.

While the coaches work their magic, Tina and Sadie work in tandem on the track and behind the scenes to build on last year’s success, solidifying the infrastructure to support this fledging team. Though they are fierce competitors during the home season, when Tina’s Night Terrors and Sadie’s Speed Regime teams battle their way towards the home team championship title, they have formed a partnership for the Trouble Makers that is becoming eerily close to hive mind between the two. They work with the leadership of the league and especially with the captains and coaches of Female Trouble, to deconstruct the strategy of our All Star team and bring that strategy through all levels of interleague play, working to create a cohesion and progression of world-class roller derby game play to all of the travel teams.

The Trouble Makers are excited to make their sophomore season one that cements their name in Charm City’s proud athletic culture by continuing the Charm City Roller Girls legacy of excellence. Tickets for this summer season kickoff are available online now!

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Meet the Skating Ladies in Red

Photo by Tyler Shaw

In May 2014, The Mobtown Mods took home the Donaghy Cup as the top home team of Charm City Roller Girls. As the champs prepare to face a new home season, McJagged gives us some insight into what makes this team tick.

“Alright I admit it– I do enjoy skating in a red dress,” she says, but that’s not all she loves about her team. “I admire each of the other red ladies. I can’t believe I get to skate with them sometimes.”

2014 was Jagged’s first season as a teamed skater, so she’s had some great opportunities to learn from her teammates. “LQ is a font of wisdom, derby anecdotes, and general hilarity,” she says of teammate and veteran skater Lady Quebeaum. “During my first ever bout at Du Burns, guest skating with the Mods as a newly-minted green star, I was freaking out a moderate amount before the game. Just nerves and worries. She came up to me and said, Jagged, what happens if we lose? Nothing. What happens if we win? Nothing. Are you having a blast? There ya go. You wouldn’t be here if no one believed in you. Now let’s go and play some damn derby. (Something like that) and I felt fine!”

Jagged says the strength of her team’s blockers is one of their winning traits. “I think we have incredible blocks — both holding blocks in walls and devastating hitting blocks. Try to get past Punchy or Colleen, probably not gonna happen. Plus our two coaches, Banshee and Rosie the Rioter, have so many years of experience and knowledge to give us after each jam.”

But maybe those red mini dresses have something to do with the team’s winning streak, considering their mantra: Keep it sexy. Jagged explains: “‘Keep it sexy’ is something like staying together, communicating well, moving and working as one, while keeping our cool. It’s also when you pull some great moves with your teammate like hitting a jammer out hard or while jamming, slicing through like buttah.”

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LET’S TALK ABOUT SPEED

Travel season is drawing to a close and the Charm City Roller Girls are once again revving up for home season. To help you prepare, we’re interviewing players from all seven (yes, seven!) of our teams, including the four home teams and three travel teams. To get us started, Speed Regime co-captain Allie B. Back tells us about what makes her team stand out.

True to their name, Speed Regime focuses on using speed control to win games.”Given our name, we try to excel at speed control. We’ve done best when we had skaters that fully committed to coming to scrimmages and practices to learn more. It made us more adaptable in the moment. Now that we have some long-term vets on the squad, we’re trying to use that knowledge to foster our newbies.”

This means Regime skaters need the ability to go fast when needed and stop on a dime. Strong blockers are able to slow down quickly to stop a jammer from passing and to maintain their position when being pushed by opposing players.

While there’s an honored tradition of partying in the derby world, Regime players tend to be more laid back. “We don’t party hard and rarely ‘win the afterparty,’ but we support each other and have a great time playing this sport we all love,” Allie says.

Many skaters develop strong bonds with their teams. Here’s how Allie describes her connection with Speed Regime:

“Regime gave me a home when I needed it most. I was injured as a fresh meat skater before I was drafted (during my 1st scrimmage ever actually) and I was out with a major shoulder injury for about 6 months (including surgery). I was almost ready to quit because I was frustrated at being unable to join in with my fellow freshies as they moved up the ranks and onto teams. Regime asked me to help them out on the bench, giving me a role and reason to keep coming to practice. They encouraged me through my physical therapy and fought for me when I was finally draft-able. No other team could have quite the same place in my heart as Regime; they truly are my family.”

Regime players enjoy competing with the Night Terrors, another team often noted for their speediness thanks to a roster full of great jammers. Allie says she enjoys when they get to play against other leagues. “I think we have the most fun/toughest games when we get to skate against other leagues. We get to really let loose and put some aggression out there when we’re not up against the same gals we skate with week after week.”

Speed Regime will bout against the Black Rose Rollers from Hanover, PA in a preseason game on Saturday, Sept. 13. Black Rose is looking to build on a 6-game winning streak while Regime aims to ramp up to the home season with a pre-season win. Get tickets and read more here.

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Lean, Mean and Thinking Pink

Photo by Down’n’Out Photography

The Junkyard Dolls may be CCRG’s most recognizable team with their pink and grey uniforms and rockstar roster, but this team’s wins don’t come from resting on their reputation. As we gear up for the new home season, Dolls co-captain Federal Kill shares what makes her team great.

“The Dolls excel at strategy and being workhorses,” says Fed. “We are fortunate to have numerous coaches and analytical players who can discuss and digest gameplay with ease. Additionally, many of our team members are highly driven and cross train outside of derby. Their work ethic shines both on and off the track, and motivates their teammates.”

Once known as the “rowdy wild cards of the league,” the Dolls have transformed themselves over the years. “You could find these ladies drinking margaritas before their bouts and smoking cigarettes at halftime. They hit hard and drank even harder,” says Fed. “Today’s Dolls are lean, mean, hell raising machines, but with a tad more discipline to boot.”

With their improved focus and discipline, this team’s passion for the game shines through more than ever. “It is undeniable this team has more heart than any other on the league. This heart manifests itself in our efforts on the track and respect for one another off of it. It’s why I love being a Doll.”

Last season provided plenty challenges including injuries to multiple skaters. “We were constantly having to supplement our roster or play short since we were so down in numbers,” says Fed. “It was tough, but again, the team kept rolling and put their collective hearts out there.”

After fighting through those challenges, the Dolls are looking for some big payoffs this season. “Always remember to ‘Think Pink!’ Expect to see big things from the Dolls in 2015. We’re striving for a healthy roster, and have our sights set on the Donoghy Cup.”

The Dolls certainly are not lacking in experience and dedication, but they also have the wisdom never to ignore an opponent. Fed says she’s keeping an eye on Speed Regime. “I think the Speed Regime is an underestimated team, having kept the same core of skaters for multiple years. I’m excited to see what they do this season.”

See Federal Kill in action this Sunday Sept. 14 at Skateland North Point and follow us on Facebook for news on future Junkyard Dolls games.

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Kick Off the Summer Derby Season with Double Trouble

Photo by Tyler Shaw

The Trouble Makers of CCRG and Harm City Havoc men’s league have ganged up for a roller derby double header in White Marsh this Saturday, May 9, 2015 — our first at-home travel season bout of 2015.Tickets for this weekend and season ticket packages are available now.

You may think you know the ladies of Charm when we play as the Night Terrors, Junkyard Dolls, Speed Regime and Mobtown Mods, but our travel teams are like the Voltron of roller derby. Throughout the home season, the four home teams battle it out for the Donaghy Cup, but when it’s all over, these skaters come together to form top-ranking interleague teams that represent Baltimore to teams around the world. The ferocity you see in home season games is just a hint of what you’ll see in the travel season.

The Trouble Makers of CCRG and Harm City Havoc men’s league have ganged up for a roller derby double header in White Marsh this Saturday, May 9, 2015 — our first at-home travel season bout of 2015.Tickets for this weekend and season ticket packages are available now.

You may think you know the ladies of Charm when we play as the Night Terrors, Junkyard Dolls, Speed Regime and Mobtown Mods, but our travel teams are like the Voltron of roller derby. Throughout the home season, the four home teams battle it out for the Donaghy Cup, but when it’s all over, these skaters come together to form top-ranking interleague teams that represent Baltimore to teams around the world. The ferocity you see in home season games is just a hint of what you’ll see in the travel season.

Home Teams Draft New Skaters for 2011 Season

The Charm City Rollergirls are busy preparing for their 2011 home season starting January 29th and that means the most exciting time of year- home team drafts! The Junkyard Dolls, Mobtown Mods, Night Terrors and 2010 Champs Speed Regime had a tough time choosing from an extremely talented pool of skaters. Each home team said goodbye to some of their most veteran players who will be greatly missed.

The Junkyard Dolls welcome Adrenaline Junkie, Trixy Le Doom, Slo Commotion and Smearin’ Off Ice to a hard hitting roster that includes captains Aidee Dee and Quickshot Kitty, blockers Xena Paradox, Doris Day of Reckoning, Mistress May Eye, Whipstick and Pimparella and jammers Holden Grudges, Kelly O’ShankU and Killer Kitten. The Dolls said goodbye to Flo Shizzle, Federal Kill and Paige Fault.

The Mobtown Mods selected Roxy Balboa, Indie Skies, Neurotic Tendency and Dutchland transfer Booty Garland, formerly known as O’Chit. These ladies join a stellar line up that includes captains Mya Bloody Valentine and Zamboni Toni and the double threat jamming/blocking line ups of Lady Quebeaum, Dosa Badazz, Essie Ecks, Grose Misconduct, Ginja Ninja, PENALTYna, Thoroughbled and Gloria Stunem. The Mobtown Mods bid adieu to Joy Collision (skating with All Stars only), Judy Boom, She Guevara, MIA POW and Ethyl Hurtz.

The Night Terrors enter 2011 with new faces Tamurai Sword, I.M. Pain, Fistfull of Dollhairs, Miss’ippi Queen, and Crowella De Vil. Captains Blind Banshee and Grand Theft Autumn lead a roster that includes multi-talented skaters Radar Love, Nuckin’ Futz, Fatal Attraction, Slap Tackle Pop and L.A. Riot. The Night Terrors will miss Just Carol (skating with All Stars), Rosie the Rioter (skating with All Stars), Beth Steel, Jilli Idol, Frenzy Lohan, Mibbs Breakin’ Ribs, Minnie Piledriver and Nurse Wretched, who will be sporting another uniform soon.

Speed Regime welcomes Scarin’ Blockovich and Ferris Bruiser to their 2010 championship roster lead by captains Terror IzHer and Allie B. Back. Their teammates include the speedy and tough Deathany, Gidget Guttersnip, Flux Incapacitator, Tyrannosaurus Lex, Jam Reaper, Bambi’s Revenge, Loretta Scars, Ali Kaida and Twibite currently awaiting the birth of her second child. The Regime said farewell to Holly Go Hardly (Skating with All Stars), Layne I. Hilator, Oh Scheydt and Cindy Lop-her.

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Help Baltimore’s Only Youth Drop-In Shelter Reopen

Show your support for Baltimore and help a vital community organization reopen its doors through ourBooster campaign.

As residents and representatives of Baltimore, the Charm City Roller Girls felt the impact of the city’s unrest in the wake of Freddie Gray’s tragic death. When violence erupted in the city, businesses and community centers were damaged, including the Youth Empowered Society’s Drop-In Center for homeless youth. We believe what makes Baltimore great is how we come together in the face of tragedy, and that’s why we’ve organized a fundraiser so you can show your love for the city and help this great organization re-open their doors. To help with this cause, please visit our Booster campaignand order one of the T-shirts we’ve designed in support of the city. You can also donate directly to the shelter through the link provided.

From the YES mission statement:

YES works to end youth homelessness in Baltimore by supporting formerly homeless youth to become leaders in our community and by providing urgently-needed direct services to homeless youth … YES’s vision is that all Baltimore youth will easily access the resources they need to achieve stable housing and become healthy, successful adults.

You can learn more about the center at Yesdropincenter.com. The Baltimore Sun reported on the incident and the damage, which you can read about here.


Charm City skaters volunteered for the Patterson Park spring cleaning project in April because we’re always looking for ways to help our city be its best.

 

We are proud of the many ways we’ve seen this city come together to recover from the violence and we believe in the mission of YES to empower the young people of Baltimore. Please help support their causeby buying a t-shirt or donating directly to the drop-in center recovery effort.

Gutter Magazine Reviews Derby Comic by CCRG’s own Whipstick

The members of the Charm City Roller Girls are talented on and off the track and one of our very own, Junkyard Dolls rookie Whipstick (aka Monica Gallagher) shares her experiences as a derby girl in her webcomic Bonnie N. Collide.

Gutter Magazine recently reviewed Bonnie N. Collide and picked a few of their favorite strips. The CCRG blog will be featuring Bonnie N. Collide each week. Check out Whipstick’s other work at her site,Eat Your Lipstick, and see her and the rest of CCRG hit the track this Saturday at DuBurns Arena!

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Girl Scout Troops Visit CCRG All Stars Practice

Did you know that the Charm City Roller Girls have a lower age requirement than many leagues? We only require our skaters to be 18 years of age, rather than the 21 and up requirements of many leagues around the country. But what about those young ladies who can’t vote yet? How do THEY get their derby fix?

A wave of Junior Roller Derby leagues are starting up across the country. The Junior Roller Derby Association has formed, and provides information about member leagues, modified rules, and assistance in starting a junior roller derby league. Recently a junior derby girl, Fallon Angel of the Seattle Derby Brats, was featured in the WFTDA members magazine fiveonfive. She’s 16 years old, and she is ready to take the derby world by storm in a few years!

The Charm City Roller Girls want to support young women in the pursuit of their derby dream, and since Whip It was released, more girls than ever before want to know when they can skate with their derby heroes. We love meeting our fans at our monthly bouts and other events, but we have the most fun on wheels!

Girl Scout Troops 1205 and 4165 of Baltimore had the opportunity to watch an Charm City All Stars practice and attended an open skate at North Point Skateland with some of their favorite roller girls. Paige Fault (Junkyard Dolls) and Neurotic Tendency (Fresh Meat) talked to the girls about the rules (and the outfits!) as we watched All Stars like Allie B. Back, Holly GoHardly, and Duchess of Torque at practice.

Rules were explained, skates were tied, and autographs aplenty were signed.

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Roller derby is one of few contact sports available to women, and the derby culture embraces women of all ages, making it one of few sports that can be played for a lifetime! We’re also proud to play a sport that welcomes all shapes and sizes, and as a new sport we’re open to lifelong athletes and former couch potatoes. We’re happy to be showing these girls what women can do with determination and enthusiasm, and we hope to keep inspiring new generations of skaters.

These are your future Roller Girls, Charm City! Look out for them in our 10th season in 2015!!

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For more information on Junior Roller Derby, check out:
Junior Roller Derby Association
Junior Derby Bout at WFTDA Nationals
Seattle Derby Brats

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Founding Charmer Reflects on 10 Years


Photo by Craig Lammes

Since the Charm City Roller Girls formed in 2005, Lady Quebeaum (pronounced “Kaboom”) has been a driving force within the league. Her league mates mostly call her LQ, and many skaters look to her as the wise woman of CCRG. She’s known for being chatty on the track and off, giving great advice and perspective to newer skaters, and for never — despite broken bones and broken hearts — giving up. After 10 charming years, LQ looks back on the challenges of playing derby and the evolution of the sport. Bask in the derby wisdom, and remember to get your tickets to see LQ lead her team, the Mobtown Mods, as they take on the Junkyard Dolls on Saturday, Feb. 21.

When and where did you start playing derby?

I started here in Baltimore in 2005. A friend said, “Hey, we’re trying to start a roller derby league. Come on up.” So I did.

What are some of the significant changes you’ve seen in your time with CCRG?

You have to go back before there WAS a CCRG. We were a handful of people trying to get organized. Most of us had never even seen the game played before. We weren’t sure what roller derby was. Roller derby wasn’t sure what it was in 2005. We had folks show up in swell outfits but balk about actually doing any skating during practice time. Members had deep philosophical discussions about whether or not we were going to be a separatist community that disallowed men’s participation in any part of it. We practiced without helmets until someone got a concussion, and our practices included wresting on the whistle. We made EVERYTHING up as we went along, occasionally getting some help from nearby leagues (thank you, Philly Roller Derby) who had been around just a little longer than we had.

There is definitely less showmanship and more athleticism than there was at the beginning. People used to take smoke breaks during halftime, and I remember getting my toestop stuck in someone’s tutu once and having to call the jam from the floor. Now we’re all lifting and eating quinoa.

I’ve also witnessed the maturation of an organization over the years. I have to say, having stepped out of an administrative leadership roll a year or two ago, I’m confident in the folks at the helm at this point. Have you ever heard of Tuckman’s stages of group development? Forming, storming, norming, and performing? We’ve gone through that, in macro and micro versions at different times.


Photo by Tyler Shaw

How do you approach derby differently than you did at the beginning, or how is your approach different from that of newer skaters?

Every year I have played, this game has been different. So I recognize that and build on what I’ve learned in the previous incarnations of the game. One way that my approach now may be different from that of newer skaters is that I just do not stress. I used to want to throw up before every game. You couldn’t MAKE me nervous at this point. I’ve already fallen on my face wearing ill-fitting hotpants in front of thousands. I’ve already been booed. I’ve already been cheered. I’ve already been hauled away in an ambulance. I’ve already delighted and disappointed fans and teammates. I’ve already wowed and I’ve already been forgotten by hundreds of people. It’s one jam at a time to the best of my ability in that moment. That’s it. That’s all there is.

 

Everybody knows derby can be tough, to say the least. Lots of skaters quit after a few years. Why do you keep playing?

The short and easy answer is because I still enjoy it. The other answer is that I keep playing so that people like me will keep playing. There are going to be 20 year old life-long athletes who are drawn to this sport now that it is somewhat established (YOU’RE WELCOME). But there are also going to be people like me who are going to be drawn to it. I wasn’t raised to be an athlete. I started doing this when I was thirty. I was a zaftig single mom with a preschooler and a full-time day job who biked to work every day because she couldn’t afford the subway. This belongs to us, too.

One time in our first year, we did a promo piece with The Today Show, and stuck Natalie Morales on roller skates. I was one of our talking heads back then. The piece garnered a lot of positive attention both to the sport, which was very new at the time, and to our league. And we had a couple of interesting detractors, including a skater from another league who suggested we should instead “show off some of our fit girls.” She retired ages ago. I’m still here at 41. My resting pulse is 49 and I can bike a Century in my sleep. I win.

The spelling of my derby name is a result of a name challenge by a West Coast skater who had a similar name. At the time, if your name was too similar to another skater’s, they could ask you to change it. She was very gracious about it, but I was about to walk into divorce court when we finally talked, so I offered to change the spelling and be done with the issue. She retired about five years ago, too. I win again. Ray Lewis is younger than me, too. He also retired.,


Photo by Adam (fordprefectajt)

 

I’ve broken bones for this sport. I have two plates and fourteen screws in my legs. I’ve spent hard earned money, and I’ve lost precious time with my family for this. There are going to be heartbreaking setbacks that make you question everything about your life choices. But heartbreaking setbacks are in every arena in life, not just derby. You can let them crush you, or you can find a way to deal.

This is the first year in quite a while where I haven’t been nursing a broken leg that I’m not rostered on the All-Star team, and that’s hard. But the truth is that I’ve only played three games since my surgery (for a broken leg) and the loss of my mom this past year, and I’m still getting my chops back. It’s hard work and it isn’t instant gratification. But nothing on this earth makes me work harder for a yes than getting a no.

One time a few months ago I was lamenting out loud over the kitchen sink how I was feeling out of shape, wearing an extra twenty grief and fracture pounds, feeling like a bunch of muscles were missing. I thought I was muttering to myself, but my son, now an adolescent, overheard me. He said, in his most disdainful adolescent “duh” tone that he could muster, off the cuff and without thinking, “Uh yeah. You’re giant and strong, Mom.” So we can all stop what we’re doing right now, because apparently we smashed the patriarchy and won.

Care to make any predictions about the next 10 years of the sport?

I haven’t the foggiest notion, but I hope it’s still fun for people to play.