Champs Through the Eyes of a Junior Skater

Champs Through the Eyes of a Junior Skater Photo credit Danforth Johnson

04 November 2015

Today my mom, my teammate Sharknado, and I flew out from Philly to Minnesota for champs. I’m so excited! Champs starts on Friday and it’s the first time that I’m going to be able to see some of my favorite teams skate live.

05 November 2015

11015789_10153744105634111_505480169235738156_oToday Shark, my ma, and I went to Mall of America. When we were walking around, two girls called out to us, asking if we play derby. We said yes and talked for a bit. Their names were Splatter and Unlucky Chucky and they skate for Demolition City Roller Derby. They were really nice.

That’s one of my favorite, if not my favorite, part of roller derby. In most sports, meeting someone else who plays is not a big deal but if you run into another skater, you automatically have something unique in common and have a great topic of conversation. I get so happy when I meet other skaters.

After the mall, we went to see In The Turn at Bar Camp. I met some really awesome people there and had a great time.

Champs starts tomorrow at 10am.

 

06 November 2015

Champs started today.

Shark and I got there right when the doors opened so that we could get suicide seating. Watching champs live is such a great experience and I would definitely recommend it to anyone thinking about it. I’ve watched the past several years online and it’s so different. The adrenaline is insane.

The first bout of the day was Demolition City Roller Derby -vs- Nashville Rollergirls. Nashville won but Demolition City fought a good fight. After that bout, Kansas City Roller Warriors took on Sacred City Derby Girls. One jammer on Kansas City, JessiKA Boom, is a recently aged up junior skater. Watching her skate on a Division 2 team after playing for junior makes me feel really good. I hate how some people treat juniors as if it is a whole different sport. We work just as hard as the adults and that showed every time JessiKa Boom took the line.

After Sacred City took the win over Kansas City, the D1 games started.  The first D1 game was Angel City Derby Girls against Rat City Rollergirls. Angel City placed second in playoffs and Rat City placed in third. With a strong defense and great offense, A12189688_1377090825647141_927218321368785907_nngel City took the win.

The second game was B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls (2) and Denver Roller Derby (3). Bay Area took the win and moved on in the tournament.

Game three was Jacksonville RollerGirls (2) -vs- Arch Rival Roller Girls (3). Jacksonville won the game, but Arch never stopped fighting.

The last game of the night was Texas Rollergirls (2) against Minnesota RollerGirls (3). Since Minnesota is the host league, they had a huge following. The “Blue Man Army” was loud and cheered hard. I am personally a huge Texas fan, so Shark and I made posters and cheered for Texas even though we were the minority. It was a close game but Texas took the win.

Throughout the day, I walked around and started getting my champs program autographed. I had such a great time and I can’t wait until tomorrow’s games.

 

07 November 2015

Day two of champs. I got some more autographs today. Shark and I didn’t get to the venue in time to get suicide seating but since Shark bought a bunch of stuff from one of the vendors, we were able to get the wristbands allowing us to sit trackside anyways.

We sat down for the first game which was London Rollergirls (1) and Angel City Derby Girls (2). The game was intense and both teams put so much work into it but London ended on top and got to move on to play again.  

For the Rose City Rollers (1) -vs- B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls (2) bout, the Rose cheering squad invited me to cheer with them. I had my Rose dress and snapback on and they gave me pom-poms and a sign. Rose City also has an aged out junior skater. Loren Mutch, previously known as Mutch Mayhem, is one of Rose’s jammers. Last year at champs, she was the recipient of the MVP award. She is an excellent example of why all leagues should have a junior league, her talent and hardwork are so inspiring. After a close game, Rose beat Bay Area and advanced to play London.

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Game three was Gotham Girls Roller Derby (1) against Jacksonville RollerGirls (2). For the first 10 minutes the score do-si-doed but once Gotham started taking the lead, they kept it and won.

Next was Victorian Roller Derby League (1) -vs- Texas Rollergirls (2). I had my Texas sign and cheered but during this game I started falling in love with Victoria too. I had liked Victoria and looked up to them before this bout, (Christy Demons is even on my fantasy roller derby team) but while watching them live, I fell in love.

Rose City Rollers (1) played against London Rollergirls (1) next, and I joined back up with the RCR cheering squad and cheered my heart out. This bout was so classy. From helping up another skater after a jam, to calling off the jam when Scald Eagle’s skate broke, to hugging her opponents, Stephanie Mainey is the classiest skater I’ve ever seen. The score was close but Rose beat London and now get to move on to play in the championship game tomorrow.

The final game of the night was Gotham Girls Roller Derby (1) playing against Victorian Roller Derby (1) for their spot against Rose in the championship game. The game was so close and so intense. Neither team ever kept the lead for long. At half-time Victoria was winning but at the end of the game, Gotham won by 3. So tomorrow, Gotham is playing Rose for first, and London is playing Victoria for third. The championship games are tomorrow and I’m so, so excited.

 

08 November 2015

Today ended champs and history has been made, but I’ll get to that later.

Doors opened at 11:00am, but Shark and I got to the venue at 9:30am to make sure that we could get suicide seating. By the time that we got there, there was a long line of people already waiting. The first 100 people in the venue got wristbands. Shark and I were the 70-somethingth people in and there was still a huge line behind us that wrapped around the corner.

The bouts started at noon with the D2 third place bout, Demolition City Roller Derby -vs- Kansas City Roller Warriors. Demolition City took the win, getting third place and Kansas City took fourth.

The next game was the D2 championship game. Nashville Rollergirls took on Sacred City Derby Girls. Sacred City won, getting first in the D2 tournament, and giving Nashville second.

The third place D2 bout was next. It was between Demolition City Roller Derby and Kansas City Roller Warriors. Demolition City was able to take the game and get third place. All four of the D2 teams played amazing games and worked really hard.

The first D1 bout was the 3rd place bout. It was between London Rollergirls (1) and Victorian Roller Derby League (1). Both teams put everything into this game. However, taking the bronze medal win and becoming the first international team to make it in the top three, was Victorian.

The final game of the night and the tournament was the championship game between Gotham Girls Roller Derby (1) and Rose City Rollers (1). I’ve never been in a more intense environment. It’s been five years since Gotham has lost a game and this was the rematch that everyone was waiting for.

I joined back up with the Rose cheering squad, which was almost double in size, and I had half of my face painted with their logo. I was so ready. I don’t think I blinked that entire bout. If I did, I would have missed a lead change. The score was so close the entire game, with Gotham winning at the half.  

I looked at my phone and saw 24 messages about the bout so far. Everyone was freaking out.  People were sending screen shots of me on ESPN and that was super cool, too.

With less than a minute left of halftime, the Rose cheering squad passed along hugs and got ready. The room got even more intense and loud and and crazy as the end of the bout approached. The scores kept going back and forth. Scald Eagle from Rose was able to get the points that they needed to win the game, and during the last jam, Loren Mutch was able to keep the difference with the help of amazing defense by Shaina Serelson, Jessica Chestnut, Elicia Nisbet-Smith, and Jes Rivas.

Rose won the game and broke Gotham’s streak. It was a historic bout and I’m so glad that I was able to watch it live. Everyone started crying and screaming and shaking. The Rose skaters skated over to the cheering squad and were passing out hugs.

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After the award ceremony, the skaters came back and took pictures and gave out autographs. When I went to take a selfie with Napolean Blownapart, she picked me up. The picture came out super blurry but it was really cute. I accidently deleted the picture which I’m really upset about, but I’ll always have that super cool experience in my memory. I even got to touch the Hydra!!

The girls that I met at the mall on Thursday came up to me and I congratulated them on their third place victory. I added them on Facebook and they told me that if I ever play within a four hour driving radius from Indiana, they’ll come watch, which was is cool.

After champs, we went back to the hotel and on my way in, I saw Fifi Nomenon from Texas. I wanted to go and ask her for a picture, but I tripped over the curb and completely embarrassed myself in front of her. It was all in fun and I got a nice picture and talked to her for a bit.

We went out to eat at a burger bar after putting our stuff down in the room and while we were there I saw some Sacred City and Rat City skaters. I had them sign my book and I talked to a few of them for a bit. Everyone has been so nice and I feel so lucky to be involved in a sport where young players have the opportunity to meet their inspirations and have actual conversations with them. Getting to talk to such great skaters is so inspiring.

 

09 November 2015

I woke up today and realized that I wasn’t watching more derby and got really sad. I’m so happy that I got to have this experience though. I wouldn’t trade this weekend for anything. I met such amazing people and watched some awesome derby. I can’t wait for archives to go up so that I can relive this.

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