Get to know the newest derby podcast that digs into the human side of the sport
“Don’t do it.”
I’d been thinking about starting my own roller derby podcast for at least a year before I finally decided to move ahead with plans to make it happen. When I first put out the word that I was going to do it, that was the response from more than one well-meaning friend.
And I get it: running a podcast is difficult enough on its own, given the technical aspects and the fact that we all have busy lives. Producing something on a schedule is tough. Add in the wide world of a very opinionated souls that make up roller derby, and it can also sometimes be rough sailing to navigate feelings around one topic or another. Derby has had only a few long-lasting podcasts (the excellent Derby Deeds comes to mind), and they usually ended simply because the folks running the shows hit burn-out.
I’m going into this with eyes as wide open as I think possible. And I’m happy to report that this new podcast offering will have a somewhat different and, I hope, sustainable focus. Happily, even those initial naysayers seem pretty excited about what we’re planning.
Something Something Roller Derby drops today with our very first episode. When the dust settled, I was fortunate to bring on my long-time friend and teammate, Allie Gator, as co-host.
Allie has been skating with the Mad Rollin Dolls (our mutual home league) in Madison, Wisconsin since 2007 and is about to embark on her 11th season skating. She is a proud member of the Quad Squad (our home team), Team Unicorn (our non-charter/funsies travel team), and skated on the Dairyland Dolls (our charter team) for 8 seasons. As for yours truly, I began skating derby in 2013 with our recreational league and was drafted onto the Quad Squad a year later. Since then, I’ve been a home team captain for a two-year term, the league’s PR manager, recently the league’s General Manager (eek!), and I’ve been a member of the Dairyland Dolls B team for three seasons.
Between the two of us, we’ve also had the great pleasure and privilege of announcing for many recent WFTDA playoffs and champs, traveling to several RollerCons and other tournaments, and meeting/working with just a whole mess of incredible people who do anything and everything to make this community tick.
All of which is to say, we have some experience and some feelings and we hope to put them to good use for you all in this podcast.
Speaking of, the first episode features our teammate (and WFTDA Skater of the Month August 2014) Mouse as she digs in to some derby history, something she knows a little bit about as one of the sport’s OGs.
History is going to be one of the larger focuses of the show. Consider this our contribution to a (hopefully) greater effort to better catalogue and share the origins and fun inside stories of modern derby. Specifically, Mouse gets into how the first interleague games came to be, how they became tournaments and playoffs, and how the WFTDA first decided on rankings. She also shares a fun observation about a major turning point in the strategy of the sport, as told through toe stops. We also get a glimpse into her personal skating background, and how/why she got her name.
It’s something we plan to do with a wide range of the sports’ originators, pioneers, mavericks, movers and shakers, unsung heroes, etc. There are so many great stories to be told, and so much that gets lost as newer generations join up and dig in, and we want to help pass along that history to a wider audience.
We also plan to feature discussions about some of the issues and ideas that come up within the community – everything from skating with an invisible illness or disability, LGBTQ+ issues (both myself and Allie are queer identified humans), diversity and inclusion, and so forth.
Given that Allie and I are both also announcers, in addition to our skating backgrounds, we intend to take full advantage in order to bring in some fellow announcers and other behind-the-scenes folks (NSOs, photographers, refs, volunteers, etc.) to talk about what they do, how those jobs help build and sustain our sport, and what we can all do to better support and include non-skating folks.
Finally, we’ll do our best to provide some advice for those who seek it. Whether you’re the freshest of meat or the saltiest of old sailors, there’s always room for insight/help/commiseration. Sometimes it will come from one of us, sometimes we’ll pull in better experts to help out. We’re always going to be open to your questions and suggestions, for this and anything else on the show: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another thing we’ll be up for? Music! One of the fun extras I’d love to include in each episode will be music created by folks involved in derby. If you have a band, a solo act, an electronic thing, or whatever, please do drop us a line with your songs that we can showcase on the podcast. If I get enough material, I may even include it in off-month mini-episodes.
As always, we hope this project provides something of value to you/the derby world, and we’re here for your ideas, critiques (with love), offers of help, and so forth. We are but two humans and there’s only so much we can do!
Expect full-length episodes every other month on the last Monday of the month, and probably a mini-episode on the off-months as well.
Also, Hammy Abby has a tumblr you want to watch.