By Beat-her Pan
A few weeks ago, five brave souls from the SFVRD Wipe Outs volunteered to fill-in for some missing players in a banked-track bout in San Diego. We would be playing with the North County Derby Alliance (NCDA) against the Sparks, part of the San Diego Derby Dolls. Just a reminder, both SFVRD and NCDA are flat-track based leagues. Most of the ladies of SFV—Stockholm Syndi, Derp, Agony Christie, Pink A Sassin, and myself (Beat-her Pan) —had never even set foot on a banked-track, let alone skated in a scrimmage or a bout (except Pink A Sassin, who had first trained with LA Derby Dolls before entering SFVRD). We figured, “It will be just like flat-track except…kind of sideways….right?” But we soon discovered the challenges ahead of us.
The LA Derby Dolls were kind enough to let us practice at Derby Por Vida, a beginner level practice. First challenge: how do we get on the track? After finally scrambling our way up, we started getting used to the curves and slopes of the track. After a myriad of falls and “bug-like” slides down to the middle of the track, it was time to face a whole other beast: stopping. But after a few more falls and some death defying plow stops from the top to the bottom of the track, we felt more comfortable. And after a short brief of the rules from Stefcon of the LA Derby Dolls, it was time for our bout!
Saturday came and it was our turn to get on the track. Stockholm was awesome enough to make us shirts with our name and numbers with "and Friends" printed on the front (since our team for the day was NCDA and friends). We reminded ourselves of the biggest difference in rules for banked-track—don’t stop moving forward or you get a penalty, don’t go clockwise around the track or you get a penalty, penalties are served during the next jam, jams are only one minute, the lead jammer can switch in the jam, and pivots line up in a separate lane in front of the rest of the pack—and then the bout began!
The first few jams for each of us were a bit…chaotic…but after awhile, we kind of got the hang of it. Constantly moving forward and not skating clockwise on the track was one of the tougher challenges for us (besides staying on our feet), but we all felt improved in these areas by the end of the bout. Yes, the other team beat us—by a lot—but we felt we had skated our best and accomplished a lot by simply setting foot on the banked-track and improving throughout the practices and the game. Though we were all TERRIFIED about the craziness that we had gotten ourselves into, I don’t think any of us regret our decision to give it a try and the experiences and FUN we had on the banked-track.