2015 Year in Review

Flood Water Roller Derby of Roseville, CA has had a busy year. We hosted three double-header bouts in Woodland in partnership with Woodland Area Roller Derby (WARD). Though we lost to Red Bluff Roller Derby (RBRD) in Woodland, we went back to defeat them on their home turf in FWRD’s final bout of the season. Over the year, dedicated to giving, FWRD (a 501c3 nonprofit corporation) raised money for three local nonprofits: the Placer County SPCA; the Dry Creek Conservancy; and two branches of BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse). We have also been actively recruiting new members and have watched our team grow. We are still and always looking for new skaters, referees and volunteers, so if you want to be a part of roller derby, don’t be shy! As our season winds down, The Flood continues to practice at the Placer County Fairgrounds. Exciting changes are in the works for Flood Water, including a new home bout facility right here in Roseville. Stay tuned to find out. 

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Flood warning at the Johnson Springview Park in Rocklin

The ladies of the Flood are putting the final touches on months of preparation for their first home bout. Two years after they were formed in June 2012 at the Johnson Springview park in Rocklin, they are finally making a formal debut to their community in the very spot where it all began.

What does it take to host a home roller derby bout? Perhaps more than you’d expect. Tape and rope are a benchmark of roller derby, used to outline the track, and are a surprising large expenses. Because FWRD is bouting on blacktop, an unconventional skating surface, the usual tapes could not be used. This sent Bad Astral (CEO of Flood Water) out to lay and skate upon test patch of track, in order to make sure the track won’t peel up during play.

Uniforms had to be ordered and adorned with custom vinyl. These were done expertly and beautifully by TLKelly Graphics, a derby owned and operated business and long time partner with FWRD.

Just because Rocklin is a nice neighborhood and the park is a place where children play, doesn’t mean jerks won’t come almost every night and break glass on the track. This inspired the derby league to invest in some brooms, because you just can’t skate on glass.

How can you get sound out to a hockey rink hundreds of yards away from outlets? Extra long extension cords could work, or you could invite a mobile DJ with his own generator. The much loved DJ Merv, long time friend of FWRD came to the rescue.

FWRD will be raffling off a large basket full of valuable gifts, like a massage from their very own Lady Hades, and many others… all of which have been donated by individuals in the community. The Placer County Fairgrounds (The Flood’s indoor practice facility) donated 50 chairs to serve as benches for players at the event. In short, to put on a derby bout, it takes a lot of patience, organization, and community.

Roller derby training that matters

Why does FWRD have the best training program in the Greater Sacramento Area? The answer is simple: Shadow Soldier and Sac Killa. This brother sister duo (aka Richard and Rena Garcia) is the force behind skating skills within this league and leagues all over California. With a focus on form, precision and consistency they set skaters apart from the pack, except when it’s time to pack-it-up, that is.

Shadow Soldier has been continually perfecting her 8-week training program year after year. She began developing it in 2009 using WFTDA minimum skills as a spring board. Minimum skills is a guideline of the basic skills a skater must have to be considered safe on skates and doesn’t touch the kind of skills the average competitive derby girl must display on the track. Shadow’s program, which she calls Fast Track, is a bridge leading over this gap, a bridge that most leagues don’t have.

Throughout this 8-week program Shadow transforms new skaters into boutable  derby players. She breaks down each element a skater needs to successfully navigate a track during play and puts those elements into digestible sections.  Students graduating from her program aren’t just safe to skate, they have more confidence, are less prone to injury, and are better prepared than the average derby newbie for their first bout. As a result, Shadow has been requested and paid by several leagues to share her expertise, including Bakersfield Junior, Tri-Valley and Shasta derby teams.

Sac Killa was never very good on roller skates but he has always been a student of discipline. From youth into early adulthood he played hundreds of hours of baseball and later in life he taught martial arts where he learned to remain calm while being stern. In 2011 he was asked by his sister (Shadow Soldier) to coach her derby league (then the Sacred City Derby Girls). While under his tutelage they rose in rankings from 8th to 7th and then defended 7th. During this time, Killa took it upon himself to learn the rules and nuances of roller derby by studying hours of bout footage and reaching out to other coaches and players that could better advise him. With the team he kept precise attendance and participation records so that everyone knew where they stood. Now he is Flood Water’s coach and he practices the same principles with the added advantage of fully understanding the ever evolving sport of roller derby.

Is roller derby dangerous?

While it is often assumed that roller derby is dangerous, what with it being a contact sport, we of The Flood think it can be safely said that roller derby has no more potential for danger than any activity of daily life. For one thing, even though it is a rough sport where girls hit each other, we all wear pads and other protective gear in order to minimize risk. Along with helmets; mouth guards; and elbow, wrist and knee pads, derby skaters are trained in ways to take a fall properly and to deliver hits legally. In roller derby, special care is always taken to maintain skater safety. We want our skaters to be on the track for seasons to come. Yes, sometimes skaters get injured while on skates, but more often than not, skaters show up to practice with injuries that occurred elsewhere. In recent months our skaters have shown up to practice injured from exercising at the gym, from tripping on a street gutter, from tweaking their back or neck while sleeping, from minor to not-so-minor car accidents and for reasons they can’t even identify.  In derby we say that most injuries happen at the after party, where we cut loose and get rambunctious without our gear on. In short, life as a human where no protective gear is worn is far more dangerous than roller derby.