Countdown to the Cup
The countdown to the WFTDA North America East Continental Cup is on! Catch up with skaters and coaches from the OHRD All Stars to find out how they’re preparing, what they loved most about the regular season, and their secrets to making magic happen on the track.
OHRD took a summer break after the last home game in June. How did you spend it?
Betty T. KayO: Ugh, that feels like so long ago.
Elektra Magneto: There was a break? I read at least 6 books by the pool, kept up/progressed with exercise, and did derby work.
Vyles: I took a fairly disastrous trip to Spain, my dad needed to have some very serious surgery, and I had to move! Let’s just say I am ready for some roller derby.
Kelsey Khaos: Mostly sleeping on practice nights, and enjoying some down time. The second week I started preparing my life for more intense training leading up the cup.
Catch Mikachu: I spent my break training for my Ironman, playing rugby 7s, and getting back into my firefighting workout regimen.
Amy Spears: Doing DIY projects around my house (I painted the trim on 23 windows!!!) and catching back up with aerial silks/trapeze classes.
Birch Slap: Swimming. Traveling to Cincinnati, Chicago, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Visited a cool, weird place called The House on the Rock. Spent time with friends and family. Skating at the rink and doing off-skates. Working on some art projects.
KloverKill: I played so many hours of video games. Like, so many. I also started weight lifting and running more consistently to get ready for the Cup.
Burnadeath: Trail skating and kickin’ it with my peeps.
Chainsaw: Girl Scouting, gardening, hiking, biking, skating, reading, and being nearly naked the whole time.
Lara Del Rage: Feeding love and attention into my garden and other creative hobbies. Oh, and tending to a knee injury from our last home game. Ope.
What were some of your goals going into this year?
Rage: Oh boy, my goals have changed and taken off in so many different directions this year, from physical fitness achievements to mental toughness, being a good captain for Gang Green, and stepping up and being a fellow blocker for the All Stars. I’m not sure that I’ve actually met any of my original goals, but I feel very accomplished this season.
Mikachu: My goal was to have fun playing derby and do my best to help with the team’s overall goals.
Elektra: Not mess it up…but stay calm and try to be a positive force on the bench, even when we’re losing.
Betty: Maintaining a good balance and staying present.
Vyles: I really wanted to focus on continually improving my fitness and getting my level of play up to where it should be. Managing my expectations has been huge as well. This is my first year playing in the main rotation for CT and I feel like I have to work extra hard just to prove to myself that I am capable of keeping up.
Kelsey: To be a more solid and consistent blocker. I have a lot of good moments, but I also have a lot of noticeably bad moments – so my goal was to work on being more consistent and have more good than bad moments.
Amy: Have a winning season, get a cup invite, improve our rankings average.
Jane, Literally: My sole goal this year was to make a charter roster. At the end of last season I was asked to practice with CT, so being on the 20-person charter this year seemed possible. But we have a lot of talented athletes, and cracking into that 15-skater roster was something I knew would be tough.
Burna: To facilitate a calm, supportive CT bench.
Klover: Not break anything or have an inexcusable vocal explosion on the track.
Chainsaw: My doctor gave me a referral to a sports psychologist, in order to prepare me for not being able to play at the level I was at before my 360 spinal fusion. I did not make the appointment because I never believed for a second* that I would not be able to get back to where I was. My goal was to play as well as I did before so I would not look like an ass for brushing off her referral. LOLOL
*I had a seed of doubt for a half second, though. Immediately after the appointment where she gave me the referral, I texted Rigg about it and she said, “SHE DON’T KNOW YOU!” And I thought, “THAT’S RIGHT! I CAN DO ANYTHING. IT’S BRITNEY, B****!”
Ohio had a jam-packed 2019 season. Tell us about a favorite moment, game, or opponent.
Amy: It’s funny because it didn’t necessarily *feel* jam-packed until it was over. Two major high points were the tourneys CT went to. Having a 3-win weekend at Put Up Your Toques felt like vindication for our short-rostered weekend last year at Royal Brawl, and having a 3-win weekend during our return to BrewHaHa was really a huge accomplishment for us. Also, Rage City were so fun to play, and they are a force to be reckoned with!
Birch: Winning all three games in both tournaments was awesome.
Chainsaw: Toques was amazing: great tournament organization, puppies to snuzzle, new opponents to play. Sweeping 2 tournaments was also pretty great.
Mikachu: My favorite opponent was playing Royal City in Canada. One of my best friends from Angel City transferred [to them] and it was crazy that our new teams could battle it out. We wagered buying a massage for the winner.
Elektra: Probably the Royal City game. For the whole first half I was looking at the wrong side of the scoreboard and thought we were losing. It was a really pleasant surprise to realize that was not the case. As a team we really came together that game and had fun doing it.
Jane: Sometimes these games can be intimidating, especially when you haven’t been on that stage with that kind of pressure before. We were at the tournament in Canada, and we were about to warm up. I had missed the Friday game due to work, and I also hadn’t ever been rostered for a CT game before, so I was coming in Saturday feeling a little out of place. BrussKnuckles saw me looking lost [during warmups] with no clue what we do and no partner to do it with. She pulled me aside for a pep talk before proceeding to be my partner. It was a really meaningful moment. She’s a good egg.
Kelsey: Going to Canada was a super and positive experience for us as a team.
Betty: This was my first year with Ohio to go to a tournament (Toques) and win all of our games, & then we did it again at Brew!
Klover: I really enjoyed playing Rage City and Toronto. We got to play both at Brew, which was a fun, action-packed weekend.
Vyles: There were a ton of great moments (both wins over Toronto and our comeback against Rage City spring to mind), but I don’t think anything filled our whole bench with such joy and elation as when Bigg Rigg nailed that tap out move while jamming.
Burna: Three sweet wins at Brew. Also when Rigg stopped Betty from being annihilated by a chair.
Rage: I’d have to say that one of my favorite moments was when I successfully gave Belle A. Trix a shirt whip in our B team’s game against Gem City’s Violet Femmes. For me, that moment stands out not only because it’s a flashy thing to do and it was hella badass, but because I’m a sap and am really happy with the way my chemistry with Trix has developed this season.
What are you most looking forward to about the North America East Continental Cup?
Amy: After a 3-week break it feels like I haven’t played roller derby in FOREVER, so that’s the biggest thing. And seeing all my WFTDA friends.
Vyles: Tournaments are always a blast. Just being surrounded by the derby-verse for three days away from the real world is very cathartic. I always look forward to sitting and watching hours of great derby with my teammates as well as the inevitable hotel room shenanigans. I’m also super interested in how Chainsaw is going to find a way to adhere to the dress code.
Mikachu: I’m looking forward to seeing and participating in some good derby.
Jane: I like getting away from “real life” for a bit, and fully immersing myself in time with the team. Oh, and having games my family can stream!
Kelsey: Traveling somewhere new.
Birch: Exploring a new part of the country, getting to watch and play with new teams, and spending time with my dreammates.
Burna: W’s and crop tops.
Betty: Let’s play a game, one lie & one truth. Ready?
Skating & exploring Amish country.
For real, though, I’m most excited about the season not being over just yet and being able to continue to skate and grow with my teammates.
Klover: A good soft pretzel with cheese. I already know it’s not gonna be like Dallas Playoffs soft pretzel cheese, but one can only hope.
Rage: This year is my first year skating with our charter team, and this will be my first time going to the Cup. I’ll just be happy to be there and take the track with my teammates.
Elektra: There had better be an NA East cat…
How are you personally preparing?
Elektra: Mostly trying to help the team prepare. Watching footage and trying to give tips/suggestions that are reasonable to implement in a month. Trying to deliver feedback in a kind way.
Burna: Whenever I see people in groups, I practice sending them to the track. Also, mindfulness apps.
Betty: Taking care of myself both mentally and physically. Eating all the calories. Devising a fall out plan in the case midriff madness gets too prudent.
Rage: Resting the ole knee, self-prescribed PT, and mindfulness. Drinking water, getting back into a well-balanced routine and self-care. This whole season has been “go, go, go!” and hectic which has made quite the challenge for time management. Getting my mind right and body unwound has been just what I needed.
Vyles: I’m continuing to do what has been working (ish?) for me all season. I powerlift 3x a week and do cardio-strength circuit training 3-4x a week on top of skating practices. I’m also trying to hyper-focus on hydration and I’m working on the whole “sleep” thing. I’ve been drinking a lot of beet powder, too, because why not?
Chainsaw: Same old, same old: tape is on 24/7 and I keep a list of micro-goals for myself and for running practice.
Mikachu: I’m just hoping all my other activities gives me an edge, but I will start mentally preparing now that practices are resuming.
Amy: Watching tape and getting some extra workouts in with the aerial classes (nothing improves my bracing strength like trapeze!).
Kelsey: I’ve been overall watching more tape that I usually do (and I watch A LOT of tape). Basically doing everything I can to mentally prepare myself for any situation so I can help my team as much as possible.
Klover: Keeping a food diary and working out 5 to 6 days a week with “running” and lifting things.
Birch: Off-skates workouts that focus on strength and endurance. Working on mental endurance and positivity/having fun. Derby practice. Tape watching.
Jane: Trying this thing called “working out.” So far, I don’t like it. 0/10, would not recommend.
What’s your secret to success?
Jane: I will let you know once I experience it.
Mikachu: Good fitness.
Elektra: Nature/nurture and privilege.
Vyles: If you can make your teammates laugh on a regular basis, they’ll keep you around.
Kelsey: The pre-workout I steal from Trix.
Klover: Knowing that Chainsaw will hunt me down if I don’t show up.
Burna: My special sauce and shining personality.
Chainsaw: Like John Wick, I’m a man of focus, commitment, and sheer will.
Betty: Meh, success is subjective. No secrets…I just skate, challenge myself, and have fun with it!
Rage: REST. This year has taught me a lot of things and the greatest lesson has been energy management. In the words of Courtney Barnett, “nobody really cares if you don’t go to the party”. After party, that is.
Amy: Have fun, and trust your teammates.
We already know that Ohio will face off against Madison Roller Derby. What other team(s) would you love to play at the Cup, given the opportunity?
Mikachu: I haven’t checked the list of teams, but I’d be happy to play any of them! Most excited to play any teams I’ve never personally played before.
Elektra: Probably Boston because I love the “pinch pinch pinch”.
Vyles: We’re actually pretty familiar with most of the teams in the Cup and play most of them fairly regularly. It would be neat to take on Sailor City (Buenos Aires, Argentina) as I don’t believe OHRD has played a South American team before! Ohio also has a great friendship with Tri-City and we haven’t had a chance to play them this season, so that would be fun.
As far as who I don’t want to play? I LOVE Toronto but twice in one season is enough! I just want to be their fan for the weekend.
Rage: We’ve played Toronto twice already this year, but they are really lovely and a lot of fun as an opponent. I think it’d be great to face off one last time this year. Plus, the only chance of us playing again would be for 1st place. Gotta manifest that gold!
Amy: Madison was the team I was sad we hadn’t gotten to play yet this year in the regular season, so I’m thrilled they are our first matchup. It’s been a while since we’ve played them and they are always great opponents. It would also be great to play Sailor City because they’re the only team at the tourney who we’ve never played. I think the way the bracket is set up, that could only happen in the championship game.
Kelsey: I’m really just always excited to play new teams and gain that experience.
Chainsaw: My NAE Cup dream opponent is Sailor City. GIMME DAT LATIN AMERICAN DERBY *HEART EYES*.
Klover: I really don’t know. I just go where I’m told.
Sum up the 2019 season in ten words or less.
Elektra: Success and fun while still working hard.
Birch: Persistent, small but mighty, exciting, close games.
Jane: My teammates make me better on and off the track.
Mikachu: One of the best derby seasons ever.
Rage: Most games played in the entire history of roller derby.
Betty: We skated a lot and I still kinda like y’all.
Amy: Relaxed, focused, successful fun.
Chainsaw: I don’t know, I’m just happy to be here.
Vyles: Somebody Once Told Me The World Is Gonna Roll Me –
Photos courtesy of Chris Baker, Ed Schmidt Photography, and Jammer Line.