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Boston Roller Derby teams celebrate season of success, teamwork

The 2015 season was a powerful and transformative one for Boston Roller Derby, and the coaches and captain of the teams could not be more proud of the success they’ve seen this past year.

The all-star travel team, Boston Massacre, finished the season with a 10-5 record. They placed fifth at their playoff tournament in Omaha this fall, taking wins over Helsinki, No Coast and their first win in league history against Toronto. The strong showing there launched the team to 20th in the world on the WFTDA rankings. The 2014 season had ended with them at 25.

BRD’s home teams also had an exciting year as the teams grew and elevated the competition throughout the season, which ultimately culminated in the Cosmonaughties taking home their first championship win in the team’s ten-year history.

The Cosmonaughties celebrate their championship victory. Photo by Joe Medolo.

The Cosmonaughties celebrate their championship victory. Photo by Joe Medolo.

That triumph was Cosmo co-captain Nora Morse’s proudest moment of the season, though she said she has a lot to be proud of her team for.

That is just a piece of everything that was great about this season.” she said. “Every game we stayed focused on playing together and playing the way that we had trained. Every time we came off the track we had smiles and were complimenting each other on what we were doing well.”

The Cosmos took out the Wicked Pissahs in a close game for the Fez, but as Pissah co-captain Neurotic Tendency explained, the team still had plenty to be happy about this season.

One of our major goals this year was to play cohesively as a team,” she said. “We worked a lot on communication and building solid walls. We have a bunch of talent, and knew if we could play solidly as a team, we could improve our ranking from the last two seasons. Which we did!”

The Nutcrackers had a slow start to the season. Not only did the team draft the most skaters this spring, they also drafted the biggest crop of skaters who were brand new to derby. It was a season of growing and learning for the team, which paid off with time. After going 0-4 at the start of the year, the Nuts pulled out a victory for third place against the Horrors.

From day one of being drafted, the Nut vets took us rookies under their wings,” said Rebel Defiance, who joined the Nutcrackers in the spring draft. “Each week I had new challenges given to me personally and built upon each practice we had.”

This was a season of growth for BRD rookies, like Elektra Cute and Rachel Tensions of the Horrors, pictured above blocking Nutcracker jammer Peaches n’ Creamya . Photo by Joe Medolo.

This was a season of growth for BRD rookies, like Elektra Cute and Rachel Tensions of the Horrors, pictured above blocking Nutcracker jammer Peaches n’ Creamya . Photo by Joe Medolo.

Though the Horrors, defending champions from the last two seasons, placed fourth this year, co-captain MC SlamHer is excited with what her team has accomplished.

Despite our final ranking, we improved a lot this year and got our newer players some valuable experience. Their growth was really impressive,” she said. “We wanted to see a lot of growth from our new players and we totally did.”

Everyone in BRD is training hard in the offseason to come back even bigger and better for 2016, including the participants in our training camp for new skaters. Be sure to check out our website for updates on our schedule and to get discounted tickets for our home games, or sign up for our newsletter.

Cosmonaughties take home historic first win in home team championships

It was a commanding season for the Cosmonaughties this year, as the Boston Roller Derby home team finally clinched its long-awaited Golden Fez victory.

The 2015 Cosmos pose with the Golden Fez after their championship win against the Pissahs. Photo by Joe Medolo.

The 2015 Cosmos pose with the Golden Fez after their championship win against the Pissahs. Photo by Joe Medolo.

The team went undefeated all season to secure a win over the Wicked Pissahs in the final game of the year. After a decade in the league, it was the first championship win for the team, and a moment that co-captain Nora Morse said they have been working hard for.

“We were focused on being dynamic and being able to snap together,” she explained. “We trained with drills that made us go from being spread apart to being a wall. We had a few team goals for the entire season: calm, communication, and fun.”

It was this collection of goals that helped the Cosmos stay together as a team and to develop the connections they needed to play together, she said. For them, playing well wasn’t about watching the score. It was about being in the moment and skating the way they knew how to.

“As a team, the Cosmos were focused on enjoying every minute playing together on the track, talking as much as possible and being dynamic in our walls and game play,” Nora said. “At Champs, you could seeing the smiles as people came off the track and how positive everyone was on the track. We played our game and didn’t let ourselves get caught up in the score or penalties. It was awesome.”

The Cosmos spent the season working on their walls and staying together, which made them a formidable presence on the track. Photo by Joe Medolo.

The Cosmos spent the season working on their walls and staying together, which made them a formidable presence on the track. Photo by Joe Medolo.

Nora said that for her, the best part of leading the team is being able to ask her skaters questions and leading them to collective answers. Moments like that, she said, where she can see little improvements in how people are performing and recognizing when things come together for them are her favorite parts of the job.

“BRD is such a big league with a lot to offer,” she said. The many ways that skaters can get together and grow as individuals and as teammates are what create victories like the Cosmos had this year.

Skaters returning next season: Bad Ass Mama, Brutyl Lithium, Coopa Troopa, Dirty Water, HardCore, Jackie K.O., Killary Clinton, Mobile Chernobyl, Nora Morse, Nora Nova, Serve Her Down, Slam Chowdah, Tears for Phearsome

Skaters who retired in 2015: Artoo Detoonate, Celia Casket, Elle L. Cool Jam, Go Go Gidget, Shayna Nestor*, Space Invader*, Tiny Dancer

*still skating with BRD

 

Wicked Pissahs take second at home team champs, relish in team camaraderie

The Wicked Pissahs are thrilled with what they accomplished this year, finishing the 2015 home team season in second place, up from third in the two seasons before. What’s more, co-captain Neurotic Tendency said, was the attitude and enjoyment that was built into every aspect of the team dynamic.

The 2015 Wicked Pissahs. Photo by Joe Medolo.

The 2015 Wicked Pissahs. Photo by Joe Medolo.

The Wicked Pissahs are thrilled with what they accomplished this year, finishing the 2015 home team season in second place, up from third in the two seasons before. What’s more, co-captain Neurotic Tendency said, was the attitude and enjoyment that was built into every aspect of the team dynamic.

“One of our major goals this year was to play cohesively as a team,” she said. “We worked a lot on communication and building solid walls. We have a bunch of talent, and knew if we could play solidly as a team, we could improve our ranking from the last two seasons. Which we did!”

The team means a lot to the skaters who are on it, Neurotic explained, and said that for her as a captain and a coach, it’s that love and camaraderie that exemplifies what the roller derby community is all about.

“There isn’t one proudest moment as coach for me; it’s all the little moments that I look back on that make me proud. The times when we were de-gearing or having a post-practice meal and someone would say, ‘what a great practice!’, the times when you could see someone take your advice and try it, and their face looked like a light-bulb going off. But mostly the times people would stop me, look in my eyes and say, ‘I love being a Pissah!’”

Neurotic also said that for her, watching her team grow and seeing the way the skaters evolved to work together or to see the advanced skaters helping the new ones reach their personal goals is especially powerful to her.

“We had a really good vibe at the end of the season, our experienced skaters were working really hard with our less experienced skaters so the whole team could grow together,” she said, adding that she doesn’t want to take credit for anyone’s growth.

“That is a lot of their own hard work,” she said, emphasizing that while experienced skaters and a supportive environment gave new skaters the tools to grow, it was their own efforts that made it happen.

For Neurotic, one of the most prominent moments for that came during the playoff game against the Horrors, who had beaten the Pissahs earlier in the season.

“That Horrors game was amazing,” she said. “We played together, didn’t lose focus and managed to pull out the win in a very competitive game. There’s a photo from the last jam when everyone on the bench is standing in solidarity, embracing each other. Moments like that are why we do derby in the first place, and why we love this team.”

The Pissahs watch the final jams of their playoff bout together, a moment that co-captain Neurotic Tendency said showed the solidarity that makes her love her team. Photo by Joe Medolo.

The Pissahs watch the final jams of their playoff bout together, a moment that co-captain Neurotic Tendency said showed the solidarity that makes her love her team. Photo by Joe Medolo.

Neurotic will captain the team again next season, alongside mid-season draft Aubrey Planitz who came in and took on a guiding role for the newer skaters in 2015. Neurotic said that their goals for next year will be much of the same as she worked on with co-captain Evabyn Slapt this past season.

“I hope we can pick up where we left off right away,” she said. “It was great seeing people be challenged and really grow. “

Skaters returning next season: Amy Rock, Aubrey Planitz, Chicana Bruzya, Culta Skaro, Evabyn Slapt, Flighty Aphrodite, Lily Hargis, Miss Mary Smack, Neurotic Tendency, Paula Fierce, Pax-a-Punch, Shelby Brusin’, Stevie Nixher, Sweet Enemy

Skaters who retired in 2015: Bloodbath Bettie, Lisa Lionheart, Slim Hurt’n*, Tara Dactyl, The Gun Show, Truant

*still skating with BRD

 

Nutcrackers pull off decisive late victory in a season of growth and potential

With six new draftees at the start of the 2015, four of whom were rookies, the Nutcrackers knew it would be a season of development and nurturing the potential of new skaters.

The 2015 Nutcrackers. Photo by Joe Medolo.

The 2015 Nutcrackers. Photo by Joe Medolo.

“This season the Nuts had so many new skaters,” co-captain Mandoline Slicer said. “Our primary goals were to learn how to play as a team and to encourage and support each other through this time of growth.”

It may have seemed like a slow start to the year for the Nuts after going 0-3 during the regular season, but behind the scenes they knew that they were getting stronger and learning how to play together as a team. Each practice was an opportunity for growth for their new skaters, and the time the team spent together on the track helped them to evolve into a cohesive unit.

“We’ve been working our little nutty tails off,” Slicer said.

It was hard work that finally paid off in the last game of the season. The Nuts faced off against the Horrors in the third place game during the championship, and for much of the first half the score was very back-and-forth between the two teams. By the end of the game, however, the Nuts had secured a strong lead and took home a long-awaited victory.

The Nutcrackers celebrate their first win of the season. Photo by Joe Medolo.

The Nutcrackers celebrate their first win of the season. Photo by Joe Medolo.

The season wasn’t just about the bouts, however. The Nuts like to work hard and play hard, and off the track support and togetherness was just as much a part of their growth as their drills and practices were.

“Our time together, both on and off the track, was full of laughter and smiles,” Slicer said. The team’s motto for the season “#igotyourback” was all the motivation they needed to learn to work together and develop into a force to be reckoned with on the track.

 

Horrors undergo rebrand, celebrate strength and teamwork in 2015 season

In a close season of challenging victories and hard fought losses, the Horrors have a lot of accomplishments to be proud of.

The 2015 Horrors. Photo by Joe Medolo

The 2015 Horrors. Photo by Joe Medolo

“This team is incredibly hard working and so much fun to be part of,” said co-captain MC SlamHer. “We place a great deal of importance on fitness and working our hardest at every practice and scrimmage.”

That effort often paid off this year, with strong wins against the Wicked Pissahs and the Nutcrackers earlier in the season. Even games lost had moments of greatness for the Horrors, who value the importance of their growth and teamwork above any of their scores.

“I can’t pick a favorite game of the season,” SlamHer said. “All of our home team opponents bring a lot of intensity to the track and each one is a challenge for us. We can play our game, and then all enjoy the after party together. It’s pretty great.”

SlamHer, who is also the head of coaching for Boston Roller Derby, said that for her, the best part of the season revolves around the moments when the team is together celebrating its skaters, citing the end-of-season party where they all gather to celebrate their individual and collective goals of the season.

“I love my teammates,” she said. “I love how players can always push themselves to learn something new or get better at something they have been doing for years. I love how I have met and become friends with some of the greatest, most badass athletes. I love being part of teams that work so hard together to be successful at both the athletic and the business aspects of the sport.”

She said that for the Horrors, the team’s biggest goals were to just work hard, improve a lot and to have fun. She is confident that her team achieved all of those goals this year.

“We wanted to see a lot of growth from our new players, and we totally did,” she explained.

Horrors co-captain MC SlamHer lines up against Womanimal during their final game of the season. Photo by Joe Medolo.

Horrors co-captain MC SlamHer lines up against Womanimal during their final game of the season. Photo by Joe Medolo.

That goal isn’t going to change for next season. The team is constantly striving to be the best skaters that they can be, and when they find ways to improve, that’s a victory their coach is proud of.

What will be changing for the team next year is the name. Originally named the Arkham Horrors, the team once played with a theme of early 20th century horror in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft is a famed writer in the horror and sci-fi genre who drew inspiration from Massachusetts locations, but the team discovered after choosing this name that the author had racial worldviews that are directly in contrast with the values of the Horrors and of BRD. The team has moved to strike any reference to the writer from their team, and will be rebranding as a new kind of Horror for 2016.

Skaters returning next season: America Ferocious, Beantown Brawler, Boston CreamHer, Della Kinetic, Dolly Spartan, Elektra Cute, Feowulf, Five Penny, Flyin’ King, Fuzzta Rhymes, Hook, Kacie Mclean, MC Slamher, Tiger Eye, Trauma in the D.R., Wednesday Atoms, Rachel Tensions, Rainbow Crash, The Kat’s PaJAMas

Skaters who retired in 2015: Catherine the Irate


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