Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

2015 CDD Year in Review

Posted on: 1 Comment

It may seem a little late for a “Year in Review” type post, but as today is the first day of Charlottesville Derby Dames’ 2016 season, I think it is an appropriate time to reflect on last year while  looking forward to the upcoming season. 2015 was a great year for the Dames! Both teams, the All Stars and the Belmont Bruisers, had winning seasons and while they each lost some games, those were catalysts for working harder, adjusting strategies, and overall improving our game.


The All Stars started the season ranked #73 and ended ranked #34. They ended the season with a 12-6 record. 4 of those games were at CDD’s first ever post-season tournament, the 2015 D1 Playoffs in Jacksonville, FL. CDD went in as the 10 seed and, after winning their first game, finished as the #8 seed. The Belmont Bruisers also had a winning year going 7-3, with many of their opponents being the WFTDA charter team for their leagues.


While roller derby requires hard work and practices on the track, that is only part of the effort that goes into making us a successful league. In 2015 we had an estimated 109 meetings lasting for around 144 hours. To contrast that, there were about 364 practices totalling 936 hours. (That doesn’t include our Junior Derby program either! Those young Dames have just begun their derby journey, and thus far have had 22 practices for 44 hours, with 4 meetings totaling 6 hours. I’m so excited for them in this fresh stage of derby love!)


In 2015, 75 people tried Fresh Meat at CDD, and so far we have gained 12 new members from that number. We have one of the smaller population centers for leagues with a D1 WFTDA team, but we are still adding new members every year! (With Open Recruitment periods in February, May, August, and November, 2016 could be the year that you join!)


With the games already scheduled for both the All Stars and the Belmont Bruisers, it is shaping up to be another exciting season of roller derby for CDD! As always, 2016 will hold so many practices, scrimmages, FUNdraisers, volunteering opportunities, and of course social opportunities (both parties and meetings), and we are looking forward to every minute of it! Check out our schedule of events to make plans to come watch some great derby, support your local roller derby league at one of our awesome FUNdraisers, or to get more details about Fresh Meat Open Recruitment!


Oh, one last thing! Wherever you go and whatever you do, remember my most important rule: if you aren’t having fun, then you aren’t doing it right.


Derby love,

Maid Carrion and the Charlottesville Derby Dames


Roller Derby on the Screen

Posted on: 2 Comments

No, I will get up on my roller derby high-horse and say that Whip It is a bad movie. I will not say that the violence is too glorified, nor that the campy showmanship is too much, nor that the gratuitous bum-shots are inaccurate and distasteful. I will say that for a movie-going, show-watching, non-derbying civilian, the presence of derby on the movie/TV screen is lacking.

Of course, any fictional depiction is exactly that: fictional. However, a derby movie or show could stand to more often be dramatized and exaggerated in ways that would draw curious, non-derby-ers into the sport in a more down-to-earth way, instead of marginalizing viewers simply as awe-struck spectators. For example, I imagine it difficult for the average person to picture one’s self in a sport that ignores egregious penalties such as horribly intentional blows to the face, in favor of seeing a belly-shirted girl thrown to the ground in serious pain. In derby, “We are not strippers on skates” and we are also not WWE Smackdown. Though we love to strike awe into the hearts of our beloved fans, the presence of derby in the movies and TV has historically and currently proved a poor reflection of what we do. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

CSI New York - Jamalot 2005

CSI New York – Jamalot 2005

And so I present to you, the menu of items with which, even if exaggerated in true Hollywood style, someone out there might create the Remember the Titans or Million Dollar Baby of roller derby.

Phenomenally Awesome and Sisterly Relationships between Teams

During a bout, there is no mercy. Even, and especially, when scrimmaging among your own team. But hard hits make you strong and we do it to make each other better. CSI Miami, CSI New York, Bones, all feature the relationship between teams as the fuel for murder. Whip It comes close with the team bonding and the after party and their positive, playful rivalry. But, come watch a CDD bout and you’ll see an incredible hit that sends someone flying, followed by a hand up and pat on the butt.

CDD All Stars vs. Carolina Roller Girls 10/15/14 Photo Cred: Dan “Jugglenaut” Purdy

CDD All Stars vs. Carolina Roller Girls 10/15/14
Photo Cred: Dan “Jugglenaut” Purdy

You’ll see both teams form a protective wall around a downed player to give her privacy from the crow if someone is down or injured.

Psych is the only crime show to feature derby girls as a criminal team instead of sloppy, catty murderesses. (Spoiler alert: they’re thieves. Hey, equipment is expensive, I feel that.) However Psych misses the ball on a few other items on our list.

Variety of Characters

On the Derby Dames alone we have a full spectrum of characters, from our types of nicknames and uniform variation, to our playing styles, to our shapes and sizes. This variety gives us a range of strengths and a degree of unpredictability. The media tends to show teams as the cookie-cutter “derby-girl,” i.e. a general body type and physical make-up, and minimal variation in gameplay. No one stands out for any given movement or play, mostly because there are no visible plays. Watch one CDD bout, and you will see dynamic, intentional derby in action.

Pack Work and Game Play

Clip from Psyche

Clip from Psyche

This is a pack

CDD All Stars, Photo Cred: Dan “Jugglenaut” Purdy

On-screen derby demonstrates no visible strategy, no lateral movements, no speed control, no pack work, no active blocking in general. The interaction and 3-dimensional play between blockers and jammers is the true beauty of roller derby. CSI Miami’s episode does a pretty good job about accurate game play, but much of the action that occurs on screen is more reminiscent of 1970s derby which mostly consisted of jammers racing to get in front of a straight, single-file, pace-line that had minimal contact with one another, aside from glaringly fake penalties. Which brings us to . . .

Actual penalties!

The penalty system in roller derby is so complex that it is still being developed and tweaked to this day. But that is no reason to overlook the glaring penalties, particularly high blocks that appear all over the TV. In this scene, number 111 was just punched in the face by an opposing player, but received the penalty herself for punching a red, and was then sent to this . . . penalty box? In the middle of the track, and shaped like a carousel/gazebo? What the heck is that thing?

CSI New York

CSI New York

A punch to the face is not only a high block, but will probably lead to ejection from a bout. The hits you see in Whip It, etc. lack control and intention. They happen because the girls want to beat each other up, and not once does it appear that they are helping their jammer to get through a tight opposing wall. Not to mention in Whip It and others: where are the lines on the track?! This could definitely explain the ref’s inability to call penalties.

Whip It

Whip It

COOL- CDD Belmont Bruisers vs. Hard Knox Brawlers 07.2012

Petit Zombie legally blocking opposing jammer. Photo by Dan “Jugglenaut” Purdy


Finally and most importantly:

Contributions to society

Dames in the 2013 Charlottesville Holiday Parade

Dames in the 2013 Charlottesville Holiday Parade

Committee meetings, fundraisers, beneficiaries and community volunteer work keep our team stable and strong. It would be nice to glorify our 501c3 status and contributions to our community in a movie or show, as opposed to glorifying this:

Poster for the short-lived “Roller Derby the Musical,” portraying completely unnecessary awkwardness

Poster for the short-lived “Roller Derby the Musical,” portraying completely unnecessary awkwardness

There are plenty of great documentaries spanning from the late 1940’s to today that will give you an experience of the sport and culture of roller derby that is both intimate and comprehensive. There are stories that follow our history in the late 40’s to the 70’s, evolving from a group race into [basically] WWE on wheels. There are films that explore the dynamic among and within current teams as they work their way up the WFTDA rankings, and deal with the logistical challenges that we face, running semi-professional, non-profit organizations, and as the rules and standards of roller derby continue to develop and grow and play.

So, watch on my friends! Enjoy the available films and shows for pure entertainment value, and maybe one day you will see a tear-jerking, knee-slapping, gut-wrenching, soul-satisfying derby film but for now, I will end on this note:


with inspiration from:
Rae Elise the Kraken

Roller Derby A-B-Cs

This month, we thought it might be fun to come up with a glossary of derby terms that our friends and fans might be wondering about. These include both “official” words and phrases as well as some examples of derby slang (of which there is much!). This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it might just help you decode the strange words coming out of the mouth of the derby girl or guy in your life!

Bout: (n) A derby match played between two teams. Bouts consist of 2 30-minute periods. Each period consists of up-to-2 minute jams with a 30 second break between each. Jams may be ended early at the discretion of the lead Jammer. Each team has 3 1-minute time-outs per bout and officials may call as many official time-outs as necessary.

CDD and Rocktown lined up and ready to start the next Jam. Photo by Dan Purdy.

CDD and Rocktown lined up and ready to start the next Jam. Photo by Dan Purdy.

Jam: (n) Jam is the term used for the activity during a bout. Each team sends out 4 Blockers and a Jammer for each bout. The teams play until the Lead Jammer calls the jam off by tapping her hips with both hands or the jam ends after 2 minutes.

Jammer: (n) The designated point-scoring player. Each team fields one Jammer and four Blockers per jam. Jammers are distinguished from the other players by a panty worn on the helmet with a star on either side. Jammers must begin the jam behind the Jammer line. Once the whistle blows and they are released, Jammers make their way through the pack of blockers and complete laps around the track. After making an initial pass through the pack, Jammers will score for each opposing Blocker passed on subsequent laps.

Blocker: (n) All players who are not Jammer. Blockers must stay within the engagement zone to be able to engage with other players. Blockers usually work together to create both defensive strategies, such as holding back or knocking down an opposing Jammer, or offensive strategies, such as clearing opposing Blockers out of the way for their friendly Jammer.

Pivot: (n) A Blocker who is designated by wearing a helmet panty with a stripe of contrasting color down the center. The Pivot primarily plays according to the same rules as the other Blockers, but may assume the role of Jammer if the Jammer Panty is handed to her by the Jammer. When this occurs, there will be no Pivot and the Jammer will become a Blocker. The Pivot sometimes takes the role of captain or leader for the group of blockers in the jam, but does not necessarily have to.

Pack: (n) The pack is defined by the largest group of players within 10 feet of each other from both teams. The Jammer is not included in the pack definition. The definition of the pack is crucial to game play. Players may engage with each other within the pack and the surrounding engagement zone. A Jammer is declared Lead Jammer if she clears all opposing Blockers in the pack legally before the other Jammer does. A player who breaks up a pack by moving out of it, whether intentionally or not, has committed a Destruction-of-Pack penalty. When the pack is split, broken, or otherwise does not exist, no one on the track may block or hit another player.

Engagement zone: (n) The area 20 feet in front of or behind the pack. Players in this zone do not contribute to the definition of the pack, but may engage with other players within this area. If there is no pack there can be no engagement zone.

Where would we be without the zebras and NSOs? Photo by Dan Purdy.

Where would we be without the zebras and NSOs? Photo by Dan Purdy.

Bench coach: (n) A team coach during a bout. The Bench Coach helps the team devise strategy and gives feedback. Works with Bench Manager to determine who will play. The Bench Coach may be a player in the league, but may not play in the bout. The Bench Coach may also be a Captain or Alternate/Co-Captain.

Bench Manager: (n) The person who makes line-ups for each jam and determines who should be on the track at any given time. The Bench Manager and the Bench Coach work together to manage the team during the bout.

Fresh Meat: (n) Players new to derby are called “Fresh Meat” until they pass an initial skating skills test. Fresh Meat attend special Fresh Meat practices where basic skating techniques and an overview of game play is taught.

Zebra: (n) An official, so-called because of the typical black and white striped shirts.

NSO: (n) Non-Skating Official. NSOs are part of the officiating team. They keep track of penalties, the score, and the official clocks. Without NSOs keeping track of these details the game simply could not happen.

Boom shakes the room in the Jammer Panty. Photo by Dan Purdy.

Boom shakes the room in the Jammer Panty. Photo by Dan Purdy.

Panty: (n) A helmet cover used to differentiate the Jammer and the Pivot from the other players on the track. Panties are usually made of a stretchy material so that it may be easily secured to the helmet. A Pivot panty has a stripe of contrasting color down the center. A Jammer panty has a star of contrasting color on either side. Panties for each team must be easily distinguishable from each other.

WFTDA: (n) The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. The Dames are proud to be a member of the WFTDA, which includes more than 1,000 leagues. The WFTDA produces official rules for play, certifies officials, sanctions bouts, ranks teams, and runs tournaments.

Flat track: (n) An oval track laid out on a flat surface for roller derby. The most typical type of track on which modern roller derby is played.

Banked track: (n) An oval track built up as a banked surface, where the outermost edge is higher than the innermost edge, typical of the classic derby era of the 30s through the 70s.

Truck and Trailer: (n) A block undertaken by two players together. One takes a position to the front and is the “truck.” The player behind grabs onto her hips and pivots out from side to side behind her as the “trailer.” This allows the trailer more power and stability in hitting. The truck and trailer may also cover more lateral space on the track this way, increasing their combined blocking ability.

AlMighty crISIS and Spank Puncherella use the Truck and Trailer to hold back DC's Jammer. Photo by Dan Purdy.

AlMighty crISIS and Spank Puncherella use the Truck and Trailer to hold back DC’s Jammer. Photo by Dan Purdy.

Goat: (n) A term used by blockers to point out a skater from the opposing team who may be easy to hold back either because of their relative position on the track or skating ability. By holding back this player, or “goating” them, the blockers may be able to define the pack where they want it to be, therefore freeing up their Jammer by forcing the other opposing blockers into an out-of-play position.

Out of Play: (n) Being outside of the engagement zone. Hitting when out of play is a penalty.

Track Cut: (v) When players leave the track for any reason (hit out of bounds, fall out of bounds, etc.), they must return to the track behind any players who were parallel or ahead of them. If a player returns to the track ahead of a player who was ahead of or parallel to her when she went out, she has committed a Track Cut penalty.

Booty Block: (v) To block a player by getting in front of them and impeding their forward or lateral movement. So-named because the rear-end of the player is often crucial in executing this maneuver.

Stonewallup for the Booty Block! Photo by Dan Purdy

Stonewallup for the Booty Block! Photo by Dan Purdy

J-Block: (v) To block a player by getting slightly ahead of them in a crouch and then popping up into their chest with the shoulder.

Hammer and Nail: (n) A block executed by two players, wherein one player gets ahead of the opponent and either  traps them or booty blocks them along a line, while a teammate hits the player out of bounds.

Passive defense: (n) Any defensive strategy that does not include actively blocking or hitting. A typical example is when blockers from one team linger at the back of a pack and allow the opposing blockers to move ahead and break the pack, thereby allowing their own Jammer to pass through unimpeded.

Juking: (v) Any quick movement to dodge or fake out an opposing player. Juking usually involves jumping, running, moving side-to-side or other quick movements, often on the toe stops.

Derby wife: (n) A term adopted by many in the derby community to designate their best derby-friend. See our earlier blog post about Derby Wives!

Derby Name: (n) A name a player adopts within the derby community. The practice of taking on derby names began with the derby revival in Austin Texas in 2001. These names, and in fact entire theatrical personas, were taken on the players to heighten the entertainment value. The tradition has continued to today for most teams. Players usually choose their own derby names, which often include puns, to represent an interest, a character trait, or to be intimidating.

9 month injury: (n) Derby slang for a pregnancy, indicating that just like any other injury, the player will be back after 9 months…right?

Post by Grëtel vön Metäl

The Dames have a brand-new website!

Posted on: No Comments

The Dames are so excited to launch our slick new website! It’s been almost a year in the planning and making and we hope you love it as much as we do. Most of the content was updated or added to the old site last summer, so you can still come here to find out all about our team and how to get involved. Some new features we are rolling out include:



  • A Schedule of Events that includes both home and away bouts, Fresh Meat, and Dames’ events.
  • Expanded Player profiles.
  • A gallery featuring pictures from the whole history of our team, videos of the Dames in Action, and all of our bout posters (select “Photo,” “Video,” of “Bout Posters” from the drop-down list at the top of the page).
  • More blog posts written from the perspective of being a Dame will show up here in the coming months. Add us to your RSS feed to keep up to date.


Huge thanks go to fan, sponsor, and web-design guru Brian Rimel for helping us make our plans for derby domination via internets a reality!

Charlottesville Derby Dames are now members of the WFTDA!

Posted on: No Comments

WFTDALogoLGThe Charlottesville Derby Dames are proud to announce that they have been accepted as a member of the WFTDA, the international governing body for the sport of women’s flat track roller derby and a member organization for leagues to collaborate and network.

As a new member of the WFTDA, The Dames join the ranks of 173 all-female, skater owned and operated leagues worldwide that have united to lead the sport of women’s flat track roller derby. After successfully completing the WFTDA Apprentice Program, they can now enjoy the benefits of full WFTDA membership, which include a vote on WFTDA policies and rules, and eligibility for ranking and tournaments. The Dames will begin their WFTDA membership a Class C member in the East region.

Dames will roll in the Charlottesville Holiday Heritage Parade

Posted on: No Comments

–November 19, 2010

Check us out as we roll (on skates and with a float!) in the 2010 Charlottesville Holiday Heritage Parade on the Downtown Mall. The Dames will join marching bands, dancers and SANTA CLAUS! Think Santa will mind if we hip check him to show him some derby love?

The parade starts at 10am on the Downtown Mall. Please come out and give us a shout as we roll by.

For more information about the parade, visit:

Dames, Inside Out

Posted on: No Comments

–November 12, 2010

Charlottesville Inside-Out #401 from Community Idea Stations on Vimeo.

Put on your helmets, lace up your skates and roll along with the Charlottesville Derby Dames; then find out what Blue Star Families of Central Virginia is doing to support the troops and those who love them.

Many thanks to WHTJ and Terri Allard for having the Dames at the premiere party for the new season of Charlottesville Inside-Out! We had a blast!

If you missed the episode that featured the Dames, you can watch it here, courtesy of WHTJ!

Dames on Film!

Posted on: No Comments

–October 1, 2010

Watch the Premiere of “Charlottesville Inside Out” on WHTJ, featuring The Charlottesville Derby Dames.

Terri Allard, host of “Charlottesville Inside Out,” visited the Dames a few months ago to find out what roller derby is all about. We’ll be featured in the premiere episode of her show on November 11 at 8:30pm.

Check your local listings for channel WHTJ and tune in to see the Dames on film!

Visit for more information or to watch the show online (after it premieres).

A Huge Thank You to All Who Helped with Daylight Slayings

Posted on: No Comments

–November 3, 2009

There are so many people that the Dames want to thank for their help making Daylight Slayings a huge success. If we miss you, it’s not because we don’t appreciate you, because we are truly thankful for everyone who helped us get to this point!

Thanks to:

  • Northside Stranglers- Coach Groper Cleavage, and to the skaters, thank you so much for coming out and skating on our slippery floor! You are awesome and we love you all!
  • Our fresh meat that helped with everything, many coming in at noon and not leaving til it was all over! You all are awesome and we can’t wait until you’re on the rink with us!
  • The Referees and NSOs. We couldn’t have a bout without you and we’re so thankful for you all, many of whom traveled pretty far to come help us out.
  • Troch, coach of Rocktown Rollers, for loaning us their track and for all the moral support he’s offered!
  • Demolition Durga for making the drive from Richmond to co-announce.
  • Andy Waldeck for doing the lighting
  • Lea Calvani’s mom for manning the ticket booth!
  • Jasper, Isaac and Mad Mountin’ Mama’s sister, Jennifer Molinary, for helping with moving things whenever asked all day and all night!
  • Our Sponsors:

    • Ben Around Tattoo-X-Lounge
    • Black Cat Skate Shop
    • Blue Moon Diner
    • Jason Lappa Photography
  • Our Donors:

    • Circa
    • Qdoba
    • Para Coffee
    • Sticks Kabob Shop
    • Mona Lisa Pasta
    • Derriere de Soie
    • AMF
    • Cardinal Point
    • Revolutionary Soup
    • Beer Run
    • Ayako Breitenbach
    • Christina Molinary In Memory of David Anderson
  • The wonderful staff at Augusta ExpoLand for letting us rent their space and being so accommodating.
  • The Dames! We all worked so hard organizing this and it was amazing to look out and see such a huge crowd and fans who’d never experienced derby before cheering for us. It’s been a long time coming, but it was worth it! Good job, team!
  • Our friends and families who have not only helped us, but put up with listening to us talk about derby all the time and understand when we have practices and meetings all the time! Thank you for your support!

Thanks also to our local media outlets for covering our event, including some great videos. You gotta love technology baby!

The Charlottesville Newsplex: Derby Dames Make Home Debut

NBC 29: Charlottesville’s Derby Dames A Great Hit