Haters Gonna Hate

The first time I left a league, it was bittersweet. When you start out as fresh meat, it’s not that unlike falling into a deep teenage love. You shout to the world that you’re a derby girl. You draw hearts and rainbows and skates on every sheet of notebook paper. You write your derby name you’ve picked out in several ways until you find the one that you love best.

Punk in Drublic.

Punkin Drublic.

Ms. Drublic if you’re nasty.

 

Punk N. Drublic.

You pass your skills test and are drafted to a home team. The loss of virginity has happened, and you can’t see yourself loving anyone else than this team for as long as you live. You will skate forever, and you will always, always, see this group of girls as your home. You belong here.

And then the rose-colored glasses are crushed.

You see the cliques. You smell the drama thick in the air, like your wrist guards that have spent too many nights shoved deep in your skates after practice. People you think are your teammates lie to your face. Girls move away, girls quit because of injury, girls quit because of burnout. You get tired of the 80/20 rule, where 20% of the people do 80% of the work. You get tired of being sneered at because you’re one of the 20%. You get tired of feeling like you’re more and more alone as the league gets larger and larger. Sometimes you make your bed, and sometimes you’re just an innocent bystander.

The first time I left a league, I was scared. A few of my leaguemates had made a mass exodus and went on to start another league. And as more and more of those girls that I looked up to for so long left, the more drama stirred up at the league I was a part of. Rumors were going around. Shit was being talked that I knew wasn’t true. The mentality “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” was oozing out of every single girl as we all waited with bated breath to see who would be the next to turn.
When my time was up I knew what would happen. I let my team know at a dinner we were having that I was leaving because of injury. It was true, and I had actually been off my skates for a little while because of a herniated disk. It probably came as no surprise. But I added that I was planning on coming back to the track after I had surgery, however I would be coming back to skate with the other league.

“I know I only have a few more years on my skates left, and I want to skate where it matters,” I remember saying. Where it mattered. As in the fact that I didn’t want to be a big fish in a little pond. As in that I knew that if I surrounded myself with girls that were better skaters that I would become a better skater, too. I wanted to skate where derby was more than just a hobby for the majority of the girls.

That was the last night I spoke to several of those people. My good-bye post to the team filled with encouragement and support felt more like a suicide note, and as soon as I had posted it to the team Facebook group I was removed from it. Over time I’ve noticed how many of my former leaguemates have un-friended me, the ultimate social media bitch slap. I went to one of their practices for a little extra on-skates time about 3 months ago. Girls wouldn’t even look at me. Girls I never had a single problem with in the world. Girls I was under the impression that I was friends with. Girls that still showed up for our season opener and ate the free food at our after party. I didn’t realize just how many people I would lose as friends/’friends’ just because I tried to make the best decision for me. If you’re not with us, you’re against us. But I wouldn’t have done anything differently, because skating with Orlando Area Derby Revolution was the year that I really grew as a skater and I’m forever grateful.

Now that OADR has disbanded, I’ve made yet another huge jump in my derby career. I’ve been skating with the WFTDA league Tampa Roller Derby.  It was a heartbreaking decision at first, but I’m also excited to see where things take me. People think I’m crazy because I’m making the 75 minute commute to Tampa. I don’t. Every time I step onto the track and see that 3 of the 4 blockers are Trantrums and the other blocker and jammer are on the Bruise Crew I know that I’m going to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I’m starting to live for that adrenaline rush.

So wish me luck! And since I’m not quite sure what kind of a recipe could possibly follow this, I’ll just leave you with this:

winning

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DerbyGirlsEat – Blaque Jac Edition

In case you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, Florida roller derby is not to be messed with. Packed in our state we have no less than 6 WFTDA leagues: Jacksonville, Gainesville, Tallahassee, Gold Coast, Tampa and Fort Myers. A few more leagues have been added to the WFTDA Apprentice program, and there are several more local leagues all over the state. We’ve got no less than 85 women coming to try out for Team Florida for the upcoming State Wars tournament this Sunday. Yours truly will be there, though I have no expectations of making the final roster. When you’re trying out against the likes of Little A (former Team USA skater) and Ms. Jax’em (world champion speed skater) you tend to just be happy if you can show up and maybe make a block or two.

However, the best part about Team Florida is not the amount of concentrated skating talent that we have, but rather the support that we all have for the leagues. When someone posts an open scrimmage, you’d better sign up fast because those slots are going quick. When you go to a game, you’ll see at least 3 other leagues coming to show love to the 2 teams playing. Tampa is playing Jacksonville on Saturday, and it’s blowing everyone’s mind. It’s like trying to pick one bestie over another; you can’t really predict who will win even if you wanted to.

So in the spirit of showing some love to Team Florida, I’m starting out a new spin I’m putting on DerbyGirlEats by featuring some recognizable names in the derby community from right here in the Sunshine State! My first interview is with the most feared booty on the west coast of Florida. I think my favorite moment watching this girl skate was during Franky Panky 2013 when she gave a slay ride to Antidote of the Philly Roller Girls on turn 3. It was like seeing that clip of Beyonslay and Rice Rocket for the first time, but in real life and at eye level. Gorgeous.

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And, of course, who can hate on those dance moves? Bitches be stealing that shit. The first time I saw Lloimincia Hall’s floor routine I thought, “I’ve definitely seen Blaque Jac do that already. On skates.”

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Name: Jacqueline “Blaque Jac” Thermitus

Number: 21

League: Tampa Roller Derby1532077_706499196056705_879210174_o

Tell me about yourself! When did you start derby? I started derby in March 2009 in Bradenton with the Bradentucky Bombers and transferred to Tampa Roller Derby on March 2012.

Aside from being sponsored by Bont, what cool things have you done with your derby career? Where has it taken you? One of the super cool things that I have done was travel to Los Angles for the LA Derby Dolls annual Banked Track Bootcamp where I got to play in front of thousands of derby fans and with tons of amazing skaters all while playing on the banked track. Being on the Tampa Roller Derby all-star travel team, the Tampa Tantrums, has taken me all over the US as well.

How has derby changed the way you feel about food? As I became more and more competitive in roller derby, I have been more and more aware about my food choices. As a thicker girl then most derby players, I still have to eat right but s1396800_612174085490292_1247098647_otill eat enough to fuel my body for practice and game day.

What healthy foods can you not live without? Baked Chicken is a must! Broccoli and asparagus are my two favorite greens. I’m starting to not live without water… I know funny right, but being a Pepsi drinker quitting soda altogether was a hard challenge for me.

What is your guilty pleasure? Publix Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies

How do you cross-train off the track? I try to do different things. I really like going to either a kickboxing class or cross training boot camp.

Tell us a little bit about your game day juice! My “crack juice” is Celsius! I drink one of those per game or sometimes I even mix it with water. I like that it gives me that boost of energy right when I need it.

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Tell me all about D1 in Richmond… What are some things that you did to prepare, and what did you take away from Playoffs? To prepare for Richmond the Tampa Tantrums did a lot of team bonding. I know you weren’t expecting that answer, but to be a unit is very important. We of course amped up our off-skates work outs and came up with the strategies and tactic to help us perform. Leaving Richmond we of course didn’t come out the way we wanted but we went back to the drawing boards and became an even better team.

Click here for Blaque Jac’s favorite chicken and asparagus bake!