The Transfer Experience
-written by MC SlamHer and Anita Bodybag. Edited by Gingershred.
derby blogs discuss beginnings and endings, the various ways that derby can heal the soul, and how to enhance performance. You don’t often hear about how the derby journey can include transitions to different leagues. This month, PJRD brings you the accounts of two of our transfers, MC SlamHer and Anita Bodybag.
In May 2015, I made the decision to transfer from a MADE league to PJRD, a league that plays RDCL and MRDA. My decision to move on after 5 years in MADE was mostly based on the fact I wanted to skate banked track and travel. It’s been my passion for quite some time to skate banked and, since I'm no spring chicken, I made the leap. The MADE ruleset is fast and their pivots can break as jammers— two of the main differences I had to overcome. In the beginning with PJRD, learning the rules wasn’t the hardest part of RDCL. Slowing my pace down, along with the footwork that comes with that, was a bit of a struggle. For years, I had looked up to girls like Bexi Wrexi, Classy Chassis, and Maulin Munster, and I wanted to be on THEIR team. I knew it would take a lot of work, but I had to step up my game. I decided to attend as many practices as I could, plus having time for the gym. 2015 was a very pivotal and emotional year for me, skating and getting on a roster became my number one distraction.
Transferring meant giving up my Sunday mornings for three-hour practices, which I was not crazy about at first, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way. It took me a long time to feel okay on the track. Strategy was a bit confusing and I couldn’t get my feet stable under me. I fell constantly. There were a few times I thought maybe I would never be able to skate in a travel game. Over the course of a few months, I got out of my own head and around August 2015, I was made a She Devil.
I did not play my first game until November 2015, so I still had time to work on skills and my knowledge of the rules. Although we lost, we played a group of very talented women and we played like a team. The whole night was magical. Blocking is my normal position and always has been, even in my previous league. In the RDCL ruleset, it's less about the huge hits and more about staying in your wall. This takes a lot of discipline, because sometimes you’re hungry! I even jammed (which I rarely did in MADE) a few times during this game and scored points, which was amazing!
I was able to travel with the She Devils to San Diego in March 2016, and we won 1st place in the San Diego Derby Dolls Spring Fling tournament. After my first time traveling with my teammates, I feel more motivated than ever! I love this team, ladies and guys alike! My love for this sport grows more and every day!
When I first researched joining a derby league, I was mostly looking for a place where I could get some exercise, skate, have fun, and let out a little aggression. I looked into PJRD and actually decided that it wasn’t for me because I had the impression that PJRD was more competitive and required more of serious commitment than what I wanted at the time. So I joined a neighboring league and skated against PJRD many times. I developed what could be best characterized as a love/hate relationship toward PJRD. Hated them on the track, but loved skating against them because I felt challenged and always seemed to learn something new. I watched a lot of She Devils, Hooligans, and PJRD interleague games and was impressed with their growth over the years. Each year that the She Devils played Battle on the Bank, I was cheering them on via the live feed. I was also impressed as PJRD continued to grow and expand to playing multiple rulesets. With the expansion to additional rulesets, the overall quality of PJRD’s skaters seemed to improve by leaps and bounds. As PJRD grew, I also was growing as a skater (albeit, a little more slowly). My needs began to change and I began to develop a much more competitive drive. I felt incredibly loyal and tied to my previous league, I had cultivated many close friendships there, and had invested a lot of time and energy in the league, as well as the development of newer skaters. I agonized about the decision to transfer for a very long time; this included ongoing deliberation, discussion with friends, and even a weighted pros/cons list before I finally decided to make the move. I knew it wasn’t going to be any easy transition, but I was looking to be challenged.
And it wasn’t easy. It’s still not easy. It wasn’t easy saying goodbye to a league of people that I cared so much about. But it was easy to stay in touch with skaters that I developed a strong bond with and who were so understanding and supportive of my decision. It wasn’t easy learning two new rulesets when I was used to a ruleset that consisted of about 4 pages. I also am not a particularly fast learner or very athletically inclined, so I still struggle with the rules and learning strategy. Luckily, my fellow She Devils and Hooligans have been incredibly supportive and encouraging and have given excellent feedback, tips, and helpful advice. I was apprehensive about joining a team that my previous league had a longstanding rivalry with, but this quickly dissolved with a very warm welcome from everyone. It was odd to skate with and next to skaters who were previously opponents. I had to fight the urge to block or brace myself for a hit several times. But that was fleeting as well. She Devils have such a great sense of teamwork and it was easy to work with skaters who were so willing to work together. In my previous league, I was a big fish in a small pond. I was rostered on the A team and skated every game. It wasn’t easy to make the change to a league that already has a fully established A team of talented skaters who have a better grasp of rules and strategy. But knowing that tryouts are held on a regular basis (roughly every 3 months) has been very encouraging as there is always an opportunity to advance. Rosters aren’t set in stone and our captains Maulin Munster and Wrecks Manning provide strong leadership, encouragement, guidance, and give great feedback on ways to improve.
What has been easy about the transition you might ask? PJRD has some pretty okay skaters. Okay, some of them are a little better than okay. Actually, a lot of them are pretty great. The Hooligans are like having a rowdy but protective group of big brothers who have always been willing to help me out with some advice and feedback when I needed it. While the She Devils RBF game is strong, they are a great group of women who are supportive, fiercely competitive, and driven. I’ve learned so much since I’ve joined and I’m looking forward to continue to improve. While my derby journey didn’t start at PJRD, I’m glad that I’ve found my home here. While this transition hasn’t been the easiest, it has been worth every minute. I have no regrets and I’m so excited for what the future brings as PJRD continues to evolve.