What did they just call you?! The mysterious ways of the derby name.

Derby names and numbers are a sacred rite of passage for any derby girl. In fact our coaches Leigh-thal Bizzle and Little Miss Chief have an unwritten rule for new skaters that names and numbers come after they (FM) have decided they want to stick with it, are working hard towards passing minimum skills and rules test, and most importantly dedicate their time and commit to the team. It is fine to think about it, throw some ideas about, numbers are usually important for when they have a trial scrim between themselves to get used to penalty calls and so on and so forth.

This subject has come up a lot as our FM have started to reach a more comfortable stage in their training and abilities. Discussions on using real names, playing on their names, picking something hardcore, picking something punny, various routes to go down when choosing a name. I have seen some fantastic names – take for instance one of my teammates whose last name is Palmer, she chose to call herself “Palmer Violent” – a fantastic play on both her name and a well known brand of sweet. Many FM struggling with what to call themselves, hoping and praying for an amazing name that makes them sound badass yet cute… it is one of the hardest decisions to make as a new skater. Your name does eventually become your identity and other leagues will know you by this name – think about it, outside of your own league, how many roller derby girls do you know who you can safely name by their real/government names? Take for instance Bonnie Thunders, I never knew her real name, she is Bonnie Thunders. In fact Bonnie herself stated in an interview once that Bonnie is not her alter ego, just an embodiment of who she is, that her “normal” and derby selves are the same person. When starting out girls believe their derby name to be their alter ego, they believe that when the skates go on the derby comes out. But Clark Kent, is always Superman, and Superman is always Clark Kent.

I think the derby name is a quiet lesson, something you do not realise is happening until you take a step back and look at the bigger picture – you start out as a wide eyed lady thinking that in normal life you just blend into the background but when you are Bonnie Thunders Mk2 you are so full of confidence and feel like a superhero. But over time you come to think that derby is spilling out in to your normal life, you find yourself looking at life in a derby perspective.

To quote Bettie Rage: “Do you ever sit at work and daydream about putting on your skates and helmet and just body checking the hell out of everyone” 

Generally – this is the moment you realize the derby monster has taken over your life. But it is also the moment you start to learn that your alter ego isn’t someone else, not just the “Hulk” that comes out of you when you get to the hall, it is something buried deep down inside you that has always been there. Derby and your name simply offer you an outlet for this. Think about it – would you ever have the confidence to stand your ground the way you hold a wall? How often do you analyse and put together a strategy the way you do when looking for a way through the pack? How often do you set goals for self improvement outside of roller derby, and even work to achieve them? The amount of things you do as your derby persona which can help improve you as a person and improve the way you function or look at things in normal life is ever expanding. Think about it, if you looked at things in a derbyverse way – what could you do?

It leads me onto my name and number. Now I panicked and chose a name which I originally lived up to, but has now become a deceptive name. (I wish I could pass this off as a planned mind game, but I seem to do well when I do things by accident!) I am still not quite happy with my name, but I have stuck by it so far. Maybe one day I will make a change?

My derby name is Hollycidal Violation. A play on homicidal violation and my name. Holly. I don’t know why I chose this name. I am still not entirely happy with it and have just learned to live with it really! It has however worked out ok I guess, after looking at my name many expect me to be a hard hitter rather than a quick agile skater which has worked out a plus. Some skaters stepped away at the start to keep “out of my path” which simply helped in opening a hole up for me to slip through. Now… originally when I first started and the adrenaline was pumping I ended up in the penalty box a few times, and I have been seen coming out of the penalty box to make a swift return within seconds of being on track. It is not a regular occurrence, as of late I have managed to avoid the sin bin which I have felt very positive about. Looking back I could have put more thought into the choice, maybe something funny or a play on another name, for instance I thought about another Holly derby name the other day “Holly Killoughby” – any Holly’s need a derby name – the first one is free!

I think the post on Derby names by Elektra Q-Tion is something every new skater should read and be aware of before making this decision.  As she points out, yes some skaters change their names after a few seasons – but why should you need to? If you choose the right one then you don’t have to go through the stress of picking a new name, registering it (which takes forever) but you also won’t be stopping other girls from having a possible name – come on, how many times have you thought of an AMAZEBALLS name then found it on TwoEvils? Could that have been avoided? Maybe.

My favorite part of her post is the offensive and family associations surrounding your name. Many of our players are mums and have young kids that come to see us along with families and members of the general community so offensive names are a no go, we even have it written into our team forms that names must not reflect badly on the team etc. Heck – if we want more people to take to the sport, we don’t want to turn people off because our skaters have names that offend and upset people!

Otherwise numbers are fairly simple. At first glance. We are currently allowed up to 4 as a number. Originally my number was H2B0 which is a play on my first and last names but also H20. It seemed like a smartypants decision at the time, but then it started to suck. I had to explain it all the time, referees would call it wrong – the amount of times I would hear “White, #280”. Dammit. So when I joined the Misfits, I changed it to number 626. Relating to my obsession with Lilo & Stitch in which Stitch is experiment 626. Easy to read, easy to call, hardcore Disney fans who remember original Disney films (pre-High School Musical etc) love it.  

I guess that pretty much sums up my thoughts on the matter. The one funny thing about my name though?

Atlanta Rollergirls. #1013. Hollicidal.

During a particular WFTDA game a few weeks ago when the feed meant my teammates lost the video but could still hear the audio, happened to hear that “Hollicidal was on the jam line.” Prompting slight confusion as my name is shortened in practice for the sake of shouting it out to “Hollycidal” or “Cidal.” Though it threw everyone off for  a moment, but it also gave us all something to have a laugh about at the next practice.

I would like to point out that I started in 2008, my name was officially registered in 2009. So to you, Hollicidal of the Atlanta Rollergirls whose website states you started in 2010 – on the extremely minimal bazillion-to-1 chance we ever meet – please please please don’t think I stole your name and kick my butt! You are an awesome skater to watch. Don’t kill me. Please? Maybe one day I will make a change!

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Rolling my way onto the track

I thought hard about how to describe how I came to play roller derby and my background throughout. I wrote this and put it aside, and now I think screw it, I’ll put it up as it is!

Rewind back to 1994, 4 year old me. PapaCidal (lover of ice-hockey amongst other sports) thought it would be a fantastic idea to take me ice-skating – and so myself, Bear and BroCidal all learnt as children very quickly to be comfortable on skates. Growing up I had always enjoyed a healthy mixture of sport and performance, I started out in dance school (like every other 4 year old girl) then moved onto gymnastics which I was actually pretty good at! However it turned that I loved food too much to fit in with the ridiculously low weights they asked of you. So I stuck to figure skating, the performance and the pretty dresses were amazing – until I entered my teenage years. Now? It was uncool, and it was at this point I rebelled a little, MamaCidal and PapaCidal were very understanding and although a little gutted at me having my figure skates already, helped me move on. I really had such a love of being on skates at this point and so moved onto playing ice hockey with Nottingham Ladies. A team sport this time round, still on ice, and required a lot more kit! I met some fantastic ladies at this point in time, but after a while I didn’t feel as though my heart was really in it. Going to practice became a chore and my hip was not dealing well with it at this point. The excitement had worn off, and though it was a team sport and people were lovely, I never really felt like I connected with anyone.

—–Note: In 2006 I had an operation on my right hand hip muscle to shorten and put it all back in the right place. I will write on this at some point, it is always good to share recovery stories—–

So I gradually moved away from sport and chose to focus on my education and music instead. Moving on to 2008, I had finished 6th form and was off to university (yay me!) I had heard about roller derby and had enquired at a few places for more information, just for a fun originally. At the tender age of 18 (going on 19 and the release of Whip It rearing to go for 2009), I entered an emotional experience which both ruined yet made me at the same time, during which I spent much of my time in and out of Birmingham. I looked at the local Birmingham Blitz Dames who were a ridiculously awesome team, luckily I met T.Apple through an acquaintance – who had previously trained with the team. We spoke and she agreed to go back to derby and keep me company on my journey into the derbyverse. She was the girl that put my foot in the door (or my skates on the track) and I am sad to say that due to the circumstances surrounding my time in Birmingham, I no longer speak with. But T.Apple: Thank you. If it wasn’t for you, I probably never would have been brave enough to jump in. Also I would like to take a moment to show my love for the following ladies at Birmingham for teaching me most of what I know about derby and for being just damn fabulous:
Nico Warrior (Immediately helped me out and taught me along with Thump) – Thumpalina (Now CentralCity) – Violet Attack (A role model and general legend, inspired me to aim to be amazeballs) – Mimey Vice (even though you made me do pushups and planks… alot!) – Roison Roulette (The support to push me through the walls I kept hitting – blockers, physically and mentally!) – Kylie Volatile (taught me how to take a hit, by hitting me. Alot)

So I also got to spend some time honing my skills in my university town (Bedfordshire) which housed two local teams, after speaking with Caz she allowed me to come join in with the Bedfordshire Roller Girls and I learnt alot about my strengths and weaknesses in my brief time there. With university and my circumstances in Birmingham, I didn’t continue to go to practice when I should have done. I was a bit of an on-off starter. In 2011 I left Birmingham in my rear view mirror at great speed.

In early 2012 I met The Man who came out of no-where and just changed it all, he gave me something to really live for and enjoy. I finished my degree and moved back to the Cidal family home in Mansfield. I then moved in with The Man in Nottingham and we’re temporarily there until we finish our house in Mansfield. I told him about Derby and he talked me into going back to it. As I lived here I started looking at the local Nottingham teams, though as we looked to move to Mansfield I found out Mansfield had a fairly new roller derby team. So I got in touch with the head honcho (the rather kick ass Gore G’eous) to say I had bought a house and was moving back, a conversation later and I had learnt that I would be moving in just two doors down from this woman! Speaking with her really inspired my love for the sport again, and she allowed me to come along and train in general sessions with them. My first practice with them was a little scary to say the least. I was trying to find my feet and felt a little bambi-ish! I was definitely not in as good a shape as I used to be! But I was welcomed with open arms and cheeky grins on faces, I already knew Gore, but it turned out I had been friends with two other girls when I was younger! It seemed a mad blur of coincidences but it seemed like it had all fallen in to place. Next practice, I was back to the derby me, skating ability and all.

So with this new team and bunch of girls, I learnt to love derby all over again. It really fell into place. Since earlier this year, I have been attending all practices which are not affected by work committments, even though this has meant the half hour drive each way just to come practice whilst I finish mine and The Mans house in Mansfield. Meeting and becoming close to these girls has really helped in keeping me going, they give me confidence and love, and often bruises (though I prefer “Derby Kisses”). The rules and skills may have changed since I last played but I passed all skills straight away thanks to my history of skating and the rules test took time but I kept asking every practice to take it again and again until I did it. The Man has even been coming to Sunday practices to watch and help our NSO where he can, maybe he will become a wonderful Zebra one day – who knows?

I think I will add a page at some point detailing my teammates, these girls really have become my family in a ridiculously short period of time! With my Misfits, my family and my Man by my side, I feel invincible whatever gets thrown my way! Yes there are down days, but I have a support system there and someone who can always help out, or just give me a hug.

So as an individual and a team, we have similar goals. To better ourselves as skaters and how we work together as a team (Gotham’s hivemind…we will have you!), hopefully 2014 will see us bouting and getting out there, making more derby friends and building cross league relations. My goal? I want to increase my fitness and core strength. I want to hit 35 in 5! (Currently at 29 and a half in 5… and I don’t eat well – at all – or crosstrain – at all. May be optimistic but if I can improve my fitness, this seems like it may be reachable. Atleast it is a goal to really aim for!). Whilst I am happy with my skating ability and feel I am a strong skater thanks to my years of generally being on skates, inline/figure/hockey/quad or otherwise, I am a strong believer in the saying:

There is always room for improvement

There is always going to be something I want to be better at. I’d love to be a stronger more solid being and be able to push walls harder as a jammer. Because of my natural ability, speed and agility I feel more comfortable as a jammer, I’m constantly moving (unless I’ve been knocked on my butt) and thinking about how to get through the wall. I want to keep improving my skills as a jammer, but I want to be a triple threat skater. I want to be able to block more effectively, work better in walls, increase my confidence to pivot and be able to do so effectively. Part of me would also like to learn to ref – but sometimes I look at situations and feel as though I would rather go one on one with Beyonslay than have the pressure a zebra has!

So this seemed like a really long post to write, looking back it seems like a short story. I found roller derby, trained with some great teams, met some wonderful women and now couldn’t be happier!

Why so blue little monster?

Waiting around to get ny butt to band practice tonight. Feels odd to think we only have another practice before Xmas!

Thought that I would take the moment to expand on my blog name.

LittleBlueDerbyMonster..

Firstly I am obsessed with Stitch from Lilo and Stitch who is a little blue alien though is sometimes referred to as a monster. I relate a lot to Stitch, especially with his emotive state and his “bad” levels. If you replace bad with stress I guess?

Little relates to my height and my band.

And above all.. I play derby.

So little blue derby monster.

Ta da!

The beginning

After a period of contemplation whether or not to come back to blogging, I decided yes (Duh..) so I figured let’s write about all the things! I have a serious love hate relationship with blogs and Twitter (Twitter especially!) so I am hoping this time I will have a stronger loyalty to you WordPress.

So… I guess I had better find a beginning point to start from!

I am Holly! How do? I am currently 23 (24 in January, man that’s crazy to think about!). I was born in Mansfield, Nottingham, UK. – That’s about right yes?

Roller derby – I have been playing roller derby since 2009, I originally started out with Birmingham Blitz Dames who are a bunch of fantastic, loving and talented ladies. I took some time out due to personal and health circumstances which kind of really sucked. Then moved back to Nottingham and joined Mansfield Misfits earlier this year! These women are my life! My name is Hollycidal Violation, #626 – I have undergone a number change, previously #H2B0 – but I felt like our zebras wanted to punch me everytime they needed to read this out! Not that I spent alot of time in the sin bin initially…
I’m sure I will write more of a post on this, I am hoping to document my time with my team more as the team is still very much in it’s infant stages!

I am also a fairly experienced singer. It sounds quite big headed reading that sentence back, but it is honest – I am not an ego person! I have been classically trained since 2000 and moved into rock music which meant I got to write, record and gig with some amazing bands and meet some amazing people! Since moving back to Nottingham, I joined a band called Little Mammoth – think ACDC meets Halestorm? Throw a bit of a sexy bluesy feel in and it would be us (maybe…)

Otherwise? I am a marketing executive (oh fancy title!). I went to university and got my degree in Advertising & Marketing communications. I also love classic minis. I am also obsessed with Lilo & Stitch.