This year’s Rollercon ran from July 17 to 21. It’s now July 26. I’ve been hibernating all week trying to reclaim some energy in the wake of it all. Rollercon is amazing, but it’s certainly not restful. This was my third Rollercon and it was a frenzy of activity. Of course I always want to do everything because there’s just so much to do. I didn’t do everything, but I did a hell of a lot—I even wrote it all down and actually took some photos this year.
The first year I went I thought this will probably be fun but too overwhelming. I assumed I wouldn’t want to come every year because it’s a lot of ruckus. I’ve really surprised myself by going three consecutive years. It is a lot to handle, but the joy of so many people working to make something great is too wonderful to pass up. It’s even better when you can be one of those people trying to make things great. So, here are some great things I did at Rollercon.
The games are one of the best things about Rollercon because you get a lot of silliness but also a lot of cool match-ups where groups can celebrate their identity, like with Team Indigenous v. Jewish Roller Derby (the first ever borderless derby game!) or Bitch Please v. Side Eye. For me, the best game was one I organized: Pool Partiers v. Lazy River Riders. The point of the game was for everyone to play in a pool floatie. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had playing roller derby and I think everyone who played agreed. I also got to join in on the #derbytwitter game, which was was a physically challenging game but also so much fun because I got to play with all my internet friends.
I had a couple of firsts playing games, like in BDSM v. furies. I didn’t want to buy any BDSM gear for 30 minutes of roller derby, so I skated in just shorts and a sports bra, which is something I’ve never done before and honestly never expected to do. In fact, I’d never even worn a crop top until about a day before said game. That was a personal best for body positivity. In a personal worst, I got expelled from a game for the first time. I was knocked out of play and accidentally hit a referee. The head official determined it was avoidable contact and expelled me from the game. It was very disappointing both for letting my team down and because I really tried not to touch the ref. I hope I never get expelled from a game again! It was an added insult that it was during the Lumpy Space Princess game, and I had a great outfit (recycled from last year’s Reidell party costume, naturally).
I appreciate the opportunity to learn from people who don’t know me and who have different perspectives on the game. It’s nice to get feedback from someone who hasn’t seen me skate from my baby derby years on up because they don’t have any preconceptions about me. That’s not to criticize my coaches, but sometimes fresh eyes see new things. I took several interesting classes this year. The most fun were Rock You Like a Hurricane with Allie Gator and Fast Feet with Yeti or Not. Both of them had interesting content and just seemed like really nice coaches who want the best for you. I also appreciated Stef Mainey’s How to Control People on the Track because it gave me a totally different approach to moving people around and getting them off balance. I think it will take some time to incorporate into my game, but I definitely want to give her techniques a try.
Sometimes I think maybe I like announcing more than playing, but I’ll probably do both until I can’t skate anymore so it’s really a moot point. I had fun calling serious and silly games this year. I got to work the broadcast call for Drag Queens v. Drag Queens. It was a delight announcing that game with Allie Gator. I also got to get on the mic for one of the Team Indigenous games, which I am proud I can support with my vocal talents, such as they are.
What I enjoyed most about announcing this Rollercon was working with new announcers and finding ways we can make announcing more accessible for everyone. I spent a lot of time mentoring newbies and we talked a lot about how we can support some of our dyslexic peers. I think that is going to result in some real action for next Rollercon and I’m proud that I could help start that. I want to be able to make room for other women, especially, to develop their voices and their talents on the mic. To me, it’s an act of feminism and resistance. I’m hoping we can do more next year.
Doing Everything Else
I try to get out of my usual routine and do a little more socializing than I would really like at Rollercon. Although I think half of my motivation is to dress up. I had a lot of fun unicycling at the circus-themed Reidell party (although I was disappointed to be turned away from the costume contest!). I know that my antics personally delighted Smarty Pants and honestly that made my night. I don’t unicycle much anymore but it’s cool to know that I still can and that I can look boss doing it. I also made an appearance at the Black and Blue Ball, mostly for the announcer group photo and for the questionable tradition of taking a shot of Malört. This year my derby wife joined us for the shots, which made it more fun, if only to witness the miserable reaction.
I also ate some really good food, both the meals I brought and warmed sous vide and some tasty food I bought. I posted the sous vide photo collection on my instagram, but here are some more food photos, which, we’ve established, people both love and hate.
Despite missing my cats (and husband) all week, nearly breaking my thumb, and being generally exhausted, I am planning to do it all again next year. Only 354 days to go!