It’s coming up on my one year anniversary of meeting The Outfit. Life is so completely random, but sometimes you’ve just got to go with it! A year ago I found myself walking into Fleetwood to attend my first Chicago Outfit Roller Derby Bootcamp. I’d never seen derby except for that one movie that I like. I found the Outfit through a close friend and NSO, Tardis. At the time, I was pretty physically fit, and up for a little challenge. My work schedule was and is crazy and I never thought I’d actually be able to commit to going, but with bribery, I was able to commit to the next 4 weeks of Outfit’s bootcamp.
I walked into Fleetwood to Mimi Furst’s smiling face and Undead Miss Red being all about the business. I was nervous. Excitement didn’t come until after that first night, then it was all fear, nerves, and a lot of mental encouragement like, ‘fuck!’, ‘fuck it and do it!’, ‘Ok, Slow the fuck down bruh’, and ‘Uuuugh’. I came equipped with my fancy $67 Sport Authority skates, my borrowed from the Fleetwood closet elbow pads, Puck’s helmet (THANKS PUCK!), and knee pads that were really probably only meant for speed skating (I didn’t know). I thought I had everything until I realized I didn’t have a mouthguard. It was this moment that I knew I was here to stay, whether I made the team or not. While Mimi and a few others were trying to find this irresponsible puppy a mouthguard, I was watching these badass athlete’s run drills. One of the veterans skated over and let me use her mouthguard; this was family. After I watched her play I didn’t feel worthy, but that was the start of my first Outfit Roller Derby Bootcamp.
I didn’t know how to skate and I made sure I let every Outfit coach know that just in case they told everyone to go west and I went south. Getting me to bootcamp was me, but me coming back was them. They were all so nice and patient. Not to say I didn’t expect that, but I didn’t. They could’ve easily skipped over the girls with hardly any skill (like me), but they didn’t. Each one of the coaches took their time with all of us. Drills were split up nicely. I remember Shima working with me on my plow stops. We did them 3 times. The first one looked like a baby goat in mud but each one after that got better. I remember Crotchie trying to teach me checks then putting me and V.V. next to the Fleetwood wall to get shit right. L.D. having me jump over things and turns out that was one of the only things that came with ease for me.
Every Bootcamp I went to I felt myself getting better. In between Bootcamps I somehow found myself at Fleetwood almost everyday of the week during open skate. This experience could’ve ended differently if I had met any other team first. I am really grateful it was the Outfit I fell into, literally. Since Bootcamp I’ve improved so much, and played in 4 different games during this past season. No experience necessary really means just that, if you have the heart you can absolutely make it through.
All Bootcamp details can be found here
With Bootcamp kicking off this week, I wanted to sit down with one of our skaters who went through Bootcamp herself, to give you all some insight on the different ways we get involved with the Outfit. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Pitbull Princess. A mother of three girls and several pit bulls who is gearing up to skate her way into her third season.
Pitbull started with derby like so many of us, watching tv and seeing something with roller derby and thinking: “man, that looks fun! I want to do that!” After some quick social media searches, she found her way to a small group skating in Tinley Park. After a few weeks of practices though she found she wasn’t learning as much as she wanted and learned about the Outfit’s Bootcamp for derby minimum skills.
She headed into Bootcamp and learned some skills and more about the Outfit and with the encouragement of her husband to join, Pitbull decided to go for the first night of tryouts. After not making her first night of tryouts and realizing that she could not commit to the 4 practices a week with her three girls at home, she decided to take what she learned with the Outfit and return to Tinley. Tinley Park began to fizzle out but Pitbull was still very determined to play so she went with some of her friends at Tinley to the newly formed smaller team in the same area.
Within a few months of skating with the new league twice a week, Pitbull found that her skills were starting to stagnate as there wasn’t as much emphasis on coming to practice and learning new things but more of a social environment to skate and have fun. Pitbull wanted the challenge though and after some headbutting over practice and learning skill sets and taking a bad hit that sprained her ankle, Pitbull decided to check back in with the Outfit and see if she could make her way through tryouts again.
After working out, healing her ankle, and going through another bootcamp and tryout session, she made the team and hasn’t looked back since. Pitbull has found that derby is a great way to successfully get out her aggression in a constructive way as well as find time for herself as a busy mother of three during the week and on weekends. One of her favorite qualities the Outfit has is the welcoming nature and open attitude of everyone on the team. She has been able to come to practice, learn new skills while building off of her current ones, and due to her commitment she has quickly risen through the ranks and is now playing with our Charter team after just two seasons.
Even better has been her family’s encouragement of her skating. Her girls are now reaching the age of joining our Junior Skate Team, the Chicago Riots and they love coming to practices and games and helping where they can. They talk about derby and their mom to teachers and classmates constantly and she knows she’s teaching her girls how to be strong and independent. Her husband has been equally encouraging of her passion and lends some of his free time in helping out Pitbull and the Outfit when he can. Pitbull found what she was looking for in the Outfit and has given her all each season. She is one of my favorite players and someone I very much respect and admire for her passion and tenacity for this sport.
If you’re on the fence about coming to bootcamp because of the time commitment derby might have and negotiating that with your home life, we have many moms on the team that are happy to provide advice and support. Just look at our Pitbull Princess!
Bootcamp began last night and will continue through the end of October, every Monday evening at 7:30pm at Fleetwood Roller Rink. You can find all of the details here. We hope to see you out on the track!
Do you like Roller Derby? Do you like the Chicago Outfit? Are you 18 or older? Have you ever thought to yourself: “man, I wish I could skate like those girls”? Then you’re in luck! Our 2015 Bootcamp is right around the corner! No experience with roller derby is necessary either. You’ll just need the following:
- Quad Skates (speed skates, not inline)
- Elbow Pads
- Knee Pads
- Water Bottle
- Government Issued ID (first-time attendees ONLY)
- Can do attitude
We’ll be kicking off Bootcamp a little early this year: Monday, September 28th! Bootcamp’s will be held every Monday for 5 weeks starting 9/28, 10/5, 10/12*, 10/19, 10/26 with Tryouts follow.
Full Bootcamp information can be found below and you let us know you’re coming by replying here:
Time: 7:30pm – 10:30pm (*10/12 will start at 8:30pm)
Fleetwood Roller Rink
7231 Archer Avenue
Summit Argo, IL 60501
We do require members of our league to purchase skater insurance through the WFTDA, but WFTDA insurance is not required for the boot camps or the advanced tryouts. Instead, there will be a waiver you will be required to fill out on your first night of bootcamp.
Tryouts will be held on Sunday, November 1st and Monday, November 2nd and we’ll be posting further details on those closer to the date (so stayed tuned). You can come and try out even if you didn’t come to the recruitment boot camps so don’t worry about attending if you’re feeling confident for tryouts alone.
At try outs, you will be tested against WFTDA minimum skills and additional skills that you learned throughout the boot camps. WFTDA minimum skills can be found here for your reference.
On a personal note, I went through Bootcamp in 2014 with only skate skills from when I was 8-10 years old (nearly 20 years ago now). Bootcamp is such a great way to learn the necessary skills and also get to know our team better from a skater perspective. I learned so much in my time at Bootcamp and when it came to tryouts, I felt pretty confident I’d make the team and here I am! One year later, loving derby, loving the Outfit, and wanting to share that love with all of you. Even if you’re a little scared, we are only here to encourage your passion and help build your skills, so I encourage you to come out and get a feel for roller derby and skating with the Outfit.
Hope to see you there!
It’s hard to believe the 2015 season is officially over for us. It has been a whirlwind for this team. We have a lot of new faces and a few sad goodbyes to retirement and out-of-town moves but as ever, we push forward toward what’s to come. This season has had it’s ups and downs but we ended on a high-note, placing 4th at Division II Playoffs in Detroit last month. Just out of reach of a medal but still higher than where we started at and our ladies of the Syndicate hold their heads high after 3 very hard-fought and well-played games.
After the battles and the bruises, we are resting up in the off-season and plan on hitting the ground running (or skating rather) for 2016. We want to thank our fans for all of your love and support this year, it is always appreciated and we hope we continue to please and excite you in the 2016 season.
If you’re interested in becoming a part of the league for the 2016 season, our Bootcamp details are now up (no experience necessary) or feel free to reach out to us about refereeing or non-skating official opportunities.
You can also stay tuned for some off-season events we are planning, including another Hambingo night in November!
Thanks again for a great season!!!
2015 has been a great season for the Outfit, killing it both on the road and at home, and now it’s time for Playoffs! Our Syndicate team will be headed to Detroit this Friday to battle it out in the WFTDA Division 2 Playoffs. We’ll be cheering them on both in Detroit and at home and we hope you do to.
Please help us get to playoffs by donating, if you can, to our Gofundme page: http://www.gofundme.com/Outfit2Playoffs15. By donating, you are helping to offset the cost to our Charter skaters that will be competing this weekend and helping a really great nonprofit/group of hardworking ladies keep playing and competing in this exciting sport.
Thank you for all of your support this season and help cheer us on in playoffs this weekend!