Skater Blog

**Posts made in the Skater Blog may or may not represent every member of The Chicago Outfit Roller Derby League**
Posted on March 31, 2015 in UncategorizedLeave a comment

Since making The Outfit in December, I have been chirping excitedly about my new team to all my closest friends.  The question I get asked most is how they can get started playing roller derby.

Roller derby is very appealing as a sport because it is SO MUCH FUN to be on roller skates and can be played at any age.  It takes a lot of fitness to be able to play roller derby competitively, but there are tons of opportunities to play and get involved at any level of fitness.

A bunch of us new team members started at Derby Lite.  Derby Lite is a non-competitive environment that offers participants a way to get comfortable on skates and learn some of the drills and exercises from roller derby.

When I first started at Derby Lite, I was like Bambi… wobbly legs and slipping.  It was great to look around the rink and be surrounded by group of ladies in the same place.  We were a big group of Bambis!  Over the course of our 12 weeks together, our group of Bambis transformed into a pretty sturdy set of young fawns.  Deer reference aside… we were all stronger skaters by the end of the DL sessions.

#7 Sudo Kill

Some of the other women at DL were very connected to the derby community.  From them I learned about speed skating classes, The Outfit bootcamps, and other opportunities to train on skates.

The Outfit bootcamps were the best preparation for trying out and being on the team.  Our coaches put us through drills that we would later build on in team practice and there was a lot of basic strength and endurance training.  The bootcamp coaches are members of The Outfit’s charter team; they observe and give feedback during drills.  If you have interest in playing roller derby, The Outfit bootcamps are an unmissable training opportunity.

There are other opportunities to get involved with roller derby and other positions on the team, like a non-skating official or sponsor.

This was my path to becoming a skater for The Outfit.  For any of my friends considering roller derby as a sport, I always tell them to get on skates.  Through Derby Lite or speed skating classes or just open skate, nothing is more fun and better preparation than skating!


-Sudo Kill

Posted on March 23, 2015 in UncategorizedLeave a comment

Everyone joins roller derby for their own reasons.  After four years of thinking and dreaming about it, I finally decided to put up or shut up and made my way to the Outfit’s boot camp back in November.  After that first night with the talented women of this team, guiding all of us new (and some returning) skaters on the basics of derby and the minimum skills required to play, I was hooked.  I wanted to keep returning to Fleetwood and keep pushing myself until I was making the same sounds with my skates when I stopped and performing the same kind of fancy footwork that the Outfit girls made look so easy.

#30 Rhonda Swanson

After five tough weeks and two nights of tryouts, I actually made it.  I was a part of the team.  Joining the family has been a lot like joining a sorority…except with less secret handshakes, more tattoos, and the mutual love of a really great sport. It’s a toughsport though and you have to be able to take a hit as well as give one, but the best part – you’re not doing it alone.  There is a huge support system of women backing you up whenever you need it.  This is the first time in my life that I have been a part of a team sport and it has been absolutely eye-opening.

It’s crazy at first, getting into the swing of practices multiple times a week and learning just how much time derby takes up in your everyday life.  The first month in was a little like starting a new job.  You don’t know anyone that well yet, you don’t know the rules, you take longer at everything than most everyone else, and all you feel like you’re doing is asking questions or getting in the way.  But that’s the point.  Derby isn’t something you just fall into and get good at.  It takes time, work, and discipline.  It’s both an on-skates and an off-skates effort.  What has made it easy though is that everyone, both veteran and new, has been there to lean on for support. Whether you feel as though you’re just not quite getting some kind of move, or for guidance when you’re looking to improve whatever skill it is you feel you’re lacking in.  This is more than just a team, it’s a family.

Seeing how skilled and talented everyone is keeps pushing me to work harder so I can continue to get better every week.  I ask questions when I need to, always take pointers when they’re given, and listen as much as I possibly can.  As a new girl, I know I still have a long way to go before taking my place on the line in my first derby bout, but I keep being told it’ll happen sooner than I think. It’s taken a few weeks and too many falls to count now, but I’m starting to understand and believe it.  Especially when I have such an outstanding and skilled group of women helping me along.  There is such a strong sense of family within this league and it can be intimidating at first, but that only lasts for a few brief moments.  Everyone that is a part of this league are some of the most welcoming and inviting people I’ve ever met. I feel lucky to be involved and a part of it.  I’m excited to see what the rest of this year has in store, not just for me,but for the family.

- Rhonda Swanson

Posted on March 9, 2015 in UncategorizedLeave a comment

Derby? Whenever I heard “derby” I instantly thought of my movie wife Drew, Ellen Page, and Maggie Mayhem racing, punching, kicking, and knocking chicks out. Love that movie, but I never thought I’d be playing it.

I was invited to plenty of derby games but between life and work, I could never find time. Somehow, I found myself at The Chicago Outfit’s End of the year party. In a packed room, I watched as they passed out awards, ate, danced, and just interacted with each other. I didn’t know what to expect, but what I saw that night definitely sparked something in me.

The Chicago Outfit End of The Year Party 2014

The Chicago Outfit’s bootcamp started that Monday for any skaters thinking about trying out for the team. As good as it sounded, I wasn’t really going to go. I didn’t have time, I didn’t know how to skate, and I didn’t own any gear. But thanks to Tardis and Puck, I ended up getting my butt to bootcamp.

On my first day, I went up to Red, Lola, and LD saying something similar to, ‘Hey, sorry if I’m not doing what you’re asking, but this is like, my first time on skates and I might just skate slowly in a circle today’.  I looked like some newborn creature using its legs for the very first time.

It was beyond me how patient these bada** ladies were. It was weird going into an environment where you don’t know anyone and you don’t know how they’ll take you, but every single person there wants to see you win. Even when you want to mentally break yourself down, when you want to give up, all of them are there teaching and encouraging you. I haven’t been a part of a team in 10 years and wouldn’t have thought it possible, but I’m pretty glad derby came into my life. Incredibly random, but such a thrill.

The excitement of knowing there is so much to learn. Watching Matza, Lola, Crotch, Pippi, Scar, LD, NiKita, Puck, Sneer, all of them, and just soaking up that energy and using it as my push. Their energy is absolutely amazing. I’m enjoying my derby journey and I’m excited to see how Korben Dallas grows with The Chicago Outfit.

Oh, and I had some beautiful falls in the beginning – I looked a little like Leeloo coming through that cab ceiling.

-Korben Dallas

Posted on December 31, 2014 in NewsLeave a comment
The Syndicate prepares to do some damage at playoffs in Ontario

The Syndicate prepares to do some damage at playoffs in Ontario (Photo by Steve Jurkovic)

by Shocka Conduit

Happy New Year, Extended Family!

For the Outfit, 2014 was a year of challenge, adaptation, and growth.  Though the WFTDA-Chartered Syndicate ended the season with a 10-9 record overall, the team and the league moved dramatically forward strategically and athletically in five months’ time.

The Chicago Outfit Syndicate’s 2014 season can best be summarized in two very different bouts against one team.  The Syndicate ended their with a decisive 50 point win over the same team, the Grand Raggidy Roller Girls, at WFTDA Division 2 playoffs.   Just five months before, the same team delivered the Syn a devastating 226 point loss in an away game.

The 2014 story of the Outfit is one of drive and adaptability, which propelled the Syndicate into a run at WFTDA Division 2 International Playoffs in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario in late October.  The Syn lost narrowly to DC in the first round, but made quick work of  Grand Rapids (again, avenging their early season loss) and Demolition City in the consolation rounds, ending the tournament in 7th place.  The Syn closed out the season with a little more sweet revenge, beating DC at home just a week after the D2 tournament, showcasing the team’s potential for 2015.

Rarely is a team able to adapt and grow as quickly as the 2014 Syndicate.   The team’s development can be attributed to determination, the return of heavy hitters (and fan favorites) Lady K and Suzie Crotchrot, talented transfers Ice Hurt and Lethal Dose, and the corps of brutally efficient veterans Lola Blow, Hero Shima, The Joan Ranger, Matza Ball Breaker, Kim Mortal, Pain Gwen, Lindiana Jones, La Femme Nikita (aka Final Frontier) and Shebiscuit, among others.

A smiling Lola Blow laps another pack

A smiling Lola Blow laps another pack

Up and coming 2nd, 3rd and 4th year skaters Sneer and Loathing, PhDiabla, Samanatha Judge, Scream Printer, Agony Andy, Jenergizer Bunny, and rookie skater Pit Bull Princess each made their mark, rounding out the Syndicate (and Shade Brigade’s) defensive capabilities.

If we were to ignore the Shady Ladies of the Shade Brigade, or the baseball-bat wielding gals of the Shakedown we would do so at our own peril .  The talents of Rapp Scallion, Pippi Long Smackings, Undead Miss Red, Mimi Furst, Casey Mace ‘Em, Beatrix ITCH, Badger to the Bone, transfers Elektra Phi and many, many more propelled the Shade Brigade to victories and close shaves against tough opponents.

The Shade Brigade’s first bout was a huge 152 point win over the GRap Attack! through a combination of tight defense, excruciatingly slow walls and quick jamming. The Shakedown’s first game, narrow loss to the SIRG Rolling Blackouts, apparently gave them a taste for blood – in their second bout against the Southland Slashers, the team posted a huge 181 point win.

May’s Spring Roll in Fort Wayne saw a leaner, meaner Syndicate – the tournament was a definitive test of the Outfit’s mid-season mettle – and they rose to the challenge with a sweep of their competition.   Solid victories over Cincinnati and Connecticut built momentum, and an upset win over Canada’s Tri-City Roller Girls avenged a loss at 2013’s Spring Roll, cementing the Outfit’s reputation as a team able to face down challenges and roll out victorious.

The Syndicate’s mid-season saw the team put up a spirited fight against the Division 1 No Coast Derby Girls, post huge wins over Ohio teams Burning River and NEO, and bounce back from a couple of humbling losses to Wisconsin teams the Mad Rollin’ Dolls and Brew City Bruisers.

The Shade Brigade saw a narrow loss to the No Coast Road Warriors in their mid-season – coming back from a half-time deficit to a 4 point, last jam heartbreaker that saw Pippi Longsmackings, Rapp Scallion and Elektra Phi turn in incredible jamming performances, supported by the tight defense of Undead Miss Red, Ni Kita, and the Shade’s blocker corps.

Another one point loss, this time to Southern Illinois’s A Team, showed the Shade was not slouching – Ohio teams Burning River Hazmat Crew fell to the Shade’s wrath.  The Shake went on to crush their opposition for the remainder of the 2014 season – with one stutter against Madison’s Team Unicorn.

The highlight of the Outfit’s off-season was the opportunity for four Syndicate skaters – Lola Blow, Suzie Crotchrot, Lady K and Ice Hurt, to represent Team Illinois in the first ever State Wars Roller Derby tournament in Daytona Beach, Florida.  The Outfit’s very own Lola Blow co-captained the team along with the Windy City Rollers’  Varla Vendetta.

Finally – we can’t do any of this without YOU!  We’d like to thank our NSOs, refs, friends, family, and fans for a great 2014.   We’d like to wish all of you a happy New Year – And we can’t wait to see you 2015!

Photo by 9 Muses Photography

Photo by 9 Muses Photography

Posted on November 6, 2014 in The FamilyLeave a comment
The Outfit is holding our training bootcamps at Fleetwood Roller Rink every Monday from November 10th through December 8th with tryouts shortly after. No experience necessary! (Need the full details? They’re on our Facebook page.) Not sure you’re ready? We’re interviewing skaters who came in through our bootcamps to get their take on the process.

The Apostrofiend has been part of the family since 2010. She played in many games until an ankle injury kept her to bench coaching in 2013. She came back to referee in 2014 and we’re excited to have her back as a skater in 2015! She’s still in the midst of an illustrious derby career but she didn’t come in off the street with all her skills.

Fiend - Chicago Outfit Roller Derby

The Apostrofiend
Photo by 9 Muses Photo

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Posted on November 4, 2014 in The FamilyLeave a comment
The Outfit is holding our training bootcamps at Fleetwood Roller Rink every Monday from November 10th through December 8th with tryouts shortly after. No experience necessary! (Need the full details? They’re on our Facebook page.) Not sure you’re ready? We’re interviewing skaters who came in through our bootcamps to get their take on the process.

Scarlett Bruiser joined the Outfit just last year. During the season she played in multiple Shakedown games as both a blocker and a jammer. If you think she came in as a derby pro, her interview might surprise you!

Scarlett Bruiser

Scarlett Bruiser
Photo by 9 Muses Photo

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