I can’t believe the regular season is nearly over and it’s already the last of our home bouts for the year. This Saturday, 7/25, at our Chicago home: The Windy City Fieldhouse (2367 W Logan Blvd) you can find us squaring off in a Double Header against the Twin City Derby Girls!
Come on out and cheer us on one last time this season! Tickets can be found here: http://t.co/VhUXxSdOy0 but you can also grab some at the door.
Doors are at 6pm and the double-header kicks off with The Outfit’s Shade Brigade vs. The Twin City Dead Ringers at 7:00 pm, and the excitement keeps rolling with The Outfit’s Syndicate vs. The Twin City Evil Twins.
Additional treats and entertainment will be available for all to enjoy. Friends and fans can strike a pose in the free photo booth, compliments of 9 Muses Photo. Beer will be available, courtesy of Lagunitas Brewing and Temperance Beer Company, and wine will be available for purchase, courtesy of Derby LITE. The following food and art vendors will be on hand:
• Taquero Fusion (www.taquerofusion.com)
• The Vegan Food Truck (stemartaen.com/foodtruck)
• Cranky Pickle (etsy.com/people/
The after party will be held at Township (2200 N California Ave.) following the bout where you do not want to miss all of the fun and dancing that will be had.
Thanks for a great season Chicago! Please come out and cheer us on for the final home bout of the season. After this weekend, there’s only 2 more away games and then it’s Playoffs!! We hope you can make it out and see all of the hard work we’ve poured into this season and maybe get a glimpse of what’s to come in 2016!
- Rhonda Swanson
What’s almost as fun as watching The Outfit play Roller Derby? Joining us to play Bingo of course! We’ll be at Hamburger Mary’s in Andersonville this coming Monday, 7/20, from 8-10pm to play some bingo and raise money for our trip to the Playoff’s this August! Come out and hang with us, play some bingo, we’ll be raffling off a ton of great prizes, including 2016 season tickets, and there will be drink specials so you know it’s going to be a good time.
For all the information, including raffle prizes up for winning, visit the event on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1D8HRRO
- Rhonda Swanson
It’s 5:00am, it’s still dark outside and the temperature is hovering around 2 degrees. I’m awake and briskly pulling on workout gear while brushing my teeth before heading out the door and into my frozen car to get to a workout class entirely focused on core-strength. This is day 1 of my new off-skates workout routine and it is tough; it’s also well worth it.
A common misconception when you’re first starting out with roller derby is that your main focus is all on-skates. In learning to move, learning to stop, learning proper technique, etc. and though this is incredibly important and definitely a top priority, the working out you do off-skates is equally so. Of course teaching your body the muscle memory in moving laterally and staying low or in putting the right amount of force so your plow stops stick and your turnaround stops keep you staying inbounds will make blocking jammers and fighting your way through a pack that much easier, but what you do when you’re still in shoes also helps tenfold in what happens when you’re on-skates.
Off-skates workouts help you to focus on your body as a whole, not just those muscles you need to skate well and stay upright. Working out off-skates keeps everything in balance, it keeps you flexible so that when you do fall or get hit, you’re able to get back up quickly and keep moving. I started an off-skates focus in February and have been doing everything I can to make sure I’m in the gym or doing something else in my gym shoes at least twice a week. I push myself hard when at practice but equally as hard when I’m not at the rink and by the end of February I could tell the difference in how I was skating because of it. My endurance was up, my strength and stability was up, I could take hits better. It made being on skates that much easier, and for a new girl still learning the ropes, building that confidence has helped tremendously.
The Outfit has a great off-skates focus for everyone on the league whether new or veteran. Tuesday nights are dedicated to a one hour fitness bootcamp at Urban Athlete where the focus can be on anything from abs and core to upper-body and endurance. There is also one practice a week for each of our teams that are dedicated to off-skates workouts at the rink. This not only helps build our strength individually as a skaters and players but it builds our team dynamic as well. Sweating our way together through burpees and lunges, through group planks and mountain-climbers, we can support each other when it’s difficult and congratulate each other when it’s over and share the load in shoes as much as we do when we’re on the track.
- Rhonda Swanson
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.
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!
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.
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
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’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.