Roller Derby My New Life


So the year is off to an awesome start!  Our team trainers have been working hard to plan our practices and help everyone get back into shape.  And wow after practice I am so sore from the off skate portion, I am walking very slowly!  It is awesome though because I have been off for so long and had a hard time finding the motivation to work on my own.  I know I am not the only one.  Some people get to the gym and do their workouts and stick to it.  I am not one of those people.  I will go to every single practice and some extra training but actually going to a gym is very sporadic for me.

A full-time job, grown up responsibilities and grandchildren make it impossible for me to be committed like that.  I do have a goal to get better at this and be more consistent with my other workouts.  I would like to add maybe once a week yoga, so now I have to figure out how to make myself leave my desk at lunch.

On the good side, I have been able to up my level by paying attention to my recovery from my workouts.  Heavy exercise breaks downs your muscles and recovery builds them up.  When I started roller derby, I was going once a week and spending the next 2 days on the couch in pain from muscle soreness.  Next I started skating twice a week.  Not quite as bad as I was getting more workouts but still having a problem with energy after.  That is not to say that I didn’t feel better, it was just I felt old and unable to keep up.  It took my body longer to recover from intense training.

I was introduced to AdvoCare and Spark after complaining to someone that I just could not go all out in 2 hour practices.  This kind person gave me a Spark and introduced me to the world of athletic nutrition.

Because I am a closet nerd, I had to study this and do my research and I found that I was neglecting my nutrition and my recovery.  I now have a regimen for before, during and after our training.  It has made a world of difference in how I feel, and most importantly, how I perform.  I strive to put the best products in my body and my research has led me to invest solely in the AdvoCare products.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t good alternatives but I also like the company.

Here are things that you should be paying attention to, especially as you get older:

  1. Rest – This is the most important thing you can do for your body and your mind. I believe in 8 hours of good sleep and I relax and rest watching some tv, reading and meditation.
  2. Nutrition and Hydration – I was a junk food junkie, even though I like food that is good for you, I hate to cook and I am lazy, just ask Mr. Kool.  I did long ago stop drinking soda’s and now I drink water, coffee and water.  Coffee is my vice I won’t give up.  I don’t need it as I use Spark for energy and mental focus but I like it so I drink it!  As for nutrition, I have embarked on setting myself up for a lean and healthy retirement.  Everything we do as young’uns will catch up with you. (the 24 Day Challenge teaches you how to eat properly)
  3. Cool down and stretches – This is awesome for helping your body to recover from strenuous activity.  We don’t do enough of this, that reminds me to bring this up in the next training meeting!
  4. Massage – These feel awesome and help put you into a good relaxed mood.  Take advantage!

Currently using AdvoCare products, this is my regimen;

Pre-Practice – I eat a meal that will fuel me without making me sick early enough to not be full at practice.  I take 02 Gold, Catalyst, and muscle fuel with a little bit of spark or rehydrate.  Then I drink plenty of water.

During – Currently have been getting by with drinking plenty of water, during games I would drink rehydrate mixed with biocharge and plain water

After Practice – depending on how late it is, I have a Pro20 and nighttime recovery, or post workout shake and nighttime recovery.

I still feel the soreness from hard workouts but I can get up at 5am after a practice that lasts until 11 and still function.  I use a foam roller to roll out the kinks the next night and I am ready for more!  Listen to your body, it will tell you what you need. Mental training is just as important so don’t neglect your mental health either!

I was long winded this time around, thanks for staying with it and please feel free to offer me feedback or let me know if you like what you read

Until next time

Hip Checks and chest bumps!

Roller Derby My New Life

Back on the Track

Happy New Year!  I have finally returned to the track and low and behold not just as a skater but as our Rose Bud Trainer (what we named our Fresh Meat).  Since this is a new year with new trainers and after a break we have gone back to basics.  This means that I have had the opportunity to run basic skills training for our league.  So far it has been a blast for me, and I hope for everyone else too.

I spent my recovery from surgery reading, researching and learning everything I could about roller derby, drills, coaching and I am putting all that to work on the track.  I have specific goals for myself this year and for our team.  We are now a WFTDA Apprentice League and that is a game changer for us.  We have more rules to follow and we hope to become full WFTDA league in the future.

That being said, I plan to to do some serious weight lifting and off the track work outs.  I want to improve my agility skills and up my endurance.  Since I will be planning practices and such when we have new skaters join us I have a plan in writing that I will hold myself accountable to.  I would like to see everyone on our team write down their goals and share them so we can help each other meet and exceed these goals. 

Running a team and league takes every single person to do some part and be willing to learn all aspects of the game from NSO to reffereeing.  The more you learn about all the pieces the better you will be as a player.  I also encourage everyone to take advantage of other training opportunities such as speed, and open scrimages.  The more you play, the better you get and the more you learn.

I have been so blessed to get to skate with some truly awesome people and look forward to a great year of learning and playing.  Another goal is to write my blog more often this year.  I am working on all aspects of my life.  Until next time, skate hard and learn things!

Roller Derby My New Life

Injury Recovery-The Long Road Back

I am 8 weeks out from my shoulder surgery.  I have to say it has been just as hard as they told me it would be.  I am still having to manage pain and do all the exercises.  My physical therapist shows me what to do and I push myself to do it, but it is still slow going.  I am elated at being able to use my right hand to feed myself and type again.  I still cannot open doors and I am maybe 3/4ths of the way to full range of motion and that is being generous.

Every athelete that gets injured knows what is like to go through the recovery process and it totally sucks.  My surgeon assures me that I will be much happier on the other side of this.

Set backs are all a part of life and there are so many other things that are worse or more important than my injury and recovery, that I am still thankful to have my health and the ability to recover.  Team mates have been supportive and I know how hard it is to know what to say to someone who is off the track and struggling to get better so they can be back out there with everyone.  We have had our share of injuries this year.

It has made me do some research on preventing injury.  There is such a thing.  Extra protection gear is one way to help, I wear padded shorts and shin guards which are not required.  But I think that especially for fresh meat learning how to skate it is advisable.  Tailbone injuries can end your strive to be a derby girl and the shins getting kicked is just common sense.  Not everyone is going to be the same and some accomodations have to be made to focus on what is good for you and your body.

The coaches shout about our form and yet, 90% of even the most experienced on the team do not have good derby stance form, however all of them think that they do.  I had some newbies argue with me that they were in good form so I had them do their skating around the track and I filmed them, then I showed them.  It was an eye opener.  We need more sprints and squats while on the track, and sprints are not a race in which you sacrifice form to beat a team mate.  And when the someone tells you are you not low enough, believe them and work harder to get lower.  Remember that training is just that, you are not competing with your team mates, you are competing with yourself and the track and the drills.  You must work on the things you do not do well and not concentrate on doing what you already know how to do. 

We are just about to end our season with our last bout and take a quick break for holidays and then it is back at it to get ready for the next season.  I have had a very long break and am so ready to get back on the track with my team mates.  Hopefully, try outs will go well and I will be able to try out when we have them.

Watching from sidelines, I have seen our girls progress and the training intensify and it is an awesome sight to behold.  I am suppose to have all my range of motion back in 4 more weeks and my therapist and I will be working hard to get there.  In therapy, pain really does mean gain.  I have had to learn that the pain I have now is not injury pain it is healing pain.  But I will be back stronger than ever, there is some serious weight lifting in my future!!

Until next time – Love you guys!

Roller Derby My New Life

Elation to Deflation

I did it, I skated in the bout uh game, I will never get used to that change, on Saturday. I was in 28 jams, wow, that was the most awesome time of my life. I had a some penalties that I would like to not get but having been out there so much I was able to get some real game experience.

Sore shoulder and all I am so glad to have that opportunity to skate with the YRDG Killer Bees and to bring in a win. We have worked hard to get where we are and have set our sights on just growing more and more in experience.

I will be watching my Bees play on Sep 7th as I did find out that I have a tear in my rotator cuff that I am going to see a surgeon about on Sep 10th. And that is the deflation part of this blog, I am so disheartened to have to stop and deal with an injury. I know it comes with the territory but it is still very hard to accept and deal with.

I was truly blessed to be able to play that last game and to play more than I ever have so I will take that elation with me into the abyss of injury and recovery. I hope to able to come back full force for next season and that will be my goal for this off-season.

Another goal is to stay in shape and continue to eat properly, it is so very easy to give into the depression and comfort eating, that I will have to fight this very hard. One really good way is to continue to go to practices and help as I can or work on my BOD duties.  It is important to stay connected to the team and be right there with them while you recover.

I am now 4 weeks since surgery and have been back to practices as a spectator several times now. It is very ha hard to just watch. I’m unable to do much south my arm yet so it is hard to help, not to mention the pain that I still have. PT is going good so I am taking it one day at a time.

Recovery is hard but I am hanging in there. Until next time!

Roller Derby My New Life

Life Just Happens!

WOW! It is August and I have been so busy I have not taken even a moment to write. And where to start, oh my. The number one life event is becoming a grandmother again. My 2nd grandchild was born on July 6, 2014, Justin Alexander Shipley. What a joy what a blessing.

He has an older sister who is now 3 and smart as a whip and loves her Justin! My husband and I are so very, very blessed and Life could not be better.

I was honored to get to skate with the Yellow Rose Derby Girls All Stars for the first part of this first season and also with the Killer Bees. I am currently skating for the Killer Bees since mid-season try outs and I am thrilled to get to skate. Our next bout is August 23rd and I will be out there working hard for my team!

I have had some set backs with an injured shoulder but I plan to skate out the season and then do what needs to be done to fix it. After October I will be only training and staying in shape to get ready for next season and next try outs. Since I have stayed away from contact so I can play in the games, I have had the pleasure of teaching our newbies, who we lovingly refer to as Rose Buds. LipStick asked me to help her out and I have had a blast doing it. It is exciting and fun to watch the Rose Buds learn and develop over the first 6 weeks. I have gotten so much out doing this that I am seriously considering studying coaching so that I may contribute to my league when I have to retire from competition. Make no mistake, I will go into retirement from competition as a skater, kicking and screaming NO I’M NOT READY YET!!

That being said, I know that day will come and when it does, I will want to teach as many people as possible to skate and compete in this sport.  I have watched so many changes and so much growth in the short time that I have been invloved with roller derby, it has been overwhelming at times.  My hope is that it continues to grow and everyone gets an opportunity to participate in a team sport and truly learn what it means to be a TEAM.

Roller Derby My New Life

New Year, New Season

The year is off to a fabulous start. YRDG had try outs and now have an A and B team. We have an awesome group of women on both of these teams. A year ago we were only a glimmer in the eyes of our founders, Kari and Marion.

Last February, I found out about a new roller derby league starting up and it was in my back yard. A good number of ladies showed up at meet and greets and a new league was born.

I could not pass up becoming a founding member of the greatest sport I have had the pleasure to participate in. We have grown and thrived this last year training long and hard for this season, or first and the first for many of us.

Roller Derby My New Life

Derby Life Balance

My Life

Not long ago I did a post about Work Life Balance and with the start-up a new team and the commitments I have made to Roller Derby, it occurred to me that I needed to think about my derby life balance as well.  Learning to balance all the things in my life that I enjoy doing with those obligations that I need to do is always a very big challenge.  Family time is very important, and doing things that we love to do is necessary.  Roller Derby is time-consuming and very demanding.  Just like we have vacation days given to us from work, we need a vacation from our hobbies at times also.  For me this may or may not mean a break from skating, but more likely a break from business side as well.  I have  a hard time thinking about not skating for any length of time but if you are struggling with the idea of practice every time and finding that you are not rejuvenated after said practice, it might be time to take a break.

Some times those breaks are forced upon us by circumstances, obligations, or injury but even healthy skaters need some time off to regroup, recharge and evaluate their personal goals and how it is affecting other aspects of their lives.

Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with wanting to be a recreational skater and being satisfied with that is all good too.  Having been a recreational skater that supported a very large league for several years and volunteering for that league, burn out can occur here as well.  We always need to set realistic expectations of our team members, volunteers and everyone else that works to support our league.

All that being said, everyone that is part of the league should be sure to support their league with volunteer time, serving on committees actively because the more people who do that, the easier the jobs are and a handful of members are not going to burn out so fast.  It takes lots of work, planning and dedication to run a league and we are not just the athletes, we are management too.  So get involved and do you part, find something you like and take it on.  Give your team-mate a break if needed and work together for the benefit of the team!

The picture above is my heart and soul, my grand-daughter and my husband.  I breath and live to be a part of their lives and the other members of my family doing things together and without their support, derby would not be a an option for me.  Because of them I am here doing what I love.

Derby Love!


Roller Derby My New Life

Are You Scrimmage Ready?

When I first started Roller Derby I would hear this question being asked at various times.  At first though I didn’t know what was meant by that.  How do I know and no one could really tell me.  I think it is very important for the trainers/coaches to have a really good idea of everyone’s capabilities before throwing newbies into the scrimmage.  safety for everyone should be the biggest concern and a big factor in determining if you are scrimmage ready.

Our team did something different for the first time at our scrimmage practice which was suggested by the Refs and worked out awesomely well.  We split everyone up between seasoned (advanced) skaters and the intermediates and newbies.  One jam was only advanced and the next jam was intermediates/beginners against each other and the next jam was 2 advanced skaters mixed in with intermediate/beginners.  We rotated this way the entire time and it not only worked out really well it was awesome to watch each jam be competitive and no one got hurt.  I personally had a great practice and I hope everyone else felt like they did too.  Having enough players to make this work is a key factor too.

It is difficult as a seasoned skater to dial back when scrimmaging with not so seasoned players every time and this was a way to get them out there so they could go hard and work on their game as well.  And then have the opportunity to help teach the other girls and provide guidance on the track.

As with all things in life you must study that which you want to conquer or become good at!  Every single practice will give you exactly what you put into it.  There are always those days, when I don’t feel so great, tired, cranky or just wanting to not do anything.  I have found out that if I make myself go to practice and get on the floor by the time warm ups are over I have renewed energy, better focus and much better attitude.  It is what keeps me going.  I love doing and helping and learning and teaching.  And most importantly I have learned not to give up trying something even when I am struggling with it!  So you will be ready to scrimmage probably sooner than you think but the harder you work on the drills at practice the better your scrimmage time will be!  Get out there and Get it Done!!

Derby Love!!


Roller Derby My New Life

End of Summer

It is that time again when school starts and traffic gets worse and summer is over even though it is still 90 degrees outside here in Houston.  When I was in school I used to love the change in seasons and the start of a new school year with all the possibilities.  Now that I have worked full-time for 32 years and my children are all grown and my grand-daughter is not old enough for school, this time of year is a nuisance instead of a new beginning.   School zones everywhere and traffic becomes a nightmare, I find it hard to think of this as a new beginning.  But I tend to get somewhat nostalgic and miss that feeling for a new start,  I miss that feeling and have found that Roller Derby somewhat helps with that.

I had a very busy summer and did a lot of different things but I was very glad to be home again and started my off skate training this week.  Rollercon has provided me with many tools to improve my experience on skates.  I would recommend it to anyone who wants to drown themselves in learning about derby.  I want as many people on my team to have that experience as possible.

1097708_4914586196976_1935555354_oYellow Rose at Spindletop

The next best thing is watching the WFTDA Championships.  It is very inexpensive and awesome to watch the best of the best compete in tournament play.  You can learn so much by watching.  We encourage our new girls to go to some live bouts and watch archives on WFTDA TV in order to get an idea of what it really is like.  I still love to watch as much as play. And if my husband lets me I get to hook up my computer to the 73″ TV and watch it on the big screen!  We will see how that works out this weekend.  I watch the division playoff that Houston Roller Derby goes to because it is the one where I know the team, having been a part of their recreational league for 3 years.  And then the Championships itself because it is such high level playing and just too cool to see.  I am hoping to get to attend one of these tournaments in the future.

We are currently working to schedule our bouts for next year!  I am so so excited and I am working hard to be able to play in as many of them as possible.  I have even been going to the chiropractor for adjustments to keep my pelvis aligned properly (apparently some of those falls can push things out of wack) and to keep my body in the best shape possible.

I am currently learning all about Advocare supplements to help with my stamina, and muscles and recovery.  Things are going really well in that department and I think I will be in great shape by the time we play next year.  I now consider myself a full fledge athlete and am taking my training very seriously.

Roller Derby My New Life

WOW! That just happened!

It has been a very very busy summer and I haven’t been home for a big majority of it.  Attending my first RollerCon in Las Vegas, and bouting in my very first inter-league bout have been the highlights of this summer for me.

First for RollerCon, it was an amazing experience!  Got to volunteer a bunch, take classes on skates and in the classroom.  I have learned so much, met so many really cool people and cannot really describe the experience adequately.  Took a class from Suzy Hotrod!! OMG!!! She is an awesome derby player, and teacher!  I got to watch the co-ed game between Riddell and Antiks.  Those players are amazing, doing things I have never seen before!

I will be spending the next several months trying to digest all the input from RollerCon and working to improve skills and knowledge.  Also trying to pass on all this information to my team!

Now for the best first thing I have ever experienced!! (maybe overkill but it feels like it) my very first bout!  Yellow Rose Derby Girls played against Spindletop Roller Girls in Beaumont TX last night.  Although we did not win the bout, we played hard, kept the score reasonably close and scored over 100 points!  I am so proud of my team mates, Captain Nawty, Co-Captain Leaches, bench coaches, NSO’s, Zebra’s, and everyone that came out to watch us play!

I am beyond tired, sore and generally feel like sleeping for a week!  I have so much I want and need to work on.  We all have  new appreciation for the need for some intensive training and practicing and have gotten highly motivated to do so!  Every single person on our roster worked hard and played the best they could and I am so proud of all us!  Am also very anxious to watch the films and see what we did and how to improve.  Watch out Derby world, here come the Yellow Rose Derby Girls!!

Melody Kool