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Published on August 12th, 2011 | by DerbyLife

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Team USA Tryouts: Team USA Effed Up

By: Switchblade Siouxsie, Atlanta Rollergirls skater

Team USA effed up. Why, you ask? Because they didn’t pick me, and I’m a sore loser. Of course, if you look at the roster, anyone and everyone can say that they definitely did not go wrong. So, I have to muster up the strength to train hard this year, and maybe next year will be my shot.

For others of you out there hoping to one day represent the US on an international level, listen up. Tryouts are not for the weak at heart, and they shouldn’t be. If you want to play on this level, you must be an athlete. You must train hard, eat right, and exercise constantly. Your endurance and strength has to match that of any other girl on the track or odds are…you’re going down, hard.

I’ll give you the ins and outs of my experience, just to give you a little taste of the blood, sweat, and tears. Let’s first start with the fact that I do not skate for one of the top teams in the nation. The Atlanta Rollergirls have held their own for years and we’ve been just on the edge of making it to the WFTDA Championships, but we are aware that we’ve got some work to do. So with that said, I was fully prepared to get my ass kicked from day one.

First stop, New York City. Keeping the above in mind, I was pretty sure that sending in a video would not work for me. I needed to actually show the coaches that I could hold my own. So, I flew to New York with fellow Atlanta Rollergirl Juju and I prepared for the three hour, non-stop, ass-kicking, nerve-wracking, cramp-giving, incredibly intimidating preliminary tryout.

As most of you know, Gotham has some amazing skaters. So skating with and against them was enough to make your average (they’re all gonna laugh at you, inner child) skater turn around and run back home with her tail between her legs. However, just like any other league, the ladies that stuck around to help out were completely gracious and overwhelmingly sweet.

Buster Cheatin,’ however, hated us. Not really, but I’m pretty sure he does hate resting. Over the course of three hours we did blocking drills, jamming drills, skating drills, and scrimmage, with approximately one five minute break. With about 13 skaters in attendance, this made for a very exhausting tryout.

Juju and I had a flight leaving very soon after the tryouts, so after thanking the ladies, the refs, and Buster we sprinted to the cab and stunk up the airport. On the ride there, I almost literally cried. And not because I’m a pussy, but because I was so happy that I had actually faced my fears and done something that I once thought would have been completely impossible.

Arriving back in Atlanta, I was surprised to feel like I hadn’t really been beaten up too much. I’m sure you’re thinking, “yeah, right…jackass.” And you’d be completely correct, because the next day I was lucky to get out of bed. I had bruises on my boob, for Christ’s sake. It was totally worth it.

Finding out that I had passed the preliminary tryouts was not only a shock, but also a complete honor. Especially when I had heard that other skaters I have mad respect for, did not make it. So, I took my shocked ass to practice, was congratulated by my league, and started actively fundraising to get to Tampa a month later.

Now here’s where the real story sets in. For all your Roller Derby nerds out there—you know who you are: you are the girls that watch every game on DNN, you talk strategy every time you sit down to a meal with friends, and you literally have dreams about the Atomatrixes and the Bonnie Thunders of the derby world.

Well, let me tell you that being in Tampa was like a Roller Derby nerd’s wet dream. Not only was I going to see all of the most amazing skaters in the country, but also I was going to skate with them. No one really knew who was going to be in Tampa, so arriving that day and starting to see all the jerseys really made a girl weak in the knees.

I was terrified and completely excited at the same time. There were approximately 50 girls there (which made for much less torture from Buster and the lovely Bonnie D. Stroir. But when you’re up against Varla Vendetta, Track Rat, Teflon Donna, Bruze-Her, Carmen Getsome, Belle Starr and other unforgettable names, you’re still going to have to bust your ass to look good.

The drills were all very similar to the first tryout. Skate, block, jam, and do it all over again. And after a few hours, THE LIST was announced. There would be two separate teams of 15 skaters. They would scrimmage against each other and the world would be watching on DNN. And we all knew the final roster would be picked from those scrimmaging and those that sent in a video for the final tryout.

As a staple blocker for the Dirty South Derby Girls, I chose to block while others chose to mostly jam. An hour of scrimmage later, after being jostled, knocked around, and flat out beat up, I came out on the winning team. A great feeling, but also a humbling experience.

When it was all said and done, the whole thing made me a better skater, and gave me the will power to get my ass kicked all over again. The Team USA roster is re-donk-ulous, and I have no qualms with the outcome. That shit looks scary.

I do have to note two amazing skaters, V-Diva from Lehigh Valley (where the hell did she come from?). She was one of the most amazing ladies I’ve ever seen on skates, ever. Little A from Tampa. I’ve seen that girl skate for years, and I knew she had it in her. I love that Team USA picked a couple “diamonds in the rough.” Just goes to show that our DIY sport is respectable in all aspects.

Warning, this last part is mushy. While I didn’t make the team, I do have a huge family of supportive, amazing, sometimes crazy, but always amusing girls. The Atlanta Rollergirls have been my home for five years, and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. They helped get me to New York, they helped get me to Tampa, and they helped give me the confidence to try.

While, we’re always striving to be a better, more competitive league, I know we’ve got one thing down. And that’s family. So, go Team USA, me and the rest of the Atlanta Rollergirls will be cheering you on. And next year, who knows, maybe there will be a slew of us on the team!

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