NHRD members make the best of their off-season

by Katrina Swirko
Pammy's projects

Pammy Decker has been hard at work this off-season, crafting beautiful woodworked items.

It’s December already — that special time of year for NHRD when team liaisons are making their invite list and checking it twice, and new recruits are working on their assessments with visions of booty-blocking sugarplums dancing in their heads. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, mostly because it’s a chance to catch a glimpse of the upcoming season while still holding onto a little extra free time.

“I have been doing a ton of baking,” says Skate Free or Die All-Stars blocker, Bash, “…and woodworking/refurbishing projects with Pam (Decker), taking time to plan out our future with a house and wedding and all that jazz. Psyched for next season but really enjoying doing all of the things we don’t have time for during the season!”

Pammy Decker, another All-Star, is taking full advantage of the break from the intense physical demands of last season by “eating lots of pizza and watching cable TV.”

No one could be more deserving. “Having worked vigorously with fresh meat training and league trainings through the holidays for the past 6 seasons, it is nice to finally take a break and remember that there is actually a world outside of derby.”

Britney Romeo, in addition to attending the bi-weekly league practices, has picked up snowboarding and running as a way to be active outside of roller derby.

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Paul Erhardt photo
Cherry Bombs and Trooper jammer Emily Deckerson is trying something more relaxing than busting through a pack of opposing blockers during the off-season – yoga.

MVP-winning jammer Emily Deckerson of the Cherry Bombs and Granite Skate Troopers is finding her balance. “Like others, I’m taking some time to give myself a break from skating. Once we hit January, I want to be ready to go full throttle. I don’t really have a choice as I’ll be captaining two teams!” She also cites yoga and biking as her sources of cross training.

Our NSOs, on the other hand, are actively seeking out more derby. Charles Dickins, for one, continues to earn his 2013 Atlas Award.


Paul Erhardt photo
Head NSO Charles Dickins found time to pen a novel and continues to look for more derby opportunities during the off-season.

“I spend my time working on the officiating training program for next season, obsessively checking the NHRD, WFTDA and ZebraHuddle forums, and scrambling to find any bouts still being played this time of year. My pink shirt is so lonely.”

Dickins goes on to explain, “I wrote a novel, but I figured that would be boring.”

Neon Khaos listed spring cleaning, buying new skates and joining the Millyard Misfits, the NHRD rec league, in 2014.

After announcing for SFOD at D-1 playoffs in Richmond, Helen Carnate hasn’t had to search hard for more opportunities. “I’ve been invited to announce a lot of places in 2014, so I’m spending my off-season saving and trying to plot where it will and won’t be feasible for me to go.” But she quickly adds, “Also … playing lots of World of Warcraft. Old habits die hard.”


Fresh meat member and Nightmares bench manager the Tartlet Dodger just passed her Level 1 assessments and is enjoying learning how to hit as part of the new training.

Meanwhile, to new recruits or “fresh meat,” December means working hard and pushing their bodies to the limit to pass assessments — just ask the Tartlet Dodger.

“We are just getting into hitting! It’s awesome, and last night after our first post-level 1 assessment I couldn’t sleep until about 3 in the morning.”

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Crueliette Lewis, of the Troopers and SFOD, jams past blog writer, All-Star and Nightmare Katrina Swirko last season during a home team bout. Crue hasn’t stopped derbying since the beginning of the 2013 season, continuing to help run training and NHRD’s fresh meat program.

It’s no break time for trainers, either.

“What’s an off-season?” asks Crueliette Lewis, of SFOD and Granite Skate Troopers. “I’m involved in training the freshies, as well as attending league and SFOD practices and Freak Factory workouts.”

Crue, alongside Nightmares blocker Kim Bong Ill and others, is at the House of Hustle several nights a week turning wobbly, wide-eyed newbies into mighty roller derby athletes. It’s hard work, but we’re grateful awesome people like Crueliette are willing to do it so the rest of us can eat pizza.


NHRD would like to wish a warm Happy Holidays from our family to yours. See you in 2014!


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