Wednesday, 14 August 2013

How I survived Rollercon

Pineapple Dazzle Rollercon 2013

I'm back from my American holiday and slowly processing all of my experiences. Over the coming weeks I will share more of my photos and fun memories from the States. One of the highlights from my time away was Rollercon.

For aspiring Roller Derby skaters Rollercon is Derby Mecca. Rollercon truly does cater to all parts of the Roller Derby experience with a plethora of opportunities to skate, shop and socialise. At times I found the event overwhelming as there is just so much to do and 5,000 skaters all confidently swaggering their formidable stuff was daunting. Here is how I survived my Rollercon experience.

Look after yourself. 
Sleep. Hydration. Down time. Eat right. It's easy to get caught up in challenge bout after bout after bout. It's easy to go sit by the pool and then accidentally party to the wee hours in the morning. You honestly wont make it through the week if you don't respect your body and give it some rest and recuperation. I found myself craving a giant steak by the end. I took naps whenever I needed them and walked around with a massive water bottle at all times. If all else fails relax and recuperate with a day by the pool with your sole mission to just people watch.

Fear of missing out. 
With stuff happening 24/7 you really have to get over your fear of missing out. You can't do everything and be everywhere. It just is not possible to do everything no matter how hard you may try. If you do you will definitely burn-out and not enjoy yourself. It's your Rollercon experience and no-one else's so just do what you can and don't beat yourself up if you don't fit everything in (there's always next year).

Be spontaneous.
You will be incredibly disappointed if you plan your time at Rollercon out to the minute. You will end up sitting in lots of queues for classes - boring! Be flexible. Don't let golden opportunities slip past you because you had your heart set on a particular Smarty Pants class at a specific time. They usually repeat the good classes over and over again. Go on a group street skate. Attend at least one of the scheduled parties. Derby girls from all over the world are a happy fun-loving bunch and they come with their own fun time guarantee. Don't miss out on meeting these wonderful people and taking a treasured memory home with you. If in doubt, just say yes as often as possible. You never know what crazy adventure will be around the casino corner.

Be brave. 
Do attend classes (as they are great) but honestly the best way to learn is to play against better skaters. It will tie your stomach up in giant knots worrying about it but its the best experience you can get. I got the opportunity to play against Rocky Mountain League as part of Team Australia. My heart jumped up into my throat and only dislodged once I skated my first jam. It was a tough bout but I learnt so much about game play and how I play with different skaters. (Oh yeah and we won!) Cant wait to take back some of my learning's to my home league.

Rollercon was a blast and I hope to be able to go back again in future. Some of my personal highlights included getting to meet and skate with many Australian skaters who my league normally play against like Mad Mel Arena and Cookie Cutter. Skating against a league who I secretly have a crush on. Hanging sporadically with my Derby wives, Val Capone and Amanda Jamitinya. Meeting so many lovely Americans who are super passionate and crazy about Roller Derby. Being distracted by the pretty Las Vegas lights. Being thrown in the pool during the Black and Blue Ball. Making my drinks more fancy by drinking out of a pineapple.

Rollercon made me realise that even though Australian Roller Derby is on the other side of the world we are actually pretty rad athletes too. I also learned that the Roller Derby community around the world is an eclectic and beautiful bunch. If you bring an open mind and a warm smile with you cannot be more better prepared for Rollercon. Happy skating!

If you are keen to check out Rollercon in 2014 I recommend buying tickets here. In the meantime look up some of the fun vicariously through instagram snaps here.

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