On the Track

Are You Albany All-Stars Material? Recruitment for “Fresh Meat” Has Begun!

Photo: Sean Childs

There’s no doubt about it; the ladies of Albany All-Stars Roller Derby are badasses. If you’ve been to one of their bouts and have seen them in action, you’d totally agree.

Since it all began in 2006, this all-women roller derby league has been bringing a certain level of excitement to the Capital Region that can only be produced by putting a group of high-energy individuals with unique personalities and charms in roller skates in one room. Even from the far end of the bleachers in the The Armory, you can’t contain the excitement.

But it takes more than just “being a badass in roller skates” to become an All-Star. Although the season just ended, preparation for the next one has begun with recruitment of “fresh meat”. We had the pleasure of speaking with Dizzy Deviant, All-Stars’ recruitment specialist, to give us the lowdown on what it takes to become an All-Star.

Tenacity

Because without it, you won’t be able to hang. Invented by a guy named Leo Seltzer who wanted to capitalize on the popularity of roller skating back in the day, roller derby began as a roller skating marathon where participants furiously skated around an oval track, occasionally crashing into one another–the most anticipated part of the sport.

Upon this realization, Seltzer transformed the sport to have more contact, which evolved into the aggressive, full-contact sport it is today. “A big part of this sport is knocking you down, so you gotta be tenacious enough to be willing to take it (or give it, depending on your position–a jammer or blocker), to get up, and to keep on skating” amidst of all the action happening all around you.

Stable, Quick & Agile

You don’t have to have a certain kind of physique to be an All-Star–“All-Stars come in all shapes and sizes!!”–but you must be able to hold yourself steady on roller skates for long periods of time, and be able to move comfortably, quickly and easily like your skates are naturally part of your limbs. “Agility is key!” Expert-level skating abilities aren’t required though; you just need to be able to do the very basics. Everything else, they teach you at training.

Good Attitude

Yes–there is rigorous training “to give fresh meat a good tenderizing” before season begins. This is to make sure you are properly equipped with knowledge about rules, techniques and safety, all while bonding with your teammates.

As an All-Star, you represent a brand that fosters female camaraderie and promotes women empowerment, both of which require positive attitude towards your team, the league, and, really, life in general. Young girls and your peers look up to you! To be a good role model for them, good attitude is important.

High Energy & Enthusiasm

Roller derby is a spectator sport where the audience feeds off your energy. The success of every bout–and the more likely people will talk about it enough to come back to the next one–depends on the energy that each player brings into every game.

To be an All-Star, you must have a lot of energy and skate with great enthusiasm to create that level of excitement the audience craves! When you are on the track, you are expected to bring all you’ve got. Whether you’re body checking blockers off your jammer, or skating to lap players of the opposing team for points, you must do it with all your might!

Mental Toughness

Roller derby is NOT for the weak-minded! “You have to be mentally tough to be able to get through tryouts, training and each bout”. Before you can even set foot on the track, your mental toughness will be tried and tested to make sure you can skate under a lot of pressure and deal with difficult situations without breaking down. Because, just like with any other sports, good sportsmanship is important when it comes to roller derby. You may be in opposing teams when on the track, but off the track, you’re one big, happy family.

So, do you have what it takes to be an Albany All-Star? Your opportunity to try out is on July 25th, and training begins soon after. For more information about tryouts, or Albany All-Stars in general, their upcoming season’s roster and schedule, make sure you check them out at www.AlbanyAllStars.com. Good luck!

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