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May 30th
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JrCon 2010

blog_actionJunior Roller Derby gets its own convention!
What looks like roller derby (wild socks, booty shorts), sounds like roller derby (whistles, crashing falls), and smells like roller derby (don’t go there)?  Right.  But something’s different. The participants can’t vote, drink or in most cases, drive. You think “cute!” as often as “awesome!” This is the future of roller derby. This is JrCon 2010. The future of roller derby is now!

From August 6th-8th, a contingent of one hundred one skaters ranging in age from six to seventeen gathered in Seattle for JrCon 2010, the first-ever junior derby convention presented by JRDA (Junior Roller Derby Association). Despite age and skill differentials  (older teens with years of hitting experience, and others not only new to derby, but relatively fresh on wheels), participants were patiently assessed and placed in safe, appropriate learning situations. The weekend benefited all levels of experience, size and fortitude – most rolling with falls and frustration, others requiring therapeutic mothering or bags of ice.  Coaches included some of the most respected skaters and mentors on the West Coast (Betty Ford Galaxy, Pia Mess, ReAnimate-Her).

While on-skates classes dominated, a refreshing mix of off-skates sessions included plyometrics, Referee Q&A, and something applicable to life in general – “Size Doesn’t Matter,” which taught the girls to use their particular size, shape and experience to their best advantage, and noted that teams need a variety of body and skating types to thrive. Snap!

Friday night’s much-anticipated Jr Derby Prom, sponsored by the Vera Project (Seattle’s all-ages arts venue) delivered – music, dancing, snacks, disco ball and prom pictures. The venue was impressive, located inside the Seattle Center, home to Rat City Rollergirls’ home track at Key Arena.

Saturday’s spectator highlight was chock full ‘o derby. Junior travel teams from Seattle Derby Brats and I-5 Rollergirl (ages 11,12-17) bouted at unbelievably advanced levels, the Tootsie Rollers (age 5-10) played a half-time game, and the main event was the NorthWest All-Star battle between Black List and Agent Orange, featuring inspirational skating and strategy from ladies out of Rat City, Jet City and Slaughter County among others.

JrCon 2010 showed some administrative hiccups, attributable to its fledgling status, but the young skaters’ experiences outweighed any flaws. JrCon 2011 will be held in Chicago, so get ready, juniors. The future of roller derby is now – but plan ahead for next summer! Adults beware – junior derby is growing up!

More photos from JrCon 2010 here.

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