New York has been the hardest of the All Star teams to get rolling on. I wanted to make sure I had personal input or experience for all the skaters I write about so it took a long time to put this together.
Now, as far as the voting goes… New York, I expect a better showing next year. I only got about 40 votes for the entire state. Only 103 skaters were nominated, the lowest out of all four areas. Only 20 leagues were voted on. (Though, there were some juniors that came close to making it, and I was rooting for them!)
Writers, if you are interested in taking over the All Star list for New York in 2013, start now by applying to be an Examiner. Follow the link TO BE AN EXAMINER and get the ball rolling now.
For now, here is your 2012 New York All Star Reserves!
Deb Crush #0101 – Assault City – This skater is mighty impressive in the photos I’ve seen. At the end of 2011 I got the chance to watch her skate, briefly, against Roc City. She is a powerhouse who controls a pack, hits hard and has fun while she’s doing it. She looks to be the kind of skater you want on your team, but you love challenging yourself against.
Derby photog, Pete Rodriguez had some kind words to share about Crush:
Deb Crush is one of the main reasons I shoot roller derby: she’s focused, relentless, strong and all heart on the track. To me, she is what Roller Derby is all about; her look, her swag. I am proud to call her a friend. I know that’s cheesy but she was my first derby crush. I loved the way she played. Then I got to know her as a person and she is just amazing
Ovarian Cyster #12 – Ithaca League of Women Rollers – I remember watching Cyster when she was with Philly. As an Ithaca skater, she is just as strong, just as commanding and just as fun to watch. She knows where everyone is on the track and works her positional blocking. You can see in every movement that she takes her training, and her team, very seriously.
From Rollanya of Philly Roller Girls:
I skated with Ova when she was with Philly Roller Girls on the Independence Dolls and played against her when she transferred to Ithaca. As a teammate, she was reliable on the track. You knew she was going to do her job and you could focus on doing yours. And she always laid solid hits. When she transferred to a smaller league, she was thrown more responsibility because of her history skating with Philly and she really took it on full force. She was asked to coach and was voted captain. When the Dolls went up to play Ithaca at the end of last season, we didn’t really know what to expect. They brought it and it was a hard fought game. A game you have to fight to win are the best games to play and I think many of us remember that game as one of our best.
Ladies Knight #241 – New York Shock Exchange – Let me first say that one of the reactions I’ve gotten from several people I’ve asked about Ladies Knight was this: “One of the nicest guys in derby.” From looking through the photos, that does not mean that he takes it easy on the track. Just from the little experience I have, Knight has some of the best skating form I’ve come across so far, and he always has a look of intensity. To me, that implies a true commitment to every move he makes on the track.
I asked other NY Shock Exchange members to give me some feedback and impressions on Ladies Knight. Though they wished to remain anonymous, here is what they had to say:
How he skates – Fast and with tremendous power. His skiing background is on full display: he maintains the lowest crouch of all. On the track– very communicative. He directs well. Off the track– Very friendly and inclusive. He wants all to participate and excel at roller derby. As a teammate– Very giving. He helps you on the track and does so much for team off-skates. Style– Very much a team player, but has a lot of flair that makes him fun to watch.
One of the things I like about Knight is his attention to detail especially when teaching. He can get on you about the little things which is really important. It’s the little things that can win games and having a guy push you to be better than you think you can be helps a ton. Knight hasn’t actually been skating or playing derby for that long but you’d never know it. His skating skills are excellent and like Jonathan his blocking skills would really surprise you. He can stick to you like glue, it’s great in a bout but can be frustrating in practice when he’s blocking you!
JoJo Thrasher #800 – Roc City Roller Derby – Long, lean and strong. That is Jojo Thrasher. Don’t let the bright red lipstick fool you – she’s unafraid to make a hit or slither by opposing blockers. By the end of the bout you know her name and you know to keep your head on a swivel when she’s around. Lethal Lorelei had this to input:
Every time I think of her on the track, I think of this look she gives at the line. It’s the look of determination, focus, and most of all “I’m going to ruin your day.” I was on the home team and travel team with her, and I am glad we never had to come face to face. She is one of the hardest working girls on the team, and I know she goes above and beyond to work out, eat healthy and live healthy as to excel in derby.
Thunder Vittles #1337 – Ithaca League of Women Rollers – There are skaters in roller derby that aren’t flashy. They aren’t going to be the first choice for MVP and they aren’t going to end up in all the pictures. These are the skaters that make the little holes for their jammers. These are the skaters that form the middle piece of every wall, and no one knows it, but they are the reason the wall stops on a dime. There are skaters like Thunder Vittles that packs could not be successful without.
Watching Ithaca skate, you don’t always notice her, but when you watch for her, you see the little things that she does that make the difference.
Vittles may not be the big of personality on the track like other team mates (and several other Ithaca skaters have made this list), but she is a skater who knows where to be and when to be there. She knows how to be a strong pivot, and her packs are better for her quiet strength and skill. Not everyone can be Bonnie Thunders, but if you are really lucky, you have a lot of skaters on your team like Vittles.
Roarshock #8i8 – Capital District Men’s Roller Derby – I got some awesome help writing about Roarshock from two of my favorite people! First, from Bitches Bruze:
Roarschock’s team, the (Capital District Trauma Authority) only hit the track for the first time in April 2011 against the Utica Quadfathers, but from that bout, it was clear Roarshock is a skater on a meteoric rise in men’s derby. He’s that jammer that you see for the first time and say “Who is that?”
The CDTA won that first bout (what team wins their inaugural bout?) due in no small part to Roarshock’s jamming and game sense. All of the Trauma Authority play a very physical game, even by men’s derby standards. Roarshock, while a tall and lean jammer, has the stability to both take those hits and dish them out. Add to that, the Trauma Authority’s propensity to have short-rostered bouts, and his endurance to jam practically every other is notable.
Will Jettison (Captain Dirty Dozen 2011-12) says of Roarshock, “He’s one of those jammers that you notice instantly on the track. And it’s not because he does anything all that fancy. He’s not into the show boating of apex jumps or spins or anything all that fancy. He’s a consistent, strong, fast and powerful skater.”
The Dozen’s jam coach in 2012, Don’t Care Bear, says of Roarshock, after the Dozen’s extremely close bout against the Trauma Authority at the Mohawk Cup, “I came away from talking with him feeling he was a solid team player. Even though he could have taken a good chunk of credit for their game, he didn’t.”
It’s not surprising he is noticed out of what must be an amazing pool of men’s and women’s skaters in New York. While I’ve observed him track side many times, I had the fortune to skate with and against him at a Quadfathers-hosted black and white scrimmage in early 2012. Not only was he fun to be with on the track, he was the go-to skater for questions and support by skaters on the Hellions of Troy (one of the Trauma Authority’s two sister teams). He has refereed for the Hellions as do several of his teammates and also coaches their team.
I looked into the (Albany) Time’s Union blog on roller derby and was amazed to find that while Roarshock has been an athlete all his life (he’s into fencing – which comes out in his juking moves on the track), he didn’t come to derby with any structured skating experience. Now that he’s started skating, he skates up to 5 days a week in training with the Trauma Authority, as well as reffing and speed skating.
Here’s what Slay West has to say about him:
Roarshock is one of the best double threat players I’ve seen. Despite how skinny he is, he is easily able to hold his own against the much larger men he skates against as both a jammer and a blocker. He is also one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.
As a jammer, he is able to slip and slide through the tiniest hole. He is excellent at positional blocking and has great knowledge of the game. To me, he’s one of those skaters that elevates the play of those around him and his opponents have definitely taken notice of this. He was named to the All-Tournament Team (voted on by all the teams present) at the Mohawk Valley Cup (men’s touney hosted by The Quadfathers). He also serves as captain of his team and it’s easy to see why his teammates look up to him.
Thank you to everyone who helped me put this article together! An extra special thanks to our photogs:
Tyler Shaw Derby Photography
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