Archive for WFTDA

Announcer Adventures: Slim vs. The Hillbilly Hecklers

Posted in Roller Derby with tags , , , , on October 10, 2013 by Lightning Slim

A Cautionary Tale of the Deep South

This story actually has very little to do with roller derby, but did happen (as crazy bullshit often does) at a derby tournament. I recently had the pleasure and privilege of calling some games at the Asheville Division 1 Playoff Tournament for the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association.

A word about Asheville: Asheville, North Carolina is one of the most beautiful and hospitable cities to which I have ever had the experience of traveling. It’s a small city of about 80,000 folks, nestled in green, rolling mountains. It’s an interesting cultural centre and a gathering place for hippies, dissidents and lefties in a massively conservative area. From what I understand, the rest of the Carolinas call Asheville “The Cesspool of Sin”.  And sin you can, in a way most pleasing to me, as organic coffees and a dizzying array of locally brewed beers were served to me by cheerful, dreadlocked young people with anti-fracking bumper stickers on their old Toyota Corollas as the local Democracy Radio affiliate played nouveau bluegrass.

Everyone in Asheville is extremely polite, accommodating and attentive. The host league, the Blue Ridge Rollergirls, were nothing if not lovely. After about a day I was starting to get used to this real-life manifestation of Southern Hospitality.

And then the weird thing happened.

I was downtown, walking to a Mexican restaurant when the light changed against me, forcing to scamper back onto the curb lest I be forced to deal with the hassle of a foreign jaywalking ticket. Next to me, pulled up at the light, was an incredibly hideous 1987 Ford Taurus made of bubbled paint and sour regret. I think some folks call that a hoopty…feel free to correct me on that. From the passenger window lanced a searing voice that was exactly what I had expected to hear in the South before I had arrived.

“Son, you ain’t from round here, are you?”

I turned to look at the speaker, who, like the driver, was lanky, dentally challenged, and basically resembled the entire cast of Winter’s Bone. He continued:

“You cain’t be crossing against a light in Carolina. You best be getting back on the curb. And you know what else you need to do? You need to take a razor and take care of all this, ’cause let me tell you boy, it ain’t working for you.”

His motions indicated that all this meant my sizable mutton-chop whiskers. Most folks like ’em. I get called Lemmy, Elvis and Wolverine. Nobody besides my mother had ever straight up dissed them before.

“Tell me something. Don’t lie to me now. Don’t lie to me. You ain’t got no woman at home, do you? You got no woman ’cause your look’s all wrong!”

Time slowed down. I thought many things, mainly involving some kind of retort: I have a degree in English. I am one of the Unflappable Canadians. I am an Agent of A.F.T.D.A., trained in the art of witty repartee. I can handle these freaks; nobody in Duck DynastyLand should be making fun of another man’s beard! Let’s do this.

And then I opened my mouth and it all went to shit. I was utterly unmanned, sputtering like a wet toaster: “I…have…women…” I trailed off, my head full of thoughts of all the high-tech armaments that not putting a dime into your car forever could buy. There were also some images:

winter's bone is this gonna be our time

“Is this gonna be our time?”



This last one was because I was still hungry.

I took a deep breath and prepared to try again.

The light turned green and they drove off with a cackle, rear bumper scraping the crown of the road as the car’s nonexistent suspension fought the steep incline. I stood there, thinking about what Elvis or Lemmy or Wolverine would have done and concluding it was not that.

I did get my Mexican lunch, and afterwards returned to the arena. I saw Sweet Willy, the tournament’s head announcer, sitting with some Atlanta skaters, so I decided to get a southern opinion on what had transpired. After I had told my tale, Willy was no good to me, as he could barely breathe from laughter. The skater beside him, Sissy Splaysek, turned out to be an Atlanta resident transplanted from Texas. Since Willy is secretly Canadian anyway, she was the closest thing I had to an expert. “So”, I said, “Is this how things go down normally? Drive-by mockings?”

Sissy, who despite wearing derby gear managed to present a picture of southern belle refinement, gave a subtle pearl-clutching gesture near her throat and breathed “Heavens no. No southern gentleman would ever speak such words to a stranger on the street. Those folks must have been mountain.”

So there you have it. My deep-fried southern shame. Don’t get me wrong, I would return to friendly Asheville in a heartbeat. Heck, if I could keep my healthcare I’d move there. But never again will I tangle with the Mountain Men. They have counted coup upon me, and own my soul.

Spurred to Action, Roller Derby Rides to Rescue

Posted in Roller Derby with tags , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2012 by Lightning Slim

There’s nothing exciting I can tell you that isn’t eclipsed by the majesty of  Adam Swinbourne’s poster for this weekend’s bout:


He’s a real talent. To think, all those fantastic rollergirls to draw and he almost scotches the whole thing by putting my mug on it! Deets for the bout here:

See your backsides at trackside! Also, forgive me if I look a little ragged on the day; there’s a little something I’m up to the night before.

Return to the City of Beer

Posted in Roller Derby with tags , , , , , on May 31, 2012 by Lightning Slim

Here I go again – I’ll be following the Tri-City Thunder to Milwaukee for the Brew City Brewhaha. It’s a long drive, but a fun tournament, and I like the local delicacies*


*By which I mean beer. And cheese. They put cheese on everything.

Quad City Chaos 2012

Posted in Roller Derby with tags , , , , , , on March 26, 2012 by Lightning Slim

Fantastic poster art courtesy Adam Swinbourne

Lowdown on this cool tournament by the Derby Nerd is here.

Autumn Inauguration, Chance of Domination

Posted in Roller Derby with tags , , , , , , on September 20, 2011 by Lightning Slim

Originally published at

What’s that? Can’t get enough derby? We know the feeling. While we’re sure you will all have one eye glued to the unfolding events down at the WFTDA playoffs, don’t forget there’s live double-header action still happening here at home.

On Saturday the 24th TCRG hosts skaters from both Montreal and Toronto, two leagues who have faced Tri-City before, and know that you don’t have to be from the big smoke to burn up the track. Toronto Roller Derby’s Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, smarting from a recent drubbing at the skates of Royal City, will be looking to focus their anger on the Total Knock-Outs. It’s Red Vs. Blue, and someone’s getting fragged!

In the second bout the Vicious Dishes look to close out their season with a win over Les Contrabanditas. These teams have built up enough heat between them to pull the autumn chill right out of the air.

Get your backsides to trackside out in sunny New Hamburg, and watch the falling  leaves turn the colour of bruise!

Augustravaganza Ends in Victory and a Promise of Clashes to Come

Posted in Roller Derby with tags , , , , , , on September 5, 2011 by Lightning Slim

Photo by Sean Murphy

Originally Published at

By now I hope you’ve read the gracious and thorough recap of last weekend’s double-header by Mr. Whistler, which touches on some of the highlights of two bouts that saw both the Dishes and Tramps come away with decisive victories. Of course the plot now thickens with each of these contests thanks to TORD‘s involvement with WFTDA: more than being isolated one-off bouts, the Tri-City/TORD rivalry now contains the delicious element of cross-linkage with sanctioned bouts between the two leagues.

The friends and rivals made on the track in bouts like last weekend’s will weave themselves into a story of fan anticipation for the time these skaters meet again on the larger stage. That, ladies and gentlemen, is water-cooler talk, it’s specuation about line-ups and strategies and it’s exactly what I want from my sports. Tell your friends who remain unconvinced about this fishnet-legged monster that it’s not only local, home-made, cheeky and powerful, it also contains all the traditional elements you bracket chasers, stat-hounds, followers of character players, rules-lawyers, talent scouts and lovers of true grit truly crave. Is it fun? Hell yes, but there are marbles to be played for and your Canadian rollergirls are in for keepsies.

What’s next for TCRG? September 24 the fun-loving but ever-dangerous ladies of Montreal Roller Derby dispatch the Contrabanditas to engage the Vicious Dishes in a rematch of their close Beast of the East tussle. The Ditas took the brief  tournament bout 27-21, but the Dishes no doubt have a full-hour attack plan in store. The opener of the double-header has upstage potential: the TKO’s face Toronto’s D-VAS. Both rookie squads have had successful seasons and this crossing of skates could produce some unrestrained action as the Tri-City and TORD of tomorrow tap in.

Stay tuned to this space for more details on upcoming events!

See you in the Suicide Seats,


Philadelphia Always Sunny, Thunder Heard Nevertheless

Posted in Roller Derby with tags , , , , on June 28, 2011 by Lightning Slim

Originally published at

 The Tri-City Thunder made their debut on their biggest stage to date at the 2011 East Coast Derby Extravaganza this weekend in Feasterville, PA. This three-day explosion of riotous derby action coupled with fun, sun and poolside shenanigans ended with two WFTDA-sanctioned victories by Thunder over Harrisburg (196-101) and Long Island (150-124). I had the pleasure and privilege to travel with the team and call for their bouts, as well as some just-for-fun challenge bouts such as Emo vs. Metal and Gingers vs. The World (victory for teams Metal and Ginger, both close to my heart).

For recaps, photos and access to video feeds and DVD’s, see our gracious hosts over at

This puts Thunder at 6-4 for the season, and spells good things for their inaugural ranking in the second quarter. I’ll be discussing the ramifications of this and Thunder’s position in the derby world at large in future posts, but for now I think I will emulate the skaters* to relax and savour a successful tournament.

See you in the Suicide Seats,


*Oh please – they’re probably at practice as you read this – these ladies never stop reaching for the top!

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