Miami's Vice City Rollers are a force to be reckoned with. In their inaugural season, the 305's one and only all-female Flat Track Roller Derby team, have been skating hard and giving it all they've got. While it's been a less than stellar first season for the girls (they haven't actually won a game as of yet), the 305 is no less proud to call them their own.
Even with all the inevitable injuries and life getting in the way, they have managed to keep all of their original core skaters. They were also able to rep Miami at RollerCon--the annual Roller Derby convention. And even with all the knocking over, hitting, and bruising they do for fun, the girls still have a heart of gold and give back to the community in any way they can. For their upcoming home bout, they've partnered with Douglas Gardens Community Mental Health Center and their program that benefits victims of domestic violence. Spectators who donate school supplies, women's clothing, children's clothing, and household items will get get $3 off ticket prices.
On Saturday, August 18, Miami's Vice City Rollers take on the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins for their third and last home bout of the 2012 season. So we caught up with one of the team's founders and coach, De La Ruthless (AKA Kristen De La Rua), to look back on their first season.
New Times: What were some of the highs and lows this season?
De La Ruthless: Highs would be that we were able to play some high-level teams. A plus is also that we were able to learn a lot from the different teams we played this season. As for lows--since it was our first season we started late in everything. The competition is very, very fierce. We haven't won this season, but as much as we've learned from all these experienced teams, and the more we were able to take that experience and bring it home, the more we built from it.
Do you think you met your expectations?
Yes. The season is not over. Our last game is in November against one of the teams we already played in the second home bout against Dub City. We're really excited about that game because they're at our skill level, so in that game we're going to really put in our efforts into bringing home that final win because we feel confident enough of the fact that we learned a lot this season to be able to finish it off on a very high note.
Why do you think MVCR ended with the record they did?
That has to do with our inexperience. Our first season was not about winning; our first season was more about learning. A lot of the teams that have been around have been around since like '07 and even further back like '04. Some of them are even ranked nationally--I believe Tampa is 9th in the South Central Region. And it was really more about experience overall more than anything else, and I know that it hasn't effected our team morally because we know that we are giving it our all. But we were definitely the underdogs coming up in the sport.
What's a typical day of training like?
We have practices four times a week. Since we have skaters that come from all the way from homestead to our furthest skater in Coral Springs, so we offer Northern-based practices for them. We basically do off-skate training three times a week--it includes endurance, strength, and basic skills building. You learn how to build your walls and break your walls, you learn how to get faster and run in your skates. On some occasions though, we all get together and run, build our muscles, and we do a lot of lunges and squats, and what not. Focusing a lot in our core make us stronger in our skating.
What have been some of the worst injuries you girls have braved this season?
In actual game play against another team, it was a broken ankle.
What are you looking forward to in the next season?
The next season I think is going to be very, very exciting. I'm really excited to see ho we will be taking everything we've learned this current season and come out real strong. All of the girls that have been playing all season most of them didn't even know how to skate, so seeing them go from not being able to skate to there first home bout and just seeing them grow so much since that point. I expect that we are going to have a phenomenal season next year.
What will you do to improve next year?
A lot of us just actually came from RollerCon--it's a roller derby convention that they have in Vegas--where you learn new things such as strategies to improve coaching and strategies to put into our training. They have seminars and off-skate training classes. A good five of us were able to attend this event and we learned a lot more. So we're looking into implementing new coaching strategies next season and we're just really getting ready and we're really excited.
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We're also interested in Derby on the international scale. Next season we're focusing on possibly playing against some of the South American and Central American countries. Right now, the earliest I believe is Costa Rica--they have a team that they started around the same time we did, so we think it would be a really great match-up and we want to continue to spread the derby love.
Looking back, what has been the most memorable experience this season?
I would have to say our first bout. Everybody was very new to the whole experience and it was a very close game for our first game ever. A lot of teams didn't even expect us to go any where near where we got. We lost by like 30 points in our first game, which is really, really big for a first year team because derby takes a lot of commitment, strategy, and a lot of understanding the rules before you really get comfortable playing it. But at our first game, it was just great to see everyone give it their all and there was just an amazing energy all around. We may have not won, but we were all really proud of ourselves.
Check out Miami's Vice City Rollers in action on Saturday, August 18 at Suniland Roller Hockey Rink. Starting at 7 p.m., MCVR takes on the visiting Tampa Bay Derby Darlins in their last home game of the season. Due to limited bleacher seating, it's recommended that you bring a folding chair. Visit brownpapertickets.com for tickets, or find the team on Facebook.