Do you hear that?
It’s the holidays approaching.
And while you should never bankrupt yourself to buy amazing gifts for people you care for (your stunning presence is enough, you beautiful individual), it can be a time to celebrate friendships and sometimes that means presents.
This year, in an attempt to help you stick to your budget — if you have one — I’ve divided my recommendations up into cost per item with less expensive items first and the more expensive items at the end.
Lastly, unless otherwise specified, I have personally purchased and used these items at some point this year BECAUSE THEY ARE SO GREAT.
Without further ado…
You’re reading this because (a) you want to and (b) I put time and energy into putting this list together. There are so many folks out in the roller derby community putting out quality content that we should support.
Patreon accounts are an amazing way to do that. You support the content you love and get first look or special consideration for a lot of the things created. Joining a Patreon can cost *just* $1 per month. The Derby Apex and NoxTalks both use this platform. So if you have a stats nerd in your life, sign up in their name.
Jammer Candy makes this list EVERY YEAR because they produce (cute) quality stuff. But there is a special shout out this year for 2 reasons:
- They sent all sorts of goodies for me to take with me to RollerCon and hand out to unsuspecting skaters that attended my classes. (Probably the best part, tbh.)
- I’ve commissioned 2 (!) specialty designs from them this year and they are both ah-mazing.
Any gift guide created by Iron Octopus Fitness is not complete unless I talk about my favorite training tool: NOTEBOOKS! These small, but mighty notebooks from Word Notebooks are cute and can be used as bullet journals, practices trackers, gratitude lists, whatever you need them for. When in doubt, you should probably buy a notebook.
For the skater + coach in your life who needs to do the skating while also stopping the drill, get them an electronic whistle. I do not have one of these because I didn’t know they existed, but as soon as I found out that they do — I ordered one. Seriously, just today as I was writing this. Fox 40 is the go-to for most roller derby officials and it’s the one that is getting shipped to me (probably via drone). These also might be a good gift for that person we all know that just…can’t…seem…to…blow…the…whistle. Now all they have to do is press a button.
In the same vein, get yourself (or your bestie) a simple stopwatch. I’ve had a lot of stopwatches in my career as NSO turned coach turned skater turned ref turned skater again. And the fancy ones get annoying as hell. They start beeping at random times. You hit the wrong button and the timer doesn’t actually stop. It sucks. Simple stopwatches do two things: STOP and GO. Easy to operate if you’re skating while doing it. Or if you have to manage three blockers all coming into the box at the same time.
You may know that I have a special way that I tie my laces so my skate doesn’t fly off every time I move a little too vigorously:
The degree of difficulty for this lacing technique isn’t high, per se, but it does take me a lot longer to tie my skates than most of my teammates. That means that I’ve been seriously eyeing a pair of jam straps for a while. I haven’t invested (YET), but have heard great things. And Lauren Swaffield from Rainy City uses them on her Bonts, so that seems like a ringing endorsement to me.
Before writing this article, I took to #derbytwitter for some ideas from other folks about great gifts from (mostly) derby-owned companies and got the recommendation of the year for skaters that want to put some flare on their helmets. Woody’s Goodies designs CUSTOMIZED helmet stickers (awesome) and you can even stock up on pronoun stickers for your entire new skater orientation class (incredible). I prefer my game helmet to be naked, but these designs have me rethinking that…
If you’ve been watching my Instagram or Facebook feeds recently, you may have noticed that I’ve been wearing the same sweatshirt in nearly all of my videos. Case in point:
I snagged this “Support Local Roller Derby” sweater from Roller Derby City. (Who will send you an invoice and ship outside of the UK if you email and ask them nicely.) I also have my eyes on some of the customized helmet covers and maybe a “Skate Hard” raglan sweater…
During the summer (especially at RollerCon where I bought it) my go-to top covering was from theF0LD, a gender-free apparel company run by roller derby’s own ZipBlok. EVERY HOODIE is literally hand-crafted by ZipBlok — she made some quick fixes to mine when I bought it — and there are also some great t-shirt options. I love it. It’s comfy, cozy, and the next time I grab one it will be with a bigass hood.
I don’t spend money on clothes very often so when I do, I tell EVERYONE about it. (See the above paragraphs for reference.) I’m especially picky about what I wear when I’m playing so I typically don’t lump effusive praise on anything I wear while sportsing because it usually sucks.
With two big exceptions:
- Frogmouth Jerseys. My team made the switch to Frogmouth at the beginning of the 2018 seasons and I immediately thought: “Awesome. Another jersey to hate.” But I didn’t hate it. I LOVED IT. I loved it so much that I bought a reversible scrimmage top a few months later. THEN invested in a crop top version of our team uniform (not even reimbursed!) because I wanted more options. If your team is buying new uniforms, GET FROGMOUTH. If you are buying a scrimmage or officials top, GET FROGMOUTH. I’ve been wearing derby uniform tops for nearly 10 years and it’s the best one I’ve ever had. (So now I have 5…)
- Superfit Hero Capris. I own one of the more colorful, less compressive pairs of capris and they are my favorite pair of leggings. They’re soft and have a pocket big enough for my huge phone. They come up high enough to support me and they don’t ride down. Not only do I love that SFH is body positive (and makes clothes that back up that claim), they support athletes across multiple sports disciplines. I’ll admit that there are a few things that I didn’t like about the other two pairs I own: the leggings are too short on my long legs and too baggy around my ankles, the black compression capris are also too short and pretty tight around my calves. But even with those problems, they are consistently one of the few pairs of pants I wear when I skate that I’m not tugging up ever 5 seconds. And that counts for a lot.
BEHOLD! Frogmouth + Superfits: the best derby uniform
If you’re flush with cash and you really want to impress your skating friends, you could consider sending them to a derby event. Eh? Eh?
- January 26-27: Laci Knight is running a January Jam Start Camp with Roc City Derby that comes with a 6-week off-skates training plan and some on-skate intensives with some impressive skaters. This is a new event, so I’ve never been, but the line-up looks stellar. Tickets available now!
- July 17-21: RollerCon is RollerConning all over Las Vegas. As usual. Yours truly will be there but so will other, much more impressive, people. AND tickets go on sale again November 23rd.
- August 10-12: The World Champion Rose City Rollers put on Derby Daze in Portland. Learn from the best!
- September 7-9: Camp Block and Roll is a sleepaway skating camp in the Pacific Northwest where you skate, but also do fun camping things. Interested in roller derby AND archery or human foosball? This is for you.
- Euro Derby Con is *maybe* happening. So keep your eyes open for that.
I’m sure there are a million local events that I just don’t know about, so do your research. You might find something in your own backyard.
DID I MISS ANYTHING?
Probably. If you have more ideas, let me know. And check out The (non) Definitive Gift Guide for Roller Derby 2016 or TnDGGfRD 2017 for some of the things that I recommended last year.