Frosty’s Guide to RollerCon, Part 5
Last night, after having a meeting with some league-mates that will be going to RC for the first time, I was asked to write another update with some of the ideas I was trying to emphasize. I might be repeating myself a bit from other updates, but these are things that I think are important as we come up to just over a week before the whole thing starts!
1. Wash your gear before you leave.
If you are skating at all, your gear will probably never dry while you are in Vegas. Most rooms in the Riviera do not have balconies - if you have access to one, put your gear outside (make sure it is secured somehow and won’t blow away in the wind).
Probably you won’t have a balcony. If you are rooming with people, you will all have wet gear. It will stink. No matter how hard you try, your room will probably end up stinking at least a little bit. Live with it. We are derby skaters. That is part of our life. Take frequent showers to keep your body from stinking and hopefully it won’t follow you out into the hallway.
If you are skating in training sessions, scrimmages, free skates etc. you will probably be putting your gear on and off several times a day. You might want to consider things like “arm socks” (just use old tube socks with the end cut off) to help wick away some of the sweat.
Learn to love the (horrible) feeling of cold, wet, squicky gear and you’ll be fine.
2. Treat your roomies with respect
Hopefully you know and respect your roommates (at least a little bit). Have a convo at the very beginning of the week (or even before you get there) about what you expect from temporary roommates, and what they can expect from you. Are you a super neat freak? You might need to pull it back a bit. Are you a super slob? Maybe try a bit harder that week. Be patient with each other.
Is your room a “party room”? Is everyone okay with drinking/drugs/sex/whatever or do you want to reserve your room as more of a “safe space” and have those things happen in other rooms? Set these boundaries (or at least discuss them) before it becomes a problem. Be flexible and try to live outside your boundaries a little bit so that everyone can be as comfortable as possible.
3. Vegas is very hot and very dry.
Vegas is in the desert. I didn’t know that when I went there first time. I think that’s fascinating! It’s incredibly hot and dry. The casinos and buildings are all air conditioned (thank god) but cigarette smoking indoors is still “a thing” in LV, so the air is heavily filtered and somehow even drier than the already-bone-dry desert air. If you are prone to nose-bleeds or wear contacts etc. then come prepared with saline solutions for your nose/eyes. If you are really sensitive to cigarette smoke, I’m not sure what you can do… bring allergy medication maybe.
4. There are no open container laws in Vegas
It’s pretty cool - you can bring and buy alcohol onto the streets in LV. In fact, I have been told that it is encouraged for you to bring your own alcohol to parties at RC (don’t quote me if you are not allowed to) because it enhances safety. If you know you bought and poured your own drink, you know that it does not have something slipped into it.
Even with open container laws, you are not going to get away with being a drunken jackass in public. Casinos protect their gambling licenses fiercely, so if you are doing something that they feel threatens it, they will have you removed/arrested. So don’t get so drunk you run around topless.
BUT it IS super fun to walk around down the strip with a giant drink, so go for it!
5. Be safe.
There is a whole industry of bad people in LV that prey upon tourists. They will watch for drunk and/or vulnerable people and steal their money and/or assault them. This is true in any big city, but because LV is the #1 tourist destination in the world, it is particularly true there.
You will be surrounded by other derby skaters, and this might lull you into a false sense of security. Always be aware of your surroundings. I’m also sad to say that not everyone in the derby community is a good person. There are shitty predators in derby too - both men and women.
Watch out for your friends and fellow humans. Tell someone if you decide to go off by yourself somewhere, or with new people. If you decide to fool around or have sex with someone, tell a friend and use a condom. SkateSafe has thousands of condoms available for free for RC attendees. Use them.
If, God forbid, something bad does happen to you, make sure you tell someone. Tell your friends, and tell the RC organizers so they can help you. Tell the police. Tell someone. Find me and tell me - I promise to help you.
6. Resist the urge to speak negatively about your league or about your league-mates
I mention this because of an experience I had with my very first RC, where I was attending alone - the only person from my league. I remember sitting in the stands, watching some game, and there were skaters in front of me, bitching about someone/something in their league. Something random and totally normal - “so-and-so said something that made me mad”, or “the board would never approve what it is I want to do”, “I can’t believe she got drunk and stupid AGAIN”… standard derby bitching.
I remember in that moment thinking, very powerfully, “I am so thankful I am here alone so that there is no chance of having to talk like that”.
RC will be a different experience for each person that attends, but in my opinion, it is a sacred space where we should all leave our presumptions, past experiences and negativity at the door. It’s an idealized place where we are all on the same team and are there to learn and celebrate our amazing lives together.
This might apply more to people that have been in leagues for a few years, as opposed to people that are brand new to derby. We all get tired and frustrated, but RC is not the place to talk or act about that.
Actually, RC can be the place to DEAL with being tired and frustrated. If you are suffering from burnout or something similar, talk to people and attend seminars that you think might help you recover and prevent this from happening. But don’t let your local frustrations spill into an international community. You are doing yourself and everyone around you a disservice.
There is enough time to talk shit when you go back home. Resist the urge to think negatively. Believe that all positive things are possible, and bring a little bit of that optimism back to your home league with you.
(P.S. let’s all resist the urge to talk shit when we go home too)
7. You can’t possibly have enough clean socks.
Bring a million pairs of socks with you. If you are planning on skating (or doing anything athletic) bring a pair of socks for each activity. That could be 3-4 pairs a day - seriously! Your socks won’t dry, so it will be nice to have clean fresh ones.
Bring as many shirts as you have with your name on it for the same reason.
8. Be flexible. Go do things in Vegas other than derby.
There are a million cool things to do in Vegas. I don’t care how hardcore you are, you will get sick of derby at some point during the 5 day conference and need a change of scenery. If you want to spend the money there are hundreds of shows you can go see, or if you are on a budget, just walking the strip and going into the huge casinos is endlessly entertaining (especially since you can drink at the same time).
Be aware - the hotels are massively huge and you will get lost in them. They are designed for you to get lost, so you will spend money on gambling. Find a map - they are like shopping mall maps, and follow signs to get out again!
If you are on the strip the hotels are very far apart, even though they look like they are close together. The size of everything is deceiving. Don’t get too ambitious if you are out walking in the heat. Make sure you are hydrating with water (not just alcohol or coffee) and wear a hat in the sun. Don’t get heat stroke and spend days throwing up when you could be having fun.
Be flexible when it comes to what you do during the day. If you don’t get into the class you wanted to get into, don’t worry too much about it - find something else awesome to do. Remember that the off-skates training is usually really easy to get into (in fact I have not heard of them filling up) and you can get just as much (if not more) out of cross-training with expert skaters.
There is only so much your body can learn in 5 days, but your brain and heart can learn a lot more. Be open physically, spiritually and emotionally and you’ll come away with a much more enriched experience.
9. WEAR COMFORTABLE WALKING SHOES.
10. Try to learn something completely new
If you have time you are looking to fill, try something completely new. Are you a skater? Try learning about NSOing, announcing, production, or promotion. There are some amazing seminars, and maybe if you ask nicely you can shadow some of the experts in these fields while they perform these tasks at RC.
11. There is a shuttle at the airport - buy a round trip ticket for getting to and from the Riviera. I think it’s like $20-30 for a round trip. It’s way cheaper than a taxi, and they go to all the casinos. Then when you have to leave and go back to the airport, you just call the number and they send the shuttle bus. It’s pretty awesome.
12. Use your money to buy things from small artisans and save your big purchases for ordering through Peach Jam Skates
Just a little plug there - please support your local skate shops. If you can, buy items from smaller companies at Rollercon, and then order your big company (Riedell, Sure Grip, Antik, Atom wheels, etc.) purchases for your local shop. We will thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Well, that is it for now… but there might be a 6th instalment before next week! :)
Thank you for this! This will be my first RollerCon and I am over the top excited!!!