On this day in 1836, the Battle of the Alamo began between Texan and Mexican soldiers, near the modern city of San Antonio. The Alamo was a former mission founded by Spanish settlers, which, by the nineteenth century, had become a fort for Spanish troops. In the 1820s, Mexico fought a successul war for independence from Spain, which led to increased migration of American citizens into the Mexican province of Texas. As the American population in the area grew, a revolutionary movement gained traction. War eventually broke out in 1835, and early on, Texan volunteer soldiers successfully captured the Alamo garrison from Mexican troops, and with it gained control of San Antonio. While Texas’ commander-in-chief, Sam Houston, was apathetic about keeping the fort, its defenders - including Colonel James Bowie, Lieutenant Colonel William Travis, and famed frontiersman Davy Crockett - insisted on defending the Alamo. Only around 200 soldiers defended the fort, and on February 23rd 1836 were besieged by a formidable Mexican army, numbering thousands of troops, led by General Antonio López de Santa Anna. Despite overwhelming odds, the Texans managed to repel the attack for 13 days, before being overpowered on March 6th, when most of the defenders were killed. Mexican forces thus regained control of the Alamo fort, but Texans rallied around the incident as a symbol of their resistance against Mexican oppression; “Remember the Alamo!” became a popular war cry. In April, Houston’s army - buoyed by new recruits inspired by the Alamo - defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, and Texan independence was secured. The Republic of Texas was short-lived, as Texas was annexed as the 28th state of the United States in 1845. The annexation enflamed sectional tensions, as it raised the question of whether the new state would be slave or free. The action also exacerbated underlying tensions between America and Mexico - as Mexico did not recognise Texas’ independence - and led to war in 1846. The Alamo remains a powerful symbolic moment in Texan and American history, having been immortalised in numerous works of fiction; the site of the battle attracts over 2.5 million visitors a year.
Someone just messaged me about getting into derby and here was my response.
Ooh yess. I actually tried out for my first league when I was 17 and here’s what I wish someone had told me.
Derby is expensive both in money and time. Between skates, gear, and dues. Expect to pay quite a bit at first, and always buy the better gear even if it’s a bit pricey. It’ll pay off in the long run. Don’t cheap out you only have one body. Keep it safe.
When skating alway always wear some form of padding. I generally at the least go with knee pads and wrist guards.
Wear a damn mouth guard. Not for your teeth but to prevent concussions. Well for your teeth too.
As for actual skating. Never compare yourself to others as hard as that will be. You’ll never be the best blocker, jammer, backward skater, blah blah blah. Just do your best. Skating comes more naturally to some and some girls take years to work up to even making a team let alone a travel or competing team. If your league has that.
Always give your all. Even on days when you don’t want to go to practice. Go. You will feel better. No matter the root of wanting to stay home.
Find an experienced skater and watch them. At practices and games. Maybe change each time. Look at their stance, control, the skills they’re good at. Ask them for help. Always ask. If you don’t know ask. If you’re unsure ask. If you think you’re good ask for tips to be better. Everyone can improve even the girls you think are he best.
Never feel down on yourself. So you fell. If you fall you’re learning and pushing your limits. I fall all the time trying new shit and seeing how far I can push myself. So you had a bad practice. You showed up. You were there and you learned from it. People will notice your effort and attendance more than you falling or failing. Always ask if you can help out. Do merch at the bouts. Lay track. Set up cones for drills. Be eager. And listen to what people tell you.
Make friends in your league. Go out of your way to talk to people even if you have social anxiety like me. It will make you more confident and people are generally always nice and willing to help.
There will be bitches. There will be girls you don’t get along with or who for some reason or another don’t like you. Don’t play into it. Do you and stay out of the drama. Always be nice and courteous. People will notice if you come in with an attitude or act like an asshole. They will also notice if you’re friendly and make an effort. First rule of derby is Don’t be a Dick. Take note of that. Always remember it. People will remember if you’re a douche. Also don’t get shitfaced especially if you’re underage. People remember that too. On that note never drink or take drugs while you’re skating as much fun as it is. It’s super dangerous and no one wants to be that girl who broke her ankle drunk skating.
All in all. Enjoy it. Derby will be one of the hardest, most challenging, most rewarding things you will ever do in your life. Savor every moment. Even the hard ones.
If you don’t make it in your first try out, don’t take it to heart but rather let it fuel you. Work out outside of derby. Skate everywhere. Skate at parks, rinks, and wear your skates at home it will help so much. If you can dodge a child at the open skate you can dodge a block from a giant blocker. If you can shut the car door with your ass you can block that super fast jammer.
General skating tips.
Always move your feet. Work on your footwork more than anything else. It will pay off. Look behind you. Derby happens in the back even if you’re at the back of the pack. Track awareness is key and your eyes should always be moving. Always know where both jammers are or you’ll have no idea what’s happening. Watch ore recorded bouts. The better the teams the better you’ll learn. Know the fucking rules. Study your ruleset front to back. When you think you know it. Read it again. Read it on the bus. Read it between classes. Read it when you’re bored and watching Netflix. It will pay off. Always get low. Think you’re low? Squat lower. It’s harder to hit and easier to take a hit. You’ll feel more stable on your skates. Think you’re gonna fall? Do a deep squat. You will probably recover. If you do fall get up quickly without your hands if you can. Always tuck your fingers. They will be rolled over, caught in the rail, or broke. If you don’t. Always find a buddy. Derby is about walls. If you’re alone and you’re not a jammer out of the pack you shouldn’t be alone. You’re not helping anyone. As a blocker find someone and wall up. Two blockers are generally a ton more effective than one. As a jammer look for your walls they will help you. They are your friends and you love them for it, but don’t rely on them.
I know that was a ton but I love derby and these are some of what I’ve learned skating with three leagues and trying out for four.
Lastly Skate Hard. Skate Fast. Turn Left. Hit a Bitch.
Despite the fact that the battle of the Alamo seems to be remembered as some kind of turning point in the Texas Revolution, it’s been said that what the rebels did at the Alamo had, at best, no impact on the war and possibly even made things worse. Historians whose vision of the event isn’t blurred by freedom tears see it as a catastrophic military blunder caused by the rebels refusing to take the advice of smarter men.