1. How did you get into Derby?
I started at Sick Town’s second practice ever. Natasha, (aka Smack da Puss, aka Wolf) and I had talked about derby at a Christmas party. She remembered and got in touch with me when she saw a league was starting up locally. I will always be thankful to her for convincing me to go with her and Kant (her sister).
2. You have had a lot of roles within Sick Town. Skater, President and trainer/coach of our JR league (The Candy Stripers), and announcer of bouts. Which is your favorite and why?
Oh jeeze. I have to pick a favorite? Well, skating was amazing. When I skated with the league (before too many injuries and a pregnancy took me off skates) I learned so much about myself. I learned how to push myself harder than I thought possible, I learned how to be a better friend and teammate, and I learned how important it is to have faith & confidence in yourself. Those were life changing lessons at 23, and I wish I had the chance to learn those things when I was struggling with body image and friendships in high school. So, after breaking my ankle during a bout a few years ago, Velma and I decided to take the time to start up the junior league. Second only to being a mother to my new daughter Bowie, working with the junior skaters has been my most fulfilling endeavor. They’re AMAZING, smart, strong and incredibly hard-working. Age, injury, and circumstance might keep me from being a National level skater but I have no doubt I am working with at least some of the up and coming derby super stars. My daughter will have those girl’s posters on her wall and I’ll get to tell her “I knew them when.” Announcing is lots of fun too, I’m actually a pretty shy person but something about derby just opens me up and lets me have a little fun with myself. Plus I just really love to talk about and watch derby. I’d do it if I had a mic in my hand or not! I guess I can’t pick a favorite, they’re all too connected.
3. You have been a part of Sick Town for a long time. What is your favorite moment in Derby history?
My favorite derby moment that I have been a part of was the night I broke my ankle. It should have been a crappy night. We were skating short already and I had just landed a beautiful hit on the other team’s jammer (sending her waaaaay off track, it was gorgeous) when her blocker and I tangled skates. I knew my ankle was broken before I hit the ground but I begged them to let me try and skate (adrenaline will do crazy things to your brain). Bones, being the level headed best friend that she is, convinced me that wasn’t going to happen. The other team had just started gaining a lead on us and I was so worried about the score the whole time I was in the ER (thanks Frankie for the ride and hand holding!)! Dixie told me they were gonna win it for me before I left– and they totally did. I hear they ramped up the intensity and played like a pack of beasts after I left. It was just such a nice night and a good vibe. I was away from home and it could have been a really terrible time but I got to bond with some newer-to-the-league faces and just have a blast with my friends. Then, since I was taking a break from derby anyway my husband and I decided to go ahead and have a baby (which I remember Tuna joking would happen). So all in all, it was a pretty eventful ankle break!
Then my favorite moment in ALL of derby history is the night one of my junior skaters attempted and landed an apex jump during scrimmage. It was sweet. She’s one of our more reserved skaters, and has worked very hard to develop her strong skills. Watching her jump that apex was this incredible symbol of not just her derby journey but the journey of our entire junior league. Some of our skaters came in with strong skating skills, or some have seemed to pick up the derby thing really naturally. Others have had to fight for every stride. Axl is one of the fighters. So determined, so hardworking. I think she represents a lot of derby skaters at any age. Derby is in her blood now and she’s a total beast. I feel proud I’ve gotten to see all that she, and the other junior skaters have achieved so far.
4. What are the hardest parts about your roles within Sick Town, if any?
Time. It’s something I’m struggling with every day. My husband is incredibly supportive of derby and all the roles I’ve played within the sport; I am so lucky for that. But now that my seven month old is on the move there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. Someone should work on that, I bet all the derby mamas would appreciate a few more hours in the day to fit in some derby!
5. What is the biggest challenge you have met in Derby?
That little voice inside my head that tells me to quit, or that I can’t do something, or that it’s not worth the effort. Five years ago that voice was pretty loud, but every time I passed a minski [minimum skills] assessment, added a lap to my endurance, or landed a sweet hit the voice got a little quieter. I hope by the time they’re my age the skaters I’m working with don’t have that little voice, but instead an entire mental cheering section waving signs and rooting them on. And maybe one of their mental cheerleaders will sound like me, that would be radsauce.
6. What is your motto?
I don’t know that I have one! Which is funny because as an announcer I’ve thought of some good ones for other skaters!
If you were at one of my practices you’d probably hear me say GET LOW aproximentaly 1.5 billion times (and I remember cursing Brick for yelling the same thing at me aproximentaly 5 billion times) and ROLLER DERBY WITH FRIENDS! That last one probably sums up the whole derby thing for me. We’re all here, sweating, working our skates off together. I’m putting in my 100% and the skater next to me is doing the same. That kind of dedication creates an incredible bond that I never really had with other women. I am so thankful for it. So glad to have a community of strong women to support me and for my daughter to look up to as she grows.
7. And last but not least what keeps you coming back?
Well, it’s funny that you ask that as I am poised to take a bit of a derby break while I focus on going to grad school and wrangling the baby Bowie beast (she’s a real fire cracker, can’t imagine where she gets it!). But derby is such a part of my life I could never REALLY leave. I am so dedicated to the sport and all that it has taught me that at the very least you’ll find me spouting the good word of roller derby to anyone who will listen. I’m a nerdy derby fan who anxiously waits for each new rule set to dissect and discuss with my husband over dinner. My best friends skate for Sick Town and our junior skaters inspire me way too much for me to ever just fade into the shadows. I may not be able to skate anymore (until they develop the peg leg roller derby skate, for injured pirates), and I may not always live in the Willamette Valley but I’ve been infected with the disease for which there is no cure. I am roller derby through and through, and I’m sure Sick Town blue blood pumps through my veins.