What direction would you like to see derby go into, globally as well as for yourself?
I love watching the sport grow yearly and seeing teams pop up internationally, as well as seeing the massive success of older/established leagues here in the U.S. Junior leagues are especially exciting because it helps to address an issue many leagues face: keeping a steady flow of new athletes to fill out their rosters. I hope derby continues to keep a blend of central organization (from such groups as the WFTDA) and locally governed, team-centric practices; I think this approach has contributed to derby’s overall growth and allows leagues to tailor coaching, play, and functioning to meet their needs. And I eagerly await the day when I can watch roller derby on television, just like any other sport!
What do you have to say to people that don’t believe derby is a sport, either because of the style of play, the uniforms or the lack of perceived athleticism?
UGH! These preconceived notions really upset me and just demonstrate a general lack of awareness about what it is we really do as skaters. I wish people could let go of their antiquated memories of “old” roller derby and come to a modern game with an open mind; I think those ignorant or uninformed about our sport would be really surprised and proud of all the work we do as amateur, non-paid, passionate athletes. Unfortunately women’s sports have always been subjected to judgments of athletic authenticity and useless chatter about clothing choice, appropriateness, etc. I welcome anyone who questions our strength and athleticism to try their hand at many of our skaters on/off-skate fitness regimens and dare them to not feel the burn!
What is the one thing you can’t live without when playing roller derby?
A hankie. Seriously; it’s a multi-purpose TOOL for real.
How do you find the balance between roller derby and “real” life?
Yo, derby IS my real life! I’ve been skating for 9 years now and having a life without derby is simply NOT an option. Balancing the training and league service requirements was a bit challenging through college and graduate school, but I’ve never struggled to keep derby a priority in my life. I think this is because it’s been a part of my life so long, it’s just an inextricable component of my life; I’ve also had total support and understanding from my family who recognize the value and love I hold for the sport. It also helps to have no more than 5 friends that don’t skate; when all your peeps are also skaters, you never have to rationalize missing social engagements.
Who is your biggest fan?
That has to be my mom; when we lived in Virginia and Arizona together, she never missed a game. And now that I live on the opposite side of the country, she really misses coming to support and cheer me on. She continues to support every league fundraising effort, works hard to try to get me every piece of derby gear I ask for my birthday, and even trekked out to Duluth for my first time playing in a divisional tournament! She came loaded with posters and a giant foam finger to cheer on BRG and fell in love with the team! I’m really grateful to have her in my corner for all things derby.