How long did you skate w/ ILWR?
I skated with ILWR since February of 2011. I had skated in one bout against the BlueStockings while I skated with Assault City Roller Derby’s B Team. That was the hardest game I ever skated in my life! I got hit by AKT and Thunder Vittles repeatedly for about an hour. Though I love ACRD, I knew at the end of the game that I really wanted to skate with ILWR!!! About a month or two later I was applying all over the place for a new job and the only place that offered me a job was good ol’ Cornell. I picked up and moved between the week of Xmas and New Years. Once I was settled I laced up my skates. That led to some of the best times of my life and was a rewarding time in derby craziness! I have really enjoyed skating with both of the SufferJets and the BluesStockings. Both teams are kick ass and it is so awesome that ILWR contends with huge cities, being such a tiny town and all.
Where are you now & what are you up to?
I recently moved to the San Francisco BAYYYY AREEEAAAA!!!! We moved onto this awesome island called Alameda that is like 70 degrees all year round and has four miles of beach front. No more winters! It is also very close to the Bay Area Derby Girls practice space, just over the small bridge to Oakland. I have been skating with Bay Area since a few weeks after I have arrived but I have not been placed on a team or bouted yet. Surprisingly, moving across the country is not as easy as it sounds! I haven’t been to as many practices as I would like but I have been busy working. I got a job at start up biotechnology company, so the hours are a lot longer than they were at Cornell and I have a long commute. Until Derby players can go ‘pro’, the day job has to be a bit a priority. BUT, I plan to be regularly skating by next season for sure. This is not the end for Mad ScienceFist.
Do you remember your first jam/game with ILWR? Was it
My first bout ever was against ILWR! That was terrifying, I jammed a lot (I am not normally a jammer) and it was my first time… ever. We got crushed, I think the score was 1000-2. My first game actually skating with the SJs was against the Western Mass Destruction in North Hampton, MA. That was a fun game, we did really well. My first season I sat the bench a lot or did not get rostered. It was hard to get used to that, I took a 2 month hiatus and then when I returned I decided that if I play derby, it is going to be for fun. I would not get down on myself for not hitting the jammer or for not blocking their blocker at the right point of times. I had to get past these kinds of ‘mental blocks’ that I had in my own mind, they were holding me back from doing well. The best things in life come to you naturally, by really liking what it is you do. If you stress and tear yourself apart over something or have really high unreachable expectations, it is impossible to do well. My second season I started off playing with the Blues to really work on my derby attitude, skate crazy amounts of bouts, and work on my skills. I was drafted back to the SJs mid season and made it one of my goals to avoid any kinds of ‘derby drama’ and just have as much fun and play as hard as I could and learn.
What else did you do with the league? What committees were you on?
Ah, committee work… the business side and hardest part of playing roller derby. I have been (at different points in time) a member-at-large on EXCO, the Chair of the Training Committee, a PR committee member, the liaison between the Membership and Training committees and was even on the books as the Vice President. I also taught wReck, or recreational roller derby, which involves training the public and help train them to become derby girls or derby refs.
Any words of advice for new skaters?
Have fun!! Once I stopped taking myself seriously, I improved. Also, most skaters are not a derby star right away so expect it to take time. Remember, we were all freshmeat at one point in time. Roller Derby ain’t easy but it is the best way to spend your spare time. Also, working with someone that is also on your derby team is the best thing in the world (miss you HaHa Hatchet!). When you join the team, try to do it with a friend, it makes it a lot more fun.
Any words of advice for veteran skaters?
My advice to a veteran skater (and to myself) is to know that there is always room to improve. The best skaters are always working hard, once you think your shit don’t stink, someone will knock you on your ass. I think that it is always easy to be inspired by other derby players because the sport is always changing and skaters are always improving on their talents. It is important to watch other teams and see other skaters styles and watch your own team mates. I was (and continue to be) inspired by the different skaters on the SufferJets for many different reasons. Roller derby is as much athletic as it is mental. Be nice to your team mates, because you want them to have your back.
Also, it is so funny to watch other people fall, so remember to laugh the next time you get knocked down.
Care to share some highlights of your time with ILWR?
I jammed in two games with the SJs on rotation. Both of the two games I had bronchitis! Those were the two hardest games ever. I survived and we won both of the them!! I was proud but was a little sad that I had bronchitis because I felt like we would have won by a lot more if I was healthy. Oh well. Luckily AKT came back this season so I didn’t have to jam and I have not had bronchitis since.
Second best highlight is that I won MVP one time against the Hellions of Troy. I am still surprised! Thanks Hellions. 🙂
Favorite strategy on the track?
I like different hold and hits, skating backwards and hitting, hitting a jammer out and then bridging her back 40 feet. The line I skated with didn’t really go out with a strategy in mind. We skated with each other so much that we knew what we were going to do before it happened based on whichever situation came upon us. It isn’t something that you can do with new skaters or strangers, you just get to know each others unique skating talents with time. It is a really great feeling, skating with people you love to skate with.
What was your favorite bout?
By far my favorite game was beating ROC CITY!! They are the SJs long time rivals and I really wanted to win that game before leaving town. it was my last game with the SJs, so it was emotional for me but it felt great winning. ESS and ECDX were really fun tournaments. After parties at Montreal and Pittsburgh with HaHa Hatchet were fun and memorable times.
What league can we find you skating on next?
Bay Area Derby Girls!
MISS YOU ITHACA!