by Chairman Meow

Recently the Ithaca League of Women Rollers lost a hard-working league member and skater for the SufferJets, Mass Extinction #450 MYA (aka Trish Smrecak). She has left Ithaca and is now a doctoral candidate in Paleontology at Michigan State University. Mass Extinction excelled at both big hits and the thinking game that is modern derby. She is a great strategist and communicator, both on and off the track, and will be sorely missed. She leaves us with a little advice and some reflections on her time with the ILWR.

Last intro for SufferJets - 2011

Last intro for SufferJets vs Lake Effect Furies July - 2011

How long did you skate w/ ILWR?
I’ve been with ILWR since my second evening in Ithaca in June 2008. It was even the night before the first day of my new job, so I’ve been with ILWR longer than I have the Museum of the Earth.

Do you remember your first jam/game? Was it scary/thrilling/exciting….?
My first game with ILWR was actually a compilation game with Assault City against the Hellions of Troy in Troy. I was only an alternate, so I had no intention of playing, and at the last minute someone backed out and I was in! Everyone said “you won’t remember your first jam,” and I thought they were crazy, but they were right. I remember that the only thing I could think about was tensing every muscle in my body in hopes that I wouldn’t end up on the ground. It was the best 2 minutes of my life, and began my real roller derby addiction.

What else did you do with the league? What committees were you on?
I was the past chair of recruitment and membership, and played minor roles on finance and events committees during my time with ILWR.

Any words of advice for new skaters?
You’re a valuable member of your league, no matter where you’re at in your derby career or skill level. From your first minute stepping on the track, when you’re the reason we’re training you, to your days as a freshmeat, when you’re intimidated by the skills of the veterans. Never doubt that you make the league, and that your league is glad to have you there.

Mass Extinction putting her signature hurt on!

Mass Extinction putting her signature hurt on! Photo: Pete Rodriquez

Any words of advice for veteran skaters?
Take a lesson from the freshmeat. They’re out there, on the track with you, working their asses off and falling at skills you mastered seasons ago. They’re intimidated by you. But they’re out there giving 120% at every practice. You should, too. Its a team sport, but you’re on it because you chose to be as an individual. If practice is boring, make it harder for yourself and don’t complain that its too easy. Spread positivity on the track and there’s no room for drama there. Spread negativity and the drama thrives.

Care to share some highlights of your time with ILWR?
Before I was bout-ready, I was an inside penalty tracker for a bout. It was an amazing experience! I saw EVERYTHING.

There was a great night out in T-burg, with our old teammate Bella de Rink, selling t-shirts and supporting our sponsor. I was still new, and I felt so amazingly welcome.

The night playing poker with Dusa and BeeBee, and Beebee became my pretty little derby wife (sniffle).

The night we went to the Fisherman’s Pub after practice and I sang These Skates are Made for Walkin…in skates.

And my send off party..Derby girls on a boat. Karaoke, lots of beer, and swim races with beer in hand. No better way to go out in style.

Favorite strategy on the track?
Keeping the pack together and controlling it with dynamic speeds.

What was your favorite bout?
Any one I left without an injury that kept me from playing more derby!

What league can we find you skating on next?
A young but ambitious group of women called the Mitten Mavens from Lansing MI. They’ve got lots of raw talent and plenty of derby heart…and they’re full of sportswomenship! When you’re not busy cheering for ILWR, stop by facebook and friend this new league.

Liz Hoyt - Cheers for Mass Extinction

Super fan Liz Hoyt - Cheers for Mass Extinction