Skater of the Month

September 2016 Skater Of The Month - AlliKat Scratch



Name:
 AlliKat Scratch


Team(s): Cigar City Mafia and Tantrums


Number: 9


How did you choose your derby name? It is a combination of my real name which is Allison Kathleen so I used the beginning of my first and middle name.


When did you start playing roller derby? I went through the QK program in 2010.


Tell us about your rookie year, how you found roller derby and how you learned how to play? At work I had a girl transfer to my store who invited me to watch her play. I was hooked on the spot but never roller skated. I went to two open skates before my QK class began.


Do you have a spirit animal? My spirit animal is a jaguar.


Worst derby injury? I have had 3 concussions but my worst injuries were spraining my wrists because that hurts me at derby and at work.


What have been your favorite skate brands/products? I am currently obsessed with the Martini Juice wheels.


What did you think about as you laced up your skates? I always try to run through what I'm about to focus on. Communication is key and staying calm and controlled.


Do you have a favorite motivational quote?  Of course... FAST SMART FEARLESS!


Do you have a pre-derby/sports background? I played sports like soccer and swimming but in high school I did marching band and color guard.


What are some of your greatest on-the-track accomplishments? My favorite moment was a Tantrums game against Detroit a few years ago. At the time I thought I was regressing in skills and that game proved that I had actually improved and things clicked. I even cried after the game in Rojos arms!


Off-the-track derby accomplishments? I am a business owner in my favorite profession.


Who are your derby heroes? My derby heroes are all of my teammates and league mates who have helped make our league exactly what we want it to be. We are a loving family!


What is your day job? Has it contributed to your roller derby experience? If so, how? I own a pet grooming salon!


Has roller derby affected the way you live your outside life? Yes absolutely! I am a much more confident woman!

Tell us about your favorite derby moments: One of my favorite moments was getting MVP blocker in a Tantrums game against Jacksonville.


What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about joining roller derby? DO IT! This sport has made the biggest impact in my life and I'll never give it up!


October 2016 Skater Of The Month - Anja Patellas



Name:
Anja Patellas

 

Teams: Sea Sirens, Switchblade Sisters

 

Number: 327

 

How did you choose your derby name?  I thought it was funny. I was going to school for nursing, so it was medical and I actually had some pretty bad knee injuries when I first got into derby. It seemed fitting.

 

When did you start playing roller derby? I tried out for Detroit in 2009, but barely missed the cut. I planned to try out again soon after until I tore my ACL practicing in my driveway.  So I started with a league in 2010.

 

Tell us about your rookie year, how you found roller derby and how you learned how to play?  My best friend joined a league in Buffalo and I thought it would be super fun. I got skates for Christmas and started skating at my local rink in 2009. After I tried out for Detroit that year and was recovering from my ACL surgery, a new league started near me. It was a lot closer, so I went there in January 2010. We were a new league and we didn't have the benefit of a lot of veteran skaters. We did have a lot of tenacious skaters and a coach that put in a lot of work to get us skating.

 

Do you have a spirit animal? I had trouble deciding, and my daughter suggested a crow, because I'm smart and I pick at things until they are accomplished.  I don't even know what to say...

 

Worst derby injury? I guess my torn ACL was the worst. I was practicing in my driveway and Mean Bean rode in front of me with a tricycle. To avoid her, I hurt myself.

 

What have been your favorite skate brands/products? I skate with Bont boots with an Arius plate.  I'm pretty happy with this set up!

 

What did you think about as you laced up your skates? I think about how glad I am to be skating. I remind myself that no matter how frustrated I get when I can't perform a skill or I feel like I am letting someone down because I can't accomplish the goal for that line, that we do this for fun. Someday we won't be skating, so I try to live in the moment and have fun.

 

Do you have a favorite motivational quote? You are either learning or succeeding.

 

Do you have a pre-derby/sports background? My parents bribed me to not play sports. I was interested, but I guess the logistics were too much with a family of 5 kids. I did get to play softball in high school and when I was in second grade. But that's pretty much it.

 

What are some of your greatest on-the-track accomplishments? Every time I get out there and succeed or even try something I couldn't do before, it's my greatest accomplishment.

 

Off-the-track derby accomplishments? I set out to lose 80# to help me play derby better. I almost quit 2 years ago. I thought I was getting too old. My knees were bothering me and I had some autoimmune issues that seemed to be getting worse. I had just bought a brand new pair of skates and I thought I would give one last real push of an effort to make this work because I love playing so much, and I changed my life.

 

Who are your derby heroes? I really don't follow who is who in derby. So my derby heroes are the people that have kept me moving forward. Some are from Michigan and some are from here in Florida. Too many names to mention. My biggest hero is my super amazing husband, who has never been anything but a cheerleader for me in derby. And I can't forget all of Tampa Roller Derby. I'm really lucky to learn from these people. Really, super-duper lucky.

 

What is your day job? Has it contributed to your roller derby experience? If so, how? I'm an RN, and a SAHM currently. Both of these jobs really help me with keeping my cool and having patience with myself and with other people when things get frustrating.

 

Has roller derby affected the way you live your outside life? I am more likely to speak up when I see a problem. My confidence has increased. When you play derby, you really can only focus on derby. When I'm having a bad day, I know that I get a couple hours where I can focus on me and not the stuff that might be bothering me.

 

Tell us about your favorite derby moments: I had a friend from Michigan who I skated with in a 2 day mixed scrimmage type tournament years ago. We have been FB friends since then, and I was excited to run into her at RollerCon last year. She was so excited to see me and said that skating with me at that event really impacted her in a positive way. That I was one of her derby heroes. That was super cool.


What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about joining roller derby? Derby has been a life-changing event for me. I thought it would be fun exercise in a group, and it is. But it's so much more. You need to hold yourself accountable for your own learning/actions, but we have all the tools you need to succeed and people who will cheer you on as you do it. Derby offers other experiences also. There are business, creative, technical and leadership aspects to being part of a league that most people don't even realize. You can learn something new or give using the skills you already have! If you are a strong, confident human or want to be, this is the place for you. Whether choose to skate or not! Derby won't save you, but it can give you the tools to save yourself!


November 2016 Skater Of The Month - Christicuffs



Name:
Christicuffs

Position within the league? Head NSO

 

How long have you been with the league? 4 years

 

How did you choose your derby name? My name is Christi--it was pretty easy.

 

How did you become affiliated with the league? My daughter, Peaches N Screams, joined the juniors team 5 years ago. I was always around, and derby looked like fun so I went to a couple boot camps and joined the QK. I learned really fast that there weren't enough hours in the day for me to both learn to skate and learn to play derby on top in addition to having a job and family. Part of the QK training was learning to NSO. Many years ago I kept the scorebook for basketball and baseball, so derby paperwork appealed to my love of paperwork, so I joined Team Dazzle.

 

Do you have a spirit animal? I'm a cat person. A lazy housecat person.

 

Favorite derby moment(s) to date? There have been many, but my favorite is probably being on what's reported to be the first all-female NSO crew at this year's division playoffs in Columbia, SC.

 

 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become involved in roller derby by volunteering? Do it--you're needed, and if your league is anything like mine, they're going to love you.


August 2016 Skater Of The Month - Eliza Lot



Name:
 Eliza Lot

Team(s) Current: Bruise Crew and Vicegrip Vixens   Past: Tantrums, Sea Sirens, Black Widows and Switchblade Sisters.


Number: 211 (because it the code for a robbery in progress, and this Blocker will steal yo’ Jam, it was 2006 and we had buttons with slogans)


How did you choose your derby name? I didn’t really choose it myself. It was given. I tried changing it in later on and everyone was so confused I just left it. So, if anyone wants to be Helga VonHurtin… it's yours.


When did you start playing roller derby? 2005-ish. I came to the first game, watching Leia Flat be rolled out on track in a celebratory lap in a wheelchair with a broken leg, during halftime, I won the raffle and was promptly tackled by a stranger (Scary Magdalene, if you don’t know her she was the best!!) and fell in love immediately. I started the next practice, holding on to the wall because I had not skated before.


Tell us about your rookie year, how you found roller derby and how you learned how to play? My rookie year… wow so long ago! I saw a news story about these wild and crazy ladies in Tampa starting a Roller Derby League, I said I can do that and showed up at the next game. Back then we did not have the exceptional QK program we have now. Instead we called it the “kiddie pool” in order to identify as a noob, we had to wear orange floats on our arms.. Hence why I cannot seem to keep my elbows in. I started with some awesome ladies (Rojo, being one). I was given the best big sister (Leia Flat) and learned old school derby, we hit a lot, we fought, we wore fishnets and skirts, we laughed and played fast derby. The hits were big, we had minors, a penalty wheel and a 2 whistle start. It was primordial and a blast…looking back I would not want my foundation to be any different.


Do you have a spirit animal? I do have a spirit animal! It is a Hippo… yeah yeah yeah.. I am a big girl, I get it… The Hippo is also fitting because Mommy Hippos are super protective, motherly, they develop strong bonds with their offspring yet they remain fierce. Hippo’s are ranked as one of the most dangerous animals.


Worst derby injury? Oh gosh, so many to choose from.. I am going to go with shattered Elbow 2007.. I broke my elbow in the last jam of our first Sunshine Skate tournament (we won). You do not realize how crucial a functioning elbow is until you can’t move it. Elbow injuries take the fun out of funny bone. I think it took about 12 months for incidental bumps to my elbow to not bring me to my tears.


What have been your favorite skate brands/products? I do not think I have ever been a “brand” person. I have been very excited over the years with the advancements in design and technology used on everything from skates to knee pads. My oldest friend (Ana Cheng) set up a blind date for me with Juice Wheels the Martini Series and I have fallen in love. I have exceptional strong toes and get terrible cramps from gripping with my toes, these wheels are the first time I don’t slide out on the turns and have the confidence to not grip with my piggies.


What did you think about as you laced up your skates? Once, I shrug away the stresses and pressures of daily life; usually there is mantra that goes through my head of: To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift, I will go out there, I will fall, falling in life is inevitable—staying down is optional, push through, I am choosing today.


Do you have a favorite motivational quote?  Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover. –Mark Twain   I live my life by that, my close friends and family hear it all the time.. regret doing something instead of sitting back watching it pass and regret having been the spectator.


Do you have a pre-derby/sports background? I really don’t. My husband teases me I am the most un-athletic athlete.


What are some of your greatest on-the-track accomplishments? Wow so many! I would have to go with the first season we made it to Regionals. It was the first season we were making a huge shift into playing competitively and seriously. Our league and the game was changing from less of a hobby and more of a sport, focusing on strategy, slow play and  playing smart vs. hard. I remember going into that tournament and feeling like a bit intimidated by the success of the teams we were playing, and leaving the tournament with such a sense of accomplishment and excitement for the small glimpse of thing to come and a new vision for what was then Tampa Bay Derby Darlins.


Off-the-track derby accomplishments? I would like to say I was a good part of the what TRD has grown into, I was on the BOD for some of the most challenging seasons and growing pains while we worked out our handbook and vision for the league. Being involved in the start of our Junior program has been extremely rewarding! I think Ellie Mae would agree with me when I say we never thought the Juniors program would grow into what it has become, our initial goal was to share our passion with our children. The juniors I have witnessed grow into some of the best players in the world and a shaped the outstanding people they are today. I like that I am involved with the success of having our own venue and work that comes along with that… So please clean up after yourself and if you see a mess at the rink clean it up don’t just walk past.

Who are your derby heroes? Okay so, I don’t really have any derby heroes, I see passion and ability in most skaters I meet. I’ve been so impressed watching some the skaters I have known over the past years, watching them overcome struggles, develop and transform into the skaters they are. I am more impressed with someone who starts derby falling constantly and works into a graceful Tantrum. (you know who you are, wink wink!). If I chose a hero it would be my Husband, If you haven’t met him.. you should. He is one cool cucumber! His ability to coach, his athleticism and ability to watch Roller Derby for 3 months and understand it better than I do I after 10 years is amazeballs!


What is your day job? Has it contributed to your roller derby experience? If so, how? During the days when I am not handling rink issues, I am a Regulatory Compliance Auditor and Trainer. . I have a career I love and have passion for. I am grateful that I wake each more excited to go to “work”. I can’t completely call it work because it gives me the flexibility to spend as much time working on TRD as I do. I get to travel, meet people and have a direct impact on my companies success.


Has roller derby affected the way you live your outside life? Very much so! Roller derby gave me the self-worth and confidence to make much needed changes in my life. It has helped create an additional platform for me to bond and grow with my daughters. I have remarkable children and derby has helped with that! My two daughters play and make me so proud every time they lace up their skates or I over hear them in their rooms discussing strategies, work out plans or building each other up… it gives me goose bumps. They have become such strong, confident and beautiful young ladies. My Son, has witnessed success takes hard work, he has grown to be so strong, smart and driven- he is my lil Steve Jobs. My step-son I have enjoyed sharing being involved in a sport and watching the metamorphose as he pursues his passion and dreams of baseball daily, constantly pushing himself to be the most elite player he can be. I’m a proud aunt watching my Nephew navigate the rough waters of adulthood, helping him find himself in his ability to be involved through TRD’s volunteer program.


Tell us about your favorite derby moments: Fave moment, would have been the first Birthday I ever celebrated (its story ask me some day and I’ll explain). We were playing in a tournament in Huntsville, AL and after a full exhausting rewarding weekend of playing Rojo surprised me with a pink and black frosted bday cake and party to match. We took over a meeting room at the hotel and stayed up all night celebrating, bonding and just being plain crazy. I did take away a life lesson: black icing used as face paint to make mustaches, once washed off will cause red rash mustache. We all looked ridiculous on the way home.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about joining roller derby? Fish Oil and Calcium. Take care of your bones, if you plan to play for any amount of time…take care of those bones now, and later they will not fail you. Also a league is only as great as its members…BE INVOLVED, BE INVOLVED, BE INVOLVED!


July 2016 Skater Of The Month - Karmavore



Name:
 Karmavore


Team(s): Black Widows, Sea Sirens

Number: 61 - My birth year!


How did you choose your derby name?  I wanted to use something that incorporated my name and honor the wonderful cats I work with, so Karmavore came pretty naturally.


When did you start playing roller derby?  I skated with Lava City Roller Dolls briefly starting in 2007. After living in Tampa for a year or so, I decided to give TRD a try in April 2015.

Tell us about your rookie year, how you found roller derby and how you learned how to play?  My first go round was because of a co worker that skated. I've always loved roller skating and watching derby, so why not?  Having recently moved to Tampa, I was looking for a way to get exercise and meet people outside of my work. I figured started derby again would be a great way to do both!  My previous league did not have fresh meat program really in place, we just got thrown in with everyone. I learned to skate, but also was missing many basic skills. The TRD Quad Killer program really helped me hone in on those missing skills.

Do you have a spirit animal?  The Bobcat. Small and doesn't look like much of a threat, but in reality are extremely fierce and strong predators that can take down prey six times their size. I'd like to think I'm more of a threat than I look. :-)


Worst derby injury? Knock on wood......I've been very fortunate. Either that or my "no pain, no brain" when adrenaline is flowing is going to catch up with me and I'm going to discover a bunch of old ones I never knew I had. Probably the worst was when I was skating in Oregon. Someone tripped me and I flew through the air and landed on my stomach. One of my knee pads slipped and my patella came right down on the plastic edge of the pad. That took me out of practice for a couple weeks.


What have been your favorite skate brands/products? I love my new Luigino skates, and my Hello Kitty duct tape!


What did you think about as you laced up your skates?  Do I need to pee first? Are there any wrinkles in my socks? Let's do this!


Do you have a favorite motivational quote? I have two - "Before you can be great, you have to be good. Before you can be good, you have to be bad. Before you can be bad, you have to try." and "Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right."


Do you have a pre-derby/sports background? Growing up, I was probably the most non-athletic person in school. I was that kid who the teams fought over who had to take me. In 1996, I began endurance horse racing. this is horse races in increments of 25, 50, 75 and 100 miles. My horse and I made it to the national championships. It taught me to be strong, tough, observant (as it was my responsibility to take care of my horse and make sure she finished the race sound and healthy) and never to quit. Even though there were a couple races that I just wanted to get off the horse, sit down and cry. It helped give me the strength and resilience I have today.


What are some of your greatest on-the-track accomplishments? Winning two MVP Jammer awards, getting drafted to the Sea Sirens this year.

Off-the-track derby accomplishments? Getting to help bring Big Cat Rescue as a Partner in Charity with the league.


Who are your derby heroes?  Anyone who laces up their skates, really. I do however need to give a shout out to my buddy Raemi Poitras, aka Screamin' Meanie, one of my very first friends in roller derby. Close to my age, she's a single mom, grandma, business owner, came back to skating after a car accident, then a broken leg. She is an amazing jammer for the Lava City Roller Dolls A team, and was named Oregon MVP all stars for the 2012 season!


What is your day job? I'm the Assistant Manager at Big Cat Rescue. I have trouble referring to it has a job, as that word seems to have a lot of negative connotations. It's not just my work, it's my passion! I'm one of those truly lucky people who get paid to do what I love.  

Has it contributed to your roller derby experience? If so, how? 
Most definitely! Big Cat Rescue was chosen to be the league's Partner in Charity, so my two passions get to come together. Awesome!


Has roller derby affected the way you live your outside life? Yes. It's great exercise so I'm in much better shape. I'm pretty introverted, so it forces me to be social.


Tell us about your favorite derby moments: Bringing my team up from behind in the final jam of our Rookie Rumble, anytime I'm jamming and get through a wall of Tantrums.


What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about joining roller derby? Do it. Don't worry about your age, don't worry about your body type, and don't worry about your athletic ability. Just do it. Derby is for anyone willing to work for it.  Oh, and no.....you don't need to retire at age 40, or 50 for that matter. Retirement? Pfffft! What's that?!


March 2016 Skater Of The Month - Laryn Kill



Name:

Laryn Kill


Team(s):

Vicegrip Vixens

Tampa Tantrums


Number:
20


How did you choose your derby name?:

I am a fan of the artist, Lauryn Hill. I was trying to come up with derby names when I first joined and that one was the better of my other choices.


When did you start playing roller derby?:

Summer 2010


Tell us about your rookie year, how you found roller derby and how you learned how to play?:

I found out about roller derby from a college newspaper while living in Missouri. The league there had just started and was recruiting. I had been feeling like I needed to be active again since I was transferring from my night shift position as a Medical/Surgical RN to day shifts as a Operating Room Nurse. I showed up to a practice by myself and liked what I saw. I hadn't seen any games before and old school roller derby was before my time, so naturally I went and rented 'Whip It'. I was so pumped after watching that movie. I remember the clerk telling me she had friends who played it and that I might be too small to play the sport. LOOK AT ME NOW HASTINGS CLERK!

My rookie year was very exciting. I played more in other league's games as a fill in than I did for my actual team bc we didn't have too much scheduled. I think that helped with my progression, having all that track time.

I found roller derby in a big transition in my life. I like to think of my first year(s) of roller derby as my college party days that I missed while attending an accelerated nursing program.


Do you have a spirit animal?:
The American Bald Eagle.


Worst derby injury?:
*knock on wood* Only sprains, bruises, tight muscles, a non-impressive black eye and sacrificed big toe nails.


What have been your favorite skate brands/products?:
I really like the Martini line of Juice wheels. I love the *swish* they have. I'm so glad I made the transition to my Pro-Design knee pads. I sport a S8 Lifer helmet. I've been a believer in the Luigino Vertigo Q-6 boots and their Falcon F-16 plates. However, I am always open to trying out new products.


What did you think about as you laced up your skates?:
I think about having fun. I think about all the time, energy, and money I've put into doing this. No matter how tough the competition or how big the stakes I always try to remember that this is fun.


Do you have a favorite motivational quote?:
Not any in particular. There are some I really like, but none that I love so much that I have them memorized. I should work on that...


Do you have a pre-derby/sports background?:
None. I had taken weight lifting class in high school for two years, but I sadly I never participated in any individual or team sports.


What are some of your greatest on-the-track accomplishments?:
Any time I've received an MVP award. Helping the 2015 Vicegrip Vixens achieve an undefeated championship season as its Captain, it's first year back as Tampa's 4th home team.


Off-the-track derby accomplishments?:
I'm not sure. Last season I captained an amazing group of women. This season I am co-captaining another amazing group of women, The Tantrums. I'm also Head of Marketing for TRD. This year will be a year in which I might I have more to show off the track than previous years.


Who are your derby heroes?:

Anyone who continuously puts in the work to be a better version of themselves, whether they be a rookie or a seasoned vet. Anyone that is willing to make mistakes in order to grow. I love watching the big names in high level derby just like anyone else and I try to emulate their skill, work ethic, and game intelligence. I definitely have my favorite skaters to watch. However, I am most inspired by those I see day in and day out bust their bums to make the most out of this experience while their minds and bodies allow it. My heroes are those that do it not only for themselves but for their team mates as well.


What is your day job? Has it contributed to your roller derby experience? If so, how?:
I am a registered nurse that works as a circulating nurse in the operating room. I get to see some gnarly things and sometimes situations get chaotic. I think my ability to keep my calm in the OR has helped me keep my calm on the bench; to keep a positive attitude when things aren't going my way.


Has roller derby affected the way you live your outside life?:
L.O.L.

I'm a military brat, so I'm used to moving every 3-4 years. The last placed I lived was the longest I ever stayed somewhere (5 years). I have a degree in a field where it'll never be hard to find work anywhere I travel. So when it came to picking a place to move, a town that had a D1 team was a must. While I do have other interests outside of derby, this is preeettty much the only thing I do outside of work.


Tell us about your favorite derby moments:

Cape Girardeau's Roller Girls debut game in November 2010-Capetown Smackdown! The day of the event my life was an emotional rollercoaster to say the least and I had shown up to the facility late, but just in time to warm up.

Our league had split into two teams. The team I was on won by 2 points in the last jam to a sold out crowd of 850? people. It was electric, it was loud, it was awesome. It was roller derby. I won MVP for my team that game. We had put in a lot of hard work to put on our first game and at the end of the game we had entertained new fans and went and partied our bums off afterward. It was the kickoff of something amazing in my life and I didn't even know it.


Spring 2015 when the Tantrums beat ATL. I had wanted to win that game, just like any other game, and it was icing on the cake to earn that win for our coach Rojo, a mother of two, on Mother's Day. She was away from her kids and she spent it in ATL's hot practice space helping us win that game.


What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about joining roller derby?:
What do you have to lose? What kind of story do you want to tell later in life? That you wished you took a chance and played roller derby while you could? Not everyone's experience in this sport is going to be the exact same. But I bet you one thing. I bet you'll have fun no matter what.


April 2016 Skater Of The Month - Red Stiletto

Red Stiletto

Name:
Red Stiletto

 

Team:
Cigar City Mafia

 

Number:
446

 

How did you choose your derby name?
I’ve always been called Red by family, friends, even co-workers and I LOVE high heels, the higher the better…so Red Stiletto just kinda fit…

 

When did you start playing roller derby?
Just a couple years ago actually!  On a complete whim Tag and I came to a TRD home team doubleheader and ended up chatting with Panty Bandit!  Still not sure how, but she talked the two of us into coming back for a ‘tryout’ with Little A the next day!

 

Tell us about your rookie year, how you found roller derby and how you learned how to play?
I’m proud to say I learned my skating/derby basics from Little A (and Lil’ Bit)!  They definitely had their work cut out for them when I joined QK!  I was a hot mess with no less than 20 questions about everything, but they took the time and helped me succeed in graduating into the league!  I had so much fun and made so many memories with that class!

My rookie year I was drafted to Cigar City Mafia, which was my secret hope!  I’ve skated a full season and couldn’t ask for a better place to call home!  My teammates are always so supportive and there to help improve my game!  I’m lucky to be surrounded by such talent!

 

Do you have a spirit animal?
I don’t…maybe I should do some soul-searching on the matter…

 

Worst derby injury?
So far nothing major thankfully…really all just kinda silly.  I hurt my right thumb the night of our final practice before Rookie Rumble and that joker still ain’t right!!  Rude NAILED me in the ribs during a game last season…that one took a few weeks to feel better!!!  It was a really nice hit!  The best though was probably when Slayor took off part of my face early last season…that one was actually kinda funny!  I didn’t understand why they called the jam or why everyone was acting all shocked…that is until I was ushered to the medics and Toni told me I was missing a quarter size piece of skin and my face was bleeding profusely.  The officials were busy looking for said skin on the track when Toni casually pointed out it was in my hair, all while Ana was signaling to my husband (who didn’t see the hit) that I wasn’t gonna survive!  To this day no one understands how it even happened!

 

What have been your favorite skate brands/products?
My QK skates were Riedell R3s with Juke 93/95 wheels.  Last year I upgraded to Luigino Vertigo Q6s with Boom Firm/XtraFirm wheels.  I wish I had more to offer, but I’m still so new to the sport I don’t have the knowledge or experience to speak intelligently on the different range of products! Luckily we have tons of knowledge throughout the league.

 

What did you think about as you laced up your skates?
Before I put my skates on, before I even get to the rink, I put on my ‘Bout Day’ playlist and I tune everything out.  I think about staying strong, about holding my own, about being a presence on the track!  On some days, that translates...and other days, it does not…but either way, I’m having a good time doing it!

 

Do you have a favorite motivational quote?
Anything Millie posts on FB…seriously!!!  She should be my life coach!

 

Do you have a pre-derby/sports background?
NONE!!!  I have never played organized sports of any kind!  Until finding derby I’d never even seen a sport I wanted to play!

 

What are some of your greatest on-the-track accomplishments?
Not having a long derby history my ‘great’ moments come any time I hold a Tantrum/Bruise Crew jammer…any time I push her out of bounds and recycle her before she can jump back in…any time I am fully in-sync with my teammates on the track...and in the rare moments that I jam and get lead!  All the small victories!!!

 

Off-the-track derby accomplishments?
Managing Franky Panky last year was a huge accomplishment!  I had no idea what I was getting into, but in the end I stumbled and I learned and I grew…and it was a success!  Being Bout Coordinator 2016 has been an adventure to say the least and even more of a learning experience with all the changes in the league!

 

Who are your derby heroes?
All the Tantrums.  All the Bruise Crew.  All of TRD.  This league is amazing and I’m lucky to have found not just derby, but TAMPA roller derby!  I can’t imagine playing anywhere else!

 

What is your day job? Has it contributed to your roller derby experience? If so, how?
I work for a maritime shipping company and they LOVE derby!  I actually send out game emails to the entire office and the company President makes a point to ask about it regularly.  Quite a few have come to one game or another!  Even the ship’s crew ask about it!  In fact, one of my ship Captains came to the season opener!  He was highly impressed and promised he’d be back!

 

Tell us about your favorite derby moments.
All of them!  I feel like if I pick one moment over another, on the track or off, winning or losing, success or failure, I’m taking away from all the other moments!  We’re given such little time to play this sport we love that I want to cherish them all equally!  Because one day there will only be memories of the days of derby…good, bad and ugly!

 

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about joining roller derby?
If I can do it…you can do it…so just do it!!!


May 2016 Skater Of The Month - Really Smalls

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Position within the league?
Skating official


How long have you been with the league? This is my fourth season


How did you choose your derby name? My full derby name is "Really Smalls" which is supposed to be a play on "Biggie Smalls," but everyone just calls me Smalls


How did you become affiliated with the league? I used to play for the Bradentucky Bombers, then transferred to Tampa with my friends Clam and Morgan.


Do you have a spirit animal? If so, what is it & why? If no, what would you choose & why? Thurms. We work really well together, and she's awesome.


Pimp your gear: My name is Really Smalls and S1 is part of my uniform. I skate on Luiginos with Pilot Falcon plates, and Juice Martinis for my wheels.


Favorite derby moment(s) to date? Honestly, as an official, I don't really have a favorite moment. I love coming to scrimmage on Wednesday and joking around with the crew and watching all the skaters have fun while they play.


What advice would you give to someone who wants to become involved in roller derby by volunteering? Do it. Also, read the rules.



June 2016 Skater Of The Month - Tic Tac Toni



Name:
Tic Tac Toni


Team(s): Bruise Crew, Switchblade Sisters


Number: 82


How did you choose your derby name? In my previous league, you didn’t really “choose” a name. It was chosen for you. My name was actually supposed to be “Diabeater”, but I refused. One of the coaches came up with my name during an after party. It just kind of stuck.


When did you start playing roller derby?  I started playing roller derby in 2010.

 

Tell us about your rookie year, how you found roller derby and how you learned how to play?

I started playing roller derby in the fall of 2010, in Panama City, Fl. When I started college, I had a friend who played. After a bad break up, I was itching to try something new. She made me promise to come to a game. I reluctantly went, and fell in love. I had been an ice figure skater for many years as a kid, so anything on skates intrigued me.


Learning how to play was completely different in Panama City. Skaters could join at any point, but I was lucky to start on the same day as another skater. We learned how to fall, and then we were pretty much thrown to the wolves to learn basic skills. You learned quickly what it took to stay up on your skates and participate. I transferred to Tampa during my rookie year, which was intimidating in itself. My league mates with PCRD told me they were the best in the entire state. In Tampa, I learned strategy and really was able to hone in on my skills.

 

Tampa turned out to be a culmination of strong supportive women. Like many people will tell you, I found derby when I needed it the most.  


Do you have a spirit animal? My spirit animal is a kangaroo. Everyone calls me the team mom. I usually try to make sure everyone feels okay and supported. Kangaroos can be mean, too. I guess I’m still working on that part!


Worst derby injury? I tore my Achilles tendon, which was both painful and confusing. I was out for over 6 months before I was able to put my skates back on.

 

What have been your favorite skate brands/products? S1 is by far my favorite helmet I’ve ever owned. I love my Luigino Vertigo Q-6 boots matched with Falcon F-16 plates.


What did you think about as you lace up your skates? I usually am singing a song in my head while I lace up. It changes every week!


Do you have a favorite motivational quote? I’m not convinced I have one, but I do have a TON motivational people! My coaches on the travel teams I’ve played Rojo, Bit, Robin and Slayor. Teammates like Millie, Lily, and Tiny to name a few, but there are SO many more. If you have the passion, I see it! THAT’S what motivates me.


Do you have a pre-derby/sports background? I was an Ice figure skater from the age of 4 until I was almost 14. And when I say that, I mean home schooled, at the rink at 5 AM OBSESSED figure skater. We moved to New Mexico and the ice rink was pretty much nonexistent. I learned how to play tennis and ran hurdles in track in high school.


What are some of your greatest on-the-track accomplishments? Making the Bruise Crew and Tantrums Charters, not dying skating against Gotham. Teamwork.


Off-the-track derby accomplishments? Making some of the best friendships I have ever had with my teammates and league mates. I don’t know where I’d be without them!


Who are your derby heroes? Pretty much Every. Single. Person. In this league. People who are willing to put in the time to achieve their dreams, and spend time helping others achieve their own dreams. No one goes through the journey alone!


What is your day job? Has it contributed to your roller derby experience? If so, how? I am an EMT. I would definitely say my day job has contributed to my roller derby experience. I find my two passions overlay in a lot of ways. I’m a HUGE advocate for concussions and mental health, but I have a “throw some dirt on it and get up” approach for minor injuries. I will say that being an EMT and a skater has given me numerous opportunities to work under pressure and remember that positivity and good thoughts go a long way. You can do almost anything you put your mind to!


Has roller derby affected the way you live your outside life? Yes. I find myself thinking before I eat or exercise. “Is this the right fuel to get me through practice?” “You need to go for that run. Your teammates are counting on you to be strong.” If anything, derby has helped me balance my outside life to live healthier.


Tell us about your favorite derby moments: Overall, derby is my favorite moment in life, so that’s hard. It’s rare you find something in life you feel as passionately about as I do derby. Let’s see. Playing on the Bruise Crew as they annihilated a TON of team in Florida. I would say the tantrums weekend in Atlanta last year. Winning for Rojo on Mother’s Day. Divisions every year and the training and team building time leading up to that. Playing on the Bruise Crew in Canada I’m sure will make the list soon, too!


What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about joining roller derby? DO IT! What do you have to lose? You try, and you love it, or it makes for a good story.


February 2016-Dakota Dynamite




Name:

Dakota Dynamite

Team(s): 
Black Widows, Bruise Crew
 
Number:
701 (yep, that’s the area code for the whole state of North Dakota)
 
How did you choose your derby name?:
I'm from North Dakota, I liked the alliteration with Dynamite and now I blow up the pack. 
 
When did you start playing roller derby?:
I started in 2007, but didn't play from 2008-2013 since I lived in Turkey.  I’ve been with Tampa since Feb 2013.
 
Tell us about your rookie year, how you found roller derby and how you learned how to play?:
In 2007, I wanted to work out with a purpose versus working out to workout.  My sister suggested roller derby since she knew someone who did it and I used to like to rollerblade.  When I moved to Denver I found the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls and tried out.  I took a beating but got addicted.  2013 felt like another rookie year for me.  It was really humbling to learn new rules and skills.  I learned by making every possible practice and watching a lot of derby. 
 
Do you have a spirit animal?:
The American Bison—I grew up on a buffalo ranch and went to North Dakota State (Go Bison!), but I didn’t pick it until I saw a video where one just ran right over another one.  Sometimes when I jam, I like to back up and charge.

Worst derby injury?:
Nothing super serious, separated AC joint, deviated septum, lots of bruises
 
What have been your favorite skate brands/products?:
My face shield and big toe stops. 
 
What do you think about as you laced up your skates?:
I remind myself I’m strong.
 
Do you have a favorite motivational quote?:
Not really a quote, but I think of taking the track up after practice is an analogy for life/derby.  Sometimes it goes really easy and then you get to a piece of tape that won’t come up or is stuck to the rope.  You have to work harder to get it or have a teammate help you.         
 
Do you have a pre-derby sports background?:
I did gymnastics, volleyball, and track but lived in a place where if you wanted to play, you pretty much made the team.  I did the best at gymnastics so when the program was cancelled, I utilized my tumbling skills on cheer team in high school and college. 
 
Off-the-track derby accomplishments?:
I’ve been the raffle coordinator pretty much since I started with Tampa.  Last year, I took over sponsorship and started the Friends of Tampa Roller Derby, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit booster club.  Email: friendsoftamparollerderby@gmail.com if you’d like to get involved.
 
Who are your derby heroes?:
I have a lot of respect for people who work hard at playing derby and I love to watch high level skaters, but I don't have anyone specific I'd call a hero.

What is your day job?:
Has it contributed to your roller derby experience? If so, how?: I teach resilience skills, effective strategies to get through difficult situations.  I’ve definitely used these skills in roller derby whether it’s not making a roster or a charter or just having an off night or jam.   
 
Has roller derby affected the way you live your outside life?: 
I make everyone I know listen all about derby. When I was coming back to the states, I only looked for jobs where playing derby was an option. 
 
Tell us about your favorite derby moments: 
The Bruise Crew versus Dub City game last year that was close the whole game against and we came from behind in the last jam for the win.  The whole crowd was so loud and into it.  It was an amazing experience to come together as a team.  I also really enjoyed many of our home team games, they are so intense and anybody’s game. One of my favorite things is skating off the track and realizing I just did a skill I'd been working on without even thinking about it. 
 
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about joining roller derby?: 
Start skating.  It’s an amazing experience to challenge yourself regularly and become a part of an awesome community.


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