Tag Archives: Skater of the Month

Skater of the Month: CynTax

Photo by Jim Cottingham

CynTax is known on the track for her endurance, speed, agility, and wily jammer moves. In a sport where size often matters, this 5 foot tall, 110-pound skater uses her small stature to her advantage by deftly sneaking through the pack unnoticed. She has received several accolades over her 4-year derby career, including Jammer MVP (Most Valuable Player) on 9/11 against SAC, KillaBytes’ 2009 Takes a Lickin’ and Keeps on Tickin’ award, and she skated 315 laps (approximately 24 miles) in 2 hours at our first annual skate-a-thon fundraiser in 2009.

How did you get into roller derby?

I watched the Rollergirls reality show on A&E in early 2006, and they mentioned that teams following the new format of all women’s, full-contact roller derby were springing up everywhere in major cities across the country. I knew after the first episode that the sport, the culture, the athleticism, and the lifestyle were for me, so I looked online and found the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls of Oakland, the only Bay Area team in existence at the time. I joined B.A.D. Girls in January of 2006 after a short stint with the San Francisco Bay Bombers. After suffering a painful back injury, I retired from B.A.D Girls in June of 2007. I thought my derby career was over, but after lots of physical therapy, my back healed and I felt the derby itch once again. Looking for a team closer to home, I found the Silicon Valley Roller Girls in August of 2008.

What kind of skating skill or athletic abilities did you have before starting derby?

I was very heavily into gymnastics competition all through my childhood. I really feel this training has been extremely helpful in roller derby. In particular, it has helped me to better take falls by rolling out of them or “crumpling” to reduce the impact to any one particular part of the body. As far as skating goes, I am a child of the 80’s, so skating parties were a weekly staple in my life. Until I started my roller derby career in 2006, I hadn’t skated since the late 80’s. It was like riding a bike in some ways, but it still took time to build upon those basic skating skills.

How did you derive your derby name and number?

I’m an accountant and that’s semi-unusual in the derby world, so I wanted my skate name to reflect my profession. My full skate name is supposed to be CynTax Terror, but I wasn’t quick enough to add the Terror part to the national registry. The number, 1040ez, is the standard short form for tax preparation. Get it – short form? During tax season it really is CynTax season because I’m working crazy hours while trying to keep up my attendance at derby practice, so I can make the rosters.

What do you contribute to SVRG and roller derby in general off the track?

My current role with SVRG is as the announcer liaison on our bout production committee as well as one of three WFTDA reps for our league. As the announcer liaison, I seek out great announcers for our bouts, keep them informed as to our timelines and needs as well as making sure their needs are met.   I prepare a 20-page handbook for each bout that details anything and everything our announcers would need to know to make MC-ing our bouts go as smoothly as possible while making it as interesting to listen to as possible.

As the voting WFTDA rep, I keep a close eye on the national WFTDA forum looking for any mandatory votes our league needs to participate in to keep our membership in good standing. I gather the materials needed for our league members to cast their votes and then I transmit our league vote to WFTDA.

In the past, I was the finance committee head for the B.A.D. Girls, and I spearheaded the submission of their nonprofit application to the IRS. I believe we were one of the first or second leagues in the country to do so. This paved the way for other leagues, and now it’s pretty much the standard practice for roller derby leagues to go through the application process to become a nonprofit organization. Years ago, it was a big deal to get the IRS to recognize roller derby as a nonprofit sports organization that promotes female athleticism. We had to fight tooth and nail for it.

How do you spend the non-derby part of your life?

I am pretty active. I think participating in other forms of physical activity when you do a physically demanding sport such as roller derby is important. I like to run, lift weights, participate in yoga, golf, or anything that comes my way, really.

I also like to cook. I don’t have time to do it often, but it’s the only creative thing I do. I get in trouble if I’m too creative at work, lol.

I started a book club for our derby league. We have about a dozen members. We discuss one book a month. Each member contributes a book, and I really like this idea because it gives us all new things to read that we might not have normally chosen on our own. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the selections.

What are your long-term derby goals?

I would like to keep playing roller derby for as long as my body will allow me to. I’ve suffered lots of derby-related injuries, including a broken nose, ribs, and fingers. I’ve had lots of problems with my back and knees from the stresses skating puts on the body. I guess if I had to pinpoint a goal it would be to one day be the oldest member on the league. I’m gaining on the few members older than me.

What advice would you give women interested in playing roller derby?

It’s a little intimidating to join a league, but well worth it if you can muster up the guts. Things are much more organized these days. Our league has a bootcamp we put on a few times a year to train beginners in the basics and help them pass their minimum skills tests and ultimately become a league member. So, I guess my advice is to first decide if you’re serious, because it takes a lot of practice, time, blood, sweat, and tears. If you are serious and you give it your all, you will discover some of the most rewarding things in life, make new friendships, and become more fit than you’ve ever been. After you have decided to make the commitment and be serious about it, don’t let the setbacks ruin your enthusiasm. I was lucky that I had years of skating under my belt when I started derby, but I had lots of obstacles to overcome with my size. I didn’t get put on my first roster until I was with SVRG for nine months. Derby comes naturally to some, but more often than not, it’s a skill that takes lots of practice to learn. Being a good skater is only half of it.

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Skater of the Month: Retox Fox

I am very grateful to my awesome teammates for bestowing this honor upon me. However, interviewing myself is a little meta and a lot awkward. Take a shot with me and let’s roll:

How did you get into roller derby?

I was getting signals for a couple of years. As soon as a team started up in my hometown, Louisville, my dad cut out every newspaper article or ad about the Derby City Roller Girls and mailed it to me, but I didn’t have a team where I was living (in the seventh circle of Hell, or southwest Florida). When I moved to Tucson, my BFF/roommate told me he thought derby would be a perfect match for me, but grad school was eating me alive. My final push was actually seeing derby in the flesh—a friend took me to Virgin MusicFest in Baltimore and I got to see the Charm City Roller Girls demo. Then I decided I had to look into it–the timing was perfect and I really needed a new outlet. I was fortunate to find SVRG, which at the time was accepting even non-skaters like me.

What kind of skating skills or athletic abilities did you have before starting derby?

Because my dad was a baseball coach/athletic director, I was a total jock. I played competitive softball, soccer, and volleyball growing up. I’ve  had a kickboxing phase and a gymrat phase, but now my time is devoted to derby and volleyball (which my SVRG teammates refer to as my “dirty mistress.”)

As for skating skills: ha! My first time on the rink I was congratulating myself for not having to use the wall to stand up.

How did you derive your derby name?

I’ve always been Fox, and being a damn proud Kentuckian I am rather fond of bourbon, hence the “Retox” rather than “detox.” Maker’s Mark is a favorite, so I went with 90 proof as my number.

What is your primary position?

I have no desire to have a star-shaped target on my head. I prefer to block at 3 because it requires a lot of versatility: you have to know when to switch to work with the front of the pack or the back of the pack, when to switch from offense to defense, and be able to communicate things in both directions.

What is your greatest strength as a skater?

I’m big on strategy and like to think I can make quick decisions in the midst of the jam. It’s easy to line up with a plan, but with this sport you never know when you’re going to lose someone to the penalty box or your opponent is going to spring an effective counterstrategy. You have to reevaluate the situation every few seconds, decide on a plan, and quickly communicate to your teammates to execute that plan.

What has been your greatest experience on the rink?

Skating in June against the Denver Roller Dolls’ Bruising Altitude was just phenomenal. The venue is amazing, their fans are great, and the skaters themselves are super nice, fun women to spend time with. And although we lost the bout, we owned the afterparty. I just wish Beth Sentence didn’t break her ankle during the bout.

What is your worst injury?

I sprained my ankle twice when I was just starting derby, and unfortunately it didn’t go well since I had broken that one before. It not only kept me off skates for nearly 4 months, but the collective damage now severely limits my range of motion, which is sooo not optimal for skating. I should point out, though, that both these sprains were due to my dirty mistress, volleyball, not derby.

Who’s your biggest fan?

My boyfriend, who is amazing. He came to see me skate in a bout for the first time last August, and the very next morning we were at a skate shop getting him fitted for his own pair of skates. He is very understanding that my free time is on a timeshare with derby and doesn’t complain if I’m up late handling derby business or jetting off for an away game on the weekend. If he ever sees me wince or hears me complain about being sore, he is quick with a massage or a beer. Dreamy.

Which teammates do you work well with?

On the track, if I’m up front, I work well with Knuckles DeVille, BootyVicious, and Mauly Anna. In the back I like working with Belle Wringer, Bones, or Sadie Mae Gutz because I can read where they are going and thus complement their coverage—and they’re hard hitters so it always makes my job easier getting sloppy seconds with the opposing jammer.

Off the track I work well with Absolutely Scabulous, Satan’s Kitten, and Zootown Throwdown doing head stuff. And Bitch Puddin’ and I work our livers together. It’s great just to be surrounded by so many awesome women.

The jammer shall not pass. Photo by Jim Cottingham

What do you contribute to SVRG *off* the track?

I am the Head of PR and Marketing, I contribute to Community Service and Safety committees, and I run this here blog. I try to help out with anything involving writing, editing, or running surveys since those be my goodest skills. As a personal trainer, I like working out with my teammates or sharing exercises with them that can help them recover from an injury or develop strength, balance, agility, and flexibility. However, I make sure to counterbalance the healthful contribution by supplying baked goods en masse, like Oreo truffles, bourbon brownies, and a variety of cookies. NOM NOM NOM. I am eating a brown sugar oatmeal cookie as I type, and it’s rad.

How do you spend the non-derby part of your life?

Places you will find me: on the volleyball court, with a book, in my kitchen, at the bar, or behind the wheel on a road trip. And, too often, working in front of my ‘puter. My life is awesome because every day I get to read/write, eat, and sweat. That’s happy.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give women interested in playing roller derby?

Commit. Roller derby really doesn’t work as a half-assed hobby; it is a lifestyle. You have to commit your time, mind, body, and, in cases involving demons, your soul.

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Skater of the Month: Donna Diggler

You know Donna Diggler (12 1/2 inches) on the track because she is a hollerin’ fiend, constantly apprising her Dot.Kamikaze teammates of the pack situation. Her perennial upbeat mood, constant supportive comments, and dedication to making it rain make her a valuable asset to the team psyche. Our tenderoni is also a member of our Safety Committee, helping to care for downed skaters.

You can find out more about Donna here.

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Skater of the Month: Zootown Throwdown

Zootown Throwdown is the type of skater that exemplifies all the great things about roller derby. When she started, we affectionately referred to her as “Bambi” as we watched her learn to balance her long legs on skates. She was relentless, though, and soon using that long stride to push herself through double-digit jams. She’s already racked up two MVP awards this season for the KillaBytes (of which she is co-captain) and has started swingin’ and jamming on some Dot.Kamikaze rosters as well. In addition, she took over the incredibly tough job as our league President this year. Whew! And despite all that work, she loves derby so much that she capitalizes on her travel-heavy day job by using it as an opportunity to skate with leagues all around the country. If you’re lucky, there may be a Zoo in your town soon!

How did you get into roller derby?

An SVRG skater, Broken BabyDoll, saw my Montana license plate when I walked into a billiard hall after moving down here to CA and asked if I was from there. Turns out, our families know each other and we grew up in the same town. Somehow MT is so big, but soooo small. She invited me to a bout; I walked into the venue and immediately fell in love with the sport.

What kind of skating skills or athletic abilities did you have before starting derby?

I grew up with an athletic background in track, basketball, rock climbing, and golf, but the last time I strapped on skates was when I was 6.  I would pal around the block with my neighbor in our hot pink Barbie skates and pretended I knew how to brake by knee sliding into the grass at full speed. So with derby, I had start from scratch – took me almost 3 months to learn how to brake efficiently.

How did you derive your derby name?

I’m a third generation born and raised in Missoula, MT. The locals call it Zootown, so I had to tie in my roots somehow!

What is your primary position?

Jammer; I think mainly because I have a need for speed…and because I’m a hot mess when I block. When I first started skating, I was extremely intimidated by the position 4 blocker so jamming took me a little while to warm up to, but once I got over that fear, it became my favorite position. (Except during the practice when we do the “first jammer through the pack 5 times” drill…then I wish I were a blocker! )

Zoo jammin'. Photo: Jim Cottingham

What is your greatest strength as a skater?

I would like to think that my greatest strength as a skater is inspiring others. I keep a positive attitude; every time my skate hit the rink, I’m going 110%. I think when skaters step onto the rink with a negative attitude and half assing practice, they are wasting their time. So when I show up at practice, I leave my personal life off the rink and get my head in the game!

Who’s your biggest fan?

Rachel Keirnan, cutest little 9-year-old ever, came to watch us play against CCRD and ended up buying a SVRG shirt and getting ‘Zootown Throwdown’ printed on the back…then she had me autograph it in permanent marker. So. Awesome.

My boyfriend, family and friends are super supportive as well. On bout days, I receive texts from family members wishing me good luck, to not break a leg, and usually include the two words: kick ass. My family is so incredibly fantastic!

Which teammates do you work well with?

Being a jammer, I’m usually flyin’ solo. However, I receive a ton of great advice from my fellow long-legged gazelle-looking jammer, Smack Dahlia. She always gives me pointers in a positive sense like a big sister, instead of saying “you did this wrong, and you did that wrong,” etc. Having the same body type as me, she knows my strengths and weaknesses, so she’s been a great mentor for me.

What are you looking forward to the most this season?

What I’m most looking forward to this season is becoming an official WFTDA league so we can rank and compete nationally next season. Watch out ladies, SVRG is movin up!!!

What do you contribute to SVRG *off* the track?

I’m midway through my annual term as league President and I’m also the Co-Captain of the KillaBytes. It’s extremely time-consuming (kudos to all other presidents in the derby world) coordinating all aspects of the league. Within SVRG, we have a full Board of Directors, and over a dozen Committee Heads and Coordinators; without these league members (or my 24/7 synched crackberry), I wouldn’t be able to hold the presidential position because there’s SO MUCH going on. I’m an obsessive organizer and network like crazy (i.e., talk to strangers waaaaay too much). Derby is a sport that I have devoted my life to and I will never quit, so becoming president for me was bound to happen eventually; might as well be during my second year on skates! Someday, I want SVRG to be that league that other teams look at and idolize because A) we’re ranked #1 in the nation and B) we keep it classy and fun. I’m here to help this league grow and develop into a leading team in the derby nation and I’m just excited to be at the cusp of explosion for this amazing sport. Might be 2 years, 10 years or 50 years but this sport WILL blow up…and I’ll be there at the after party poppin’ the champagne cork the day we actually get paid to play.

How do you spend the non-derby part of your life?

Outside of derby, I LOVE being outdoors; nature brings me into a meditative state that makes me appreciate Living in the Now. I’m grateful for the opportunity to just sit on the beach with my boyfriend and freeze time by watching the ocean waves and catching my breath from life. I enjoy skiing, hiking, rock climbing, wake-boarding, surfing, everything. There isn’t an outdoor adventure I don’t enjoy.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give women interested in playing roller derby?

It’s intimidating to start playing derby because it’s overwhelming, physically straining, expensive, and time-consuming. When you first start, all you can think about is trying to NOT fall on your ass during your warm-up laps and thinking of excuses for why you can skip practice that night so you can give the quarter-sized blisters on your feet an extra day to heal. But coming from a girl would spent most of her time during the first 3 months with her booty touching the floor more times than not, it IS possible to excel in this sport, and that’s the amazing thing about it. If you put in the time and effort and get involved in the league, it’s guaranteed to pay off in some way or another.

What do you think is the best thing about derby?

It’s the only full-contact sport in the athletic world that women have claimed as their own. Enough said!

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Skater of the Month: Catherine Beata Bones

Bones will jam you up! Photo: Jim Cottingham

Catherine Beata Bones has been a welcome addition to the KillaBytes this season. Not only is she a speedy jammer, but her fierce hip checks and booty blocks also make opponents take note when she’s in the pack. She’s also a warm person and quick to laugh, making Bones a natural fit for the team. She secured the top-scoring jam in her debut bout in March and I anticipate that she’ll be racking up the points this Saturday against CCRD!

How did you find out about/get into roller derby?

I went to an SVRG outdoor exhibition bout last summer and have been hooked ever since!

What kind of skating skills or athletic abilities did you have before starting derby?

I got skills, but before derby I had absolutely no skating skills. I played basketball for years when I was younger and learning to skate was a big adjustment.

How did you derive your derby name?

All the names that I wanted were all ready taken so I decided to go with a play on Catherine Zeta-Jones, one of my favorite actresses.

What is your primary position?

Jammer. [Ed.’s note: Bones is also a mean blocker–all that basketball training paid off!]

What is your greatest strength as a skater?

I am a fast skater, which helps when you’re a jammer.

What has been your greatest experience on the rink?

Playing in my first bout on March 6 against San Diego Hard Corps–huge adrenaline rush!

What is your worst injury, and how did you earn it?

Just your average hip bruises and standard rink rash.

Who’s your biggest fan?

My mom, even though she winces every time I get knocked to the ground.

With which teammates do you work well?

I love all the Killas! I think we all groove well together.

What are you looking forward to the most this season?

I am looking forward to traveling with the Killas hopefully to Denver or Tahoe this summer.

What do you contribute to SVRG *off* the track?

Off the track I’m part of the safety committee.

How do you spend the non-derby part of your life?

Off the track I work as a nurse, and can knit a mean scarf.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give women interested in playing roller derby?

Never give up. Roller derby is a challenge at first but keep at it!

Photo credit: Adrian Valenzuela

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Skater of the Month: Absolutely Scabulous

AbScab gives Bones a whip to free her from the pack. Photo: Adrian Valenzuela.

How do I love AbScab? Let me count the ways. This woman is a go-getter in every sense of the word and has committed herself to the league 100%. She is the person you cross your fingers and hope to get in your group or on your scrimmage team because you know her enthusiasm is going to keep you going and get you in a good place no matter what. She recently debuted in her first bout for the KillaBytes in March. Her solid, clean play, teamwork, and endurance meant she skated in over 50% of jams–amazing! Off the track, as Head of Bout Production, she puts in a zillion woman-hours making sure our bouts run smooth like butter. We are lucky to have such a font of energy, ideas, and achievement in the league. I heart you!

How did you get into roller derby?

Last April, I had found a flier at a local coffee shop and was totally intrigued. I had just moved to San Jose from San Francisco and was feeling some serious girlfriends-withdrawals. I was tired of running and swimming alone, and doing solo sports, so I decided to check out a bout and attended the annual burlesque show. The skaters were total rock stars out there—I knew I wanted to be one too! I joined bootcamp in July and have totally been sippin’ on the derby Kool-Aid ever since.

What kind of skating skills or athletic abilities did you have before starting derby?

I’m huge into playing sports—I love the ocean and have always been a really strong swimmer. I completed a marathon, triathlons, and even was a cheerleader in college. Surprised? I didn’t think so. Skating wise, my mom was a serious ice skater and I always wanted to be like her, so I did some ice skating growing up. She still has the fierce legs I hope to have one day too.

How did you derive your derby name?

The infamous British Sitcom “Absolutely Fabulous” (add a Scab)…the short and dirty of the show:  two immature, chain-smoking, alcoholic, prosperous but preposterous substance-abusing fashion and fad-obsessed Londoners who value fame and style over substance. My vices instead are Diet Coke and overdraft charges.

What is your primary position?

It’s evolving as I learn the sport and the coaches and teammates learn my style. I had a scab-solute blast playing 3 in my first game and knocking the San Diego jammer on her arse. Best. Feeling. Ever.

What is your greatest strength as a skater?

I try to be totally positive, reliable and hardworking. I want my teammates to trust me both on and off skates. That, and I try to keep up with Dollface and Pia’s endurance.

What has been your greatest experience on the rink?

There was nothing more gratifying than being told that I get to go in. Every time. I was thrilled to simply play. And so grateful for the generous play-time I got in my very first bout.

What is your worst injury and how did you earn it?

LOL, see this Hall of Pain.

Who’s your biggest fan(s)?

I don’t know if I have a fan base yet besides my family. But if I did have a fan section, they could call themselves the Crabby Scabbies. [Ed.’s note: This is better than the Scabby Crabs, which are decidedly not welcome on the rink.]

Who do you like to partner up with on the track?

Betta, Bozo, and I always gravitate toward each other in practice—but so far on the track, I love taking orders from Knuckles, Booty, and Ms. Fox!

What are you looking forward to the most this season?

Skating. Bouting. Laughing. In that order.

Roller derby: does it get you dates or deter them?

Dollface taught me that by putting “roller derby” in my online dating profiles you can sell more tickets to bouts. I’m totally not above doing this. So in a way, yes. You can come to my games if that counts as a date.

What do you contribute to SVRG off the track?

¼ of the season DEEP into planning our bouts. From the tickets you purchase online, to the butt pads you sit on in the VIP section, I lead the coordination for our home games. You’ll have to attend the next three home bouts to see what I have up my sleeve/elbow pad!

I know you work your ass off for SVRG. That’s why I nominated you. Why don’t you spill a little on how all your derby work occupies your life?

I was printing off some signage the Friday before the last bout on my work printer, specifically “Bathroom Priority Goes to Skaters and Refs,” and didn’t pick it up in time off the printer. I had an awesome explanation to my co-workers as to why Skaters and Refs should get bathroom preference at our workplace.

How do you spend the non-derby part of your life?

My day job is workin’ hard for the money at a social gaming company, Playdom, as an Executive Assistant. When I got new skates last month, I put them on and wore them under my desk while I did work. I also have a spunky little puparoni named Chloe the Monster (no kidding, that’s her registered AKC name).

What’s the one piece of advice you would give women interested in playing roller derby?

Be patient with yourself and the learning process. This is a sport NO ONE knows how to play. And add 8 wheels to that confusion and it’s a long, hilarious, challenging journey of learning to play the sport.

What can we anticipate for the next SVRG home bout? What is going to be the raddest part about it?

First and foremost, the Killas are going to kill-it. I am so proud to be a KillaByte and can’t wait to play again with this talented group of skaters. And of course, there will be some pirate debauchery from one of our superfans, Mic Skallywag and his gaggle of pirates! Sword fights, a live pirate band, and maybe if you’re lucky, some pirate booty!

The rock star we know and love. Photo: Jim Cottingham

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Skater of the Month: MisTits

MisTits and Juicy K. Tore prepare to rock

I confess that I have probably voted for MisTits as SOTM more than any other skater on SVRG. All it takes is going up against her one-on-one in any blocking situation to know how fearsome she is. After every bout I am reminded of the grace and fortitude of her execution as she darts around the track, laying out opponents right and left with the efficiency of a professional assassin. I’ve seen jammers catch more air than Michael Jordan after Tits has picked one off with a killer hit. The reason why Tits is such an amazing blocker, though, is that in addition to all that raw power, she is incredibly agile on her skates. That combination should give any opponent a sinking feeling when they see her lining up.


How did you find out about roller derby?
I was looking up fight moves to use in my next fight. I came across a video of two girls skating as fast as they can. One girl suddenly turns and knocks the other girl off her feet and into the air. The crowd went crazy. I had found my next fight move…and it was legal!

 

What kind of skating skills or athletic abilities did you have before starting derby?
The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club.

 

How did you derive your derby name?
I’m a big Misfits fan…and I love my chesticles!

 

What is your signature move?
Knocking down yo’ jammer.

 

What is your greatest strength as a skater?
I am always pushing myself and encouraging others to improve.

 

What has been your greatest experience on the rink?
Learning how to skate. When I started I didn’t even know how to skate. I was using my little sister’s skates that our mom bought for a dollar at a yard sale!

 

I hear your little sister is a derby girl in the making.
Everybody better watch out when she hits the track–I’ve been teaching her how to block and skate fast. She’s training to be SVRG’s MVP in 2015.

 

What is your worst injury, and how did you earn it?
I don’t get bruises, I give them!

 

Which teammates do you work well with?
The skate wheels:  Juicy, Feisty, Skooter, and me. Four wheels make a skate!

 

What are you looking forward to the most this season?
Getting first place at the jello wrestling match…again!

 

What do you contribute to SVRG *off* the track?
During SVRG’s early years I made many flyers and graphics.

 

If you’re not on the rink, where would we find you?
You can find me at a skate park. Roosevelt, Cunningham, or Cabrio, but my home away from home is Sunnyvale Skate Park.

 

What’s the one piece of advice you would give women interested in playing roller derby?
Push yourself till you think you can’t go on, and then push yourself a little more.

 

Yes, jammers, you should be plenty afraid. Photo credit: Boss Hogg

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