We’re sisters in skates battling to be our best. You’ve seen us in the arena, imagine what we’re capable of without boundaries. We are athletes and role models; we’re good sports and good citizens. We’re tough. In this sport and in this world, you’d better be. We’ll show you our speed, agility, endurance, teamwork, and heart. We’ll show you our bruises. And you’ll see… this isn’t a show; THIS IS ROLLER DERBY!
This month’s featured skater is After School Special of the Push-Up Brawlers.
Could you tell us your name, number and positions?
I’m After School Special, #305. I’m a blocker and a pivot.
Tell us a little bit about how you came to be involved in roller derby.
My Derby DOB is March 20, 2011. I’m proud to say that derby is truly a family affair for me. My older sister Tina, Dubuque Bomb Squad’s Doubleott Buckshot 007, ventured into the idea of playing derby first. Like most people new to the sport, I was unfamiliar with the idea of it and didn’t even know it was being played in Iowa. As any good little sister would do, I wanted to support big sis in her new endeavor and went to watch her first bout. Little did I know, it would light a fire in me to try out for the team she was playing against that night… the team I now call my own! Without realizing it, I would be there to support the Brawlers from day one at their first bout ever. I didn’t know that Waterloo even had a roller derby team but looked them up the next day and they were recruiting within the next two weeks. It was the toughest and quickest decision I had to make, and I’m so glad I had my sister to encourage me to try something new. Two and a half years later, here I am!
Do you have a background in sports or skating?
Aside from roller skating in PE classes in school, I had minimal skating experience. I bought a pair of roller blades once but was too scared to leave my parents driveway in hilly northeast Iowa. In high school I played golf in the spring and softball in the summer. I still like to hit the links when I have the chance and have dabbled in rec league softball a few times.
Is there a story behind your derby name and number?
There is. By day I am a high school social studies teacher; by night I hit the track. I love my job and wanted to tie that into my derby personality. A coworker suggested the name and I threw in the number, 305. It only seemed appropriate to fit the “after school” part of the name.
What drives you? How did you learn to play?
Even though we may not get to skate together much at all, my sister Tina or Bucky, as I call her, has been a huge part of my derby career. My initial motivation to play derby came from her, encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. She continues to encourage and motivate me when we talk about derby whether it is about an off-night at practice, if I am struggling to achieve a certain skill, or when I brag about an awesome block or assist I made in a bout. I love and appreciate having a family member who knows the struggles the sport can sometimes bring and can be there to push me to work harder to get past those things that might be holding me back. As for training and learning to play, every skater who came before me on the team, and after, has been a huge help. You can read the rules many times and watch hours of derby, but you really can’t get a feel for the game and actually start to put all of the pieces together until you are put into a scrimmage or bout situation. Without my teammates, learning to play would be impossible and I am still learning from them every time I get on the track.
I have much respect for any skater who can show dedication, play hard, stay calm, cool, and collected in the heat of the moment and continue to grow as a professional. Any skater who is willing to share their knowledge and help other skaters improve for the good of the derby cause is a true role model in derby.
Tell us a little about your playing style and what you’ve accomplished.
Some of my most memorable moments were being part of the line that held a pretty decent opposing jammer to a scoreless power jam, and the derby mind games that we can come up with to catch the other team off guard and cause confusion or distractions for them! I feel like my playing style is remembering that I am playing a team sport and that it takes teamwork to win. Staying with my wall and never skating alone in a jam are two of the things I constantly think about on the track because without each other on the track, we are nothing.
I was honored to be voted Most Valuable Blocker by my team after our 2012 season. It is not an achievement I could have made without every one of my teammates and it continues to push me to play hard and work harder every time I take the track.
What do you think about when lacing up your skates?
As I lace up my skates I think about getting on the track, playing the game that our team wants to play and having fun. We have all said derby is a mind game and if you get too caught up in the things that happen that you can’t go back and change, it can really throw your game off. I remember the strategy we work on in practice and go out there knowing what I have to do to help my team be successful.
How has derby affected the way you live the rest of your life?
I’ll be the first to admit that I do not have the build of a typical athlete, and derby has given me the confidence to appreciate that. Everyone can be an asset in roller derby, no matter your age, your shape or size. No matter what you bring to the track, you are valuable in some way or another. Derby has helped me to be more confident in other aspects of my life and use my own personal development to help my students be more confident and appreciative of their own gifts. Derby has also given me the chance to create friendships with people I may never have met or interacted with outside of the sport and I could not be more thankful for those close relationships that have been created and will no doubt be life long, even after my derby career.
Any advice for those who would like to join or new skaters?
No matter how nervous or hesitant you might be, try everything once. You might be surprised how much you love it and you will be even more appreciative of how much it will change your life for the better.
Your Cedar Valley Derby Divas are always rolling for a cause. Saturday, August 10th every ticket sold means a dollar toward the Angels Park Memorial Island of Evansdale. You can help by enjoying a night of roller derby action.
August 10th, It’s your Push-Up Brawlers against the Dakota City Demolition Crew in Waterloo’s McElroy Auditorium (National Cattle Congress grounds). Doors open at 6PM. The action begins at 7PM.
Get your tickets at Spicoli’s, Plaid Peacock, Mohair Pear, the National Cattle Congress box office, BrownPaperTickets.com or from your favorite Cedar Valley Derby Diva.
We will see you there.