March Featured Skater: Freeda Radical

What is your derby name? Does it have any special story or significance?

  Headshot by Andrew Potter, 2017

Headshot by Andrew Potter, 2017

Freeda Radical. I am a biologist and wanted a name that in some way was a play on something science based. I am terrible at coming up with puns and a friend actually took the term "free radicals" and turned it into a name. It just kind of stuck.


When did you start playing derby?

I started boot camp at the beginning of 2014 and started playing actual derby in 2015.


Which team do you skate for?



What is your favorite position on the track?

Pivot. It is kind of the best of both worlds. It allows me to focus on both my blocking and jamming skills.


Before derby, when was the last time you had laced up skates? (Quad or otherwise)

Hmmm. A long time ago? I grew up in the era of roller blades, but even then it was more than 10 years since I had skated. I actually did not know how to roller skate at all when I joined my first wave of Ann Arbor's boot camp.


What do you do outside of derby? What fun color does your life have other than this crazy sport?

Before derby it was just graduate school, but since joining derby I now commit a lot more time to the gym. I found Olympic Weightlifting because of roller derby and it has become one of my favorite things to do! I am also a dog walker so I get to meet a lot of cool pups around Ann Arbor. As of now I am wrapping up my PhD thesis for graduate school and am in the process of securing a post-doctoral position of the University of Michigan. Other than work, roller derby, weightlifting, the frequent Netflix binge, and solo dance parties; I am a pretty boring person.


What makes you come back to derby? Off skates, another sport, mental game prep, etc

It is hard to explain. Roller derby has given me a lot and continues to teach me a lot about myself. I keep coming back because it wouldn't make sense not to? It is now a part of my life that I really cherish and is something that helps me find fulfillment. There is nothing quite like pushing yourself physically and mentally and realizing you are capable of more than you ever imagined.


  Photo by David Oliver

Photo by David Oliver

Do you have any advice for newbie skaters?

Well, do as I say, not as I do. I am not the best at good mental self talk, but I am working on it. I think the biggest thing is to realize that everyone is coming from very varied backgrounds and comparing your progress to someone else's is unfair to you. Learn early to be patient and enjoy the process of making gains because it never ends. You should always be pushing yourself and trying to find that new limit. Things don't get easier, you just get stronger - mentally and physically. One thing I am trying to do this year is work on having the mind of a champion. Champions don't fear a challenge, they run right towards it knowing full well they might fail, but regardless of what happens they will come out learning more about themselves and their abilities. Champions take failure as fuel to get better and don't let their perceived failures define them.

Posted on March 7, 2018 .

February Featured Official: Standard Steviation

  Photo: DeFord Designs, 2017

Photo: DeFord Designs, 2017

What is your derby name? Does it have any special story or significance?

Standard Steviation. Lol, well, I started in derby shortly after my wife, House of Bruise ....with LDV..., I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but since I work a fair amount with statistics, I was into the player performance tracking called Action Tracking.....not many leagues do that these days... I just migrated towards that stuff for a while and thus Standard Steviation a play on standard deviation! I only NSO'd a short while, then it was time to skate!


When did you start officiating derby?

March 2012


What made you want to become an official?

two things really were the driving factor; my wife joined roller derby and I wanted to support her plus (after many years of "men's sports) I wanted to contribute to women's empowered athleticism


What is your favorite position on/off the track? (What officiating job is your go-to?)

FIPR is my go-to, but love all the positions as a skating official


Before derby, when was the last time you had laced up skates? (Quad or otherwise)

LOL, 1979.....


What do you do outside of derby to make derby better for yourself? What other hobbies do you have?

I work out 2-3 times a week; and seldom let the dust settle on my shoes....Other than derby, (I come from a "hobby" generation) so I play guitar, travel, restore vintage cars, ride motorcycles, and have a hobby called Amateur Radio...aka Ham Radio...that allows me to talk to people world-wide over a radio....very old school tecnology, but when I was growing up, it was our FB!


What makes you come back to officiating derby? Off skates, another sport, mental game prep, etc

Nothing compares.....well, perhaps riding a motorcycle...that has a similar "thrill" but I love all the peeps in derby and can't imagine life without everyone! I love to teach (my day job) and I try to bring something cool to every derby experience to share.....


Do you have any advice for newbie officials?

Don't burn out....focus on 1 thing at a time....then start all over again! You never stop learning and growing...whether it is skating, rules, working with the crews or just watching the game.....


Anything else you'd like to share? 

Coming to A2, this is my year 2, I have to say the culture here is inspiring and has made me want to continue in officiating! Love you all!

Posted on February 7, 2018 .

A2D2 Skater Represents on Team Norway


What is your derby name? Does it have any special story or significance?

My last name is Hemmer, and the Hammertime jokes never really stop, but that was taken so I ended up being The Hammer. At the World Cup I'll be skating under my real name.

When did you start playing derby?

I first tried quad skates in 2014, and played my first game about three years ago

Which team do you skate for?

I'm a proud Bruiser as well as a Brawlstar

What is your favorite position on the track?


This is a hard question! I've been a jammer for all of my derby life, but I love blocking, so right now I'm trying to turn myself into a pivot. I don't want to pick one!

Before derby, when was the last time you had laced up skates? (Quad or otherwise)

I've been skating my whole life and never really took a break...I was a speed skater before derby. I retired from that after the 2014 Olympics, but I coached and ice and inline skated for fun and then I started derby about six months later.

What do you do outside of derby? What fun color does your life have other than this crazy sport?


I'm a math and physics teacher, and I have two stepkids and two kittens keeping me busy! I also love being outside, biking, XC skiing, hiking or running, and I just moved to Ann Arbor from Norway about a year ago so I still get really really excited about seeing cool new animals like groundhogs and wild turkeys. This summer I was backpacking alone and got lost, but I saw a real wild turtle while looking for the trail, so that was the best part of the whole trip.


Best part of skating for Team Norway?

Staying connected to Norwegian and European derby and skating with my old (and new) teammates

How often do you go to Norway to skate?

I've done three weekend camps in the year since I made the team. The travel has been pretty tough, but the bonus is I get to see my family when I go.

What do you have to have to be eligible for a World team?

  Photo: Down'n'Out photography

Photo: Down'n'Out photography

I'm eligible because I was born in Norway, but according to the world cup rules you can also skate for a country if you lived there for long enough or you have grandparents from there. After that it's up to each team. For tryouts, we did a weekend of boot camp with on and off skates tests and practice. After that the team was announced. 

Do you have any advice for newbie skaters?

Try to have some fun. Most of us put so much pressure on ourselves to be whatever we think is good enough but if you can accept where you're at right now and not waste energy beating yourself up about it, you'll get where you want to be so much faster. Also, do derby specific off skates and get strong in a low position and on one leg!


Hammer is a proud Bruiser and Brawlstar, and makes up one half of A2HOT2, a Co-Head of Training.

Posted on January 30, 2018 .

Introducing 2018 Ann Arbor Roller Derby Rosters

Ann Arbor Roller Derby is just coming out of the off season, and we are working hard to get ready for the next season! Here are the rosters for Ann Arbor's three competitive teams. 

Let’s kick this off by first announcing the 2018 roster for our travel C team - the Ypsilanti Vigilantes!

vigi 2018.png

The Vigis ended their 11 game season with 8 wins and only 3 losses. Their Flat Track Stat ranking increased by 64 points and the Vigis ended their competitive season as 512th in North America and 433rd in the United States! Not only that, but the Vigis also slid into Division 1 at the Michigan based Mitten Kitten Tournament this past October. They entered the tournament seeded fourth and left with the third place trophy! These skaters are hungry for that 1st place spot and will be Vigi Smashing hard in the off season to bring it home next year. 


bruise 2018.png

Next up, is Ann Arbor Roller Derby’s competitive travel B team - here is your 2018 Arbor Bruising Company!! 

The Bruisers started out the 2017 season ranked 169th in the United States and by the time they finished the season they surpassed their goal of hitting 100 and landed at 75th in the United States and 84th in North America!!! The Bruisers had a long season packed with 13 games and came away with a record of 10 wins and only 3 losses. Two of those losses were also avenged later in the season!  

The Bruisers also hit up the Michigan-based Mitten Kitten Tournament in October to participate in the first ever Tournament of Champions. The Bruisers competed against previous Mitten Kitten Division 1 Champions. They went in seeded third and came out on top - taking home the title of Champion of Champions! 


brawl 2018.png

And last up is none other than Ann Arbor Roller Derby’s All-Star Charter team - the Ann Arbor Brawlstars!!

The Ann Arbor Brawlstars started their 2017 season ranked at 32nd in WFTDA and ended their season as a super solid 35th in the WORLD! This is their first full season in Division 1 roller derby and they have learned so much from every single game they have played.  

Posted on January 24, 2018 .

Derby Adventures with Kids


Driving along the New York Throughway coming home from a weekend of intense derby in Boston, kids in the back seat, I'm taken with the scenery. Mountains with rocks jutting out at lovely angles and covered green with trees, the Mohawk River flowing beside us as we drove, banks lined with marsh plants. Vistas for miles. I keep exclaiming "look-it" and "ooh mountains," and it makes me happy that they look and ooh and ahh right along with me. 


Traveling with kids is hard. There are extra people to pack for. So many things to remember, like both wrist guards AND a bathing suit for each child, and toys and outfits and books and socks and chargers for everything. Car bags, snack bags, day bags, toy bags, derby bags, so many bags. And then the kids fight all the time. All the time. Over everything you can think of, from who has better gummy worms to where to put Bear Bear. It makes the adults cranky, then the kids get cranky, or cry or take it out on each other, or all of the above. Scheduling meals around derby call times and activities to keep them happy while waiting all those pre-game hours can be daunting, though thankfully this is the work of their Daddy on derby days.


Sometimes exciting things happen on derby trips.


For example, during the B Cup tournament, our car quit working on the way to score some post-game sushi. We had to have it towed and repaired and got to experience UBER for the first time, waiting there on the side of the road in a busy little town in the dark. Without sushi. None at all. And for the rest of the tournament, we had to catch a ride with Murder, squeezing too many people in her SUV, clown-car style.

And when we went to Traverse City for a game and we tried to hike over the Sleeping Bear Dunes all the way to the lake with only two cans of ginger ale and some pretzels. I told them to keep walking, and that it would get easier once we warmed up. Though we walked for a couple hours, we did not make it. On the way back, some of us vowed we'd never attempt it again, but others said someday, and with better supplies.


Even on our most recent trip to Boston interesting things happened. I hurt my ankle during a pre-game scrimmage, then played in the game anyway. I played again the next day and hurt myself even more. But, the kids wanted to take the MBTA into town, so we did and proceeded to walk the harbor walk for approximately three hours, despite my injury, to show the kids a good time. On the walk, we saw planes taking off and landing over the water and everything else the harbor had to offer: boats, garbage, sea birds. We came across some people having a lively game of bocce ball right there in a roadside bocce court, and as we were getting into the game, a marching band came down the street in full marching band attire playing an unfamiliar but upbeat tune. There were fireworks, balloons, a floating duck house, and on the way back to the train we accidently walked through an Italian heritage festival, right there on the street, complete with carnival games, food vendors and live entertainment. We got Bruschetta with a side of French fries.

These kids have had so many exciting adventures thanks to this wonderful little hobby of mine. All these trips that we'd never take if it weren't for derby. They've seen much more of the country and the state than I did at their ages; by age eleven, I'd been up north and to Fulton County Ohio, and that's it. But my kids have been all over. Having them there with me, to experience derby with me, to travel with me on my journey, both figuratively and literally has been a pleasant side effect of playing this game. They're learning about patience, waiting hours for games to start because of early call times. And managing disappointment, because sometimes there are no snacks at the venue, and sometimes Mommy's team doesn't win. They're learning to be brave even when up against a tough opponent, like in Boston when our team was predicted to lose. And that sometimes you come out on top despite the what the numbers say, and sometimes you don't, and either outcome is ok.


Thank you, Ann Arbor Roller Derby, for providing us with these opportunities. Thanks for letting me share my love of this game with my kiddos. They won't forget that they got to travel all over the place to watch their mom play this amazing sport with this amazing league. These memories will last a lifetime. 


SheRock has been with Ann Arbor since Wave 1+2, and she currently plays for the Arbor Bruising Company. She is a full-time mom, and  her kids are her biggest fans. 

Posted on September 20, 2017 .