May Featured Skater: Fatoosh Bag

  Photog: Michael Melchiorre

Photog: Michael Melchiorre

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

Half of my family is Lebanese so my mom would always make fatoosh for the home bouts. I was looking for a derby name and liked the idea of something to do with food, so an old league mate helped come up with that one.

 

When did you start playing derby?

January 2015

 

Which team do you skate for?

Brawlstars

 

What is your favorite position on the track?

Jammer

 

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

Probably at a 6th grade birthday party

 

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

Outside of derby I am pursuing a degree in the environmental sciences (which I love) while working part-time. Being outside in the stillness of a hiking trail is what recharges me. I love staying active and holding on to a motivation to live as healthy of a life that I can live. To me, napping is a very fun activity that I partake in often.

 

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

I love being in skates. When I was younger I would love going to open skates with top 40's music blaring and still do now. I will never forget the first time I laced up with full gear on feeling more empowered than I ever have before.

 

Do you have any advice for newbie skaters?

The work you put in off skates WILL translate and is necessary to get where you want to be. Everything takes time but the feeling of conquering new derby goals always makes it worth it!!!

Posted on May 23, 2018 .

April Featured Official: Zero

  Photo credit: Steve Jurkovic Roller Derby Photography

Photo credit: Steve Jurkovic Roller Derby Photography

What is your derby name?

Zero

 

When did you start officiating derby?

April 2011 (back when their were minor penalties and two whistle starts)

 

What made you want to become an official?

I wanted to be involved in the unique and empowering sport that was roller derby. And at the time (in KY) the only way a male could be involved and skate was officiating.

 

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

Admittedly, Jam Reffing is usually favorite cause I have to be on point both in positioning, speed, and points but I really enjoy all positions. OPR is great for speed and keeping up with the pack (gotta go fast!), and IPR is great for exercising your brain; defining the pack, etc. I just love being in a cohesive crew and we're all on point.

 

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

Elementary school events is the last time I remember skating on quads or blades. I honestly have never or was any good at skating before derby, I even remember not liking skating as a kid cause I wasn't good at it but still having fun when I did. I wanted to do something more athletic and unique in college as well as find a social outlet/community and roller derby was perfect for that. I pushed myself to learn the skills to become a skating official in about 8 weeks. I remember hitting walls in that time but breaking it down into chunks; letting myself fall/fail forward until I nailed it. And I'm glad I did because roller derby is my life now, it's the best thing to have ever happened to me.

 

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

I go to or watch tournaments of high-level certified officials like Tootie, Major Wood, Professor Murder, Judge Knot, etc. I watch how they officiate, communicate to skaters, NSOs, and each other. I watch their hand signals, points, skating styles and try to take notes on how I can apply that to my officiating, be like the pros. I want to make my idols my colleagues and eventually, some of them are to this day. I feel really lucky and hope to continue improving my skills. My next step is to officiate a WFTDA playoff tournament some day.

 

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

I like to apply the skills I learn from every game and from other officials to each game. I always pick up something new each game to remember for the next one and constantly trying to improve. I get in my zen with officiating and that zen has actually helped me as a player for men's derby as well. The rules are the rules and it's just fun to break things down in my mind with impact spectrum, passing of hips for points, pack definition, etc.

Do you have any advice for newbie officials?

Always try your best every game, practice, and scrimmage. Hold yourself to that WFTDA standard every time you officiate don't be afraid to admit if you don't know something or get a call wrong. Even the high-level officials are learning. It's a process, step by step. Get your skates nailed down, then your positioning, and over time the game will just become clearer and easier to break down. Then you can make those calls with confidence. All calls are reviewable, remember that, be 100%. It's a yes or a no, a maybe is a no-call. It's better to be 100% right on a few calls then 50% uncertain on a dozen more. Penalties are earned, they are not a punishment. Be a calm cool zebra both visually and verbally when you make a call. Lastly, don't be afraid to ask for help, advice, or questions about penalties, position, signals, etc, and be open to feedback, learn from it, apply it game after game. Nobody's perfect, I know I'm not. I'm still asking for clarifications to this day. What kind of official do you want to be? Find mentors who can help you become that official. And in the end, you got this; one jam at a time.

Posted on April 25, 2018 .

April Featured Skater: Jenny NoNo

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

Jenny Nono. It's a play on my real name. It was used in college as a joke, and when derby people heard it, it just kind of stuck!

  Photo Credit: Brian Grinham, 2018

Photo Credit: Brian Grinham, 2018

When did you start playing derby?

Will have passed skills 2 years ago on January 31st (2016).

 

Which team do you skate for?

Bruisers

 

What is your favorite position on the track?

Jammer

 

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

In college, i worked at the ice arena on Campus, so I would take advantage of the open skates, but could do nothing more than skate in a circle.

 

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

I'm a Realtor at Red Barn Realty.

 

  Photo Credit: Andrew Potter, 2017

Photo Credit: Andrew Potter, 2017

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

Friends, fitness and just the fun of the game.

 

Do you have any advice for newbie skaters?

Never stop trying. The more you try and the more hours you put in, the more progress you'll see.

Posted on April 18, 2018 .

March Featured Official: Chef Leppard

Jam Timing - Curt Underwood.jpg

What is your derby name? 

Chef Leppard

 

When did you start officiating derby?

2016ish

 

What made you want to become an official?

My wife made me! Lol! JK  I like the people and the sport and I wanted to learn something new.

 

What officiating job is your go-to?

Jam Timing is what I'm best at.  I can also score keep and I'm currently learning Scoreboard

 

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

Highschool

 

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

I try and keep up with all the new changes.  I like to experiment with new cooking techniques or recipes.

 

DerbyHeadshots2017-AP-194 (1).jpg

What makes you come back to officiating derby? 

I just like the people and feeling like my being here helps in some small way.

 

Do you have any advice for newbie officials?

Don't be afraid to just jump in and try.  We are all hear to learn and improve.

Posted on March 21, 2018 .

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?

Bruisers

 

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 .