I wanted to interview one of these ladies for the March “Skater of the Month” article, but then I thought, “I can’t really feature one without the other!” In case you were unaware, my Skate Free or Die teammates Killa & Bam are basically inseparable, sometimes match their outfits unintentionally, and sometimes fight like they’re dating…but they’re not. They’re derby wives. Both are long-standing league members and 2014 charter skaters of the Skate Free or Die All-Stars.
So, I decided to get some perspective from them on “who is your derby wife and what does she do” (in my best Arnold voice) because it’s only fitting that these two be featured together! Please let me introduce your Derby Wives of the Month: Chicka Chicka “Bam” Bam & McKilla Queen!
How did you get into playing roller derby?
Killa: I have been roller skating since before I can remember. I was a competitive artistic roller skater from age two to 18. It was my life. I first heard about NHRD from a newspaper article back in 2008, and derby seemed like just the thing I was looking for. I really missed roller skating! With a push from my best friend, I finally had the courage and the means to go to fresh meat tryouts in 2010. I walked into tryouts with just my skates…no gear…nothing! I even had to borrow a mouth guard (ew ew ewww!!) I had no idea what I was getting myself into…I just knew that I knew how to skate, and doing something so unlike artistic skating was refreshing. The challenge, the team work, the friendships, the physical and mental limits I’ve had to push are what really got me hooked.
Bam: When I graduated college I moved outside of Boston and was looking for a new gym to join. I stumbled across a website about extreme sports that listed roller derby. Right around that time I saw the trailer for the movie “Whip It” and knew I had to check out a game. While visiting my parents in New York I went to an Albany All-Stars bout. The next morning I was at my childhood rink renting skates to see if I could still stand up. Thirty minutes later I was doing crossovers and signed up for tryouts!
We hear all the time about how you two are derby wives. What does the definition of a derby wife mean to you?
Bam: A derby wife is more than a best friend. They’re the person that you’re closest with in derby and outside of derby. A wife is the one that you can count on for anything and know they will have your back no matter what. They’re the person that you go over every single thing with and can have no filter. When you’ve been wives as long as we have you basically become one brain. We can have an entire conversation with one look.
Killa: A derby wife is its own kind of beast. A derby wife is not just your best friend in derby, she is not just another teammate, and she is the person that helps guide you to reach your goals. A derby wife is there for you for a reality check when you need it, and she has your back, even if you’re just being a little crazy. She’s there for you for your “real life” issues, and is the one to steer you in the right direction. Simply because knows your derby/real-life balance… And just helps get to where you want to be.
Seabrook Meltdowns bench team!
How long have you been derby wives? How did you meet?
Killa: Bam and I have been derby wives since my first season, back in 2011. It wasn’t your typical, “love at first sight” type of story either. I don’t think we really even have a story… we actually didn’t even speak to each other in the first 4 months that I joined NHRD! We had a few memorable moments together, before we actually declared ourselves wives… Like that one time Bam and Gil T destroyed my MVP trophy from my first bout ever. They say it was an accident… I call it hazing. haha
There is one particular moment that I knew she’d be the perfect derby wife… It was at my first after party at one of our home games.. I wasn’t planning on staying long and Bam called my boyfriend at the time and convinced him to drive all the way to Manchester to pick me up, just so I could stay and drink (safety first!!). Next thing I knew, both of our boyfriends were holding our purses, and we were off dancing and doing god knows what else, I don’t remember.
Bam: Almost 3 years! McKilla joined NHRD a year after I had. She came in as an experienced skater so I noticed who she was, but a couple of months went by before our paths really crossed. She talked trash to me on the track, which is directly the way to my heart! I immediately knew she was cool and that I had to be friends with this girl. At her first after party I pulled her onto the dance floor and we’ve been experiencing shenanigans together ever since.
What type of support does your derby wife give you as a teammate? How is it different from the support from your other teammates?
Division 1 playoff win – 2013 Photo by Sean “Hale Yeah”
Bam: McKilla is my biggest fan and the first person I call on for help. There’s really nothing better than hearing “That’s my wife!” yelled when I’m on the track. I think the best way that McKilla supports me is simply just being there. We spend a LOT of time together. It’s really nice to have someone that you can always talk to and makes you feel comfortable no matter the situation you’re in.
Support from my derby wife is different than that of my other teammates because it means the most to me. McKilla gets just as excited for my accomplishments as she does her own. There are a lot of things in derby and outside of derby that I can’t imagine having gotten through without her. #singlemomproblems with my dog, Toby, just to mention one.
Killa: I can honestly say I wouldn’t still be playing roller derby if it weren’t for Bam. She knows exactly what I need to hear and when I need it…Whether it’s the tough love approach of, “get your ass out of bed you’re coming to practice.” Or she’s the one to tell me I had a good practice, and that my outside hits were getting better. She is able to keep me on the right path with the ups and downs of derby life.
What makes her different than just a teammate is that she knows what I’m capable of. She knows what makes me tick, and knows my journey. Her support means most to me, and I know that when she says something…she means it…there’s no bull with her.
What is your favorite thing that you’ve accomplished together in derby or otherwise?
SFOD Toys for Tots Pancake Breakfast – 2013
Killa: Winning our 2nd game at ECDX 2012. It was our first tournament, and the first time that we realized that all our hard work actually brought us somewhere! SFOD focused on becoming a competitive team that year, and this was the first moment that we realized all the work we put in was paying off. It was just such a cool feeling to share that with someone who was there from the very beginning of it all…every scrimmage, every Sunday morning practice, every time I wanted to die after jamming…we shared all those moments together, and to see it all come together at ECDX is something I can never forget.
Bam: Making it to Division 1 Tournament together has to be my favorite. As a whole team it was a great accomplishment but I definitely couldn’t imagine experiencing the whole weekend without my wife. We have traveled together a lot and have special memories from each trip but nothing comes close to Tournament. It was great to have so many “firsts” together that weekend and to have her there for the most fun and intense derby competition that we’ve ever been in.
What are you looking forward to in 2014?
Killa: Not being the underdog anymore! SFOD has worked SO hard these last few seasons to become a Division 1 team. Now we’re there! Now is our time to prove that our success wasn’t just a fluke. I’m excited to raise the bar, push ourselves to new limits, and see the results of what we’re really capable of. Who is NH? WE ARE!
Bam: Building on the success of Skate Free or Die’s 2013 season! It was amazing to grow as a team and see our hard work pay off last year. Nothing is more motivating than exceeding the goals that we set in the beginning of the 2013 season. We are ready to put in the time and do it again!
SFOD is traveling to Ohio at the end of March for the team’s first bout of the season but you can see these two in action at NHRD’s home bouts for the 2014 season. Check out the schedule for updates of when SFOD will be bouting at the JFK in Manchester. You can also meet them in person at NHRD’s Season Opener Party on Saturday March 22 at the Derryfield in Manchester, NH. - Interview by Bash