First we met Jess in the Box. Then we met Sweet Jane. Now with another home team draft right around the corner, we are proud to introduce McGillycutty, who was drafted by the High Rollers last spring.
Rose City Rollers is fortunate to have an abundance of hardworking, homegrown skaters, including the aforementioned draftee McGillycutty! Roller derby is not easy. Not even a little bit. Most derby players, even our travel team heroes, did not show up knowing how to skate, block, juke, and jam. Everyone started somewhere, and for many involved with the Rose City Rollers, their first time skating (or struggling to stay on their feet rather) was at Oaks Park in a Derby 101 class. After months, even years, of practicing and perhaps a zealous obsession with derby, they finally make Fresh Meat. After even more maniacal discipline and devotion to skating, they get drafted to a home team at long last.
Gillian Bayless Brimberry, aka McGillycutty, is a prime example of this ardent dedication, jumping from Derby 101 at Oaks Park to High Rollers in 2 years. In addition to being a featured skater, Gilly is a mother of two, wife, and full-time interior designer. In addition to her busy personal life and her awesome blocking skills on the track, she also has taken an active role in the league serving as Wreckers communications admin, RCR mascot, Fresh Meat co-captain, and now tackles sponsorship for the High Rollers; no wonder they drafted her! I asked Gilly to share with us some of her insight, experiences with RCR, and what it’s like being drafted to a home team.
GoGo: What is your history with RCR and/or skating experience?
Gilly: I took a drop-in class at Oaks Park with VaVa Boom and Next of Ken out of pure curiosity and they had me hooked – I’ve never looked back. At their suggestion, I joined RCR Wreckers in late May 2012 back before we had 101. Previously, I hadn’t been on 8 wheels since junior high!
GoGo: What was the drafting process like? What do you feel was the biggest challenge?
Gilly: I really loved my time on Fresh Meat. The program gives you access to so many amazing skaters as coaches and teachers! They get you scrimmaging right away and work you up to skating with all the teams. I was surprised how much each team’s process, style and personality differed when visiting their practices and benches. Rotating through the team’s practices is really invaluable! Drafting when on Fresh Meat feels like such a mystery. It is and it isn’t. Girls bust out spreadsheets over how many spots are open, what teams are looking for, who they’re looking at, “what team do you want to be on”, etc. But in the end it’s wasted energy. Teams draft for all kinds of reasons (skills, position, needs, attitude, etc) so try to trust your soon-to-be captains through the process and just hold the hand of the Fresh Meat girl next to you when the draft results come in. In Fresh Meat, I think the biggest challenges are the ones you put on yourself. Switching your mindset from “I’m not good at…” or “I’m not a jammer”, etc. to “I’m working on…” can make a huge difference. It also shows you are aware of your challenges and working on your progress!
GoGo: How do you feel now that you are on a team?
Gilly: Elated. Excited. Nervous. Relieved. At home.
GoGo: What kind of advice would you give to those thinking about trying out for Fresh Meat?
Gilly: To remember that everyone’s derby journey is different. It’s hard not to compare yourself to others, especially in Fresh Meat, but it’s more than just a good (insert your most challenging skill here) that will earn you a spot on a home team. One drill or skill won’t break you at tryouts. Remember to breathe and smile during those tryouts – derby is fun.
GoGo: Is there anyone in derby who you admire or who has helped motivate you? And/or what kept you motivated through your FM/draft experience?
Gilly: Too many to name! Our dedicated Wreckers’ coaches really helped light my fire to progress and the Wreckers’ skaters gave me my love for the sport and the derby community. The home team skaters were so welcoming and fun on the bench; they confirmed it was worth the work and dedication.
The High Rollers will be playing Eugene’s Emerald City All-Stars at 8:00pm on Friday, September 12th at The Hangar at Oaks Park (and if you love us, you’ll buy some tickets). Gilly will be sitting this one out due to an injury, she will be present in full HRMF regalia to cheer on her teammates. Be there! Go Gang Green!
Written by Carrie Go Round
GoGo is currently on Fresh Meat and beginning to hyperventilate about the upcoming draft. She will be holding hands tightly with all her Fresh Meat friends on September 26th.