From pink to green to blue, Mandoline Slicer has become a valuable member of BDD through her contributions to the Nutcrackers, B-Party, and Green Tape. While her derby career began on the opposite coast, Slicer transferred to BDD in 2012. After her first season as a travel team member, and first year as green tape coach– through her hard work on and off the track Slicer has become a valued member of BDD, making her our December featured skater!
If you had to sum up roller derby in 3 words, what would they be?
Strength. Growth. Happiness.
How did you find roller derby? What inspired you to want to play derby?
I was at a concert watching one of my favorite bands, the Sleigh Bells, at the Hollywood Bowl while I was living in LA. I made friends with the girl sitting behind me who was the captain of Angel City Derby Girls. Something about our conversation intrigued me and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I went to tryouts a few months later with Los Angeles Derby Dames (LADD). It was so hard, I was so awful, but I fell in love. There was no looking back.
Where did your derby name come from?
I love to cook. Before I found derby I’d say it was probably the hobby that brought me the most joy. A mandoline slicer is a cooking tool that slices food like a boss. Plus, my friends call me Mand..
What teams did/do you play for?
I started out with LADD’s training program, Derby Por Vida. I graduated to their fresh meat but I wasn’t put on a home team until I moved to Boston in August of 2012. I’m in my second season as a Nut and I just finished my rookie season on Boston’s travel team with the B Party.
How do you train on your own outside of derby?
I’ve been running a few times a week since I was 13. Running is something that brings me a lot of joy and clears out my crazy brain. I also try to do plyo workouts at least once a week and run the stadium stairs at Harvard. Since I don’t drive I walk pretty much everywhere. When you’re constantly carrying around a huge bag filled with derby gear and work supplies I think that counts as cross training too?
What inspired you to start coaching for Green Tape?
Coaching is my favorite. I love training people in my job and at derby. I think teaching people makes you better. If you can break something down and explain it to someone that means you understand it better too! The Green Tape program gets our skaters from contact cleared to scrimmage eligible. This is such an exciting time in a derby girl’s skating life! It’s so cool to watch these girls grow into amazing skaters. And then when they’re done I get to play with them on C Team, home teams, and travel team. I feel so lucky to be a part of this process. But not only is it rewarding to be a part of their growth, I grow too as a result! Every single Saturday these girls make me a better skater. I love them.
What’s your favorite piece of advice for the up-and-coming BDD members?
Spend as much time on your skates as possible. Go to all the practices. We have such talented skaters and coaches to learn from so TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT!!! Take care of your body by eating healthy, cross training, and performing a proper warm-up/cool-down. Don’t cut corners because we only get one body so take care of it. Oh yeah, and get a hockey helmet because brains are important.
How do you feel in the middle of a jam?
Happiness. So. Much. Happiness. I love playing roller derby. Usually when I’m on the track I’m singing either to myself or to others. It helps keep me calm, focused, and pumped up. It also keeps my friends entertained with my amazing vocal abilities.
If you could go back in time and talk to your newbie self, what advice would you give her?
I wish I had pushed myself sooner. When I first started skating I thought there was no way I was ever actually going to be any good. I’ve never seen myself as an athlete. I thought I did it just for funsies. I skated like once a week for the first year and wasn’t very committed. It took me awhile to get bit by the “derby bug”. As I watched myself transform I finally realized that I needed to push myself if I was going to reach my potential so since then I been pushin’ hard! I just wish I could go back and tell little baby Slicer that she IS an athlete and can be good at this derby thing and had pushed myself sooner.
What was your favorite moment from last year?
The Nuts have a pre-game ritual; after we discuss our goals for the game we do a special game-day chant. The first time I was part of it, in that moment with my team before we took the track together, in my very first game, was my favorite moment from last year. That cheer is so special. My team is so special. I get goose bumps just thinking about it.
What is your favorite thing about derby?
Watching myself become an athlete has been life changing. It has made me feel like I can do anything. Also, the derby community is full of such strong, smart, talented individuals. With so many amazing friends and role models all over the world??! It’s the BEST!
You recently participated in the State Wars Tournament. What is State Wars and how would you describe the tournament experience?
State Wars was a competition, pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Each state gathered together some of their best players from various leagues and competed in a knock-out style tournament over the course of one weekend down in Daytona. It was one of the best experiences thus-far in my budding derby career. Since I haven’t (yet) made Massacre I’ve never before played in a tournament or had the opportunity to play against such high caliber skaters. I jammed and blocked against D1, top ten, and team USA-level opponents. Artoo, Stryker and Hayley were such amazing coaches. Not only did I learn A TON personally but I learned the heights that are possible with good coaching, hard work, dedication and teamwork. We had five (FIVE!) practices together as a team. But we learned all the things we possibly could and skated together brilliantly. We worked hard, skated hard and ended up playing amazing derby together. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity and I know I left Florida a better skater than when I arrived.
You’ve just completed a great season with travel team and with the Nutcrackers, what are your goals for next year?
That’s a big question because I have so many goals! My physical goals include increasing my upper body and core strength. My mental goal is to get into a well-aligned PhD program. My skating goals are to make and play for Boston’s travel team again and to help lead the Nuts to win the Fez in 2015. My coaching goals are to continue to adapt the Green Tape program to produce new skaters who have beautiful form, solid stops, and can hit and block effectively. I know that’s quite a mouthful but I’m a firm believer that if you don’t have goals you won’t go anywhere.
Who are your derby heroes?
If you ask anyone I’ve ever coached they probably would say Demanda Riot. I think I steal her drills and talk about her more than any other skater. I just love her blocking so much. I’ve been lucky enough to have taken some amazing classes with her at NEDC and I just learned so, so much. Locally I think probably Vixen and Shayna. They both are such incredible blockers and they are two of my favorite coaches as well! And I love watching Mangle’s fearlessly aggressive (but still impressively clean!) style of jamming. ::swoon::
What do you do when you’re not playing roller derby?
Most of my non-skating time is spent at work. Especially leading up to the tax deadlines in April and September. I’ve been in public accounting doing hedge fund taxation for about eight years. I love what I do but I’m actually looking now to apply for my PhD in public policy so I can research and write tax legislation to fix the (many) things wrong with the current investment structure. I want to be a part of the revolution to fix it!! When I’m not skating or working I’m probably cooking, playing Super Mario or spending time with my favorite people in the whole world (my sister and nephews).