April’s skater of the month comes in a couple of days late, because she’s only been away playing with the All Stars in a tournament in Berlin! It’s the incredible Temple of Doom.
Doom is an All Star Skater, a Board member and a generally amazing guy. She has a cracking sense of humour, is insanely calm on track and hits like a truck. She blocks and jams, and generally is just an insanely good derby player. She’s also just super fun to hang out with, and a really great, supportive team-mate.
Joined ARRG in:
Role in ARRG:
I played on all of the Reserves games in the last season, and have been the sub for the All Stars’ last few games in London and Berlin.
Playing on the Reserves over the last year has been amazing. We’ve played some really challenging teams, but that has helped me to experience tough, competitive play and to do my best to meet that.
Being sub for the London and Berlin games has been amazing too. Subs train and scrimmage with their travel team, even though they won’t necessarily play on the day. Scrimming with the All Stars has really helped me to see where I need to work on my game, and to begin to raise the bar in terms of playing harder and faster. Going to Berlin, and playing two very different and challenging away games was just SO GOOD. Having trained with the team a bunch already I didn’t feel like a total imposter on the day, which meant that I was able to focus on the games themselves. Although it happens sometimes, I wouldn’t ever wish as a sub that someone else who’s on the team wouldn’t be able to play on the day. Being a sub for a few games has definitely been a really fun, positive experience both when I played and when I didn’t
Favourite Position to Play:
Defensive blocking is my fave position on track. Maybe it’s just because it’s the most straight forward in terms of tactics so, in the midst of the on-track madness I can just cling on to: OTHER JAMMER! STOP THEM whilst everything else is swirling around me.
I’m also really wanting to work on my offensive play, and to be a better pivot / communicator on track. Being quite a calm person, sometimes I think I need to do roles that are challenging and a bit scary and actually get my adrenaline levels up a bit.
Your Derby Story – Why Are you Here?:
I quite wanted find a team sport, and I heard of roller derby years before I joined the league and thought it sounded cool. But I thought you HAD to dress up in spangly hot pants and fishnets and I would have been more at home in a potato sack, so I was like ‘no way.’ Then in 2012, someone (maybe Popé?) was like ‘you know you don’t have to wear spangly hotpants’ and I was like, ‘oh okay’ and joined the next Fresh Meat, and the rest is a relatively short amount of history.
I have always been pretty fit and active, but I never would have seen myself as a sporty person, or someone who could wear lycra in front of people, and playing a sport which has space for such diversity in terms of body types has been great for my confidence.
Best Derby-Related Advice:
I think about the mental side of roller derby a lot. Our bodies obviously have their limits, but I think it’s our brains and our emotional states and our confidence that limit us, often long before we hit our physical limits well, that is true for me anyway.
I think I often worry I’ll look stupid trying out a thing I don’t feel comfortable doing, and that everyone will laugh at me or think I’m stupid or something and this feeling definitely does hold me back sometimes. But what I try to remember is that:
1.) I am playing a sport where accidental boob-grabs, clothing removing t-shirt whips, getting mashed into other people’s armpits and getting embroiled in green hall-dividing curtains are relatively routine occurrences. There is no room for shame in that picture or we’d all be embarrassed most of the time. So I guess I might as well get on with it and give new things a go, because we all look pretty daft on a regular basis, and we keep coming back.
2.) Derby is a pretty complicated game with more than a handful of rules, and some technical skills to be thinking about. The skaters around me are probably mainly trying to focus on that stuff (I know I am) rather than wasting time judging other people. And if they are judging other people, they’re probably impeding their own progress anyway, so ha.
So yeah. My advice is just to go for it and try stuff – because you will get better. Don’t compare yourself to other people and go at your own pace.
What you Do for the League Aside from Skating:
I am one of two Co-Chairs of ARRG’s Board of Directors. I am also one of two Fresh Meat Mins coordinators: doing the paperwork and letting people know whether they’ve passed.
Any Funny/Embarrassing Derby Stories:
During the referendum campaign, STV came to interview some ARRG members for their opinions on the subject for a piece on the referendum, women and sport. As interviews happened in the foreground, the rest of us were scrimmaging in the background. At one point I got blocked off the track and into one of those hall dividing nets, which was bundled up at one side. In my flailing track exit, I became bundled up and trapped in the net, clearly in the background of a camera shot to be aired on national television.
I don’t know if it did ever get aired, but I can’t escape the feeling that somewhere there is footage of me in lycra and rollerskates enmeshed in a green net curtain flailing to escape… and I can’t quite shake the idea that it may yet make it onto a television screen one day in some kind of sporting out-takes reel. Oh well.
I don’t tend to follow it as a wider sport in a big way… ARRG takes up enough of my head already, and I am not really one for big names and idols anyway. Everyone I skate with are my heroes. I see people who are pushing themselves, taking chances and redefining who they are all around me all the time- and that’s amazing.
What Do you Do Outside of Derby:
In my day job, I co-run a wholefood co-operative with four other people. It’s a pretty hands on place to work, and often find myself lifting 25kg sacks chickpeas and / or lentils above my head… that’s like the gym, right?? I am also a very nearly qualified trainee counsellor.
I love my ‘freedom machine’ of a bike and use this to get about between my various activities. And there isn’t really any time for anything else other than skating to be honest
Fun Fact About you:
For a brief period in 2009 I lived in a tree. Loved that tree. Quite like my house too though…
Photo courtesy of Neil Wykes http://www.neilwykesphotography.co.uk/