Photo by Millyard Studios
Tiara Misu interviewed DKB about her time on NHRD. DKB recently retired after the 2013 season came to a close. We wish her all the best in whatever life brings her next!
Name: Dirty Kat Box (DKB)
Rookie Year: 2009
Nightmares on Elm Street 2011 – 2013
Bench Manager, Queen City Cherry Bombs, 2010 – present
You’ve been on a zillion committees; been a part of the Governing Body; skater and bench manager…. Tell us about the jobs you’ve done throughout your time with NHRD. What have you enjoyed the most?
I have been an elected member of the Governing Body for 4 years now, basically the whole time I have been on the league. When I became a member of NHRD, I brought my prior experiences with me of being on the executive board of multiple organizations in college, so it just felt right. I knew that my background was my biggest asset and I wanted to use it for the greater good of NHRD. I feel my behind the scenes help actually outshines my skating ability, and I am okay with that. I came into the league and immediately became the Fundraising chair and did that for two years putting on multiple events like our Monster Bash and our Heartbreakers Ball. I even put together a battle of the bands, with the help of Jager Raider. After two years of Fundraising I moved on to become the chair of the Sponsorship Committee. I was born for this role. I love talking to people to see if they can donate to our league with in any way, since we are a 501(c)3 and are a non-profit. When you get down to the nuts and bolts of it, it also brings in new fans of our team. Through this I have gotten a DJ for a league for certain events and bouts through MC productions and DJ Took, and helped branch us out in different ways. Heck, I am currently working on a cell phone distributor to be our sponsor. We are going big time.
Photo by Slam I Am
Being a board member has been my most enjoyable – I remember leaving my cell phone at home once and when I got home I had 80 email messages all relating to board issues. What resonates in my head is that I have been elected 4 times by my peers. I felt it important to be on the board as I feel I champion for the little people. I am a home team only player and I feel I have their best interest at heart. I know it is amazing that our travel teams are flourishing, but we can’t forget those people that come to practice and play on their home teams too. My goal was never to be on the All-Star team, and I felt I needed to stand up for those women who may have the same plan as me.
You were in one of the last “fresh meat” classes when basic skating skills were still taught. Talk about those early years and your own journey from novice to where you are now.
Interestingly enough, my first practice was September 6, 2009. I bought all my gear September 5th and I had never skated before in my life. I had played sports all my life, but never had I added wheels to my feet to do so. Cross overs were the bane of my existence, and I was in multiple fresh meat classes. I have seen many girls come in after me and grow to be amazing skaters, while I was still in the Fresh Meat group. This was daunting for me because I had put my heart and soul into wanting to be a derby girl. I joined the league alone, not with anyone else to support me, it was just something I decided I could do and would do and I decided at 33, I could now become a Roller Derby girl, and that was life changing.
When the league got to the point where it decided to become more competitive, we had decided that every member had to be on a team in order to remain on the league. I hadn’t passed my level twos because I couldn’t get my 25 in 5 (first crossovers and now this)… I finally passed and was able to become a full bouting member. Our league had gotten so big, a third home team was made, The Nightmares on Elm Street, and I was a full bouting member of this team.
Photo (c) Kevin Pillsbury
You’ve suffered some serious injuries during your skating career. How has this affected you on and off the track?
I came into playing derby with a pre-existing condition. I had had a prior significant knee injury and then into my second season, not derby related, I had to have a spinal fusion. I thought my derby career was done, but after 6 months I was back on skates and ready to play… After that, in my third year, I broke a bone in my wrist and later in the year had an avulsion fracture to the same knee I had previously injured. My fourth season started out with a repeat injury to that knee and then a concussion which has kept me off skates for quite a while, and I may not be released to skate until November. This has been rather hard for me, as my team has had an undefeated season and I wanted to participate and play. Nonetheless, The Nightmares won their 3rd consecutive K- Cup championship and maintained their undefeated season. Even though I wasn’t on the track skating with them, I was there to support them!
Being both a bench manager and a skater gives you an interesting perspective on how “the other half” lives. Talk about the challenges of each role.
I have been the Bench Manager for the Queen City Cherry Bombs since its inception. I fell into managing and just fell in love. I was a coach, back in the day, when I was a High School teacher, and managing was a good fit for me. I have enjoyed every moment, good and bad, with bench managing. All the road trips, all the great plays, the wins and even the losses. I felt, in derby, that managing is
DKB Manages the heck out of the Cherry Bombs at All 8 on the Floor in 2013. Photo (c) Brendan Adam Zwelling
where I thrived. Managing also helped me understand the game better, and helped me become a better player that way.
I love playing the game of derby, but there is something amazing that happens to me when I get to bench manage. My life is chaotic, I am a worker’s compensation Claims Representive. I am doing 30 million things at once, answering the phones, writing claim notes, making decisions and all that jazz – but when I bench manage, all the chaos stops, I’m not so frenetic and BAM I can make the appropriate decisions. It’s my happy place. I have learned a lot about the game by traveling with the Bombs to their away games and seeing different level of play. This year the Bombs got to play at ECDX in Philadelphia. Not only did they play a hard fought bout against their C team, we got to see Team USA play Team Canada. We got to be a part of some intense game play and that helped me step up my mental game.
What’s up for Miss DKB in the future?
I have retired from being a member of the Nightmares on Elm Street at our last bout, when we won the Championship. It is awesome to go out on such a monumental win. Someone very important to me told me, “Once a derby girl, always a derby girl”. That means so much to me. I have spent the last 4 years being DKB, it’ll be weird to not gear up in January. This last injury, the concussion, really changed me and my brain is my money maker, so I need to maintain that! Volunteering for the league could be in my future. I learned to NSO a bit while I was off skates and I found that enjoyable. I got a new puppy, JT (James Tiberius) and he is such a cutie pie and a handful at the same time. I need to find my new challenge. At 25 I was on a reality TV show . At 33 I started playing roller derby. We’ll see what that next challenge is. I’m sure it’ll be amazing!
Greatest derby memory?
There are so many. Okay, we were in NJ playing Skyland and it was just an outrageous bout. After everyone had left the afterparty, I guess my room became the After AFTER party. At first it was just a few people, and I was lying in bed trying to watch Kim Kardashian’s Wedding on E!, then more people came in and I was forced out of my bed. Then it was Mack Truck Mel, Chuck nU Around and myself smooshed into the other bed and people started to take over that bed. I got up, walked to the door, opened it and yelled, “EVERY BODY OUT” and like a flight attendant I showed them the door out… Everyone stopped talking, got up, put their head down and walked out… It was amazing…
My greatest playing memory was in my first bout ever, I had just been out blocking and Chicana hands me the jammer panty. I was up against Hoebo Peep on the line. From what I can remember Bam, Chuck and Slick were also out there as blockers. I didn’t get lead, but Hoebo went to the box. I fought and fought and fought for what felt like hours and in my head I was thinking, I’m a home team player trying to get through all these travel team players. LOOK AT ME… I don’t remember if I made it through but I felt I had finally made it because, to me, it isn’t if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. And played that day and played hard.