by Pulp Friction and Snoogins. Photography by Poladroid
Roller Derby in the UK knows Snoogins. She’s one of the most well known people at MKRD – she lineups, she skates, she travels the country announcing, repping MKRD. You’ve heard her announcing at bouts and, in March, the online audience heard her call the Men’s World Cup Final with Bob Noxious. And this December, she’s taking MKRD global…
Why did you start derby/what drew you to the sport?
I know a lot of people got involved in roller derby because they saw Whip It! And thought “YEAH! This looks awesome! I wanna kick butt too”. I didn’t get round to seeing Whip It! Until I had been involved in derby for about 18 months!
I found Milton Keynes Roller Derby at the MK Tattoo Convention. I was there with friends to get tattooed and we were having a wander waiting for our time slot when we happened upon these badass ladies in hot pants and face paint with skates on their feet. After chatting to them, we signed up to their next fresh meat course which started a few weeks later. I’ll be honest, I was terrified. I’d never skated before and had problems with my ankles but went for it anyway. I never looked back!
How long (roughly) have you been involved in derby?
Just over three years, the fresh meat cycle I joined was July 8th 2011.
What challenges did you face at first – and now?
As I mentioned before, I had no skating experience and weak ankles as well as being severely out of shape. I hope I will always remember my first session (if I do, it means I will always know how far I’ve come). It took me forty five minutes to STAND UP. My core strength was non existent. But Betty Knox and Claudia Faceoff didn’t quit on me.
After that, I spent around four months getting the standing thing sorted and moving very little. It was probably about eight months in that I skated unaided. Now, I’m doing stuff outside of derby to try and lose weight and strengthen up. I’ve also just started tackling crossovers, but shhh! I’ve not told many people!
What do you love about the sport and what keeps you coming back?
The community, both within MKRD and the wider roller derby scene. When you achieve something, even if it’s outside of derby, it is celebrated and championed. And if you’re having a rough time, again, in or out of derby, people rally round you and are so supportive. The things this community will do for charity or for someone down on their luck is astounding. I had a pretty bad year last year. One of the things that kept me going was the support of my team. That’s what keeps me coming back.
That, and the total badassery of the sport.
Explain about your off-skates roles – and where have they taken you/are going to take you?
I have spent most of my time with MKRD acting as line up manager for the various teams. I took the role for the first Quads of War game, I’ve been line up for our women’s B team, The Udder Team, on all of their outings thus far, and I have played line up for the Concrete Cows since November 2011. I love being a line up manager. It’s a totally different angle to the game that seldom people get to see. Although it can be stressful and high pressure, the sense of satisfaction you get when a line up you have planned on paper gels so well on track to take out the opposition and win the game is second to none.
As well as line up managing, for the last two years I’ve also picked up the mic and taken on the role of announcer. Like a football or F1 commentator, I call the action as it happens either in house to the gathered crowd or, for more high profile events, online, streamed or recorded for what sometimes ends up being thousands of fans unable to make it to the venue for the live event.
I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in some historic moments as an announcer, including getting to call the first home game of Kings Lynn based team, The Red, White and Bruise Rollers, announcing the first roller derby game in North Wales for North Wales Roller Derby, and more recently, being part of the announcing crew for the inaugural Men’s Roller Derby World Cup this past March in Birmingham. I was lucky enough to get to work with some real world class mouths (as some of us like to be called!) and must have proved myself worthy as I have also been selected as one of only eight European announcers to head to Dallas, TX, in December this year for the Women’s Blood & Thunder Roller Derby World Cup. So right now, it kind of feels like the sky is the limit in terms of how far I can go in roller derby!
What would you say to others who might want to get involved but don’t want to skate?
Come and get stuck in! This sport is so much more than skaters. If you like skating but think contact isn’t for you, come and join the team that always wins, our referee crew! However, if this is everything you could have ever hoped for but skates aren’t your thing, join in and become one of our non skating officials. I can’t stress enough how important our refs and NSO’s are to the game. Without them, our skaters can’t play. Or maybe you might want to join me on the bench and help keep the teams rolling. And just maybe, you might have what it takes to get on the mic and call the game.
But if you’re after a more behind the scenes role, we have tons of committees. Ours, like most leagues, are run for the skaters, by the skaters. There is so much that goes into running a training session, let alone a game day, and you could just be the integral person we’re looking for to help things run that little bit more smoothly.
What are your goals and aspirations within the sport?
Honestly, I’ve spent the vast majority of my roller derby career living in the moment and not thinking too far ahead. If I really thought about it though, my goals are to obtain my level two Announcers of Flat Track Derby Association (AFTDA) certification in the very near future and to be able to competently perform crossovers by the end of the year.
Aspirations? To announce at a Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) event. To announce with Plastik Patrick, even just for one game, and to announce with Bob Noxious again. And one day, I would love to be at a point where I can play in a game. Maybe something to aim for for my 30th birthday?
You can help Snoogs get to Dallas!
She is self funding the trip on GoFundMe!
Do a good deed and support Your local rollergirl!