Skater Spotlight – Thelonious Funk

Derby Name: Thelonious Funk

Derby Number: 5 (w/ Atlanta Men’s Roller Derby)

Occupation: Environmental Chemist

Interests: sports, live music, educational TV (I like learning stuff), animal welfare

Hobbies: skating, cooking, drumming, gardening

Most memorable experience: As amazing as spending two weeks in Italy was, I have to say that the yoga retreat in Peru is a notch higher on the memorable meter. The whole trip is indelibly etched in my mind. But the feeling of sitting on the summit of Wayna Picchu, after having navigated the thousand or so foot climb up a hazardous and exposed trail (the one coming down was worse, by the way) and looking down on Machu Picchu itself, perched on the side of a mountain overlooking a stunning river valley, is the greatest “holy crap, did that really just happen?” moment in my life so far.

Why Derby? I have played A LOT of different sports in my time, and derby is the most fun, interesting, and challenging one in my opinion (volleyball is only a close second because I was lucky enough to be on some successful teams). Like most sports, derby is as much a mental challenge as a physical one, but it’s a whole lot more than the most fun you can have on skates. Playing offense and defense at the same time is very unique in the sports world. By far the best analogy I have heard is that derby is kind of like playing speed chess while someone hurls bricks at you. That may not sound like fun, but YOU tell tens of thousands of roller girls they’re not out there having the times of their lives.

Advice for new skaters: One of the great things about derby is that anyone can do it. If you are willing and able to dedicate the time and effort (it does take more than just coming to practice), you can play derby. It doesn’t matter what you look like, if you’ve never skated before, or have never played a sport before, you can play derby. That being said, it’s not for everyone. And that’s OK because there are plenty of ways to enjoy it and support the team that don’t involve strapping on skates and doing your best human wrecking ball impression. But you’ll never know unless you give it a try.

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