Name: Sarah Jean
Team: MSRD All Stars
Hometown: Damascus, OH
Time Playing Roller Derby: About 9 years, 4 years with MSRD
What brought you to Roller Derby? I had just moved to Florida, and hadn’t made any friends or connections yet, when I saw a flyer about a start-up team. I promptly became obsessed and spent almost every night skating on a tennis court until sunset in my 1970s white figure boots. I’ve always had a pretty obsessive “can’t quit” personality (don’t ask me how many toenails I’ve lost skating), and had been involved in cheer and gymnastics, but I hadn’t had a competitive outlet for it since school sports- derby was a perfect fit.
Why do you continue to play Roller Derby? I cannot quit. I’m the product of a rust belt work ethic, and I’ve found my “thing”… I love derby, and the community of integrity surrounding the sport has lifted me through some really really tough times in my life. The competitive environment of the game, combined with the global sisterhood I’ve become a part of, is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I remember once instance specifically, maybe six years ago, I ended up having to move, literally in one hour due to a really bad situation. I mentioned it to ONE teammate, and literally within 10 minutes there were 10-15 people at my door, including people who’d only been my teammates for a month or so… We got me out of there in 25 minutes and I’m happy to call those people friends for life. I feel the same way about my MSRD teammates, and even fellow derby players around the world- anytime I reach out for anything, it’s always a loved one, or a derby person who is first to respond.
What do you do outside of Roller Derby? I run a small life-skills coaching business for people with varying disabilities or barriers to independence. I teach things like cooking skills, morning routines, or leisure skills. I absolutely love my job! You can also find me at Crossfit RVA a few times a week around my derby schedule, walking my dog on any number of RVA trails, gardening, or making soap from scratch in my tiny kitchen!
Favorite Derby Moment: It’s hard to narrow this down, but I truly love an under-dog story. A few years ago, when the top 5 spots started getting more and more competitive, the world of derby became even more amazing to me. I’m a total derby goon and still watch 1-2 games a week from archives, and every time I watch 2013 Texas Vs. Gotham or 2014 Rose Vs. Gotham I can hardly breathe. Equally, I love watching a new person get “the bug” and thrive in the environment that MSRD provides. As much as I’m concentrating on my own skills, I still get that lump in my throat when I see a newer player execute something I KNOW they’ve been working really hard to master. *
Fun Facts About Sarah Jean: I have been collecting Kennedy memorabilia for most of my life and have to keep that obsession in check! I showed up for High School wrestling intros TWICE, and they told me both times that girls couldn’t be on the team. I regret not standing up for myself and pushing more to get a place on the team.
Sarah Jean’s dog, Birdie
*From your editor–Sarah Jean is not all that soft. She “also REALLY likes to smash people. SERIOUSLY, [she] really likes that.”
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