Under the Helmet with Lucy Wreckardo

Lucy Wreckardo challenges herself both on and off the track. The skater, who has completed multiple marathons, has learned a lot on the way to her position on the Windy City Rollers’ All-Star/Second Wind team. We caught up with her to talk about how she got into derby, her playing style and how she stays calm, cool and collected.

Tell me about when and how you started playing roller derby. What drew you to it?
In 2012, I went to my first WCR bout with some friends. I don’t remember where the idea to attend a bout came from, but I came away totally entranced. I looked at the track and saw a whole bunch of really different women doing something decidedly awesome, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

I emailed about becoming a Rioter right away after that bout, and lo and behold there was a tryout coming up in just a few weeks. I ordered some super-cheap—and super-crappy—skates off Amazon and spent a few afternoons in an empty parking lot trying to figure out how to do crossovers, because that seemed an impressive skill to me based on the exactly one bout I had watched.

I showed up at tryouts and got my ass thoroughly kicked—it turned out I wasn’t in nearly good enough shape and could barely function on wheels. I remember trying, unsuccessfully, to hold a plank while Bork Bork Bork yelled at me, and I remember falling flat on my face every time I tried to do a turn-around toe stop. I absolutely 100% didn’t make the cut, but I left thinking, “Wow, everything hurts and that was terrible—I definitely want more of that.”

I started working out like crazy and taking classes with Derby Lite. A year later, I was back at tryouts and made it on to the league.

With several years of experience under your belt, what has kept you coming back? And are there still surprises?
I love having a place totally different from my 9-5 life to blow off steam, socialize and sweat. I love that derby is something you can learn—and get good at—anew as an adult. I love that I meet people through derby I would never otherwise meet, and that it builds a really diverse and supportive community. Mostly, I keep coming back to hit and be hit.

What was your sports background before starting derby? Do you think it contributes to the way you play?
I wasn’t athletic as a kid—quite the opposite, in fact. In my 20s, I started running a lot—I trained for and completed three marathons in 2008-2009—and hanging out at a Bikram Yoga studio. Both long-distance running and Bikram are based on endurance and a Zen-like mindset, which I do think shows up in how I play derby. I’m never going to be the showiest or best player on the derby track, but I will be one of the calmer ones, and one of the people left standing after a three-hour practice or three bouts in one day.

When did you make your current travel team, and what has the experience been like since?
I skated for Third Coast in 2014, then Second Wind in 2015. During the summer of 2015, mid-season, I joined the All-Star Charter. I now skate with our combined All-Star/Second Wind team. Joining All-Stars in 2015 was probably the biggest change—I spent a couple of months just getting my butt kicked over and over, three or four nights a week, voluntarily. I was primarily jamming during that time, and I would (no joke) have entire practices in which I never got out of the pack without passing the star. It was brutal, but I learned a lot. I feel like I came into 2016 better prepared and ready to support the team however I am needed.

What are some of your personal goals for this season?
Stay flexible and positive, and always remember that roller-skating is fun and full-contact roller-skating is even more fun.

See Lucy in action this weekend at this weekend’s double-header, Saturday, May 14, at the Broadway Armory (5917 N. Broadway St.). At 6 pm, WCR’s Third Coast takes on the Downriver Roller Dollz from Woodhaven, Michigan. At 7:30 pm, Second Wind goes head-to-head against the Naptown Roller Girls’ Warning Belles out of Indianapolis.

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