NomNom De Plume

Jul 262011

I’m sitting in my living room on this muggy Sunday morning with two skates on my feet, a GoWellFit arm band in place, three black and white animals surrounding me and one seriously messed up house.
I’d love to say that the homefront got into its current state due to some wacky ‘Hangover’ movie situation. The set up is there- skates on my feet, two dogs, a cat and a GoWellFit arm band. The possibilities are nearly endless, but before I begin listing out all the plots and subplots I can think of, I’ll just come right out with it and confess it’s due to equal parts procrastination, wine consumption and deficient (oh, look- a hummingbird!) attention span.
I’ve been going pretty easy on myself for some time now; giving yours truly the kid glove treatment. I mean, I’ve excused my drinking habits more times than {insert tongue-in-cheek, current event comparative here}.

I ‘confront’ my feelings of guilt for being such a slob by mentally offering up valid-sounding reasons why I haven’t accomplished things like dish washing or clothes laundering on a more regular basis. I also log onto the Internet under the pretense of checking my email, only to find myself five, six hours later- geeking out on some off-kilter site like, ‘Perfect Holiday Steam punk cocktail dresses’, ‘Make me Babies’, ‘Craigslist- Free, Barter and Missed Connections’, ‘Damn you Auto Correct’ and ‘Jenna Marbles’.

I also have been losing time, a staggeringly large portion of it. At first it was just a few unnoticeable minutes, a hung-over morning or a do-nothing Sunday afternoon. It gradually snow-balled into having my utilities shut off for unpaid bills, waking up and wondering why it was so hot in December, only to discover- Surprise! It was June. The ‘final warning’ call hit me one night when I Googled my name and discovered I was five years older than I thought (Thanks, MyLife- Find Anyone, Anywhere and invade MyPrivacy™).


I couldn’t believe that so much time had managed to escape me. It pissed me off.
I was angrier though that it hadn’t bothered me before now. See- I had become complacent in being a numb, mindless, emotional wreck. I had no interest in anything. I was pretty much of the mindset that I was taking up air and space until I changed or the world did it for me. I didn’t want friends. I didn’t want excitement. I didn’t want anything except to be left alone. I was not particularly fun to hang out with at parties.
Since the Quad world and I found each other though, time (amongst other things) is starting to matter…a lot. It’s presenting itself at every corner- there’s only about 30 days left before assessments. Five minutes equals a minimum of 26 laps. Two minutes per jam, one minute in the box…

Derby is about time- controlling it, manipulating it- understanding, accommodating and most importantly- Managing it.
There’s not much I think I’ll be able to get credited back to me from all of those previous lost moments. I’d like to think there’s a rebate switch somewhere, but innately I know that Father Time is unforgiving.

Rather than pine for the days I no longer have, I’m going to work on managing my present ones.  Let’s see where it gets me in the days to come.
The following are some of the things I’ve been implementing in order to achieve my goal of ‘Time Wrangling’:
-I’m cutting off the ‘Stay-at-home-Barfly’ persona. If I’m out with pals, a drink or two may pass my lips. I may share some wine with a friend while watching a movie or dishing out chit chat. But the ‘unwind-from-work/exercise/phone call/It’s-after-5’ uncorking of the bottle regime has officially ceased as of this week (not counting last Friday, though. Friday was the Bon Voyage party after the first dry work week).
-As for the (what was I going to write?) attention (Yum- Sesame Oat Bran Sticks!) span of a (stupid flies, where’s the flyswatter) fly- I’ve already taken corrective measures. Previously, I’ve wasted years on frustrated visits to counselors, doctors and the occasional shrink or two. I listened to them tell me about my Depression that I didn’t have, Bi-polar symptoms that I didn’t exhibit and most recently- the PTSD that I didn’t want. I tried their solutions and when they didn’t work, I tried their other solutions until I found the right solution of looking elsewhere. After a seriously long trek, I have finally found a doctor whom I trust, admire and respect (VERY important lesson. I’ll be writing about that one very soon).

I’m currently on month three of associating myself with three letters that sum up my past couple of decades. It might sound crazy, but I’m all right with the association, it fits me: Wacky, tangent-transitioning, short attention-spanned me.
-I finally set up the calorie/activity/sleep/step tracker that my training coach has graciously let me borrow. I have to admit, I don’t much understand it right now. I do know that it’s going to help me remember to do things like walk the dogs (daily ‘steps taken’ goal currently at 10,000- 8900 more to go!), build cardio and muscle (30-60 minutes of activity should do it) and eat regularly- things I sometimes struggle at accomplishing and/or remembering.
Most important of all- I am over and done with being a wuss on roller skates that constantly has to stop to adjust her laces. I no longer want to hear myself utter excuses about how my feet are going numb, or how I couldn’t go fast enough because my foot cramped up, or how my new skates have rubbed my Achilles tendon into Tartar steak. I’m no longer giving the upper hand to the victim image I’ve seen myself as since well, since I lost track of time.

If I’m ever going to successfully block a jammer, take a hit or murder 25 laps in under 5 minutes, I need to kick that former self-perception of mine in the ass.
This morning, I avoided the beautiful Internet distractions and instead looked up causes and solutions for my ankle discomfort and foot pain. I changed out insoles, inserted some heel cups, loosened my right plate about a turn and I MacGyver’d a protective bandage for my Achilles sore out of large waterproof Band Aid’s and mattress stuffing.

I laced up my skates and I have not taken them off for the past four hours.

I’ve toe-stop stepped over to the washing machine with my dirty laundry in hand(s). I’ve been learning that dog bones can create a similar situation as wheel locking, so I’ve been picking up my feet to unlock my bones-er, wheels. That’s been taking me into stepping and when I feel as if I may face plant onto the bookshelf, I’ve been crouching down lower and maintaining balance. Crouching down, aka Derby Stance- has also led me to discover a new appreciation for ‘making water’. That, and tile is slippery.
In a few minutes I’m heading out to get something to eat. It’s not going to be the most nutritious food choice, but there will assuredly be some protein and some calories contained in my culinary decision.
After that, I’m changing out the mattress. Remember when I said I McGyver’d a bandage out of mattress stuffing? Yes, well- there’s more than one reason why I need to take those dogs on more walks.

I may even wash the dish- yeah, no. Still hate doing the dishes.

I’ll clean up house tomorrow.

Author’s Note: House cleaning overhaul did indeed commence on Monday. The dishes have yet to be touched.


Jul 062011

Roller derby scares me a little less than it did a year ago. Okay, that’s not completely accurate. I mean- the whole lifestyle, religion, philosophy- Hell, the whole World of Roller Derby (from here on out, I’ll refer to it as WoRD) – I completely get. Not only do I get it, but I have been searching for this elusive ‘sine qua non’ to my life ever since well- ever and always.
It’s the levels of the WoRD that I’m now becoming acquainted with, and with different levels come different adjustments that either I have to make, or are made for me. I just have to get used to the changes. So, let’s rephrase that first statement-

WoRD excites me more and frightens me less than it did when I first started on quads a little over ninety 120 days ago.
I’ve been transitioning into this new lifestyle slowly, very slowly. I’ve been smelling the proverbial flowers (read: OMG- washing my pads is very crucial for olfactory happiness) and watching the WoRD grass grow (Ah, again- washing pads= less fungal invasiveness). I’ve been lollygagging around and absorbing each level I encounter with fervor and most importantly- with observance.

Random quote shout out!
“In the middle of the journey of life I found myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost.” – Dante Aligheri (Inferno)

Heheh, that’s what she sai-
See- I skipped and snorted and jaunted and jigged haphazardly and unthinkingly through the journey of my life, until one or two or ten wrong turns landed me right in the middle of a ‘Hans-Christian-Anderson-breeds-with-Tim-Burton’ kind of ‘life forest’. There were definitely rodents of an unusually large size (I like to call them my ‘mental Capybaras’) there in my self-made diorama. Most important-there really was no easy way out of the purgatorial inferno I had created for myself. Not just because of my tendency to over-reference in descriptions.
Fast forward about half a decade (not to worry- I’m certain those five years will be chronicled sometime soon) later and miracle of miracles! The power of the spoken WoRD saved my soul, nay- LIFE…eventually (I’m kind of the type that if something is worth doing, it takes me three or four tries before I catch on and realize it’s worth doing right).
The physical WoRD implanted its pacemaker-like influence shortly after aforementioned miracle (i.e.-kept my heart beating= influential pacemaker) back in September of last year.

I began showing up at local scrimmage nights, absorbed with some unusual type of ‘recently-kicked-the-smoking habit’ kind of habit (consuming a bag of carrots in under an hour, incessantly and constantly sharpening pencils, etc.), but unquestionably open to learning the intricacies of the sport of roller derby.

Nutshell- I geared myself to become the best WoRD roadie I could be.

I determinedly began learning such things as:

how to lay down track squares (those anti-slip carpet runners can really come in handy) correctly

Sharpie-markering highly visible numbers on muscled, yet sinewy biceps (Heather K. – I want to take this parenthetical opportunity to apologize for that initial attempt of mine to duplicate an ‘03’ onto your arm. I had no idea that when you said ‘Make it big enough to be able to see’, you didn’t mean by the kids in the soccer field across the sports complex).

Transcribe various actions barked at me from closely-circling, monochromatically-shirted skating men, such as the letter ‘C’ meaning ‘Direction of game play’, or ‘X’ meaning ‘cutting track’ (I was looking for scissors-carrying skaters the first night, wondering why they’d want to cut up those carpet runner squares that I had just laid down. The brightest crayon in the pack? Not me, nope-for sure. Double rainbowed commentator? Perhaps- but that’s another story).

Within a few weeks, I had become pretty proficient at logging penalties and points, but hadn’t quite gotten back into the swing of that ‘self-confidence’ thing.

After my adoptive team played and won their inaugural game in December, insecurity got the best of me and I dropped off the derby radar.

It was partly due to a social anxiety that had, in just a few short years, wrapped its needling embrace around me tighter than a Sleevin’ Las Vegas Slanket. A little part shyness as well, equal parts weight-related insecurity and awkwardness- all sum parts equaled Emotional Wreck. I just couldn’t be comfortable around so many independent, confident, goal-oriented people, so I extricated myself from them and just stopped showing up to practices.
Whoa, whoa- hang on a minute! I’m not saying that I quit roller derby so soon after being introduced to it. Quite the contrary- The ‘Q’ word has not once entered the picture for this here Newbie. My absence was more akin to being able to set my eyes on the proverbial prize, but needing some introspection before diving in.

I also didn’t know how long the winter break was for and was too shy to ask anybody…
Imagine how surprised I was then, when in mid-February I received a personal email from one of the league owners, inviting me to participate in non-skating workouts. An INVITATION, for me!
To work out, i.e.- exercise. Oh, snap.
Several panic attacks later, I responded affirmatively, then placed the upcoming event totally out of my mind until the day of the impending non-skates workout. It was then that I realized I had not a stitch of clothing that could masquerade as anything close to workout clothes. I mean, I hadn’t worn shorts in over three years and anything (exterior-wise) more body-hugging than shorts? Absolutely no way.
The day of NSWO (Non-skate Work Out) surreptitiously arrived, and a panicked lunch hour trip to Wal-mart inducted me into the world of ‘work out’ fashion.
Holy shit- there are bras made exclusively for exercise?
Loaded up with my derelict grey-in-color jogging pants, zip up matching grey hoodie and grey cotton tee, as well as some sort of t-backed, perma-stiff, front snap closure bra (good for high-impact sports, whatever that is. Chest bumping?), I felt prepared for my imminent social activity. Once home, I sifted and sorted through boxes galore until I located the one pair of tennis shoes that I had bought when I thought that tennis would be a cool hobby- about four years ago. My dog had ripped out the insoles at some point, but I figured, “So long as I look like I know what I’m doing, the rest will fall into place”. I proceeded to pop on the archless yet athletic-looking foam shoes and glanced in the mirror- Oh, no way.
The perma-stiff sports bra supported me slightly worse than some bobble-headed vehicle with the shocks blown out. The grey, poly/blend elastic pants accentuated cellulite mounds I didn’t admit I had previously and the cotton top additionally contributed to the first rule of selecting exercise wear that I accidentally learned- GREY MAKES YOU LOOK LIKE BABAR THE ELEPHANT. No matter how fit or unfit you may be. SERIOUSLY. Even Babar covered up in a form-accentuating green suit.
I didn’t have time to correct my first rule so harshly learned, so I did what any fashion-backward knave would do in the face of a style faux pas- I wiggled into three additional bras, squeezed into a pair of control top pantyhose and underneath it all- like a reverse cherry on top- a torso-slimming body shaper Singlet. Yeah, like in wrestling.
At this point, I was so late that I didn’t even do a comparative check in the mirror. I felt comfortably sucked in clothing-wise, so I contentedly waddled to my car in order to race on over to my first non-skate practice with the roller derby team. Once there, I answered the few questions from inquisitive minds regarding my whereabouts for the past two months with non-committal ‘you know’s’ and ‘well’s’, until the coach indicated it was time for team warm up.
Admittedly, I felt pretty confident at this point. After all, I had prepared by driving over with my car heated to ‘Sweltering’. I had zipped my hoodie all the way up and I have to admit- I was a little warm. Warmed up, you know? When everyone began to walk around the anti-slip carpet runner squares, i.e.- the track, I was all- ‘Hey, I can do this. Easy, Peasy- walk around in a circle, okay!’
After one lap of walking, all the ladies began to jog pretty damn quickly. I attempted to duplicate their actions. It was probably after the fourth lap that I began to realize that my lungs were erroneously made of latex and had been deceiving me for quite some time. Blowing up a balloon by shakily inhaling/panting? Not really copacetic in garnering positive breathing results. Just as I felt certain that I had imploded one of those said lungs, everyone stopped jogging and instead began to make their way towards the middle of the track. Thank Whew! This non-skate workout had turned out to be a great lesson for me- and now that I knew- huh? Not done?!? Forward alternating lunges for 30- go, what?
I looked to the left and right of me, attempting to quietly execute some similar maneuver even though I had no idea how to execute it (like- having three types of forks to the left of my plate and two knives, three glasses and assorted cutlery akimbo to the right of it at some fancy to-do dinner- Cinderella did NOT have it easy, just saying). Just when I felt I was getting acclimated, I hear the voice of the coach- “Nomnom- Don’t let your knee extend past your ankle”.
Ipso facto nomenclature ankle what?
I did what I felt was the right thing to do to correct my apparent no-no- I pushed my knee just as far as it would go PAST my ankle in an attempt to touch the sport court with said knee. That ‘extend’ should please the coach big time, I think. (Me- Don’t think) Said coach is suddenly at my side and my confidence quickly hampers as I hear words like ‘never’, ‘quickest way to injury’ and ‘wrong’,- realizing the adjectives are about everything that I’m doing- incorrectly.
I’ve become the ‘What not to do’ model. In Elephant Grey.
To make matters worse, a reporter from the local paper (with photographer in tow) was present that fateful evening and was prepared to not only observe, but participate and blog about various, alternative ways to get ‘fit’. I looked around and saw the veritable ‘Obstacle Course of Doom’ that had been set up to accommodate this ‘fit’ challenge- jump ropes, free weights, rope ladders on the floor-What the Humphump?
I’m going to end here on this note- namely because I have been trying to write this little ditty for over a month now. Also- my insecurity issues have waned quite a bit since the accidental inception of ‘Babar Sportswear’. Dropping twenty pounds in the last five months has helped quite a bit, also.

This beast of self-doubt however, has by no means been eradicated altogether. Once I pass assessments? Could be another story altogether…
Roller Derby excites me a little more and scares me a little less than it did when I first made the decision to skate, nearly a year ago. Granted- there are a lot of adjustments I’ve had to make for the WoRD. There are also many life changes that have yet to occur for me. But the one thing I innately know is this- I may have lost the map to that simplistic path to life long ago, but I will never regret this WoRD path I am currently forging because of that mislaid plan.

And I’ve abolished gray from my wardrobe.

May 302011

A couple of weeks ago The Flaming Lips came to town.  When tickets had gone on sale two months prior, I swiped up three right away- One for me, one for Sybil Action and one for the Duke of Triumph- Sybil’s husband.
I had ulterior motives, you see. I was bound and determined to pop the question to my best friend.

I hatched this one plan of contacting the band. In my mind’s eye, I could visualize Wayne Coyne delivering a heartfelt monologue halfway through the show- all about friendship and love and roller derby.

I’d be backstage, all dressed up in a giant rabbit costume, or in my derby gear (or both) and just when the band’s front man invited Sybil up on stage, I would come out with a ring, bend down on one knee and Sybil would tearily nod yes. Cue massive applause and cheers. The Duke tosses his head back and gales of laughter issue forth and the three of us merrily skip and giggle and cavort on stage with the band…but I procrastinated and forgot to email the band.
And…that was really the only plotting and planning I had done- Go to a show, have some famous guy talk up what a great lady Sybil is, stick a Cubic Zirconium piece of jewelry on her hand and call it a day.

But really- what’s the point of doing all that if I haven’t delved into the reason WHY I consider her my derby wife?
As you may or may not know- a derby wife is pretty much a girl that reminds you of all the things that you ever liked in another person. They’ve got your back and you’ve got theirs, they’re with you through thick and thin, you are best friends and it’s as simple and as complicated as that. It’s exactly how I’ve always felt about Sybil Action. I wanted her to be my ‘DW’ probably before I even wanted to roller derby. There are boundless reasons why. I could list them out, beginning with…starting with…well, maybe I can’t list them.
I just keep thinking of moments we’ve shared, wine we’ve drunk, the laughter and the comfort, tears and joy.

I then think of all the times she’s been there to save me from doing something stupid. I’m humbled that she continues to be my friend, because there’s been a lot of stupid-saving on her part.
(Side note: I left a section or two out of my prior blogs. See, there was a part of my life that I wasn’t sure I was going to discuss, so I omitted a few things.  But I’ve decided to touch upon them, so- as Paul Harvey would say, “And now- the rest of the story”)

About four or five years ago, I was living in Florida and was in a terrible relationship. Sybil was in North Carolina and we were doing our best to call each other every once in a while and catch up. During one of our random phone chats, Sybil informed me that she was going to begin doing roller derby. This seemed completely normal to me. After all, we’d gone through our fair share of interesting activities already: stealing cars, flying planes, shooting pool, shooting guns, beauty contests, amateur strip nights, consulate meetings, crawfish boils- roller derby seemed like the next logical step. I wished her the best and asked her to keep me updated on it. We talked a little while more, promising to keep in touch- the usual long distance stuff.

Time passed. I had gotten out of my terrible relationship and as a result- landed into the most unholy warship of depressions known to man. After years of walking on eggshells, hiding injuries and being hyper-vigilant to the slightest change of behavior and/or environment- I pretty much forgot how to function as a human being.
I became withdrawn and uninterested in everything. I quit my job, stopped talking to friends- even to Sybil. I was rapidly heading towards complete breakdown.
I made a decision to move to the Midwest and live with my parents one night, when the only other choice was to cease functioning altogether.
I hated living in Missouri, but it gave me the opportunity to start healing. I got a job at a payroll company, and began therapy once my insurance kicked in. I began to settle in to my new life- trying to make myself believe that I would be content popping ‘zombie’ pills, processing payrolls for a living and playing Dominoes every Sunday with my Mom and Pops (which actually is pretty fun, come to think of it)…trying to make myself believe that I would be content popping ‘zombie pills’, processing payrolls for a living and dodging tornadoes the rest of my life.
One day though, at our company weekly meeting- a girl walked in sporting the ugliest black eye ever. My past came rushing back in the split of a second. I didn’t know if I should hide under the table or go up to her and offer her assistance in escaping. Just before I passed out from hyper-ventilating, I overheard her say, “It’s from roller derby”.
It was as if Sybil had come in the room, sat down next to me and calmed me down like she always has been able to do. That conversation we had shared so many months before came back to me, prompting me to really change my life for the better. And then there was that night dodging tornadoes that kismet once again took over and guided me towards the last five minutes of a derby bout on television. A remedial conclusion abacus started clicking in my head: Roller derby on the Dummy, Sybil plays roller derby, roller, roller, roller, derby, derby, derby (ding- conclusion!) If Sybil started doing derby, why- by Jove, I was going to do derby too!
I got back in touch with her and we picked up right where we had left off. I started making plans for my future. It took another year, but I finally made it back to Charlotte.
This past August- she introduced me to her new team- The Charlotte Speed Demons. I began helping out with non-skating duties until I was given the opportunity to join their skater training program in March.
I can’t tell you how exciting it was for me! Finally, at long last- Sybil and I would have the opportunity to participate in a team together. Our partnership on the track would be the stuff that legends are made from- the synergy we would produce would be infectious- world peace! Happy babies! Jesus and Satan sharing a beer!

The day before I started my skating career, Sybil’s most likely ended for good when her leg decided to shatter at practice.

That’s the other thing about Sybil and me- Irony is our constant companion.
That’s the whole story, so now back to The Flaming Lips show:

I had the rings in my right pocket and my digital camera in my left. All that I needed was for Duke to get the camera and the proposal to be made. I leaned over and said as quietly as I could-


Duke looked at me, features slightly askew before saying, “Nah. Why don’t you wait for another time, okay? You don’t even have rings, just enjoy the show.”
My face must have done one of those ‘crestfallen’ maneuvers, because he then said, “You do have rings, don’t you? Have you been planning on doing this all along?”
I nodded my head and he motioned for the camera. I excitedly went for the rings but Sybil reached in and gave the camera back to me.
“Take our picture, here!” So, I awkwardly began an impromptu photo session. If it wasn’t for the Duke of Triumph stepping in and grabbing the camera, I know I would have lost my courage. Sybil looked around and asked what was going on. I got down on one knee and said-

“Sybil- I tried to think of your favorite color and I didn’t know what it was. I tried to think of your favorite flower, and I couldn’t do that either. What I do know is that you are more than a color or a flower choice to me. You are more like an emotion, or a blood transfusion, and I need you in my life. Would you do me the honor of being my derby wife (I didn’t really say that. I was too nervous and wound up vomiting out something about her being crippled and lame, but that I’d take her anyways. But if I had a take two, then I definitely would’ve said that bit about the flowers and the transfusion)?”
She looked around at Duke, then at the crowd of onlookers, finally at me and laughed.

But then she again looked down at me kneeling, looking vulnerable and desperate and laughed some more.

She eventually said yes.
I think we’ll wait until next season to tie the wax-laced knot. That gives me time to pass assessments and her time to adjust to all the plates and screws she’s adopted into her leg. I’m also thinking about getting my act together, as it’s about time I start doing some of the saving once in a while.




It’s a day early, but Jenna- I love you. Happy Birthday, derby wife-to-be.

May 102011

Kelley Young has been involved with the sport of roller derby for seven years. Ms. Young and her team- the Kansas City Roller Warriors- won the “Texas Shootout” 2007 WFTDA National Championship against Seattle’s Rat City Rollers in what many derby enthusiasts consider one of the greatest bouts ever played in the history of the league.  In 2008, she showed the derby world her elite jammer status by matching a tournament record (25 points in a single jam), that had just been set by Duke City’s Kamikaze Kim that same year.  Snot Rocket took a year off in 2009, but returned to roller derby in 2010. She decided to skate under her ‘government issued’ name of Kelley Young, which caused some amount of talk amongst announcers and bloggers alike.  She was interviewed late 2010 by about the change. Kelley explained- “I decided to shed the name after I came back to skating following a year hiatus, which I thought at the time was a permanent retirement. Snot Rocket as a derby personality had generated so much hype, and I didn’t want to feel the pressure of coming back into that after a year off, having to live up to the same expectations that were hovering over me at the time that I retired.”  She went on to say-
“I wanted a clean slate. I just wanted to come back and skate with my girls, with my team, without all the hype and personal attention. I’m just me, Kelley, on and off the track. Snot Rocket was old news.”

That year, she helped her team to advance up to the semi-finals in the ‘Uproar on the Lakeshore’ Championships.

Currently topping the rankings board in the South Central region, Kelley and the Kansas City Roller Warriors are fully poised and prepared to reclaim their number one ranking for the 2011 season.

She graciously took a few moments out of her crazy schedule to answer a few questions I had of my own.

Nomnom: What positions do you play?

Kelley: I play jammer almost exclusively.

N: How long have you been playing roller derby?

K: I’ve been playing since 2004, with a year off in the middle.

N: Day job (aka- what do you do to get the insurance coverage to skate)?

K: I teach Spanish at a local university.

N: What are some of your best/favorite moments in roller derby?

K: One of my favorite moments include the year we got a hockey coach to coach us, in 2007 when we improved a lot.  It was very gratifying to be coached by someone with skating experience, when it seemed that many other leagues were still being coached by friends or random people involved personally, as we had been in the past.

N: Do you have a trademarked or talked about ‘Snot Rocket’ move? If so, what is it?

K: I guess my “talked about move” would be juking.  But so many top level jammers are good jukers…

N: How did you get involved with roller derby?

K: Heard about it at a local rock show on Halloween…some girls were rolling around passing out flyers, ha.

N: Karaoke or After Bout Viewing?

K: Uh, both. I’m probably seen as being just business Kelley, but I can definitely have some fun…although I usually let loose with my closest friends.

N: Do you have an athletic background?

K: Mmmm, somewhat.  I grew up skating for fun, and I was always good at that, but that’s really been the only physical activity/sport that I’ve been really good at.  I played sports growing up, but for example in freshman year tennis and basketball, I was literally the worst on the team.  I’m not just being modest – Hallie (she’s probably not reading – but if she is, hey girl!) and I were the worst on the team.

N: What’s your record for most scoring points in a bout?

K: I don’t remember…I don’t keep track of that stuff.  If I did score a record, it was probably broken like the next week.

N: How did it feel when you found out you made a WFTDA record?

K: Well, if I’m remembering correctly, I only tied the record that Kamikaze Kim had already broken.  Because of the particular situation that year, it felt like somewhat of a vindication for my team, since Duke City had beat us out of our spot to Nationals earlier in the tournament in a game that I wasn’t able to play in.

N: Any plans to attend Rollercon this year? Have you in the past?

K: I attended Rollercon the first year it existed, and it was a lot of fun!  I would like to go more, but my schedule hasn’t permitted me to.

N: If Lucy skates 3 mph and Jan skates 7 mph, when will Jan catch up with Lucy if she gives Lucy a head start of 2 minutes?

K: I was pretty good at algebra and word problems in middle school.  I remember this one my teacher had me do this equation that took up the whole chalk board … one of my proudest 8th grade moments.


Apr 182011

I remember my first time and my first one:

I was down in my parent’s basement in Parkville, MO- hunkered down for the latest tornado duck and cover all-nighter. This was like, the fourth or fifth time that month that the sirens blared outside and the ticker tape scrolled across EVERY channel on tv. I was prepared for it though- there was a case of Boulevard beer chilling in the mini-fridge, a windowless room within staggering distance. The basement was partially furnished, so I twisted open a mirth silo, stretched out on the love seat, switched on the television and prepared for an evening of drunken channel-surfing. The only problem was that there was nothing on that I hadn’t already seen or that I had any interest in watching. Frustrated, I looked to the movie choices in my Mom and Pop’s collection and just before relegating myself to watching ‘Out of Africa’, I happened on a local television station that was airing a Kansas City Roller Warriors bout.  I put Meryl Streep back in her place and started watching. The sound quality was shite, the images dark and grainy. But there was something being transmitted through the cathode ray tubes that I could not pull myself away from. I mouthed out the words before trying it out on my tongue and then haltingly, slowly, out loud- “Roller. Derby.”

I sat, elbows on knees and knuckles under chin, intently watching and squinting and picking up on a name here, a game term there. I reached for my notebook to jot down some of these lessons and that’s when I saw her shucking and jiving through the static and around the pack- “Snot Rocket”.


by Joe Rollerfan


My first derby game and first derby crush smacked into me like a one two punch.

I heard the awe and excitement in the announcers’ voices when they spoke of her. I too, sat transfixed- stupefied that a human being could have such outstanding control and form and grace and athleticism- all while racing around a polished concrete oval track on eight wheels.

I wanted to jump into the television and be transported to where they were. I wanted to reconnect with my blue sneaker skates from childhood. I wanted to get off the couch, put down my beer and DO something. Yeah, I got inspired, as we all have – to start living Derby.

The program faded out, the grainy surreal canvas was replaced with a blaringly clear update of tornado sightings. I had a flash of hallucinatory doubt. Had I caught a glimpse of some new reality just then? Did the low pressure and Lunar Ale cause a momentary REM state? I kind of shook my head a little, attempting to clear my senses to clarify what I had just seen, felt.

Then I did do something. I got off the couch, turned off the Dummy box and I leaped to the top of the stairs, en route to the office as quick as a hip whip. Oblivious to the wind and rain and lightening, my only fear was that the internet would be down and foil my drive to discover more. Upon seeing it up and ready to go, though- I started my tipsy research towards derby (self) development using words like- roller derby, Kansas City, warriors, snot rocket- until I discovered a link that brought me to an old YouTube video, titled ‘Snot Rocket’s Monster Scoring Run- Jammit 2007’.

All the thousands of thoughts that typically race though my head at any given moment- day or night, stopped cold- fixated for two minutes, forty-eight seconds.  I probably watched that clip a good five or ten times before looking out the window to see the twister that would pick up my parents house and carry it into Oz.

No, I’m just joshing with you. But I did decide that I was going to catch the roller derby train.

Within a fortnight, I made arrangements to move back home to the east coast after a near three-year hiatus. I arranged to transfer within my company and when that was denied, I turned in my two week notice. I reunited with my best friend Sybil Action and began the slow journey towards becoming involved in a sport that at the time, I had seen for less than ten minutes (an hour, if you include all the times I replayed Ms. Rocket’s scoring run from Jammit 2007).


The sport of Roller Derby is addictive but more than that- it’s inspirational, it’s motivational and it’s charging in and changing the lives of awe-inspiring women and men every day throughout the entire world.


I’m going to talk some more about Snot Rocket my next go-around here at LDG!, because she has inspired me in leaps, bounds and Grand Slam passes. She has also agreed to provide her input on some saucy roller derby questions I have for her. I’m looking forward to interviewing my Roller Derby rock star and sharing the conversation with you. In the meantime though, I’m curious-

When was your first time? Who was your first one?