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 fivepointgrandslam.com 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.

 

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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?

 

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