In #Skateroftheweek this week, we get to know a bit about the amazing Velvet Hammer! This multi talented lady is blazing her way through her very first season with us playing for both The All Scars AND The Broadside Brawlers and doing a terrific job of both! We are very lucky to have her. Here’s what she has to say
1. What is the story behind your name and number?
Absolutely nothing deep and meaningful! I just wanted something girly combined with something tough. I was thinking about the “iron fist in the velvet glove” phrase, and it morphed into Velvet Hammer. And 4x(by)4 is the piece of wood you use a hammer on, of course! And the wheels we skate on too, so I was a bit chuffed at the double meaning.
2. How did you get into roller derby?
A friend of mine first mentioned it to me, and said ‘you should try it’. He just liked the flamboyance and hot pants! , but he knew I was in a dilemma about in-line because of the damage, and thought this was an obvious alternative. Then I saw Trample, Pixie and someone else show up at Barry Curtis skate park one day, and that bought it back into my mind, so I went along to freshmeat. Not sure it’s any less damaging, but at least it lets me hang out on skates with a bunch of lovely ladies instead of under age boys!
3. You’re a pretty kick ass in-line skater, how do you feel this crosses over into derby?
In-line in skate parks meant I was already used to wheels on my feet and jumping around on them, dealing with abrupt changes in balance and things like that. Although, soft quad skates with articulated trucks took a bit of getting used to, after a rigid in-line boot – I was all over the place at my first freshmeat! The rough and tumble of derby didn’t worry me either, because I’m used to impact and bruises when my tricks go wrong in skate parks. I’ve had lots of practice falling over and getting back up! I think it’s awesome that so many derby girls are ‘cross training’ in skate parks now, developing a unique quad version of freestyle/aggressive skating, and improving their skating skills along the way.
4. What do you think makes derby so unique and addictive?
I’ve been addicted to wheels on my feet ever since I first tried them. Derby involves new skills, and risk, and that pushes my buttons too. And there’s amazing camaraderie and support. Then there’s the addiction of just playing a jam well. As well as really solid skate and derby technique, you’ve got to be constantly mentally aware and analysing, and reacting really quickly, and sometimes you do that and it’s a huge buzz because you play the jam really well, and sometimes you just lose the plot completely! Ongoing work in progress…
5. Do you have a secret talent that might surprise your Derby friends?
I don’t know that it’s all that secret, but I’m a classical musician in my spare time. I play cello, in orchestras when sport allows, and I play classical piano too. Need to stop wrecking my fingers on skates!