I’m part of the Whip It generation that used Google to find my closest roller derby league, which turned out to be the Pirate City Rollers. I turned up to freshmeat, tried on some skates, and spent most of the time clinging tightly to the rink’s barrier so I wouldn’t fall down. I refused to let the squeaky wheeled shoes defeat me and I signed up for more then and there.
What leagues and teams have you played for? How long have you been playing roller derby?
Two leagues mainly – the Pirates and Richter City Roller Derby in Wellington. My then-coach with the Pirates refused to graduate me from the freshmeat course, and the thought of doing it again while my friends moved on broke my heart. Then I got a job in Wellington early 2012 and joined Richter City as a new skater. But because I was fresh, and had come in after the home-team draw, I didn’t play my first game until late September 2012. I worked myself hard and skated as often as I could to get better, and by the end of the year they gave me the award for most improved skater. I owe Richter City so much for supporting me, growing me, and being a fantastic league to skate with. Then came a job promotion and the move back to Auckland just before 2013. I transferred to the Pirates and tried out for the All Scars and made it, which was awesome and exciting and terrifying. I’ve been with the Pirates since, but without fail, every time I see Professor Scrape from Richter City I’m asked when I’m moving back to Wellington.
Recently you attended TGSS, had you been to this tournament previously?
2014 was my first time at TGSS! And what a shocker – in our first game I got blocked into my team-mate’s shoulder and spent several jams off with a blood nose, and when I finally got back on the track a wheel came loose! But I have never had more fun. TGSS is so professionally put together, and every skater, official, and fan there is friendly and helpful and funny.
What did you expect of the tournament and what did you learn from it?
I was most excited about finally seeing VRDL play live instead of on a computer screen. The TGSS final between them and Sun State was what dreams are made of. So much skating ability! Very excite, much feels.
Just watching the Aussies play taught me so much about how to improve my game, things I learnt that I’m going to be working on in the coming months. I was so impressed with a Pirate freshmeat skater, Mars, making the trip over to TGSS. She will have come back with so much more knowledge and understanding, even if she didn’t skate.
What does participation of these tournaments mean for NZ leagues and NZ roller derby in your opinion?
I would love for every derby league in New Zealand to make TGSS 2016 one of their goals. Isolation is New Zealand derby’s biggest obstacle, so the exposure to new teams, and different styles of refereeing and game play, is just great. It’s the little things you pick up from attending a tournament like TGSS, that you don’t necessarily see or hear while watching a game online, that makes all the difference.