As the seasons went by and the games added up, I was having the time of my life!
Photo Credits: (left) unknown. (right) Cathy Miller Photography
Road to 100 with Criss Catastrophe
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USA Mainland in Puerto Rico
It was a warm day in September of 2007 when I left work, nervous and not knowing what to expect as I headed to the Hackettstown Roller Rink. I walked into the rink in my casual business attire and stood on the sidelines as two women gracefully skated across the rink. One of the women approached me, introduced herself, and asked what size skates I wear. Skate? Me? Right now?
She was quite intimidating, so I didn’t have the guts to say no. I removed my black pumps, rolled up my ironed suit pants, tied up my rental skates and got on the rink – followed quickly by a big SPLAT. Tore the crotch out of my pants not even 3 minutes into it, but after getting back up, I knew I wanted this. I KNEW I wanted to play roller derby!
My very first bout was on July 13th, 2008. Roller derby required a lot more training than I anticipated and at times I would have given up if it weren’t for the support of my derby sisters. This bout was a culmination of blood, sweat, tears, and a passion that was so strong, I surprised myself at the level of dedication I was able to achieve. On that Saturday down in Wall Township, NJ, the Sisters of Mayhem took on the Boardwalk Brawlers in both teams’ first bout – and the Sisters took the win!
I went on to skate a few more bouts with Sisters of Mayhem before a few of us left to try our hand at starting a new league in NJ. Myself and a few others (including Deevious Von Doom and Lt. Bully) sat in a diner one night and the Skyland Roller Girls were born. Skyland went on to be a successful women’s league, even though starting a league from scratch was a painstaking labor of love. We had our first bout against the Albany All Stars, and two more bouts that first season away and home VS the now defunct Utica Roller Girls.
In November/December 2009, my best friend Deevious Von Doom convinced me to come check out a roller derby team 1.5 hours from my hometown. I was hesitant – this team had boys skating on it – oh, the horror! After some cute little Von Doom puppy dog eyes, I gave in and went to a practice and immediately fell in love with derby all over again. This league was Man’s Ruin Roller Derby.
My very first game with MRRD was against South Jersey in an old school style game. It was also the first time I was included in the jammer rotation! In WFTDA, the 2-
minute jams are too much for my asthma but when I found OSDA/MADE, I rejoiced knowing that jams rarely go longer than 1 min! I could now skate as hard as my lungs would let me, knowing that I would not collapse mid-jam (I save the collapsing after the jam ends these days).
Joining MRRD wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though. They demanded a much stronger, more athletic player to represent them. I had to up my cross training and go the extra mile to open my lungs so I wouldn’t get left behind. The fast-paced game sent me into some terrifying asthmatic episodes so I knew I had to do something more than go to the gym. I decided that in order to keep up with the pace, I’d start skating with a league a little more local to me, and in April 2010, I officially joined the Jerzey Derby Brigade. JDB was a very competitive WFTDA ruleset league and filled their seasons with many games, so joining this league not only helped my performance on MRRD, but also would challenge my personal skill level on a daily basis.
As the seasons went by and the games added up, I was having the time of my life! I was skating 4-5 days a week, and even managed to skate MRRD’s morning practice, eat breakfast with my teammates afterwards, then shoot back to Morristown, NJ to skate the afternoon practice with JDB. Life was good, derby was good, and I could feel myself getting better and better as time went on.
Fast forward to June 16th, 2012. I signed up for a mixer bout with Skyland Roller Girls, which was run by all new faces and some old ones who I was thrilled to see! They did a great job with my league after I left, I felt like a proud mama! It was such a pleasure to skate with so many amazing women and celebrate two important milestones that day – It was my 50th bout and my “skater number” birthday!
As I achieved my first milestone, I was also busy preparing and fundraising for my trip to Puerto Rico to play in the first MADE All Stars Mainland bout against Puerto Rico. The derby community was generous enough to donate $500 towards my flight & hotel, making my dream to be part of an All Star traveling team come true! My teammates were the best in the MADE community, and I was honored to be chosen to skate with them. On game day, it was 90 degrees, raining, and the floor was slick & damp. Even though a tropical storm warning cut our crowd in half, the game was an absolute blast and we took the win for the Mainland!
Now we’re here today, in 2014, where I am still skating with Empire State Roller Derby (formerly Man’s Ruin Roller Derby) and enjoying the MADE ruleset more than ever. Empire State continues to challenge me every single practice! I am still skating with a WFTDA ruleset women’s league, and I found one that continually tests my skills and has taught me the power of positivity, love, patience, and hard work. I joined Two Rivers Roller Derby in February of this year, and I can confidently say that
this league has absolutely changed my WFTDA skill level in just a few short months. Every league I’ve skated with has helped mold the skater and the person that I am today, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the leagues I choose to call my family!
This month, I am at bout #97. I have one more bout scheduled before the Colossal Coastal Roller Expo, and am looking to squeeze in one more before the big weekend! Through all of the craziness that I’ve been cursed and blessed with in my derby career, it all comes down to my 100th game. It’s the reason I started recording my bouts, and the goal that I set for myself to keep skating and powering through all of the injuries, arguments, failures, and disappointments. I am hoping that I can celebrate this 5-year long goal with the skaters of the MADE community that were such a big part of my life during the last half-decade. I want to step out on that track at the All-Star game on August 23rd, game face on, and tear up the track with my Sting Rayz towards victory!
The journey towards 100 has been far from easy. I’ve driven over 100,000 miles to and from games & practices, broken bones, broken hearts, felt like a hero, felt like a loser, made incredible friends, lost some friends, gained a best friend, fell in and out of love, lost jobs, lost hope, and felt more love than I even deserve… but through all of the ups and downs, I am stronger, faster, healthier, and so much happier that I’ve been able to share my entire adult life so far with the incredible roller derby community. No matter where #100 happens, you’ve all touched my life and helped me find the person and skater I want to be. Here’s to a 100!!