By Saturday Night Special
Most people have misconceptions about who is actually out there on the track sending people flying with a hard hit or scoring those last second game winning points. I mean, anyone who wants to play such a rough and gruff sport has to be an edgy, rebellious glutton for punishment, right?
Contrary to popular belief, tattoos and a potty mouth aren’t a requirement when joining roller derby. In the beginning of roller derby’s big come back in the early 2000s, this revamped sport did tend to attract a certain type of girl. It was very appealing to the “alternative” and “punk” genres as an in-your-face female empowered hobby. But as the years passed by, roller derby grew and evolved, and so did those who were becoming interested in the sport. Modern derby was becoming more structured, more organized, and rapidly became the fastest growing women’s sport in the country. It quickly caught the eye of women of all genres, from college students, moms, military personnel, even high-powered professional career women. This broke all stereotypes about who, or what, a derby girl is.
Many skaters in SFV have a vast variety of interesting jobs and careers, but did you know that we have many ladies who are powerful and driven, both on and off the track? Allow me to enlighten you. Beat-Her Pan, who skates for SFV’s B-team, The Wipe Outs, and The Balboa Bandits home team, can make you see stars….literally. Pan works as a museum guide at the Griffith Observatory answering any and all questions about astronomy and the observatory. After studying planetary science at Berkley, she is currently attending school to become a high school science teacher. When asked if she felt that she helped to break stereotypes of what people think derby girls are, she replied, “I don’t think I break the stereotype at all. I’m finding more and more women who play derby while having interesting careers.”
We asked Mimi Murderface of The Like OMG’s the same question, to which she responded, “I think it’s less about breaking the derby girl persona, and more about breaking the marketing professional persona. People that I encounter in my line of work are always surprised about the fact that I play derby.” Mimi has an exciting job managing the life cycles of marketing campaigns for studio releases and video game title launches. Her career and experiences definitely make her an asset to the league’s inner workings by participating in the sponsorship and marketing committee. “Derby attracts such a vast variety of different personalities. Having worked in a constantly shifting corporate environment has definitely helped equip me with tools to get along with different personality types,” Mimi answered when asked if she felt if her career has helped her with her skating. Sometimes skating isn’t the most challenging part of derby. Roller derby is a team sport, which means working closely with many people and personality types.
Career woman, mom of two, wife, and derby girl Pink A Sassin is somehow able to manage it all! Pink has been with SFV for two years and skates for The Wipe Outs and The Reseda Wreckers home team. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, this multifaceted lady works in Hollywood amongst the stars as a red carpet host and commercial background actor. We asked her to explain what her favorite part of what her job was and she replied, “I love meeting some of my favorite celebrities when I’m a red carpet host, and secretly love being in what some people think is a position of power.” At red carpet events, Pink is in charge of making sure the VIPs are greeted and encouraged to walk the red carpet for photographers. As for background work, she’s a jack of all trades and does whatever is needed by the director. You never know which movies you’ll catch of glimpse of her in. “Yes,” Pink responded when asked if her coworkers know that she plays derby, “They find it impressive, crazy, and fascinating.”
“It can get pretty difficult balancing work and derby,” Stockholm Syndi explained. “There are many times when I have to stay late at the office to finish up a project and miss practice. I try to play it week by week. Thankfully, at SFV, there are a lot of opportunities to practice, so I go when I can.” Stockholm has skated for SFV for two years and currently plays for The Wipe Outs and The Balboa Bandits home team. Her very interesting career as an assistant projects engineer is a little difficult to explain to the masses to say the least, but she did try to describe her favorite things about her job, “My favorite part is learning about things that people see and don’t think twice about when walking down the street, such as those plastic bumpy things at the end of curb ramps.” Stockholm also told us that her coworkers enjoy that she plays roller derby and are constantly asking her questions about the sport and how she did during her last bout. “They have yet to come to a game…but I’m still working on that.”
I asked each girl if they felt that if being a career professional has enabled them to break any stereotypes of what the general public thinks about who derby girls are off the track. I pretty much got the same answer from all of them. Years ago, they would have been the exception to the rule, but now it seems that there is no longer any specific type of person who plays roller derby. That career professionals aren’t as far and few between as people may think. Any woman you may see lacing up their skates is an educated, articulate, and exciting person in their everyday lives.
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