Van Nuys Valkyries

November 2017 Skater of the Month

Tell us about your name
I used to go by Tankgrrrl. I changed it because I didn't feel like the name fit me anymore. I like to think that I've grown as a person and a skater, so the change just felt right. I was driving back from practice one night, listening to Lana Del Rey's album Born to Die, and the name just popped into my head.

What are your derby goals?
My goals are to be on a WFTDA charter team and play derby in another country.

Who/what inspires you on the track?
My skate mentors, TerribleTues and Michael, both put so much time and effort into teaching me, so I really just want to make them proud. When I started this whole derby thing, it took me weeks before I could even stand on my skates for more than a few seconds. As tiring as I know it was to watch, they never gave up on me. 

What is your favorite derby memory?
After tryouts earlier this year, I felt like a failure. My goal was to make it to the Wipeouts, but I honestly thought I was going to be booted from the subpool completely. Then I got the notice a few days later that I made my goal! I made Wipeout!! I was super jazzed about it, then, a week later, I broke my arm and couldn't skate. So it was a rocky start to the year, to say the least.

Since then, I have played in more games than I think I ever have before, made awesome and amazing friends, reached countless goals I had set for myself, and even played in a tournament on the other side of the country. I've played for several teams and leagues since I started skating and never have I felt more part of a team, or more at home, than with the Wipeouts.

LANA DEL DEATHRAY
#95

Photo by Down'n'Out Photography

Photo by Down'n'Out Photography

June 2017 Skater of the Month

Tell us about your name.
I bake all sorts of cakes and 350 is the temperature you bake them.

What position do you play? 
I’m currently a proud blocker! I’m working toward being a great pivot, just so I can get in a little bit of jamming, too.  

Who inspires you on the track?
Kat Von Reap turned me onto derby. She worked with my husband and I came to see her play. It was so cool. But I thought I was too old and too big to play, so it took me two years before I went to my First Date. I have not looked back since. 

What is your favorite derby memory?
The night I passed my WFTDA skills and got drafted to the Van Nuys Valkyries! It took three tries to get home team cleared and I passed with the greatest group of gals — Night Fury, Meowzig, Iceboxx, Lucid Venus, Slick Trick, and Sigourney Cleaver. I’m so proud to be a part of this amazing league and hope to have many more memories!

fudge.jpg

FUDGINCAKEDOFF
#350

January 2017 Skater of the Month

KIM NOVAKAINE
#3632

Tell us about your name
I’m a sucker for Alfred Hitchcock movies. When I joined SFV, I was six weeks postpartum, so I wanted a name to involve an amazing leading lady and evoke the thought of pain.  I was hoping my hits would leave my opponents begging for some pain relievers!

What position do you play?
Blocker all day! Blocking has truly allowed me to embrace my strength (and my thunder thighs). I've never, even at my thinnest, loved my body as much as I do now. Derby has helped me so much to be in a better place mentally. I’m a work in progress, but I'm starting to see myself as an athlete! 

PHOTO BY TRISTAN KING

PHOTO BY TRISTAN KING

Who do you look to for inspiration?
I’ve worked with so many of the SFV trainers and found that all of them have such great inspiration to offer. Derp taught me how to find the rhythm in my laps and how to get out of my head. Twiggy preached the importance of mantras. Atomic’s constant push of #GYLT actually inspired me get my life together. And Dovah … oh man, she’s who I want to be when I grow up.

What are your derby goals for 2017?
Agility, strength, focus … but overall, HAVING THE BEST 2017 POSSIBLE!!! 

January 2017 marks my second derbyversary with this amazing league. I’ve come so far in my journey and I want so much more. I want to sweat and cry and cuss up a storm and laugh at myself. I want to cross-train and have fun with my teams. But most of all, I want to push myself harder than ever while still supporting all of my badass derby sisters. 2017, here we come!

December 2016 Skater of the Month

HARDLEE ANN ANGEL
#9452

Who are you?
I'm a blocker!  I love the challenge of not allowing anyone to get by me. But now, I’m also a trainer, helping teach the Fresh Meat to skate and scrimmage, both the adults and juniors. 

Tell us about your name.
Appearances are deceiving. I'm always teased about looking quiet and sweet, but in reality my halo is held up by devil horns! 😈😈😈 My number represents my dad's birthdate who died of cancer but I know he's always with me when I'm skating. 

Who is your derby inspiration?
Moose always inspires me to be better. From the very beginning, her voice is a voice I could hear above all the others. She has been such a rock whenever I've needed support and encouragement. Moose knows exactly how much to push a person to reach their limits and she never lets you give up.

What’s your favorite derby memory?
My very first advanced scrimmage, I got teamed up with Saturday and Legs and —WOW! — the communication between those two!  They told me exactly where to go, what to do, when they were going to throw me into the jammer … all the while, I somehow managed to stay on my skates and keep up. It was such a great feeling of accomplishment and teamwork.  

November 2016 Skater of the Month

Photo by Vegas Shooter Photography

Photo by Vegas Shooter Photography

TARASCAN TERROR #7

Tell us about your name
The Tarascan empire is a lesser-known civilization in Western Mexico that existed during the same time as the Aztecs. The Aztecs tried to conquer the Tarascan empire many times but failed due to Tarascans being masters of metallurgy.

I studied Anthropology/ Archaeology in college and thought that the Tarascan empire was the most underrated and badass civilization, so I decided to incorporate them into my derby name.

What position do you play?
I’m primarily a jammer, but I want to be a versatile player that my team can use at any position so I’m always working on my blocking skills. 

Who inspires you on the track?
My dad. He was always into sports and he would have really enjoyed watching me play a contact sport.

What is your favorite derby memory?
My favorite derby memory is playing Sin City with The Wipeouts this year. Nothing’s better than feeling in sync with your team!

April 2016 Skater of the Month

HERRICANE JAXXSON
#0713

Tell us about your name.
It's said hurricanes are a force of nature, an invincible flurry, and an awe-inspiring phenomenon -- all things I aspire to become but for now I'm just a disaster! And because every hurricane needs a name, I used my childhood nickname "Jaxxson". 

What position do you play? What are your derby goals?
I'm mainly a blocker and as a blocker my goal is to someday be a beast blocker like Dethblock!

Who/what inspires you on the track?
Outside of derby, the person who has been there for me from my first date to now has been my partner-in-crime, Luis aka HERRicane's Disaster. I was also lucky enough to cross paths with my amazing derby wife, Ms VenomZuela. Both motivate and push me to be my best especially when I feel like I don't have it in me they never let me give up.

What is your favorite derby memory?
You never forget your first bout, which for me was the AstroNaughties versus the NeanderDolls. But the most recent Freshie Bout, the Ghoul Scouts versus the Frankenbabes, was such a close game. I was named Most Valuable Blocker for my team, which was such an honor!

Photo by Chuck Gay Photography

Photo by Chuck Gay Photography

January 2016 Skater of the Month

Chuck Gay Photography

Chuck Gay Photography

SMUTELLA
#850

My name came from my love for Nutella (because I have the biggest sweet-tooth ever), but then I wanted to show my dirty side -- hence "Smutella"! 

I usually play as a jammer and I love it so much! It's weird but I kinda enjoy feeling totally scared and intimidated before jamming, and then just throwing myself out there because I know I'm going to survive it one way or another.

My main goal in derby for 2016 is to improve on my mental game. So much of jamming is all mental and if you don't center yourself, you can't perform well.  

Honestly, Twiggy has inspired me so much on the track. I was always under the impression that I needed to be bigger to be good at roller derby, but then I saw Twiggy kicking ass, quickly juking all around, and squeezing into small holes. I wanted to be just like her!

That actually ties in to one of my favorite derby memories. When I was still a freshie, I stayed to watch as the advanced skaters started warming up on the track and I was completely entranced. They all looked like giants to me, skating so fast and confidently, and I thought I would never get to that level. It wasn't until I looked closer at each skater that I noticed they were all so different -- tall, short, wide, narrow, and everything in between. I realized I had a place here, in this sport, and so many others do too, but they just don't know it yet.

November 2015 Skater of the Month

DOVAHKILL
#1111

Photo by Tough Girls on Eight Wheels

Photo by Tough Girls on Eight Wheels

Hello, my name is Dovahkill and I'm addicted to roller derby.

Last year I spent most of my time on the disabled list sitting on the sidelines. I had surgery on my knee and it was kind of sucky. Instead of withdrawing myself from derby because I could not play, I immersed myself even deeper into the derby world!! There is so much to do and learn about this sport without even participating in the hitting aspect, but boy do I enjoy that part!! I started training fresh meat, juniors, and became Head NSO of the league. Once I was able to get back on skates, I had gained so much knowledge from training others and officiating every game, that I came back a smarter and stronger player.

Although surgery was unpleasant, I really appreciate what I learned in that recovery time and would never give that up. At times it can be tiring to have so many responsibilities, but I am so honored to be able to train juniors, fresh meat, and non-skating officials that I wouldn't have it any other way. When they tell me things like I'm their favorite or I inspire them in some way, my heart gets all fluttery. I couldn't do any of these things without all the amazingly strong, supportive, and inspirational women and men in this league. Nothing really compares to the feeling of knowing you have like 100 friends that would do just about anything for you.

I am Dovahkill and I am SFVRD!!!