Shreddy Mercury jamming

July WARDian of the Month: Shreddy Mercury!

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How did you first hear about roller derby?

I did a bunch of recreational skating and roller hockey prior to joining WARD, so people kept asking when I was going to sign up for derby. I was also getting to the end of my studies and didn’t know what to do with myself, so I figured it was time for a new challenge. Back then, I just wanted to become a better skater and wasn’t sure if I’d stick around- but it has been such a good time that I’ve been here for two years now. =)

What is something that you know about roller derby now that you wish you knew when you first started? 

Nothing! This has all been such an adventure- through the sessions where I’ve felt more confident to those that have been more difficult. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Shreddy at the jam line

Credit: Torque’n Gene

I had some interesting ideas as a level one, though. For a long while, I thought that jamming was an exclusive invitation-only club; I didn’t realise I just had to put my hand up. I thought my excessive need for personal space would make me hate contact sports. I never thought I’d be able to take a hit, or that I’d be on management or a home team. I also thought that the WARD coaches were paid. (NOPE. They are amazing people.)

I certainly didn’t realise how frustrating it would become to be in a crowded spaces in everyday life. It’s very boring, not being allowed to jam through groups of people.

What is the roller derby goal that you are working towards right now?

Just to have fun. Whenever I see a skater with a big grin on their face, it reminds me why I play this sport. A wise person once told me not to let my anxiety make my decisions for me, and I try to live by that.

A related goal is managing burnout by having time away from derby. I play lots of street roller hockey and go ice or outdoor skating when I can. The bonus is that they’re all great for cross-training.

What do you do to keep your derby brain switched on?

I’m still developing my derby brain. I know that strategy is important, but I don’t enjoy learning it and I don’t like watching sports- even derby. I’ve decided just to be patient, keep coming to training and watch the odd derby video. This way, I’ll have a solid derby brain…eventually.

Who in WARD is inspiring you at the moment?

All our officials. They are so dedicated to what they do, and so generous with their time when I have questions. WARD officials often do regional or interstate travel to represent our league and are always looking to hone their skills.

Shreddy & Penny

Credit: Penny Dreadful

It would be remiss of me not to mention the WARD committee too! I am very lucky to work with such inspiring humans who care so much about this league. A particular shout-out goes to my sub-committee members over the past 7 months for their positivity and commitment to their roles. Thank you Bex, Bowie, Fury, Manaia, Rat, Rumby and Vector. ^ ^

What keeps you enthused about roller derby?

Jamming! I have tried so hard to love blocking and I know how many skaters enjoy it, but it’s just not the same. Jamming can be exhausting- and I usually want to throw up while I’m waiting for the whistle. But it’s also the best thing ever. You know runner’s high? Jammer’s high is ten times better.

Who do you nominate as our next WARDian of the month?

Lolpops. I knew it was a huge decision for her to nominate as President with her busy schedule, but she’s really hit the ground running.

June WARDian of the Month: Ariana Doomsde!

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How did you first hear about roller derby?

I can’t pinpoint when I first heard about Roller Derby but over the years its been something in my mind that I really wanted to one day try. For the last 5 years I’ve been the sole parent to a young child so finding the time (and energy) for a hobby has been really hard to do, and it took me some time to realise that doing something solely for myself was okay.

I moved to Perth from Mebourne away from all my friends and spent years feeling very isolated from the world outside of being a mother – one day I saw a post online for an info session for a Roller Derby league other than WARD. I’ve always had bad social anxiety so I really had to build up the courage to attend alone. I went, but as much as I wanted to give it a go, I felt like such an outsider and my anxiety got the better of me so I didn’t sign up – however I didn’t want to just give up on the idea so I researched other leagues in W.A. and luckily I came across WARD. I attended the next info session and Fury and everyone else who attended really made me feel very welcome and comfortable, so I signed up and I’m so thankful I did!

 

What is the roller derby goal that you are working towards right now?

I’m going to be honest, I’m finding level 2 really challenging and scary. Tiny told me level 2 would be very different and my gosh she was not wrong. My goal at the moment is to get to a point where I enjoy hitting. It’s not coming easy to me but I don’t want to give up on it. My confidence also definitely needs improving – it’s so hard not to compare myself and my skating abilities to others so I’ve been trying really hard not to do that.

Also, I’m not very fit, so I’ve been working on my cardio, skating around various lakes gradually building up the distance, I would like to eventually not feel like I’m about to pass out after 27 in 5.

 

What do you do to keep your derby brain switched on?asheve2

I make sure I attend both training sessions each week. I had never skated prior to roller derby so I need as much on skates practice as possible. I also try and skate outside of training when I can with my son working on my fitness and the skills we have been taught in training.

I also NSO at as many scrimmages as I can – it’s so inspiring watching all the level 3 and 4’s play and it’s such a good way to learn the game and get to know other people in WARD that I might not otherwise have much contact with. I also volunteer where I can – another fantastic way to get to know fellow WARDians while also supporting the league as a whole.

 

Who in WARD is inspiring you at the moment?

At the moment it’s literally everyone that has made it past level 2 but also all the level two’s that are repeating the cycle and haven’t given up! I also really admire all the coaches – they have worked their way up from level 1 to be where they are today and I’m always in awe of their ability and dedication – not to mention they give up their time to teach and they do it for a love of derby and helping others.

I know I won’t be alone in saying Tiny has been my biggest inspiration. Like myself, anxiety sometimes really interfered with her roller derby journey but she has learnt to deal with it so well and managed to come so far, she definitely gives me hope and encourages me to keep at it.

 

What keeps you enthused about roller derby?

The fact that for the first time in my life I’m doing regular exercise and it’s so enjoyable that it doesn’t even feel like exercise! But most importantly, in the 5 or so months that I’ve been involved, roller derby has had such a profoundly positive impact on my mental health. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety on and off my whole life but since discovering roller derby I’m so much happier, my anxiety levels are down and I cope with stress better. Before derby my self esteem was at an all time low and its been gradually improving. Having derby as a hobby has given me something to work towards and look forward to and even when there are tough days I always force myself to go to training because I know after it I will feel so much better about myself.

What else keeps me enthused is the kindness and support people in WARD have always shown me despite knowing little about me. We are very lucky to have so many beautiful and accepting people in our league.

 

Who do you nominate as our next WARDian of the month?

There are so many people in WARD worthy of a nomination for their outstanding contributions to the league, but I would like to nominate a few people that I haven’t previously nominated whose recent kindness has made a big difference to my overall experience in WARD.

Penny, Shreddy, Lolpops and Bowie for their encouragement and support, my self-doubt can often get in the way of me doing things so it’s been really nice having people appreciating and believing in me, their kindness is cherished.

Kat Scratch, I felt really intimidated coming into level two joining more experienced skaters that were repeating the cycle, but from the beginning, Kat has always been welcoming and made me feel more at ease. Even though she’s had to take a step back from the contact side of derby she has still been attending training to join in where she can and offer help, support and encouragement to everyone, also her continued dedication to the role of retail coordinator is admirable.

Tiny

May WARDian of the Month: Tiny Dancer

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How did you first get into roller derby?

My friend Snappa told me about it! We went and watched a bout at Midvale speed dome and were intrigued. I remember her asking me, ‘do you think we could do that?!” She started first and was having so much fun with it and kept badgering me to come down and try it. Back then you could just turn up and start on the night so I took the plunge and never looked back.

Tiny

Photo by Pants Eye View

What is something that you know about roller derby now that you wish you knew when you first started?

That it’s just as much a mental game as a physical one. The mental side has always been much harder for me. The strategy doesn’t come naturally to me, I have to really work on it. The self-doubt is super tough. It’s easy to think about everything you can’t do that well or didn’t do well in a game rather than celebrate your successes, no matter how small.

That it would gift me some amazing, strong, inspiring, beautiful people that I know I will have in my life forever.

And that a 4 digit number is just too long!

What is the roller derby goal you are working towards right now?

To do well in Queensland at Royal Rumble in a couple of weeks. I want our team to be as successful as we can be.

This will be the first time I am communicating on track to my pod and I want to be clear, concise and remember to use my bedroom voice!

What do you do to keep your derby brain switched on?

Watch footage! I watch so much footage. I have watched some games 20 times or more. I will watch one player for the whole game. Then watch the same game but watch another player and so on.

I also watch my team mates. I learn heaps by seeing how they skate and how they play. I also tell my level 1’s that I see everything! Ha ha I am always watching….

Who in WARD is inspiring you at the moment?

Beers – her juggle of study, work, family, driving the WARD ship, and her coaching not only Top 30 but also level 2 and 3 – it’s inspiring and very much appreciated.

All the mums – I know how hard the juggle is sometimes just to get to training so I take my hat off to you!

Photo by Pants Eye View

Photo by Pants Eye View

What keeps you enthused about roller derby?

Seeing skaters in all levels succeeding. Whether it be because they mastered a banana hit, caught the jammer, passed their assessment or finally learned how to plow.

I get such a kick out of seeing people feel proud of themselves.

Who do you nominate as our next WARDian of the Month?

Ash – she has thrown herself into everything – including training – since arriving at WARD. She is an asset to our league.

Violet – she has taken over the role of Risk and Safety and done it like it’s never been done before.

April WARDian of the Month: Dr. Megan

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How did you first get into roller derby?

I confess, I never got interested in derby qua derby; it’s always been the people who matter.  I joined WARD as an NSO because I didn’t want to play myself, but I wanted to make it possible for other people to do so.  I’d known about derby for a few years, since a dear friend started, but I really became derby-adjacent when Maul Rat took it up.  I saw an inclusive sport and community with good principles and I saw how it sometimes struggled to get support.  I got involved to support people I love and a community I admire.

What does roller derby mean to you?

Megan at WARD Home Game 20198Skating doesn’t come easily to me.  I was very resistant to learning at all (probably because when Rat tried to teach me rollerblading my progress was stellar insofar as it was a giant flaming ball of inescapable death), but Rat has been very patiently – and very slowly – teaching me. Derby is what kicked me into learning to skate, after I’d let myself forget how important it is to choose things you know you’ll find difficult.  It’s a way of challenging myself and my limitations, mental and physical.  I don’t like being bad at things and it’s far too easy to keep developing the areas that are already strengths.  Learning something completely new and alien (I didn’t even ride a bike as a child, so I have no wheeled background to draw on) is enormously valuable.

 

 

Who in WARD is inspiring you at the moment?Megan and Rat at AMRD Nationals 2018

In WARD, it’s the sacrifice of time and effort for the benefit of the league and its members that I really find inspiring.  There are so many wonderful people doing so much.  There’s Ash Eve who volunteered in three different roles that I know of for the recent home game.  There are Lolpop and Penny Dreadful, who are always there to make things happen, taking care of every detail.  There’s Marie Fury, who’s putting so much thought into developing the league’s NSO skills.  There are all the officials who are completely indispensable and totally committed, like Cinnamon Skrull who volunteered as an NSO at the home game because she was too sick to referee.

 

Who do you nominate as our next WARDian of the Month?

It’s hard to choose just one person to nominate as WARDian of the month, but I’ll have to go with Max Power, for the depth of her commitment and humane thoughtfulness (just two reasons, and I’m sure every WARDian could add an extensive list of their own).

March WARDian of the Month: Marie Fury

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How did you first hear about roller derby?

I had been vaguely following roller derby in Perth and thought it looked super fun, then forgot all about it until a friend came across a WARD flyer at uni and sent it to me. I’d always enjoyed skating but never got past learning how to move forwards and thought this was the perfect opportunity to learn other things too, like stopping!

What is something that you know about roller derby now that you wish you knew when you first started?

Not everyone’s progress is linear – you’ll have setbacks and time off and something will all of a sudden be the hardest thing ever even when you were fine with it the week before. You’ll get there eventually and in the meantime, training can still be fun.

What is the roller derby goal you are working towards right now?

Being able to play in my first home game!

What do you do to keep your derby brain switched on?

Attending training as much as possible, asking questions about different rules, NSOing when I can – you think you know NSO positions and rules and then things happen that just show there’s always more to learn! I really enjoy moments like that, even if they’re hard it’s still great being able to understand more of the game.

What keeps you enthused about roller derby?

Just throwing myself into it, even when I feel like I’m too tired or it’s too much effort as I never regret showing up.

What do you love about derby?

I love the challenge of it, learning new things and then having that lightbulb moment. I also love how supportive everyone is, we’re all there to do fun things on skates and we all just want to do what we can to help each other out.

Who do you nominate as our next WARDian of the Month?

Dr Megan, for all her hard work learning multiple NSO positions and also training new NSOs, and Amber, for everything she’s doing to improve WARD’s risk and safety practices.

February WARDian of the Month: Holly War

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How did you first hear about roller derby?

I caught a short ABC news or documentary piece about Roller Derby on the TV back in 2009, when I was 17. I’d grown up playing numerous sports, but had stopped towards the end of high school due to study and a knee reconstruction. As soon as I saw the intensity and contact levels demanded by the sport (as well as the punk rock vibes of 2009 derby) I knew it was for me

What is something that you know about roller derby now that you wish you knew when you first started?

How it would become so integral to my life that I have to actually tell myself I can’t revolve all aspects of my life around it. If derby paid the bills I would never take my skates off.

What is the roller derby goal you are working towards right now?

Team Japan for the next world cup – also a great motivator to learn Japanese and connect to that side of my heritage! I’m super passionate about seeing an increase in the diversity of participants in derby.

What do you do to keep your derby brain switched on?

Holly War sporting the Atomic Sirens colours

Photo credit: Matthew Boggs

Go to all the training sessions! ALL OF THEM. Unless I’m working 🙁

Who in WARD is inspiring you at the moment?

The newer travel team cohort, that is, my new WayWARDs (and even WotS!) team-mates. I’ve seen some of them come up from beginner skaters to the bouting skaters they are now. It’s been a privilege to watch them improve the way they have over the past year, and seeing them continue striving to improve makes me excited for the future as we develop together.

 What keeps you enthused about roller derby?

As long as it’s fun then I’m going to be enthused about it. That and it continues to appeal to my competitive, speed-loving, full-contact-sport seeking side. It also keeps me fit, and my self-competitive need to get better has actually made me start doing off-skates workouts to improve my derby performance. Past Holly would be shocked and appalled! Present Holly has abs and thighs of steel though so worth it!

Who do you nominate as our next WARDian of the Month?

Always a tough question!  Two off the top of my head are:
Fury, for taking on and doing a great job of her subco role while still a developing skater, as well as devoting her time to becoming a great NSO

Nacho, for being a great fundraising coordinator, taking on a captaincy position and being a fab teammate

So many more equally deserving people, and not enough words to spruik them all!

January WARDian of the Month: Maul Rat

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How did you first hear about roller derby?

A long, long time ago, in a suburb far, far away… a fresh-faced young St John first aider signed up to an event at Herb Graham Rec Centre. It was for the rolling derbies, a peculiar game mentioned by his friend, a fresh skater called Sylvia Nitrate…

What is something that you know about roller derby now that you wish you knew when you first started?

Pack is, in fact, here.

What is the roller derby goal you are working towards right now?

Refining my Ref wizardry. It’s amazing how much is going on, and how hard it is to see things. When I’m not impersonating a noisy pedestrian crossing though, I dream of jam. Our jammers are so impressive and skilful (and hard to catch), and I’d love to do that.

Photo Credit: Perth Outdoor Rollerblading

What do you do to keep your derby brain switched on?

Off-track, I like to think up social stuff to do with derbyfolk, and do lots of outdoor skating (marathons, woo). On-track, it’s a little realisation that the sport I’m playing is actually really special, and the folks I’m playing it with are totally rad. This thought often happens in the moment after being hit before powersliding across the floor.

Who in WARD is inspiring you at the moment?

I look up to so many people. Carno for her no-nonsense commitment, Cannon Bill for his stalwart dedication and determination to helping out and making derby go, and Slenderjam for his zany antics and crisp skills.

What keeps you enthused about roller derby?

A peculiar need to find out why everyone doesn’t play it. It’s skates, people! Skates! Sport skates! Seriously though, I like the community. It has people in it, which is scary, but everyone’s so interested.

Who do you nominate as our next WARDian of the Month?

Holly War for being the best Holly ever (also super hard to block, seriously). She’s got an eternally bright demeanour and attitude, and always seems keen to help folks out.

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Maul Rat at AMRD Nationals. Photo Credit: Torque’n’Gene

November WARDian of the Month: Kronie

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Team mate Missy Quinn and Kronie at Home Game Grand Final

Team mate Missy Quinn and Kronie at Home Game Grand Final

How did you first hear about roller derby?

I first joined WARD in 2011 after being invited by a friend to go to a home game. I fell in love with it all and decided to join!  After making it to level 3 I found it to be too difficult to keep it up with post grad studies so had to leave 🙁  Luckily I kept in contact with Vector who convinced me to give it another go at the start of this year. It was then I realised I had had a giant derby sized hole in my life all this time!

What is something that you know about roller derby now that you wish you knew when you first started?

That the mental game is just as important as the physical one. Also what an amazing, supportive community derby is! So don’t be so scared

What is the roller derby goal you are working towards right now?

Forever trying to do better at lateral movement/side surfs. They will be the death of me! Also staying focused on the task at hand during scrims.

What do you do to keep your derby brain switched on?

Trying to get to as many training sessions and watch as many games as possible. And do all of the things all of the time!

Who in WARD is inspiring you at the moment?

Beers and Holly for their incredible derby skillz, dedication to the league and wonderful coaching.
Chi chi for her amazing organisational skills and contributions.
Shannon for her perseverance and general sass.

What keeps you enthused about roller derby?

Seeing WARD members achieving their goals; seeing what a positive impact derby has on people’s lives in general. I’m also super proud of the way WARD has made efforts to change problematic language and be more inclusive.
WARDian of the month Kronie

WARDian of the month Kronie

Who do you nominate as our next WARDian of the Month?

Lolpop for her hard work in all things derby and Luna for her general awesomeness.

October WARDian of the Month: Beers

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Thanks so much for making me WARDian of the month!!!

I really don’t enjoy talking about myself, so I’m going to use this opportunity to instead say thanks to all of the people who have made such an impact on my life over the past 4 years at WARD. Those that have been around since I started will know that I have grown and changed a lot over that time, and I am very grateful to WARD and the people that I have met along the way, that have given me the courage and confidence to be me.

Roller Derby really is a wonderful sport that allows people to be themselves, to be proud of who they are, to challenge themselves, to be supported, and pushed just a little when they need it. My most favourite part is that it’s an enjoyable way to keep fit and there’s always a new challenge, new strategy is the best!  WFTDA Champs are on this weekend, and my advice to everyone is to WATCH IT!

Photo Credit:  Matt Moore

Photo Credit: Matt Moore

I have had the privilege of being a part of Sirens and Top 30 this year as well as having the role of Top 30 Co-Captain alongside the amazing Rolla, and President.  I am constantly inspired by the people I get to be around each and every week.  There are so many people like Tiny, who gives up her time each and every week to coach our skaters, organise assessments and put together coaching rosters each cycle; Rolla, who is an invaluable asset to this league (I hate to think how many volunteer hours she has racked up over the past 6 odd years!);  Chi Chi and Penny who put their hands up for Manco roles even though they were still quite new to the league; Vector who gave up who knows how many hours developing code to make our systems more manageable.  The list goes on and on.

And of course my final thanks goes to Juicy.  She is the voice of reason and keeps me sane when I sometimes (always) take on a few too many things! #juicyistherealmvp

September WARDian of the Month: Ouchi Meowchi

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How did you first hear about roller derby?

I went to a bout with my Mum a few years ago, and it’s been in the back of my mind since then.  I desperately wanted to join but my low self-esteem kept telling me not to because there was no way I could ever be good enough.  2017 rolls around and a post for the WARD November intake somehow worked its way onto my FB feed.  I don’t know what possessed me, but I sent in an email asking for information.  In that same timeframe the WAYWards vs South Sea Sirens match took place, and I dragged Mum along to it.  It was witnessing that game that made me determined roller derby was going to be my sport.

Ouchi - demo

Photo Credit: Shannon Ferguson

What is something that you know about roller derby now that you wish you knew when you first started?

It’s not just about rolling around in circles and hitting people.  It’s so much more technical than that!

What is the roller derby goal you are working towards right now?

I am very very keen to earn my zebra stripes.

What do you do to keep your derby brain switched on?

Research!  Looking up rules, teams, gear and watching bouts on Youtube.  Though NSOing is definitely the fastest way to learn about the game.  I find the best way to keep switched on is to be involved, even when I’m not actually skating.

Who in WARD is inspiring you at the moment?

So many of my fellow Level One-ders!  There are so many new skaters who have barely ever skated before, and they have such awesome give-it-a-go attitudes.  I love training with them, and they really inspire me to keep going.

Ouchi - groupWho do nominate as our next WARDian of the Month?

So. Many. People.  I may sound biased being the league secretary, but everyone in the sectretariat stream has worked so hard since I joined – Vector, Pat, Bex, Amber, Fury.  Amber especially, as she took on the Risk and Safety Officer role, which is an area that needs a lot of love and attention.  Also, Max Power for helping me out so much with learning to HNSO; there is no way I could have done it without her.  We have an awesome league with so many hard-workers in it.  It’s hard to narrow it down to one.