July WARDian of the Month: Shreddy Mercury!

Shreddy Mercury jamming

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.