September WARDian of the Month: Rina Machina!

How did you first hear about roller derby?

I took my little cousin to a vintage market in the Swan Valley and WARD were there handing out flyers for their upcoming grand final. I had heard about roller derby before but had never really looked into it much. I said I’d like to learn how to play but I had no idea how to skate- they said that it was no problem and that WARD would teach me. I went to the grand final with my mum (Tail-her Swift/Swifty) and was completely in awe of all the amazing skaters. Mum and I signed up together next cycle!

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

To be honest, not much! It’s been an incredible journey and I’ve just been taking everything in my stride. The only thing I wish I could tell past me is to listen to your body when things start to hurt and go to a good physio/podiatrist straight away before things get worse. I developed bursitis in both of my feet due to my skates not being right for me (I seem to be the only person I know who has had this problem by the way, I just have dodgy feet XD). I had just gotten into travel teams and I was training a lot. I was loving it so much that I pushed through the pain and it got to the point where I wrecked my feet so badly I had to take a year off while I recovered. I still have pain if I’m not careful and I can’t do a lot of the same things on my skates as I used to be able to do. Listen to your body, take time to recover and do the exercises your physio tells you to do. There’s no rush, derby will always be here!

Rina Machina jumping around an opposing blocker.

Photo Credit: Matthew Boggs Photography

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

Since I became a level 3, I had always trained as a jammer. This year, I’ve been training as a blocker which is an entirely new skill set (having to work WITH people, what is this?!) so my main goal has been to be the best blocker I can be! It’s been really challenging (and I think I’ll always be a jammer at heart), but I love a good challenge and I’m having a lot of fun!

I have taken up reffing this year too which I’ve really enjoyed. I’m usually skating in scrims instead of reffing so it’s difficult to do both! My goal is to be confident enough to head ref at some stage (with minimal internal screaming), that would be cool!

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

I want to be a good derby person and say that I watch WFTDA on YouTube and analyse what the top teams do, but honestly if I’m watching derby alone or I’m not watching my friends play, I get so bored.  I get to training as often as I can and I ref at any opportunity I get. If I’m off skates or non contact at training, I’ll practice watching for penalties and work on my pack definition.

Who in WARD is inspiring you at the moment?

Oh man, there’s too many to pick. So many people are doing amazing things! It’s so inspiring seeing people at training nailing a skill that they’ve been working really hard on. Our ManCo and SubCo who work selflessly behind the scenes to make WARD an even more amazing league for our members. All of our refs and NSOs who keep us safe at scrim. Watching Missy’s development as a skater since she started is so inspiring and she’s always so motivated, she’s such a positive influence and it always brightens my day to see her at training. Ari is so dedicated to WARD and she’s absolutely smashing it coming up through the levels! Shorty for all of her hard work behind the scenes recently. Tiny for always knowing exactly what to do as my brace and keeping me calm on track.  Lou and Peaches invest so much of their time and energy into being incredible travel team captains, that stuff isn’t easy!! Honestly, I could write an essay about all the people who are inspiring me and the reasons why.

Rina Machina blocks an opposing jammer.

What keeps you enthused about roller derby?

The actual sport itself is so fun! I had never been an athletic sort of person when I started derby, I really hated sports! Roller derby just took hold of me straight away. I like that there is always something to work on – no matter what level you are, there’s always skills that can be fine-tuned. I like that it’s as much of a mental game as it is a physical game – there’s so much strategy involved in such a fast paced environment and it feels amazing when something finally clicks and you nail a skill or strategy in a game that you and your team have been working on! There’s still pleeeenty of “deer in the headlights” moments, but I’m working on that XD.

Although my stay on ManCo this year was brief, working with such an incredible group of intelligent, compassionate women who have the league’s best interests at heart is something else that keeps me excited about roller derby and the future of our league. What an amazing bunch of humans <3️

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

There is just far too many people that come to mind! If I have to pick, I’m going to have to say Luna and Shorty. They’ve both done a lot of work behind the scenes recently and I appreciate them both so much.