Hard Knox Rollergirls

The Hard Knox Rollergirls are Knoxville's first competitive roller derby team. Come see what all the fuss is about.

June 2014 Featured Skater: Agent Skaar

She’s one of Hard Knox’s newest faces, but we plan to hold on to her as long as we can! She’s a natural on the track and works just as hard behind the scenes (she’s the brilliant mind behind those parody music videos you’ve been seeing)! What was it like the first time she felt the impact of a full-contact scrimmage? How did she find Hard Knox, and what did she do with all that free time she had before dedicating herself to Derby? Read on to find out!!

Photo by Todd Reinerio

Photo by Todd Reinerio

Last month’s Featured Skater, Miss Murder, wanted to know what it feels like to join Hard Knox today. I know that’s a pretty broad one, but if you could sum it up in one word, what would it be?

Embracing.  I felt like we’re all kinda misfits, and derby is the unifying factor that brings us all together.

You recently had your first full-contact scrimmage practice. What was that like?

Completely overwhelming, I can barely remember what happened!  I was extremely thankful to have you (yes, you QB!) and Paramaniac on the track because you told me EXACTLY where I needed to be whether it was, “With me, Skaar!” or “Stay right where you are, Skaar!”  It was awesome to see how many things we’ve been learning finally “clicked.” The best part of being cleared for full-contact is that people aren’t scared that they’re going to hurt you anymore.  There are no more kid-gloves and I’m finally getting the chance to see what it feels like to give and take hard hits!  After this sneak peek, I can’t wait to play in my first bout!

What brought you to Derby?

My friend, and wife of Zebra Dooley, invited me to a bout and I instantly fell in love!  I have always wanted to find a sport where I could be unashamedly powerful and strong, and that’s the definition of derby.  Plus, with a last name like Skaar, I think I was born to play!

Do you have any previous sports experience? What skills have you been able to translate to Derby?

I grew up playing every team sport known to mankind and ended up playing volleyball and soccer through high school.  My experience as a goalie in soccer has helped me the most because I’m used to running into people, not afraid of falling, and extremely good at getting in the way!  As a goalie, one of your main responsibilities is knowing where everyone is and communicating that to your teammates, which directly transfers over to communicating in the pack. I also like to think that my random skill of balancing things on my head has helped in knowing where my center of gravity is!

Photo by Sadie Hellcat

Photo by Sadie Hellcat

What has surprised you the most now that you’re a member of the league?

These ladies train HARD!  Whether it’s mixed martial arts, marathons, or straight up kicking booty in the gym, Hard Knox is killing it to be a harder, faster, and stronger team.  It definitely shows up on the track.  From the outside I thought it was more along the lines of intramural sports, with lax expectations, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth!  I think even Coach Butch Jones would be impressed with how hard this league works!

What skaters do you find inspiring?

Gosh, I could go on and on!  There is no other way to describe EviLucia’s skating than absolutely beautiful!  I love to watch the intensity in Wrecking Ball and Koolaid’s faces when they’re getting ready to lay someone out.  Outside of the league, it would have to be Moxi Rollerskates founder EstroJen.  I love to Skate Knoxville, but she takes skating outside or at parks to a whole new level!  It’s my dream to be her when I grow up!

You’re a newbie, but if you ask anyone in the league they’ll tell you how impressed they are with how you’ve stepped up to support the league off the track as well as on. Where does that generosity of spirit come from?

Aww, thanks!  Growing up, my parents and I were always helping out with something!  My dad coached my soccer and softball teams, and Mamma Skaar was always team mom.  We always helped out with whatever was needed at church or school.  Basically, if you needed it done, the Skaars could do it!  It’s always been my belief that if you care enough about something to get involved in it, then do whatever you can to make it the best!

Photo by Wicked Wench

Photo by Wicked Wench

Do you have any advice for people who are interested in getting involved in Derby but are afraid they might not make the cut?

Everybody starts somewhere!  I went to my first bout on September 21st, skated on quads for the first time on the 23rd, and have never looked back!  After you get comfortable skating at a rink, get some pads and start skating in parking lots.  You’ll end up much sturdier on your skates from having to adjust to small rocks and twigs!  I learned transitions and skating backwards in the church parking lot across the street using the lines as a point of reference.  It’s a lot less pressure to learn when you’re in an empty space versus a crowded skating rink with kids falling everywhere!  One of the best things I did before going to boot camp was go to the skate park.  I was incredibly awful and only successfully made it down one small ramp, but I wasn’t scared to fall while on skates after that!  PLEASE wear good pads and a helmet though, I know I needed them!!!  Oh, and make sure you have the right size skates!  I had a size too big for MONTHS!

Has your body image changed since you started this sport?

Growing up, I always felt limited in what positions I could play due to my size. In soccer I was a goalie, in softball a catcher, in basketball a forward,…anything to avoid a disadvantage due to my lack of speed.  Derby is the first sport where any size is not only embraced, but celebrated!  Tall?  Awesome, you’ve got long legs and can go faster!  Short?  Wow, no one’s going to be able to get lower than you!  Skinny?  Watch out, we’ve got a sneaky jammer on our hands!  Bigger?  I dare someone to try to push you out of the way!  This is the first sport that I haven’t felt guilted into trying to lose weight, and it’s awesome.  Derby emphasizes strength, not skinny, and that’s exactly what my goal is to be.  I can be both a strong blocker and a powerful jammer at my current size, and if I continue to lose weight, I can be just as effective!

Who would you like to see as next month’s featured skater? 

I’d love to see Big Ugly Bang as next month’s skater and find out the best random item she’s found at Goodwill!

~Queen Beatdown

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