Hard Knox Rollergirls

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

May 2014 Featured Skater: Miss Murder

The’s one of Hard Knox’s longest-standing players and a fan favorite. While we may never know if she has lived up to her deadly name, there is so much more to learn about Miss Murder. How has this on-track killer adjusted to coaching? How does she feel about being a Sea Hag? And how did she fall in Derby Love with her dear Wrecking Ball? If you’re bold enough, read on for some realness. 

Photo by Jason Scott

Photo by Jason Scott

Sockajomomma, last month’s featured skater, wanted to know if you have ever actually murdered anyone, but she was afraid to ask. We’re hoping you say no, but we can’t be sure…

Hmmmm. I see. I tell you things. You tell me things. About yourself. Quid pro quo. Yes or no?

You’ve been skating since 2006. Derby was a very different game back then! What changes are you most happy about, and is there anything you miss about the old days?

Oh jeez, the old days. They were good old days in some ways. In others, not so much. I’ve been a late bloomer in derby. There were only 9 pages of rules back then. So, it was a bit of a free for all. I never really learned to hit because I just hurled myself through the air at opponents. It probably hurt me as much as them. I made it on travel teams just for my endurance and leadership on the track as time went on. These days I know the game pretty damn well. I love the progression of removing minor penalties from the game. I don’t like slow derby. Glad to see that’s dwindling away. I love how much strategy is involved these days. I really wish the rules would evolve to where they need to be and stay. Our fans would love the game even more if they understood how much strategy we really apply in game play. I miss some of my old team mates – Karma, Napalm, Mayhem, Skull and Blue, to name a few. I’m still in touch with some. They were great girls who helped Hard Knox develop.

 You’re a proud mama of 2 daughters. What do you hope your daughters gain by watching you play derby? 

The offspring of Murder. That’s quite a pair. I know one thing they have learned is to not give up on things you love or on believing in yourself, especially when it’s very challenging. I think they’re seeing that women are strong and beautiful in many different ways. My oldest says she could never play derby with me. She’s afraid I would beat the crap out of anyone who touched her. She’s probably right. The youngest is destined for junior derby. She is me made over and more fearless than I am comfortable with. They’re both very confident and sensitive. They’re pretty amazing.

Last season was a tough one for you, as your husband, Dean, had a major health issue. How did roller derby help you get through that challenge?

In September of 2012, my husband was blindsided by a very rare and deadly disease. He was a Union worker slinging a sledge hammer one day and then near death in ICU the next. It’s the worst thing that has ever happened to us, and we’re still not over it and probably never will be. My husband was the bread winner in the family. We were by no means financially sound in the first place. With him unable to work, we became financially destitute. I can write it or talk about it. Hell, I could write songs about it. But I will never be able to truly put into words how amazing what the Roller Derby Community has done and continues to do for my family. We were in the hospital weeks on end, repeatedly. My team organized and scheduled groups to help with everything from tutoring my youngest daughter to mowing our lawn. They made sure I had snacks and alcohol ( Lord knows I needed it!). The financial donations came at every time I would think we just couldn’t make it anymore. But, it didn’t stop with just our wonderful Hard Knox family. It came from teams and fans all over the world. Food cards, gas cards, silly things to make us laugh. It was abundant and beautiful. I got sweet cards and messages on Facebook. I had people giving me strength. Others telling me how I had given them strength. I’ve never experienced love of that kind. I can say with complete honesty that Roller Derby really saved my life. I would like to give shout outs to everyone here. However, there are so many wonderful people who helped, I’m afraid I’ll leave someone out. So, I’ll just say THANK YOU to all of you.

Photo by ShutHerUp Photography

Photo by ShutHerUp Photography

You’re a member of HKRG’s coaching committee. How would you describe your coaching style? What skills do you tend to focus on?

I guess I’m a combination of Rupaul and Dick Vermeil. I’m emotional before and after games… not during. I motivate our team with laughter in tough times. I’m maternal and brutally honest. I believe in building success from the individuality of what each player has to offer. Character, heart and dedication go a long way in my eyes. I think my true coaching style is still developing. This is my first season as a skating coach. The times I’ve had to step in and actually coach have been rather extreme. Those are the times Rupaul comes out. I’m just trying to keep smiles on the team’s faces and make sure they’re able to perform the best they need to at the time. I have yelled “You better work!” at the top of my lungs to our line on the track more than a few times. From a technical standpoint, we have spent a lot of time on teamwork, edges, blocking with the chest, mental game, and strategy knowledge. I feel like all of our players are really starting to grasp not just how to execute a specific skill but how to truly play this game. Knowledge is key to this sport.

May will see us returning home to the Coliseum for our season opener on May 3 and again on May 24! What can our fans expect from HKRG this season?

A more strategic and skilled Hard Knox than ever before. Our in-house training, mentally and physically, has been intense. We are still drilling every last detail to death. For several seasons now we have put ourselves in nearly impossible situations and games. It has been thrilling and exhausting. The pay off will be huge in the long run. We have gained an arsenal of knowledge, and we’re ready to use it. Hard Knox has more members than ever. It’s really tremendous, and I can’t wait to show our Knoxville fans.

Courtesy of Miss Murder

Courtesy of Miss Murder

Wrecking Ball is your ever-faithful Derby Wife. Can you tell us a little more about that relationship?

Oh my darling, Wreck. People think we’re a strange match. If they only knew. I’ll just say if we’re on the track together, someone’s in trouble. Take that however you like. We protect each other fiercely and torment each other just as much. This year has been an ongoing battle of my hatred of clowns and hers of creepy-ass dolls. There’s a doll named Minerva that I torture her endlessly with. She acts like she hates it. I know that’s BS. We’ve been “happily” derby married since she joined in 2010, I think. She earned the name Wrecking Ball because she flattened everything in her path. Our friendship began at a practice when she kicked my skates out from under me in a pace line. She picked me up to a standing position right away. I knew then how much she loved me.

The term “Sea Hag,” has been used to describe certain ladies of HKRG, including yourself. What’s a Sea Hag?

That’s a special club for badasses over 40. Unsweet T and I started the club several years ago, and it stirred people’s curiosity. It’s a reference to these hideous female beasts in some unbelievably old Popeye cartoons. Therein lies part of the joke. The majority of our girls have never even seen an original Popeye cartoon. Unsweet T and I would often say we looked like Sea Hags after a tough bout or long travel weekend. The girls would tell us we were awesome and so beautiful for our age. I know our girls love and respect us. It’s always funny when people say how great you look “for your age.”  So, I’m honored to be a Sea Hag. Sea Hags 4 EVAH!

If you could say one thing to your opponents this season, what would it be?

Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

Who would you like to see as next month’s Featured Skater?

I would like to hear what one of our newest skaters, Agent Skarr, has to say. I’m a derby dinosaur. It’s nice to see this sport through fresh eyes sometimes. I’d like to know what it feels like to join Hard Knox now.

~Queen Beatdown

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