October Featured Skater: Southern Harm
She has a lot of Southern charm. It’s Southern Harm.
Here we are back one last time this year to better get to know a skater. This month I got to sit down with Southern Harm and learn about her up and coming derby career.
Crash Cymbal nominated you as October’s Featured Skater. She wanted to know where your name came from.
Well, I was raised in Georgia, so I kind of had a play on words. I have all these family members who are southern and very proper, and so… I had a list and I narrowed it down.
What were some of the others you considered?
I liked Max Fracture.
I like that, too.
I was very close to doing that one. And I actually thought about doing that this year: changing my name. But when I found out we were playing Southern Harm [Fayetteville, GA], I couldn’t change it.
Plus, we bought new uniforms.
Well, it was right before we ordered them when I was thinking about doing it. I was like, ‘Nope. Gotta keep it.” That was my sign to keep my name [playing against Southern Harm].
Where did you learn about Hard Knox Roller Girls?
I looked into it a long time ago, but my kids were young. I looked online, but you had to have so many hours of league support, and you had to make so many practices, and have all this dedication and time for it. I couldn’t take that much time away from my kids. They were young and they needed my attention. My sister-in-law called this my midlife crisis. I started at 47. I said, ‘There are worse things I could do as a midlife crisis, so call it what you want.’ I had people at work that wanted that to be my name: Midlife Crisis. It was on the list for a short time. They were taking a poll at work to help me find a name.
What drew you to roller derby initially?
I wanted to find a way to exercise, and I hate going to the gym. I HATE it so much. So I read about rec league on the internet [hardknoxrollergirls.com], and I contacted Cut N Dye. She said, ‘Hey, come watch one of our practices at rec league,’ and I said, ‘OK.’ When I came out, I saw Sunday School Slammer and Kitty Twister weaving around cones, and I thought, ‘Yeah, I can do that.’ And so I started to come to rec league where I met you, Magically Malicious. You said, ‘Hey, you should join Fresh Meat with me.’ I was like, ‘No.’ You were like, ‘But it’s cheaper than rec league. Fresh Meat skaters pay $50 for 9 weeks and rec league skaters pay $20 a month, so we would save money.’ So financially it made sense. That is how you talked me into it. Then once we started doing it, I was totally hooked. I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh. This is so addictive and I love it.’
And then you broke your thumb. You came back, though.
And then YOU broke my thumb, but I came back. It was when we used to be at the school [School of Hard Knox]. We were practicing and we had extra time one day. I was going to be out of town and miss the following practice. Coach Chris was like, ‘This is what we are doing next time.’ You were like, ‘Oh, I have done that before.’ [It was pushes and whips.] I asked you to show me how, and it was not your fault. It was mine. I just fell. It was fine. I had surgery. It was so silly really.
But you still graduated.
Yes. I graduated Fresh Meat with a cast on my hand. I begged, pleaded, borrowed with my doctor to let me do that. I passed the basic skills test, but I had to sit out a while. But then I got to finally go and join my team and play most of last season.
This is your first full year with Hard Knox. What are some of your take-aways from this year?
I have learned so much and grown so much this year. I have been very blessed to work with some really great players. Everybody on this team is so helpful. They just want to build you up, not tear you down, which is one of the reasons I love this team. I mean, I absolutely love everyone on this team because they just want you to be a better player. It is really funny. We have such a diverse group of women, but they are amazing: They are all really amazing. And not that we don’t get upset, but we just want what is best for each other in the long run. It’s like, if you have an issue, you can say it and move on: It’s over. We don’t hold grudges or stay mad at one another. We move on. And we still want the best for one another. That is one of the things I love about this team.
What has roller derby taught you about pushing your limits?
It has taught me that I am a lot stronger than I thought I was, and I can do so much more than I thought I could. I have gotten a lot stronger, a lot more endurance, and just a lot more confidence in myself. And I know everyone says that, but it is true. I had confidence in myself before, but this made me realize that I can push myself even harder than I thought I could. It does make me push myself, which I love. Before, you know, I would second guess myself. And I still do on the track sometimes, but I feel a lot stronger and a lot more confident about things. I know if I work hard, that I will be able to accomplish what my goals are. Last year, I didn’t really have any goals except to stay upright and stop falling so much, but this year I realized what I am doing wrong and what I am doing right, so…
What are your goals for this next season?
My goals for next season are to be a better blocker/a faster blocker, to use my edges more, to read the track better. Just work well with my teammates.
That is a lot of goals.
It is a lot of goals. I have a lot of goals. I could go on and on and on. There are so many things I plan on working on in the off season. Last year, I didn’t work at all during the off season. Well, not at all, but I came like once a month. And it was terrible when we came back. I was so out of shape. So, I have a goal this upcoming off season. Unsweet T’s husband, Tony, who comes to all of our bouts, said to me, “What do you want from derby?” I was like, ‘Wow, that is a question I have never really asked myself.’ That really just made me stop. Not just ‘What do I want?’ but ‘How do I get it?’ That made me really think about the off season. I am not good at pushing myself by myself, so my husband has said he will help me. I have a lot of support from my family.
Supportive families are so important. And accountability. You have to have…I have to have someone to point their finger at me and say, ‘Hey, you didn’t do this thing you said you were going to do.’
If I want to lay out a practice, my husband is like, ‘No, you aren’t laying out a practice. You need to go.’ He totally calls me out. Sometimes I think he wants my derby career more than I want my derby career. I am very lucky. There are so many people that don’t have that. I feel very lucky that my whole family is behind me. My husband comes to the games. My parents come to the games. I went to a game out of town last weekend, and my dad came. My entire family is great.
You are the mother of a couple of teenage boys. How do they feel about their mom being a roller girl?
They are fine with it. It is a little bit interesting. My oldest son was like, ‘OK...’ I have always skated and always done things that are a little bit crazy. I don’t really follow the norm. I just do what I like, so I don’t think it surprised either one of them. They have both come to my bouts. The youngest one more than the oldest one, because my oldest is in college, so he doesn’t have as much time. They think it is kind of cool. Roller derby is kind of cool. They are teenagers. They are like, ‘Meh.’
Do you have any derby heroes?
I do have several. Jen Pinion is probably my biggest derby hero because what she does on the track is amazing. What she has taught me this year has been so helpful. I want someone to tell me when I am not doing something right. I need that feedback.
You can’t improve if you don’t know you are doing something wrong.
Some people have a hard time hearing criticism. But I feel that if I don’t know what I am doing wrong, I am not going to get better. Not that Pinion does this a lot. I get feedback from a lot of our Allstars. I ask them to keep telling me when I do something wrong. Jen is amazing on the track. Sweet moves, jumping the apex...She finds those holes that you think, ‘There’s no way,’ but she makes it. Her blocking skills are phenomenal as well. She has taught me so much this year about blocking, staying upright, holding my line, etc. She is definitely one of my derby heroes. Bush, Unsweet T, and Val. I could go on and on. Killer Queen, watching her, she just kills it. I have a lot of derby heroes, but they are all here. Those other people are great, but the people that you work with and see day-to-day are your role models as a whole.
Do you have any pre-bout rituals?
No, not really. Honestly, I try to stay really busy before I leave the house, whether it is cleaning the house, or whatever. Before I leave the house, I don’t want to think about derby, because then I get nervous. The very first bout I had, I cleaned my entire house that morning. I just couldn’t think about derby; I would be freaking out if I did. So I find the morning before, I just keep busy.
Do you have any outstanding moments from this past season? Epically awesome or epically terrible, what will you remember most from this past season?
I had some moments…Well, I don’t jam that much. I do it at practice for two reasons. One: It gives you a different perspective, and two: When my teammates are completely exhausted and there are only a few of us, it is a good time to jam. I got by Rose one day, and that was phenomenal. Arm’rd Rose is rock solid. When I got past her, I was so stinking happy. Then the other day at practice, I made Bushwhacker call off a jam because I blocked her so well. I was jumping up and down. On my skates. I was so happy.
What do you like to do when you are not on 8 wheels?
I like to cook. That is actually what I was doing before I left the house. I made chicken pot pie and brownies. Shocking, I know. I always make brownies. That is my go-to. I was getting ready to make pumpkin bread, but I was like, ‘…I’m not going to be home, and they may eat it all, so I’m just going to wait on that.’ I will make that tomorrow.
Thank you, Southern Harm, for sitting down with me. Now it is your time to nominate a featured skater. Who would you like to learn more about?
I would like to nominate Thurmanator. I know she skated when she was younger. I would like to know about her transition to derby and how she got into this.
Thanks everyone for a great season! Hard Knox will miss you over the off season, but we will be back soon. If you do not want to wait to check us out, come join our fall Fresh Meat Bootcamp (beginning on October 7) where we can teach you how to skate and play roller derby. It is open to men and women 18+ years old. For more information, check out our website, Facebook, and Instagram. Be sure to check us out next year when I sit down with Thurmanator. Have a great winter!