It is summertime. In Tennessee, that brings a forecast of storms, and boy do we have one for you! She calls herself Stormageddon, and she is nothing short of a tempest on the track: She leaves a trail of destruction in her wake (and then rainbows).
Home Team: Lolitas Locas
Travel Team: Allstars and Brawlers
Years Skating: ~ 4
Thank you so much for sitting down with me. Sinister Siren nominated you as featured skater. She said you inspire her “as a Momma bear being so devoted to this sport.” She wondered if after having your first girl, you considered not coming back? She wanted to know what has kept you coming back to derby.
I did not think I would play derby again after I had Coco. I put my body through a lot the first few years and didn't think my body could handle more after a second baby. When we moved back to Knoxville after a few years in Washington, I did not plan on playing, but after announcing at one game, I knew I could not just watch. It made the transition back here so much easier. It is also like my therapy and my escape from everyday life. I keep pushing because it ultimately makes me feel good, strong, it makes me a better mom and a better person.
I always like to ask what brought you to roller derby in the first place.
Let’s see…My twin sister played roller derby and I figured if she could do it, I could do it. So, I threw a skating birthday party for my husband one year. About a month later I joined Hard Knox. I thought, “Ok. I can skate. This isn’t as hard as I thought.” Then I went and joined Fresh Meat and never looked back.
Was it as hard as you thought it would be?
Oh, it was so much harder than I thought it would be, so much harder. But at least I could stand on my skates. So, I took that, but it was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
Was your sister living here when she was playing derby?
No, she was living in Northwest Arkansas. She played for a small league there. They used MADE (Modern Athletic Derby Endeavor) rules. They did not use WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association) rules. It was very different. I tried to skate with them a couple of times and it was very confusing. [Hard Knox Roller Girls is a WFTDA league and plays by WFTDA rules.]
How has roller derby reshaped your self-perception and body image?
I never saw myself as strong before I played roller derby. Now I feel like I can do anything. I feel like I could move a mountain sometimes.
Sometimes you have to.
Sometimes you do have to. I never felt strong before, and now I do. And I appreciate my shortness. I never appreciated that before.
You played with Hard Knox a while ago. Then you took some time off, and now you are back. Was it harder coming back or the first time around?
It was harder the first time. Coming back was kind of like riding a bike. It was more like riding a bike than I expected. And I had more confidence coming back, because I was like, I have skated before, I know what to expect, I know what I am supposed to be doing. I kind of dove in head first. Yeah, I am much more confident in my game this time around.
Tell me about your derby journey.
In March of 2011, I joined Fresh Meat. Hard Knox had open recruitment at that time, so you could just show up to practice and there was someone who would work with you until you were ready to take the test. Chris, the Wrench, taught me how to skate, and he doesn’t even skate. I was always super impressed by that. Shortly after I started getting my feet underneath me, I got pregnant with my first daughter, Bird. I volunteered my time that whole summer while I was pregnant. While they bouted, I worked the ticket table. In December, I had Bird. Six weeks later, I went straight back to practice. As soon as I was released, I was ready to go back. I passed my skills test in a matter of a couple of months. I had to take it four times. It was a much harder test back then. The fourth time I took it, I passed. Then I made the charter team in a month. Also in that time, I broke my tailbone twice. The next season was my first real season playing. Then I got pregnant with Coraline. Then I moved away for three years. This will be my second season back since then. I often tell people that derby is always there. Regardless of your injury or having to leave for personal reasons or whatever, derby isn’t going anywhere: you can always go back to it.
How do your teammates make practice fun?
I feel like I get to see my family whenever I go to practice. It might not always be good to look at them as family, and not just teammates, but I have relationships with those people that I won’t ever have with other people. It is kind of my escape. They make it a fun little escape in my week. I get to hit people, and they don’t get mad at me. That’s always fun.
It is like a found family. That is one thing I think that sets roller derby apart from many other sports. We are a community.
And it is hard to work as a unit when you aren’t united. So the better relationships I have with my teammates, the easier my game is, and it is easier for me to be there for them as well.
I was considering asking you about what emotions you experience while playing, but your emotions are all over your face. You have some of the best roller derpy faces.
My crazy derby faces. I have been trying to be better about that this season: not showing my emotions as much and kind of honing them in. But they are still out there. I still have photos where I am glaring at people. I’m like, “what is going on?”
I like asking about people’s derby names. I feel like choosing a name is like choosing a persona. You get to represent a part of yourself others might not know. How did you pick Stormageddon?
So Stormageddon is from Doctor Who. I really love Doctor Who a lot; it brought me a lot of joy. At the time that name just seemed to fit me. I have kind of just evolved into “Storm” and not “Stormageddon”. I feel like I am The Storm whenever I am out there. So it has kind of evolved since the origin of it, but yeah, Doctor Who brings me a lot of joy.
Which Doctor is your Doctor?
All of them.
Bird: Probably the boy one. There is only one boy one and the rest are girls.
There is only one girl one and the rest are boys so far. Most of the quotes I use from Doctor Who are from Matt Smith. I thoroughly enjoy Matt Smith.
My number when I played before was 1213, which is my oldest daughter’s birthday. When I came back, I didn’t want to write four numbers on my arm every single game. And we have another player whose number is really close. When I came back, I needed a new number, so I went with 64. It is the haunted room in American Horror Story: Hotel, which stars Lady Gaga (who I am obsessed with). It was my husband’s football number when he was in high school. I like representing him, too, because he supports me in all my endeavors.
What do you like doing in your free time?
What free time?
I don’t have a lot a free time. I have a stand up paddle board that I like taking out a lot. I like being on the water. I like to swim. The girls and I are outside every day during the summer. I like running. We do that and I also really like make up.
Bird: me too
I have seen your fashion shows on Facebook.
I haven’t done derby make up this whole season because I haven’t had time. It makes me feel like I’m not fully Storm when I’m not made up.
Do you have any words of wisdom for anyone considering trying roller derby?
Roller derby is not easy. It is not easy mentally; it is not easy physically. If you want it, you will make it happen. You will push through those things that are hard and you’ll get there. And when you do, you’ll realize how fun it is.
I think because it’s hard, it’s fun.
Yeah. When you have those “ah-ha” moments, you feel like you have earned it.
What do you think your daughters have learned through you playing roller derby?
I think they have learned that they can do anything they want to do if they set their minds to it. If they put the time into it, if they put the effort into it, they can be good at something, even if they don’t feel they are great at it.
You have not always lived in Knoxville. What is something that makes Knoxville special to you?
I love Knoxville. We lived here seven years before we moved the last time. Knoxville is where I learned to be an independent person. I have a twin, and before we lived here, I was always part of a twin. I was always with my family. When we moved here, I had to figure out who I was. That is what Knoxville will always be to me, where I was able to learn who I was on my own. Another thing I love about Knoxville is how broad it is. There are so many different areas. I love that it has Hard Knox. I was unable to play derby in Washington because I struggled to connect with the team there: they were very unavailable. When I came back to Hard Knox, it was a completely different team, but I was able to connect with the people on the team very well.
Photo Credit: Kevin Phan
Thank you, Storm, for sitting down with me and allowing our followers to get to know you better.
It was my pleasure.
Thank you, readers, for following me on the journey so far this year. Stay tuned next month for a surprise (*winky face). We have so many fun things coming up this month. Join us July 27 as we take on Dixie and Southern Harm at the Knoxville Convention Center: Hall B. We will also be making a cameo appearance at the Fanboy Expo July 12-14. We are also gearing up to start our Fall Fresh Meat class in October, so start making plans to join us! As always, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on all the happenings. Until next time…