Hard Knox Rollergirls

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

June 2015 Featured Skater: Sunday School Slammer

She’s not your typical Sunday school teacher. She is a dedicated training machine on and off the track which continues to show each time she laces up. This busy gal spends her time collecting her favorite thing, along with trying to avoid any strange things from happening to her. What are all her secrets? Read on to find out about this month’s featured skater and birthday girl, Sunday School Slammer!

Photo by Rebecca Sword

Photo by Rebecca Sword

Last month’s featured skater Space Riot wants to know your training secret, you have become so strong over time and was curious of what you do to train?

I don’t think it’s a secret that I enjoy skating outside. Once the weather warms up I try to get out at least once a week. I like skating Victor Ashe Park as well as the greenway along the river downtown. Skating outside is endurance but also works on agility and stability. Our HKRG athlete agreement says we’ll cross train twice a week and I take that pretty seriously. I’m in the gym two to three days a week depending on my schedule. I lift weights as well as doing cardio and a set of ab exercises. I sometimes substitute a hike or mowing my lawn with my reel mower for gym cardio and recently added a set of plyometric leg exercises based on a practice that Unsweet T led. I also make it a priority to attend extra practice. I wasn't a skater when I started so I'm always working on my skills.

Along with all that training, how did you come about to getting involved in derby and playing this wonderful sport anyhow?

I’d been hearing about the resurgence of roller derby for several years but didn’t attend a game until the summer of 2012. I fell in love with the sport immediately. I had attended with some friends and we joked about what our derby names would be if we played. I posted my possible names in a Facebook status and a colleague from DC saw it. She messaged me and asked if I was considering skating. She skated with the DC Roller Girls and she said derby was great and she’d made wonderful friends on the team. I had never considered skating but once she planted the seed in my brain it grew until I hit send on the “I Want to Skate” form on the team website. I barely knew how to skate and consider myself lucky to have been the in the last “class” of the old newbie training program. 

You were missed on the track during the Bettys game last Saturday. What's up with that walking stick?

I missed playing! There's not much better than being on the track with my teammates. However, one of the hazards of a full contact sport is that you sometimes get injured. In my case, I sprained my ankle in the practice before our May 30th bout. I've started physical therapy but I may not be cleared by the June 13th. I'm focusing on healing so that I don't repeat the injury.

Everybody has a title song that describes them, if you could skate out to any introduction song for just you, what would you choose and why?

I’ve thought for some time that Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2 would be a great intro song – in fact I made it my ringtone. It’s a great song and I appreciate the use of music as a tool for social change. And hey, it’s my name! 

Photo by Phil Lackey

Photo by Phil Lackey

Okay, enough derby talk, let’s hear something about you. What would something be that most people don't know or wouldn't guess about you?

I think most people don’t know that I used to work for a member of Congress. After my Master’s degree I got a graduate fellowship in Washington, DC. I worked as a legislative aide for a Representative from NY and focused on women’s issues. You know that old saying about not watching sausage being made or legislation getting passed? Yeah, they’re right…

I am still in shock to the previous answer, there is so much more to you than just a Sunday school teacher. Could you share with your fans on if you collect anything? If so, what could that be and why do you collect it?

I do! I collect Pez dispensers. I have close to 200. Someone gave me a Mickey Mouse pez dispenser right before I went to college and it spiraled from there. I like to collect all in a series and started collecting before the collector’s edition sets became popular. In addition to traditional pez dispensers I also have two giant pez dispensers, a pez pen and a couple of the soft animal pez dispensers. I think I initially liked them because they were whimsical and accessible. Some had special meaning for me, like my Wonder Woman pez dispenser. Since then, well, when you reach a certain point, why stop?

I say you shouldn’t stop at that point; as a matter of fact it only gets better with time when it comes to collecting things! Now that you have shared some secrets about yourself, let’s talk a little more about derby. What is the most memorable moment or funniest moment that you have had since starting derby with Hard Knox?

The funniest moment for me is probably the first HKRG yard sale I helped with. We set up really early in the morning (4 am!) and stay until about noon. By 9 or 10 am we get a little punchy and start trying on random clothes. We put on vintage bell bottoms and platform heels and royal wedding style hats. Doesn’t match – doesn’t matter! Doesn’t fit? Doesn’t need to! The all time Queen of the Yard Sale Outfit Fashion Show is Miss Murder. Her best outfit included the strategic placement of a rainbow cat wig. (I bet you didn’t know cat wigs existed, did you?) That year we had a lot of lingerie and we were trying it on over our jeans and sweatshirts. Big Ugly Bang dared Tempest to buy a couple of the more revealing pieces and wear them to the after parties that season. If she did it, Bang would buy her drinks that night. Anyone who went to an after party in 2013 will recall that Tempest totally rocked it in some vintage Victoria’s Secret.

In your busy life, do you have any time to do any non-derby hobbies/ activities or have any hidden talents?

I have two main hobbies outside of derby: knitting and gardening. I became an avid gardener after living on a farm for four years. Each summer my garden gets a little bigger. My dream is that eventually I will have more garden than grass in my yard – and I love eating summer veggies. I also spend a fair amount of time each fall freezing, canning and dehydrating the food from my garden.

I’m pretty crafty in general but knitting (and to a lesser degree crocheting) is my go to craft and I am always working on something. Last winter I made a set of winter headbands, one each in the colors of the HKRG home teams. I am currently making a batman mask for a friend’s birthday. I love making things with nice yarn. 

Now here is a question most people would want to know, what is your oddest non-derby injury?

Ha! I recently told this story during an Einstein Simplified show. In college I had a loft in my dorm room. The loft went the entire width of my room and was almost 6 feet off the ground. It was so tall that I couldn’t sit up in bed without hitting my head on the ceiling. Because the loft was so wide, the ladder was on the side rather than the end. Because I couldn’t sit up, I had to sort of roll over and then climb down. One Monday morning my alarm goes off and I roll over and swing a leg down. In my morning grogginess my foot misses the top ladder rung and my leg slips between the ladder and the bottom of the loft. My momentum continues and my whole body falls. My leg is pinned: my butt is resting on the top ladder rung and my thigh is tight against the bottom of the loft. My other leg is hanging off to the side. I am hanging upside down, hanging on to the ladder. The blood is rushing to my head and I’m trying to figure out how to get out of this. Did I mention I don’t do well before I’ve had my morning coffee? My dorm room had a futon perpendicular to the loft next to the ladder. I have this bright idea that if I let go I will fall onto the futon. Unfortunately I forgot that there’s about two feet between the loft and the futon. I left go and bump, bump, bump down the ladder and land on my neck and shoulders on the floor. I’m so stunned all I can do is lay there and moan. My room was across from the bathroom so a couple people hear me and start knocking and asking if I’m OK. However, I’d locked the door before going to bed and they can’t get in. I literally drag myself across the floor and unlock the door. One person opens the door and the other person standing there is on crutches, having sprained her ankle that weekend. They get me cleaned up (yes, there was blood) and together gimpy and I shuffle off to the University health center. After a thorough going over they say I’ve sprained my neck but am otherwise fine and tell me take some advil. I slept on my futon for about two weeks and then decided it was time to get back on the horse. I climbed back into the left and slept on it for the rest of the year.

Photo by Phil Lackey

Photo by Phil Lackey

Since you have come so far on the track since the day you choose to skate, you must have some goal(s) for this season, if so, what would they be?

I have two goals for the season. One, I want to improve my skills and endurance as a jammer, so that I can be more consistently successful. Two, I want our Brawlers to have an undefeated season. We’re working well together and I think if we stay focused it can happen. 

We have learned so much about whom Sunday School Slammer is, who would you like to see as featured skater for July? Why?

I would like to see Pit Bull Pistol featured in July. She and I tied for Most Improved Skater at the end of last year. I’d like to know what her goals are after making the charter in her rookie year.

Until next time!
Dirty Kopp

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