Raging Bull in jammer mode - photo by David Mackie

Raging Bull in jammer mode. Photo courtesy Soul Hunter/David Mackie

This Skater Spotlight features one of our Capital Carnage skaters who’s going from strength to strength and pulling no punches along the way – it’s Raging Bull!

How long have you been skating?

I started fresh meat just over a year ago. I had skated a few times in my teens.

How did you get involved in roller derby?

My daughter skates in CRDL, so my wife joined VDL to try it out, and then pushed me to give it a try.

What is your favourite position?

Jamming is a thrill when it comes off, but it’s so incredibly exhausting I can’t do much of it, so at the moment I’m more comfortable blocking.

What was your best “lightbulb” moment?

I think it was realizing how incredibly useful toestops are.

Do you have a pre-bout routine?

I just like to unwind, and take the time to make sure all my gear is ok and I haven’t forgotten anything. 

Do you have a favourite song to get amped pre-bout?

No, I’m not a big music listener

What was your favourite bout moment?

In the Smash bout, pushing someone out all by myself and recycling him was pretty special!

How did you choose your derby name?

My wife is Mad Cow, so when I suggested ‘Raging Bull’ in jest, everyone was insistent that I take it.

What skate set-up do you have/Do you have any gear recommendations?

I still have my original beginner skates, and they seem to do well enough. But you do have to change the rock-hard bushings they come with so that you can manoeuvre, and I’ve gone for some softer wheels for more stickiness. I used to get sore wrists, so got some good quality wristguards. And I have absolutely no padding on my hip bones, so padded pants are a godsend.

What is one piece of advice you would give a freshie?

Don’t feel pressured to try more than you’re comfortable with; master the basics and build on them gradually. Steady progress can achieve impressive results.

Did you play sport before derby?

I was a puny non-sporty kid (except for table tennis), but joined a gymnastics club at Uni, and discovered that I actually could be athletic. I started playing social squash a few years later, then competitive squash for a few years, then social squash while overseas. I’ve never cycled as a sport, but have often cycled to and from work over the years, and found it helps with stamina and strength. I played mixed netball for a few years when I came back from overseas, took up competitive squash again about ten years ago, and I’ve recently done a couple of years of rowing, but have dropped it for now so that I can concentrate on squash and derby. (Oh, and there were three years of skydiving in there too, if you consider that a sport…)

Who are your derby heroes and why?

I’m inspired by Whippasnappa, who proves that you don’t need to be big to be good! (I’m huge compared to him). I aspire to Skateslinger’s level of agility. And, really, I admire all the girls and guys who aren’t natural athletes or in perfect shape, but have the courage to push themselves to be better every week.

How would you sum up your derby playing style in three words?

Can only come up with two: agility, determination. 

Read more Skater Spotlights here!