Our spotlight this week is on Skateslinger who is the captain of our Men’s team, Capital Carnage. He also shares his talents with the league as a trainer.
How many years have you been skating?
I’ve been skating on and off since I was about 7. I used to skate on a pair of mismatched roller blades because I couldn’t afford a new set. I ran those babies in to the ground. I stopped skating around 15 and then got back in to it about 3 years ago.
How did you get involved in roller derby?
I saw a local CRDL game at the AIS between the Vice City Rollers (CRDL’s rep team), and Sun State Roller Girls (SSRG). I’d never seen it before and I loved it because it took skating to a whole new level of athleticism. From there I joined CRDL as a referee, but as soon as I saw that a men’s team was starting up in Canberra I couldn’t resist. Since then I’ve been working hard, training local and interstate to get to know the game.
What is your favourite position?
My favourite position is a blocker, preferably on the inside line. Being in that position is important as it is the easiest path for the Jammer to take if its unguarded, but also you are in the optimum position to block the jammer if they try to take the outside line and are just about to get out of the pack.
I don’t mind jamming either, it’s a lot tougher physical and mentally so it’s an area you really need to focus on to be really good at it.
Either way I’m playing derby so I don’t care.
What was your best “lightbulb” moment?
My best lightbulb moment was only recently when Copter, a Wizards of Aus representative (Australian Men’s World Cup team) from Brisbane, came to Canberra to take a men’s session for us. He showed us a jammer drill that changed the way I approached a wall. I used to push on the wall, but he showed me how much easier it was to hit the wall instead of pushing on it. It was a really simple change but mind blowing!
Do you have a pre-bout routine?
I go through my bag and repack everything. I’ve been travelling a bit recently for derby and it would suck big time if I ended up missing my mouth guard or a wrist guard so I couldn’t play. Hard to travel back from Sydney to get it!
My favourite bout moment was in my last co-ed bout with CRASH in Wollongong. I played against Short Stop from CRDL. There were two moments actually, one was when she did a surge block so hard it left my leg aching for the jam after. The second was when I was jamming against her, I got lead jammer but she was right on my tail. I lost my focus and caused a bit of a pile up in the pack. Unfortunately for Short Stop she was right behind me and when I crashed she fell right on top of me. Then I went to the penalty box..
How did you choose your derby name?
My name is based on my favourite book series called The Dark Tower. My number is based on this series too. The name is easy, the number is more difficult, but if you know the books you’d probably know why. If you haven’t read them, read them.
Do you have any gear recommendations?
Choose good protective gear straight up, but don’t go nuts on expensive skates. You’ll find that entry level skates will last you for at least your first year. Once you are more advanced and are more agile, look for a stiffer boot and a higher degree plate. I run custom hybrid, non-leather bonts with an infinity plate and Atom Low Boy wheels.
What is one piece of advice you would give a freshie?
I have the same advice for fresh skaters and fresh snowboarders. You are going to fall over, a LOT. Things are going to hurt. You’re going to feel like you are bad at it for a long while. Just stick with it, its totally worth it once you can do it.
Did you play sport before derby?
Roller Derby is my first team sport that I’ve played. Outside of derby I like to run, ride, swim, do triathlons, and snowboard.
Who are your derby heroes and why?
My favourite derby player is Clare D Way from Gotham Girls Roller Derby. She puts in an awesome amount of effort and is totally lovely and badass at the same time.