Bringing you not one, but two skater spotlights: Meet Leo Slayer and Pension Check!
Did you play any sports before derby?
Leo: Indoor cricket and squash.
PC: Yes, roller hockey and jujitsu
Why did you start derby?
Leo: Hadn’t skated for 35 years, and I have two nieces who embarrassed me by being better at skating.
PC: My daughter plays in WA, and I refuse to let her be better. Daughter got me out skating again.
How long have you been skating and how long have you been a part of the league?
Leo: 35 year break since I skated last, and I’ve been with VDL for 18 months.
PC: I stopped playing competitively at 25, and have been with VDL for 6 months.
What’s the biggest personal change since you’ve been in the league?
Leo: I’ve dropped 25 kilos and vastly improved my fitness. Skating has helped me do more with existing struggles.
PC: It made me aware of fitness and health. I was mostly instructing later in life, so I lost fitness. Coming back to learning and getting fit. Learning the technical aspect that I never gave thought to before.
What has been the most challenging thing in derby so far?
Leo: Having never played a contact sport before, the “invasion of my personal space” and forcing myself to invade that of others was/is difficult to overcome.
PC: Learning the rules!
What is your derby name and how/why did you choose it?
Leo: I chose “Leo Slayer” because I can murder any song from the seventies. Leo Sayer was in town in 2015 and he graciously signed my scrimmage top.
PC: Pension Check. Because I’m old and like to body check.
Why should people join derby and Varsity?
Leo: Derby is a unique combination of mental and physical demands – it is a great sport for high intensity interval training (HIIT). Varsity is an organisation that genuinely supports developing and existing members to participate and improve. The people in Varsity are just great to be around.
PC: Because it’s good fun and their inclusive policy allows opportunity for all. Their instructors are very helpful and encouraging.
If you could give advice to any potential new skaters, what would it be?
Leo: Skate! Get out there and skate! It doesn’t matter if you do outdoor skating on the bike tracks or do tricks at a skate park or “moves” in the garage; the more time you spend on-skates, the stronger you become.
PC: Come along and have a crack, you’ll have a great time.
What are your goals for the future?
Leo: I have been “power kiting” for quite a few years. I want to combine skating and kite flying – that should make laps at Stromlo bike track very interesting. I also want to pursue certification in being an NSO (Non-Skating Official) – I have been an off-court official at basketball for over 20 years and every sport needs these volunteers to make it run.
PC: To get in to the men’s team and play competitively and help others where I can…… and to learn the rules!
Leo: I belong to the “Derby over 50” Facebook group – this group just proves that age is no barrier. Persistence pays off – everyone’s derby journey is different. Enjoy the comraderie of freshies.
PC: I would encourage anyone thinking of joining to come along and embrace the derby culture, the derby names, quirky attire and really have some fun.
If you’d like to get in on this roller derby action, RSVP for our “fresh meat” information night and skate session now!