The first time I ever heard of ‘roller derby’ was when I watched, Whip It (2009). The film stars the extremely awesome Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page, among other actors. For me, it was a movie that had me sitting behind the screen aspiring to be as cool as these characters; but by the same token, cringing at the thought of getting my “ass” kicked and losing my teeth. It may not seem like it, but this is actually a pretty hardcore sport.
So where am I going with this? Well I happened to find myself booking my entertainment company to face paint at an upcoming event: the Roller Derby Fest 2016. As such, I decided to go and check out what it is all about.
By now I know that you are wondering what on earth is an article about a hardcore sport doing on Vamers? Just hold on and bear with me as these women might have far more “geek” in them than first meets the eye. Especially, when some of these ladies can often be spotted with “do you even Leviosa?” t-shirts at their league practice.
Interestingly enough, I recently found out that a friend of mine, Mandy Pelser, is actually a Roller Derby team player. She is part of “The Thundering Hellcats”. Despite her efforts of trying to get me to try out (I just cannot get past the possibility of having my teeth knocked out) I did agree to a consolation of interviewing one of her team mates. So off I went to chat to the Skater representative of the C-Max Roller Derby League, Aimee Plank… and this interview was born.
For more information about C-Max Roller Derby, please be sure to visit their Facebook page.
Name: Aimée Plank ( The Iron Tyrant)
Height: Around 5′ 2″
Team: Thundering Hellcats
- How did you get the name the Iron Tyrant?
I am thoroughly obsessed with robots and one of my all time favourite movies is the Iron Giant. I decided that it was fate that I turn the movie title into my Derby name.
- How long have you been doing roller derby for?
I have been playing Roller Derby for 5 years.
- What is your practice/training schedule like?
As Roller Derby is a highly physical and demanding sport, we need to spend as much time as we can both on skates and cross training. In an average week, I have between 3 – 4 on-skate sessions. Most of these sessions include an off-skates warm up and work-out to make sure that we keep our bodies strong and ready for any impact. I also work part-time as a Modern dance teacher, so I get a lot of strength and endurance training during my classes.
- What got you into roller derby? How did you hear about it?
One of my best friends had watched a movie about Roller Derby called ‘Whip It’ and fell in love with the sport. She started researching local leagues and found C-Max Roller Derby League. She convinced me to come along to a practice with her. Fast forward 5 years; through countless falls, bumps and bruises; this sport has taken over my life completely!
- How would you explain roller derby to a complete stranger?
The best description I’ve heard about Roller Derby is that it’s like playing chess while having bricks thrown at you! In a nutshell, it’s a full contact sport played on quad skates on an oval flat track. If you’re wondering where the ball fits in; there is no ball. Points are scored by a team’s point-scorer (called a jammer) by passing opponents. The rest of the team’s skaters on the track are called blockers and their job is to help their jammer and stop the other jammer from scoring points by using their bodies to stop, hit and block the other team.
- The good, the bad and the ugly of Roller Derby?
The good – Roller Derby is one of the most accepting sports I have ever come across. There is a place on track for anyone, regardless of their size, age or background.
The bad – there really isn’t much I could complain about except maybe having to pay shipping costs every time we need new gear.
The ugly – Derby gear stinks. Derby girls may look fine and fierce from a distance but we certainly are a stinky bunch! Haha!
- We saw you sporting a “do you even Leviosa?” shirt at your practice. A Harry Potter fan by any chance?
I’ve read all the books, watched all the movies, played all the video games. I’ve even walked around with a lightning bolt temporary tattoo on my forehead. Haha um… so, yes… you could say I’m a fan.
- Are you into gaming at all, if so what games are you currently playing?
I love gaming and it’s actually an industry that I’m interested in becoming involved with. I really enjoy adventure and strategy games and am currently playing Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, replaying Skyrim and jamming some Civilization V on my PC.
- Tell us a bit about the other teams participating in the upcoming fest?
There are three other teams competing at C-Max’s National Derby Fest. 2 other teams from C-Max RDL, the Slam Damsels and the Raging Warmones, and one from P-Town Roller Derby.
The Raging Warmones and the Thundering Hellcats were the two original C-Max home teams and have been challenging each other from the start. The Slam Damsels may be C-Max’s newest team but have amazing skills and passion on the track. We are also so glad to have our hard-hitting sisters from P-Town Roller Derby join us.
All the teams have been working so hard and the Hellcats can’t wait to share the track with each of them.
- What can we look forward to or expect from the next Roller Derby Fest 2016?
We have some awesome stalls, food vendors, a beer garden and some great entertainment for the kids. As for the Roller Derby: big hits, big love and incredible women on skates doing what we do best – killing it!