Our moms. They loved us, nurtured us, and gave us those names we used to go by. Our moms will always be our biggest fans, even when it’s tough for them to watch us play. In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, we talked to some of our proud moms to get their take on our roller derby careers. Now if we could just get them to come skate with us…
Eleanor, mom of Shovely Rita (Michelle)
What did you think when your daughter told you she was going to play roller derby? When I first heard that Michelle was trying out for roller derby, I thought that she was crazy, but I was not surprised. As a mother, you worry that your child can get hurt and your first instinct is to protect them. As time went on, I realized that it was a very good outlet for her; exercise, being part of a team, exerting some of her energy, and of course being away from her husband and children for a few hours a day several days a week. All of these things I see as being very good for Michelle, so I have come to accept that she is a part of this crazy sport.
How do you feel when you see your daughter play? I love coming to the bouts, and I really love to see Michelle participate. I have to admit that when she is out on the floor, I have very mixed emotions; pride that she is part of an exciting sport and anxiety that she might get hurt. I really loved when she was a jammer because that is such an important role on the team, but I was always worried that she would get hurt. She did get hurt early on. Now that she is usually a blocker, I’m not as anxious, but I do still worry. All part of being a Mom.
A few mom and daughter duos exist in roller derby. Can we interest you in lacing up some skates? I do know how to roller skate, but I don’t think roller derby is for me.
Mama Derivator, mom of Rosie Derivator
What were your initial impressions of roller derby?
Growing up in Cali, it was around, but I only saw bits and pieces on TV. It looked fun but a bit violent. My impressions haven’t really changed, but I have learned more about what actually happens and all the precautions that are taken to keep people safe. I have also seen that it’s a lot more work than it appears.
How do you feel when you see your daughter play? I’m not sure its possible to ever watch your child take a hit, but I trust that she’s well protected and knows what she’s doing. I am both afraid at times and proud. I am very excited to be watching my first real bout in just a short time. I am wondering how I will react when she does get hit or if she goes down. I have watched a couple of practices, but I’m sure a bout will be much more intense. I did watch one practice where some of the guys joined in to give better numbers. When one knocked into her rather hard, it was tough to not run across the track and yell at him, but I was good and didn’t. I know he was just doing his job. In the end, every hit makes them stronger and teaches them. (Still didn’t stop me from grumbling and glaring.)
Can we interest you in lacing up some skates? LOL. If I was 100lbs lighter and could still skate like I did 20 years ago, I would lace up in a minute.
Jackie, mom of Sissy Splaysek
What did you think when your daughter told you she was going to play roller derby? Being from the Austin area, I was aware of the resurgence of roller derby that was taking place here. It didn’t take long for it to spread to other cities and I knew that my daughter would try out as soon as she found herself in a roller derby city for an extended period. I thought it looked like a lot of fun for the participants and spectators alike. Sure enough, my daughter wasn’t in Atlanta very long before she began attending clinics and trying out. That brought back memories of soccer tryouts and theatre auditions. It’s always hard on a mom when her child is competing for a position; and apparently, it doesn’t matter if the child is an adult. What a relief when she made her first team!
How do you feel when you see your daughter play? I don’t worry too much about my daughter getting hurt, but I don’t want anyone taking cheap shots at her. I would hate to embarrass her by running onto the track. I’m very proud of her. And not just for the skating. I also admire the way she and her roller derby teammates support roller girls on other teams. I like the way they post supportive messages to other teams and always celebrate together at the after parties.
A few mom and daughter duos exist in roller derby. Can we interest you in lacing up some skates? It looks like a lot of fun. I think it would be fun someday to have an exhibition game with lots of mothers and daughters skating together.
Elaine (aka Mama Scout), mom of Scout Snipeher (Laura)
What did you think when your daughter told you she was going to play roller derby? When Laura told me she was going to try out for derby, I really wasn’t very surprised. She always seems to be seeking new ways of utilizing her athletic skills. However, she was visiting me in Michigan when she told me and we went skating together. I could not believe her. She was unstable on skates didn’t have much rhythm, and I was concerned she would not make it. On the flip side, I know that whatever she puts her mind to do, she will do. Sure enough she became a “Shock.” Needless to say I was happy and proud of her. Now I just had to learn about an entire new venue in her life.
How do you feel when you see your daughter play? I love to watch my daughter play. I watch the videos sometimes. Even if I can’t see her face, I know the form she uses when she is blocking, and I know it is her. I am very proud of her. She works very hard at being the best she can be. I feel she also gets a welcome break from the stress of her day job, and that is very good.
Can we interest you in lacing up some skates? If I were younger I would certainly consider lacing up some skates. However, I am going to be 70 later this year and in the past few years broke a few bones. I think I will keep the skates on Laura, and I will continue to enjoy watching her excel.
Rita (aka Mama Skully), mom of Deathskull
What did you think when your daughter told you she was going to play roller derby? During dinner, six years ago, my daughter informed us she was planning on joining roller derby. My heart about stopped! All I could remember was the roller derby I had watched in the 70’s where they beat the crap out of other. Was this what my youngest daughter wanted to do?? I was scared to death for her and voiced this, but she answered with, “I could injure myself walking down the stairs just as easily.” Ok, so she had a point, but I was still concerned. I wasn’t able to see a bout until the next year. I will never forget how excited I was to see her skate. That night changed my life in so many ways. I instantly found a new FAMILY and an excitement every month like no other!
How do you feel when you see your daughter play? I do still feel my heart beat faster when I see her get hit, but I know her training has taught them how to fall. I also pray a lot! Two years ago, Deathskull had a serious surgery. It was NOT due to derby but rather a childhood disease. She cried at what we thought would be her last bout. In fact, we all cried. My heart ached thinking I wouldn’t see her skate again. She had her surgery, and six months later she was back on skates. Six months after that, she was back on her team and skating better than ever! Now that’s determination. I couldn’t be more proud of her!
Has your own life also been affected? The monthly bouts have become a way of life for us. I have worked security for 4 years now and love every minute! I am able to help, and at the same time be close to the action watching all the girls skate. It is still just as big a thrill today as it was the first time I watched Deathskull skate.
Kathy, Mom of ChokeCherry
What were your initial impressions of roller derby? It is so very athletic! I’ve seen our daughter become very physically fit. I am still challenged with her safety, and I want her to have the very best equipment. Injuries are hard for me to observe, so we want to avoid them with the best practice and best gear.
How do you feel when you see your daughter play? Her dad and I are quite thankful that she has been persistent in learning all the sport techniques. Hits and falls we don’t like. We are glad she knows what to do to recover. We believe our daughter practices good sportsmanship, or should I say good “rollership?”
A few mom and daughter duos exist in the roller derby world. Can we interest you in lacing up some skates? I don’t think you would want me on your team. I’d spend more time on the floor than on my skates. Skate on!
Sharon, mom of Emma Wantsome (Kendall)
What did you think when your daughter told you she was going to play roller derby? I first thought it was crazy that she wanted to skate on a team. I only knew how it looked on TV back in the 80’s. Now that I have seen her bouts, I see that it is a sport.
How do you feel when you see your daughter play? For me, it is entertaining and makes me proud of Kendall & her husband, BJ. When I watch her bouts, I am a little nervous that she will get really hurt. Most of all, I am proud of her diligence and love for the sport.
Can we interest you in lacing up some skates? Nope, you can not interest me in skating!! Too old and I just donated my old skates!!
What did you think when your daughter told you she was going to play roller derby? I found it exciting. I told Queen I did not realize she had so much pent up energy.
How do you feel when you see your daughters play? When I watch Queen and Afro Dykee play, it is nerve-wracking since they have both been injured. Once a month my heart and soul gets a real workout, but I do love watching them play. I am so proud that they can give and take a hit. Sometimes, it makes me want run out on the track and say, “Hell no!” or “Yay!” Go Demons!!!!
A few mom and daughter duos exist in the roller derby world. Can we interest you in lacing up some skates? I will not be lacing up skates. I am not as calm and sweet as they are. Can you feel me?