Insinerator is the Cal Ripken, Jr. of the Atlanta Rollergirls! She’s the longest tenured skater who has never retired, transferred, or even taken a break. Still, all good things must come to an end. Though she’ll return to coach DSDG to victory next season, Sin is retiring. We sat down with her to find out the secrets of her amazing tenacity.
How and when did you initially get involved with ARG? My first exposure to ARG was when I went to see the first Expo Bout at All-American Skate in Stone Mountain. I just loved it…it had thrills, chills, and spills. Even back then, in the infancy of the roller derby resurgence, you could see the combination of athleticism and strategy at work. There was so much going on all at once. The crowd loved it, and you could tell the skaters were having a blast. ARG was hosting a meet and greet the following week to recruit new members. I only had a few birthday parties of skating from childhood under my belt, so I was lucky to join ARG when I did. ARG embraced this Bambi-on-skates, and I am grateful they did. It is precisely THAT attitude that drew me in- the vision, commitment, camaraderie, enthusiasm, dedication, kindness, and persistence of the OG’s to make ARG happen.
What changes have you seen in the league during your tenure? We’ve come a long way baby! It’s pretty incredible when you look back and see how far ARG has progressed since the beginning. Three home teams expanded to four, one inter-league team expanded to three, DSDG, once an up-and-comer, now ranked in the top tier in the world and was competing in the post-season championships. Once again, I think it is important to recognize the women who helped form ARG in the early years. A tremendous amount of thought went into every decision as they put the building blocks in place for the foundation of ARG –what would be in the best interest for the league, not only in the present, but in the future. That solid foundation has served ARG well as it has grown and developed. We have been fortunate to be able to not only keep pace with, but be among forefront of, the roller derby evolution. Over the years, the opportunities we’ve had have increased enormously from our membership numbers, training space, competition venue, travel, marketing and PR exposure, to fan involvement. I am proud that over the years, as ARG’s framework becomes more extensive, the league’s mindset stays true to its mission and continues to be what would be in the best interest for ARG not only in the present but in the future.
It takes a lot of persistence to play so many seasons consecutively, especially given that derby is so physical. Did you ever have a situation where you thought you would have to give up skating due to either injury or just life outside derby? How did you power through? Thankfully, I never had an injury that kept me out of commission long-term. I had a brief stint where I was sidelined due to some nerve impingement in my shoulder. It was a difficult period, mostly because I did not want to let my team down. What powered me through my injury is that same as what powered me through life’s hectic periods- ARG. ARG has been my support network, my cheering squad, my sounding board, my competitive outlet, my rock. It is an incredible feeling knowing that such a remarkable group of people have your back and want the best for you.
Being a coach as well as a rollergirl and seeing so many skaters come through the league must give you perspective on what it takes for a skater to be successful. What are the traits you’ve seen repeated in those that become great derby skaters? I think the biggest thing that stands out to me about our great derby skaters is that they GO FOR IT! There is no hesitation or fear to try something or learn something new. They’re all in—100% committed to the process and to improving their skill. They are also great students of the sport– they observe, they ask questions, they tinker with their technique, work on their strengths and their weaknesses. They are open to receiving and giving feedback. Our great derby skaters recognize there is as much to gain from being the student as being the teacher. Roller derby is a team sport and the great derby players know that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. They understand that the strength and support of their pack/team/league enables them to do their thing and shine bright!
What adventures do you have planned for life after retirement? TBD, but I do hope to continue my role as trainer to DSDG in the upcoming season and I am eager to see what life is like as a LORD :).