Photographer: Rasmus Bonnedal
- How come you started playing derby?
I read a blog entry written by a girl who was thinking about start playing derby after seeing the movie Whip it. I really had no idea what the sport was about and had never stood on a pair of skates before, but I downloaded (sssch, don’t tell anyone) the movie, saw it and after that I was hooked. I did a Google search and found out there was a team in Gothenburg, started talking with one of the girls on Facebook and got some useful tips about gear and skates. I ordered a pair of R3s, helmet and pads, as I told myself that if I already had all the gear I wouldn’t chicken out. And so I signed up for the try-out in September 2010, took a deep breath and started skating.
- What is your background pre-derby?
I’ve always been pretty active, I’ve been horseback riding since I was a kid, I’ve worked as a gym/aerobics instructor and been a cheerleader, I’ve been dancing different styles for several years and recently I’ve also started weight lifting. Working out in some way has always been a part of my life, I find it both relaxing while I at the same time enjoy the adrenaline rush. Being an engineer in computer science means that I have a desk job and spend most of my day sitting on my ass. As I can get pretty restless from time to time when having to sit still at work I like to spend the rest of my time on the move. Also it keeps said ass from flowing over the edge of the chair.
Photographer: Rasmus Bonnedal
- How is the process going from skating as a rookie to bouting?
My first freshmeat practice was a disaster. I mean, I didn’t expect to be good, I just didn’t expect to be that bad! I have always been pretty hard on myself and I felt like the slowest, stiffest skater ever, constantly falling behind and failing at the drills. Then I ended up falling on my tailbone, twice, which hurted like hell and I went from practice crying, saying that I would never do this again. Luckily I’m also quite stubborn and I went to the next practice anyway, and the next, and the next…
Other than that it went pretty smoothly for me since we didn’t have any separate practices for rookies and oldies when I started playing. When I started it was pretty much just me and another girl who went to practices the first month and we skated on our own on the side of the track while the other more experienced girls came by and gave us pointers. But we were quite soon thrown in to the real group and started skating with them. A bit intimidating at first, but you actually learned a lot quite fast and I was able to pass the minimum skills test as the first skater in my rookie group.
Playing in my first bout was amazing! Although I was really nervous it was superfun and I learned so much. I’m really impressed by how far our team has come only this last year. We’ve been learning together, teaching each other and we finally have a full team of players who have passed the minimum skills test and are ready to compete!
- Why derby?
I wanted to do something different, away from my usual crowd. I was thrilled by the sport being so physical and rough, yet stylish and strategic at the same time. However, I could never imagine how involved you would be and how many friends I would make! Now, 1,5 years later I do something derby-ish everyday, talking, training, discussing, setting up practices…you name it. I’m assistant head coach and a former board member and although it takes up a lot of your free time I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Photographer: Fredrik Tanfara
- What is your favorite position to play in derby and why?
I’m a blocker and I usually play as pivot although I’m comfortable playing at second position as well. I feel stable and enjoy leading my team, shouting out instructions as we go. I can also be quite calm if needed, but at the same time quickly go for the jammer in a recycling situation. And there’s no better feeling than being able to build a solid wall with your fellow blockers, keeping the other team’s jammer behind you while your own is skating lap by lap, scoring points for your team.
- How did you prepare for the bout, both as a team and on your own?
The night before I wash my pads, check my wheels and pack my bag. I want to have as little as possible to think about on the bout day, other than the actual bout. My nerves tend to get the better of me sometimes, but as long as I’m prepared I’ll be calm.
Just before the bout starts, our team gather in the locker room for a pep talk, boosting each others confidence and taking a few deep breaths together.
- Do you have a specific ritual, both as a team and on your own?
Well, our team has this ritual where we all gather round in a circle, screaming “Mammi ska ha sitt”. It’s an inside thing which we all really enjoy!
Myself, I don’t have a specific ritual, but I always have to dance and goof around a bit during warm-up and open floor just to relax a bit.
- How did it feel playing in your hometown?
It was AWESOME! Even though the first bout in Malmö was great, this was something else. Almost everyone in the audience was cheering on US! The roar each time we got lead jammer was incredible and the overall feeling is almost indescribable. I got goosebumps several times that day and couldn’t stop smiling. Everyone on the team did there absolute best, there was such a happy and positive feeling over the whole day, and I just can’t wait to do it again!
Photographer: Patrik Blom
- Were there any moment that were especially memorable before/ during or after the bout?
The most memorable moment before the bout must be when I started hearing people talking about opening up the other side of the arena as well as the people just kept lining up outside. We never imagined there would be so much people in Gothenburg who wanted to see a roller derby bout!
During…possibly everything. Feeling that calm just before the whistle blows for the first jam, the sudden rush when the jam starts, the energy, the audience cheering, the bench screaming…everything.
Afterwards, the exhilaration of what we’ve just done, the hugs, the pure joy. And, of course, the after party.
- How do you view your individual efforts in the game?
Good, considering I was quite nervous. Better in the second half than the first one, though. As I’ve mentioned I’m pretty hard on myself so I always find things to pick on, like “I could have stayed closer to the inside”, “I should have been quicker when the jammer got through the wall” etc. But all in all I think I did a good job.
Photographer: Morgan Borén
- Are there anything you are especially proud of?
Yes, there was one time when we managed to hold STRDs jammer behind our wall for sooo long, it was great! I believe it was me, Nosh and Karrcrash who did it and I was really proud of how well we worked together that time.
As an individual effort I’m quite proud that I played in a whole bout with a hurt knee. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to skate as much as i did, but the adrenaline rush pretty much took care of that.
- So, whats ahead in your derbyfuture?
Well, we will be playing a bout in Hamburg on May 12th and I think we have a good chance to win it. We’re currently discussing bout options with several other teams during the year and we have a bout against Kallio’s B-team planned in December. I will try to improve my own skating technique, going to bootcamps and hope I will stay away from injuries more than I’ve done so far (I’m seriously thinking about getting a punch-card at my local chiropractor and/or massage therapist). I hope to be able to develop my role as a coach and become even better at planning practices. Other than that, who knows? Right now it feels like the sky’s the limit.