Its hard to avoid a cliché when talking about the Cincinnati Rollergirls, cute and cuddly by day, savage beasts at night!
OK, they're human like anyone else but when you see them on the track mixing it up, its quick and easy to pin a label on them.
I wanted to find out what really makes a rollergirl tick and learn just a little bit about them.
Recently six rollergirls took time out of their busy schedules to answer a few questions by email.
First of all congrats on the first win, sorry I missed it.
1. Your rollergirl name, what was the inspiration?
Sista Sacralicious My derby name is Sista Sacralicious. I chose my name because after twelve years of Catholic school, I couldn’t see any other option!
Sk8 Crime Sk8 Crime - I am a Hate Crime on Skates. As far as picking it out, I wanted something that is completely different from my daily persona... something mean, something vicious, something totally bad ass.
Captain Painway Captain Janeway from Star Trek Voyager. It's also in memory of my high school friend Kristeen, who passed away shortly after I joined CRG. She's the one who introduced me to Star Trek, so she was really influential in creating the geek that I am today.
The LibrarianBack in March 2006, I took the Roller Derby leap of faith and attended my first recruitment meeting at Kaldi's Cafe on Main treet in OTR... it took all the guts I could muster to just walk through the door. I scanned the crowded room looking for an empty seat to park my heiney and wound up sitting next to your quintessential roller derby pin-up girl: Jet black hair, baby doll bangs, two full sleves and chest tats to boot! She took one look at me in my glasses, khaki pants and sweater set...then she literally took out her two front teeth and said, "Whaddya doin' playin' rollerderby? You look like a lil' librarian."
2. You guys set an attendance record(at the season opener), what was it like playing in front of that many people?
Hannah “Ouchocinco” Barbaric Amazing!! From a business aspect, we’ve been pounding the pavement incredibly hard to get the word out about us; it was great to see that hard work paying off. From a player’s perspective, it was surreal and exhilarating.
Sista Sacralicious Playing in front of 3,000 people is both overwhelming and empowering ... When you’re being introduced and coming out on the track listening to people screaming is a total adrenaline boost. It makes you want to go out there and try your hardest and leave everything you have on the track.
Sk8 Crime It was incredible. Out of all of the rollergirls, i have probably had the most experience being "on stage" in front of huge crowds and usually don't get nervous, but the crowd at our season opener had my stomach doing backflips until my name was announced... I felt the energy of the crowd, soaked in their support and then focused on kicking ass.
3. When you're out there in the zone, can you hear people shouting encouragement?
Sk8 Crime Most of the time I am so focused on what is going on and what my next play will be to really hear much of anything... which is why the refs always have to yell at us a few times. But there are moments when I can pick out certain fans screaming my name, and i try to acknowledge them with a raised fist.
Sista Sacralicious When I’m on the track playing, I cannot hear people shouting. It’s almost necessary to tune the crowd out; if I didn’t I wouldn’t be able to focus on what was happening on the track, what my team was saying, and what plays the coaches were calling. I can, however, hear the cowbells! You always know that Cincinnati has done something good when you hear the cowbells start going!
Celia Graves The only people I listen to are my teammates in the pack and my coach. Communication with your team is #1 on my priority list. Not to say when I lay somebody out, I don't hear the crowd go crazy ;) That's pretty empowering I must say!
4. I know you've been training for awhile now, are you in better condition this year? Have the new facilities made a difference?
Celia Graves I am in the best shape in my 4 year career. The training with CRG is intense, strategic and overall fantastic! The kind of training that I have been craving since I started playing derby in 2006. The new facilities do make a difference, I believe. Knowing for sure that you DO have practice and didn't get bumped for a birthday party from the skating rink ;) It's also nice to have a place that you can call home and that is all yours.
Hannah “Ouchocinco” Barbaric I’ve amped up my training this year. I’ve always been a health and fitness nut, but I think I was dealing with some burnout last year so I wasn’t as dedicated to off-skates stuff. This year, I work out 2 days a week with a personal trainer and we concentrate on weight lifting and core strength, I skate at least 4 days a week, and I do my P90x at home in between (most of my fill-in work outs consist of plyometrics). I train 6 days a week. Having access to the Chop Shop (our warehouse space) has definitely made a huge difference. Being able to skate whenever you want is such a great luxury that we are so lucky to have.
Sista Sacralicious I think we have come back stronger than ever this year. We lost very valuable players and, at first, that concerned people, but I believe that each person has stepped up and really worked hard to cover what was lost. Having an alternative practice space that we can use has made scheduling much easier. We have unlimited time at the warehouse and can set up practices to work on anything. Our league has even been able to set up Fundamentals practices for our newer girls and to help veterans refine their basic skills as well.
5. Assuming the fans show up in these numbers for the rest of the season, what would the additional money mean to the team?
Hannah “Ouchocinco” Barbaric It means we get to stick around. We’re a skater-owned and operated business. We all pay to play and buying equipment, traveling, taking time off of our “other” full time jobs (the ones that fund derby) is expensive. Every penny CRG makes goes back into the business. If we’re doing well, it takes a lot of stress of the skaters to have to come up with large portions of the travel or uniform funding and gives the organization some freedom with allowing struggling skaters to make payments on their dues, etc.
Sk8 Crime More ticket sales = less out of pocket expense for the skaters. We already pay soooo much money for our personal equipment and fees, that having increased ticket sales means that more of our skaters can participate in travel games, that we can possibly pay for equipment for skaters, and that we can invest more in the physical advancement of our skaters. We want to keep delivering a high quality sport to our fans, but we need fan support to make that happen.
Sista Sacralicious Maintaining high ticket sales will take a huge weight off the league’s shoulders. Being a DIY league can be stressful and finances are always an issue. More road games, for the Sheep and the Lambs, will be made possible. I’d like to see us get to a point where our skaters don’t have to pay so much out of pocket for dues, equipment, travel, etc.
6. So it seems like everywhere I look and everyone I talk to is all Rollergirls this, and rollergirls that. Do you guys feel like rockstars? has it sunk in and do you talk about it?
Celia Graves I don't know if I feel like a "rockstar". I'm just me. Since I live in Louisville, people don't recognize me as a Cincinnati Rollergirl. I do this because I love this sport and wanted to challenge myself to be a better athlete, not to be a rockstar. But if fame comes with it, I won't fight it ;) "Yes ma'am, I'd love to sign your baby".....
Captain Painway I have yet to be stopped in the street without a CRG shirt by someone I don't know. When that happens, I might freak out a bit. I think that CRG as a whole is popular, but I don't feel particularly rockstarish. Some people (like Mr. 5chw4r7z here) make me feel like a celebrity, but a lot of the time I'm just a normal person with wheels on her shoes. The whole team does get really excited when any of us gets mentioned in the press or online, and we're constantly sharing links and news stories with each other.
Hannah “Ouchocinco” Barbaric I don’t feel like a rockstar—I feel like an athlete. I love that roller derby is finally getting worldwide recognition and I have enormous aspirations for the future of our sport. One day when we really have extremely competent and consistent officials and when our rule set is at a point where it’s not evolving so much, I hope to see it in the Olympics or the X Games. Maybe someday there will even be professional roller derby. With that will come downsides, such as likely losing much of the DIY, grassroots spirit of the sport, but it’s still a very exciting possibility to me. It’s really neat, though, to have started when I did and be around now to see what it has become. I talk about it constantly—to everyone—ad nauseam! There’s a sign hanging at my house that says “Casa de Derby”.
There you have it, I wish I could have fit everything in, all their comments were awesome, so I just tried to mix it up and give each girl her due.
When I first started thinking about this I never expected it to be as fun as it turned out to be, and now I feel just a little more connected to them and an even bigger fan.
Maybe you'll find a favorite to root for and become a bigger fan too!
Get out next Saturday, April 17th and watch the Cincinnati Rollergirls take on the Arch Rivals from St. Louis, MO.
I wanted to add for full disclosure, because of the intense competition this year, Captain Painway didn't make the team for the first game, but because of my geekdom I instantly loved her name and last season she was one of the players I cheered the most.and [where: 45202]best place to learn how to live downtown cincinnati ohio the ethos of Cincinnati
4 hip checks into next week