Featured Skater – April 2014: Déjà Déjà Vu #11:11

This month’s featured skater is our very own Déjà Déjà Vu. Transfer skater from Arizona Derby Dames, Tent City Terror, and now Surly Gurly.

Copyright 2014, Daddy Skittles

Explain the inspiration/story behind your name.

I have French heritage, a French last name, and a BA in French… I had to find a French phrase that any announcer anywhere could pronounce and I ended up thinking of Déjà Vu. I was talking with another Fresh Meat about it one day and she misunderstood me, thinking I said Déjà Déjà Vu. It stuck.

Do you have a pre-bout ritual?

I used to have a very strict be-alone-talk-to-no-one for a few hours before a bout. Now I just have Terror Time (which is when we spend over 2 hours together before every bout just syncing and warming up and making sure we’re all together before the game).

What do you think about when you’re lacing up your skates for a big bout?

Geez, I hope these wheels work. (and they always do!)

How did you get involved with roller derby?

I honestly have no idea. I had decided to move from Wisconsin back to Arizona after college and I was thinking of hobbies I could have to make friends…someone must have incepted me with the idea of roller derby. I have no idea what made me think that that was the way to make friends in AZ. That was the end of that!

What was your pre-derby sports experience? Do you play any other sports?

Growing up, I was a competitive ice skater until I was 12. I dabbled in ballet, tap, softball, hurdles, long jump, high jump, cheer, color guard, horseback riding, track, and volleyball. I had hopes and dreams of speed skating for a while, but wasn’t able to make it happen. I don’t do any other sports outside of derby now, I did try to ice skate about 2 years ago and surprisingly, I can’t ice skate the way I used to now that I skate roller derby.

Tell us about your daily life outside of derby. Day job, hobbies?

I’m a Courtroom Clerk. I sit in on juvenile delinquency hearings and type the Minute Entries among other things. I’m still in training, but it’s an exciting job! I minored in Criminal Justice, so it’s right up my alley. I’m in love with and dating a derby-man, Sidelicious, who supports me in derby and in life. I love my 2 big dogs: a 110 lb. rottie and a 70 lb. German Shepard/Australian cattle dog mix. I guess I have a cat too, but she’s a little fickle. I paint, sew, knit, read… lots of things when I have the time, but I rarely have free time with all the derby practices and commitments I have.

Copyright 2014, Daddy Skittles

Tell us about your rookie year and what it was like learning derby?

My rookie year was a little weird. I started with Arizona Derby Dames (the banked track league in Phoenix), and I got drafted with 9 of my Fresh Meat sisters to a team that needed some new blood. Ten rookies on a home team of 14 is a little intense, to say the least. I had to rise to the occasion and ended up jamming nearly every other jam that first season. I was put in a position early on to be a trainer and made it onto the travel team my rookie year after a few home games and tryout sessions. I took on a lot of responsibility and went to every training opportunity that I could including March RADness 2011, during which I got the honor to play with the LA Derby Dolls versus SD Derby Dolls in an exhibition bout with and against guest skaters such as Bonnie Thunders, OMG WTF, PsychoBabble, and DeRanged. Derby mind blown. From the very beginning, I was fascinated with strategy of gameplay more than big hits.

Share your best derby moment/memory.

Dust Devil 2014. The Terrors just unified so fluidly and were able to stay focused the entire weekend. All our hard work proved worthwhile and we showed the world what we’ve been planning.

What do you hope to accomplish in your roller derby “career?”

I want to be the best derby player and teammate that I can be against the best competition we can find. I’m not sure I’d be able to train myself and stay motivated long enough for Team USA tryouts again in 2 years, but that would be an amazing opportunity if I felt confident enough to go for it. I know I have a lot of work ahead of myself if that’s more seriously on the table, but we’ll see if I’m still skating as passionately in 2 years.

Who is your derby hero/heroes?

Bonnie Thunders of Gotham Girls Roller Derby is definitely one of my faves. Coming from a similar ice skating background, I understand her training methods very clearly (edges, etc.). I’ve been to RADness 3x in LA mainly to learn from her and OMG and they never disappoint. I also love watching Scald Eagle of Rose City Rollers, as I feel she is built very similarly to me.

If you could travel anywhere to play with and learn from any one team for a week, where would you go and who would you skate with?

I don’t know if I could choose just one team… Can’t I just be a fly on the wall of all top 5 WFTDA team practices?

How has derby affected you in “real life?”

I wouldn’t have met my love without it. (Sappy moment)

You previously skated banked track with the Derby Dames. What prompted your decision to move over to the world of flat track?

Going along with my “career aspirations” for roller derby, I wanted the challenge of flat track. I saw the athleticism and passion that the Terrors have for roller derby and the positivity and support they offer each other. I had no idea that I would be welcomed to join them so quickly and I’m honored. Another aspect was the ability to play more teams with more strategies. I wanted to play strangers and go up with a team against unknown forces and adapt to the constantly changing flat track strategies. Banked track was hard hits and fast sprints, but with only a few active banked track leagues in the country, I was getting bored with constantly playing the same 4 or 5 teams for 3.5 years. I also wanted more tournament play, and banked track still only has one tournament each year: Battle on the Bank. Safe to say there are WAY more than 5 or 6 teams to play against now! I’ve already played 5 different teams since I joined the Terrors late last year with 6 more teams ahead of us in the next 2 months. Our derby-career lifespans are so short, and I’m lucky enough to have 4 years under my belt already. We need to figure out our goals and accomplish them where they can best be fulfilled in order to thoroughly enjoy our derby-careers.

How do you think playing banked track first helped you on the flat track? Are there any skills that you took from banked track that someone who has always been flat track may have more trouble with?

I’m not sure if there are specific banked track habits that I have, but I know that basic derby habits that I have have transferred well. I communicate opposing jammer position a lot, I LOVE playing offense for my jammer, and I try my best every game to play as cleanly as possible.

Copyright 2014, Daddy Skittles

We’ve seen you jam, but with the Terrors you’ve primarily been blocking during bouts. Which position do you prefer to play?

This is such a good question! When I first started with the Terrors, I did have aspirations of jamming for them, BUT flat track is a totally different game for jammers. I definitely had a few months of derby-identity-crisis, because I used to only jam unless we had a power jam against us. Banked track is only 60 seconds per jam and you can’t skate backwards (therefore, when you get hit out, there’s no sprinting back 20+ ft to avoid cuts). Right now, the Terrors have an amazing rotation of Atom, Chaos, Lena, and Tushy, but the whole team can honestly jam! I don’t feel the intense pressure of HAVING to jam. I know I’m a valued member of the team and right now I’m needed to block mostly…and I’m having fun dishing out the defense instead of running into it for now. 😉 I’m hitting the gym and working on endurance to be the best teammate I can be, whether I’m asked to jam or block.

What advice do you have for girls who are interested in playing roller derby?

Try it. Do it. It may not be for you, but you’ll never know unless you try. You might surprise yourself. I was a dainty figure skater who ended up on the Tent City Terrors.

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