Skater Spotlight — Ginger "reeking" Havoc
Explain the inspiration/story behind your name.
I suppose the story of my derby name is anti-climatic. Nowadays, there are a ton of creative names already being used and I wanted to be different. I hadn’t heard of anyone using the word havoc, so I played off of that. Reddish hair + havoc = Ginger “reeking” Havoc.
Do you have a pre-bout ritual?
I am not that superstitious, but I do like to visualize before games. Either in the car on the way there or during warm ups, I go over plays in my head. I usually don’t get overly amped up or hyper; in my I’m head nice and calm.
What do you think about when you’re lacing up your skates for a big bout?
Like I said in the last question, visualization. I always visualize our plays being executed perfectly. Over and over again, I visualize myself being successful. I also think of all my teammates. They center me and calm me down because I know we are all there with the same intentions.
When and how did you get involved with roller derby?
I found myself in a real rut in life: boring job, no hobbies, lame boyfriend. I had heard a lot about roller derby and decided to Google it to see if Phoenix had a team. Sure enough, I emailed AZRD and was invited to one of their practices. I was super intimidated, but when I got there all the girls were extremely friendly. At the time, Nicole Bitchie was off-skates and took me under her wing. She explained as much as possible and gave me ideas for the type of skates to buy. After that I was all in, I had to be involved! I just so happened to be pretty good at it, too.
What was your pre-derby sports experience? Do you play any other sports?
I grew up playing soccer! Played my whole childhood, but felt burnt out by high school. I think soccer totally carries over to roller derby, it was muscle memory, footwork, and agility. All things I knew but had to shake off the cobwebs.
Tell us about your daily life outside of derby. Day job, hobbies, etc.
I am a hairstylist day-to-day. It allows me to be creative and make people feel good about themselves! I work in downtown Tempe at Vanity on Mill Salon.
Tell us about your rookie year and what your experience was while learning derby.
When I started skating, there was less organization for new girls. We all practiced as a group and I learned by trial and error. It was terrifying and liberating at the same time. I would make huge mistakes, get laid out, then get up and mentally note, “Well, I’ll never do that again.” Fred has always been our coach and he truly is who formed me as a derby skater over these past 4 years.
Share your best derby moment/memory.
I was lucky enough to get drafted as a rookie to the Bad News Beaters, who were on the rise at the time. Hazed and Contused was the captain and I really looked up to her as a blocker and pivot. That season, she led us to the State conference and I had never been a part of a team who worked so hard together to overcome. We played Tucson Roller Derby’s Copper Queens, one of the toughest teams in the state at the time. We fed off the intense energy of the crowd and pulled off a win. That was the first time I felt the extreme rush of winning! Not only winning, but being a part of something bigger than me: a team off bad ass women playing an extreme sport. That has to be one of my favorite memories that I’ll never forget.
What do you hope to accomplish in your roller derby career?
I could write a novel… I feel like the expected answer would be to win the Hydra. Which would be rad and all, but I think accomplishing a whole season as a Division 1 team is a realistic goal right now. Not to mention, captaining that season would be an added bonus! Also, I genuinely just want to play for a long time. Some of the top skaters have been playing roller derby for over 10 years and I look forward to that myself, if my body permits it. A decade of derby would be a huge accomplishment.
Who is your derby hero/heroes?
It’s pretty hard to pick just one! I look up to Tracy Akers #99 from Denver. She is an extremely versatile. Such a strong blocker/pivot that I could only hope to live up to. Also Secondhand Smoke #9 from Minnesota. I envy her blocking.
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?
Oh, I don’t know. I guess if I would go anywhere, I would go train with the Aussies. Victorian Roller Derby is such a fun team that I would love to skate with.
How has derby affected other aspects of your life?
Roller derby has given my dad and I more to bond over. He coached me playing soccer while growing up and he has also fallen in love with roller derby. It has also affected my salon business. Derby girls like to get their hair done! Which is good because roller derby is also expensive.
What advice do you have for girls who are interested in playing derby?
Derby is a dynamic sport, so even if you don’t think you fit into the “ideal” role, you’re probably wrong. Try it! That’s all you can do. Find what you are good at and then capitalize. Be open minded. Derby can knock you down—mentally and physically—but it’s about how fast you get up and fix it. But most of all, just have fun! It makes you a better skater the more you enjoy being there.