Welcome back QCRD fans to the 2024 season! This month’s featured skater is a dual threat on the track who can use her vine whip attacks to bust through the pack when wearing the star. Meet #905, HellSprout!
HellSprout’s derby journey started with the Nickel City Renegades in 2017, eventually playing in her first game with them in 2018. The league eventually folded, so Sprout transferred to QCRD in October 2022 along with some other former Renegades. The Devil Dollies snatched her up that draft where she was a jammer for the 2023 season. This musical-loving rock climber is pumped and ready to get started in the new season!
Where are you from?
Buffalo, born and raised.
What is your day job?
I am a nutritionist/coordinator for a public service program.
How did you get involved in derby?
I had a friend who was in Renegades who I danced with for many years, and I went to go see her play. That was on a Friday and afterwards she said, “So when are you coming to practice?” and I went to practice that Monday.
What is the significance of your derby name and number?
It’s just a Pokémon pun and 905 is the current amount of Pokémon known to existence. It used to be 69 because that was Bellsprout’s Pokémon number.
What are some of your hobbies outside of derby?
I go rock climbing at the rock climbing gym, I’m not cool enough to do it outside. I go to the movies a lot. I like musicals, I have season tickets to Shea’s. In high school, I never did sports. I danced, but I was a music person: I did band, I did chorus, and I did musicals and I just love them. I still love them! My favorite musical is Little Shop of Horrors.
Before transferring to QCRD, you were part of the Nickel City Renegades. What was that experience like?
I loved Renegades! It was a very tight knit, family kind of feel. We got to do a lot of really cool things. The Nickel City league was the only one on the East Coast, the majority of the other teams are on the West Coast, primarily California, so I got to travel to California three or four times to go play games out there which was super fun. Playing here was a good time too.
Can you describe what a game was like for Renegades?
The Renegades style is always super fast-paced, it has no penalties. Because there weren’t penalties, a lot of times people think there aren’t rules, and there are a lot less rules than WFTDA I’ll give it that, but it was kind of like a “do unto others as you would like to be done unto you” kind of situation. While you could get away with a lot more, don’t do anything that you’re not willing to get back in return. Some people have horror stories but I never had any issues. Because we were smaller, most of the time what would happen is the whole league would split into two teams to do a game unless we had a team coming in from California. A lot of times we did three blockers, one jammer for the sake of giving people rest, but depending on if we were acting as one team against another team then we would do four blockers, one jammer. There were no pivots. You could pass the panty in Renegade, you could pass it to anybody and if you drop the panty, then you get no jammer. There was no lead jammer, every jam was one minute, go, and you go the entire minute. Nobody could call it off.
What was the transition from Renegades to WFTDA derby gameplay like? What was easy and/or what was challenging?
Definitely learning a lot more rules, penalties were new. I would say one of the bigger things that was very surprising just switching from Renegade was the pack was always super fast paced, that includes everybody. We worked with laterals, we did drills with laterals, but actually applying it in gameplay wasn’t really a thing that came up too often. I think with WFTDA style gameplay, you have to really get down laterals so that was definitely a transition. It was very sad when Renegade ended, but one of the nice things was that it meant all of us came over at the same time so nobody was truly alone. Also, everybody here has been super welcoming and helpful and that was super nice.
What is your favorite thing about blocking and/or jamming?
They’re both super interesting to do! Not that you’re ever truly alone out on the track, but when jamming, you really only have to worry a lot about yourself unless somebody’s playing offense for you, whereas blocking it is fun to be more involved with your teammates and work together to do something. I really like learning in general so I think where I am right now and kind of doing both is fun to learn about each side and really become well-rounded in both.
Who is your favorite skater and why?
I’ll go with my OG derby idol, which would be Locked and Loaded because she’s strong and she’s fast. She’s the whole package!
Do you have any goals for yourself this upcoming season?
Just becoming more well-rounded and trying to become a better jammer, a better blocker, really trying to get my confidence up so that I can feel confident that I know what I’m doing and I don’t have to second guess myself all the time. Coming in as somebody that knew how to skate but didn’t really know this specific sport, I spent a lot of last season second guessing myself.
Do you have any advice for new skaters?
One thing I wish I had done sooner would be really taking off skates workouts seriously. I’ve always been into fitness, but you can be really specific with off skates workouts to reach a certain goal. Nothing’s going to be on skates, but if you can get specific with those as well it’ll help you in the long run.
– Interview by Thrash Bandicoot