As you may already know we have undergone a number of changes to our league as we embark on our 10th season. So it’s only fitting that our January skater of the month is #1717, Joy Ride. Joy, a 3 year veteran of the Suicidal Saucies is the QCRG’s newly elected Chairman of the Board, arguably the most demanding job in the league. But even with this highly demanding league job, making practices, and balancing her personal life she was still able to find a moment to sit down with me so we can all get to know her a little better.
Do you have any history of sports?
Yes. In school I did cheerleading, played softball and was involved in competitive dance for a long time.
How were you introduced to roller derby?
Our family went to watch my cousin Brown Momba (a former Saucie) play. We also went to a fundraiser. About a week after the fundraiser Momba sent me a link and said “Here. You HAVE to join” That was about 4 and a half years ago and here I am.
Tell us about your rookie year
Well my “rookie” year really depends on how you think about it. The first year I joined I actually was not drafted. I had to spend and extra year in the Queens Court which at first I was very upset about. But now looking back it was actually really good for me. I was able to learn a lot of valuable skills during that time and became a stronger player. My first year as a drafted player to the Saucies was kind of a whirlwind. You look up to the vets. You want to be so much like them and impress them. I still look up to players like Alli Snatcher (former Saucie) and Head Huntress (former Saucie and current Lake Effect Fury). Not to mention that first game skating out there with all those people cheering for you. It’s a bit nerve racking
How would you compare yourself as a skater from back then to now?
Through a lot of hard work and effort I’ve greatly improved. In addition to on skates practices 3 times a week my first few years I also do off skates workouts. During the off season I’m still working out just not as hard as during the season. But my improvement is not just physical it’s also mental. It’s watching films and people. It’s asking questions. Almost every practice I was asking Huntress or Alli Snatcher what can I do to get better or how can I fix this.
Tell us about your decision to run for Chairman of the Board?
Submitting my letter of intent was not something I took lightly and I was floored when I received the email that I got the position. There was a bit of back and forth with me doubting myself but some friends, league mates and my husband helped me realize that I can do this. I’m not an in your face type of person. I’ve never had a huge role in the league and I didn’t think a lot of league members knew who I was. I was voted “Mild Sauce” by the Saucies which is the person that’s in the background but will step up when needed. While my self-confidence can be a bit low at times I do know I am a good manager, I can hold deadlines, I can direct people / committee heads and I am a good communicator. We have some great people in this league that know what to do so even if I don’t have all the answers I know where I might be able to find them. I think that’s something a good leader understands.
How do you balance your derby and home life?
It’s really time management. It’s also understanding and respecting boundaries. When my husband and I are on a date I don’t answer my phone or check my emails. I’ve made it very clear to the league that Sundays are my time with my family unless we have a bout or planned event. I make sure that I respect that for the kids and my husband. That way they can respect it and understand when I have to do my derby stuff.
One big change this season was the scramble and redraft of the home teams. How do you feel about that?
I was voted in as Chairperson right around the same time as the league voted on the scramble I’ve never kept it a secret that I voted against the scramble. But I do understand why it needed to happen. Once it came through that there would be a scramble as a leader I have to support the decisions of the league. I did then and will continue to so.
What are your derby goals for the coming year?
Individually I obviously I want to continue to remain competitive. I don’t compare myself to others. I compare myself to me. So I like to make sure I have a goal or target each year. For me one of the biggest things evolving in derby is to be able to turnaround on your toe stops, transition, skate backwards and block. I can transition on one side well. The other side I can’t yet. I call it my opportunity side. So I’m working on improving that. Team wise, with the scramble I’m working to learn my new teammates. What they like, how they communicate and being able to build on that. From a leadership / Chairman position it’s to get not just Tonawanda to know what derby is. It’s also growing roller derby and maintaining our league because I will fight to the end to make sure this league survives, is successful and that every woman is empowered by derby.