Featured Skater: May Bringdowndahaus #138 (Part 2)

So what are your hobbies outside of roller derby?

I rock a 9 to 5 job as a graphic designer at a pretty cool production company, we build ridiculous things like 8 foot tall deodorant sticks. You dream it, we’ll build it.  I’m also the money wrangler, team organizer and pretty much anything else that they need me to do.  When I’m not working or at practice, I try to get to the gym on my off days.  I like to go 2-3 times a week. Other than that, I enjoy hiking, swimming in lakes, camping, cottaging and cycling.  I live on a farm, so I long for the summer nights where I can go on an evening country bike ride. I try to keep up with my artistic side, submitting to shows whenever I can. I have a dog we do a lot of training together to keep him in line. His favourite class is agility.  He’s a master at the A frame.  

Photo by Jim Bush

What do you do at the gym for off skates?

Usually, when I go to the gym I’ll do some cardio and mostly focus on weights. The Dollies do pretty intense off skates after practice that’s more along the lines of a HIIT workout.  I find HIIT workouts are extremely beneficial to derby and my general conditioning. The Sirens recently started working with a personal trainer.  He’s teaching us proper form, new workouts and meal plans. It’s a really great resource to have.

You predominantly play as a blocker. What is your favourite thing about this position?

I think my favourite thing about blocking is locking that jammer down and making them hate their job.  I’ve never been the fastest person but I’ve always been pretty strong. You have these speedy, agile skaters coming up and I can bring them to a halt within a couple of feet.  Either by myself, or with my teammates.  It’s empowering.

Do you watch your own footage?

Yes, all the time.  Sometimes I cringe watching it.  Other times, I’m like, wow you did a really great thing! That was so awesome! You finally got to the line there and stopped that jammer!  The amount of footage that we get to watch of ourselves is amazing. Thank you, Veggy Cowgirl and Mr. Fit, for always having that footage for us.   I had never watched myself skate before I came to Queen City. I was like, why are you doing that? You think you’re so low, but you are not low at all!   You don’t realize this until you see yourself in footage.

Recently, you were called up to fill in some roster spots on the Lake Effect Furies for some scrimmages. What did you take away from this experience?

Playing with the Furies was great.  That is one of my goals as a traveling skater.  Being on the Subzero Sirens, my goal one day is to be on the Furies. Getting that chance to play with them was really exciting. I got a taste of each of the lines.  I work with a few of them already because they coach me.  Getting to block with them on their turf with the rest of their teammates was really fun and a bit of a whirlwind. I learned a lot of things that I need to work on, personally, in my derby game.

Photo by CK Photographic Systems

When you were playing, you often appear very calm and collected.  What are you thinking about when you are playing in these high pressure situations? What are your thoughts on mental game?

Honestly, when I’m playing I take it jam by jam. Never look ahead, and never look behind if I had a  bad jam.  Only look behind to tweak things, switch up your plays and progress from that.  Sometimes when I’m playing, I get a very angry look on my face, but that’s just me in my game zone. I don’t like to joke around when I’m playing.  I still have fun, obviously, but I’m pretty competitive and I think I show it a bit on my face.

Which roller derby players do you admire?

There’s a ton of WFTDA players that I could list out, but I’d have to say a lot of the players  that I admire I get to skate alongside with and be coached by.  Before joining QCRG, I was pretty wowed by Librawlian’s skills, because who isn’t?  I’m super lucky that she’s my coach.  Bricks Hit-House is my go-to person for all blocking things.  She teaches me so many small little tricks and is so supportive. She’s such a beautiful blocker. Then there is Murph.  She’s really the whole reason why I’m here.  I wouldn’t be where I am in my derby life today without the initial push from her to make the move to QCRG.  She gives me continuous encouragement to push myself, my skills and my derby brain. Murphy and her husband Mr. Murph (aka Coach Ovaltine) are pretty much my derby parents.  They’re always checking in, teaching me all the things and giving me advice.

You originally came from Niagara, and have moved to Queen City along with a number other players from your former team, the Seaway Sirens, including Murphy, McCreadie and Dana Scullcrusher.  Now you are on another team called the Sirens.  What is it like for you having this roller derby experience with this group of people for many years, now across multiple leagues?

Photo by Rene T. Van Ee
Photo by Rene T. Van Ee

It’s exciting to do it with your friends, just to push each other each other to achieve our derby dreams that we all have. We wanted to improve in derby. I think if I’ve learned anything recently, it’s that your derby dreams can come true as long as you put in the work and you want it, they are super attainable.

You are captain of the 2017 Subzero Sirens. What made you decide to pursue a leadership role?

A few people asked me if I was going to, and I had been thinking about it a little bit. I knew McCreadie wasn’t coming back to captaining for personal life reasons.  I’ve never been a captain before, but I’ve learned a lot of lessons from captains and coaches that I’ve had in the past.  I thought I would exciting to empower the team. I’ve also enjoyed finding clips of emotional sport speeches from movies to send to the team like clips from Rocky, Any Given Sunday, Friday Night Light, to name a few.

So what are some of your goals for the team this season?

To push everyone to be their best self.  Whether we win or lose, obviously, we are a pretty competitive bunch and we want to win.  If we have a bad game, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing.  Those are the games you learn from and grown with.  I want everyone to push themselves to better their skills and get the most out of derby this year. Already, this early in the season, I’ve seen multiple Siren skaters have break through games and that’s really exciting.

So what do you hope to work towards in your roller derby future?  What are your personal long term goals?

My personal long term goal from coming to QCRG at the beginning is to play on the Furies one day. It’s why I wanted to join. Being on the Sirens, that is our team goal.  We are the Furies in waiting.   Currently the Furies are 26th in the WFTDA, they work really hard. It’s exciting to watch them grow and learn from everyone on that team.

Photo by Rene T. Van Ee
Photo by Rene T. Van Ee

What is your advice to anyone considering joining a roller derby league?

Derby is so much more than just a sport. It’s a community and lifelong friendships. It really put a 180 spin on my life in such a positive way, emotionally and physically. All I can say is put in all the work. Whatever your goals are in derby, there are so many rewarding moments. It’s pretty magical.  

What is your favorite photo of yourself and why?

“The one of me falling really showcases my assets.”