Our featured skater this month plays for the Devil Dollies the the travel B-team, the Subzero Sirens. May Bringdowndahaus is one of Queen City Roller Girls’ Canadian imports. May has been playing roller derby since 2012, and a member of Queen City since 2014. She is a strong, strategic and smart blocker who loves to work with her teammates in order stop opposing jammers in their tracks. She has recently been appointed co-captain of the Subzero Sirens, where she will bring her leadership skills to the team both on and off the track.
Where are you from and where are you living now?
I’m from St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, born and raised. I still live there. Currently, I live in a blue barn out in the country. There is definitely is no insulation in any of the walls and if you don’t keep an eye on the well you can run out of water mid shower… but it’s a great spring, summer and fall home!
How did you originally get involved with roller derby?
When I was 17, I saw the movie Whip It and I thought it was pretty cool and something that I wanted to try. I actually contacted a league that was about a 45 minute drive from me, and they told me that I was too young to play. I was kind of bummed, but then in my first year of college I was walking through the hall and I saw a poster for a league starting up in St. Catharines, Niagara Roller Girls. I contacted them and I joined their very first intake of Fresh Meat training.
What is the story behind your roller derby name?
When I first started, my friends were really excited that I was starting derby and they thought it was super cool. My one friend just said, “Wow! You’re really going to bring down the house!” And it evolved from that. Most people just call me May now because it’s a mouthful.
When you transferred into Queen City, you had already been playing roller derby for two years with Niagara Roller Girls. You made the decision to go through Queen’s Court (fresh meat training) in 2014. What can you tell us about this experience?
Queen’s Court is probably the best decision I’ve ever made in my entire derby career. I could have joined earlier and gone into the draft, but I was nervous about joining the league. It was a big step. I was a little younger, too. I waited it out and joined Queen’s Court. It forced me to learn all of these skills from the beginning. I could hardly do a transition when I first started. Our Queen’s Court group, we had some pretty advanced skaters, Rosi was one of them. There were some very skilled skaters in it already, so that really pushed me to learn more.
We worked on strategy a lot, I learned so much from that. I had to work on unlearning bad habits that I had taught myself, such as stride, skating backwards, that kind of stuff. Since being on Sirens Brawl has drilled it into us that your basic skills are the foundation for everything, it’s true. I loved Queen’s Court and had a really great experience there. We became a really tight-knit team, too. We went to Fresh and the Furious and that was really fun.
Could you tell us about your experience at Fresh and the Furious?
Fresh and the Furious was great. It was a very, very long day. It was probably twelve hours of derby. I think we played eight or nine games. We went a lot further in the tournament than we expected, I think we ended up in fourth place. That was my first tournament experience and it started my love of tournaments.
Have you played in any tournaments since?
We played Quad City Chaos with the Sirens last year. When you go to a tournament with your team, you grow so much. You live with your team for a weekend, driving, eating, sleeping. It’s an experience for sure. You’re adjusting on the fly and making changes to your plays and learning how to survive with a hotel microwave as your main source of cooking.
As a Canadian who crosses the border regularly to play for an American team, your situation at roller derby is somewhat unique. Could you tell us a bit about what this is like and how it has informed your experience here at Queen City?
I drive a lot and I pay a lot of money in tolls, which tolls are not really a thing in Canada. It’s all good, there are a few other people that drive more than I do. It does get tiring, especially halfway through the season. I definitely hit a bit of a lull, and then get fired up again. There are a few other people around whose derby schedules link up with mine, and we are able to carpool. I try to combo a lot of things, if we have to have a meeting one night and I have a practice, I try to book those on the same night. I still volunteer at games all of the time. My league jobs are online type jobs, and that makes it easier. But If my teammates are just getting together on the fly, it’s a lot harder for me to be like, “Hey guys, yeah, I’m gonna come and hang out!” that’s the only thing that really sucks about it. It’s not just driving down the street, they’re not in my neighbourhood.
~ Interview by Necromatrix