The derby bug bit me about 8 years ago. I was friends with (former QCRG skater) Sissy Sparkles. Fast forward a few years – while I was working at Delta Sonic I met a good friend named Celery STALK-Her (DD/LEF). She’s the one to blame when you want to point fingers about why I’m in QCRG. I had been living in Erie, PA for a while and kept in touch with Celery, and always kept my eye out for a derby team forming a little more locally, (driving 90E during the winter was sometimes dangerous) but I managed to make a few bouts.
Out one night at a local bar in Erie, I found a flyer for a league that was starting up and then I ran into the league’s president randomly at Wal-Mart – picking up raffle tickets to their first fundraiser and cookie sale. I got busy with life stuff and put it in the back of my mind to check them out some day. About a year later I was walking through the doors of the practice rink on a whim, just to see if they were still rolling and low and behold there were women on skates, running drills and falling all over the place but still giving it a go.
They greeted me, welcomed me, and immediately asked if I wanted to help and to learn derby with them, to help practice with them, coach them. I was floored, what had I gotten myself into? I told them to give me a couple practices to make sure it was something I wanted to do, to make sure I could commit myself to two practices a week, to ref, coach, console, open myself up to a whole new world, and……I’ve been hooked ever since.
What was your experience with the Eerie Roller Girls?
My first year I was the Head Coach and we all learned derby together. I read everything I could about the sport. I found manuals, derby exercises, drills, scrimmages, what every position needs to do on the track, but I couldn’t quite get the strategy to get the girls a ‘W’. So I stepped down after the first year and took on the role of Head Ref for the league. My second year with ERG I was their Head Ref, and I fit the role nicely.
How did you get involved with QCRG?
Being a head ref, you have to network with a lot of people when you are the only ref for your league. I met Shock-her and Boo at a bout against EMRD (Enchanted Mountain). Keeping contacts with everyone you meet in stripes can be difficult, but I’m thankful for FB and emails. I called them every time I needed refs and they answered with yeses and helped the league out every time they could. When QCRG hosted the North Central Regionals, I was also moving back to Buffalo and had to find a team to ref for. QCRG was the lucky league.
What differences exist between our league and others you’ve been a part of?
The biggest difference between QCRG and the other leagues I’ve helped out with is the overall size. I was used to working with 30-60 women on the track and a few guys and girls in stripes because all of our leagues were small and intimate.
What’s your role with the Queen City Junior Roller Girls?
I’m a coach. If you need to give me a title it is “Head Ref” — I teach them rules, track boundaries, and help hem with their weekly skills.
How’d you choose your derby name?
I was trying to do a play on word with my real name, Robert, but nothing rolled off the tongue. A few of my friends were calling me Trip one day when they found out that I’m the third generation of Robert C. Krolczyk. As soon as I said Trip out loud, last name just came with it. I’ve been Trip Ur’ Mama ever since.
Do you have any interest in being a part of a men’s league in the future?
Yep, I’d love to be a part of a men’s league someday.
What are common challenges for derby refs?
Keeping your eye on all the skaters and the action going on inside and outside the track at the same time. Learning the rules at first is like downloading your first app on your first smart phone, you get the hang of it and make mistakes along the way but as soon as it all clicks you’re rolling with everyone else with ease. It’s the discipline to keep it all to memory and when you face your first challenge against the call you just made, proving to yourself that you do know the rules and the confidence to make more calls.
What goals do you have for yourself for this upcoming season?
I would like to get my first patch as a certified WFTDA ref. I want the PATCH!!! Muhahahahaha