Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oh, The Inhumanity!!!!

IMG_1970Every entry in The Rollergirl Project is a small glimpse into the life of a derby girl. This entry is by Ingrid Inhumane who recently went on a medical hiatus from the Rollergirls of Southern Indiana. More pictures of her can be found at Cory's website.

On a brisk Saturday night I went to Hammerheads Bar to attend a “rollergirl” friend’s charity event. Full contact musical chairs defiantly was as exciting and violent as it sounds. My boyfriend turns to me and says, “so, you going to play roller derby?” I remember saying, “HELL NO, I am not going to subject myself to that kind of pain…..on skates”. Little did I know that one year later I would be eating those words when I broke my toe and was bruised head to toe after my first time playing full contact musical chairs. I had literally got off the couch on the last Wednesday in April 2008 and said, “I’m going to play roller derby” and that’s what I did.

Thinking back to life before derby I never felt very tough or confident. Derby allowed me to put myself out there to women that liked the same things I did and didn’t stereotype me. Instead I earned respect of some tough broads that probably wouldn’t have given me the time of day otherwise. I became strong enough to stand up to those that walked all over me and courage to push myself way beyond any line I was afraid to cross. I never stopped to think “I can’t do that” but stopped and thought “I can’t believe I just did that”. As I was climbing stairs to the top of St. Peter’s Basillica in Rome, Italy I thought “I’m going to die by fall or earthquake”……..but I stopped and thought, “If I can jam I can do anything!!” I made it to the top and was so proud that I overcame my fear of heights thanks to getting my ass kicked a few times while jamming. IMG_2005

The love for derby can make you do crazy things. During one particular practice I had gotten tangled in a 5 girl fall which broke my toe stop. As I sit on the roller rink bench crying from anger and fixing my top stop I thought why am I crying. When you put overly competitive women, lactating women and social outcasts on skates together you get emotions, drama and a hell of a lot fun. During my first week of roller derby I went to a slumber party given by fellow ROSI, Tyranni. Even though I wouldn’t tell what happened behind closed doors but at the end of the night I ended up sleeping in a twin bed with two other girls, oh and salsa, wax and streaking was involved. If not for derby I wouldn’t have been on television, did a radio broadcast, been in a calendar, helped fight breast cancer, encourage runners in a marathon or wore ruffle panties on the outside of my leggings. IMG_1913

On my 10th practice I got to choose my name and my first choice was Norma Bates and my number was going to be 1 Bad Mother, but I was so disappointed to find out the name was taken. Next idea was Andromedia Sprain, taken. Ok, reverse; what isn’t taken. I looked in the Thesaurus under sinister names and picked Inhumane. Then I looked for a name I wouldn’t mind being called and that night Ingrid Inhumane was born. From my first bout to my last I have stood behind that persona. I always referred to Natalie as my “slave name” because as Natalie I have to say sorry for bumping in someone or excuse me when I burp. Ingrid doesn’t say sorry and she gets a trophy that says “Best Gasser”. You will probably never see a trophy for best jammer or best blocker, but having a little girl come up to me and tell me I am their favorite is trophy enough for me. I wear my eyes blacked out my lipstick smeared and stitches on my face. Why? Because I can and I don’t have to give a reason, I am Ingrid.


Creating Ingrid Inhumane

Sunday, August 14, 2011

With a Little Help From My Friends

Every entry in The Rollergirl Project is a small glimpse into the life of a derby girl. This entry is about The Virgin Cherry who is skating with Rollergirls of Southern Indiana.  Rather then writing it herself, her friends and team mates have their say about Cherry.  More pictures of her can be found at Cory's website.


I remember when Cherry developed the passion and fire that we've all come to recognize in her today. She was the first of my ROSI teammates that became OBSESSED with roller derby. She was no longer just a faithful ROSI, not just a skater with a good attendance record that was eager to take part in drills. Cherry became the one that went to as many bouts as she could...not because they were fun to watch, but so she could take notes about areas in which she wanted herself and her team to improve. She started training outside of derby, and she sky rocketed from the skater that blended into the background to this athlete that took MVP at at more games than any other ROSI. She gave us all something to aspire to.

- Lily the Kid

Tampa Bay Derby Darlins



The Virgin Cherry has been a personal inspiration of mine since I joined the Rollergirls of Southern Indiana in July of 2008.

As a founding member of our league she is an integral part of ROSI. Between the time Cherry devotes on the track during practice and bouts to off track derby fundraisers and meetings, her loyalty to this sport and our team is unfailing.

Cherry has sweat, bled and cried for ROSI. I am proud and honored to call her my friend and teammate.

- Killyn Time

Rollergirls of Southern Indiana


Cherry is one of the best people I know on and off the track.  I first met her in 2006 when ROCK skated against ROSI at Champs in Lexington, it was love at first sight.  She is so charismatic and charming, and a killer derby skater. Over the years I've skated with and against her several times, she is a fantastic teammate and opponent!  She sets the bar higher for everyone in that way.  I'm truly lucky to know her and be able to call her my wife (even though I have to share her with Suffragette Kitty)

Cherry is fantastic.  Period.

- Ellie Slay #17

Rollergirls of Central Kentucky


The Virgin Cherry has been part of my derby experience since the beginning--ROSI was our (ROCK's) first opponent. My philosophy of learning how to be a better skater/player/human being is to find a role model, study them, say to yourself "I can do that, too," then practice until it's true. Cherry is absolutely one of my core derby role models. She dominates as a utility player, serving well as jammer or blocker. I think much of it boils down to her gung-ho attitude for the game. That's something I definitely lacked in the beginning; I was very hesitant. I've seen her transform and improve over the years with hard work, and it inspires me to learn more, skate more, play more. I want to block her on the track and dance with her at the afterparty. (She's a great dancer, too.)

- Jessie Maims

Rollergirls of Central Kentucky

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

All the World’s a Derby Track

Every entry in The Rollergirl Project is a small glimpse into the life of a derby girl. This entry is by Painbow Brite who is currently on hiatus from Rollergirls of Southern Indiana to attend school. More pictures of her can be found at Cory's website.
All the world’s a stage,
And the men and women on it merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
-William Shakespeare

IMG_3159Through my high school years and on I loved and pursued theatre. I was in plays, musicals, and speech team in high school and went on to college to acquire a BFA in Acting. I was drawn to the drama and spectacle and the thrill of entertaining others. When I moved back to Evansville after graduation I was initially a little sad that I wasn’t able to pursue my love of performance. At least, that was, until I discovered Roller Derby. In derby I found the drama and spectacle that I had been missing. Did I also mention that I love sports too? At the same time that I studied and performed theatre I was also indulging my love of a physical challenge. Cross country, dance, gymnastics, rock climbing, and even the circus arts were among the sports I enjoyed. When derby came into my life I was overjoyed. I had found a sport that also fed my love of the theatrical! Derby, as I see it, is theatre on wheels. Every derby girl, as soon as she hits the floor, is playing the character that she created for herself. Some characters are more vibrant than others, but they are all equally entertaining. Each character includes their own costumes and performance. Everything from the iconic face paint of Hard Knox Roller Girl Goblynn, to the trademark tutu of Bleeding Heartland's Tijuana Mama , and even the simple signature salute from my team mate Sailor Scary are all a part of the characters they play on the track.

IMG_3057Even myself, Painbow Brite, prepare for my role by slapping on some rainbow stripe socks and a star on my cheek. That is just the external, however. For me, the character of “Painbow” is a combination of my inner child and the two warring parts of my personality; the lovable and the aggressive. Rainbow Brite was one of my favorite childhood icons. She was bubble and sweet like I felt that I was, but when a threat was imminent she knew how to throw down and get shit done. When it came time to choose a derby persona for myself, I knew that I wanted something that was representative of myself and my interests. I know that every derby girl does, but as the roster grows longer by the day, it's difficult to find a name that represents you and isn't already taken. I finally came up with “Painbow Brite” and have loved it ever since. Painbow starts out sweet and friendly during her intro and in all her interaction with fans and other skaters.  However, once that first whistle blows she is ready for a fight.  I suppose the main difference between Painbow and myself is that Painbow is willing to beat the crap out of people if need be, and tries to never hold a grudge. Both myself and Painbow have never been one for dirty trick or foul play and always try to be fair and even and I would prefer to resolve conflicts without violence. And, in case you're wondering what exactly a “Painbow” could possibly be, I figured it out for you. You know those bruises that you get that are so intense that they seem to be every color at once? That's a Painbow! :D I know I've both given and received a few in my day.

From friendly to fierce, wholesome to harlot, every girl brings her own special brand of spectacle to the track. Every character makes the show that much greater.

I am honored to be among these characters; these athletes. I hope that we can all continue to thrill audience for years to come. Remember ladies, the show must go on!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Becoming the Person I Want to Be

Every entry in The Rollergirl Project is a small glimpse into the life of a derby girl.  This entry is by Cruella DeKill who is currently on hiatus from Rollergirls of Southern Indiana.  More pictures of her can be found at Cory's website.

 IMG_1838Who are you?

Trinity is my name, but I'll also go by Cruella (DeKill), my skater name. I'm currently a student at the University of Southern Indiana. I'm studying Health Services with a concentration in Health Administration. I'm also a part time bookshelver at Central Library. I'm also a daughter of a wonderful mother and father, a sister of some awesome siblings, and a girlfriend of an amazing man.

How did you discover derby and what drew you to that first practice or meeting to create a league?

I discovered roller derby almost two years ago through a friend of mine. It was actually on MySpace. She posted a bulletin of a flier for a bout, and I decided to go to check it out - and when I went, I fell in love. I wanted to be part of their team. I started going to practices and eventually became a member of that team. After some time of being on that team, I became unhappy and learned about the other roller derby team in Evansville and decided to check them out. After attending one practice, I knew I wanted to be part of their team. They were all SO welcoming and understanding about my situation. I asked to resign from the team I was originally on, and then I became an official member of ROSI :) thank goodness!

Have your relationships with other women changed since joining? Friendships with rollergirls? Others?

I've met a lot of awesome girls, and I feel very privileged. Though I'm only close with a certain few, while I was actively attending practice, I learned how unique every single woman was. They all have awesome personalities and even though they're all different in a lot of ways, all together, they formed one of the strongest and most motivated teams I've seen. Even though we're not all very close, I appreciate every single one of them.

Derby wife - What does that relationship mean to you?

A derby wife is someone I can trust, rely on, and relate to in terms of derby. My wife, Rachel, also known as Iron Maim'em, is one of my favorite people, on and off the track. For as long as I can remember, we've always been on a similar skill level, so I always felt extremely comfortable skating with her and being her partner. Outside of derby, she's extremely easy to talk to and very understanding! She is currently inactive, like myself, due to injuries :( but I know that we'll be together on the track again one day, hopefully sooner than later, and I can't wait for it!!

Has there been a change to your professional life or relationships?

The semester before last, I had a difficult balancing school, work AND derby. I did poorly in a couple classes because I felt overwhelmed. I'm certainly not blaming derby; I'm blaming myself for not being able to do everything. So last semester, I decided to take a break from derby. I decided to concentrate on doing well in school and trying to find a new job - and I did just that. I got excellent grades and got a new job that I really like! I'm still currently on a leave of absence, just waiting to see how heavy my workload will be this semester, along with how my work schedule is. I LOVE derby and I do plan on getting back into it as soon as I can, but I've got other priorities to take care of first.

IMG_1923 Has dating changed at all since joining? Harder? Easier?

Oh this question! Well, my relationship life since I've joined derby has been... interesting, to say the least. When I first joined the other team, I was dating this guy, it didn't last, we broke up. Shortly after is when I began realizing how unhappy I was on that team. Coincidentally, whenever I became interested in ROSI, I also became interested in a girl who was a member of ROSI. Well, one thing led to another, and we ended up dating for a little while. During our relationship, we had a tendency to skip practices, which was bad in the end for both of us. Anyway, everything got better because shortly after I started dating one of the referees on the team. Some teams would frown upon this, but I think we did a good job of keeping our personal life separate from derby. He and I have been together ever since! Needless to say, we've had some complications, but those complications will soon be completely resolved. If it weren't for roller derby, I wouldn't have met him. It's one of the many reasons why I'm grateful for derby.

IMG_1888 Has your personality evolved at all since becoming involved?

My confidence has skyrocketed because of derby! Before I joined derby, I was very out of shape and had horrible self esteem. It took me a while, but I eventually got the motivation to start working out outside of practices and it's made me feel so much better about myself! I lost nearly twenty pounds over 2010 and a main New Year's resolution is to not so much concentrate on losing weight - but being healthy and staying healthy! Aside from having more self confidence, I've learned more about myself and I'm trying to come out of my shell. I think I'm too shy sometimes and derby has made me be a little bit more sociable!

How would you have described yourself before derby? How about after?

Before derby, I was unhealthy, extremely self conscious, and introverted. Now after experiencing derby, I'm on the track to being as healthy as I can be, more confident about myself (but not cocky!), and less shy. I'd becoming the person I want to be.

A large portion of photography is the physical self. When you look in a mirror, how did you describe yourself before and how do you describe yourself after?

Before, I would be disgusted to look at myself in the mirror, well, at least my entire body. I would avoid it most of the time. Now, I try not to focus on the negative and more of the positive. I try to concentrate on how I HAVE lost weight and toned up - even though I'm not where I want to be just yet. I appreciate the fact that it could always be worse. I admire what I do have, not what I don't have.

What makes you go to practice? What drives you to play? What is it that makes it worth the time, money and risk?

Before I had to take a break from derby, my drive was that derby was my outlet. It was a way to get out my anger and frustration, and it was something to look forward to since my days consisted of classes and work. I loved the feeling that I was becoming more athletic, because I had never been athletic before in my life. I loved feeling part of something, and when I pushed myself and worked hard and got appraisal for it, I felt so good about myself. I know that even though I haven't been around, my team will welcome me back with open arms. Because that's what we are, a team. We work together to stay strong. I'm SO glad I joined roller derby and found ROSI. Whether they know it or not, they have changed my life for the better. ♥


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Quiet, Confident, and True to Herself

Every entry in The Rollergirl Project is a small glimpse into the life of a derby girl.  This entry is by Sauer Susi who skates for Rollergirls of Southern Indiana.  More pictures of her can be found at Cory's website.
Who are you? Mundane life... Derby life... the basics... IMG_1459
Mundane: Well, I’m Emily. I’m the small, quiet one. Recluse has been used by friends on more than one occasion, in a loving way, of course. It’s not that I dislike other people, or that I feel superior in any way, I just don’t have that need to be in constant company. My group of regular friends is small, and mostly comprised of males. I guess you could say I’m kind of a tomboy. I also don’t speak much. I never liked it when one person in a room would babble on and on about what was essentially nothing. If I don’t have anything to say, I’m comfortable with the silence, I don’t need to fill the room with words. On a more basic note (since I went off on a tangent there), I’ve worked at the same ice cream shop since my senior year of high school. I’m a German major, and I love everything about it. I’ve been to Austria twice, and it’s probably my favorite place. I’m also a twin, some people think that’s cool.
Derby: I’m Susi, blocker, former and maybe future jammer. I still have my quietness, but it doesn’t seem to bother anyone. I love to skate, and I love to be in the company of so many strong and independent women. I feel like the derby me is the same as “real” me, only on wheels and more prone to having something groped.
How did you discover derby and what drew you to that first practice?
I went to my first derby bout when I was 17 and a senior in high school. My older brother was (and still is) dating a member of ROSI. He thought I would like it, talked me into going, and from then on, I was hooked. I wanted to join and be awesome just like those girls. I had to wait until I was 18 of course, but when that came, I was there. Uncertain on skates and in super shy mode around those once strangers, but there none the less.
Have your relationships with other women changed since joining? Friendships with rollergirls? Others?
My relationships with other women haven’t changed for the most part. In school, I found a lot of girls to be kind of superficial, and I still see that a lot in my age group (I’m a whopping 20 years old). However, derby girls are a different story to me. They all seem confident in one way or another. Be it in themselves as a person or in their skills on the track, and I really, truly admire that. Not only in women, but in anyone.

Have your pre-derby relationships with friends and family changed?
My relationships with others haven’t really changed either. The friend group I have has changed, but not as a result of derby. Life makes its own changes. However, one friend did join derby with me, and its nice to have her to discuss derby and outside life. We’ve been friends since the 6th grade, gone our separate ways at times, but always found each other again. Other friends come to watch and cheer on the team, but it’s not the same as skating with them out on that track. And secretly, she was always my competition.
Derby wife - What does that relationship mean to you? How is it different then your other friends and team mates?
I’m currently single in the derby world.
Has there been a change to your professional life or relationships?
Like I mentioned before, I’ve worked at the same place for almost three years now. I’m still pretty young, and professional is not a word I use to describe myself. It’s something I’m still paying to get to.
IMG_1554Has your personality evolved at all since becoming involved?
Yes and no. I say that because while I still don’t feel the need to be around people, or to talk just to make noise, derby has given me more confidence in myself that allows me to be able to do that. I’ve always been a little socially awkward (backwards, as my grandma would say). I suppose part of that was insecurity, and part of it was just not caring (I think it’s important to be okay on your own, to not depend on other people to create your happiness). I can handle myself better in new situations. I’m not as shy, and I can make conversation with a stranger without feeling overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still shy to some degree, but not near as much as before. Before, I would never volunteer to be photographed, so you see my progress. Also, I used to be really particular about some things. For example, in school, I was the one that never got below a B. Not because my parents pressured me, but because I pressured myself. Since I’ve joined derby, and also traveled alone overseas, I’m a little more relaxed about things. I still like to do well, so I’m not just a slacker now, but I realize that it’s not as important as I was pushing it to be. So when I got my first C in college, I could deal with it. It wasn’t a big deal because hey, a C is still passing, and life is so much more than letters and numbers. If you worry about all the small things, it’s going to pass you by and in the end, do you want experiences, or a shiny report card? Well, I choose to experience things. And surprisingly, derby has made me a bit more girly. I know that reeking pads, sweat and bruises don’t scream femininity, but I did gain some in a way. I don’t spend big bucks on clothes or make up or anything like that, but sometimes it’s fun to just be a girl. You know, wear dainty dress even if you’ve got a nasty bruise. In fact, that makes it better in my opinion. Beauty with edge.
Have your attitudes towards different types of people changed?
I always liked to think that I was open minded. But when you go to a derby bout, there is truly every type of person. Despite having an open mind, it’s still amazing how sports can pull people together, even for a little while, because weather we want to believe it or not, people still draw dividing lines all the time.
How would you have described yourself before derby? How about after?
Quiet, awkward, and self conscious. Quiet, still kind of awkward (its genetic), with a healthy dose confidence.
A large portion of photography is the physical self. When you look in a mirror, how did you describe yourself before and how do you describe yourself after?
I won’t get specific here, but before when looking in a mirror, I could mentally tear myself apart with negative things. And honestly, I still could today if I tried, but I don’t do it. I’d still like to better myself, but I’m okay just being me. Derby has every shape and size, and each girl serves her own purpose.
Has your definition of beauty changed for yourself or others?
You are who you are, and its good to be happy with that. Don’t waste precious time worrying over some minor detail that the general public isn’t even going to notice. You are your own worst critic, and I do believe that. If someone wants to criticize you, they aren’t worth your time.
What makes you go to practice? What drives you to play? What is it that makes it worth the time, money and risk?
I’ve always been a fan of playing sports. I’ve done teams and individual sports. I think derby kind of combines those. Yes, it’s incredibly important to work well with your girls, to have that flow on the track. But it’s also important to be confident in your own ability, especially in certain positions. I like the competitiveness a sport gives. I’m not over the top with it though. I just like to go out and give my effort and hope its returned with a big fat win. But if not, it’s not the end of the world. I like the cliché idea of playing for fun, not just to win. On a social point, I like knowing every girl on my team. I don’t know them all intimately, but being a person who typically has male friends, it’s nice to have this group of girls. I like the person I have become as a result of derby.