Sunday, January 3, 2010

Q&A: Derby Girl double-team: Trigger Mortis & Sloane Gunman of ACDerby

I got to meet Shandra Simpson, aka "Trigger Mortis" (photo 1-3), a long time ago and we became friends. We've helped each other with our crazy promotional schemes for music and derby and she is extremely awesome! Thru Trigger, I got to meet all the gals in her roller derby league, Assassination City, and one of those gals was Kerri Delaney, aka "Sloane Gunman" (photos 4-6). They're both mega-tall and kick tail on the hard wood. I finally got 'em nailed down for a lil' Q&A action!

Q: how did each of you get turned on to roller derby, and how did you end up getting involved, and how long have you been derbying now?

Sloane: I had a friend that skated for a short time when the league first started and she nagged me to death about playing! It was January 2008 and you could say that derby was a part of a new year's resolution to try something different. I have been playing for two seasons now.

Trigger: I went to watch a bout with some co-workers and I fell in love! The women that I saw skate were strong, intimidating and beautiful. My co-workers talked me into joining. Turns out, my mom was really excited about it because she wanted to join roller derby when she was 18, but she got pregnant with me and never got to do it, so I’m living my dream AND hers!

Q: Both of you are very tall. How does your height help or hinder you in any way on the hard wood?

Sloane: At the beginning it is a hinderance in keeping your balance and not getting knocked over easily. After playing basketball for 20 years where height is such an advantage, it was hard to find a new way to use it in derby. Once you find your center of gravity on skates, though, it can definitely play to your advantage.

Trigger: I every sport I’ve ever played, size was such a disadvantage. I always felt awkward and gawky. Derby is the first time I’ve ever felt that size was an advantage. You are actually more sought after if you are tall. It’s really made me much more comfortable in my own skin, and a much more confident player.

Q: How did you pick your derby names, and why did you choose those names?

Sloane: I definitely had some help from other skaters in the league. My creativity was a little low! I picked Sloane Gunman because of the tie-in with Assassination City and the Deadly Kennedys.

Trigger: I went through weeks of the agony of finding the perfect name. Then I dreamt it one night. I woke up, wrote it down, and said it out loud, and I know “Trigger Mortis” was just meant for me.

Q: What sort of skates do each of you use? are there special types of skates and wheels that work best for derby? Or for your height?

Sloane: I started on what most skaters start on - Riddell R3s with Devil Ray wheels. I didn't trade up to Riddell 965s and D-Rod wheels until I was comfortable on my skaters and I felt that I had improved enough for them!

Trigger: I am actually still on the same style of skates I had when I first joined. They’re Pursuit 2000. Everyone hates them and and says, “girl, it’s time to upgrade!” I just haven’t gotten around to getting new ones. I work a different style once or twice, and ended up breaking my leg while wearing them, so I don’t do new skates unless the ones I have are falling apart. When I actually do have a little extra cash to spend on equip, I usually just buy new wheels. I’m on D-Rods right now. Love ‘em.

Q: ACderby teams have creative uniforms. Tell us about your teams and how you pick out the uniforms you do.

Sloane: I can only speak for the team I'm on - the Deadly Kennedys. We consider ourselves the "rebel punk kids" of the league, so we chose to have the twisted school uniform look. Eech skater on every team has their own personal style in accessrizing and wearing makeup.

Trigger: It’s a team effort. We want something that the crowd will like—something with a hint of camp, but we also want it to be comfortable and athletic, especially since derby is getting more and more popular, and the sport is being taken seriously. I’m on the Lone Star Assassins. Last year, we did the cow-punk thing, but pearl snap buttons tended to pop open at the most inopportune moments. So we went a little more simple…all black spandex-y material, and we look very Lara Croft.

Q: are there special moves each of you enjoy doing on the rink or pride yourself in? What are the roles each of you has on your team?

Sloane: My favorite move is using my legs to take up about half the track when frontal blocking. Playing with Nebrass Kick'er on travel team, we form quite the "wall of tall" up front! I am primarily a blocker for the DKs, but I also jam or pivot when needed.

Trigger: I pride myself in my kill shots. I reserve them for special moments though…when the crowd and the players are least expecting it. I am a blocker, since I’m a hard hitter and very sturdy. I’m not build for speed, like a jammer is, but you never know….I’m working on it!

Q: Each of you is a leader on the rink and in life in different ways. How has derby helped develop your leadership qualities and would you look at yourself as a role model in any way?

Sloane: I have always been involved in team sports and have always held a leadership position in some form or fashion. I also coached for 8 years. Assuming a leadership position in derby is a little different and challenging because you are dealing with all ages, all walks of life, and many different personalities. I look at the women in this league, including myself, as being role models for young girls and other women in that we are strong, independent, and willing to take a chance on something new.

Trigger: I think the Trigger Mortis alter-ego has really helped me become the best me I can be. When I don’t feel like I can handle a stressful or difficult situation, Trigger steps in and takes over to get the job done. In my mind, nothing really gets the best of Trigger, evn in the toughest of times. It’s made me strong, and I hope that the next generation of girls can look up to me and say, “I wanna be like her.”

Q: Do you think that derby girls are sex symbols? Do you think derby adds or takes away from sex appeal and femininity and why or why not?

Sloane: I think that derby girls are sexy, but not for your average reasons. Derby girls sexiness comes from their strength, their confidence, and their ability to play different roles in their lives with grace and effectivness. I believe that derby gives each skater what they needed to fill the void they were looking to fill. For some, it is a release, for others, a community, etc.

Trigger: I’d like to think derby girls are sex symbols. I find them sexy for sure. Not sure how the boys see it. ;)

Q: Do all of you travel to away bouts and do you enjoy travelling thru derby and why?

Sloane: Most of the travelling is done by the Special Ops team, our travel team. We have had the opportunity to send our "B" travel team, the Dirty Little Secret Service, on a couple of road trips as well. I really enjoy travelling with Special Ops because it gives me time away from my normal life, almost like a twisted girls weekend!

Trigger: I travel with our travel team, Special Ops. I love traveling with my derby sisters, getting to know them off the rink, and meeting new people across the country that are derby-minded.

Q: Are there any crazy travel stories you can legally share with everyone?

Sloane: Well, I heard there was a good time had in New Orleans, but that's all I have to say about that!

Trigger: Ummmmmmm…..No.

Q: What are some of the tough parts about being a derby girl while holding down a job and a relationship?

Sloane: Time constraints are hard. Derby is a lot more than showing up and skating a couple of times a week. It is a business run by the skaters that are league members, and a business has a lot of responsibilities. I personally am involved in league finance, training, and represent the league as an active board member for WFTDA (Women's Flat Track Derby Association). You have to have people in your life who support you, and your derby life.

Trigger: I have a job and a relationship?

Q: What sorts of artists/bands/singers do each of you enjoy listening to?

Sloane: I am all over the board as far as music goes, but my favorite places to go and bands to listen to are the ones right here in Dallas that play the dives that we all like to go to!

Trigger: I love local music. Ghoultown, The Jungle Rockers, Spector 45, Flametrick Subs and old Hogpig. Non-local, I’d have to say The Black Keys, Modey Lemon, Murder City Devils, The Starlight Desperation, Stray Cats, Adam and the Ants.

Q: What do each of you do for a job? Or for fun in your spare time away from the rink?

Sloane: I am a high school teacher, and yes, my students know that I skate! My fun time is best spent just relaxing with friends on a patio listening to good music and enjoying an adult beverage!

Trigger: I work for a local weekly entertainment guide.

Q: What are some of the crazy injuries each of you has sustained thru derby? Tell us some gory details.

Sloane: I have luckily not had any serious injuries to date, but rolling out of bed in the morning gets more and more challenging! And I now have a chiropractor on retainer!

Trigger:I shattered my leg in eleven places at practice one night. I have two plates and 32 screws now, but I’m a better skater now than I was before the accident!

Q: What do you like best about roller derby, and why should the general public come check it out? What's so great about it?

Sloane: Roller derby is a fresh change of pace for people that need something new to check out. It's definitely something that sports lovers need to see - because it is so different from what you saw in the 70s on TV. Imagine getting to hit someone, just like in football, but going 15mph around a curve on skates - while looking cute and wearing fishnets! It is one of those things that not many people know about, but once they do, they become instant fans.

Trigger: I like that derby tests my physical limits, and when I find my physical limit, I find that I can push myself just a little more. I also love that a group of women who never really got along with other women can come together for a common cause and create a successful business, a presence in the community, and a unique experience for fans. The general public should come to see it because there’s nothing else like it in the world! It’s almost like watching your favorite superheroes battle it out right in front of your eyes!

Q: Where would you like to see derby end up in the future, regardless of whether you are involved or not, and how long doo you think you will be involved with derby, whether you are skating or not?

Sloane: I would like to see derby grow to a more respected and organized sport. A goal would to be included in the mainstream X games. I'm not sure how long I will be skating, but I'll continue to skate as long as I can. Even when I decide to hang up the skates, I'm sure I will still remain active in supporting the league. I have grown to love it!

Trigger: I would love to see derby being so huge that skaters would actually be paid to skate. I plan to stick it out to be part of that time. If we never get paid, that’s ok though. I’ll do it for the love of the game for as long as my body can handle it!

Q: Any last comments for the readers?

Sloane: Don't believe the stereotypes - just come out and check it out for yourself!

Trigger: Come check out Dallas’ roller derby league, Assassination City Roller Derby., baby!