July 2014 Featured Skater: Poison Violet

July 1, 2014

Just as beautiful and deadly as her name implies, this month's featured skater grabs everyone's attention on the track. Learn more about our July featured skater, Columbia QuadSquad Roller Derby's #007, Poison Violet.

July 2014 WFTDA Featured Skater: Poison Violet

Photo by Danny Nguyen

What is your derby name? Poison Violet

Please explain the inspiration and story behind your derby name.
It’s a play off of Poison Ivy. She is the most misunderstood villain/borderline hero because her main goal was to protect the environment. She just had a horrible way of going about it. Violet doubles as the flower (instead of Ivy) and my favorite color. Long story short, I’m a delicate yet deadly flower!

What is your number? 007

What is your home league? Columbia QuadSquad Rollergirls, Columbia, SC

Which team(s) do you play on? Columbia QuadSquad All-Stars

What is your skate gear of choice?
Triple 8 helmet and wrist guards, 187 elbow pads and knee pads, Riedell 265 with Avenger Mag plates, and SISU mouth guard.

Do you have a pre-bout ritual?
Do I! It starts about two weeks in with daily morning gym visits and overloading my brain with bout footage. I have to have my comfort foods as well (hummus, cherry tomatoes, honey, and Nutella). I clean all of my gear and scrub my bearings with a toothbrush after taking them completely apart. For some reason I refuse to bout in the same bandana twice, so I have to buy a brand new one for every game. I keep Rosemary oil on hand because it helps increase blood flow to the brain and keeps me calm and focused. I load my mp3 player with calming and relaxing music to help me focus as well. Oh yeah, and I have to have my eyeblack only under my right eye or I feel weird without it.

What do you think about when you're lacing up your skates?
I try to focus on the task at hand. I try to get my mind off of work, family, and everyday life so that I’m 100% in the game. I don’t want to let my teammates down, so I do everything in my power to allow my mind and body to synchronize. I mainly work on calming myself and use the pre-bout jitters to fuel my concentration.

Do you have a favorite motivational quote?
"The worst anyone can ever tell you is no, and that only leaves you in the same place you started out in. But if you never try, you will never have the opportunity to hear a yes." – My dad

Do you have a theme song?
Jump by Rihanna--It is one of very few upbeat songs that I have to listen to before every bout.

July 2014 WFTDA Featured Skater: Poison Violet

Photo by Phil Lackey

How did you get involved with roller derby?
I’m a hair stylist, and when I first started in the salon a client of mine kept telling me all about how her daughter played roller derby. The only thing I knew about it was what I had seen it on TV when I was little. She found out that I could skate and spent the next couple of months trying to convince me to try it out. I had no interest in getting hit for fun, but she was persistent! She gave me tickets one day to a Columbia QuadSquad game and I ended up going alone because none of my friends or co-workers could make it. I completely fell in love with this sport within the first 10 minutes of the game! Two weeks later, I was starting fresh meat. That was exactly three years ago this month, and I haven’t looked back since.

What is your pre-derby sports/skating background?
I ran track for only a year in grade school, but I was a cheerleader for six years before college. I grew up going to the skating rink, so I was part of the normal rink rat crowd as a kid. I think I started skating around 6 or 7 years old.

Please tell us about your rookie year and how you learned to play roller derby.
I am blessed to have so many amazing mentors on my team who helped me transition from rink rat to derby! Coming into such a large league at the time was pretty overwhelming, but very exciting! Back then I was juggling two full time jobs and my two kids, while still trying to make time for derby. I don’t know how I managed it all, but the thought of skating alongside these woman that I looked up to so much made me push for it. I made sure to attend every single practice, even if I couldn’t skate in them yet! I just wanted to learn everything I could. After my first six months of going through fresh meat and starting league practices I got drafted to the Belles on Wheels home team and everything took off from there. Three months later I was skating with the B-Team, and right at 13 months after starting derby, I was a floater between A and B team. If it wasn’t for the guidance and encouragement of my amazing teammates, I probably wouldn’t have lasted past week three of fresh meat.

What is your position of choice?
Jammer, but anytime I get the chance to block I jump for it!

What is your signature move?
It has to be my call-off. I always show my hands to the jammer ref to make sure they can see me and know my intentions before I call the jam. It’s also my way of following my coach. If he throws his up, mine stay up until he gives me the okay. I didn’t realize it was such a big deal until announcers kept mentioning it over and over.

How would you describe your derby playing style?
Organized chaos! I am one of the clumsiest people ever and always tripping over my own feet, but somehow it works on wheels. Other than that it’s mainly survival. Some of the stuff that I do during games I can’t begin to explain how it happened. I am, however, a derby junkie when it comes to watching derby footage to better my skills and knowledge of the sport.

Please share your best derby moment (or moments).
It has to be when my mom, dad, and sister came to watch me skate. I had been doing derby for about 1-1/2 years at the time, and it was the first time they ever came to a game. I was so excited that I was in tears! I played my heart out that night.

What are some of your greatest roller derby accomplishments on the track?
It has to be making the Columbia QuadSquad All-Stars. I get to skate alongside my derby idols--the women who inspired me to join the sport! How cool is that?!

Off the track?
It would have to be inspiring my son to take up the sport as well. He skates for the Columbia Quadsquad Junior Rollers and loves being a part of one of the top junior’s teams in the sport! Look out for Crimson Iron!

Who are your derby heroes?
Grafik and Crystal Cutt (both retired from Columbia QuadSquad in 2012), who are two of the best jammers I’ve ever seen on the track! They are also two of the most motivational and inspiring people I’ve ever met off the track. If I could have half of either of their skills I would be a happy girl!

What is your day job? And how, if at all, has it contributed to your experience of roller derby?
I’m an AVEDA hair stylist, and I am deeply in love with what I do. If it wasn’t for my career and my client who told me about derby, I would have never found CQS. They both go hand in hand because I’ve been playing derby almost as long as I’ve been a stylist. I can’t imagine one without the other.

How has your involvement in roller derby affected the way you live the rest of your life?
Derby keeps me sane! I always joke about that, but in reality it truly has made such an impact on my life. The constant exercise on and off the track increases my norepinephrine levels and helps me to produce the endorphins that my body doesn’t naturally produce at the proper levels. I’ve been able to completely eliminate my need for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which has been the most life changing experience for me!

July 2014 WFTDA Featured Skater: Poison Violet

Photo by Sean Hale

How do you find a balance between your derby life and your “real” life?
Derby allows me to relieve stress and have my “irresponsible adult time.” My career as a stylist allows me to be creative and make a difference in other people’s lives. My kids are the inspirations behind it all, because it’s my job to not only raise them to become successful at whatever they decide to pursue in life, but to also make sure that they also do things that make them happy. All the money in the world can’t take the place of happiness. If I lead by example, then they will not grow up to settle for anything less in life.

What advice do you have for girls who want to join roller derby?
Derby is what you make of it. If you truly want it, you have to work hard at it. Never expect to perfectly execute anything when you first start, either. None of us grew up playing derby. We all had to start from scratch! Also, don’t be afraid of falling or failing. That is how you learn and grow.

The 2013 D1 Playoffs in Asheville, NC gave you a chance to showcase your combination of fancy footwork and speed on the track. What were some of the most memorable bouts that weekend for you?
They all had their strong moments for me. I actually got to work as a blocker for a large portion of that tournament, which is something I rarely get to do so I LOVED being in that role. But, the most memorable moments were what happened off the track with my team. We came together so much and worked as a unit to make it through. It reminded us that every past and present member, coach, family member, and fan of Columbia Quadsquad helped to bring us to our very first D1 tournament, and that they were all with us in spirit on and off the track. It was a very humbling experience.

You seem to have a thing for fuzzy leg warmers. Is there a story behind the fun and fluffy accessory?
I love everything weird and awkward! When I first started, the leg warmers actually improved my blood circulation in my legs and aided in reducing my massive shin splints. It also reduced the smell of the layers upon layers of Biofreeze that I slathered on my legs to help with the pain. My teammates hated that smell on the bench! LOL

We understand that you recently lost a number of possessions in your home due to a flood but have been able to raise funds through your derby family and online fundraising. Can you share with us how your derby family and the community rallied with you for support?
That had to be one of the hardest points in my life. A sewage pipeline broke and flooded numerous houses in my complex. My home received the worst damage and everything from furniture to birth certificates were completely destroyed. If it couldn’t be sanitized, it had to be tossed. It was so bad that it took us weeks to get into a new place because of the structural damage. The love and support that I received from the derby community was overwhelming! My teammates helped raise almost $1,000 and donated tons of items to help us start over. The emotional support is what helped the most. Just knowing that people cared so much about the well-being of my family helped me not emotionally crumble during that stressful time.

Do you have any upcoming bouts that you’re really excited for and why?
We play Charm City Roller Girls in August and I’m super excited about it! They are amazing competitors and really awesome people off the track as well. Any time that I get to work with my team against a tough competitor shows me what I need to work on for the future.

Do you have a special message to your fans?
You make this sport what it is! If it wasn’t for your support, we wouldn’t be able to be the team that we are today. I wouldn’t be the skater that I am. The messages that I receive on Facebook mean so much to me every time I read them, and they push me to work harder every day to continue to make you proud!

Is there anyone that you’d like to thank?
Every member, supportive person, referee, and fan of CQS. This team has truly changed my life! I would also love to thank Kris Fenner for always being there and pushing me to be better. Most of all, I have to thank my family for teaching me to always be strong, even when I don’t feel like I am. For also teaching me to never settle for being content, but to continue to learn, grow, and progress in everything that I do.

Do you know a WFTDA skater with a dazzling derby career that should be featured on wftda.com? Please email webmaster@wftda.com and tell us why!

Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.