February 1, 2015
Queen Loseyateefa began her derby career in 2005, back when modern roller derby was just getting its start. Since then, Queen has grown with the sport, becoming more involved within the league, increasing her skills and strategy on the track, and integrating derby into her family and day-to-day life. Learn more about our February featured skater and her journey in this first decade of WFTDA roller derby.
What is your derby name? Queen Loseyateefa
Please explain the inspiration and story behind your derby name.
I had been mulling around ideas while at work and a few of my co-workers and I spent the better part of a day kicking around ideas that incorporated female rapper names. To this day I don’t know why I felt it had to be rap related but it did. My work bestie Chris suggested Queen Loseyateefa and once I heard him say it I loved and never looked back.
What is your number?
Since beginning skating my number has been 2LBU (TO POUND YOU) but for the 2015 season I will start skating under 76.
What is your home league?
The universe smiled on me and has let me skate with the Atlanta Rollergirls since the beginning of my career. I’ve been skating for 10 years strong and loving every minute of it.
Which team(s) do you play on?
I play on Atlanta’s All-star travel team, the Dirty South Derby Girls who are currently ranked lucky number 13 in the world. My home team this year is The Apocalypstix. Outside of my home team I also skate for Team Sass, a pick up team made up of mostly all stars from the Southeast, and I am also a member of the BONT Quad Stars.
What is your skate gear of choice?
I ride BONTS all the way. Bont skates, Infinity plates, FXX wheels, etc., etc. Prior to becoming a sponsored skater, Debbie was always so helpful in assisting me and educating me about her product that I became a loyal customer before I played my first game in my BONTS.
Do you have a pre-bout ritual?
In preparation for bouts I like to eat lunch with my team and listen to my “Tear the Club Up” playlist. It includes songs like Hard in Da Paint by Waka Flaka, Church byT Pain, and Bia Bia by Lil Jon. These southern gems help me to go to my reckless place. Living a sing song life means I need music to get my head in the right space. :)
What do you think about when you're lacing up your skates?
I like to think about all the things that can go right and how to go about making them happen. I think about all that I’ve done to prepare and how the outcome is already decided so all I have to do is chill and roll with it.
Do you have a favorite motivational quote?
For me this totally sums up my career in this sport: “Most seem to find Roller Derby in transitional periods. We ruin our bodies to save our souls, and for some reason that makes perfect sense.” –Bonnie D. Stroir
Do you have a theme song?
Anything from a musical is going to work for me, because life is so much better set to music. If I absolutely had to go with one song I’d have to choose “I’m A Mean Ole Lion” from the classic, The Wiz.
How did you get involved with roller derby?
I read an article in Creative Loafing that recapped the first Roller Derby game in Atlanta and described it as exhilarating, fun, and full of colorful characters. That sounded right up my alley so I visited the Atlanta Rollergirl website to find out about recruitment. At that time recruitment meant "come check out a practice." So I went and watched and was warmly welcomed by Shell Shocker, a now retired Atlanta skater. After that experience I came back with skates and never left.
What is your pre-derby sports/skating background?
I grew up going to the rink every Friday and Saturday and dance skating for hours on end with my friends. Skating has always felt like a way to escape for me. I love the way that it allows you to be so in tune with my body and its movements. Skating feels natural to me...I feel at home on a rink or track.
Please tell us about your rookie year and how you learned to play roller derby.
My rookie year, I was a part of the newly formed home team, the Toxic Shocks. It was fun to be involved with theme conversations, color selections and the like. It really helped to take the edge off this new thing that I was doing and not 100% sure I would be able to commit to. I spent the year falling in love with the game, my league, and teammates. I don’t really remember anything about how I played because I have always suffered from what I refer to as (Jam)nesia. But I do remember how it felt to be a part of the movement: amazing.
What is your position of choice?
Blocker all the way for me. I love working with my pack to achieve shared goals. There is nothing better than setting a goal with a group of women and doing absolutely everything we need to do to achieve it. Whether our hard work rewards us with a win on the scoreboard or we come away with less points, we win because we did it as team.
What is your signature move?
When I read this the first thing that came to mind was Blue Steel ☺. Honestly I don’t have a signature move. Every season I try to develop something new that I think can add to my game.
How would you describe your derby playing style?
I’d say my style of play is systematic. I work hard to make sure to hit a checklist of things from jam start to jam end. Starting with slowing the game down in my head so I can process whats going on around me and make the best choice for what I see unfolding. Derby for me is very much like a game of chess, you absolutely have to think about the move you’re making in that moment and the moves you’re going to make 2 laps from now. I leave nothing up to chance.
What are some of the biggest changes in the game for you as a skater in the past 10 years? What do you feel are things that have not, and may never change about roller derby?
I’d say the biggest change would be the culture shift from a more free form style of play to adding more structure around game play and training as a means to grow the sport. Hmmm, its difficult to answer the second part because change is really the only thing that is constant. I’ll just say that I think there will never be a time where people won't passionately fight to defend what they love about the sport. Even though the direction of our organizations may change as the years pass by, what has never changed is the spirit of the folks involved being so vehemently protective of this growing baby we know and love.
Please share your best derby moment (or moments).
It's never the wins, but rather the moments that make me remember why I love playing. Things like being drafted for the first time; seeing someone I helped train get that concept they had been struggling with; skating to the penalty box hand in hand with my opponent (Thanks Tess Yinger!); seeing a plan come together. I’m sure this comes from watching so much A-Team as a kid.
What are some of your greatest roller derby accomplishments on the track?
Every step in the journey has been an accomplishment. From playoff invite to playoff win to being part of the big show we call Champs. Every battle that we take a victory in puts us a little closer to winning the war and keeps us hungry for the next challenge.
Off the track?
I think my biggest accomplishment is how I show my daughter every day that the sky is the limit by simply living my truth. And by how choosing Derby as my extended family, this village supports me in raising a future leader and powerful woman.
We understand your younger sister, Afro Dykee, now plays for the Atlanta Rollergirls All Stars, the Dirty South Derby Girls. What's it like to have you two out there together on the track during jams?
Having Fro out there is amazing. We eat from a plate of win, win, win with a side of no excuses so I know I can count on her to do the damn thang. That being said, no one can be more critical or supportive than we are of each other. I really look forward to seeing her develop and hopefully fall as deep in love with roller derby as I have. 2015 is going to be epic.
Who are your derby heroes?
I’d have to say Tanya Hyde, hands down. Her decision to create the Atlanta Rollergirls changed the course of my entire life so who can really top that. It was just the lightning rod I needed at the time.
What is your day job? And how, if at all, has it contributed to your experience of roller derby?
My day job has pretty much always been in people management. I’d say I’m a diet type A personality. All the same great taste without the pesky calories. That being said, I need things to be just so (right ☺), but years of being in a large all volunteer organization means you learn to let go of the reigns...some. Currently I manage a team of 14 for a large beverage company that resides in Atlanta. As much as I’d like to be the skater who can take a back seat, my brain won’t let me.
How has your involvement in roller derby affected the way you live the rest of your life?
That’s really difficult to answer because roller derby has become as much a part of my life as a family member. The short answer is I’m now on a path that leaves me open to new experiences. I’m divergent ☺ and cant be placed in to any one group or labeled any one thing. I do what I want, when I want, requiring no one’s approval.
How do you find a balance between your derby life and your “real” life?
Balance for me came when I stopped trying to separate the two. Derby life just kept burrowing in until I accepted that the only way to “manage” it was to give it a seat at the adult table. Now there are no tatrums for attention being thrown.
What advice do you have for girls who want to join roller derby?
My advice is give in to that feeling. I won't lie and say It won't hurt to try--it just might. But even before YOLO became passé, its still some of the truest advice to help guide your life. Don’t later regret not listening to that voice in your heart.
Do you have any upcoming bouts that you’re really excited for and why?
I’m excited for all of them. Being a fan of the sport and my team means I want to be challenged and see us develop. Each game gives me a new chance to do that so its like Christmas every bout day.
After a decade on the track, what keeps you coming back to roller derby? And how has your relationship with your league evolved and grown over those years?
As I said earlier, because I’ve stopped compartmentalizing roller derby in my life I don’t feel like I choose to come back season after season. Its just part of living my best life. I’ll leave when the universe tells me to pack it up. I tried to leave once before and the timing was wrong so here I am just riding the wave.
Do you have a special message to your fans?
"Thank you" is short and sweet but I hope it's impactful. Also, if you see me around, let's chat for a spell. I’m a little quiet at the start but I’ll chat you up if given the chance.
Is there anyone that you’d like to thank?
I have to thank my family, my league and teammates. It really does take a village to free a skater up to pursue this dream. I know they all sacrifice to make it happen so I’m eternally grateful.
Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.