June 2, 2014
Since joining roller derby in 2007, Screamin’ Meanie of the Lava City Roller Dolls has served as an inspiration to both her home league and the Lava City junior league, the Cinder Kittens. Screamin’ Meanie doesn’t let anything get in her way – after coming back from a broken leg in 2010, she was recognized with the “Most Dedicated” skater award by her league, and she was named to the 2012 and 2013 Oregon MVP All Star rosters. Read on to learn more about Screamin’ Meanie, the WFTDA’s featured skater for June!
What is your derby name? Screamin’ Meanie
Please explain the inspiration and story behind your derby name.
When I joined roller derby in 2007, I was working as a heavy equipment operator for an excavation company. Initially, I was looking for something to do with dirt and digging, then one day I was telling my boss’s sister that I had joined a roller derby league and was trying to come up with an alter ego. She immediately blurted out, “I think you should be a Screamin’ Meanie.” When I googled it, I saw right away that it was the name for one of the fastest, toughest, and meanest fighter jets around. I have always loved going fast, have always been pretty tough, so I got a little mean and hit the track and didn’t look back.
What is your number?
My skater number is #44. It has always been my favorite number and I was just turning 44 when I joined derby, so it was meant to be.
What is your home league?
My immediate derby family is the Lava City Roller Dolls in Bend, Oregon.
Which team(s) do you play on?
I have skated on the Lava City Roller Dolls’ WFTDA charter team, the Smokin’ Ashes, for six and half years of the seven years I have been with LCRD. I also skate on the home team 12 GAUGE RAGE, the notorious, boot scootin’ cowgirls of Lava City. Yeehaw and gimme some more of that cowbell!!
We understand that you are captain of your home team, the 12 Gauge Rage, as well as being a skater on your league’s WFTDA charter team, the Smokin’ Ashes. How do you balance your various team duties?
I am very fortunate to be self-employed so I can work on derby life at work, which helps a lot!
In addition to your own skating roles, you are also the director of the Lava City Roller Dolls’ Cinder Kittens Junior Roller Derby. Wow! Please tell us what you enjoy most about being involved in junior derby. What are some of the challenges?
The Lava City Roller Dolls’ Cinder Kittens absolutely HAVE MY HEART! I have been involved with our junior program since we started it almost four years ago, and I have watched each of these young skaters go from barely able to stand to being amazing members of a very skilled and capable team. We have a lot of crazy incredible talent in our junior league and I am so proud of their growth in the last year.
What is your skate gear of choice?
When it comes to skate gear, I have a mix of things that I like. Right now I am skating on very used Antiks, which I intend to replace when I can afford it because I really like the boot. I also have a pair of Riedell 1065s. Right now I am riding on the Atom Boom Slims 59mm wheels. I trust and stick with 187 Killer knee pads, and recently switched to the Atom Skate Out Loud elbow pads because they come in XS! I top it off with a black S-One helmet and a SISU mouth guard.
Do you have a pre-bout ritual?
I don’t really have a ritual prior to a bout, but I do make sure I am well rested, eat power foods, and get a nap in before heading to the venue. I usually bench coach the juniors as my pre-bout ritual and then get in the zone during off skates warm up with my team.
What do you think about when you’re lacing up your skates?
When I am lacing up my skates, I focus on positive affirmations and visualizing what I want to do with my team on the track. I like to do some deep breathing and picture my team dominating from the first whistle.
Do you have a favorite motivational quote?
My favorite motivational quote is: “Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.” – Matt Biondi, three-time U.S. Olympic swimmer
Do you have a theme song?
My get pumped up song is “Moves like Jagger” by Maroon 5, because of the line, “Look into my eyes, I OWN you.”
How did you get involved with roller derby?
I got involved in roller derby in September of 2007 after going to watch my sister play in the home season championship. I was immediately aware of how fun and challenging it looked, and I wanted to try it. I showed up to practice the following Tuesday and I have been obsessed ever since.
What is your pre-derby sports/skating background?
My sports background consists of varsity gymnastics and powder puff football. I had only skated as a wall hugger a few times as a kid, so when I strapped on my skates at 44 I was a true beginner.
Please tell us about your rookie year and how you learned to play roller derby.
My rookie year in derby was fast paced and amazing. It didn’t take long for me to get my skates under me, and I was drafted to my current home team – 12 Gauge Rage – within a few months of joining. At about six months in to derby, I tried out and made the travel team. I was in the main jammer line up for both the A and the B team, and many nights would skate back-to-back bouts, jamming in both.
We were told that you are among the older and wiser skaters in your league. What are some of the benefits and challenges of being an older skater playing roller derby?
Being an older member of the team has not been an issue for me physically as I have always welcomed the challenge of keeping up with the skaters half my age. It pushes me to look past my age and focus more on my ability. I was surprised at how empowering it felt and how respected I was by my leaguemates. I feel that being older has its advantages in keeping the ego in check and not having anything to prove to anyone but myself.
What is your position of choice?
For the first four years I was pretty heavily in the jammer lineup, and loved it. Over the past few years, we have gained some very talented skaters and now our jammer pool is pretty deep. This has opened up the opportunity for me to block and learn every position on the track. I love being versatile and feeling confident in any part of the lineup.
What is your signature move?
I don’t really have a signature move but I can jump an apex like a champ and am damn fast at getting up when I fall.
How would you describe your derby playing style?
Big hits have not ever really been my style due to my size, but I can positionally crush a soul or two. I am wily and quick so I keep them guessing!
Please share your best derby moment (or moments).
My best derby moments have been when my travel team has attended tournaments, and even if it did not result in a win, we knew we played well and stepped off the track feeling bonded and good about our performance. My proudest moments have been coaching our junior team, the Cinder Kittens, the past two years at The Big O tournament in Eugene, Oregon.
What are some of your greatest roller derby accomplishments on the track?
I am honored to say that I was voted Most Improved in 2007, Best Jammer in 2008, 2009, and 2010, and in 2013 I was voted Most Dedicated for my league. In 2012, I was thrilled when I made the Oregon MVP All Star roster, and in 2013 the Oregon MVP All Star reserves.
Off the track?
My greatest accomplishment off the track would have to be raising my two sons – Kellen, now 25, and Cameron, now 22 – as a single mother from the time they were 5 and 2 years old. Those 20 years made me the strong woman that I am today, and gave me two amazing young men on my team for life.
What do your sons think about their mom playing roller derby?
My sons, Kellen and Cameron, have always been very supportive of my playing a full contact sport. They have never once told me, even after I broke my leg in 2010, that it was too dangerous or that I should not play at my age. I have heard them bragging to their friends about my skating and showing off the awards I have acquired. Their friends think it’s pretty cool too and always ask how to get their girlfriends involved.
You have been included on Oregon’s MVP All Star team for two years in a row. Congratulations! What advice do you have for skaters who would like to achieve similar successes in roller derby?
I truly believe that if you work hard at something you love, it will produce a positive outcome and you will reap the rewards. My advice is to never give up on something you want, and if it doesn’t happen right away, keep your eye on the goal. I am a true believer that if you want to excel at this sport, you need to cross train and think like a true athlete, and you will become just that.
Who are your derby heroes?
My derby heroes are the junior skaters, the future of our sport! They are so amazing and I can only imagine the level of skill and talent when they reach adult league status. I also have a lot of respect for skaters who are my age or older, 50-plus. I want to be just like them when I grow up. I absolutely love Pat Riot Bergeron of the Rage City Rollergirls for her amazing attitude and junior involvement, and her encouragement and support of other skaters. I hope to be able to skate with her again this summer when I go back to Alaska.
What is your day job, and how, if at all, has it contributed to your experience of roller derby?
I have my own pet care business, called Raemi’s Pet Care Service in Bend, Oregon. To date, I care for dogs, cats, bunnies, turtles, birds, lizards, chinchillas, ferrets, horses, and cows. I absolutely love my job. I find that it contributes to my cross training as I walk up to ten miles a day doing dog walks, and it helps to keep me in shape for my sport. I also am fortunate in that I can easily work around my derby schedule, which is ideal since I don’t like it when works gets in the way of my fun!
How has your involvement in roller derby affected the way you live the rest of your life?
My involvement in roller derby – and my desire to play derby as long as I physically can – has made me much more aware of my health as I get older. Since joining, I am in the best shape of my life and it has changed my lifestyle to be more active and health conscious.
How do you find a balance between your derby life and your “real” life?
It is easy for me to balance between my derby life and my real life because I have a job that, most days, adapts to my skating schedule. This makes it possible for me to make a living and still do what I love for a hobby. I have met so many wonderful people, and have formed some lifelong special friendships that make my real life and derby life rich!
You are a leader for your league both on and off the track. What wisdom would you share with other skaters who are interested in taking on leadership roles and being role models within roller derby?
Every league requires leaders in the many different areas necessary to keep a league running smoothly. There are many behind the scenes opportunities, and you could be the perfect person for the job! Get involved and you will learn more and have a greater respect for what you are a part of!
When your league is facing challenging times, how do you maintain your positive approach and passion for your league and for roller derby?
When a league goes through challenges, it is important that everyone in leadership stays positive and encourage their league to work through the issues at hand together. It takes everyone giving input, many hours and ideas to overcome obstacles. There will always be bumps in the road, but for me personally the desire to coach and skate is what keeps me looking forward.
Do you have any upcoming bouts that you’re really excited for and why?
We have one more travel bout in June and our home team championships in July. We usually are done with our home season but had a venue hang up, so I am excited that it’s back on the calendar! Any opportunity to play the derbs gets me excited! This bout will start our summer break so it’s always good for everyone to have a quick break and come back refreshed!
What advice do you have for girls who want to join roller derby?
My advice to girls who want to join derby is to check out your local league, go to a game, see what it is all about, and ask questions! This will give you a clearer picture of what roller derby is TODAY, rather than getting opinions from people who remember roller derby back in the day or just a few years ago. The sport is constantly evolving and you really have to see for yourself to understand!
Do you have a special message to your fans?
I want to say a big thank you because DERBY FANS make the rollerskates go round and round!
Is there anyone that you’d like to thank?
I want to thank my league, Lava City Roller Dolls and our juniors, the Lava City Cinder Kittens, our awesome referees and NSOs, the coaches and captains, photographers, sponsors, and fans. A special shout out to Michelle “Goodin Plenty” Goodin (my retired derby wife turned BMX dynamo), and my current derby wife and team mate Juice Nuke’em for making my life rich with laughter and true friendship.
Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.