July Rollergirl of the Month
Enpsychopedia: Where are you originally from?
Beta Blocka: Boston, Mass
ep: How did you first get involved in roller derby?
Beta: About three years ago, one of my friends asked me to go watch a bout with her on one random Saturday night. I had heard of roller derby but I did not know anything about it and had never seen a bout. I watched my first bout and I was inspired by all these talented women and amazed at how well they could skate. I remember saying to my friend "I want to do that" and I'm pretty sure she laughed at me. The next day I did research online and found out about rec league. I was probably about to pee my pants but found myself at our current practice space that Tuesday night for rec league. The next day I owned my first pair of skates. My derby career slowly but surely flourished from there! I went to rec league most Tuesdays for almost two years when I finally made it through tryouts and made the team fall 2013!
ep: What is your pre-derby sports/skating background?
Beta: I have been involved with sports my whole life. I played soccer and field hockey growing up. I also ran cross country, winter/spring track in HS/college. I did not have much of a skating background before starting rec league. I used to inline skate here and there on paths and around the neighborhood growing up-but not very often. I basically learned how to skate during rec league.
ep: How did you pick your derby name?
Beta: When I had a list of 3 or 4 I asked for my teammates opinions on the message board which is how I got my final name. My derby name is Beta Blocka, and I thought Beta sounded like a cool nickname that everyone would call me. A beta blocker is actually a class of drugs called antihypertensives, which is a blood pressure medicine. I am a nurse and I give these types of meds out to my patients all the time. I thought Blocka was cool because it is a position in derby (although I am leaning more towards being a jammer now) I put the A at the end of Blocka instead of ER because I am from Boston area and have been told I have a pretty decent Boston accent at times. I thought Beta Blocka was a cool name and defined me in certain ways :)
ep: What’s the hardest part of being a rollergirl?
Beta: I would say the hardest part is keeping frustration to a minimum at the tougher practices. With roller derby- there is always something to work on and something you can improve- whether it be a skill, technique, etc. This part of derby always keeps me coming back for more. It’s easy for me to get frustrated with myself which results in sloppiness. I try to redirect my frustration and focus on how I am improving in other areas. It's important to stay positive, work on small goals, and practice hard! Derby is challenging and it's good to focus on the good things you are doing on the track!
ep: How has your involvement in roller derby affected the way you live the rest of your life?
Beta: Derby has definitely made me a stronger person all around! I don't think I have ever had as much muscle as I do now and my meal choices are a lot healthier! I am more aware of including the right amount of protein/carbs/veggies etc because I know it will affect how I play. I am also stronger because I have had my butt kicked at many practices and I still always come back for more, accepting all the challenges!
ep: How do you find a balance between your derby life and your “real” life?
Beta: Personally I have a hard time with this and it's still a work in progress for me. If I could clone myself I would be all set, haha! I do try to set aside a little free time at least 1-2 hours a day for "me" time whether it's going to gym, doing errands, cooking etc. It’s important to have a moment each day to unwind and relax. I think the key concepts to find balance is to be willing to sacrifice and to have good prioritization skills. Derby takes up a lot of my free (non-work) time, which I would not have any other way. You have to be able to differentiate between the things that are very important to you that you really need to miss a practice for or certain things that are not as high on your priority list- that you could reschedule around a non-derby time. This is still a work in progress for me but I find that understanding those concepts really helps! Balance has also been getting easier because the important people in my life that are outside of derby are really starting to understand my passion for this sport. I feel now they are also more understanding of my schedule and my need to sometimes plan around my derby life.
ep: Do you have a pre-bout ritual?
Beta: Nothing in particular yet but I know before every bout I have the best breakfast ever! I usually have boring old cereal/oatmeal during the week before work but bout day I need all the energy I can get so I always include eggs, toast, and maybe a power smoothie of some sort! (I love Smoothie King!)
ep: What things do you do outside of practice to stay healthy?
Beta: Outside of practice I include strength training 2-3 times a week. We have a strength training program I follow. Also the gym is actually a bonding time sometimes between me and my fiancé so usually once a week we have a "leg day" where we basically kill our legs with squats, lunges, box jumps. etc. Derby has also made me more aware of my diet- so I try to remember to include things of all food groups. I learned that calories are beneficial- so I always try to make sure I'm getting enough (of the right kind). I have always been a runner so I also enjoy a few miles here and there on non-practice days.
ep: What advice do you have for girls who want to join roller derby?
Beta: My advice is to start strength training now before you even try out. Get in that gym and get some dumbbells! It prevents a lot of injuries and it would be a bit easier if you have a solid base before starting. You will perform better altogether, especially building up your leg muscles. I also would recommend starting with rec league. It's a great way to learn basic skills and to get a solid foundation!