March Rollergirls of the Month
Enpsychopedia: Where are you originally from?
Stella Live: Nashville, TN baby!
Nikki Slixx: Kansas City, KS
ep: How did you first get involved in roller derby?
Stella: When I first started dating my now-husband, he frequently EMT'd the bouts. On one of our first dates he brought me to a game (Nashville vs. Ohio I think) and I was pretty instantly hooked. I went to the very next 101!
Nikki: I went to a bout during the 2013 season and fell in love. I didn't think I would ever be able to play on the team, but wanted to get involved in Rec League. It wasn't long before I got derby-fever and was itching for actual bout experience. I joined the team in April 2014 and am coming up on 1 year with the league!
ep: What is your pre-derby sports/skating background?
Stella: At the time that I was first introduced to roller derby, I was super into Crossfit and was competing in Crossfit competitions. Before that I have a long history of competitive cheerleading and gymnastics.
Nikki: I have absolutely no skating background, other than goofing off at the rink every once in a while. I grew up playing all sorts of sports - basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball, and dance (yes it's a sport).
ep: How did you pick your derby name?
Stella: When I first started derby, I was finishing up my undergraduate degree in philosophy and so I took the name Arithrottle. I thought it was clever but got sick of explaining it to other people. Shortly after I changed my name to Stella Live and I've loved it ever since. To be honest, I just liked the name Stella and my brother came up with Stella Live so I went with it.
Nikki: Oh jeez. I agonized over this decision for about 4 months. I had a long running list of names but none of them felt quite right. In the end I decided to keep my first name (Nikki) but make it cooler with the "Slix" since Nikki Sixx is infinitely cooler than me.
ep: What’s the hardest part of being a rollergirl?
Stella: Balance. (both on skates and in my life) It's so tempting to spend 100% of my free time at practice, working out, watching footage, and just thinking about roller derby. However, I do have a "real" job that I want to keep so I've had to learn to switch off my derby brain at times to get other things done.
Nikki: I think at first it's time management and balancing practice with "real" life. Four practices a week is a lot to handle when you first join the team. But after a while you get used to the flow and figure out how to make it manageable.
ep: How has your involvement in roller derby affected the way you live the rest of your life?
Stella: Because of the big time commitment that Roller derby requires, I've really learned to balance my time and energy. I've also learned when it's okay (and sometimes necessary) to just rest.
Nikki: I think it has made me markedly more annoying to my non-derby friends because derby is all I want to talk about (as if I wasn't annoying enough already). Other than that it has changed the way I think about fitness and health. I was never one to exercise regularly before derby because I found it unbearably boring. But now I get to throw skates on my feet and roll around while exercising, and my gym time is much improved because I'm working out to meet a goal - to become a derby beast!
ep: How do you find a balance between your derby life and your “real” life?
Nikki: Sometimes it's tough. I have a husband (who thankfully is very supportive of my derby life), 4 furry children, non-derby friends, a busy work schedule, and my all-important "me time" to work into my week around derby practices. It took a while to work out the kinks but I've reached a place where I am able to sift out my priorities and maintain my sanity. Some weeks are work heavy, some weeks are derby heavy, and some weeks I just feel tired and take a few days to rest. Realizing that I can't do everything all the time has been a very healthy transition for me!
ep: Do you have a pre-bout ritual?
Stella: I do a really long yoga stretch the night before every game. It gets my body nice and loosened up. I also use the night before a game as an excuse to "carb load" so my husband makes me one of my favorite pasta dishes that I ask for ALL the time. On the day of a game, I keep it simple. Drink lots of water and eat well and do my best to keep my mind focused on the game.
Nikki: I try to eat well and drink lots of water the day before the bout, plus get a solid night's sleep. On bout day I try to stay focused on the upcoming game and get my mind in the right place. I get pretty serious game-day jitters so I've realized it's also important for me to just goof off with my derby buddies a bit too.
ep: What things do you do outside of practice to stay healthy?
Stella: For about the past month, I've been following a strict kettlebell workout routine created for me by Electra Cal. I've really grown to like kettlebell and I feel like it gives me so much extra strength on the track. I especially love that I can do the workouts at home and in the morning before I go to work so that I never have an excuse to miss a workout! I also focus on quite a bit of yoga and stretching.
Nikki: I follow our league weight-lifting program and hit the gym as much as possible. It's a personal goal of mine to get stronger through weight lifting, since it's a type of fitness I don't have much experience in. So far so good, but there's a long way to go!
ep: What advice do you have for girls who want to join roller derby?
Stella: Stick with it and don't compare yourself to other skaters. When I first started, I was the WORST in my 101 group. I was so slow and awkward on my skates and even failed the first skills test that I took. But, I stuck with it and worked really hard to eventually make the team and go on to skate with the charter. Roller derby is a ton of work but it's ALL worth it!
Nikki: Do it! I am a different person because of derby. I'm stronger, both physically and mentally. I now have 50+ new friends that I didn't have a year ago. I spend 4-8 hours per week on roller skates (come on, that's the best). I didn't think I was capable of playing for NRG when I first got started. I could barely stand on skates a little over a year ago! But if you put the skates on day after day and put the time in - You. Can. Do. It. Come skate with us!