August Rollergirls of the Month
Nikki Slix: Where are you originally from?
Jigglewatts: Memphis, TN
Hippy-Ki-Yay: I was born in the house that my parents built out in the sticks in Arkansas, and have lived in 5 other states since then.
ns: How did you first get involved in roller derby?
Jigglewatts: When I moved to Nashville and knew no one I found a meetup group for Rec League online and decided to try it out. There was a group of girls already training to join NRG, and even though I was entirely new to skating and had never been to a bout I decided to train for the next skills test.
Hippy-Ki-Yay: It was totally random. I was hired to produce a short film for Nathan Fisher shortly after moving to Nashville. As I got to know him, I learned that he was also known as Dr. Gonzo, NRG's original announcer. He told me tales of Hildabeast and Lady Fury, and I just had to check it out. I went to my first bout on May 1st 2010, and joined a week later.
ns: What is your pre-derby sports/skating background?
Jigglewatts: Growing up I was particularly bad at sports. I played one season of intramural softball in college. When I joined NRG, I was just getting to the point of running a 5k for the first time.
Hippy-Ki-Yay: I started gymnastics when I was 5 or 6 and continued on and off until I was 18. I also started skating at 5 or 6 and spent pretty much every weekend at our local skating rink.
ns: How did you pick your derby name?
Jigglewatts: My boyfriend and I were brainstorming one night while watching Back to the Future. He threw "Jigglewatts" into the mix and it got such positive reviews I decided to keep it.
Hippy-Ki-Yay: It's funny because now I come up with awesome derby names all the time. Evil and I are constantly joking about changing our names. But when you're new, it's nearly impossible! I asked all my friends for ideas, and finally settled on Hippy Longstalking. After a few months I just wasn't feeling it, so I started asking for new ideas. I wanted to keep Hippy because it is sort of an homage to my parents and my upbringing, but I thought it would be cool to have something film-related too. A filmmaker pal of mine came up with Hippy-Ki-Yay, based on one of the most famous movie quotes of all time.
ns: What’s the hardest part of being a rollergirl?
Jigglewatts: The hardest part of being a Rollergirl is realizing that you can't do everything. It's been particularly difficult for me to balance my job and roller derby, and it breaks my heart to be unable to do some things with the league because my real life interferes.
Hippy-Ki-Yay: Remembering why you do this, and keeping it in mind during the tough times. We aren't required to be there. Nobody is paying us, we aren't under contract. Sometimes I feel beat up, dejected, disappointed, tired, or burnt out. Sometimes I struggle to get through practice and keep looking at the clock. Those are the times that I remind myself that it's my choice to be there. I'm choosing to put myself through this, so there must be a very good reason. Trying to get back in touch with that reason is what keeps me going after four seasons.
ns: How has your involvement in roller derby affected the way you live the rest of your life?
Jigglewatts: It has made everything so much more manageable. I am a stronger person because of derby. No matter what happens in my life or how out of my control everything else might feel, there is a place I can go and feel strong, focused, and part of a team.
Hippy-Ki-Yay: Because I've moved around so much throughout my entire adult life, I've never really been part of a community. That is the single most impactful part of derby for me. I have expectations of the community, and they have expectations of me. I'm a part of something bigger than myself, and I always have to take into account how my choices will affect my participation in the community.
ns: How do you find a balance between your derby life and your “real” life?
Jigglewatts: I decide never to sleep.
Hippy-Ki-Yay: If at all possible, derby comes first. I will do anything I can to make other areas of my life fit around derby. It doesn't always work out, but I've never had to miss a bout because of real life stuff.
ns: Do you have a pre-bout ritual?
Jigglewatts: I have goals that I put on my mirror a couple of days before the bout. I try to focus on those goals and drown out everything else before the bout starts.
Hippy-Ki-Yay: I eat like it's my job! Ha ha. But seriously, I am extra conscious about how I fuel my body the day before and the day of bouts. It is even more difficult and important during multi-bout weekends and tournaments. Non-stop eating! I also listen to the Arctic Monkeys while I'm getting ready. And somehow I have managed to sit in the exact same seat in the locker room for every bout I've skated in, right next to Stella Live. That has admittedly become part of my routine as well.
ns: What things do you do outside of practice to stay healthy?
Jigglewatts: I lift twice a week and do yoga.
Hippy-Ki-Yay: I'm pretty obsessed with food. Putting good clean unprocessed food into your body goes a long way toward keeping you mentally and physically prepared not just for derby but for life in general. I also garden a lot and I participate in the off skates workouts prescribed by our trainers.
ns: What advice do you have for girls who want to join roller derby?
Jigglewatts: Join and do the work. The only difference between being a Rollergirl and not being a Rollergirl is hard work.
Hippy-Ki-Yay: It will never be easy. As long as you accept that now, you'll be all right. Yes, you'll become a better skater, have successes on the track, develop a thicker skin, and figure out how to handle the tough times. But it will always be hard. If you think "If I can just survive fresh meat I'll be ok" or "Once I make the charter it'll be great", you will be disappointed. The grass is NOT greener on the other side. Each phase of your derby journey has physical, mental, and emotional challenges that will take you right to your breaking point. But each phase also has rewards that will make you utterly forget that you almost broke (or did break) the week before.