PLAYER PROFILE: DAWN CHERRY

Name and number
My name is Dawn Cherry and my number is 1313.
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Photo courtesy of her jerk friend who dug through FB to find this delightful gem.

Does your name an/or number have a meaning?
Seven years ago when I started playing derby, there were a lot more costumes. The name Dawn Cherry came from the idea that it would be super fun to wear loud prints and channel my namesake’s personality on the track.
13 was also always my lucky number but was taken by someone else in my league so I went with 1313 which was my address when I moved back to Ottawa.
Who do you play for?
I’m captain of the Dolly Rogers and a member of the Beauty School Dropouts. I also coach Ottawa’s men’s team the Slaughter Squad.
Position
Blocker, blocker and blocker.  Sometimes I also block.
What I’m known for
No matter how I start, I generally end up skating backwards and bracing.
I can keep a level head, trash talk and shenanigans don’t get to me, which helps in my role as captain. I like to make my teammates laugh and occasionally instigate roller dance offs.  I may or may not use my authority as a coach to do this in practice.
Also I own the roller skate shop in Ottawa, so maybe I’m known for that too.
Why did you join roller derby?
Comically, I was looking for a sport that was less dangerous than softball, after a few too many balls to the face. I liked the idea of the showmanship and the ability to do a sport that was outside the box.  The fact that everyone was starting from scratch also helped ease my ego.
Why do I keep playing? 
Why I joined and why I stay have very different reasons. I started because of the novelty. I stay because this sport reminds me every day of how strong and smart I am and how much I truly didn’t get this before derby.
Don’t get me wrong, I grew up in a very supportive environment where I was told I could do or be anything that I wanted. But being ladylike, delicate, and accommodating were rewarded behaviours. Derby has taught me that competition, strength, and perseverance are not in conflict with what I value; they are equally important, display a different type of beauty and make me a hell of a lot more well-rounded. I’m proud that the people I surround myself with in this sport make me a better person, a better athlete, and a stronger leader.
Favourite moments
  • Any time we’ve been underestimated for our size, which is like…always.
  • Road trips with the dolly rogers, especially our trip to snake island.
  • The first time Slaughter Squad members started calling me “Coach.”
Final thoughts
Obviously I think that roller derby is pretty great. I left a comfortable job in high tech to pursue a career built around the sport and I haven’t looked back. So, either I’m crazy or there’s something pretty awesome in it.
To see Dawn in action, minus the loud prints and strange ties…she’ll be hitting the track on May 28, 2016. Click here for more information!
If you want to see Dawn Cherry in suspenders again, donate to the Dolly Rogers GoFundMe campaign. Please add a comment to your donation to the effect of “DAWN IN SUSPENDERS!” and we’ll make it happen, take pictures, and post them for your enjoyment.

PLAYER PROFILE: EDMONTON

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Photo courtesy of JAMMER LINE

Name and Number:

Hello! My name is Edmonton (or Ed, if you’re in a hurry) and my number is 780.

Does your name and/or number have a meaning?

When I transferred to CCDD from an Edmonton roller derby league, I was lucky enough to have my lovely teammates name me. They are obviously very creative.

I did get to choose my number, though. 780 is the area code for Edmonton. I am also very creative.

Who do you play for?

I play for the Dolly Rogers and am Assistant Captain of the Bacon Pirates.

Position:

Blocker and Pivot. I will jam if I must.

What I’m known for:

Being backwards on the track.

My eternal love of Kevin Bacon.

Why did you join roller derby?

I’d been involved in competitive sports when I was younger, but had taken time off during my undergrad. When I began to look for something to fill the large, sports-shaped hole in my life, I decided I wanted to play a team sport and definitely wanted the option to play competitively. I saw Whip It and thought that roller derby looked awesome (spoiler: it is), and joined a Fresh Meat program. 

Why keep playing?

Derby is the most complex sport I have ever played. Blockers play offense and defense at the same time, jamming is completely different than blocking, and strategies change on the fly. There are so many things happening on the track simultaneously that it takes an immense amount of concentration, and you have to be completely in the moment to do well. Derby is not only physically tough, but also mentally tough, and that’s what makes it so rewarding.

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Photo courtesy of BookTheBooth.ca

Favourite Moments:

– Winning the Fresh and the Furious tournament in my first season, in a super-close, come-from-behind victory.

– Winning our second House League Championship last year, in a super-close, come-from-behind victory.

– Playing with the Dolly Rogers against the Vixens this year, which showcased how far we have developed as players and as a team.

Final Thoughts?

If you are considering getting involved with derby, DO IT! Come watch a game, join Fresh Meat, talk to one of the players. Nobody grew up playing derby, so not knowing the rules of the sport or how to skate is completely normal. CCDD has become my extended family, and I am always so grateful that I took the plunge and decided to get involved.

Catch Edmonton in action Saturday, May 28, 2016!

If you can’t catch her in action but want to help her and her team achieve their goals of playing tough teams and representing roller derby in Canada, visit the Dolly Rogers’ GoFundMe page and help make their dreams a reality.

PLAYER PROFILE: DREAD KNOXX

My derby name is Dread Knoxx and I’m number #66. I play with CCDD’s Dolly Rogers and also with their Dollinquents.
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Photo courtesy of Joe Mac Photography

I started playing derby after watching an outdoor practice of what I thought were crazy and courageous women on quad skates doing pylon obstacles and contact hitting drills in the summer of 2009.
Fast forward: Fresh Meat session, a steep learning curve and I was on quads! Over the years, injuries and life’s ‘other’ priorities sometimes took precedence, but here I am.
I love this sport because you are challenged both physically and mentally every time you step out on the track. They say with age comes wisdom but there’s  a lot to be said for watching your athleticism grow with age. The strength of growing as a player within a team is awesome!
My favorite personal moments are when, in the fast pace of a game, I have seconds of total clarity. As a blocker, it happens when we totally shut down a jukey jammer. As a jammer, it happens when I come around to the pack with strength and calm.
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Photo courtesy of Joe Mac Photography

I play because I can!  If you are testing the derby waters do it!  Come see a game, volunteer at a derby event, talk to a derby player, sign up for a Fresh Meat session.
~Just do something!

PLAYER PROFILE: CHANEY

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PLAYER PROFILE: CHANEY

Name and number: CHANEY—aka Slam—1093

Position: BLOCKER

Does your derby number mean anything? 10-93 is an emergency ten-code in many jurisdictions in Canada for a road block. I endeavor to always be that road block.

Likes: True Crime. Pickles. Cooking. Avacados.

Dislikes: Liars. Cauliflower. Carbonated alcohol. Massages.

Why did you join roller derby? I joined roller derby in 2011. Blam, my sister (in-law, if I must be factual) began her recruitment campaign. She insisted for over a year that I was missing this something in my life, that roller derby was amazing and that I “was made for roller derby.” I came to her home bout. I sat in suicide seating. I watched. I liked what I saw. I liked contact. I liked strategy. I just liked. I knew it was for me.

Slam blam

How do you train? I focus on complementary muscles and strength building. I also have spent considerable time over the last year focusing on mental-health training and stress release. I play from a stress place at times so I just work on better ways of executing the various demands. I have also been playing a lot with my COG (center of gravity) on the track and its effectiveness as it relates to my blocking.

Favourite derby moment: When I personally experience (or see someone else) achieve a personal milestone like 30/5 or taking down someone of a threat. This is also why I’m not a good NSO. I can’t not cheer for people.  Also, when I first hit the track in my skates. Every time.

When I’m not playing derby: I spend as much time as possible with my beautiful husband and son.

Pre-game ritual: I take my skates apart and clean them. Every time. I also polish my skates. It feels hardcore. I like to think other people look at skates all the time like I do – and they think I’m a rookie. Then they learn.

What about gear: I love my matte black S1 helmet. I’m particular about my K2 wrist guards and my discontinued, hard-as-hell to find motel knee pads. I wear Triple Eight elbow pads and always the cheese-grater mouth guard.  

Is there anything unusual about your gameplay: I find I watch people’s skates all the time. How the two lines form, how a jammer starts at the whistle…it is actually fascinating and quite predictive. We are where we are rooted from.

Is there anything you want [non-derby] people need to know about derby: Please don’t ask me to explain the rules any more. It is just SO much easier if you come and watch. You will understand. You will appreciate. You will be in awe. And I can just go about my way…being derby. 

PLAYER PROFILE: TANK

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Tank is a tremendous asset as a player and as a league member. A fierce competitor and a “roll” model athlete, Tank makes people want to be better. To support Tank’s journey as a Dolly Roger, please visit the Dolly Rogers’ gofundme page or keep an eye on the team’s schedule this season. Coming out to games is the best support we could ask for!

Name and number: Tank, 7

Why: During fresh meat and my first few Dolly Roger’s practices I wore this

ridiculous Boeri ski helmet from the 80s. Whips and Chaynes said I looked like Tank

Girl and it stuck. I loved the idea of being given a name rather than choosing one.

Likes: hummus, proving that size doesn’t matter, post game beer, anything agility

Dislikes: going slow, Chinese food

Why did you join roller derby: I grew up playing competitive soccer and hockey

from an early age and was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship to boarding

school in Connecticut to finish high school and play sports. I really knew little else

but team life, camaraderie, training, and hard work until I said goodbye to team

sports after a year of lacrosse in college. Ten years and many miles travelled later, I

found myself back in Ottawa itching to be part of a team again and wanting a new

challenge. My wife encouraged me to give it a try and I can still remember grinning

like crazy at that Open House four years ago when I was skating around. I had found

just what I was looking for. It felt amazingly familiar yet new and exciting and

everyone was ridiculously welcoming.

How do you train: I don’t love traditional gyms. I’m a huge fan of plyometrics, HIIT

(high intensity interval training), tabata, interval running and yoga. I train fast and

hard focusing on speed, agility, and bursts of power. Small but mighty!

tank

Why do you keep playing: I absolutely love team sports and the idea of different

people coming together to achieve a common goal. The camaraderie is great. This

sport allows me to embrace my competitiveness and also pushes me physically and

mentally to be the best athlete I can be. It’s inclusive and revolutionary and amazing

to be a part of.

Favorite derby moment: Beating the Montreal Sexpos this season because it was

great to see our hard work as Dolly Rogers pay off, and playing in the Team Canada

tryout scrimmage because it was a great learning opportunity and I felt honoured to

be on the track with Canada’s finest.

When I’m not playing derby: I love my team and this game but think balance is

important for my mental game. When I’m not practicing, playing, coaching the

Bacon Pirates or training, I’m hiking in the woods with my wife and crazy boxer,

eating delicious food, spending time with my nieces, planning my next adventure,

and studying/training to become a firefighter.

Pre-game ritual: I like to sleep in a bit and then go on a nice long walk with my dog

and wife. It gets my legs going and clears my mind. I do some yoga and stretching

and take my time packing my gear bag (I have to have the right socks). I drink coffee,

lots of water, and usually eat a sandwich. I can get worked up quickly so I try to stay

calm and mellow at the rink. And I always put my jersey on at the last second – game

time!

What about gear: I’ve gone through a number of different skates. I have small feet

and tiny ankles and found it hard to find the perfect boot that wasn’t a hockey skate.

I skate on Antiks right now and I like them, but am still looking for that perfect boot.

I use Prodesigned kneepads,a Bauer hockey helmet, and the rest is Atom gear. As

Dawn Cherry knows, I’m still looking for the tiniest slimmest kneepad!

How has derby affected the way you live your life: At 31 I didn’t think I would be in

better shape than my 19 year old self. This game makes me want to be healthier and

stronger. I’m also learning how to curb my performance anger, something I never

addressed as a younger athlete, so I can be the best teammate I can be.

 

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Player Profile: Buffy Slay’her

Derby Name: Buffy Slay’her

Number: 97

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 Is there any significance in your name?

I have been a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager. As I grew up watching the episodes and reading the books and comics, I saw so much of myself in all of the characters. When I found out that I got to pick my own alter-ego for derby, it was a no brainer to pay tribute to my favourite slayer. Also, I’ve been told that I’m kind of buff.

Which teams do you play for?

I am the captain of my house league team, the Bacon Pirates, and co-captain of CCDD’s WFTDA charter team, the Dolly Rogers.

Do you have any favourite positions?

When I first started playing derby, I jammed and blocked equally because I wanted to learn EVERYTHING! However, my skillset was really geared toward blocking so I’ve spent the last two seasons refining those skills. Now, I love playing as pivot because I can be a powerful blocking machine and still occasionally put those jamming skills to good use.

When did you start playing?

It sounds cliché but my interest in derby started in 2010 after I watched Whip It. I saw that movie and wondered “is this a real thing?” After a lot of Google-ing I found out that (yes!) it was a real thing and (awesome!) that it was happening here in Ottawa. It took me almost two years to actually get out to watch a bout, but when I finally did I instantly knew that I needed this sport in my life.

Why?

I had always played team sports (soccer, rowing, field hockey, and rugby) but when I saw my first derby bout, I had shifted to rock climbing/bouldering and had been competing in that for several years. Participating in a mostly solo sport, I was really missing that feeling of being part of a team. When I watched that first bout, not only was I blown away by the athleticism of roller derby, but I was completely drawn in by the comradery that I saw.

Were you scared?

Incredibly! At age 27 I was anxious that I was too old to start playing such a demanding sport, especially one that I had never played and barely understood. Also, I hadn’t skated since I was a kid! But as soon as I put on my skates for the first time, all of that anxiety went away. For me, it was love at first practice.

Do you have a favourite personal moment?

I try to stay humble, but anytime that I’ve been recognized for an outstanding performance by being awarded game MVP or team MVP has felt really special. If I had to narrow it down though, I’d say it’s a two-parter: the Dolly Rogers winning their first WFTDA sanctioned game this past February and me being named MVP blocker for that game.

Finally, what keeps you playing derby?

I may have always been active, but roller derby has made me an athlete. I’m entering my fourth season and already I’ve seen gameplay change and evolve so much. My teammates and I constantly have to challenge ourselves at practice and in our training in order to meet the growing level of competition. It is an incredibly addictive challenge!

Come see BUFFY in action this Sunday: https://www.facebook.com/events/983000341777212/

You can help the Dolly Rogers pursue their goals of shattering the Canadian roller derby scene by making a donation here: https://www.gofundme.com/dollyrogers. Buffy thanks you big time.

Player Profile: Van Melising

My derby name is Van Melising and my number, 28, comes from my love of hockey and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Growing up, Tie Domi was always my favourite player. I admired the way he would stand up to anyone, regardless of their size, and that he was never the best player, but had a lot of hustle and heart.  I therefore wear Tie Domi’s number 28.

I am currently playing for the Beauty School Dropouts, Dollinquents, and the Dolly Rogers. I am in my second year of derby and completed my Fresh Meat course in December, 2014. I decided to join derby after feeling like my usual sports weren’t providing me with enough of a challenge. When I joined, I had actually never seen a derby game, but thought I had a general idea of what it was all about.  I was wrong. I remember putting the quad skates on for the first time and thinking, “With my hockey background this should be easy.” I spent longer on my butt those first few Fresh Meat classes than my feet.  All the coaches were really encouraging though, and eventually I caught on.

This leads into why I love the sport. Even though derby is a competitive sport, all the coaches and players, regardless of team, respect each other. There is not the cattiness that occurs in other sports and everyone is very encouraging. I also love the challenge of derby. There are so many new things I learn each and every practice.

My favourite derby moment happened during practice, when everything just clicked for me. I had spent many scrimmages seemingly turning in circles and not understanding what was going on. Then one practice, while scrimmaging, I all of a sudden knew what I was doing. My teammates had assured me that one day it was going to click for me and I would understand the game, but until this point I was skeptical. It was a great feeling!

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(Photo credit: Joe Mac)

Player Profile: Labrosse

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What can one say about Labrosse? Nothing. She says it all herself in her video bio.
When not playing roller derby or the ukulele, you can find Labrosse in the all-family musical rap quartet, Draincoatz.
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Player Profile: Lady Mayhem

My derby name is Lady Mayhem, or to my children Mommy Mayhem, and my husband helped me pick out my derby number, which is 53 (since I’m a super tall 5’3). I am currently sitting track-side with my foot elevated while I recover from an ankle injury..but soon will be back playing for the Beauty School Dropouts, Dollinquents and training with the Dolly Rogers.

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After having my two kids I needed an outlet-something that let me exercise, meet people and get out a bit. A friend mentioned she was going to see a game so I tagged along and FELL in love…it was love at first site… I kept saying, “Yep, I need to do this.” I may have messaged my husband 15 or so times with things like, ‘must do this’ and ‘found out you start with a fresh meat training course’ and ‘one just started..Damnit… But wait maybe I can join late.’ I completed fresh meat and found that my skating background with ringette helped a bit and I slowly got the hang of derby.

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I love this sport because…it’s awesome! So much to learn…so much to try…so much personal growth space…and that moment when you have something click and/or work out better than you ever pictured…it’s just amazing!

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I am entering my third season of derby but I still don’t have a favourite personal moment. I had some fun jamming for my previous home team and some good times on the road with my old travel team. I made a switch to CCDD this year and have been blown away with the coaching help I’ve received. I am super bummed to not be skating at the moment, as I am missing valuable learning opportunities. In summary…I play because‎…it’s awesome!

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Player Profile: 100% Alhurta BEEF

Please state your name and number, for the record.
My derby name and number: Alhurta Beef 100

And where were you every Thursday and Saturday for the past YEARS?
Practising and playing with the Dolly Rogers.

And why exactly were you doing that?
I started playing when I first moved to Ottawa. I was looking for people to connect with, I went to a derby game and realized I found my people. I joined fresh meet the next week.

And why do you keep playing?
Because… It’s the fucking BOOMB! I can be me, it’s so inclusive and people are encouraged to be unique, weird whatever they want to be. I also like being a part of the evolution of a relatively new sport.

What’s is your favourite personal moment?
Getting MVP Jammer in Moncton.

Why roller derby?
It challenges me in every way and now I have this awesome new family and obsession.

Alhurta Beef is DA BOMB. She plays competitive and house league derby, eats great big salads, and is responsible for the increased population of muscle roller sticks and balls that have become somewhat commonplace at practices, scrimmages, and games. 

GO BEEF!

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