Introducing Our New Skaters (Part 2)

Some of our new skaters at speed skate practice!

Some of our new skaters at speed skate practice!

Hurt Vonnecut #62

Why did you choose your derby name/any backstory to it?
Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors. My dad introduced me to his books when I was definitely too young to understand their subject matter, but he had a bunch of the OG published editions with sick cover art that had me really intrigued and excited to read them when I got older. I wanted my name to be a literary reference because I love lit and reading has always been my #1 escape from reality, but also wanted something related to my dad since I’ve always looked up to him as an athlete (and person). He was an insane boxer in his 20s and still motivates my athletic/competitive side big time. He’s also been super supportive of this entire endeavor, which I’m forever grateful for as I know a lot of parents probably freak out over their kids voluntarily getting knocked down on roller skates.

How did The Outfit enter your life?
I used to work with former Outfit skater Sneer and Loathing. I knew she was a bad ass the minute I walked in on my first day, and was further  proved right when she came in one day wearing the black and yellow satin Outfit jacket. I basically asked her how the hell I could get on that team because A. I needed that jacket and B. I’d wanted to do roller derby since I was in high school when I’d go to Windy City Rollers games at UIC Pavilion with my mouth hanging open the entire time, but was never brave enough until I met someone super sweet and supportive of my interest in it. So basically, she hooked me up with all the info I needed to get involved and I freakin’ did it! If you’re somehow reading this, thanks for being hella supportive and answering my zillion questions about roller derby, Rachel (Sneer)!!!

Why roller derby and why now?
I kinda mentioned this before, but I never had the confidence to actually Do The Damn Thing until now. 2018 was an extremely eye-opening and empowering year for me, and I finally felt capable and ready to challenge myself with something that both scared and excited me to no end. The timing that lined up with bootcamps couldn’t have been more perfect with my self doubt finally starting to melt away. (It’s still there, but less extreme, and roller derby is also helping with that). I also used to rollerblade a ton as a kid, and took ice skating lessons for way too long so kind of wanted to test my muscle memory to see if it would translate onto quad skates, and I think it did!

What has been the most exciting part of being on the league so far?
I just freakin’ love skating!! Knowing that I get to be on skates 2-3 times a week is kind of like a dream, and also learning sweet tricks like transitions (I know it’s not technically a trick but I feel like a boss when I nail one, especially when it’s paired with a classy and elegant turn-around toe stop.) I never, EVERRRRRR thought I’d be able to do anything else on skates besides skate forward, so it’s wild to see how much more I can do and have learned since boot camp only 4 months ago! Also holy moly you people are all wonderful. Absolutely would not have been able to get this far without the beautiful support and positivity from the people on this team, seriously.

What is the most frequent comment or question you've received from people in your life (or from strangers) when you tell them that you've started derby?
“But you’re so smaaaallllllllllll!” “Do you get to punch each other?” And my all-time favorite: “That’s the one where it’s sort of like boxing on roller blades right? And in a circle?”

Dolly Party On #925

Why did you choose your derby name/any backstory to it?
When I started skating I made a list of a few women who inspired me, and Dolly Parton was one of them. Party On made me think Wayne's world and I just thought it was a really fun name.

How did The Outfit enter your life?
A former team mate of mine joined The Outfit last season and I've looked up to her as a skater since I started derby. I was ready for a new challenge and decided to join.

Why roller derby and why now?
I've been playing derby since November of 2016, just for another team in the area. I've wanted to play since I was in middle school and now as an adult it's awesome how much derby has impacted my life and made it so much better.

What has been the most exciting part of being on the league so far?
Trying out for T25 and making it onto Shade Brigade.

What is the most frequent comment or question you've received from people in your life (or from strangers) when you tell them that you've started derby?
"You?! Really? Like with the punching and wrestling?!"
"Do you use blades? Or like roller skates?"
"Is there a ball? How do you score points?"


Crush Puppy #28

Why did you choose your derby name/any backstory to it?
I don't know why, but the first name that popped into my head was Hush Puppy. I have always been known for being rather quiet, and I have decided to start owning that. Still, Hush Puppy didn't have such a tough ring to it. I was discussing it with a friend when she immediately shouted CRUSH puppy. That was that!!

How did The Outfit enter your life?
When Hurt told me she was joining, I thought it was the coolest thing (shout out Hurt) and she convinced me that I could too!

Why roller derby and why now?
If not now, when?!!?

What has been the most exciting part of being on the league so far?
Seeing my own progress and the progress in my teammates.

What is the most frequent comment or question you've received from people in your life (or from strangers) when you tell them that you've started derby?
Do you wear elbow pads and stuff? Is there a ball?!?

Mad Eye Moodswings #19

Why did you choose your derby name/any backstory to it?
I’ve been obsessed with Harry Potter since I was a kid. I used to read the books with my mom.

How did The Outfit enter your life?
I’ve known about the Outfit for years. I’ve had friends who played on the team in the past. My old boss Erin Nelson was one of the OG skaters. She always tried convincing me to play derby, but I never thought of myself as an athlete or capable of doing something so difficult.

Why roller derby and why now?
I’ve been working hard on my personal growth over the past two years. I’ve been working out consistently, practicing self care in new ways and figuring out what I want in life. I love to challenge myself to try new (and hard) things. This sport makes me feel confident and strong as hell. Roller derby is filled with a bunch of confident and bad ass people. I’m surrounded by people who are working their asses off to do something that they love. This sport is challenging mentally and physically.

What has been the most exciting part of being on the league so far?
The most exciting part is seeing how much I’ve grown as a skater in the past few months. When I first started, I couldn’t stand on skates. Now, I’m scrim cleared and doing things that I never thought my body could do. I may be tiny, but I’m learning the strength of my body. It’s incredibly empowering.

What is the most frequent comment or question you've received from people in your life (or from strangers) when you tell them that you've started derby?
People are generally shocked that I’ve started roller derby because of my size. Most are concerned that I’m going to get hurt - which is definitely a possibility. The funniest comments are the ones that have no idea what roller derby is. I’ve had a few people ask how can you keep score if there’s no ball?! I’ve had other people say “oh that’s cool. I saw ‘Whip It’ once”.

Halestorm #913

Why did you choose your derby name/any backstory to it?
One of my friends one day started calling me Halestorm as a nickname since my real name is Haley. When starting derby it seemed like the perfect name.

How did The Outfit enter your life?
I was looking to try roller derby and I was looking up teams in Chicago and no one was holding tryouts so I subscribed to the mailing list for The Outfit and the Windy City Rollers and when I got an email from The Outfit about boot camp it was my opportunity.

Why roller derby and why now?
I spent most of my summers growing up roller blading around my neighborhood and I wanted to get back into a sport so I thought roller derby would be perfect.

What has been the most exciting part of being on the league so far?
The most exciting thing is the amount of support from everyone one on the team. It’s nice to have a group of people rooting for your success. Everyone is more focused on having fun and being safe rather than being the best which just makes for a very healthy environment.

What is the most frequent comment or question you've received from people in your life (or from strangers) when you tell them that you've started derby?
I have a lot of people that think we dance or that it’s like the 70s derby where they basically wrestle on the track. I also am asked how it is even played which is always super difficult to elevator speech explain.

Kharma #64

Why did you choose your derby name/any backstory to it?
It's my actual name. I could never think of anything else that would stick. Someone said "You already have a cool name, why not use it? " There's a small backstory to my number. 6/4 is my wedding anniversary and my husband is my biggest supporter and fan.

How did The Outfit enter your life?
I went to a few bouts with various teams in the area and I always thought Outfit bouts had a really cool vibe. I skated with a different team that folded recently and Outfit seemed like the best place to continue my derby journey. I heard great things about the family aspect and how everyone is valued and that attitude appealed to me.

Why roller derby and why now?
Because it's fun!

What has been the most exciting part of being on the league so far?
It's all exciting. It's hard to pick a single moment.

What is the most frequent comment or question you've received from people in your life (or from strangers) when you tell them that you've started derby?
"Are you still rollerblading?"


Zombilena The Creep Show #134

Why did you choose your derby name/any backstory to it?
Zombie + Helena = Zombilena. I chose 134 because it’s pretty much the best local that's ever existed.

How did The Outfit enter your life?
I would see them getting ready for practice every Wednesday when I’m at open skate. I tried out for them before a few years back and only lasted about three months because the timing wasn’t right, but now I’m back and ready to attack.

Why roller derby and why now?
I love watching roller derby, why not FINALLY be a part of it.

What has been the most exciting part of being on the league so far?
The strong support and the encouraging positive mindset in one another.

What is the most frequent comment or question you've received from people in your life (or from strangers) when you tell them that you've started derby?
You play roller derby? Badass!


Viola Venom #88

Why did you choose your derby name/any backstory to it?
I really really wanted to make a name based on my favorite plants or animals. I spent a long time trying to do something with "Violet" (one of my favorite flowers, and absolute favorite color) but wasn't satisfied. Then I thought for awhile about animals... I've always been fond of spiders and snakes because they both fascinate and scare me. I admire how so many of them can be so small, but still win a fight against way bigger opponents with one good bite. One day after mulling over all these things it FINALLY came to me... like I suddenly shouted it across my apartment to my partner..  "Viola Venom!! Like VIAL OF VENOM??!?" And he said "Oooooh. That's good." And it was official. I want to channel that small-but-fierce-so-don't-mess-with-me kind of energy into my skating.

How did The Outfit enter your life?
I saw the team skating in the Pride Parade back when I was in high school. I didn't even know derby was a real thing that people do until then! A few months later I found tickets to a bout and took my friend along. I decided that those skaters were everything I wanted to be when I grew up.

Why roller derby and why now?
I lived away from Chicago for a couple of years doin' the college.. and I got pretty lonely out there. When I moved back here last spring, my goal was to find some good friends, and do something that would help me feel more confident and strong. One fine day I randomly remembered that roller derby exists, Googled it up, found The Outfit, and discovered that they were hosting a derby training boot camp. I totally did not think I could possibly make the team, but at least attending the boot camp might help me toward that goal. I still can't believe I'm here now, and I'm so happy!

What has been the most exciting part of being on the league so far?
I love seeing all of us new skaters improving with every single practice! I still can't believe that I'm doing some of the things that I learned to do in the last couple months! And I never imagined that I could find such  a wonderful, big group of people that are sooo supportive of each other. Watching everyone grow together gives me all the warm fuzzies.

What is the most frequent comment or question you've received from people in your life (or from strangers) when you tell them that you've started derby?
"That must be a great way to get out some anger! *makes little punching gestures"

Me: "I mean it's not exactly like that but yea I guess?"