Long-Time Skater, First-Time Bouter
I was recently approached by the head of the Outfit blog to interview a skater new to the Shade Brigade about her experience bouting with a new team. Initially my mind went straight to scanning the skaters new to the Outfit this season, trying to pick one that had been bumped up these past few months. But then it hit me; I didn't necessarily need a brand new skater. New to the Shade and new to the Outfit were two different things entirely. That being said, I had the honor of interviewing skater Ante Madder on her Shade bouting experience. Ante Madder is an incredibly talented, strong skater who has been on the Outfit for years, but because of job and family obligations was never capable of making eligibility for bouts. Until this season, that is.
Personally I've come to know Ante Madder much better this season than last and I couldn't be more ecstatic about that fact. Not only is she a fabulous skater and edition to the Outfit bout rosters, but she's also an incredibly kind, level-headed person. I love skating with her and you all deserve to know a bit more about her. What was your first reaction to being rostered for a Shade Brigade bout?
I was terrified when I read my name. Terrified and relieved. Then I vacillated—worried one moment and kind of “damn right!” the next. I was relieved because I had become used to not being able to make eligibility so when I did, I was afraid I wouldn’t be rostered.
How did you prepare mentally and physically during the weeks leading up to the bout?
I held my breath the entire time and was a holy terror to everyone around me, though I never spoke of it. Honestly, I ran a 5k and bumped up a bit on my strength training, and I tried very hard to fight the feeling of stage fright. I also re-read all the rules and strategies and after practice wrote notes about everything I wanted to work on and basically how the practice had gone. I’m still doing that.
Were the long-time Shade-y ladies supportive?
Everyone was amazingly supportive and positive, and everyone made me feel so welcomed. I had been around for so long and had never been able to make myself eligible that I thought it might be weird.
What were some memorable moments from the bout for you?
Honestly, I was so nervous that it’s a bit of a blur. I remember the first time being knocked on my butt at the whistle. That woke me up. And I remember--after two times getting a penalty for cutting after being knocked inside--the third time being knocked out my body finally remembered the “fall if your knocked out on the inside line” advice that Tommy gave me. And thinking “Hey! I did it!!” I also remember how great it felt getting through the pack.
What were some difficulties you had playing with the Shade Brigade? How did you overcome them?
My only difficulties are with my own abilities. I love learning from and playing with the ladies on Shade and with the entire Outfit league. And I am still working on overcoming my difficulties. How? I just keep trying. And when I am not at practice, I try to think of what it is that is making something difficult and work on only that. Whether it’s strengthening and stretching so that I can maybe some day master a really great hip check or imagining myself leaning into a hit and successfully defending against it.
What do you want to work on for the next Shade Brigade bout?
Everything. Not overthinking or letting myself get discouraged.
Getting low. I mean really low. Like Graves and Bunny and Sneer low. Yeah.
Improving my pack and opposing jammer awareness.
And finally, building my stamina and speed and my ability to adjust my speed and direction quickly.
How did playing for the Shade Brigade differ from the Shakedown or practice in general?
I never played with Shake, but compared with practice playing in a bout differed because of a palpable focus that was deliciously exciting.
What was the most exciting part of playing for the Shade Brigade?
This may sound silly, but having fought shyness all my life, the simple fact of being a part was really quite wonderful.
If you could perfect one derby strategy for the next bout, what would it be?
As a jammer, I would like to master taking advantage of the various kinds of screening. As a blocker, I would really like to master all aspects of bridging.