Friday, February 27, 2015

The Hit List: Skater Spotlight for 2/27/2015: Melvin Stankus #87

What is your derby name?
Melvin Stankus
by Juan Paden

What is the story behind your name?

My name originates from my cat. He got hit by a car and his time was cut short. He meant a lot to me.

What number do you wear?
My number is 7787 but recently changed it to just 87.

Why did you choose it?
I chose this number because it's my birth date. July 7 1987.

What is your role in the league?
I'm new to the league so my role in the league is a jammer for now.

What is your preferred position on the track?
I don't think that i have a preferred position on the track. I like to jam and block but feel comfortable doing both.

What’s your pre-derby athletic background?
Before derby i had a lot of athletic history. I started playing baseball when i was four then picked up bowling followed by football. After high school i played a little bit of baseball still then joined an adult softball league. I still continue to bowl though.

What would you say are your greatest strengths as a skater?
I'd have to say my greatest strengths as a skater are my ability to adapt quickly and my stamina. Ever since i was little i never got tired during games.

What is your proudest accomplishment in roller derby and why?
My proudest accomplishment so far would have to be when I got MVP against Mass. It was a very hard fought battle and I was shocked to have gotten MVP. It was also my first time receiving a MVP award as well.

Which one of your teammates do you look up to most, and why?
The person I look up to on my team would have to be Brandon Sherz. He's a great skater and challenges me to make myself want to be the best skater i can be.

What is your best memory of the 2014 MRDA season?
My best memory from the 2014 season was probably when laid The Rev from Montreal flat on is back. It felt awesome especially knowing he's on team Canada.

How did you get involved with roller derby?
I was first introduced to roller derby from a girl I used to date. Her sister and boyfriend played and always asked me to try it out. Eventually I did and instantly fell in love with the sport.

From Grambo:
by Hispanic Attack
Stankus and I have gone head to head jamming against each other when he skated for CDTA more times than I can remember. He's super competitive, and has that Energizer Bunny energy level that just never drops. I'm psyched he's transferred onto the Quadfathers this year. Not only do I get out of most jamming duties (yay!) but I know how he likes to jam so blocking for him is a lot of fun. And for the record, I DID manage to come from behind and catch him after this pic was snapped...haha.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Hit List: Skater Spotlight for 2/20/2015: Graham Espe aka Grambo #37

What is your derby name?
Grambo, but I skate under my real name now.

What is the story behind your name?
It was a childhood nickname. This will definitely date me, but when video rental stores and VHS players were new things, we used to go to the local video store and they had a deal where you rented a VCR in a huge suitcase kinda thing, plus any two movies, for the weekend. So I got to pick one movie, and probably 20 times I rented the same Rambo cartoon- y'know, because Rambo was a great idea to make into a cartoon for little kids. Then again, there were still ashtrays in every airplane seat armrest at the time sooooooo.....

What number do you wear?
#37. Although I started out wearing "1st Blood" to go along with the Rambo thing- but since that translates to #1 on the track, I felt a little silly hearing myself called 'Number One' all the time.

Why did you choose it?
Its got a lot of metaphysical significance.

What is your role in the league?
I was one of the founders. I was President for the first few years of
our existence, and then as I took on more responsibility for MRDA, I stepped back from home league stuff. Currently, I just handle the financial book keeping.

What is your preferred position on the track?
I don't really have one.

If you had asked me a year ago, I would have told you jamming. Although the physical demands are huge, the goals of the job are simple- get by the opposing team and keep skating. I like that simplicity.
Now that I'm blocking more, I really like the mental game, the on-track communication, the offense-defense switching and working as a unit.

By Hispanic Attack
What’s your pre-derby athletic background?
Ummm.....does playing guitar in a band and getting tattoos count?
I was always into outdoors stuff- hiking, kayaking, etc, but the only organized sport I played before derby was basketball in 7th and 8th grade.

What would you say are your greatest strengths as a skater?
I think its probably my ability to keep a cool head. I don't get fired up easy. I keep my focus and consider whatever's going on part of the game. Even times where people have tried to start nearly throwing punches - I just kind of stand back and laugh, not because I think I'm a tough guy or anything, but just because I can't imagine letting myself get that upset or fired up about a game.

What is your proudest accomplishment in roller derby and why?
Probably being awarded all-tournament team at Mohawk Valley Cup in 2012. That trophy means a lot to me.

Which one of your teammates do you look up to most, and why?
I give the most credit and respect to the new guys who are still trying to hit their minimum skills, and sticking with it past all the failed attempts, bruises, ill-fitting equipment, etc. I can't imagine joining men's derby as a brand new skater today, especially with a league/team where you don't already know a bunch of people. Its easy to say that I look up to the skills some of our vets have- and its genuine, I really do, and I could list something for everyone on the team. But those new guys who I have to give a shoulder to lean on as we do laps so they can skate the apex without drifting off the track, seeing their legs wobble and knowing they feel like they're going to die- and then seeing them show up again the next week for more- that's what I look up to most.

What is your best memory of the 2014 MRDA season?
First jam of our first game against Harm City. We had no idea what to expect as we hadn't played them before, and they were ranked above us (at least on FTS). I had skated with Sin Diesel and Gearhead before on a few occasions, and I knew I didn't want to get hit by them if I could help it. Ferrari Kid had recently moved down there from VT, and I had skated against him a bunch of times and knew he was tough as a jammer. The rest of the guys were a mystery. We came out of the gates strong, my blocking lineup was spectacular. They drew a cut on the Harm jammer almost right away, and I scored a 15-0 jam to kick off the season.

What is your motivational quote? 
Geeze, I had to think back to my old MySpace profile for this one.....
Teddy Roosevelt:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

How did you get involved with roller derby?
My wife Heather gets all the credit on this one. She was a founder of our sister league, Central New York Roller Derby, and brought me on to help as a ref and with business development. After a couple years of reffing and being the girls' hitting dummy at practice, I realized I wanted to play too. The rest, as they say, is history.

 

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Hit List: Skater Spotlight for 2/13/2015: Tommy Talbot #1225

Photo by Ashley Poole, 2011
What is your derby name?
TOM-A-HAWK but I go by Talbot now.

What is the story behind your name?
I wanted part of my name in there so I did a facebook questionnaire on what my name should be and this was the one that won out.

What number do you wear?
1225

Why did you choose it?
Its my birthday

What is your role in the league?
Sargent at Arms

What is your preferred position on the track?

Blocker

What’s your pre-derby athletic background?
Gymnastics, Soccer, and Running

What would you say are your greatest strengths as a skater?
I am pretty agile on my feet and can take a pretty good hit.

Which one of your teammates do you look up to most, and why?
Brandon as he is so motivated and focused that he makes me want to push myself past my comfort zone.

What is your best memory of the 2014 MRDA season?
I would probably have to say the feeling of how our team really started clicking together and our season started to turn around and we started really putting up a fight with the higher ranking teams. I feel like we are going to turn some heads this upcoming season.

How did you get involved with roller derby?
Well its a funny story, Bob Fowler started and they were having an open skate so he told me I should go, so I did and WOO and Grambo saw me skate and told me that I had to join.. so I did..

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Hit List: Skater Spotlight for 2/6/2015: Flyin Phil #5

What is your derby name?

Flyin' Phil


What is the story behind your name?

Back in the early 1980's, I used to skate the streets of Boston and jump onto, over and/or off of nearly anything I could find. I'd often jump down sets of 10-12 steps and do a 180 in the air on the way down so I'd land skating backwards, all with a Camel cigarette hanging out of my mouth. Of course, that was a long time ago and my knees just aren't what they used to be then, and I haven't smoked in many years.


What number do you wear?
#5


Why did you choose it?
My favorite number (eight) was already taken by Bobby Brady when I joined Quadfathers in 2011. Five is the month I was born.


What is your role in the league?
Blocker.


What is your preferred position on the track?
Blocker.


What’s your pre-derby athletic background?
Roller-skated outside for many years, always on quads. I probably spent as much time downhill skiing, doing moguls and such. I found parallel skiing and quad skating to utilize very similar techniques.


What would you say are your greatest strengths as a skater?
I'm fairly hard to knock off my feet and I have very good endurance.


What is your proudest accomplishment in roller derby and why?
Coaching the Oz Roller Girls to a 10-2 won-loss record in their first season (2012) and being awarded Most Valuable Blocker at the Boomtown Renegade Roughnecks season-ending bout last year (2014).


Which one of your teammates do you look up to most, and why?
The Quadfathers has so many talented, veteran skaters that I really don't have a single teammate I look up to... I can find skills to be emulated from each of my veteran teammates.


What is your best memory of the 2014 MRDA season?

The final bout of the 2014 season that the Quadfathers skated against Twin City Terrors. Though we lost that bout, we were skating more as a cohesive team than at any other time in the 4 years I've skated with the Quadfathers.


What is your motivational quote?
Every jam is a new jam.


How did you get involved with roller derby?
I helped found, head-coached and head-reffed the ManchVegas Roller Girls in Manchester, NH in November, 2008. Been heavily involved in multiple forms of roller derby ever since.


Finally, is there anything I didn’t ask you about that you want to talk about?
Just looking forward to another exciting season! Thanks.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Hit List: Skater Spotlight for 1/30/2015: Heff Factor #89

Photo by Davie Darko
What is your derby name?
Heff Factor

What is the story behind your name?
It is a nickname that is pulled from my last name, everyone has always called me Heff. When I used to play hockey one of my teammates nicknamed me Heff Factor and it just stuck.

What number do you wear?
89

Why did you choose it?
My 2 numbers I used in Hockey were 12 and 89 and I picked 89 because 12 was close to another guy’s number on the team so I didn’t want it to be confusing to anyone on the team or the officials.

What is your role in the league?
Right now I am focusing on earning my spot on the track regardless if that is a blocker, pivot or jammer.

What is your preferred position on the track?
I love playing as the Pivot but I know I have a long way to go. I like playing as the Pivot because you are focused on blocking but if the jammer needs relief you can jump in and help out, kind of the best of both worlds in my opinion.

What’s your pre-derby athletic background?
I grew up as a competitive swimmer and swam in the USA swimming program in Connecticut with my best stroke being Butterfly. In college I picked up hockey and figure skating where I played on intramural teams and in adult leagues. After college I found roller derby and haven’t looked back.

What would you say are your greatest strengths as a skater?
My greatest strengths are using what I have learned from hockey and figure skating and applying it to roller derby where it has proven useful time and time again.

What is your proudest accomplishment in roller derby and why?
My first 2 practices with the Quadfathers, where I decided I want to try this even though I live 2 hours away from the closest MRDA team. The first practice the captain Brandon said, “yeah, he can skate” then at my second practice Grambo told me, “I would have never guessed you never played Men’s Derby before”. After hearing this from 2 very well accomplished skaters I knew I belong on the track.

Which one of your teammates do you look up to most, and why?
Being relatively new to the sport I look up to the entire team, and I can’t single anyone out. I learn something new from everyone every time we take the track together. I look up to Brandon a lot because he is a very well accomplished skater and I go to him all the time for advice.

What is your best memory of the 2014 MRDA season?
My favorite memory of the 2014 MRDA season was during the Mohawk Valley Cup when I was rostered for my first game which was the bronze medal game in the cup. I had several referee friends that pulled me aside during warm ups that wanted to take a photo with me. They were so happy for me becoming a skater, I will never forget the photo I got with Tripp Ur’Mamma[QCRG] and Davie Darko[RCRD] for taking the photo.

What is your motivational quote?
When I used to do competitive rowing my coach once told me when he was challenging me and another rower, “There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.” This quote has stuck with me for a long time. We were so scared we were going to flip the boat that day, and it motivates me every time I lace up.

How did you get involved with roller derby?
A friend of mine told me lets go to a Roller Derby game. I showed up and thought it was awesome, and said I wonder if they do men’s roller derby. The next year I started reffing for Roc City Roller Derby in Rochester, NY then after 1 year of reffing I tried Men’s derby and haven’t looked back.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Hit List: Skater Spotlight for 1/23/2015: Oxenfree #48

Photo by John Bentham
What is your derby name? Oxenfree
What is the story behind your name? There are no ollies in roller derby.
What number do you wear? 48
Why did you choose it? no comment
What is your role in the league? Obstacle on wheels. Occasional NSO.
What is your preferred position on the track? upright and skating
What’s your pre-derby athletic background? Skateboarding. I think moshing counts too.
What would you say are your greatest strengths as a skater? I have OK balance.
What is your proudest accomplishment in roller derby and why? Any time I can explain something to someone and they get it, or it helps them in some way.
Which one of your teammates do you look up to most, and why? Probably Graham. He's one of those people who can do anything and everything and he seems to keep a cool head. Maybe it's all of the sweating he does. He's also a really good jammer and can step in when needed *winkwink*.
What is your best memory of the 2014 MRDA season? Probably playing against the Twin City Terrors. Their logo is awesome and it's really the only reason we lost. We played a great game, their logo was just way better. Any new team considering a skull logo should look at theirs first, then give up.
What is your motivational quote? I dunno. Any image macro that has a broad generalization about life and a cool picture is fine with me. Maybe a kitten, or a rowing team at sunset or something. As long as I don't have to do much interpretation or any thinking at all really. That gets me pretty motivated.
How did you get involved with roller derby? I went to a practice, then I kept going to more practices. So far nobody has said I can't practice with them so I try and keep my mouth shut and my fingers crossed.
Finally, is there anything I didn’t ask you about that you want to talk about? I want to apologize to Vermont Men's Roller Derby for scoring a bunch of points on them after not getting called on a track cut. I'm pretty sure Pope forced a cut on me in the first 15 seconds of a jam and nobody called it. I figure refs know more than I do so I went with it, but I still feel bad about it. I think I only jammed once or twice that game. Hispanic Attack took pictures so I look like a hero, but each shot of me jamming is a beautifully captured lie that I have to live with for the rest of my life. (Can you insert the TCT's logo in here somewhere? Seriously that thing is cool.)

Photo by Walter Romero / Hispanic Attack

Comments from teammates:

Fowler #28 - The first time Oxenfree had ever jammed in a bout for the Quadfathers was in Montreal against the Mont Royals. Oxen was not rostered to jam that day but due to an injury to a teammate he stepped up and jammed every other jam for the rest of that bout.. He never quit or gave up. He fought to the end and has been a great team player from that day on. He earn a great deal of respect from his teammates and anybody else who was paying attention that day....

Look out for weekly installments of the Hit List as you meet the 2015 Quadfathers roster!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015