Monday, March 23, 2015

The Hit List: Skater Spotlight for 3/20/2015: Jim Ruffo #1618

by Hispanic Attack


What is your derby name? 
My actual name.

What is the story behind your name? 
According to my mom, my parents were seriously considering "Vincent", which ended up being my middle name.

What number do you wear? 
1618

Why did you choose it? 
It's the first four digits of the golden ratio, a famous mathematical constant.

What is your role in the league? 
Secretary.

What is your preferred position on the track? 
Wherever I'm most needed. Except jammer. Pivot is OK, as long as there are no star passes involved.

What’s your pre-derby athletic background? 
I did soccer, track, and cross-country in high school. I also used to skateboard, snowboard and play basketball, but not in any organized way.

What would you say are your greatest strengths as a skater? 
Probably my ability to see what's happening on the track and react accordingly. I'm a really good bridger.

What is your proudest accomplishment in roller derby and why? 
n/a

Which one of your teammates do you look up to most, and why? 
I admire all of the work Joe Stever and Graham Espe for they have done over the years to get the league started and keep it healthy.

What is your best memory of the 2014 MRDA season? 
Our last game of the Mohawk Valley Cup against the Twin Cities Terrors.

What is your motivational quote? 
n/a

How did you get involved with roller derby?
 My girlfriend, Melissa, started as an official with the league in Oneonta, where we live. There were some guys there who were trying to put a men's team together at the time, including fellow Quadfathers Oxenfree and Aaron Chapin. She harassed me until I agreed to come to a practice.

Finally, is there anything I didn’t ask you about that you want to talk about? 
n/a

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Hit List: Skater Spotlight for 3/13/2015: Bob Fowler #28

Photo by Sean Childs
What is your derby name?
My derby name is The RagingHomo but I skate under my real name now.

What is the story behind your name?
I chose that name in the hopes of becoming a positive role model for teens and young adults who maybe struggling with their sexual orientation by showing them that they can be a part of a team and accepted for who they are. I still believe that there is a place in roller derby for everybody.

What number do you wear?
28

Why did you choose it?
I chose that number to honor my step sister. She taught me how to skate when I was young. She died in a tragic accident when she was 28 and her birthday was Dec.28th. There were other factors involved that kept bringing up that number so, rather then fear it or look at it as some kind of curse I chose to honor her with it..

What is your role in the league?
I'm a blocker

What is your preferred position on the track?
Upright and next to a teammate.

What’s your pre-derby athletic background?
 A lot of farm work.

What would you say are your greatest strengths as a skater?
I feel as though I am a team player and can work well with anybody out on the track weather they be a vet or someone new to the team.

What is your proudest accomplishment in roller derby and why?
Well, its not really 'my' accomplishment but my proudest event/moment was playing in a bout with my son against the Connecticut Death Quads. It was amazing to be able to share the track with him and to see him holding his own and doing so well. I couldn't help but feel proud.

Which one of your teammates do you look up to most, and why?
The ones in orange and black because they have my back. I respect all of my teammates for different reasons and for all the same reasons.

What is your best memory of the 2014 MRDA season?
Playing the Twin City Terrors at MVC. I want a rematch. Derby Monster is a beast of a jammer.

What is your motivational quote?
"5 SECONDS!!!" it gets my blood pumping.

How did you get involved with roller derby?
I used to watch roller derby as a kid and would hit up the local skate rink on the weekends with my friends. I had always want to play roller derby and then one day several years later while at work a coworker told me that she was going to go check out roller derby after work. I didn't believe her and we went back and forth about it and she eventually invited me to go along with her. She is now known as my wife in roller derby. Thank you Becky. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Hit List: Skater Spotlight for 3/6/2015: B. Scherz #35

What is your derby name?
B. Scherz
Photo by Juan Paden- JPaden Photography

What is the story behind your name?
When I joined the Quadfathers in 2012 I decided to skate under my real name rather than having a derby name. I like people's derby names but it just wasn't for me. I'm pretty lame (my favorite ice cream flavor is vanilla if that helps determine my level of lameness).

What number do you wear?
35

Why did you choose it?

This was my number growing up playing hockey.

What is your role in the league?
Captain as well as behind the scenes as a member of the Board.

What is your preferred position on the track?

I prefer blocking but last year against Albany we were missing a jammer and they put me in and I put up a pretty big number and that was pretty much the end of my career as a blocker. I still get my fix though when I feed the baby to my eager blockers.

What’s your pre-derby athletic background?
I played hockey, lacrosse and soccer in High School.

What would you say are your greatest strengths as a skater?

Hard work and dedication at practice are definitely my greatest strengths. I push myself 100% in every drill and try to finish first in any speed or endurance drill we have. I am aware that people on the team look up to me and if I am pushing myself they hopefully will feed off that and push themselves as well.

What is your proudest accomplishment in roller derby and why?
Being selected to back to back All-Tourney teams at the Mohawk Valley Cup. Once as a blocker followed by being voted on as a jammer.

Which one of your teammates do you look up to most, and why?
She is technically not a teammate but Coach Kitten(my fiancee, soon to be wife) is who I look up to the most on the team. She came in and really turned our team around. She comes up with great practices and always pushes us to another level. We wouldn't be the same team without her at the helm.

What is your best memory of the 2014 MRDA season?
The second half of our game against Minnesota in the 3rd/4th place game at MVC. That was the best half of derby we had played all season and in my opinion we really surprised them with how we played.

What is your motivational quote?
"I love it when people doubt me, It makes me work harder to prove them wrong"-Derek Jeter.

How did you get involved with roller derby?
My brother was one of the early skaters that joined the Quadfathers and I watched a game and fell in love with it and haven't stopped skating since.

Finally, is there anything I didn’t ask you about that you want to talk about?
I'm really excited for the 2015 Quadfathers team. It seems like we have started to turn a corner and are on the way up. Who knows what will happen this season but all I know is that it's going to be one hell of a ride.

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.