GEMMA, GEMMA, VIENNA!!

A few months back I had the chance to interview one of the members of the VRD – Vienna Roller Derby, namely Nr. 33 Dr. Callie Collision (Dr.CC). And now, finally after quite some time, I’m able to share with you, what I and her talked about it.

K: How did you get to the roller derby sport?
Dr.CC: In 2010 I saw a movie called “Whip It” with Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page on a flight back to Austria. One or two years later I found Vienna Roller Girls and in July 2012 I started playing.

K: What exactly is your position on the team?
Dr.CC: In VRD I’m a blocker, meaning I keep the opposing jammer from scoring points by playing defense, as well as helping our own jammer to score by playing offense for her; and sometimes I’m also a pivot (= a strategic position, that allows a blocker to become a jammer). Additionally, I also have the position of captain in the A team. Additionally, I coach it and the whole league. On Team Austria, our national team, I’m also a blocker.

K: Team Austria, is the national team that went to the World Cup in February, how did that go?
Dr.CC: We won the first bouts against Russia and Romania. The bout against Portugal was hard, in the first part we didn’t do that well, the second part was far better; but ultimately, we lost. Our last bout against England was special, we went against one of the top players – it came in 4th at the World Cup, and lost also here. But to have fought against my idols … that was exhilarating. So, the cup was exhausting, we had 4 bouts in 2 days against strong opponents, and at the same time awesome.

K: What is next for you, VRD and Team Austria?
Dr.CC: For Team Austria what comes next is still unclear, the coaches and captain will decide, after we got some rest. VRD on the other hand has a clear future outlined in the next few months. We are going to Barcelona after eastern (->note by Kai: BRD B 185: 198 Vienna Beasts; BRD A 184: 176 Vienna Oysters); and the B team, our Vienna Beasts, is going against Prague City Roller Derby A on the 28th of April (->116:195). After that we have a doubleheader in May, on the 12th, where our A team goes against and Norrköping A, and our B team against Graz.

K: And what adventure is next for yourself?
Dr.CC: I will continue to play for VRD, and would like to coach a junior team if we get one together. There was a bout at the championship of Juniors from all over Europe, and it was inspiring to see them play.

K: What is an adventure for you?
Dr.CC: The championship was an adventure for me. To play against that many people, on such a professional level, and to even bout against my idols. Also, that VRD has its own home teams within, so that we can even bout against each other; home teams that are all mixed with different levels so it evens out; and an all-star travel team – not only an A-team or B-team, that to would be an adventure.

K: And what does roller derby and VRD mean to you?
Dr.CC: A lot. It’s more than just a sport or a team. There is so much team spirit in VRD, and we are group of strong intelligent feminist women, that as a team changes and can do more than we could have ever believed.

K: What do you mean with that?
Dr.CC: Well, for example we are part of the biggest roller derby league, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, and as such we also get to form the shape of the sport as it is. Also, as a teenager I would have never dared to dream of being a player of a national team, but now I am and I got there through roller derby. And even after 6 years of being part of it all, there are still new things that I learn and discover.

K: That sounds great. Can everybody join VRD?
Dr.CC: Yes, everybody can join VRD. In September we have our “Recruiting Day” where everything gets explained and everybody can get a chance to try all positions and even to play a round of sock derby (aka roller derby, but in socks instead of skates). Men usually become referees, since we don’t have a male team yet. And don’t panic, we have a spot for everybody, even if you just learn to skate you can be a part of VRD.

K: I see. And what’s up with those names? How do you get one of those? Do only players have one?
Dr.CC: No everybody can have a derby name, be it player or referee. Some players, depending on how many teams they play, even have more than one. For example, Victoria Siempre plays under the name Always Ultra in Team Austria. And on how to get a name, some people have it already in mind when they join a team; others choose one when they are newbies; other players get it bestowed upon on them; and some others just play under their real names as to look more professional. But, a derby name is fun, it’s a bit like an alter ego, and sometimes it overtakes and replaces the real name of the player.

K: Great, so one last question. What advice would you give people who may want to do it?
Dr.CC: Just, go for it. Oh, and get out of your comfort zone. Those two are true. Roller derby was since I began 6 years ago an adventure and it still is

K: Thank you for talking to me about it. And good luck for your coming bouts and all other adventures on your way!

P.S.: If you want to know more about VRD, check this older post out.

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