Three members (Brik Wall, Vicious Ness, and Kina Wahine) of Orange County's only flat track roller derby league met up with me before a practice to let me know, in an exclusive interivew, what the OC Roller Girls are all about.
So who are the OC Roller Girls?
(KW) A bunch of awesome women that kick butt. Iâ€™ve been skating with the OC Roller Girls since July now and itâ€™s just been a really good benefit. I love skating with them. The club seems like itâ€™s come a long way from where it started. Itâ€™s been a really good opportunity. All the girls are great and the league is very positive. They all work together, play together, encourage each other.
(VN) My best description is 'a sorority of bad girls.'
(BW) Not all bad girls.
(VN) No. Weâ€™re the girls who never quite clicked with other girls and never quite found our right place. For me, derby is the right place. This is exactly where I belong. For me, it is like a sorority. Thereâ€™s this great sisterhood we have.
(BW) This is a cool sorority.
Not a snobby one.
(VN) It is more of a sisterhood than a sorority. We support each other, we support the community. We kick each otherâ€™s ass and have a really good time. And afterwards, we party and hug and love on each other. â€œAw man, you kicked my ass tonight!â€ Itâ€™s never one of those things where you hold a grudge. Itâ€™s always a big family.
How do you handle hitting a woman during the bout and then going out and partying with her afterwards?
(BW) You just gotta keep it separate, you know. Iâ€™m the captain, this is our co-captain and thereâ€™s this friend of mine thatâ€™s on our team. I have to keep friendship separate from being a captain. And when I ride her, she looks at me sometimes. And I say, â€œTotally separate thing.â€ You just gotta have the mentality, the ability to keep it separate.
(VN) You take pride in how hard you can hit and how well you play the game.
(BW) And how many people you lay out.
(VN) I always sell it like â€œCome watch me kick these girlsâ€™ asses.â€ And theyâ€™re excited about it. Thatâ€™s part of the sport. You get aggressive and itâ€™s full contact, girl-on-girl. Where else can you find that? We take delight in each other playing well, at least most girls do. Some people get a little bent out of shape. For the most part, everybody gets excited for each other. She (Brik Wall) and I every once in a while have to scrimmage against each other. Sheâ€™ll clobber the crap out of me.
(BW) She hit me really hard a month ago, two months ago. She hit me so hard I fell and I was sore for three days. I never knew you could hit that hard.
(VN) Weâ€™re usually allies.
(BW) Thatâ€™s one thing we have to get used to in the league is hitting your own girls. If weâ€™re doing a drill and a girl comes by and taps me, I make her do it again. You have to hit me like Iâ€™m not on your team.
Is everything OK if you buy them a drink afterwards?
(BW) Iâ€™ll let them buy me a drink. (laughter)
(VN) Absolutely. You get caught up in the moment. We were in Reno and I hit a girl right as the whistle blew, so it was a late hit. But I had already wound up and I am built for strength, not for speed. Once I get going, Iâ€™m like a Mack truck. I canâ€™t stop. I clobbered this girl, knocked her down, and landed on top of her long after the whistle had blown. She got so pissed. She wouldnâ€™t talk to me, she wouldnâ€™t look at me, gave me the finger, told me to F off. But when the game was all over and we were in the bar, I was like â€œGirl, Iâ€™m so sorry.â€ She was like â€œForget it. Itâ€™s derby.â€ Everybody knows itâ€™s derby. Thatâ€™s what youâ€™re here for.
(BW) I might let them buy me a soda because I donâ€™t really like beer too much.
What was it about roller derby that drew you in?
(KW) Iâ€™ve always played sports since I was eight. Plus, I used to watch the Thunderbirds when I was little. I used to go to the skating rink when I was ten and I would race the girls. I took speed skating and freestyle skating. I was on MySpace and saw a girl, Hannah Grenade, she had roller derby on there. I contacted her and she told me to meet her at Fountain Valley Skating Rink. She told me about derby and they skated for LA Derby Dolls. She hadnâ€™t seen me skate yet. She told me â€œThe LA Derby Dolls arenâ€™t recruiting anyone right now. You might want to go with the Demolition Divas." When she saw me skate, she said, â€œYou can probably come and try out for the LA Derby Dolls." I decided that I had never played the game of derby and I wanted to start. I wanted to start fresh with the game.
(BW) For me, I was just looking for something else to do. The gym is kind of monotonous. We can come here and not have to worry about dudes trying to pick us up. I was honestly just looking for something else to do. I could be at home, sitting on the couch eating cookies. Chocolate chip.
(VN) Plain old semi-sweet.
(BW) I could be online twenty-four/seven. Thatâ€™s what I could be doing. Thatâ€™s what made me want to do this, just wanting to have something different in my life.
(VN) Itâ€™s kind of the same thing for me. You stick with it because of the girls. You have a good time. Our league is blessed with a lot of talented women. A lot of great girls are a part of our league. I canâ€™t imagine not having derby in my life. Itâ€™s a stress-reliever. Itâ€™s a workout. Itâ€™s a sisterhood. Itâ€™s really great. I found it just out of a day I was just really angry and irritated. We have business cards that say â€œDo you Derby?â€ on them as a way of promoting our league, as well as recruiting. I saw it on the bulletin board, and I yanked it right off the bulletin board and I said, â€œYes I do.â€ Iâ€™d seen clips before about roller derby in downtown LA. It was just too far for me. Itâ€™s something different. Iâ€™ve always been into whatâ€™s different.
Certainly, if youâ€™re sitting at a desk all day, itâ€™s a good way to blow off steam.
(VN) Absolutely. Iâ€™m in sales, and I get really frustrated at work sometimes because Iâ€™m not a nine-to-five sit behind a desk sort of person. I get frustrated with the sales process. There are days where Iâ€™m like, â€œI wish I had practice tonight. I could clobber a girl.â€ (laughs) My husband, when he found out we were taking a hiatus, said that I needed to take a kickboxing class because I wasnâ€™t going to be allowed to not practice for four weeks.
Itâ€™s good that he recognizes that.
(VN) He loves it. My stress level is lower than itâ€™s ever been. We get along better than we ever have. Itâ€™s unfortunate that some of the derby boyfriends and derby husbands get jealous of the time commitment. Itâ€™s two or three nights a week for practice, promoting, bouts, travel. If you have kids I can understand. My husband has his own activities that heâ€™s involved in. So itâ€™s been really good for us. I support him, he supports me. We have a good time. Thursday night is his night to sit around, eat popcorn and watch TV shows I wonâ€™t watch.
You were recognized in the OC Weekly.
(VN) Best girl gang. (laughter)
How did you like that?
(VN) Love that.
(BW) Loved it. It was classic.
(VN) Maybe thatâ€™s a better description than sorority. Weâ€™re a girl gang. But for good, not for evil.
Which they did mention. Tell me about some of the charities you work with.
(BW) We work with the YWCA. We work with Breast Cancer Angels. Thatâ€™s the Roll for a Cure that we started to raise money for them. There was some kind of pet shelter.
(VN) I think it was Long Beach. Thatâ€™s been a while.
(BW) Those are the two that I know about.
(VN) Our focus lately has been on the YWCA. We volunteered at their booth at the Orange Street Fair to help raise funds. We volunteered our labor and our yelling ability to the crowd. Weâ€™re supporting them again for my sister Joanieâ€™s purse project. Weâ€™re collecting gently used purses to be filled with toiletries and necessities for women who are in shelters. Theyâ€™ll pass them out in the purses. Thatâ€™s actually one of the charities that our bout next week will benefit.
For more information about upcoming bouts, or becoming a part of OC's best girl gang, visit www.ocrollergirls.com.
Copyright © 2010 Gary Schwind
Full Contact, Girl-on-Girl
Brik Wall (#00 Back Bay Bombshells), Vicious Ness (#.08 Back Bay Bombshells), and Kina Wahine (#10 Huntington Heartbreakers) discuss the sisterhood, bouts, and charity work of the OC Roller Girls.
Copyright © 2010 Gary Schwind
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