Skating with Molotov: Portland Renegade Roller Derby

Last week, after I wrote a post that referred to my own elbow-throwing, competitive propensities, a woman who skates by the name of Molotov approached me on my Facebook Page, Running from Hell with El, to see if I was interested in sponsoring a growing derby league, Portland Renegade Roller Derby. We started talking, and this Q&A is what resulted. Oh, and my answer is yes, hell yes I want to help support this league of hardy souls!rollerderby521293_320380494737815_1774815638_n
_____________

El: I just think roller derby is the coolest, most fascinating thing!

Molotov: It is pretty great. And seeing how it can bring a community of women together is kinda amazing too. My league is a renegade league, which means we broke off from a bigger league here in our town.

El: Ahhh–I was wondering what the renegade meant. I mean, I see renegade and I automatically smile!

Molotov: It was too big and micro managed and became for profit and lost a lot of its community feel. What they are doing is great for a lot of people, but we just wanted something different. So it thus has became a lot of hard work starting a league and team from the ground up!

El: Grinning. How long have you been playing roller derby (is “playing” the right word?)?

Molotov: I’ve been skating most of my life, but only have been skating derby since November.

El: So it’s called “skating” derby?

Molotov: Most of our coaches and base teammates have been playing for four to six years. It’s called “bouting.” Once I made the mistake of calling it a “game” the first time I went to a bout. And I was very embarrassed.

El: LOL–I can imagine.

 Molotov: But we say skate usually.

 El: you’ve been skating most your life? Hockey or ice skating?rollerderbytwo54333_308446725931192_1930708213_o

 Molotov: Just roller skating and blading.

El: This is fascinating! And you were a runner before?

Molotov: Yes, since I was 18. I still want to run again. I haven’t really since last June.

El: I don’t think we ever lose that desire. Did you suffer an injury?

Molotov: I have anemia and it was too much. I was getting out of breath and really sick. My 7 year old beat me in the last 5k we did together.

El: Shaking head–that’s rough.

Molotov: So I knew something must be wrong then.

El: Yes for sure. How did you find derby?

Molotov: I wanted to play derby for a long time. My kids and I watched Whip It back when it came out.

El: That was awesome!

Molotov: My best friend is involved in another derby group in our town.

El: That’s the main league right?

Molotov: she has been skating with them for years and still not on a team. I went with her to a bout a couple of years ago and met the person who is now the ringleader of our group.

El: The ringleader–is that the league commissioner of the renegade league?

Molotov: Yes, our president. I just call her ringleader to be silly.

El: LOL! What does roller derby do for you?

Molotov: I always wanted to do derby, but always thought it was too expensive, too much time, I didn’t deserve to spend then time on myself, etc etc. I was in a very unpleasant marriage up until just a few years ago and never would have been doing this if I was still married.

El: I’m so glad you’re out of that marriage hun! I was talking about derby tonight with my husband, and he grinned at me.

“You know Cutie, if you were younger . . .”

 ” . . . Yep. I’d do it for sure! Nothing more fun than throwing elbows and hitting people, lol.” I replied.

^^^

© Earl McGehee

© Earl McGehee

does that sound familiar?

Molotov: Lol! Totally.

El: Grinning. I thought so!

Molotov: We have people of all ages.

El: What’s the range?

Molotov: 23-43, currently.

El: How old are you, if you don’t mind my asking?

Molotov: I’m 32.

El: Oh you’re just a kid!

Molotov: Ugh–wish I felt like just a kid.

El: Are you kidding me? 32?! You’re in your athletic prime!

Molotov: So I met this crazy, fun, positive, happy gal at a bout. Her name is Julie Locktress and a year later (last November) she invited me to be part of what we are calling the Renegade movement. At first I thought I was too weak and tired to even skate because of my anemia. I hadn’t ran since June or May. I hadn’t been on skates in two years, since I had taken a fall and hurt my tailbone. But I was depressed and anxious and needed a cause for myself other then just raising my kids and carting them around to their sporting events and working 50 hours a week to keep a roof over their heads I don’t get any child support from their father and am basically on my own.

El: Oh man–50 hours a week and no child support? And hun, we all need something greater than ourselves, you know?

Molotov: Yes, exactly. So I figured at least I could help with the admin part of it.

El: (nodding)

Molotov: But then I started taking derby classes and I went broke and ate Top rRmen and oatmeal packets for lunch to buy skates and gear

El: that is *awesome* good on you!

 Molotov: And I’ve beePortlandrenegades29544_308788379230360_644203395_nn working ferociously to get better and stronger and raise awareness and get sponsors and skaters. I got in touch with a friend I had not seen for 10 years and now she is going to skate with us. And she brought another girl, who also brought a friend and so on and so on.

 El: Right!

Molotov: So we have a mix of new skaters and older experienced skaters. we are from all walks of life

El: Like what careers?

Molotov: One is a Native American and she is a licensed Drug and alcohol counselor.

Locktress is a hairdresser.

El: grinning.

Molotov: We have a waitress/model, a graduate student, a nurse, a logistics worker/liberal arts major.

El: A nurse!? LOL!

Molotov: Yep . . . and a construction/flooring sales personrenegades

El: And what’s your 50-hour week job?

Molotov: I work in shipping/receiving/inventory control for a laser test equipment company. I was a full time student too up until a couple of years ago . . . I’m hoping to get back to school one day.

El: (nodding) I hear ya.

 Molotov: Yes . . . no time to be sad or feel sorry for myself. When I am not busy that is when I start to fade. So I work hard, love hard, play hard.

 El: Seriously I get that. And don’t think too hard or too much (that’s my problem lol).

 Molotov: Mine too.

El: Yeah.

Molotov: I wanted to be a philosophy major.

El: And that’s where sports and competition help me. Who is your favorite philosopher?

Molotov: Tolstoy.

El: Loved War and Peace. Why Tolstoy?

Molotov: His writings on women and love really speak to me for some reason. I like a lot of the less known ones too… like Karl Marx. Economics and philosophy are very closely related.

El: So as a philosopher, what does derby signify to you?

Molotov: Oh wow . . . that is very deep . . .

El: that’s where I abide lol!

Molotov: I suppose it lies in the theory that we must make today count . . . and each moment . . . and I want to inspire and help others the way that I have been inspired and helped by so many. If I had know that my life could be as good as it is now, I would have chosen a different path very long ago. But it matters not now, because here I am and I am what I do with it. I got a tattoo on my back a year ago that reads ” take the pieces and build them up to the sky” its a line from my favorite song and summarizes the journey of my life.

El: Beautiful. What song is it?TwoNorthWestJammers

Molotov: It’s a most beautiful song . . .

El: Biffy Clyro?

Molotov: YES. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0q2iXlsKNA

El: Listening now. OMG if I were building a soundtrack for Ripple this would be in it. It’s profoundly moving to me, in ways I can hardly explain. There’s a scene in Ripple when Phoebe, the rape victim, is falling apart, but her friend talks to her, helps hold her together, and this song, it could be playing.

Molotov: I’ve had a lot of people who have helped hold me together . . . so yes.

El: Same here. This song, the one tattooed on your back–is this what derby kind of means to you?

Molotov: I think what derby means to me . . . is a dream that I had given up on coming true. And an exciting journey just beginning. One I am so honored and proud to be a part of.

El: That makes me so happy to hear, almost happy tears, you know? Because we should all find those dreams and take part in those journeys.

Molotov: It’s easy to find excuses not to follow our dreams. The hard part is doing what we really want.
________________

To support these great women, please follow them on Facebook. If you’re interested in sponsoring them, as I sure am, please contact them here:

portlandrenegaderollerderby@gmail.com. Sponsorship packages start for as low as $50.

, , , ,

  1. #1 by Tori Nelson on January 28, 2013 - 11:12 am

    Ok. Hi, Molotov. I think I love you. What a strong, feisty lady!

  2. #3 by Stephanie Saye on January 28, 2013 - 1:43 pm

    I have a pair of roller derby skates and a helmet in my garage. (Are you not surprised?) A friend from Austin got me into it, but I never followed through because the leagues in the DFW area where no where close to where I live. But man, I would so do roller derby in a second … I used to win all the roller skating races as a kid – even against the boys. Entertaining post. I will like their page fo sho.

    • #4 by Running from Hell with El on January 28, 2013 - 8:09 pm

      LOL! What would your name be?! We could bust some heads! And you sound like a swell jammer!

      • #5 by Stephanie Saye on January 29, 2013 - 8:49 am

        You and I would definitely need to be on the same team … otherwise, we’d go at it! (and hug afterwards) 🙂 Seriously, though, the two of us would be a force to be reckoned with! (Yes, I know, cliche … I’m fixing all the one’s you pointed out in Sawtooth and it will be a much better book for it!) Will call you in the next day or so … need me some El time.

        • #6 by Running from Hell with El on January 29, 2013 - 9:41 am

          We’d be on the same team and we’d blast them blue lol. And yup to the hug it out–I don’t take a well-delivered, honest hit personally! LOL re cliches. Yes–do call. I’m bigtime down. Wah.

          • #7 by Stephanie Saye on January 29, 2013 - 10:08 am

            I’m really down, too. Let me get this post out and I’ll call. Might need to go run first though because it’s about to rain. But I will call …

            • #8 by Running from Hell with El on January 29, 2013 - 10:09 am

              Good. So I don’t have to pretend to be up–that’s such a relief. Not “good that you’re feeling down,” just “good that you understand.”

              • #9 by Stephanie Saye on January 29, 2013 - 10:11 am

                No need to “pretend” with me bcuz I’ll be bringing it too. 🙂

  3. #10 by She's a Maineiac on January 29, 2013 - 5:11 am

    Fantastic interview! So inspiring and empowering. I needed to read this today.

    • #11 by Running from Hell with El on January 29, 2013 - 9:44 am

      Thank you Darla! I’m thinking of doing more of these–sort of like exploring what makes the American grain, or something like that. Have a great day! Man you get up early!

    • #12 by She's a Maineiac on January 29, 2013 - 9:47 am

      Can’t wait for more!

      I do get up super early. I was up at 4 am today. Yup. Insomnia and getting old sucks.

  4. #13 by Valentine Logar on January 29, 2013 - 6:13 am

    I am profoundly glad I didn’t read this until today! What a wonderful and thoughtful interview. I had never thought of Derby in this way. Headed over to the facebook site to check it out.

    Love the song, you are right El this could be part of a soundtrack for Ripple.

    • #14 by Running from Hell with El on January 29, 2013 - 9:45 am

      Thank you bunches dear Val! One thing that really got me was that most of the skaters are single moms. Kind of neat, eh? I dig the idea of women helping women! xoxo

  5. #15 by My Inner Chick on January 29, 2013 - 6:58 pm

    FABulous.
    I’ve ALWAYS considered Roller Derby Chicks Inspirational feminists in a way.
    They can wear lipstick and KICK serious ASS!

    I Love. Xxx

  6. #16 by writingfeemail on February 3, 2013 - 8:26 pm

    You are truly a warrier!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: