April Skater of the Month: Faye Tality
One of Silicon Valley Roller Girls' newest league members, Faye Tality, is April's Skater of the Month. Faye has started out the 2014 season as the co-captain of SVRG's Hard Drivers. She leads by example with her spotless attendance, tireless skills practice, and her great attitude. Congratulations on Skater of the Month Faye!
How did you get involved with roller derby? When did you start?
I was downtown in San Jose for a Sharks game in 2011, and saw some women dressed in team jerseys and skates. My first reaction was “Holy crap… there’s derby in San Jose??? I’ve wanted to be a derby girl since the first time I saw it on TV as a child.” I chatted with a couple of them, who turned out to be SVRG skaters, and who encouraged me to come check it out. My second reaction was “How can I make room for this in my life?” and joined as soon as I finished my master’s degree. I started in the 2012 SVRG Spring Boot Camp, skated with the Circuit Jerks working on my skills until I could sort out the time commitment, went to tryouts, and entered into my first season with the league!
You are co-captain of the Hard Drivers, SVRGs C-team, how did it feel to be picked for such an important role?
Being nominated by someone in the league was an incredible honor in and of itself. As I drafted up my election speech I gave some deep thought as to how I could draw on my manager, coach, and captain experiences in soccer to contribute to my league’s success. When I received the notice that I had been elected as co-captain, I was blown away, particularly given the incredible depth of talent and commitment I see across our league. It was a true honor to know that the league believed in me as part of their leadership team, and I was really inspired entering into my first season both as a skater and support for my team.
Any injuries? If so what made you continue skating?
Any? Or, how many? Ha! The short version answer is that, yes, I have had a plethora of injuries over the years; sprains, strains, muscle tears, pulls, etc. In derby, I’ve had a lower back injury and, just recently, a sprained thumb. Injuries, to me are a frustrating delay inherent in sports. The reason I have always returned to playing sports, no matter how severe the injury, is because sports have always been my biggest passion in life. Derby tops the list in so many ways. In fact, despite the mental block that comes with debilitating injuries, getting back to training and playing is the number one motivator for me to make my way back to full strength.
Any highlights so far this season?
Yes! Being able to play in my first home bout with many of my friends and family in attendance (I even won the ticket sales contest! Woohoo!) in an SVRG uniform was one of the biggest highlights of the season so far for me. It’s a goal I have been after for the last two years. Achievement unlocked! Next: Become a Killa!
What are you most looking forward to in the 2014 season?
The pride that I have for my entire league for being undefeated since our season opener in February, is huge! It sets a precedent for how I hope that we continue to compete for the rest of the year. We have been training hard, and it shows. We have also gained some new and transfer skaters, who I look forward to training and skating with in this capacity. On a personal level, I hope to really improve my skills as a jammer, keep learning “all the things” from the veteran skaters and coaches, and have a great showing of the Hard Drivers at the C-Squads tournament in May.
Biggest challenges you've faced since starting derby?
It’s true what they say about the derby monster eating your life. My biggest challenge has been figuring out the time management between work, school, a volunteer job, home life, cross-training, derby, and all the jobs that go along with derby -- committee work, fundraising, public relations, and community service.
San Jose skate, SVRGs current home, will be closing on June 1st, what does finding a new home mean to you as a skater?
San Jose Skate has been a community landmark for as long as I have been alive, and beyond. To lose this piece of the Bay Area is a loss for more than just the families of the community, the Sunday night jam skaters, the Thursday retro night skaters, the speedskating team, and the figure skaters. This loss cripples an amazing organization who provides more than just a local sports team for public enjoyment. Our league creates opportunity on so many levels, be it a local outlet for people who have the drive and motivation to train and volunteer, development of our youth, giving back to the community, or working together as a family of nearly 100 individuals to make this grassroots organization a living, breathing entity. Roller derby isn’t just about playing a game. It’s about making a difference in the lives of everyone it touches. Finding a new home is not just a hope, but an imperative. My intent is to continue to improve the world around me and skate as long as my body lets me, which means my league needs a place to train, teach, grow, and compete together.
Any words of advice for women (and men) wanting to join derby.
First and foremost, don’t train and compete when injured! Follow medical advice and recover fully before returning (I say this as a former EMT and experienced injuree). Soreness is good for your growth, but pain is detrimental to push through. Learning the difference is hard, but important. On a more positive note, whenever I have the pleasure of working with individuals in our Circuit Jerks program, I remember starting out myself, with all the uncertainty and awkwardness of strapping wheels to my feet (after a 20+ year hiatus) while trying to maneuver in new ways. As the skaters I have worked with can attest to, when they say “I can’t do ___” I always add “yet” to the sentence. If you have a dream, a goal, or a passion, and you work to achieve it, you will. Lastly, for anyone wanting to achieve a goal, in derby or otherwise, understand that your trajectory cannot be measured against someone else’s timeline. Your pace is always right, for you.