Skater of the Month: Retox Fox
I am very grateful to my awesome teammates for bestowing this honor upon me. However, interviewing myself is a little meta and a lot awkward. Take a shot with me and let's roll:
How did you get into roller derby?
I was getting signals for a couple of years. As soon as a team started up in my hometown, Louisville, my dad cut out every newspaper article or ad about the Derby City Roller Girls and mailed it to me, but I didn’t have a team where I was living (in the seventh circle of Hell, or southwest Florida). When I moved to Tucson, my BFF/roommate told me he thought derby would be a perfect match for me, but grad school was eating me alive. My final push was actually seeing derby in the flesh—a friend took me to Virgin MusicFest in Baltimore and I got to see the Charm City Roller Girls demo. Then I decided I had to look into it--the timing was perfect and I really needed a new outlet. I was fortunate to find SVRG, which at the time was accepting even non-skaters like me.
What kind of skating skills or athletic abilities did you have before starting derby?
Because my dad was a baseball coach/athletic director, I was a total jock. I played competitive softball, soccer, and volleyball growing up. I've had a kickboxing phase and a gymrat phase, but now my time is devoted to derby and volleyball (which my SVRG teammates refer to as my “dirty mistress.”)
As for skating skills: ha! My first time on the rink I was congratulating myself for not having to use the wall to stand up.
How did you derive your derby name?
I’ve always been Fox, and being a damn proud Kentuckian I am rather fond of bourbon, hence the “Retox” rather than “detox.” Maker’s Mark is a favorite, so I went with 90 proof as my number.
What is your primary position?
I have no desire to have a star-shaped target on my head. I prefer to block at 3 because it requires a lot of versatility: you have to know when to switch to work with the front of the pack or the back of the pack, when to switch from offense to defense, and be able to communicate things in both directions.
What is your greatest strength as a skater?
I’m big on strategy and like to think I can make quick decisions in the midst of the jam. It’s easy to line up with a plan, but with this sport you never know when you’re going to lose someone to the penalty box or your opponent is going to spring an effective counterstrategy. You have to reevaluate the situation every few seconds, decide on a plan, and quickly communicate to your teammates to execute that plan.
What has been your greatest experience on the rink?
Skating in June against the Denver Roller Dolls’ Bruising Altitude was just phenomenal. The venue is amazing, their fans are great, and the skaters themselves are super nice, fun women to spend time with. And although we lost the bout, we owned the afterparty. I just wish Beth Sentence didn't break her ankle during the bout.
What is your worst injury?
I sprained my ankle twice when I was just starting derby, and unfortunately it didn’t go well since I had broken that one before. It not only kept me off skates for nearly 4 months, but the collective damage now severely limits my range of motion, which is sooo not optimal for skating. I should point out, though, that both these sprains were due to my dirty mistress, volleyball, not derby.
Who’s your biggest fan?
My boyfriend, who is amazing. He came to see me skate in a bout for the first time last August, and the very next morning we were at a skate shop getting him fitted for his own pair of skates. He is very understanding that my free time is on a timeshare with derby and doesn’t complain if I’m up late handling derby business or jetting off for an away game on the weekend. If he ever sees me wince or hears me complain about being sore, he is quick with a massage or a beer. Dreamy.
Which teammates do you work well with?
On the track, if I’m up front, I work well with Knuckles DeVille, BootyVicious, and Mauly Anna. In the back I like working with Belle Wringer, Bones, or Sadie Mae Gutz because I can read where they are going and thus complement their coverage—and they’re hard hitters so it always makes my job easier getting sloppy seconds with the opposing jammer.
Off the track I work well with Absolutely Scabulous, Satan’s Kitten, and Zootown Throwdown doing head stuff. And Bitch Puddin’ and I work our livers together. It’s great just to be surrounded by so many awesome women.
What do you contribute to SVRG *off* the track?
I am the Head of PR and Marketing, I contribute to Community Service and Safety committees, and I run this here blog. I try to help out with anything involving writing, editing, or running surveys since those be my goodest skills. As a personal trainer, I like working out with my teammates or sharing exercises with them that can help them recover from an injury or develop strength, balance, agility, and flexibility. However, I make sure to counterbalance the healthful contribution by supplying baked goods en masse, like Oreo truffles, bourbon brownies, and a variety of cookies. NOM NOM NOM. I am eating a brown sugar oatmeal cookie as I type, and it's rad.
How do you spend the non-derby part of your life?
Places you will find me: on the volleyball court, with a book, in my kitchen, at the bar, or behind the wheel on a road trip. And, too often, working in front of my ‘puter. My life is awesome because every day I get to read/write, eat, and sweat. That’s happy.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give women interested in playing roller derby?
Commit. Roller derby really doesn’t work as a half-assed hobby; it is a lifestyle. You have to commit your time, mind, body, and, in cases involving demons, your soul.