March Skater of the Month: Merciless Martinez
This month’s honored skater is SVRG’s one and only Merciless Martinez. She may be merciless to her opponents on the track, but she is a genuine and thoughtful teammate. She was nominated by her peers for being a great friend to teammates, volunteering to help train others outside of practice, and being a fabulous skater. She can often be seen juking, bean dipping, and jumping past the opposing blockers as a jammer for the Dot.Kamikazes.
How did you get into roller derby?
Honestly, if it wasn't for Drew Barrymore directing “Whip It” in 2009, it would have taken me a while to learn about this rad underground sport. I was getting a little bored with cheerleading and was inspired to pursue a full contact sport like derby after watching the movie. I started skating for the junior’s team the year it was founded (2010) and the rest, I suppose, is history!
Aging out of the junior team and finally being able to skate with the "big girls" was super exciting, but at the same time nerve-wracking and intimidating! I mean who wouldn't be stoked to finally be able to skate with the group of women you've looked up to as a junior? I will admit it was a little intimidating, and again, who isn't scared of being hit by older women? But, thanks to my previous junior derby coaches, I was able to keep up, stand my ground, and be knowledgeable about rules, game-play and strategy. Shout out to Chanasaw, Mongoose, and Belle Wringer for shaping me into the skater I am today!
What kind of skating skills or athletic abilities did you have before starting derby?
I was actually a competitive cheerleader for seven years prior to derby! It's what I get teased about the most on the team—haha! Thanks to cheerleading though, I would say I have pretty decent balance and flexibility when I jam. The tumbling or the back-flipping aspect of cheerleading, I'm afraid, is long gone at this point.
How did you derive your derby name?
It's actually an inside joke I have with my dad. My dad always joked around about how Martinezes are merciless when they lose their tempers, and not to get him angry unless I wish to face the wrath of one. So naturally I paid tribute to that. My number is just derived from my love for espionage, especially for a certain spy.
What is your primary position?
You can usually catch me jamming in a game but I'm also no stranger to helping my jammers by being their pivots in a pack!
What is your greatest strength as a skater? What do you contribute most to the team?
My greatest strength would have to be my mental stamina. When you jam in a game or scrimmage you have to have the mental stamina to get back up when you're hit down. I'd like to think I've gotten better with not giving up on myself over the years and growing to be a more determined jammer on the track. I hope that by now I've managed to channel my calm energy to help my teammates mellow out during a game on the track and on the bench. Essentially, I hope to be the coolest cucumber out there for my teammates.
To not break any vital limbs that would prevent me from skating with my team this season and to continue to challenge myself and develop my style of jamming this season.
Dragging my toe-stop on accident... I never catch myself doing it but I'm aware of it since I get yelled at by my teammates whenever they see it!
If you could bout against any team who would it be?
Gotham. Hands down it would be the Gotham Girls of New York. Why? Because I love a challenge and it's been a secret ambition of mine to get lead jammer over Bonnie Thunders at least one time in my derby career!
Who is your spirit skater?
I have a huge derby crush on Hauss the Boss from the Texas Rollergirls and I like to channel her when I practice and, of course, for games! She may be on the smaller side of the spectrum, like me, but she can hold her ground so well. Her footwork is mesmerizing to watch. She'll maneuver through a pack so gracefully with her toe stops and get through on lanes 1 and 4 so quickly it's ridiculous. I could talk about her all day. I mean I do take notes on her when I watch her jam!
My friends and, of course, my family! The fact that they show interest in what I do is enough to win them a spot in my fan club-- haha. But in all sincerity, I have the best friends who have always showed up to my home games since I was a junior skater. I'm also thankful that my parents have been nothing but supportive towards me and my passion for skating!
What positive aspect has derby brought into your life?
Honestly it's the camaraderie. I've never experienced anything like it and I was a cheerleader for seven years prior to derby. I can confidently say that I've finally found a group of uniquely strong women that I can bond with on and off the track all while being myself. It's what I missed the most when I left to college in Minnesota.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give women interested in playing roller derby?
Go for it! Scared? Do it! Not sure? Do it anyway! I don't think you have anything to lose except maybe a limb or two in the process! But all jokes aside, derby is a fantastic sport that's been gaining so much athletic momentum over the past years. If you're super competitive and serious about sports I think that derby is the perfect outlet to channel that side of you. (Find out more about SVRG’s Spring Bootcamp here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2519503
Congratulations Martinez! You’ve earned it! We’re so happy to call you a part of our team!
If you’d like to see Martinez jamming, come to SVRG’s home opened on April 30th! You can buy tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2495389