Skater of the Month: Patty Hearse
What attracted you to roller derby?
An old friend of mine was starting a roller derby team in Morgan Hill in April of 2010, and it just spoke to me instantly. I first looked at it as a way to exercise and stay in shape, but then when I actually started skating I loved the actual sport of it. My husband and I have always been athletic. He works out all the time and this is my way of keeping up with him. It’s something of my own that he can't do. Derby skaters are athletes and I dare someone to tell me otherwise.
How did you choose your derby name?
My dad actually gave me the name. It’s in reference to the kidnapping of Patty Hearst in 1974 by the Symbionese Liberation Army. Google it. He thought I should change the Hearst to Hearse since my husband (a.k.a. “Wu”) owns a 1965 Pontiac Bonneville Hearse which is totally our “Sunday driver.”
Tell us about your greatest experience at Circuit Jerks, as rec league organizer.
Well, for starters, I love to learn new things, so taking that on is for sure a learning experience. I want to learn as much as I can! I haven't been skating as long as some of the girls, so the Circuit Jerks really helps me improve my own skating skills while, at the same time, I get to help coach girls who have less experience than I do. I really want the Circuit Jerks to succeed and think it’s a great way to “play” roller derby if you can’t make the commitment to a league or are still unsure of what you’re getting yourself into. We have a lot of fun!
As a non-skating official (NSO), what are your responsibilities during a bout?
My role changes from bout to bout, but the basic answer is I do it all—from tracking penalties, to timing penalties, to keeping score, to tracking who’s in the lineup. I’ve never done any wrangling; I’m not that good, YET! I was hesitant to be an NSO because I really didn't understand what it was, but I'm so glad I did. It helps me understand the game better and helps me with strategy. Just knowing what the penalties mean and what you can and cannot do helps build my derby knowledge.
You contribute so much to SVRG behind the scenes, too. What projects have you been working on as part of the bout production committee?
I revamped the bout program. That took such a long time. I sat at my computer for hours working on that bout program, while my husband was telling me to hurry up, but it was totally worth it. I also create an announcer’s handbook for each bout. That means gathering lots and lots of information from all the committees, leagues, and skaters and making it nice and pretty for the announcers. I’m gathering information so the coaches’, skaters’, referees’, and NSO’s profiles can be updated on the website. I'm also working on an idea I have for a league program.
When you’re not busy volunteering for the league, how do you pass the time? What other passions do you have?
I am a wife, mother, and have a full time job. So having a husband and three great little boys takes up most of my time, but my husband and I still like to go out and have fun. I make him drag me to a lot of concerts and we take the boys out often. We're wrestling geeks and comic book nerds. I like to get tattoos. (Quick tidbit: I recently got banned from a tattoo shop!) I like cars, zombies, ice cream, Wu, horror movies, and toys. I may be a wife and have three kids, but I still know how to have fun!
Who are your heroes of roller derby?
In all of derbyverse, I'd say Demanda Riot of B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls. I love her name and she is a beast on the track. She’ll beat you to a bloody pulp. Let's be honest, is there anyone scarier looking on the track than her? She’s scary looking, but still a very nice person.
In Silicon Valley, I think Kozmo Trouble is a great skater, player, and fellow Misfits fan. Nobody blocks like her; she’s very impressive. I want to be like her when I grow up. I also appreciate Aim DeKill for having so much faith in me when others don’t. I’m also a part of the Peoples Temple and I believe in Jem Jones, but I DON’T drink the Kool-Aid!
Can you offer any advice to people who are interested in derby?
My main advice is you have to have a thick skin. Like any other sport, you're going to have good days and bad days. You have to train like any other sport and be able to take criticism. With so many girls in the league, feelings will get hurt, words will be said, and friendships will be made and ended. A co-worker asked me, "Don't all derby girls think they're tough?" I replied, "I can't speak for all of them, but I'll tell you this one’s pretty tough right here."