Roller Derby Skater – Beat Monkey
Hulls Angels Roller Dames (HARD)
Internal communications officer for a poverty and housing organisation
How long have you been involved in Roller Derby?
I joined HARD in March 2011. My friend posted some photos from practice on Facebook and I went along, with the intention of writing an article but was thrust into a pair of skates. They needed a ref, I loved it immediately, and that was that.
Why did you get involved in roller derby?
I moved home after finishing my MA and was struggling to adjust to life in a rubbish job away from so many friends, so a team sport really appealed. I already knew a bit about roller derby and was interested in its feminist/punk/radical nature as I was thinking of a PhD in those issues at the time, so it was right up my street!
Where did your nick name come from?
I chose Beat as I’ve been a DJ since I was a teenager and love music with intriguing drum patterns and rhythms. That’s where my number, 808, comes from, after the Roland drum machine. And Monkey because I’m hairy and was often called a monkey by family when I was young.
What is your favourite part about being part of Roller Derby?
Most definitely the friends I’ve made and being in an environment that is so positive, exciting and, also, really humble. Derby helped me dig myself out of a hole and I like to be able to help others do the same. I also play for The Inhuman League in Sheffield. Earlier this year we scrimmed with New York Shock Exchange. That’s just mindblowing and I can’t imagine that openness and global community feel in other sports.
How did you learn what you needed to do your role?
As I was the first ref in the league there was a lot of trial and error by myself, though I also had help from nearby leagues, such as the Wakey Wheeled Cats, who gave me my first bouts to ref. Newcastle Roller Girls also hosted a great bootcamp with a scrimmage at the end, my first! I also started rules sessions for the skaters, so teaching other people the rules helped me understand them better as well.
Any top tips for those that want to be Refs?
Confidence is key, which comes with practice and learning from your mistakes, which will happen. So fail again, but fail better. Also, try and get your head around the logic underpinning the rules and procedures. Although they have their own intricacies there’s a general thinking behind them, such as loss of relative position or judging impact, not intent. It’s like what grammar is to language and makes understanding 60+ pages of rules a lot easier.
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