Roller Derby Skater – Fanny Batter
Hot Wheel Roller Derby
Secondary School English Teacher
How long have you been skating?
Coming up to 3 years in roller derby, but I went to a monthly roller disco back in the 90s. Nothing gets me going like a bit of Salt ‘n’ Pepa or Prodigy even now.
Why did you get involved in roller derby?
I saw Whip It. Thought the film was pretty mediocre, but fell in love with the sport at first sight. Went to see it on the Friday night with my boyfriend, got home and made him google ‘roller derby England’ I’d convinced myself it would only be in the US and I felt like I couldn’t deal with the heartache if I never got to play. Turned out there were derby teams in England, and even one in Leeds! I emailed there and then and turned up to train on the Sunday.
How often do you practice?
Three times a week with Hot Wheel and occasionally I go on a Sunday night to train with The Inhuman League, the merby team in Sheffield. They’re awesome fun.
What Pads do you use?
Scabs for my knees. Cracked the first pair after a year or so, but they’d had a lot of falls on them at that point. My second pair have kept me going ever since. No gaskets. 187 elbow pads which are really small and awesome. Can’t find decent wrist guards; they seem to break after a couple of months whatever I get.
What Helmet do you use?
A Bobbin gold helmet. It’s so shiny people can’t take their eyes off it. I can’t bring myself to put any stickers on it except my league stripes. I’ve also got a ridiculous pink glittery number for intraleague scrimmages. It’s for kids and has flowers and ‘Peace and Love’ written on it.
What skates do you use?
The whole team skate on hockey skates from Slapshot UK. They’ve got more ankle support and quick manoeuvrability than derby skates which seem to be more like speed skates. I’ve got the Reno Professional models with Meneghini Spider wheels. I love them and would recommend them to anyone. Hot Wheel skaters all skate without stoppers which is something other teams generally find a bit odd.
What were your first pair of skates?
The red and blue disco skates from back in the day. If my mum hadn’t chucked them when I was at uni, I would’ve turned up to training in them. As it was, I got myself a pair of Vipers from Ebay as soon as possible and skated in those for over a year until I felt I’d earned a decent pair of skates.
Where did your nick name come from?
I misheard one of our skaters during introductions: she said Mad Splatter but I heard Fanny Batter. I thought it was the best thing ever. When I saw that wasn’t the name on her shirt I Two Evils’d it at once. Weirdly, no-one had it already! I ran it past our coach Jerry Attric who laughed for about 5 minutes straight and begged me to do it. My name before was Cthlulu like if the Lovecraftian elder god was a 60s singer. No-one got it. Everyone gets Fanny Batter, although I did have to explain it to my mum.
What is your favourite part about being a Roller girl?
I found derby so tough to begin with. Loads of sessions before I joined Hot Wheel I’d go home in tears. But I always felt like it was my destiny to play derby. There was one training session about two weeks in when I was so tired, struggling so much with one of the drills that that little voice in my head was like I can’t do this. I’ve got to sit down. I’ve got to stop. I might be sick. And I told that little voice No.At that point, I realised that little voice had controlled me all my life. Told me I couldn’t do things, that it was too tough. Now I push myself in every way I can. I want to know how good I can be.
Any top tips for up and coming Derby Superstars?Â
Beat that voice. See how far you can go. If it wasn’t tough, everyone’d be doing it. And have fun!
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