Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Q&A with D-Day of the Heartless Heathers

Skater Name: D-Day
Age: 32
Neighborhood: NE Portland
Beverage of choice: wine or celebratory champagne

I didn't see a bout until Season One, Bout Three, but I always assumed you were with RCR from the beginning. Is that right? How did that happen?

Yes, I joined about a month after RCR’s inception, I saw a tiny message in the Mercury looking for skaters. We used to skate in a parking garage below the old Grand Central Bowling Alley: no pads, no helmets, beer in hand.

Way back when, how did you choose to be a Heather?

The Heathers were and still are a motley bunch. I like to think of us as the leftovers of the league. The Guns and Rollers were the only clear established team on the league: they had their name, theme and players ready and organized first.

When the league finally had enough skaters to establish four solid teams, the Heartless Heathers were born. When we were deciding on a name. we wanted something intimidating and mean. We thought that the bitchy Heathers characters from that movie "Heathers" sounded ruthless, just what we were looking for. Our cold, icy theme was inspired by the Ice Queen on the Candyland boardgame: we thought she looked really cool. Vominatrix, Sol Train, Fire Crotch, Sump Pump, TeaKillya and myself played in the first Heartless Heathers game and we are still rollin'.

How long have you been skating on quads?

As a kid I went to the usual roller skating birthday party, that’s the extent of my past on quads. A chain of serendipitous events happened right before I joined RCR. A visiting friend from out of town gave me a pair of roller skates, then I saw the Starlight Express at the Schnitz (rollerskating Broadway show) and then I caught the Mercury ad soliciting skaters, I knew I had to go check it out.

You were known in season one as half of a legendary "wall" you regularly formed with Sol Train. I have a little video clip in which you and Sol were blocking and I can hear my friend Kurt exclaiming, "D-Day and Sol Train are like a wall! You can't get past them!" It was true, and there was that famous photo by Pasha of "The Iron Curtain." Obviously things have evolved since then, and the Heathers aren't so role-bound, and each player is a lot more versatile. What are your memories of back then versus your impressions of the way the Heathers are now?

I love the infamous "iron curtain" with my evil twin sister, Sol Train! We miss doing that together but this team doesn’t really need it anymore, our team has become so solid and well-rounded. Everybody makes great walls and skates a solid defense. Sol and I tend to get separated in lineups now but, we still get mistaken for each other on the track sometimes. This past year we have brought up a lot of new players, more people get play time which helps them improve and now we have a ton of jammers to rotate in our lineups. I think our team is stacked. Ha Ha- in more than one way.

You used to wear some below-the-knee fur leggings. Or were they? What were they? (We were all impressed).

Ahhhhh. My beloved furry booties! For my old uniform I was going for an icy, tundra, clan of the cave bear look. I might bust them out again…depends on how cold the Ice Box gets!

Do you have any opinion on the latest rule-set (WFTDA 3.0) and how it has changed the game? How has it changed your game?

The rules are constantly changing. Adjusting to new ones can be frustrating but this new era of derby is still very young and I feel like we are all getting through the kinks together. For me it's important that I don’t get hung up on a new rule and how consistently its enforced by refs, for example if it seems like a ref is calling it loose for some players and not for others, it's annoying but if I freak out about it I can lose focus.

Did you grow up around here? If not, where, and how did you get here?

I grew up in central California and lived in the mountains and the north bay area. I moved up here about 6 years ago when my Mister went back to school. We never left. Portland is a gem.

What are you occupied with outside of derby?

Well, it's not really outside of derby but I am one of the coaches for the Rosebuds, RCR’s jr roller derby. In my day job, I'm a social worker, mostly helping homeless people. When I have the time I like to grow stuff, make things, tramp around the woods, enjoy music and play with friends.

How did you choose your derby name?

An old teammate, Frostbite suggested D-Day. I had recently watched Animal House, in that movie D-Day is this goofy, quiet guy who rides around on his moterbike recklessly mowing over everything and destroying the house. I wanted to be like him in a pack.

Also the historic roots of such a bloody, infamous day seemed inline with the fear I wanted to instill in my opponents. Plus, I'm a peacenik so it's funny. The name just fit for so many reasons.

You have competed with the Wheels of Justice in national bouts. In what ways does national-level play differ from intra-league play?

Intra-league play is fun because you develop rivalries with others, watch skaters and teams develop their game over time, and you see loyal fans for all the teams cheering. It's intimate and it feels like a big fat family feud.

Playing against a team in another city is different in that you don’t know what to expect. You will hear about those larger than life superstars in the rumor mill but sometimes it's inaccurate or exaggerated. The reality is that most everybody on high-ranked league travel-teams are good players. What I really like are the surprises, who is the hot head on their team? Who is the bruiser, the rodeo clown, the sly one? It's always a surprise. You are not underestimating or overestimating another skater.


Ringer said...

DDay I adore you! Great interview, you are one hard core Heartless Heather!

While I totally adore your name, it suites you... something tidbit of info I recall, when i first joined, I believe your name was Mathra Stewart. We both have our derby nemesis's out there from names' lost/stolen. Someday we'll all have to meet for some sort of derby name grudge match!

Can't wait to see you kicking ass on August 9th....


Noz said...

Um, there is a gross misspelling that I just can't let go.

Sham-Pain is her beverage of choice.


the_mad_nader said...

Something I'd like to add. Long before the Rose City Rollers were a twinkle in anyone's booze-dilated eye (I'm talking like, 2002) D-Day had this dream of starting a quad-skating chick gang, complete with jackets that sported each member's gang name and colors. Think of the Pink Ladies from Grease on skates, terrorizing local PDX happy hour haunts.

I'm sure the similarities between that concept and the RCR isn't lost on anyone. When she read that classified add in the Merc calling for quad skaters, it was almost like someone read her mind.

The rest, as they say, is history

Miss Conduct PDX said...

I'll never forget the day I met Ms. Day (and her better half).

Mr. Day was an intern in the office I work for. We showed up at a party for another intern. I started chatting with this cool girl and I asked her if she'd seen the roller derby bout. She told me that not only had she seen it, but that she was on the Heathers!

Wow! My mister and I had gone to see the bout because we've know Sol Train for years and years. And, in the way that things can only happen in Portland, here I was getting drunk with one of her team mates. I had never felt cooler in my life! Not only did I know one derby girl, but now I knew TWO of them.

Little did I know that less than a year later I'd have my own derby name and a silly little family of kick-ass girls on roller skates!

I do love you all. Really.


JeLLyPiG said...

These profiles are all great and I had a nostalgic laugh at the "Iron Curtain" because that was an awesome duo to attempt to get by.

D-Day does rock it in the rink.