Most Fascinating People Bloody Mary (right), by Jules Doyle

Published on January 9th, 2014 | by Em Dash

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Bloody Mary (right), by Jules Doyle

Championships MVP: Bloody Mary

2013 was an exciting season for Bloody Mary. She served her fourth year as Executive Director of WFTDA, and was chosen as WFTDA Championships MVP for her role in the Texecutioners’ second place finish, following a thrilling back-and-forth final bout that rattled the previously unflappable Gotham.
It won’t come as a surprise to discover that Bloody is and has been very active in many different areas of derby throughout her eleven-year career. She plays for Texas Rollergirls’ home team the Hotrod Honeys, who are “an incredible team to be a part of, so strong and focused and competitive, and totally unapologetic about it. They demand very little of my time but 100% of my heart and my commitment, and that’s taught me a lot about being a leader.” Bloody is also the Director of Training for Texas, and obviously, something she is doing is working! It’s especially impressive for someone who claims she didn’t really know how to skate when she started playing derby.

When asked about other roles she has had, Bloody shared, “I’ve done a big variety of different jobs over the years, from being a team captain to managing the admin files to being a WFTDA Rep. Texas Rollergirls is really amazing at bringing up new leaders, and relying on the strength of the organization rather than putting any one person at the center of everything. I think it’s incredibly important for all star skaters to be involved in their leagues, but I’m not a big shot in our league, just a cog in a (pretty awesome) machine.”

Bloody Mary hoisted aloft by team-mates, by Bill Smotrilla

Bloody Mary at the 2008 WFTDA Western Regionals, Battle Royaleheld aloft by Desi Cration, Lucille Brawl, and Cat Tastrophe. Photo: Bill Smotrilla

Nobody would have guessed that 2013 was a bit of a rocky season for the veteran skater, who admitted that she had had some personal issues that hurt her health and focus. “If you re-watch the ECDX 2013 game against Gotham, you’ll see I rode the bench most of that game,” Bloody related. “My team just sort of stuck nearby as I fought through it, but they let me fight my own battle. The highlight of 2013 is coming out the other side of that, and feeling stronger for it.”

How much stronger? Well, many of you probably cheered for her as she was announced as the WFTDA Championships MVP. Did she expect to pick up this incredible honor? In a word, no.

“At the moment they said my name as MVP, a teammate was helping me get sharpie off my face. (The alleged sharpie was actually a bruise.) I think I was even politely clapping while not listening. Curvette had to turn around and say ‘Bloody, it’s you!’ I wish I could have seen my own face. To be honest, I didn’t think of myself as eligible for it. I get a decent amount of visibility for being on staff at WFTDA, and I just assumed they’d want to highlight someone else. Also, my style is steady but it’s pretty unstellar. I had never even entertained the notion that someone might say my name in that situation.”

Bloody isn’t just an incredible player, but also thoughtful and strategic. What does it take to make her look up to you? “Lucille Brawl might be the smartest person I know, and she is definitely the smartest derby brain I’ve encountered. The way her brain attacks problems is extraordinary, in terms of being both creative and analytical.”

It’s pretty stunning to imagine playing roller derby for eleven years, especially at the world-class level at which Bloody competes with the Texecutioners. As a skater, I was curious about the secret to such incredible stamina and career longevity. Bloody was glad to oblige. “I’m not sure it’s fair to say I’ve kept my energy and enthusiasm for 11 whole years. Roller derby is absolutely a real and permanent part of my life, which means sometimes I feel resolved and inspired, and sometimes I just chug along. Sometimes I’m burned out–and sometimes I don’t recognize it, we’ve all had that experience, right? Sometimes I’m really involved in my league management, sometimes I’m really dialed in to my training, and sometimes I just show up for the minimum. When derby is taking more than it can give me, or when I need to make room for something else, I’ll let it go. But for the last decade, it’s been teaching me things and taking me places, and I’m glad for the ride.”

When I asked her what she would advise a rookie, she told me, “Stick with it. The first eleven years are just practice. [winks]” But then she got more serious. “No, I mean, my only advice is to find your own road with it. Let it change your life. Or just let it be a hobby. Have fun.”

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Em Dash is a skater with Gotham Girls Roller Derby, which she joined in 2008 after a brief stint with Suburbia Roller Derby. She is also a founding member and Editor-in-Chief of Derbylife.com. For more of her writing, check out her new book, Derby Life: A Crash Course in the Incredible Sport of Roller Derby. (July 2015) http://www.gutpunchpress.com/

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About the Author

Em Dash is a skater with Gotham Girls Roller Derby, which she joined in 2008 after a brief stint with Suburbia Roller Derby. She is also a founding member and Editor-in-Chief of Derbylife.com. For more of her writing, check out her new book, Derby Life: A Crash Course in the Incredible Sport of Roller Derby. (July 2015) http://www.gutpunchpress.com/



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