Up Close And Personal Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 9.32.39 AM

Published on September 23rd, 2015 | by Andy Frye

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Between Jams: Wrecking Bill

Wrecking Bill is one of derby’s more vocal stars, to say the least. He joined the powerhouse St. Louis GateKeepers in 2009, and played a pivotal role for his team in a few MRDA championship finals. He’s also been a member of Team Sexy and Berserkers, and played in State Wars for Team Missouri, while also helping coach the GateKeepers’ reserve team, The B-Keepers.

He’s a biker and a talker. If you were about to say that Bill is no choir boy, that’s where you would be wrong.

But, if anyone wants to start a TEAM ALL CAPS for RollerCon 2016, he’s in.

(Photo by Steve Pyatt.)

TO ME DERBY IS MORE THAN A SPORT FOR MANY REASONS. IT SEEMS LIKE ALL SEXUAL ORIENTATION, RELIGION, POLITICS AND ANYTHING ELSE YOU CAN THINK OF HAVE COMES TOGETHER AND CAN GET ALONG JUST FOR THE LOVE OF THE SPORT. PLUS, YOU SEE VERY FEW SPORTS IN WHICH MEN AND WOMEN COMPETE ON AN EQUAL LEVEL, SHARING THE SAME STAGE. I LOVE THE PHYSICALITY, STRATEGY AND ENDURANCE NEEDED TO COMPETE.

PEOPLE THINK I HATE REFS, THIS IS NOT TRUE. AS A MATTER OF FACT A LOT OF MY CUSSING ON THE WAY TO THE PENALTY BOX IS DIRECTED AT MYSELF, BUT I DO THINK THAT SOME OF THE REFS MAKE CALLS ON BIG HITS OR PERCEIVED SLIGHTS THAT I WISH WOULDN’T HAPPEN. YET, A LOT OF THE TIME WHEN I GO BACK AT LOOK AT FOOTAGE I SEE THAT THEY WERE RIGHT. I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE “NO COMMENTING ABOUT CALLS” RULE. I HAVE PLAYED MANY SPORTS, AND SO LONG AS IT ISN’T A PERSONAL ATTACK YOU CAN VOICE YOUR OPINION ABOUT CALLS. HELL, WATCH SPORTS SHOWS ON HBO (HARD KNOCKS, 24/7 ) AND LISTEN HOW THEY TALK TO OFFICIALS. PLUS I’M A BIKER AND WORK IN AN OIL REFINERY, I CUSS ALL OF THE TIME !!

THE MOST VALUABLE THING I HAVE LEARNED FROM THE SPORT IS TO BE ACCEPTING OF OTHER PEOPLE. I WASN’T WHEN I STARTED PLAYING. I HAVE PLAYED TEAM SPORTS MY WHOLE LIFE BUT IT IS SO DIFFERENT IN DERBY, AND SOMETHING I HAD TO LEARN MYSELF. THE OTHER TEAM WAS ALWAYS “THE ENEMY” AND ORIGINALLY I WOULD HAVE NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT HANGING OUT AND PARTYING WITH THEM.

ROLLER DERBY IS HARD BUT REWARDING. LUCKILY, I HAVE BEEN ON A VERY SUCCESSFUL TEAM AND HAVE BEEN AN IMPORTANT PIECE OF THAT SUCCESS. THE SUPPORT AND RESPECT FROM THE DERBY COMMUNITY HAS BEEN INSPIRING. SO MUCH SO THAT I CAN’T BRING MYSELF TO RETIRE !!

HEARING “WRECKING BILL JAM!” BEING CHANTED BY FANS, SEEING MY SHIRT SELL OUT , PEOPLE WANTING TO TAKE A PICTURE WITH ME, COMPANIES WANTING TO SPONSOR ME ARE JUST NOT THINGS I EVER THOUGHT ABOUT WHEN I STARTED THIS SPORT IN MY FORTIES !!

MY PERSONAL HEROES HAVE BEEN MANY. I WAS A HUGE LYLE ALZADO FAN, I THOUGHT HIS RAW EMOTION AND DRIVE WERE AWESOME. STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN, ULTIMATE WARRIOR AND THE ROAD WARRIORS WERE MY FAVORITE WRESTLERS, I OWN ALL OF THEIR DVDS AND GO BACK TO WATCH THEM OFTEN.

THE WOLVERINE WAS MY HERO WHEN I WAS A KID AND IS THE REASON HE IS TATTED ON MY ARM. MY FOOTBALL COACH IN HIGH SCHOOL WAS I WOULDN’T SAY A HERO BUT SOMEONE I IDOLIZED. THE DRIVE AND DETERMINATION HE INSTILLED INTO ME IS A HUGE REASON I AM THE PERSON I AM TODAY.

THE FIRST YEAR THE MRDA FINALS WERE IN ST. LOUIS WE HAD A BOUT AGAINST YOUR MOM ABOUT MONTH BEFORE, I SUFFERED A HIGH ANKLE SPRAIN WHEN MY TOE STOP CAUGHT WHILE I WAS KNOCKING B-STANG OUT OF BOUNDS. I THOUGHT I HAD BROKEN MY ANKLE, I HAD TO STAY OFF OF IT FOR 3 WEEKS, A LITTLE OVER A WEEK BEFORE I TRIED TO COME BACK BUT COULD BARELY SKATE. THE PRACTICE BEFORE CHAMPS I SKATED. AT CHAMPS I TAPED IT UP AND SKATED AGAINST NEW YORK. WE WON AND I THOUGHT I HELD MY OWN, IT HURT BUT I SUCKED IT UP. THE CAPTAINS AND COACHES WERE WORRIED I WAS NOT 100%. WHICH I WASN’T, I HAD TO WATCH FROM THE SIDELINES AS WE LOST BY 1 POINT…IT WAS DEVASTATING.


Wearing his favorite shirt like a champ.

THE SECOND TIME I WAS IN THE FINALS WE WERE KICKING ASS AND TAKING NAMES, HALFTIME HAPPENED, WE LET UP, PLAYED IT SAFE, OR ANY OTHER SPORTS CLICHÉ YOU WANT TO SAY…THEY MADE ADJUSTMENTS WE GOT INTO FOUL PROBLEMS AND THE GAME FLIPPED. WE LOST BUT I GOT TO LEAVE IT ON THE TRACK….I AM HOPING TO BE ABLE TO REDEEM THAT LOSS THIS YEAR !!

IN ST. LOUIS THE LADIES OF ARCH RIVAL HAVE TREATED US AS EQUALS FROM DAY ONE. WE HELP COACH EACH OTHER, PRACTICE TOGETHER AND PLAY BOUTS TOGETHER. THEIR SUPPORT HAS MADE US THE TEAM WE ARE TODAY !!

THINGS MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME: I WAS IN SEVERAL SELECT CHOIRS IN HIGH SCHOOL AND I WAS ON THE DEBATE TEAM. I TURNED DOWN A SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY LAW BECAUSE I WAS TIRED OF GOING TO SCHOOL. I MARRIED MY HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEART RIGHT ABOUT 2 YEARS OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL. I HAD A DAUGHTER A YEAR LATER. WE WERE MARRIED 9 YEARS. I LIVED WITH MY SECOND WIFE FOR 10 YEARS AND WAS MARRIED FOR ONE. I HAVE 2 GRANDCHILDREN.

IF I WASN’T PLAYING DERBY I WISH I WOULD HAVE TRIED TO BE A PRO WRESTLER. I WANTED TO DO IT SO BADLY BUT ALWAYS HAD A FAMILY TO SUPPORT. I HAD A CHANCE TO DO IT WHEN I WAS MARRIED TO MY SECOND WIFE, BUT SHE WOULD HAVE NONE OF IT. I SHOULD HAVE KICKED HER TO THE CURB THEN AND FOLLOWED MY DREAM !!

IN MY PAST LIFE I BELIEVE I WAS A GLADIATOR. IF THEY BRING BACK THAT SPORT I WILL TRY IT AS WELL !!

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Andy Frye writes about derby for Fiveonfive and has written for a variety of other sports publications. As LeBron Shames, he skates with the Chicago Bruise Brothers.

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About the Author

Andy Frye writes about derby for Fiveonfive and has written for a variety of other sports publications. As LeBron Shames, he skates with the Chicago Bruise Brothers.



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