November Spotlight:

Magali Coetzee

Photo by Deana Brown 

Photo by Deana Brown 

How did you decide to start playing roller derby? 

A coworker of mine, the lovely Octa-Gone, played derby in Santa Fe. She organized a girls’ night out at the local rink, and I couldn’t even stand up on my rental skates. So, out of some misplaced fit of stubbornness, I decided that I wanted to play roller derby. I bought secondhand skates from another skater and spent the next four months learning how to do things like turn left. Turning right took a few months after that.

Photo by Robert Loundagin 

Photo by Robert Loundagin 

What roles do you fill in the league? 

I’m finishing my third season as treasurer this month, and gratefully turning it over to a new treasurer for the 2016 season. I’ll be captaining the Juggernaughties in 2016, having run on a platform of integration, intensity, and glorious victory.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about roller derby?

I’ve received a lot of advice over the last few years. The most common thing I’ve heard is “get lower,” but there’s a lot of other good advice floating around. Some I listen to (“take some time off when you’re injured”), some I don’t (“go to the doctor!”). The best piece of advice, and the hardest one to take seriously, is to take some time for yourself. Derby has a habit of creeping up and taking over the rest of your life, and burnout is no fun.

Photo by David Reed (in Peru)

Photo by David Reed (in Peru)

What do you do in your non-derby life?

Accounting! I got into accounting after a year as the derby treasurer. I taught myself the software, set up the books and budgets, and found myself with an unexpected set of new job skills.

Recently I’ve been spending some time at the skate park with Chicks in Bowls, which is frankly terrifying every time. I’m also a serial crafter – I cycle through sewing, knitting, metal casting, screen printing, and whatever else I can get my hands on. Derby is by far my longest-lasting hobby.

Final thoughts?

Roller derby has had a hugely positive impact on my life. Having a group of strong, independent women around me helped me to become stronger and more independent in my own right. I’ve had the privilege of surrounding myself with amazing role models, and I want to thank everyone that I’ve skated with, officiated with, and worked with.

With Chicks in Bowls. Photo by Sarah Iha

With Chicks in Bowls. Photo by Sarah Iha

Who knows, maybe you’ll even get me to jam one day.

Posted on November 11, 2015 .