Meet Duke City Roller Derby’s October spotlight member, Ima Hazard! Hazard has been with DCRD for two seasons. You may have seen her playing on the Hobots home team (or subbing in for the Dooms Dames!), running Saturday afternoon newbie practice, or hooking up DCRD with community projects! Check her out:
This is going to be hard because I can't use bad words.
What got you started in roller derby?
Well, Seam Slayer had been bugging me every chance she got to join. Then Mo, Pelvis Chestly (who is a Duke City Darlin' with me), joined and asked me to come to a Monday newbie practice with her.... I tried the ever-expanding list of excuses: I don't have gear. "They have loaner gear." Skates? "Yes." Helmets? "Yes." There was no reason for me to not go. That Tuesday I was looking at buying skates and gear for myself. Yeah, it’s THAT good. ;)
Tell us about your derby name.
In my first few weeks of skating - keep in mind I was a newborn giraffe on a frozen pond at this time, we all start there - I kept thinking to myself that I was a hazard to myself and everyone around me. It also didn't help that I purchased the UGLIEST color of skates ever created. A combo of cheap mac n' cheese and school bus. Like a rolling hazard cone, but uglier. I just kind of embraced the fact that IMA HAZARD.
Do you have a favorite derby moment from a game or practice?
Every moment is derby is my favorite, but I do have a few that I will always cherish. In my first home game I was substituting on the Dooms Dames, and I managed to hit Kell's Inferno out of bounds! And the other one was my first game as a Hobot, *Go Ho Or Go Home*. I was blocking the Disco Brawler’s jammer and the impact was so solid and incredible. She bounced right off me and looked at me like, "Alright, then." OOH! and at the scrimmage on 10/15, I blocked Skela like a boss! That [clockwise block] penalty was totally worth it. [Editor’s note: said scrimmage was the day before this interview, so she really means it when she says she loves every moment!]
You’ve stepped up this season to help run newbie practice. What’s your coaching/training philosophy?
YES!! I Love working with the newbies! I call them my 'Green Team' and I've been so proud of all of the skaters and grateful that they have allowed me to be part of their journeys. I don't have a philosophy, I just try to take the time to boost morale and work on the last few things that each skater needs to pass the minimum skills. Oh, and dance breaks are mandatory.
What’s your favorite piece of advice for people new to this sport?
Everyone starts at the same place and baby steps are still steps forward. I say so many strange and yet somehow helpful things, it’s hard to pick.
You volunteer with some charitable organizations here in Albuquerque. Tell us about those?
I've been a Duke City Darlin' for four years and I've worked with a multitude of non-profits ranging from Ronald McDonald House, St. Baldricks Foundation, Special Spaces NM, and the one I still try really hard to stay up to date with, People Helping People of New Mexico. I get a kick, getting to show people the trees we planted and the pond we dug for the Bugarium at the Botanic Gardens.
How can people get involved with these organizations?
If you want to get involved with any of these organizations, just Google them! I know personally that they are all always happy to have help and see new happy faces!
You’ve spoken up about dealing with anxiety, which is a popular topic for skaters online. Does roller derby help? How does anxiety impact derby involvement?
Damn it, that's a good question. My anxiety is a fickle bitch. The stupidest thing will set it into motion, a look, a thought, even smells can trigger it. I've left practices crying because no one would talk to me. I had a panic attack during scrimmage, something that I had done a dozen times before, and I still don't know what set it off. Being put in uncomfortable situations is enough to make anyone slightly freak out, but when you have anxiety, something so small as having to retie your skate can make you feel like something bad is going to happen.
Roller derby has absolutely helped me with my anxiety! A gradual introduction to these things and just the idea of it becoming routine has helped a lot. I'm not saying that throwing yourself to the sharks will cure your fear of them, the gods know I'd never allow myself to be in a group of clowns. When that jam start whistle blows and everyone jumps into action, I have to talk to myself and tell myself that I'm doing okay. after a few jams, the thoughts fade and I can actually focus on talking to myself about the game. "Okay, where’s my buddy?" "Where is the jammer?" You can always tell if I'm outside of that point because I'm able to communicate with my team finally. Being able to talk myself through a full two-minute jam when most of the opposing team is Muñecas is a huge step forward, and a practice I'm getting better at implementing during my regular day.
How can we be better teammates to someone with anxiety?
Just be supportive. Let them know you're there if they need you. Ask them if there is anything that you can do to help. Some people like being talked to, some people like being left alone. It all really depends on the person.
What’s your outside-derby life like?
I'm married to an amazing man who in his not-at-home or work time is at the gym working on his physique for competition next year, who also happens to be a brand ambassador for a power lifter - C.T. Fletcher, who we so affectionately call "Pops". He gets to fly all over and work fitness conventions and expos. His life is far more exciting than mine, I think. Our ten-year wedding anniversary is February 9th and it’s coming up fast! I have two children: Gloria is eleven and Grant is six, and like all children they can be jerks and they don't help me out much.
Average household pets: a dog, two cats, a handful of fish, and a leopard gecko. I'm a total sucker for anything Disney, particularly Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas. I spend my time helping others while trying to balance derby life and home life, and fit video games in somewhere. ;)
Come see Ima Hazard play with the Hobots at Heights Community Center this Saturday, October 22nd at 3:00 p.m. Come early and catch our junior team, the Duke City Marionettes, as they take on the Los Alamos Cherry Bombs! Doors open at 12:30. Tickets are $10 at the door, or $8 from our online store! See you at the track!