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February 2016 Featured Skater: Beast Mode

Hey guys, Beast Mode here! So I guess I’m supposed to tell you some things about me. My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin’ on the porch with my family, singin’ and dancin’ down the Mississippi… Okay, okay, that’s a lie. I stole that line from “The Jerk” (a classic). Alright, real talk now.

I’ve been skating with Gem City since the tail end of 2012 (sweet baby Jesus I can’t believe it’s been that long) and I was empirically terrible. I had the great fortune of having a sage orchestra teacher in 5th grade (Mr. Wright) who imparted this wisdom on my young impressionable brain: “You aren’t going to get this overnight. If you keep doing it, it’ll click. You’re building new connections in your brain – that takes time and only works if you keep doing it.” So I trudged on (squawkily and screechily, as I’m sure my parents will attest to those early violin days) and one day, it clicked. I’ve carried that lesson with me into all aspects of my life, but particularly with derby. All those times I fell on my hind parts (and sometimes my face) and took down everyone (refs included) during a pack 30, I’d take a breath and say, “I will get this”. Eventually, things began to click. Being stubborn with your goals pays off!

I started doing yoga around the same time I began derby and both have transformed my life and body. From yoga I am learning to quiet my (often restless, easily distracted) mind and listen to my body. I’m learning to be gentle with myself and confident in my strength (crow pose lovers holla at me!). Derby has given me a wonderful community – I can’t remember what life was like before derby! I absolutely love blocking, especially in a 4 wall. There is something magical about being in a great 4 wall. I have mad respect for dedicated jammers, jamming is physically and mentally taxing.

Miscellaneous things to know about me: I enjoy 5Ks, 10Ks, and have run 2 half-marathons but actually loathe running in and of itself. I became a vegetarian after reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s book, “Eating Animals.” I read voraciously. I donate blood every 8 weeks and volunteer with Ronald McDonald House Charities and Five Rivers Metroparks. There is really not much I won’t do for charity. I love living in a geographical place that gets all four seasons. Thanks to the X-Files I wanted to be a cryptozoologist as a kid and was completely crestfallen to learn that wasn’t an actual thing, so now I work in software support. If I had to pick a spirit animal it would probably be a bouncing baby goat. Or a squirrel. My sister and I spent a whole summer as kids watching Star Wars on VHS and pretending we were in the film. I have amazingly supportive parents who also happen to be lovely human beings. I’d be lost without my best friend (Hi Jenn!). I think pizza is proof that whatever deities may be love us and want us to be happy. I believe if everyone read Mary Oliver the world would be a kinder place. I have a full, wild, blissful existence in a beautiful and broken world. Being part of GCRG these last few years has been a gift and I am beyond excited to keep working toward building a better league!

#PurpleReign #Skater

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