Tara is one of our favorite skaters — she’s so upbeat and funny and helps out, but she works hard at practice. No goofing off or clowning around! As the featured skater for March, she agreed to answer some questions for us, her loyal fans.
Q: How long have you been skating?
A: I joined the team in 2011. I spent a lot of time skating as a kid. I have memories of my cousins singing “roller derby woman” to the tune of “Pretty Woman” as I skated on the street in front of their house. So, yeah, derby was pretty much my destiny and stuff.
Q: What made you decide to try derby?
A: I saw a Gem City a recruitment flyer while I was looking for a roller girl Halloween costume. I was immediately captivated and knew I had to try out. Why didn’t someone tell me this existed in real life sooner??
Q: Had you done any other team sports besides derby?
A: I was involved with a good amount of sports, intermittently, as a kid: swim team, softball, soccer, baton twirling (yes, it totally counts), volleyball, basketball, and track & field.
Q: What is your day job?
A: I build commercial project quotes and provide technical assistance for a local garage door manufacture. It’s insanely glamorous.
Q: How much exercise do you get in a typical week?
A: On average 3-5 days a week, which can be a struggle in the winter. Once the weather warms up, I’ll be running, skating, biking, or walking my tiny dog almost every day.
Q: How did you choose your derby name?
A: When I started derby I wanted people to think I was mean and scary. Unfortunately, I look like I cuddle with kittens all day (which is only sometimes true), so I picked a name that would help me feel a little more aggressive on the track. Kind of a “fake it ‘til you make it” approach.
Q: What helps your mental game the most? That is, what do you say to yourself when you feel like you aren’t performing up to your standards in a bout?
A: If I feel like I’m skating poorly or I’m getting penalty heavy, I’ll use the “power pose” and positive visualization to boost my confidence. I’ll stand or sit bigger and stronger, making sure my chin is held high. I’ll close my eyes and visualize a good jam or think of something that makes me smile. It sounds kind of cheesy, but it can be really effective against negative self-talk.
Q: How has derby changed you?
A: I feel like a kid again. Derby has pushed my boundaries and given me a lot of unadulterated joy. I’ve utterly failed, felt like a super-star, had to apologize for being a jerk, and made some really amazing friends… and sometimes I do all of that in one single night! I also feel stronger physically, but I think the mental and emotional gains are the ones that will stick with me long after I’ve left the track.