What do you think of when you hear “Vicious Valkyrie”? Probably not a slender, speedy skater who has number 93 on her back, but that’s our Val. She was kind enough to answer some questions for us as our featured skater for May.
What made you decide to try derby?
In Spring 2013 I went to my first roller derby bout and instantly fell in love. I spent the remainder of the 2013 season and all of the 2014 season traveling almost weekly to watch bouts all over Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. If I wasn’t at a bout any given weekend, chances are that I was live streaming a tournament or watching bout archives.
How long have you been skating?
At the first bout I went to, I talked to a skater and found out about an open skating/derby skills practice weekly in Cincinnati. I began attending in April 2013 and worked on improving my skating skills for about a year and a half (minus the time I spent off skates with a broken foot and 2 torn ligaments Summer/Fall 2013.) After being turned down twice by a league closer to where I live it came to the point when I realized I wanted to skate and began looking at other leagues. I decided to join Gem City in January 2015 and was instantly welcomed and it really felt like I was finally home. Within a month I had passed off on all of my skills and was rostered for my first bout; I haven’t looked back since.
Other than derby, have you participated in team or individual sports?
I played one season of soccer when I was in third grade and discovered that I am not great at sports with balls. I danced competitively as well, which, I believe, gives me an advantage in toe stop work.
What’s your fitness routine?
Outside of practice I try to hit the gym for weight training 3 times a week. I also try to find moments throughout the day to stay active if I can’t make it to the gym. For example, doing squats in the morning while I’m waiting for my cats to eat their breakfast.
Do you have a bout day routine or special meal?
I try to get as much sleep as I can the night before and get a good breakfast. I’ll do a breathing treatment a few hours before and get a chicken teriyaki sub from Penn Station.
Do you have “off” practices? If you do, how do you deal with it mentally?
Absolutely! I can’t always get myself in the right state of mind during an “off” practice, but I try to make sure that I don’t go to bed while I’m mentally in a bad place. On the way home I’ll remind myself of how far I’ve come and try to name something I did well at practice to counter-balance any negative feelings. If nothing else getting a good workout and getting to spend time with my team are always positives.
How did you pick your name?
In Norse mythology, a Valkyrie decides who lives and who dies on the battlefield. I love that strong, unstoppable female archetype so I knew I wanted something with Valkyrie in it. I added the vicious later to make it unique. I guess the intention behind picking such a fierce name is the hope that I’ll eventually be able to embody it on the track.
We know that you have Lupus, which is something people hear about but don’t always have facts on. What it is, and how has it affected you as a skater?
I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus Spring 2010. I was relieved to actually have a diagnosis to explain the downturn of my health and begin treatment, but frustrated to learn that this would be something that I would have to face every day for the rest of my life. Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. It can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, brain and other organs.  Some environmental triggers that set off the illness are: ultraviolet rays from the sun or fluorescent light bulbs, an infection, exhaustion, emotional stress or anything that causes stress to the body. To get a picture of what this is like, it seems like, whenever I am stressed or even simply go outside my cells attack themselves and flare up symptoms in all of my body systems. I have been fortunately thus far that my case has only been mild/moderate. As far as how this relates to roller derby, I just need to make sure that I listen to my body and put my overall health as the top priority. I am proud of all that I have been able to accomplish and will continue to keep fighting.
“Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.” MedlinePlus. January 20, 2015. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000435.htm