KC Derby Digest welcomes guest writer Anya Neezenbeg of Dead Girl Derby‘s Pink Ladies, the Lovely Lethals. Anya was a good friend and longtime associate of Joe Schulz, a.k.a. Dr. Awesomesauce, referee for Dead Girl Derby that the derby community lost to tragedy this past weekend.
All photos provided to KC Derby Digest by Anya Neezenbeg; photo credit indicated where necessary.
Photo by Dan Thomas.
There are so many things to say about Joe Schulz, Dr. Awesomesauce and Deerhead Joe. My heart hurts every time I think of him now. The first day I met him before he began playing derby, before DGD was even DGD, he was just a hard core punk rocker. He was scary to look at with his piercings and Mohawk, but on the inside, his heart was full of the sincerest love.
Joe was a one of a kind. I have never met anybody that could make me so angry and so happy all at the same time. We would fight like brother and sister, but there was still always a huge respect for one another. I respected his work ethic and his loyalty. We met before DGD was the DGD it is today, when there was a handful of girls and even fewer refs. We would butt heads on so many things because both of us had such strong opinions; it got worse when we started to work together full time [at Cronin’s]. No matter how much we fought, at the end of the day, we would find a balance. If we weren’t fighting, we would always tell each other that we loved each other. He was willing to do anything for anybody. He had the biggest heart and loved so hard.
He was also one of these smartest individuals I have ever known. When he stopped skating, it was extremely sad for him. He truly loved this sport. He loved how it empowered women and gave them such a strong voice. He very much wanted to come back to derby, but he had demons that got in the way of that.
Above all, Joe would never utter a bad word about anybody. He always said such positive things about everybody — even me, even when we were on bad terms. It saddens my heart that the girls this season weren’t able to experience Joe’s kindness and helpfulness at practices. I wish everybody could have known him like the vets knew him.
Like brother and sister, we had two families: we had our Cronies family and our derby family. Both sides of our families thought the world of Joe and loved him more than he will ever know.
His daughter, his blood family, and his two step-families are in a world of despair from his loss. I hope he is at peace and knows how truly missed he is.
I will never forget you, Joe. I love you.
— Anya Neezenbeg, Dead Girl Derby
Photo by Brandi Wilson.