Name: Candle Whacks
Team: The Black Plague
Position(s): Blocker, Pivot
Seasons with Dead Girl Derby: 1
How did you discover Dead Girl Derby?
“Well, that’s a really long story. The short version is that two friends of mine were NSOs during the last season, and in the middle of the year, one of them had to move away. I was offered the open NSO spot by the one who stayed, who knew I liked roller derby, and I went. That night, several skaters, none of whom I had ever met, came to me with flyers for recruitment night. The rest is history.”
Explain the origin of your derby name.
“It actually wasn’t my first choice! Several years ago, when I first started watching derby, I decided “Brazilian Whacks” was the name I’d want to use if I ever got involved, though it was admittedly a pipe dream at that point. Then, after I finally passed my MSTs after the initial draft, I found out that for a long story of reasons, I couldn’t use it. I’d grown attached to the “Whacks” part because a few people had already started referring to me using it, so I just made a different-but-similar pun so I could keep the “Whacks” part. It worked out anyway, because now I have an excuse to incorporate fire and melted stuff into my ensemble if I want to.”
Who inspires you on the track?
“Man, it’s hard to pick just a few people. No matter what, I’m gonna feel like I left someone out! The first person I’d have to note is definitely Striking Dervish — she was the head instructor during last year’s Fresh Meat Boot Camp, and I think that because of that, most of us newly-rostered skaters look up to her. She did a great job, and she’s a phenomenal skater with an awesome attitude. Others would include Abbey Rogue, my wonderful derby mistress, and Do’Er Dye, Mel Breakdown, and Mojo Gogo, all of whom often go out of their way to show me how to do something better. I also definitely have to mention Red Ripper, who constantly blows my mind with how awesome she is, on and off skates. Back when I watched the KCRW games, she was by far my favorite skater, and to now be skating with her years later (or, well, several laps /behind/ her, because she’s really fast) at practices — it boggles the mind. Finally, I want to give special mention to all my fellow Wolfies — you know who you are! I couldn’t have asked to fail my MSTs with a better group of people. You’re all amazing.”
How has roller derby changed your life?
“The first thing that comes to mind is that, more than anything else, it’s eliminated a huge chunk of my free time! Beyond that, there’s a lot of ways I’ve been affected, mostly in relation to my health. Before I got involved with derby, I had literally never exercised before in my entire life. In high school, I passed the required PE class by .03 percentage points. Because of that lifetime of inactivity, the sudden jump into this amount of physical activity has been a huge challenge, and it’s forced me to take steps to take more care of my health and my body, which I am very much not used to doing. I now have to have regular appointments with a pulmonologist, for example, because I have pretty severe exercise-induced asthma. I’m sure you guys will notice me constantly puffing on an inhaler between jams, looking like I’m about to faint and regretting all of my life choices.”
What is it about roller derby that brings out the best in Candle Whacks?
“In my own life, I tend to keep to myself and I rarely try new things, so getting into roller derby as more than a spectator has been a huge shift. I like to think of roller derby as a great equalizer. More than anything else I’ve done in my life, roller derby feels like a huge family, and it’s been really cool to see how awesome everyone is to each other here — if you suck at a drill and fall over a lot, I’ve found that it’s not uncommon for a vet to come over and relate to you that they once sucked just as bad as you’re sucking right now, and then they’ll do their best to help you improve. No one is afraid to admit that we all had to start somewhere, and knowing that even the really awesome skaters aren’t going to make fun of you for being a beginner — at least not to your face! — is definitely helpful in keeping me from being too embarrassed to try something new. Roller derby allows me to be okay with making an ass of myself in public, and that comfort makes me, I’d think, a better person.”