Name: Rita Ploy
Team: Black Eye Susans
Seasons with KCRW: 6
You played for KCRW for several years, retired for a while, and came back. How has the league changed?
“Where do I start!! When we first started, it was more about the theatrics of roller derby, more of a punk rock art scene. Between the fishnets, short skirts, and drag queen mascots, it was a riot! My very first game [was] Heaven vs. Hell, hip hop style. Since there were only seven of us on one team, we became the seven deadly sins. I was Sista Gluttony. I put a pillow under my shirt, filled a KFC chicken bucket with candy, and put a real piece of a chicken wing tied to my gold necklace for bling, and off we skated! It wasn’t until we brought in Coach Ice, the beloved Tim Warder, RIP — a former hockey coach — that things began to change. He took us from the art/punk rock league to national champions!”
Longtime veterans like you are often role models for newer players. Where do you get YOUR inspiration?
“Honestly, from both the veterans and the fresh meat. When these new girls come in, they are so doe-eyed and thrilled to be on skates. Every time they do the simplest things, they get these huge smiles and get so excited, and that is contagious. It reminds us to celebrate the little things in life and not take them for granted. Like during this last game, we were down by million points for the championship and I went in jammed and scored one point… I celebrated that one point! After all this time you get a little burnt out, especially after a long season, and those new girls are what drive me to be a better person and skater.”
Any memorable injuries over the years?
“Knock on wood, nothing major so far! I cracked a rib right before a tournament and had a major concussion… and do countless hangovers count??? Derby after parties can be of epic proportions.”
Favorite derby memory?
“None that I can mention to the public. :) But I definitely would say being part of the 2007 national champion team.”
Roller derby changes every life it touches. How has it changed yours?
“When I started, I was such a confused and angry woman. Like so many skaters that come to the league, we are looking for a change in our life whether we know it or not. I’ve known a lot of women who have had alcohol/drug issues, been in abusive/mentally abusive relationships, coming to terms with their sexuality, or just have been a lazy couch potato and completely bored with their existence on this planet… I can’t even begin to express here how it has changed my life.
I am the loving and caring person I am today because of this community. It’s also not just about the skaters who change you to become a better person, but The Juniors, the refs, announcers, NSOs, volunteers, photographers, fans, and our families who give us all the support in the world!! (Love you Papa Ploy and Mama Rita, my brother Todd, my sister Amy, and amazing nephews Devan and Copper!) Roller derby is a huge family that I can’t imagine my life without. Swoon!”