Name: Swezey on the Eyes
Team: Dreadnought Dorothys
Seasons with KCRW: 2
How did you discover the Kansas City Roller Warriors?
“I’ve always been interested in derby. My mom was really into it and always took me skating when I was young. I’d lived in KC for a few years and just felt like something was missing; like I needed something more. One summer, I was at a cycling event and saw some girls skating around, passing out fliers. After following them around on my bike for about half an hour, I just couldn’t get it out of my head. So I went home and did some research and found KCRW’s Wreck League.
I’m such an introvert when it comes to situations like that, but I decided to jump in, regardless of being terrified of going into a place where I didn’t know anyone. I lost my mom to cancer back in 2008, and I’ve always wanted to live pieces of my life for her. I fought through the anxiety of going into unfamiliar territory, doing something I don’t know how to do, and kept in my mind how proud my mom would be, and how excited she would be to watch me play. Sometimes when I skate in a bout, I imagine her being there, hollering from the stands.”
Who are some of your biggest inspirations on the track?
“I have so many, but I will list some of my favorites. Havok is completely mesmerizing to me. Her footwork and agility are simply amazing. I’ve spent most of my time in derby wishing I could become good enough to be a jammer like her.
I also love to watch Chum Fiesta and Xcelerator tear up the track with their speed. Jess Decker, Dixie Wolf, and Rayna Pain are some of my favorite blockers to watch. Each one of them packs a punch, but in a different way. Decker will slam into you with a smile on her face. Dixie is soul crushing and packs a punch with her hits, so yeah, I try to stay away from that. Rayna is very methodical and knows exactly where to be and when to be there.
Then there are the positivity police: Vroom and Mojo (we miss you!). These ladies can spot the discouragement on my face and quickly offer words of hope and strength. When I wanted to give up, their support pushed me further.
And then there’s Candii Crusher… that girl can do all the things! Yes, I might be biased because I like her a little (i.e., she’s my girlfriend), but she is so talented. She’s hard to stop as a jammer, and hard to beat as a blocker. I can remember being completely intimidated by her anytime I had to face her. I definitely miss playing against her though. Now that she’s (temporarily) retired from KCRW, she gets to be my biggest fan!”
Favorite derby memory so far?
“There are too many to count, but I’ll try to pull out some of my favorites from recently. One of my most favorites from recently was during the first home game of this season. My jammer was in the box and I was acting as pivot. I knew that when she came back in, we’d have to do a panty pass. I looked back at her as she came in and gave her a very slight nod. The panty pass was so quick and smooth that no one even knew I had it. I had it in my hand and I thought, “Why is nobody coming at me? Am I seriously just walking through the pack right now? WAIT. AM I INVISIBLE FINALLY?!” It was such a surreal moment. I beat out some of the best blockers on the opposing team, all because I was sneaky.
Then there are the funny moments, like when Madam McBomb stuck her finger in my butt crack during a scrimmage. Or when I tried to block my own jammer, because I had forgotten I was black instead of white during a scrimmage. There she was, screaming at me and I could not figure out what I was doing wrong, until I looked down at my jersey. Or the face that my derby wife, Hotte Pursuit, and I give each other when we want to partner up during practice. Hotte, you what I’m talking about.
My most favorite thing is watching my personal growth. It’s so rewarding realizing that my body is capable of things it wasn’t in the beginning; that it’s learned to react and respond effectively.”
Roller derby changes every life it touches. How has it changed yours?
“When I started derby, I had lost myself. I didn’t know who I was, or what I enjoyed. I didn’t know what I was capable of doing. It’s given me the courage to be who I am and know that I have a group of people that will love me anyway; even when I mess up, they’ll still be there.
Best of all, I’ve earned a family when I felt alone in this city. It’s broken me down. It’s built me up. It’s made me realize it’s okay to fail, because that’s when I learn the most. Derby is such a life-changing experience for everyone who has experienced it. Whether you are in it for 10 weeks or 10 years, it changes you. In the current world, being female is tough, and getting tougher. Every time I practice, I see so much strength and unity within the league. When one of us goes down, the rest of us are right down there with them. I’m so glad to have finally found my tribe. It’s so much more than I ever thought it would be and I can’t wait to grow with these beautiful ladies!”