Our Featured Skater for the month of March is
Black Mamba of the Kansas City Roller Warriors
and Fountain City Roller Derby!
Name: Black Mamba
Team: Victory Vixens, Shotgun Sheilas
Position: Jammer, Blocker, Pivot
Seasons with KCRW: 1
Seasons with FCRD: 4
How did you discover roller derby in Kansas City, and what made you decide to join?
“With some careful Facebook stalking, I came upon a skater’s (Bullet Vixen) game day pictures and was intrigued. I needed a sport that was intense, hard, and looked like fun. I definitely found it.”
Playing for two leagues is quite a commitment. How do you manage that?
“Lots of organization, prioritizing, and support from my squad and family. This year, I have to sit down and plan the practices I need to make in order to make myself a better skater, teammate, and captain month by month. In order to do that, I’ve had to focus on making time for myself, my awesome boyfriend, and my four furbabies at home. Finding the balance between derby (my obsession) and real life has been something I’ve failed at until this year. I haven’t mastered the healthy ratio, but I’m getting there.
I know I wouldn’t be able to be this focused on myself and my teammates getting better if I didn’t have all the support at home that I do. I’m a pretty lucky girl.”
You’re widely known to fans and players alike for having one of the most positive, sportsmanlike attitudes in the sport. How do you stay so positive, and who do you look to for inspiration?
“I stay away from negativity as much as possible. I had to realize that I am in control of my own happiness and I don’t have to let the negativity in. I’m constantly stepping back and thinking about how lucky I am that I get to play this sport that keeps me on my toes, mentally and physically. I also strongly believe that you get what you put out. My positivity is contagious and I hope I get to infect as many people with it as possible.
My inspiration is and has always been my teammates and leaguemates. We are all on our own journey to get better, and seeing all these skaters leveling up, at their own pace, is really inspiring. It really makes me want to be better, work harder.”
Roller derby changes every life it touches. How has it changed yours?
“I am a completely different person than I was before derby. I had a pretty toxic [sense of] self-esteem and I wasn’t doing anything to make myself a better person. I was in a rut. Derby fired me up. I instantly got a bunch of friends that were struggling at this derby thing just like me, and we all invested in helping each other get better. I couldn’t help but dive right in. Thank you, ’15 Zombies! Because of derby, I’m learning so much about my strengths and weaknesses, and I’m not afraid to work on myself. Life can only get better, right?”
What makes Black Mamba tick? At the end of the day, what keeps you going in this crazy love we call roller derby?
“My teammates. They constantly keep me focused, aggressive, and motivated. I can’t explain the amount of joy I get from seeing my Sheilas come together and push themselves in a practice, scrimmage, or a bout. Women with totally different personalities, jobs and lifestyles all come together for a common goal. That’s when I can’t help but smile. Being their captain is the best position I’ve ever been lucky [enough] to play.”