Our Featured Skater for the month of December is
Mel Malice of the Kansas City Roller Warriors,
also known as Pearl Jam of Fountain City Roller Derby!
Name: Mel Malice / Pearl Jam
Team: Dreadnought Dorothys, Shotgun Sheilas
Position: Jammer, occasional pivot and blocker
Seasons with KCRW: 4
Seasons with FCRD: 1
How did you originally get involved with roller derby in Kansas City?
“[At work], I was trained for my initial role by a super bad-ass lady by the name of Brenda Peters. She had skated for the Knockouts for many seasons and told me about roller derby. I went to one of the games, screamed my head off cheering, and decided in about 10 seconds that I had to do this sport. Within two weeks, I bought a starter set of gear and signed up for the very next Warriors in Training. It was love at first sight.”
Tell us the origins of your derby names.
“An old high school friend used to call MelMal, which is a nickname born from combining the first three letters of my first and last name at the time. It stuck for a decade, so when I joined derby, I wanted my name to be a nod to it. Mel Malice was born!
When I joined FCRD, I needed to choose a different name. So I took my middle name, Pearl, and the position I most often play, a jammer, and a good music band to make Pearl Jam my name over in that league! It works very well for when I have to go to the box. I hear my middle name and I know I’m in trouble!!”
Roller derby changes every life it touches. How has it changed yours?
“It taught me how to take my space in life, how to be unapologetic. In life, you will come across tough walls. You can either quit or move mountains — your choice. Success takes work, and falling is necessary, so get used to picking yourself up. But know that nothing is truly done alone, and that your chosen family will be there for you. Roller derby is a family.”
What sets you apart in roller derby?
“I joke that I shit rainbows, but I honestly think my attitude does. I laugh at my own failures, and I come to practice hungry. I want to lift up the women around me, and love getting beat to heck by them.”
What makes Mel Malice/Pearl Jam tick? At the end of the day, what keeps you going in this crazy love we call roller derby?
“Nothing makes me more angry than watching people give up, either on themselves, on each other, or on the hard work it takes to compete. But the thing that keeps me going is how much love and encouragement we have for each other. My journey and someone else’s are going to be different, but I love watching my teammates and leaguemates do amazing things. And winning.”