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Skater name: Barbara Ambush
Skater number: 1600
Position: Pivot, Blocker
Other sports you have played? Soccer, ice hockey, track & field
How did you get into derby? I read an article in Bust Magazine when I was living in NYC that mentioned the resurgence of roller derby and my interest was instantly piqued. At the time, I was trying to keep playing hockey while living in the city – it was not that awesome. Paying a zillion bucks for ice time, or carrying a giant, stinky hockey bag on the subway from Brooklyn to the north end of Central Park for a midnight game was less than ideal, and I could only skate about once a week. Luckily, I saw a flyer for a Gotham Girls bout and decided to check it out… I only stayed until half-time because it killed me to have to sit and watch when it was so clear to me that I should be out there playing. I had to endure several months of anticipation before the GGRD tryout, but it was worth the wait! I hadn’t roller skated since I was a kid, but I borrowed some equipment that Gotham players had donated for the night, donned a sweet pair of rental skates, and that was that…
Favorite food? I eat constantly. Steak is high up on the list, and cookies, and garlic, and those creepy looking green juices….mmmmm
Favorite roller derby player? Based upon names alone, my favorites are Jalepeno Business and Elka Meano. Amazing.
Who inspires you? Having had the opportunity to skate with Gotham for three years, I must say that Suzy Hotrod was and is consistently inspiring to me. Whenever I am doing a drill, especially if it seems simple, I think, how would Suzy be doing this right now? Because I know that even if the drill was to stare at a rock for an hour, Suzy would find a way to give it 100% of her energy, and to make it some sort of athletic challenge. She’s also incredibly humble and a great teammate – qualities that I can only hope to emulate as well. Also Grim D. Mise (she is the most badass jammer I’ve ever seen – if you don’t know who she is, look her up!) and all of the tough as nails women who I skated with in Maine, who keep their tiny league running despite injuries and retirements that seriously impact the make-up and competitiveness of the league. And Smarty Pants, who has the best freaking attitude and the skills to pay the bills.
What are you most thankful for in your life? My amazing, supportive family – the one I was born with, and the one I’ve made along the way.
How did you pick your derby name? I started playing derby in 2007, right at the height of the George W. Bush years, and I really wanted to find something that was witty and also political. When I chose “Barbara Ambush”, my tagline was “The mother of all your problems,” which I thought was clever and (sadly) true. I guess it’s kind of obsolete now.
How has roller derby impacted your life? There are many, many ways that derby has become outrageously important to me, but having moved around a lot and played for several leagues, I have to say that above all else I am completely astounded by the community that we have made for ourselves. I feel like no matter where life takes me, I have this crazy cool family to turn to. We are such amazing women. It is constantly inspiring.
What’s the hardest part of being a rollergirl? For me, it is managing my participation so that my physical well being comes above all else. After mangling my knees a number of times, I really needed to learn that it is okay to step out of a drill when you are injured (not tired, not feeling pain from a hard work-out, but actually hurt – there’s a difference!) as long as you go do sit-ups or find a meaningful way to keep participating without hurting yourself!
Would you like to brag about your skates? I am totally fortunate to be sponsored by Bont Skates – they are incredibly light, which is really important to me. Plus they look rad.
photo © Jules Doyle – Type2BPhoto