Photo credit: Duane Baker Photography

Photo credit: Duane Baker Photography

Hexa Dessie Maul #16, Suicide Shifters

What prompted you to get involved in roller derby?

I am old enough to remember banked track roller derby of the 70s. I always thought those women were really strong, and they were bad*ss on skates. I've always loved roller skating, specifically quad skates. A friend had mentioned something about roller derby 10 years ago and I think that had stuck in my subconscious. Then, one fateful weekend in 2013, I started to roller skate again with these all terrain skates at a local roller rink. I told my friend I was with that I really need to get a pair of quad skates again and, oh, I dunno.. maybe join roller derby. I was actually joking at the time. This was a Friday night. Saturday morning while I waited for a skate shop to open I decided to look for local roller derby. Dallas Derby Devils was actually having tryouts that Sunday. As soon as the store opened, I got a pair of R3s, went to the rink that Saturday afternoon to skate a bit, then showed up bright and early Sunday morning ready to tryout for DDD. I failed and didn't make the league. But that didn't stop me from learning and 9 months later I tried out again and made the league, very much to my surprise. 

How did you come up with your derby name?

I am a software developer. My name is a play on the word "hexadecimal," a base 16 number system. My jersey number is 16.

Do you have a favorite derby memory?

Some of the nicest, most generous with their time women I have met has been in roller derby. Realizing that I can be friends with women doesn't mean it has to be a competition - and ironically enough, I am in competition with these women on the track. But off the track it's not like that at all. 

The sport seems highly physical. Have you ever gotten injured?

Yes - but not seriously, like broken bones or anything. I have a permanent indent on my left thigh from having fallen on skate wheels twice in one week that resulted in a hematoma that lasted for quite some time. I've also had two fingers run over twice. That was a rough week.

What's the most rewarding aspect of playing the game?

When I am able to hold a jammer - even if it's just enough so that my jammer gets out and gets lead.

Is there anything you're scared to try?

Doing a 180 jump on one foot.

What position are you most comfortable playing?

Blocker.

A big misconception is that all derby players are "tough broads" and not at all feminine. What would you tell them?

That they need to broaden their range of their definition of "feminine." 

What are your non-derby hobbies/activities/hidden talents?

I am a very good seamstress and can do embroidery fairly well. I've also been picking up shotgun sports lately.

Playing any sport is a huge commitment. How do you juggle that along with your life outside of derby?

For me, right now, it's 3 things: my beau and our dog, work, and roller derby. When I first joined roller derby, everything got squeezed - 20% my life, 80% roller derby. I was just so excited about it. Over time I've learned to manage that time out fairly equally, especially at the request of the beau. 

What's one thing you can't leave the house without?

My driver's license.

If you could choose one skill in roller derby to perfect in an hour, what would it be and why?

Hockey stops. They're scary but they're amazing stops.

Do you have any pre-bout rituals?

The day of the game I have to do a craft of some sort. Either embroidery or paper crafting. Since I have a job that, while creative to be sure, is quite cerebral and keeps me in my head 40+ hours a week. I need a creative activity that is outside of myself so I do some sort of crafting project.

If you could go back and talk to yourself as a newbie skater, what advice would you give her?

People aren't lying when they tell you to cross train. Also, get your breathing checked.