Skater of the Month: September 2012
Jenna joined OCCRG in January of 2011 with obvious enthusiasm and athletic ability. Her speed and energy made her an easy choice to mold into a jammer. Two years later she has polished her footwork to match her speed, and is always pushing herself and asking how she can improve. This year she has also become an asset to the All-Stars as a blocker, and helps fill our deep jammer bench. House-trained and eager for long outdoor skates with hills, her animated personality makes her a great pet.
Who are you?!
So my derby name is Jenna JAMisON which was given to me by two fellow
fresh meaters. At the time, we had been on the derby team for a whopping two weeks and were
instructed by our coaches to focus on learning how to play derby, not developing our derby
ego. Well, we were eager and impatient and thus were indeed constructing our alter-ego and
accompanying names. Anyhow, it was while watching a bout and hearing a ref yell “the
jam is on” that my teammates named me. Later, it was explained to me that my name also had a
What do you do off the track?
I am a scientist, working towards a doctorate in molecular and cellular biology. I wish
to contribute insight into how cells respond to aberrant signals in relation to disease states, like
What position do you play or like to play?
I am a jammer mostly, but enjoy blocking a lot.
How long have you been skating and why did you join? Do you have any skating or athletic background?
I have only been skating nineteen months, but I have been an athlete since I was young.
I played every sport I could get into: swimming, basketball, soccer, softball, football, and track.
My favorite sports were those that did NOT involve a ball or any hand-eye coordination
requirements which left running. I ran in cross country and track from fifth grade to high school
and then went to further compete in track throughout my college career as a sprinter and hurdler.
I loved to run as fast and far as my body would take me; to push both physically and mentally to
perform better than I previously had. It was my affinity for sports that initially drew me to roller
derby, a sport which is both highly competitive and mentally engaging. And in full disclosure,
derby just looked like a wad of fun.
What’s your favorite overall thing about roller derby?
I initially thought I would be ever allured by the game play of this sport for it emphasizes both
mental ingenuity in strategy, and physical agility and endurance. Yet, if I am truly honest with
myself, what motivates me to come to practice is not the sport itself, but my teammates. I
love that I get to play with a fantastic group of ladies who are amazing both on and off the track.
What have you accomplished or feel proud about so far? What do you wish to accomplish?
I feel that I have made improvements in my blocking styles, by learning how to block
backwards, forwards, and sideways. I am also working to better utilize my torso and butt. I
still need more work on these skills, but feel as if I am becoming a more flexible player in that I
have more ways to adapt to various situations on the track.
Any advice to new skaters. Any Jenna pro-tips you would like to share?
To any new skaters out there: Just stick with it. I know there are days were you feel that you
are stuck and not improving, or perhaps you even feel that you are regressing. I know I have
had several of these types of practices, where I feel that I have somehow forgotten how to do
something I understood just a week ago. My advice is to stay positive and try not to become
frustrated. You really do learn a lot when you struggle with a concept or skill for a while.
Any derby heroes?
Of course there are those wondrous skaters like Bonnie Thunder, Suzy Hotrod, Snot Rocket
Science, and Juke Boxx which are plain beautiful to watch. I am ever mesmerized by these
players’ fluidity and aggressive grace and am constantly trying to imitate their moves. However,
the skaters that I really look to when I’m feeling off or stuck are my teammates, especially my
former fresh meat class—Outlaw Jessie Pains, Manta Rae, Redtribution, and VOMITina. I have
developed into a better skater and a better person with and because of these remarkable ladies.