March 2017 Skater of the Month:
Gorgeous Violette #13
How did I get my derby name? MST3K had a skit once that made me laugh so hard. The stupid names they came up with just had me in tears. One name had captured my attention, ‘Gristle McThornbody.’ I had initially used this name for awhile but later I decided to go with a more meaningful moniker which included my last name, thus Gorgeous Violette. My pops used to be taunted as a youth, constantly jeered as ‘Sweet Violette.’ That resonated within me. I adopted his name but with a slight modification, changing ‘Sweet’ to ‘Gorgeous.’ Why? Well, because I am, Gorgeous.
My jersey number is 13. I love that number. Got married on Friday the 13th after 13 years of being together. We had 13 Groomsmen and 13 Bridesmaids. Ain’t no bad luck there. Always been good luck to me.
Derby position: Blocker
My wife brought me ‘just to watch’ a league scrimmage one night at BRD. Within minutes I was surrounded by folks in black and white uniforms. I was suddenly transformed into an Official. That is how I got introduced to derby (Other than Fanny Smackiao telling me about it five years ago). Even then I didn’t know a men’s team existed. When I eventually saw members from Maelstrom, I fell in love.
Pre-derby sports? I wasn’t really a sporty guy, more at a beer drinking, a metal drummer. Can’t throw a football past a yard. When I score 80 in bowling I jump for joy. I can’t put a basketball in the hoop even if you brought the hoop down to me. However as a kid I did BMX, skateboarding, Judo and Ju-Jitsu and more recently, I did 13 years of Praying Mantis Kung Fu (Oh that number 13). Oh by the way, before roller derby I only skated less than five or six times in my life.
What I enjoy most about roller derby is, out of the other hobbies or sports out there, I can’t think of anything more freaking hip as derby. Roller Derby is brutal, funky, sexy, punk rock, stylistic and uber hip to the bone. Derby is baller. It’s also not really popular which is appealing in a way and also is very international. Being a part of this at my age is just so sweet.
My favorite Derby moment? My teammate and president, 2Pack Shocker is always messing with me. I can’t tell whether he is serious or joking. If I am not paying attention I could get a wet willy in my ear just seconds before a jam starts. I also love the locker room antics. What happens off the rink is hilarious.
For cross-training I do strength work with movement in mind at Gymnasia. I don’t really workout like how I used to in the 80’s/90’s on a bench press or doing curls, but more body weight and whole body movements like crawls, hangs, push ups, squats, carries, get ups, rolls and kettlebell swings. Range of strength exercises are also mixed in. I occasionally jog and do hill work.
When I am not skating I try to keep moving and create stuff. I ride my SE Quadangle trick bike or lowrider bike around the neighborhood with my kids. I fish, play drums, go to death metal shows, draw naked people, paint in oils, garden, play with my 9 chickens, exercise, go glamping with the fam and play Pokemon Go (There is no shelter from the storm).
How does a forty six year old husband and father of three with a career and a mortgage find the time to do derby? Time is what you make of it. I try to do less ‘me-specific’ activities and do more ‘we-specific’ endeavors. Besides death metal shows and naked people I include the whole family in my activities. It does help that my wife and daughter do derby, but that is exactly it. Less borders. I must admit my mother-in-law lives with us and this is paramount. But I also weed out a lot of other habits such as TV watching and sleep (j/k). Besides TWD and GoT which is seasonal, I don’t really watch TV. I do activities deliberately. Work deliberately and play deliberately. Finding peace within yourself is also important, if not the most important key. I also try to be in touch with how my children perceive the world. If I am constantly doing cool stuff with them that I think is rad and they’re always in awe, I think life becomes more special and manageable, because now we are doing it all as one and not as an individual.
February 2017 Skater of the Month:
Katie Brunetti (aka Pearl Jammer) #60
Katie Brunetti, (aka Pearl Jammer) is one of MMRD’s female chartered skaters. Brunetti began her roller derby career with the CT RollerGirls of Connecticut in 2007. She skated with CTRG’s travel team, the Stepford Sabotage (now known as the Connecticut All-Stars), for eight years and captained the team for the first few years of it’s inception. The Stepford Sabotage were ranked #9 in the WFTDA east conference in 2009.
CT RollerGirls is where Brunetti met Girl Fawkes (currently the MRDA treasurer). In 2008 Fawkes headed up developing a Men’s League, the CT DeathQuads. Brunetti, looking for a new challenge, joined the new men’s league (where Brunetti still coaches today).
Brunetti enjoyed her time with CT RollerGirls but was drawn to being on the track with the men. Several factors caused her to step off the WFTDA competitive circuit and tryout for the DeathQuads in 2015. Pearl’s first MRDA game was with the CT Death Quads on April 18, 2015. It was a regulation game against Casco Bay Gentlemen’s Derby of Maine. CT Death Quad’s games that year included bouts against The Quadfathers (June 13, 2015), Capital District Trauma Authority (Aug 2015), and Mean Mountain Boys (Oct 3, 2015).
The following winter Brunetti was invited to skate with Team Massachusetts Men’s at Skate Wars in Florida. Many of Mass Maelstrom skaters competed in this tournament and she enjoyed skating with them. Looking for the next challenge, she then transferred to Mass Maelstrom officially in January 2016 and was placed on the charter. Brunetti’s first sanctioned MRDA game with Mass Maelstrom was on March 3, 2016 against the new MRDA league, Casco Bay Gentleman’s Derby.
Brunetti is quoted as saying:
“The transition from Connecticut to Massachusetts has been amazing, and at times difficult. For the first time in years, I was being coached again and breaking out of the plateau I hadn’t realized I was stuck in. I’m heading into my 10th year and 11th season of playing competitively. I love the game and the competition today just as much as I did my first season. I feel at home with Maelstrom and look forward to many more years playing here.”
Off the track, Brunetti works as a veterinary technician in Connecticut. She keeps busy caring for her two Brittany dogs, Chevy and Jameson, and 8 Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Somehow still, Brunetti finds time to cross train; her program includes running, agility and plyometrics, and strength training. And if you really want to make her happy, just play “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats!