Let me introduce Sui Jennaris.
Sui Jennaris, photo by Cap’n Harass
How did you choose that name?
Oh Lord, it was a f**king epic struggle. I had lists upon lists. I ended up going with that one because it ultimately felt the most right.
How did you first come to learn about derby?
When I first moved to Portland, I didn’t know a soul other than my roommates: Roller Eclipse
and her girlfriend. They invited me to one of her bouts, which was my first introduction to derby.
What took you from fan to skater?
So when I went to that first bout of Eclipse’s, I was floored. It was a dramatic come-from-behind victory from GNR
. I was over the moon. Her girlfriend looked at me, pointed at the Wreckers
slide on the screen, and said, “You know, they have a recreational league.” And it was all downhill from there.
What were your first experiences on skates?
I went to an open skate at Oaks. My tummy hurt from clenching it. “Woah woah woah!” was my main expression.
Who helped you or influenced you the most during the early days?
was a constant, no-BS voice of reason and support. Roarshock Tess
showed me how short, bespectacled redheads are naturally the awesomest at derby. I watched Untamed Shrew
a LOT, because she came from the same background as I did — figure skating. Every time I watch her skate, I learn something new. Mistress of the Knife
was very helpful early on, and her technical skill is still an inspiration. And Nacho Lucky Day
was one I watched, and still watch, because she’s a super role model for quiet, calm brilliance on the track, not to mention how she teaches a master-class in plowing each time she stops. Seriously. Go watch Nacho plow. I’ll wait. …SEE WHAT I MEAN?!
What was your experience like on Fresh Meat? Equal parts wicked hard and super fun.
Sui Jennaris, photo by Masonite Burn
Any advice you would give to skaters thinking of trying out for Fresh Meat?
Go to Wreckers
. Ask for the 50LK. Build your endurance and skate, skate, skate. Go to Open Scrimmages and jam, even though every single second will be hell on Earth. Planks and squats are your friends — if you say that often enough, you’ll start to believe the lie.
But more important than any of that, in fact the most important thing, is GO TO ALL THE BOUTS. Go to every single one that you can. Watch and learn — do whatever you need to do to actually understand what’s going on. Yes, you can watch footage, and that’s fine. Mike Chexx is a f***ing amazing announcer (it’s a GD shame that he’s retiring), and you can learn a ton from his commentary. But actually going to the bouts allows you to be in the crowd and hear, um, other opinions. Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t, but decide in either case — think critically about what you’re watching. Or don’t do that, and do something else — but learn to comprehend and appreciate what’s going on. LEARN DERBY.
What was draft day like for you?
Nerve-wracking. I had a chem exam that same Friday, and I’d needed to study/prepare for it all week. Because I had to focus on that other thing, I couldn’t freak out about the draft as much as I probably would’ve otherwise. A blessing in disguise, really. But seriously, my levels of denial and avoidance were so profound as to be borderline magical thinking. When the chem exam was done (ugh, 83), I didn’t have an excuse anymore. I was so nervous. I was basically useless for the rest of the day. We all went out to sushi together and tried to eat and have fun while we all compulsively clock-watched and checked our phones. Then the texts started to come in. When I got mine…is there a word for relief/terror/excitement?
What makes you most excited about the upcoming season?
I’m ready for the next challenge, the next level of play and new obstacles. Higher expectations. I’m ready, and I’m determined to skate better than I ever have before. I’m super honored and privileged to be joining the Heathers
on the track this season, and I’m excited to build trust and team identity with my new sisters.
…lol jk I’m just in it for the glitter helmet.
Who on your new team are you most excited to skate with?
I’m super mega ultra excited to skate with all my new Blue teammates
, to build relationships and trust with them. I can’t wait to absorb what they have to teach me. I’m trying to be apolitical and not name names, but Knife’s an amazing skater and a fantastic coach, and I’m honored to have her instruction.
Anything else that you would like to say.
I would like to say HAAAIIIIII ALLLLTHHHHHEEEEAAAAA!!!! to the Heathers’ biggest fan. *waves* Also, this