For this Spotlight on Hedy Stevens, aka Headache of the Heartless Heathers, we got a little help from some skaters who know her well. Squash Fold and Bea Stingzzz, two members of the Rose Petals‘ home team Daughters of Doom, caught up with their coach to ask their burning questions about derby and life.
Squashy & Bea: Tell us how you got into derby, and your journey from entry in the league to becoming a Home Team skater.
Headache: I was at Oaks Park, and I met a woman who had a shirt that said, “Ask Me About Derby,” and I did. “You should try out! Fresh Meat tryouts are soon,” she told me. So I told my daughters about it, and they got very excited for me.
I had never even seen derby at this point, and I didn’t think about following through, but my kid wouldn’t stop talking about it. So she forced me to show up to tryouts. I made Fresh Meat and from there I was drafted to the Heartless Heathers.
Is there a story behind your derby name that you want to share?
Well, headaches are pretty bad!
As a nurse, I deal with headaches all the time. And now, it’s especially appropriate for me because as a jam coach for the Daughters of Doom, I yell and cheer so much every week that I’m always giving myself a headache.
Fans comment that you are always smiling and look like you are having lots of fun at bouts. What positive things does derby bring to your life?
I think I’m always smiling because my mouth guard doesn’t fit right. (Just kidding.)
I think about derby 24/7 (although I don’t want to admit that in public). Having a million new friends in a matter of an instant is amazing. All of these healthy, beautiful, amazing, wonderful people who play in a sport together is the best. I love skating. I love the physicality of the sport. It’s a dream come true.
Most people know you as a jammer for the Heartless Heathers. How would you describe your style of jamming?
Someone once told me I look like a bull out there, but I don’t really think about it.
When you aren’t having a blast on the track, what do you do outside of derby?
I like to hang around with my wife and my kids. I’m a pediatric nurse for a living. And I like to ride my bike everywhere.
Could you share with us about your other role(s) in the derby community?
Every Saturday, I coach the Rose Petals’ Daughters of Doom. My 8 year old daughter, Elsie U. Later, plays on the team. I also serve on a couple of different committees and I’m always out in the wider world promoting derby.
Why do you think it is important for grown-up skaters to get involved with junior derby?
We have experience and passion and we can be role models. But really, any grown-up that gets involved with junior derby is bound to become a grown-up skater themselves once they figure out how much fun it is.
How does coaching the Petals make you a better skater and what do you like best about it?
Putting the strategy of the game into words for the kids helps me to think more clearly about it for myself. Plus, the young people’s passion for the game and stick-to-it-iveness are infectious.
What skills are you personally working on improving?
I am always working on improving my communication on the track with my teammates, my stops (especially my left-footed hockey stops), and improving my endurance.
As our coach, what are your favorite tips for skaters who are new to the sport?
Always come to practice. Stay with your teammates. Always have fun! Get lower and hold the inside line!
You are one of our very favorite skaters. Who are your derby idols?
The Rose Petals are my derby idols, because you love it so much and it is amazing to watch you guys grow as skaters.
Written by Robyn Liu, Squash Fold and Bea Stingzzz
Squash Fold (aka Squashy) is an origami addict, speed skater, and jammer for the Daughters of Doom. Bea Stingzzz is a blocker for the Daughters of Doom, and loves Doctor Who almost as much as she loves derby. They can be found screaming their hearts out at most RCR bouts.
Robyn Liu of the Wreckers recreational derby team is one of those grown-ups who was inspired by her daughters, Square Not and Cthu-Liu, to become a grown-up skater. She has accepted that she will probably never be quite as good at the sport as they are.