TT and Derby Daze Coach Spotlight: Gal of Fray #23

One of the newest superstars to the team is #23 Gal of Fray! She is really excited to be a part of Rose City and to skate for Team Purple!

How did you come to discover derby? Did you play sports before derby?

 

Photo credit: Keary Ortiz

My childhood friend’s mother played roller derby with a local league and her bad-assery inspired me to give it a try. Besides doing ballet for 7 years, I wasn’t able to stay dedicated to a single sport. I quickly realized that soccer and basketball were too cliquey, that cross-country was literally just running, that swimming was boring, that biking was not the most fun in the rain, etc. I was always eager to try out new things, but nothing stuck. I became sold on roller derby because of how empowering and inclusive it was.

What is the origin of your derby name?

In the 8th grade, I was at the height of my Doctor Who obsession. The Doctor’s home planet is called Gallifrey. Presto! Gal of Fray is born!

How long have you been skating?

Just made it to 5 years this past February. Being selected for WOJ was a nice 5th anniversary present.

What other teams have you played for, and when did you transfer to RCR?

Oh boy, I’ve played for around 10 teams now, 6 of which were junior teams. I transferred from Emerald City’s Reservoir Dolls to RCR’s Fresh Meat in September of 2016. Then I made it onto the Break Neck Betties in October 2016 and WOJ in March 2017.

When you tried out for TT, you said you had to choose between trying out as a blocker or jammer. There aren’t many double threats in the game these days – how have you been able to keep up with both blocking and jamming skills over the years?

Ever since I started playing roller derby, I pretty much filled whichever position was most needed. I started out as a jammer, and didn’t really block much until 2 or so years into derby. Luckily, I’ve found that applying jammer skills to blocking is much more natural than the other way around. I am happy that I’ve kept both things up! Nowadays, I’m a pivot for WOJ but a jammer for my home team, the Break Neck Betties. I think I’ve found a great balance, for sure. I have really settled into being a pivot—it is a very specific position and I am very proud that I can be relied upon to perform both as a blocker and as a jammer

. I hope to take the world by surprise and inspire people to strive for versatility in roller derby.

You only just recently made the team, and jumped straight up to the main blocking rotation. How does blocking with WOJ differ from playing with your former teams?

It’s beautiful; it’s much cleaner derby. The players on this team have skills that are so crisp and strategic awareness that is truly astounding. I appreciate that everyone is committed to hard work while still seeing the human in everyone.

What’s next? What are your goals right now?

Hydra? USA Roller Derby? All-star pivot life?

What makes being on TT worth it?

That every practice, I am faced with challenges and that every game, I see pay-off from overcoming those challenges.

You’re also on USARS Team USA. What’s it like to play two different rulesets? And when can we watch you play for Team USA?

Playing two rulesets it like speaking two languages—it takes some adjusting when you switch between the two but you lock it down pretty quickly once you get going. I started playing USARS at 2015 USARS Nationals so I’ve had some time to adjust. You do have to deal with some negative attitudes that some people have towards a type of roller derby that they aren’t familiar with, but like many say: “don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!” I am always incredibly eager to talk about how USARS and WFTDA compare. USARS Team USA will be traveling to Nanjing, China in September 2017 for the World Roller Games. Depending on which WFTDA playoff WOJ ends up attending, I might be able to represent this year in China!

Photo credit: Regularman Photography

Other than skating, what has derby taught you over the years?

Derby continues to teach me the value of teamwork, patience, and respect for my peers as well as myself.

What is the best derby advice you have received over the years? And what advice do you have for skaters looking to join their league’s travel team

Best advice received: get low. Whether it is getting a booty on a jammer, avoiding O, or being a fierce brace, I always use my ability to get low to my advantage. If you’re looking to join your league’s travel team, don’t focus on the little things. If you can show that you are eager to learn, willing to work hard, and dedicated to the sport, you will go much farther than with any fancy footwork.