Ronnie B. Feisty – January Featured Skater
Her name says it all: Ronnie B. Feisty, our January featured skater, never backs down no matter what life throws at her. Feisty has been part of the roller derby community for more than a decade and she is currently training to pass her minimum skills test. We can’t wait for her to join us on the track!
What made you start derby?
When we lived in Queens in the 2000s, my husband worked with a woman who was also a skater for Gotham Girls Roller Derby. Her derby name was Carmen Monoxide and she skated for the Brooklyn Bombshells. She invited us to a bout she was playing at a Skate Key roller rink, in the Bronx. It was a bare bones game, back when derby could be pretty campy. For example, getting the most penalties in the first half also meant being punished at half time with stunts like skating around the rink while hula hooping. Well, needless to say, it was love at first sight and I decided it would be a part of my life for the rest of my life.
So, in 2006 I decided to try out for GGRD. Except I’d skated less than 10 times in my life and was a new mother with a high-pressure job. To make a long story short, I broke my arm practicing the day before tryouts. I still did the tryout and can say with pride that I really put my all into it. But, I was out of my league.
To paint a picture: there must have been 100+ women who tried out that night. I was in a breakout group of six who were judged on things like lap speed and form, and falls (like the “rockstar fall,” now known as a 2-knee tap, which is the only thing I excelled at). And I had the misfortune of being in that group with a young skater who later came to be known as Beyonslay. Imagine having to compete with that!
Not being able to play roller derby, I did the next best thing and went to as many bouts as I could. At a Saturday night bout in Brooklyn, I was given a recruitment flyer for the Jeerleaders. And that was the beginning of my 2-year stint as a Jeerleader for GGRD.
The Jeerleaders started as a group of women who gathered to cheer on the Queens of Pain, but with more recruits, created more Jeer squads. Which meant each team ultimately had a squad, tailored to their theme, cheering them on at every game and getting the crowds to do the same. And since Manhattan Mayhem were themed as prisoners, the Jeer squad went with cops, of the sexy variety. We wore orange wigs (which matched the prison uniforms) and dress police uniforms. We even took on derby names. I was Tyra Shanks (ANTM was all the rage that year!).
The two teams jeering at a game would also do a half-time show which involved us doing an off-off-broadway-grade dance routine to a catchy song.
It was a great two years, but after getting preggo with baby #2, I gave it up. We moved to NJ a couple of years after that and was reintroduced to roller derby by sheer chance. My husband and I wanted to put a bid in on a house. We hired a home inspector. That home inspector brought up roller derby and I became aware of a league less than five miles from the house. It was kismet. That was 5+ years ago.
I’ve been in and out since then. My training has been interrupted for various reasons (injury, life), but I keep coming back. And I feel right at home with Dirty Jersey. While my training continues at my own (slow) pace, I am committed to passing my skills test and playing in a bout. And I’ve definitely made some noticeable progress this past year!
What is the hardest part of the minimum skills test for you?
How long have you been playing derby?
I haven’t played a game yet, but I’ve cheered, jeered, announced, produced, bench managed, and NSO’d a bunch of games since 2006.
What is your favorite part of derby?
At risk of sounding cheesy, it’s all so super cool. 1. It’s on roller skates. 2. It’s awesome, strong women in those roller skates. 3. It’s awesome, strong women in roller skates doing amazing feats of strength. All. Super. Cool.
What is your least favorite part?
I’ve experienced some politics. That’s never fun. But, since I came back in 2018, I’ve managed to avoid them.
What is your derby goal for the next year?
I want to pass my skills test soon enough to be eligible to play a game this season.
What do you do for a living?
I work in advertising. Specifically, I am a Creative Director specializing in oncology healthcare advertising.
How old are you?
What are your interests outside of derby?
I have 3 kids (14, 9, and 6), so a lot of my interests are their interests. Music, soccer, baseball, reading. I also enjoy trying out different restaurants for brunch and road tripping with my husband.