As a derby nerd, I love and am a fan of every roller girl I meet but there are a few that are just legendary in my mind. I had the privilege of witnessing this lady in action for one season as a Burlesque Brawler before her retirement from Houston Roller Derby . I have also been fortunate to see her play against HRD. I have a great pic with her and also a t-shirt with her autograph from 2008 WFTDA Regionals! Here is the always fabulous lady herself!
League: Crude City Roller Derby (Corpus Christi); formerly Houston Roller Derby
Home Team: Crude City has one travel team, Third Coast Offenders; formerly (and loyally) a BURLESQUE Brawler of HRD.
Seasons Played: 3 with HRD; 1 with Crude
How did you decide on your derby name?
Cats have always been a recurring theme in my life (too long of a story to go into), my favorite part of being a librarian is cataloging, and I’m ridiculously tall, so I put all that together and came up with Catazon. “I put the Amazon in Cat.”
What is your (roller derby) position of choice?
I love being a jammer, although I’m too slow and too big of a target and can’t compete as a jammer on a national level. So in some bouts, yeah, I would choose to jam all night, but in other bouts, put me in as pivot or blocker 1.
What is your skate gear of choice?
I’m not the person to ask about equipment…I still have the same skates I bought back in 2005, and they need to replaced…badly! I’ve tried different wheels, but I keep going back to my favorite fast ones with just the right amount of grip for me, Witch Doctors. I keep thinking if I invest a little bit more, it might give me a slighter edge, but I’m getting by pretty good as it is. ;)
How did you hear about roller derby?
I heard about the current incarnation of roller derby right when TXRG was getting started. I lived in Austin from 1999-2001 and played tackle football for a team there. When I moved back to Houston, I commuted to Austin to play for that team one more year. I decided to quit football and joked about making the drive to play roller derby instead, and I thought my husband was going to kill me. Then I found out I was pregnant and that put my plans on the back burner for awhile. I can’t remember how I heard about HRD, probably on the web because if I’m not living real life, I’m on the web. I found out about it right before the first exhibition bout in 2005 and I already had out-of-town plans for that weekend, but I went to the next tryout.
Were you a fan of the game before you played?
I watched roller derby in the 70’s and dreamed about running away to LA when I was 16 and kicking everybody’s ass. I really missed it when they stopped showing old school banked track on TV.
What made you decide to become a roller girl?
I grew up roller skating; I competed in figure, dance, freestyle, and speed skating, my parents competed in figure and dance skating, my grandparents were figure and dance judges. My mother ran roller skating rinks when I was growing up. I knew how to skate and I had experience in hitting people. A natural choice. Also, it was on my list of 4 goals that I must achieve before I die:
1) play organized tackle football (check)
2) play organized roller derby (check)
3) drive a race car (unfortunately not going to compete at that but will drive a stock car in Fort Worth next year)
4) get my pilot’s license (will start lessons as soon as I get roller derby completely out of my system)
What was it like being on TT? You ladies are always on the go!
Competing as a member of HRD’s travel team, HaRD Knocks, was a privilege and an honor. It was a honor to be included as one of the best skaters in the league and also an honor to skate against some of the best in the country…TXRG, Charm City, Rocky Mountain. If that seems like canned answer, it is.
What are some of your best/favorite moments in roller derby?
I think some of my favorite moments happened off skates…all the people who showed up at the hospital when I broke my ankle (which also gave me the opportunity to make lifelong friends), taking team pictures (even though I griped about them at the time), shenanigans on the airplane for travel team bouts, the 2007 HRD Awards Party (boy howdy, was that a party!)
What is the funniest thing that has happened to/around you in derby?
That is a hard question. I’m usually the butt of other people’s jokes or the one who provides amusement, so you should probably ask somebody else about the funniest thing they’ve ever seen me do. :)
Who are your roller derby heroes?
Anybody over six feet tall trying to get low. There’s not many of us out there.
Do you have a motivational quote?
“You mess with the bull, you get the horns.” I’m not much for mushy motivation, and I’m a Taurus.
Do you have any game day rituals?
Now that I have a long commute for most game days, I have to stop at Bucee’s. Before that, no, it was always just another day at the office.
What goes through your brain as you lace up your skates for a bout?
I’m thinking how much my feet are going to hurt when I finally get these old, worn-out skates off again.
Do you have a theme song?
I picked the song the BURLESQUE Brawlers used for their intro the entire first season, Bad Reputation by Joan Jett. I’d like to think that could be my theme song.
Do you have a signature move?
Good Lord, no. I just do what I do.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in roller derby?
You know your own body better than anyone. If your body needs rest, rest. If you’re not sure you need to see a doctor for an injury, you most likely do. Do what the doctor tells you to do. Remember you are the one who has to live with your body when you’re old like me.
I know derby takes over your life when you become a roller girl. How do you keep things in balance?
I quit. No, I’m kidding, sort of. I did have to quit HRD, because my daughter was starting school and I started a job with a ton more responsibility than I had ever had and I couldn’t play on two teams (home and travel) anymore and live my life too. And I wanted to travel instead of play at home and in some leagues you can’t do that. So I found a fledgling league that just wants and needs help and they don’t care if I come to one practice a month and show up for the bout. Even that is difficult sometimes, but I still hope to have more opportunities to just help out when I’m needed.
What was your family's reaction to your desire to play?
My husband absolutely hates that I play; I didn’t even tell him I was trying out. My mom thought I was too bad a skater to play (I can’t even explain this, she’s weird). My sister thought about trying out too, but then she saw my foot flop around on the end of my leg that first season and changed her mind.
How does it feel to have fans?
The only reason I kept on skating after I broke my ankle was because of the fans. They brought me to tears with all the comments and emails I received, the one group of fans from the co-op who personally brought a fruit basket to my hospital room, the one who found a pic on my flickr site and drew a caricature of me in the get well card. Yes, I do have feelings, people, and I will never forget the fans. P.S. Don’t be afraid to talk to me, fans…I may be scary on the rink, but I’m actually very shy off of it.
Who are your derby heroes?
Wait, didn’t you ask me that earlier? Is this a trick question, trying to get me to say somebody I don’t want to say? ;)
Anyone you'd like to take the opportunity to thank?
I would like to thank my husband, because even though he hates my extracurricular activities, he puts up with them, and even takes care of me when I’m hurt. He won’t ever see this, but I do thank him in person all the time.
What are some of your greatest roller derby accomplishments?
Still skating after suffering injuries. ‘Nuff said. :)
How did derby change your world?
I was pretty set in my ways before I started derbying, so it wasn’t earth shattering, but it did bring some very interesting people into my life that I would never have met otherwise, and I’m a better person for knowing them. Even glad I’m still friends with some of them and hope I will be for a very long time.
Do you have answers to questions I should have asked?
Well, I have alluded to injuries, so some people might not have heard that I did suffer a compound fracture of my left ankle in my first season, spent four days in the hospital when they wouldn’t operate because of the open wound where the bone came through, and had a metal contraption stuck to the outside for a week. I ended up not walking for two months. I had the metal taken out of my ankle seven months later, so I didn’t skate in a bout for almost a year. That might raise the question why do I still do this? Go back and read the interview again if you haven’t already figured out that I actually am a crazy CAT lady.
Left to right Reina GarciaKatherine Zamarron, Catazon, Mistilla (photobombing) and Sunnie