Talking with the Windy City Rollers–Red Zeppelin

Think you could spot a derby girl in a crowd? Think again–it could be the person in line next to you at the grocery store. The Windy City Rollers have a strong North Shore connection, with two skaters from Northbrook and one Wilmette. Make It Better caught up with Dinah Party, Donna Party and Red Zeppelin:

1. What’s a nice girl like you doing in the roller derby?
I blame it all on my friend/roommate at the time – Go-Go Hatchet. She brought me out to “learn to skate” at some of the local rinks, in fact we skated at the Playdium in Glenview for a couple weeks. Then, somehow she persuaded me to “try on” some of the gear. And next thing I know I was suited up and ready for tryouts having no idea what to expect. I made the league and the rest is history.

2. How did you first become involved with the league?
I started from scratch, 3 years ago when I made the league I had only skated for about 3 weeks before tryouts.

3. Tell the truth — Who gave you your skating name? What’s the story behind it?

From Go-Go Hatchett. She knew I loved Led Zeppelin and really with the red hair, how could you go wrong with Red Zeppelin?

4. What’s harder — taking a hit in a bout or finding a spot to park at Old Orchard on the weekends?
Finding a spot to park at Old Orchard, and they even added a garage!

5. What do your friends and family think about your participation?
They all love it now and get super excited during Derby Season. Best response was probably (from) my Dad. In fact, at the time it was also my response to my friend too – “I better get some health insurance.”

6. What keeps you coming back, practice after practice, bout after bout?

The challenge. I love the game, the sport, the girls. The hits get harder, sport gets faster, it just keeps getting better – how could you stay away?

7. A Jam and a middle school parking lot drop-off/pick up — compare and contrast:

I am not a mom, but I bet you anything a mom would respond much like I feel when in traffic: I am always looking for “holes” so to speak, while quickly speeding up and slowing down to get in where I fit in. In fact, it’s scary how sometimes I have to remind my self in almost a chanting way that I am in a car, otherwise I think it’s okay to make contact and block my way through the “pack” (of cars).

8. What’s the biggest misconception about your sport?
That we stage fights. That’s the derby of the past. What you see with the Windy City Rollers is the real sport, and the physical contact is real.

9. What’s your 9 – 5 occupation?
I am an ‘a la carte’ kinda gal.  I spent most of my time right out of college in mapping, statistics and research. That was 100% traveling, so when I returned to Chicago I took my personality into sales and management.  During which, I also went to school and received my license as a Massage Therapist.

Currently I have my own private practice. I have also recently received my certification as an EMT. Mostly, I like to help out friends with their businesses and interact with people. I have a side gig at a local restaurant in the city that I help with during the weekends and weekdays.

10. Any sentimental life lessons to offer from your experience on wheels?
Yeah, you really do get what you put into it. Whether that be life on wheels or off. Attitude and effort goes a long way.

Red’s photo courtesy of Thia Penta