2012: Advent Roller Derby: Skater profile – John Don’t

by on December 10, 2012

Time for a skater profile! First up we have a relatively new skater from Suffolk, John Don’t!

What’s your name / number? John Don’t (#999)

Who do you skate for? Ipswich Roller Derby / Blue Thunder Rollers [an Anglo-American co-ed league based in Mildenhall and Bury St Edmunds]

What positions do you usually skate in? Blocker mostly, my niche in the ecosystem is always getting in the way!

How did you hear about roller derby / first get into it? I read an article in the US magazine Wired about three or four years ago and thought, “Wow, that’s awesome!” but there weren’t many leagues in the UK, none nearby and hardly any men’s from what I could see. Fast forward to August this year and a friend of mine from years back posts an advert for an open practice in Bury St Edmunds (about 20 miles up the road). So I went, strapped skates on for the first time in my life and I’ve never looked back, unless I’m on the track.

What do you love most about the sport? I’m a complete nerd, so I love thinking about the physics of the game, learning how wheels and equipment work and running through statistics on games. Hopefully a small amount of what I work out I’m able to put into practice! At the same time though, I just love the people. It’s a cliché, but a derby league can be like a family – it has it’s oddballs and there is occasionally drama and tears, but we are all there for one another when it counts.

What does it bring to your life off-skates? It works two ways for me. it’s a release on the one side – whatever happens to me in the week that aggravates, upsets or annoys me, I just transfer into my wheels and push myself. The flip side is that what I’ve achieved skating gives me the confidence to cope with those things – I’m proud I’ve gone from an absolutely terrified newbie(it took a good hour to stop shaking my first week!) to being able to do things I never thought I could do. Whatever knocks me in the real world, playing derby gives me the confidence to knock back.

If you weren’t skating, what would you spend your spare time doing? At the moment I pretty much spend all my time either reading up on derby or organising things for a new league I’m helping set up in Ipswich. When I’m not doing that I play guitar down at my local pub’s blues jam session and ride my bicycle all over the place.

3 Responses to “Skater profile – John Don’t”

  • Anon says:

    I’m confused, you say you play blocker, but you’ve never even bouted! I think
    people should at least be able to skate and have their minimum skills before they get something like a skater profile.

    • freddie says:

      Well, Anon, if you’re going to bring in that kind of stipulation, you’d have to apply that to all newbies. Can a person be called a skater if they haven’t passed minimum skills? What if they’ve been moving on rollerskates for a decade already, can they not call themselves a skater?

      Realistically, the reason John Don’t said he prefers blocking (though his anatomy gets in the way sometimes) is because he has attended scrimmages with his league. And that’s how you learn.

      He has been given the opportunity to have a profile here because I wanted to show that you don’t have to be a) female, b) under 21 years old, or c) living in a big city, to get into roller derby. All my Advent Roller Derby posts are aimed at people who have heard of roller derby in passing, but not ever watched the sport. It’s like a big advertisement as to how awesome roller derby is.

    • John Don't says:

      Hi ‘Anon’

      I appreciate your sentiment, and totally get your point of view. All I mean is that so far, from my experience (what little that constitutes), I prefer blocking to jamming.

      You’re right, I’ve not bouted yet and I haven’t passed my minimum skills in full yet. But that doesn’t mean that my opinion is any less valid than anyone else’s. It’s not like I’m trying to hand down faux wisdom or anything.

      I really respect Freddie for giving skaters who’re new to the game a chance to talk and discuss what got them into Derby. Sometimes vets can be forget what it’s like to be brand spanking new.

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