Featuring Darla Derringer From Saint John Roller Derby
Continuing on what I hope to be an ongoing series featuring the Saint John Roller Derby members we take a look at one of the leagues founding members, Sarah Humphrey aka Darla Derringer.
Sarah is a stay at home mother of two during the day, on the weekends she works at the Music Lesson Center but, come derby season she becomes Darla Derringer, the small but feisty roller derby girl. I had a few minutes to sit down with Sarah to ask her a few questions and take some photos of her in her home.
Alicia: Can you tell me a little bit more about yourself? What do you like to do with your time off the track?
Sarah: Most of my life is dedicated to my two daughters. So throughout the week I stay home with them (they keep me busy!) and then on Saturdays I work at a Music Lesson Centre. I’m honestly a pretty big introvert so in my down time I am usually just reading or watching tv and movies. Specifically horror movies, anywhere from the serious stuff to the horrible D movie made for tv nonsense. I’m also a huge Hanson fan so I travel when they tour. I like to get to as many shows as I can every year.
Alicia: As one of the founding members of the Saint John Roller Derby league why did you want to bring Roller Derby to our city.
Sarah: I thought we needed it. As great as our city can be, I do find that it can be a little boring, if you are in your 20’s or 30’s especially, and aren’t big into the clubbing scene. Not only that but I really just loved the idea of bringing a bunch of bad-ass women together. At the time it was more female dominated (there are a lot more men’s leagues popping up, and I think that’s awesome!) but none the less, it’s still very empowering to be female and playing a full contact sport.
Alicia: Before roller derby, what previous skating experiences did you have?
Sarah: I think when I was about 3, I went to one figure skating lesson. haha. So it’s safe to say I really had no previous skating experience. Or athletic experience what so ever aside from Karate, which I did for a few years when I was a kid. I was really shy so anything I tried never lasted long because I would just end up going home in tears. Thankfully I grew out of the shyness!
Alicia: How long have you been into Roller Derby?
Sarah: I’m one of the founding members of Fog City Rollers (along side Suzie SkinHer, who is retired now, and Dok Rogers, who announces most of our games and skates for the mens team, The Wheel Men.) so I’ve been with the league since day one, back in 2010.
Alicia: How did you choose your Derby Name?
Sarah: For whatever reason, I had it in my head that I wanted my name to have a cow-girl feel to it. I have a tattoo of a Derringer pistol on my arm (also known as the “lady derringer”, it has a pink handle!) so I kind of drew my inspiration from that. And I guess Darla sounded the best with it.
Alicia: What teams have you played for? What is the current team you are on?
Sarah: I played for Razor Girls from 2010 until early 2014 when the league restructured. I now skate for Portside Pirates! It’s kind of bittersweet ending that first chapter of my derby career but I’m also really excited for the future and how well this new team is coming together.
Alicia: What is your favorite thing about playing Derby?
Sarah: The thing that initially attracted me to it is the fact that it is full contact. I don’t even mind taking a really big hit…for whatever reason, I find that quite thrilling! Derby is great on any day but it’s 10 times better on a bad day because it’s a really awesome way to get your aggression out, without getting into any legal trouble. haha! The people who you are hitting are actually PAYING MONEY for you to hit them. It’s fabulous!
Alicia: Do you have any positions you prefer to play on the track?
Sarah: When I first started, I knew I wanted to be a jammer. However I quickly realized that it’s a LOT of pressure! I wasn’t ready for that for a really long time. So I blocked for my first few seasons but in 2013 I finally started jamming a bit. This year, I want to focus more on jamming. I’ve found that doing it more has actually made me improve as a blocker as well so honestly, I’m just happy to make rosters and be on the track!
Alicia: If you could say one thing to the fine folks of Saint John about Roller Derby and the upcoming season what would it be?
Sarah: Support your local roller derby! We work hard and train hard all year to prepare for our bouting season, and all of our efforts should not go unseen by fresh eyes! This sport is growing fast – (they say it’s currently the fastest growing sport in the world!) and I want the fine folks of Saint John to know and be proud of the fact that this city is home to one of the first Derby Leagues in the Atlantic provinces! There are a lot of misconceptions about roller derby but if you come to see a game you will quickly realize that this sport is REAL, these girls are TOUGH, and it’s worth every penny.
Thank you so much to Sarah for taking the time to allow me to photograph you and learn a bit more about Darla Derringer, player 22 of the Portside Pirates.