What is your derby name? Clea DuBrawl
- What is the inspiration and story behind your derby name? My name is a pun on Clea DuVall, an awesome queer actress who played a lead in But I’m a Cheerleader, which was basically my formative baby queer movie.
Do you have a favorite quote? “Every pizza is a personal pizza if you try hard and believe in yourself.”
How did you get involved with roller derby? My roommate Markus decided to join GRR and wanted me to check it out with him so he didn’t have to join alone. We wear the same size shoes and when we went to go buy skates there was only one pair in our size. I’m still not sure how it went down, but somehow I ended up getting those skates and joining the team by myself!
Do you have a pre-bout ritual? If I’m skating that night I buy a pub sub, eat a banana an hour ahead of time, drink a ton of water and stretch. At this point my mom, roommates, partner and friends are all involved in the league so there are generally a million texts figuring out how everyone is getting out to the venue. Then I head to the bout when the fairgrounds open to help with set-up and corralling skaters.
What is your day job? And how, if at all, has it contributed to your experience of roller derby? In real life I work as an advocate for victims of crime and interpersonal violence. It can definitely be difficult and intense at times, but it really lets me appreciate how amazing it is to be a part of a sport and a team that is so focused on empowering its members and letting them determine what they want their sport to be.
How has your involvement in roller derby affected the way you live the rest of your life? I started derby when I was in undergrad at UF, and it made the transition between leaving school and living in real adult land way less scary. GRR has let me learn a lot of concrete skills like managing advertisements and being a leader while getting to have fun and be surrounded by an amazing family. Derby was also the first place that allowed me to see my fat body as powerful and even athletic, which is more meaningful than I could say.
These days roller derby is how I deal with stress from job and generally being a chronic overachiever. When you’re on the track you can’t be unfocused or distracted by your problems, if you are you’ll get laid out pretty quickly! Derby lets me leave all my stress at the door and I rarely leave practice without feeling more clear headed and relaxed. There’s a lot to be said for the therapeutic effects of consensually knocking your friends over.
- How do you find a balance between your derby life and your “real” life? Planners. So many planners.
What advice do you have for anyone who may be interested in joining GRR? Don’t underestimate yourself! Joining GRR was really intimidating for me as a fat person with no skating experience. I’m still the biggest skater on GRR, but through sheer stubbornness I’ve now gotten to a place where I can feel like I am an asset to my team. If you think derby looks cool but you’re worried about joining because you feel like you’re too big or too weak or just not an athlete, take a risk and be willing to try anyway- derby can still have a place for you.
Is there anyone that you’d like to thank? I am really grateful to my mom who chooses to run our merchandise table even though she could be spending her retirement doing something way more fun! My partner, Eddie, is also super sweet and comes to all of our games even though he continues to worry that I’m going to hurt myself.
I’ve also owed Sailor Doom a shout-out since like 2012, because every single night after fresh meat practice I would call her and tell her all the things I learned, and she was always encouraging and never told me to shut up even though she had no idea what I was talking about. I don’t think I would have made it through fresh meat without her support.
I could probably keep going forever, but like I said before, almost all of my friends and family have somehow gotten sucked into supporting me and our team, and I am so thankful that they’ve put up with it for me for over 3 years now!