By Paul T. Choate
June 20, 2012. On Saturday, June 23, the Appalachian Rollergirls (4-0) will take on the Chattanooga B Messie Smiths at 7 p.m. at the Holmes Convocation Center. Leading up to the bout, the High Country Press sat down with the ladies on skates to get to know them better.
For more information about the bout, check out our preview article.
Q&A with Mason Herman
Mason “Snatch N Bent” Herman, massage therapist and Appalachian Rollergirls skater, spent some time with High Country Press to talk about derby and what fuels her fire.
Paul T. Choate: What are you expectations for the upcoming bout?
Mason “Snatch N Bent” Herman: To kick some butt! What else? No, we hear that they are brining some of their better [skaters]. We want this to be a closer matched bout so that it will be more enjoyable for the fans to watch. It should be a better matched team to play, so it should be a good one.
PC: You are undefeated currently. What has paved the way for that?
MH: You know, it just seemed like all of a sudden it just started clicking and we just started working well together as a team. We’ve got an awesome coach who just happens to be my husband. But we’re just really working hard together and figuring it out. We’re working out the kinks and trying new stuff all the time. Bones [Megan Carmody] and Coco [Jennele Vaquera] went to a workshop and brought back just so much information from that and we’re just constantly trying new things. It just works, and I think having a great group of gals all getting along and all wanting the same outcome — it just makes it work.
PC: So are you going to be undefeated on Sunday?
MH: Of course, of course! We’ve been working hard, not just during our scheduled practices but off skates as well. Everyone is training and doing things outside of practice to get in shape and I think we are one of the fitter teams.
PC: What have you been doing to make sure that you are both mentally and physically prepared for this upcoming bout?
MH: For me, except for maybe one of our “Fresh Meat,” I am the oldest one on the team and — lots of epsom salt baths. Lots of soaking in epsom salt.
PC: What have you been doing to promote these bouts and get the word out in the High Country that this is an up and coming sport in the area?
MH: It’s just kind of what everybody has been doing. We hang posters everywhere, we talk to people anywhere you go. And I usually have some form of ARg, whether it’s a T-shirt or a hat or a sticker, something on me that says I’m a roller girl. And encourage people, especially if they’re like, “Oh, what is there to do?” Well let me tell you what there is to do. You come watch some rollergirls. So yeah, you’re just always talking it up and promoting it as much as you can, whether that’s with my clients or whether we’re out in public with the people in our neighborhood.
PC: So what drives you and fuels your fire for roller derby?
MH: Because it is just a badass sport and I love that! I played sports in college and in high school and I do consider myself somewhat of an athlete. I mean, you’re playing offense, you’re playing defense and it is a contact sport and I love that. And the girls, I knew several of the girls on the team when we started it, but this group of girls I just love them. To be able to hang out with this incredible group of women that I consider my family. It’s awesome. That’s what drives me.
PC: I would imagine it would take a special person to be drawn to a sport with such a high degree of physicality…
MH: Yes. Megan [Carmody] may have told you, the first tryouts we had 70 girls show up and, you know, as soon as all of a sudden they realized that it was a serious commitment, and you have to make a certain amount of practices and you have to commit to be on the team, and then when we started hitting each other they just started dropping like flies. They all thought, “It’s great that I can skate around and wear and wear an outfit,” and whatever, but to know that it’s a very serious sport and, not to say anything against the girls that didn’t stick with it, but we have the cream of the crop right now.
PC: Finally, tell me about the nickname. I know you all have these creative nicknames…
MH: I wish I had some cool meaning behind mine but I don’t. I started out being Deep Issues. I’m a massage therapist and it was a play on deep tissue, and maybe I should have had a story, but I’m Snatch N Bent and it was just a play on scratch and dent. That’s it. No great story to it.
For more information, visit appalachianrollergirls.com.
Flier for June 23 bout