By Paul T. Choate
June 19, 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 Sarah Holt
Sarah “Miss Scarah” Holt, mild-mannered bank teller by day and Appalachian Rollergirls jammer on the track, 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?
Sarah “Miss Scarah” Holt: I expect to win. That’s about it. I think it will be a good game. They have — I believe — beat every team we’ve played this year that we have in common, so I think it’s going to be a good bout but I’m expecting to win.
PC: You are undefeated currently. What has paved the way for that?
SH: Just being a really strong team. I mean we have a lot of really great players on the team. We all work really well together. We’ve got good communication and we’re all friends — I think that helps, everything is pretty open. Plus our coach has really helped us with endurance and the physicality of it all. Where as some teams are tired in the first half, we’re just picking up our pace at the second. So we kind of pull through pretty good I think on that. I think that’s really helped us. We have a lot of girls on the team who take the extra time to really understand derby and come up with new plays and different perspectives on how things maybe play. I think that helps because we kind of have an upper hand on that sometimes.
PC: So are you going to be undefeated on Sunday?
SH: Yes! Yes we will be.
PC: What have you been doing to make sure that you are both mentally and physically prepared for this upcoming bout?
SH: We have practice twice a week. It’s two hours — we do about an hour of endurance and about an hour of scrimmaging. I mostly jam, I haven’t blocked in quite some time. You know, just trying to keep focused and really learn some new techniques as to how I can be as a jammer and how I can get better. Then also just doing stuff outside of practice. We kind of incorporate a little of the Insanity Workout. We do the off-skate thing every once in a while. We try to do that on Mondays and Wednesdays. Just trying to stay as fit as possible and just thinking “we’re going to win this.” That kind of helps in practice. Everybody kind of pushes everybody so that helps too. They’ll let you know, “Hey you did a really good job at practice tonight.” Stuff like that. Usually I’m not very nervous about [the bout] until like the day of. The week of I’m like, “Oh we’ve got a bout this weekend, no problem.” Usually the day of that’s when it’s like, “Oh yeah, I forgot about this.” But yeah, I mean, just working hard and pushing myself and pushing team members so we can be as good as we can be.
PC: Megan [Carmody] said she and Jennele [Vaquera] went up to Rhode Island and attended a three-day training seminar. Has that benefitted the team?
SH: I think it has. I mean they learned a plethora of knowledge. It’s fortunate that they were able to go and do that because they really did bring a lot back to the team. You know, a lot of new techniques, a lot of different ways to look at how a play could go or how it couldn’t go and just different perspectives from all these awesome people who play derby. So I think that’s definitely benefitted us. I think we have some tricks up our sleeves from that. I think it’s going to be interesting to see if we can pull some of this stuff off. But yeah they definitely brought a lot of information back to us and that has helped a lot.
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?
SH: I try to talk to everyone I come in contact with. I work at a bank so I have some stickers sitting out and our schedule sitting out. People ask about it and I tell them I’m on the team and then it starts a conversation. I also head up the art department for the team, so I’m constantly making fliers and posters and trying to hand those out to the girls to put up all around town. They’ve got to look good and catch somebody’s eye. So, that’s pretty much what I do.
PC: So what drives you and fuels your fire for roller derby?
SH: I got into it just thinking it would be something that would get me into shape and it’s an alternative to going to the gym — because I hate doing that, I find it really boring. So I joined it and I mean I have made some of the best friends that I have ever had. They really are like a family to me and that is kind of what drives me. I don’t skate for myself, I skate for them as a family and as a team. So that’s a big driving factor for me. But also, it’s just a different world. A lot of people may not understand it but the connections you make with people is crazy. It definitely has gotten me into shape and it has made me feel really good about myself but the driving factor behind it is that I couldn’t imagine not doing it. It makes me sad when I think about the day I have to hang up my skates. I’m like, “Oh, I don’t want to do that,” so I try not to think about it. It’s the comradery and the friendship and just the closeness that you get. And not even just with your own team. I mean when you bout another team, sure you’re fighting on the track but as soon as you get off the track you’re best friends — you appreciate each other for what you do.
PC: I would imagine it would take a special person to be drawn to a sport with such a high degree of physicality…
SH: I mean I guess it does, but it’s funny, you meet so many different girls that are in roller derby and you would never think that they would have some of the professions that they do. You could meet the shyest, quietest person and they tell you they’re on a roller derby team and you’re like “Really?” It’s crazy how it attracts so many different types of women, but once they all come together it’s amazing what they can do really. There are so many different girls on the team as to what they do outside of derby. But yeah, I mean, I guess maybe a special mentality, I don’t really know. I just know that it’s fun and I enjoy it so I’m going to stay in there … You kind of have your little alter-ego. You have kind of your attitude that you bring to it — your fighting attitude.
PC: Finally, tell me about the nickname. I know you all have these creative nicknames…
SH: My real name is Sarah so Scarah came from just growing up and people just throwing an extra letter into your name. So I’ve been called Scarah for quite some time. I didn’t want to just leave it at Scarah because most names have a play on words, so I added the Miss to it so it’s like mascara, you know, like the eye makeup. It stuck. It works.
For more information, visit appalachianrollergirls.com.
Flier for June 23 bout