The story goes like this - Gempire State walked into one of Mansfield Roller Derby’s training sessions, told a funny story about a pinball machine, and that was that, it was as if she had been a part of the league since the very beginning. It took Gempire 3 months after joining our league to win Jammer of the Year last Christmas, which says a lot about not only her skating prowess but her ability to fit in within our team dynamics.
Not only is she personable, utterly hilarious and hard-working she is also an incredibly adaptive player both as a jammer and a blocker. Not a weekend goes by where she is not traversing the country looking for mixed scrims and bootcamps to take part in. This constant dedication to the game and to her own personal improvement means that she has become one of MRD’s primary jammers for the away team. She’s fast, jukey and never gives up, which makes her an excellent asset to the team. Recently Gempire was voted in as our new ‘Games Master’ (no, she isn’t tasked with sending us off to fight in the Hunger Games) in which she is in charge of bout and scrim production. Since then we have never been busier!
It is agreed by all that not only is Gempire hard working, dedicated and a brilliantly talented skater she is also droll, pants-wettingly funny and a wonderfully generous person. Here she is to tell you a little about her time with Mansfield Roller Derby so far.
My name is Gempire State - I suppose the same story that everyone has - it's time to think of a name and all you can think is stuff that has your name in it or rhymes with your name. It was either that or Gempire Strikes Crack but I decided that was too rude. 1111 is just my birthday - it's supposed to be "eleven eleven" but instead when I get a penalty all I can hear is: "one one one one one one one cut track..."
Which position do you play?
I'm a jammer! I don't know how this happened. It turns out I'm really fast. Wink wink.
I joined Mansfield in October 2014 so I'm still quite a new Misfit. The team I was with sadly disbanded due to lack of numbers but I'd already skated with the Misfits a few months before at my first ever scrim - there are lots of bigger leagues near me but you can't beat the camaraderie at MRD. Also I will never cease to be impressed by the organisation and work that goes into running the league - we are small compared to some other leagues but the vision is big!
Who are your derby heroes?
Juke Boxx from LRG - because she blocks and jams and sounds like Jess from New Girl!
No. I was a couch potato. I didn't understand why people would give up their Saturday or Sunday morning to play sports and I struggled to the gym to try and not get overweight but hated it. Now I'm on an athletic training programme with our sponsor HiggieFit and do 10k runs for something to do on a Sunday. And it's not to lose weight - I'm trying to eat more to fuel everything I want to do. Butter sandwich anyone?
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about getting involved in Roller Derby?
If you're already thinking about it then you don't need any advice because you're probably going to give it a go. It's all the people that have never heard about it or think they would never do it that I want to say - have a go! No matter how busy you are or what you have going on in your life - you will never regret that time you did roller derby.
Any final words?
Try not to drive like you jam. My car insurance is a fortune these days!