Featured Skater of the Month - June 2014
Special Feature - South Jersey Derby Founder & President
Mos Deathly, #16
Teams: South Jersey Derby All-Stars, M.A.D.E. All-Stars, Kill Scouts and Doomsday Dolls
How long have you been skating?
I can't believe it, but this is a decade in derby for me. Ten years, holy cow, I want to throw a party!
How did you pick your derby name?
Moe is a nickname for Melissa, and I've been called that my whole life. So my sister, hubby and I were on a long road trip throwing around names, and came up with Mos Deathly.
When did you start South Jersey Roller Derby?
We started in late 2006. I had a bad experience with my former league. I started it with a bunch of girls I had just met, and decided I wanted out. My sister had just moved to Philly, and always wanted to play derby. So I left and founded this league with my sis.
What has been the highlight of your derby career?
I've had lots of great times in derby. But I think the highlight is still coming. But I would say to date, it was beating Penn Jersey in overtime by 1 point in one of the most epic games I've ever played in.
What does being a South Jersey Roller Derby member mean to you?
It means everything. I love living in South Jersey and I love all the wonderful people I have meet along the way in derby. My pride and joy is seeing someone who couldn't skate when they come out, turn into an awesome skater through hard work and perseverance. I love that we are known as the league that is welcoming to everyone -- we pride ourselves in never judging a book by its cover. Maybe its my hippy side coming out, but I believe that if you encourage people, treat them with respect, and share your skills and enthusiasm with people -- its truly contagious and everyone as a society will prosper.
I once had a wonderful compliment from the owner of the Deptford Skating Center, when he said that he loves how accepting we are of people -- things like that reinforce to me that our mission is achievable.
What makes M.A.D.E. rules different?
They are as close to the original standardized ruleset as you're going to get right now. It's a fast game, with hard hits, no theatrics, straight forward rules and reffing. It allows us to just train and play, and not worry about loopholes and memorizing an exhaustive encyclopedia of rules. I feel that over the 40 years roller derby was around before us, they probably worked out all the kinks.
I love that we actually get to skate (and fast) -- we need a lot of endurance, but coming from a running background that was fine with me. I don't think I would fare well in WFTDA as I would get frustrated at all the stop action and not being able to actually go around the track. I'm kind of the "why have wheels than mentality", although, I do admire their footwork -- and understand the exhaustive training they do too -- so mad respect.
MADE was never afraid of forging its own path. I'm so proud of everything we have accomplished.
South Jersey Derby hosts the Colossal Coastal Roller Expo each summer at the Wildwood Convention Center. What's that event about?
CCRE I would say is the equivalent of MADE's Roller Con. I think this is like year number 6. Wow! It's an INSANELY fun few days with like-minded derby people.
M.A.D.E. Nationals are scheduled for October. Will South Jersey Roller Derby be participating?
YES! And HELL YES! I can't wait to play teams from the Midwest!
Running a league isn't easy. Do you have any words of advice to other owners, derby captains and/or coaches?
Oh, my god I should write a book. Talk to other derby league owners and soak up as much as possible. I was just talking with one this morning (something came up with a member league), and she said, "It's like a roller coaster - highs and lows, but someone has to work the controls" -- remember that ultimately you are the only one truly vested in the success of your league.
Be patient. Unless its something that's going to tarnish your league's reputation, let your people do what they want. People come out for derby for all kinds of reasons -- some need a creative outlet, some just want to play, some want to coach -- find their aspirations and watch them soar. If someone comes to me with an idea, you'll typically hear me say "that's a great idea, why don't YOU run with it."
Find people you can truly trust to surround yourself with -- its unfortunate but true, that women can be catty. Run it like a business at the end of the day, don't play favorites, treat people with respect, reward people for their hard work, leave popularity out of it (we use a math attendance system that avoids a lot of headaches), and surround yourself with a good management team. I could go on and on and on. Oh, and always have a mentor -- I have two myself right now.
When you're not skating, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
I'm really into anything involving nature. I could really be one of those people who live in a tree house and off the land.
Also, when I do something, I really do it. Right now, I'm totally into bee keeping. It's very zen, they're fascinating little buggers, and its become a nice little side business. And I get to work with my dad, and my sister, so that's extra awesome. Melissa means honeybee, so weird side note is that a fear of bees is Melissophobia. Haha! You can order my raw honey off my facebook page if interested: Melissa's Sweetbees
"So many thanks to Moe, for if it weren't for her, SJRD wouldn't exist. Her determination and sacrifices have given us all a Derby home, and an extended family that love, care, and a respect for one another. Love you Moe! Thank you so much for everything that you do for us in and outside of the league! Xoxox"
~Mac the Ripper
"Mos Deathly is the best possible example of passion for this sport."
"When I first started skating, I struggled to complete paceline. I tried over and over every week but I could never seem to complete an A team pace. We started pace this particular day and it was fast and it was hard. I felt a shadow follow me weave through the paceline - it was Moe. She said, "Today is the day you finish pace, and I am going to be right behind you to make sure you do" The encouragement and her confidence in me was the extra push I needed to finish pace, all thanks to Mos Deathly. The love, dedication, blood, sweat and tears this woman offers up to South Jersey Roller Derby and its members is unbelievable. I am honored to share the rink with her!"
"I'm pretty sure this woman never sleeps. And I'd like to know where she hides her cape."
"Moe is unlike any other person that I've ever met. In a sport full of outgoing women, she always has something extremely positive to say about everyone, and I find that amazing. I'm super thankful to have been coached by Moe as a rookie - to this day, she still inspires me with new skills."