Writing articles about other derby skaters can be seriously nerve-wracking. You don’t want to say the wrong thing. You want to show your knowledge and the depth of your research. You need to balance the amount you write about the skater’s technical performance with how much you gush about their awesomeness. Writing about a derby icon is the most nerve-wracking experience of all because….
Suzy Hotrod is roller derby.
Not because she was the first (she wasn’t) or the top scorer (she isn’t) or because she doesn’t fall (she does), but because of the immense and undeniable amount of patience, dedication, sweat, blood, pain and [probably un-admitted] tears.
Suzy Hotrod is one of the skaters that made learning how to play derby easier for the rest of us, because she was one of the skaters that failed forward in the sport. She came into the sport without the skating background. She had to stumble through it like the rest of us.
That is why she is roller derby. Because Suzy Hotrod is the image of a woman who decided she was going to do something she loved, and she was going to work until she was one of the best in the world. She is proof that any of us could do it too.
And when she skates, there is something magical about it. Suzy has a grace in her stride that is only matched by the force of her wheels as they cut into the floor when she’s darting through a pack. Her ability to use her upper body as an independent unit from hips is awe-inspiring. Her determination, even after she’s been smashed in the sternum by one of the strongest skaters in the world, makes us all want to do 50 more pushups and skate two hours longer. She is a smart skater, she is a strong team mate, she is always listening on the track and is incredibly quick and responsive to the situations presented to her.
I have gotten to do boot camps and learn from Suzy – she made me a better jammer. I have gotten to scrimmage with Suzy – she made me a better blocker. I have gotten to be around Suzy and read her writing and watch her interviews – she has made me a better athlete.
And I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who feels this way… so thank you Suzy Hotrod. You are our icon, our ambassador and the only one of us who doesn’t ever pull a stupid face in photos as we’re getting blasted out of bounds by a skater twice our size.
Suzy is one of a kind. Her success comes from plain old hard work and practice. She is not only a talented skater but an amazing teacher. She has a way of breaking down a skill into little pieces so you can learn it in stages. She teaches us that if we practice long and hard enough then we can do anything. Oh and she is funny as all hell! She never takes it easy on us...I think it's because if we can go up against her and succeed at practice then we can take on anyone! Even though Suzy is a superhero she makes us feel that with hard work we can one day have some superhero moves of our own. – Pippi Strongstocking
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