Featured Skater: Dr. Octopushy

Many fans will remember Dr. Octopushy and her jukey jamming skills at the 2016 D2 Playoffs in Wichita, KS where she was honored as tournament MVP. Equal parts confidence and compassion, roller derby has been a force in Dr. Octopushy’s life, and after taking home gold with her team in Portland last year, 2017 is shaping up to be another exciting season!

Name: Dr. Octopushy

Number: 88

League: Blue Ridge Rollergirls

Team(s): Blue Ridge Rollergirls All-Stars

Year you started roller derby: 2011

Featured Skater: Dr. Octopushy
Preflash Gordon

How did you get involved with roller derby?
A co-worker asked if I would accompany her to a boot camp. The rest is history.

What is your pre-derby sports/skating background?
Lacrosse and field hockey

Please tell us about your rookie year and how you learned to play roller derby.
I am extremely competitive, so I was very determined to learn how to play and learn how to play well. I looked up to the girls who already played and they took me under their wing. They did not take it easy on me by any means and that was helpful.

What is your skate gear of choice?
My Bonts!

Do you have a pre-game ritual?
Listen to rap music in the locker room with my team.

Featured Skater: Dr. Octopushy
Bill Zingraf

Do you have a favorite motivational quote?
Basically anything that comes out of my coach’s mouth.

Do you have a theme song?
Pop Bottles by Birdman

What is your position of choice?

How would you describe your derby playing style? Do you have a signature move?
Fast and jukey. I am all about footwork. My signature move has become my one footed transitions.

Please share your best derby moment (or moments).
Winning gold in Portland!!!!!

What are some of your greatest roller derby accomplishments on the track?
Winning MVP in Wichita and watching our team’s hard work pay off in Portland!

Featured Skater: Dr. Octopushy
Keith Bielat

Off the track?
After parties.

What has roller derby taught you about pushing your limits, either physically or mentally?
That I can. I have pushed myself in both domains more than I ever thought possible, so I guess it has taught me that I can be tougher. The level of cross training we do as a team is just as hard as our on-skates work, so it’s been a constant battle of pushing myself further and further and keeping a positive, determined mind set at the same time.

2016 was a “Cinderella Story” season for team: what kind of efforts went into coming back last year with so much energy and passion, not only fighting your way back into Playoffs but ending the season at Champs in Portland?
I had moved away for a few years and played for Wasatch and I know that during the 2015 season the team suffered from loses due to various injuries and such. So, when I came back everyone’s attitude, right when the season started, was “this is the year. We can win gold this year.” So we worked incredibly hard and when we lost the championship game in Wichita we learned from it and came back stronger.

You were named MVP at the D2 Playoffs in Wichita, Kansas this fall: what did if feel like to be recognized with this award?

Who are your derby heroes?
Caslamity Jane (is now retired, but terrified me when I joined derby and made me a better player), Skull Candi (my teammate at Wasatch who has now transferred to Blue Ridge), Juke Boxx, Hauss the Boss.

What have of the toughest losses of your career taught you?
You don’t get anywhere by sulking-be better.

Featured Skater: Dr. Octopushy
Keith Bielat

Have you held any leadership positions in your league? How have those positively impacted your personal roller derby career?
I am part of the training committee in my league and I’ve enjoyed taking on a coaching role and have felt honored to be trusted to do so.

What is your job outside of roller derby? And how, if at all, has it contributed to your experience of roller derby?
I am social worker. I have primarily worked with female adolescents in various programs. It has definitely contributed to my roller derby experience because the young girls I work with see me as strong and confident and it makes me want to exude that on the track.

How has your involvement in roller derby affected the way you live the rest of your life? How do you find a balance between your derby life and “real” life?
Ha, the balance is hard. My life revolves around derby. I live with teammates, my best friends are my teammates, but I couldn’t be happier.

What advice do you have for people who want to play roller derby?
Get back up.

Do you have a special message to your fans?
It’s hard for me to wrap my head around having fans, ha. Stay tuned for Blue Ridge’s 2017 season!

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