Hanna P.’s motto seems to be the perfect fit: never give up. As a jammer, Hanna P. is used to coming up against hard walls and tough situations – it’s what keeps her passionate about roller derby! As a skater with hearing impairment, Hannah P. serves as a role model to all athletes who have been told to limit their abilities. Learn more about Hanna P.’s outlook on life, roller derby and what it’s like to be an international role model to skaters of all ages!
Name: Hanna P
League: Crime City Rollers
Team(s): Crime City Rollers A-Team
Year you started roller derby: 2012
How did you get involved with roller derby?
My brother had a friend that skated with Crime City so he took me to a game and I just loved it and felt that I had to try it. So I went to the next tryout and have been skating since then.
What is your pre-derby sports/skating background?
I did a lot of sports when I was younger, from snowboarding to tennis and equestrian vaulting, but mostly Athletics. Pole vault was my best event and I competed a lot, but in my late teenage years I found other things more interesting so I quit.
Please tell us about your rookie year and how you learned to play roller derby.
I tried skating on quads for the first time right before the summer in 2012 and immediately fell in love with skating, the sport and all the nice people I got to know. So i pretty much skated on all my free time and constantly talked about derby, my ”muggle” friends laughed a bit at it, but it made me develop really fast. In the fall I played my first real game with the B-team.
What is your skate gear of choice?
I skate on Luigino Vertigo Q4 boots with Falcon Pilot Plates, it’s the skates I got after my rookie skates so I haven’t tried that many different ones, but I really like them. They are lightweight and good for edge work and fast turns.
I just changed wheels from my 62mm that I got when I started to Radar Halos and love it. So much lighter, better grip when you need it and slide when you need that.
Then I have Scabs Knees Pads with knee gaskets under to make them fit really good and the derby version of the 187 Killer Pads for my elbows and wrists which are as slim as I want them to be.
Do you have a pre-game ritual?
I always have to try the floor and have time to change wheels before warm up to stop me getting nervous. Then we have a lot of fun team rituals. We sing silly songs, dance and shout motivational words together which makes us feel happy, strong, and ready for the game. It’s important for me to feel part of the team and not be too serious about everything, I’m best when I have fun.
Do you have a favorite motivational quote?
Never give up.
What is your position of choice?
Jammer, always jammer.
How would you describe your derby playing style? Do you have a signature move?
I like skating fast and hit the walls hard or juke and run on my toe stops on the sides. When I push I keep my arms down because I was taught to do that at the early on so that I didn’t get a forearms penalty, but I guess it’s quite unusual.
Please share your best derby moment (or moments).
This year at Nationals in Sweden the final game started really even and the whole team was really nervous. Then I went out on the track to jam and got lead, and the blockers held the other jammer so good so I just kept going for the full 2 minutes and ended up taking 40 points. The audience was screaming and our bench coach started laughing. It was a great moment. After that jam everyone got less nervous and started playing really good. In the end we won with a lot of points and took home the gold medal.
Last year at Playoffs we finally beat Stockholm for the first time in years. We had been number 2 in Sweden for such a long time and had worked really hard so after that game we were so happy!
As a skater with hearing impairment, how have you adapted to play the sport? In what ways has your hearing impairment affected how you play and which positions you excel?
Roller derby is a good sport for hard of hearing people since the officials use hand signals for all calls, that helps me a lot since I can’t hear the whistles, refs, or my team mates on the track. Our bench coach always informs the officials about my hearing before games though, so they can be extra clear and look for eye contact with me.
I chose jamming because I really like it but it’s also really good that I don’t have to communicate that much with my teammates on the track, and when we communicate we use hand signals and touching. I also have my own ref that is easy to see.
I think that I’ve gotten really used to reacting on visual signals instead of sounds and looking around a lot because I’m hard of hearing. That’s really useful on the track. I almost always know exactly where the other jammer is and which blockers were behind and in front of me when I’m hit out and I pay close attention when they fall or go outside the track boundaries so I can go in before them and know when to call off the jam.
What has roller derby taught you about pushing your limits, either physically or mentally?
When I was training in athletics my training schedule was much harder and more regimented, but roller derby has taught me to not take myself too seriously and that I actually perform at my best when I have found that middle ground. Mental game is often just as important so I try to have fun when I can.
What have of the toughest losses of your career taught you?
To just never give up. Learn from the loss and come back even stronger.
Who are your derby heroes?
All my team mates are my derby heroes. But I pick up a lot of inspiration from great jammers like, Loren Mutch, Scald Eagle, Miracle Whips, Rouge Runner and Bonnie Thunders.
Have you held any leadership positions in your league? How have those positively impacted your personal roller derby career?
I’m head coach for our juniors and I really like it. They inspire me with their love to the sport and eagerness to learn new things. By teaching them the rules, strategies we use and explaining skating skills I also improve alongside them.
You are very passionate about teaching the next generation about roller derby. How does it feel to be a role model to the junior skaters and youth in your community?
It’s an honor to have kids looking up to what you do and to get the opportunity to teach them what you know. I wish I had had such an inclusive, queer and cool sport to take part in when I was a kid. They post cute pictures on Instagram to tell me that they cheer for me before games.
The link is to a Swedish news tv show for deaf children. I’m fluent in Swedish sign language and I think it’s really important to show that deaf and hard of hearing people can do all the same things as someone without hearing issues. I try to inspire deaf and hard of hearing kids to do what they want and go for their dreams.
What is your job outside of roller derby? And how, if at all, has it contributed to your experience of roller derby?
I’m a doctor, took my exam in January so I’m still a junior doctor. I really like my job but it’s stressful sometimes and I have to work in the evenings which means that I miss practice sometimes. But I know a lot about the body and medicine, so I can help out when people get hurt or have medical problems.
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?
I’ve always been a person that likes to have a lot going on so it’s not really a new thing but I try to plan most things in advance. I bring snacks or extra food to work in case I have to work overtime, and sometimes bring my gear to work so I can go directly to training. I combine gym training or cooking with meeting friends outside derby.
Malmo is very supportive of roller derby, from your dedicated fan base and sponsors to the donation of a new skating venue to your league! What is it like living in such a pro-roller derby community?
We have worked really hard to obtain a good relationship with the people that decide about money for sports in the city and with the Swedish National Skating Organization, Skridskoförbundet. We also do a lot of PR for ourself and always contact newspapers and radio when we have games so people get to know about events. As a result we now have a really good collaboration with the city of Malmö and the Swedish Skating Organization and they help us a lot. It is really nice too feel that you have a lot of support and it really inspire you to work harder. In the beginning CCR held the trainings at a parking lot on the roof of a food store. Now we have two halls with painted derby tracks and an outdoor track and have trainings for our teams, rookies and juniors every day of the week. We are going to get a hall of our own before the end of the year but it’s an old industry hall so there are a lot of things to fix. The concrete has just finished drying but it will probably be amazing when it’s done.
What advice do you have for people who want to play roller derby?
Just do it!
Do you have a special message to your fans?
I want to thank my number one fan, my mum, that always support me and my wee fan club and all other fans, you make me better!
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