PeaceWar of the Texas Rollergirls (Austin, Texas, U.S.) has come a long way since her rookie year. Inspired to join the sport after watching the movie “Whip It,” PeaceWar has thrown her body, heart, and soul into roller derby. As a versatile and powerful player in any position, PeaceWar caught everyone’s attention at the 2016 International WFTDA D1 Playoffs in Montreal, where she was recognized as Tournament MVP. Learn more about what keeps PeaceWar wild and free on the track.
League: Texas Rollergirls
Teams: I skate for the Texecutioners, the Hell Marys, Team Mexico, and Team Texas. My original league was the South Texas Rolleristas, which is now RGV Bandidas.
Year you started roller derby: I started roller derby in Weslaco, Texas with the South Texas Rolleristas in late 2009. My first home team was the Fallout Brigade.
How did you get involved with roller derby?
I was attending cosmetology school at the time and I wanted to go watch the new Drew Barrymore movie, “Whip It”. I finally went to see the movie and absolutely loved it, but I had never heard of roller derby. I had no idea it was real thing. I researched roller derby and found out there was a game happening that Thursday: Fallout Brigade vs Nerdcore Harlots. I had to go check it out! During that game, I fell in love with roller derby. I immediately went to my first fresh meat practice that following Sunday.
What is your pre-derby sports/skating background?
I learned how to skate when I was two years old outside of my house. Growing up, my dad would always take my brothers and me to Fantasyland, our local rink, to skate. I learned how to crossover and inline skate from my older brothers. In elementary school, I was on the track team and played some basketball, then played volleyball in Junior High but it wasn’t super competitive. I was interested in soccer and tennis too, but lost interest quickly.
I really wanted to play football but it was never offered to women at my school growing up. I truly enjoyed roller skating the most.
Please tell us about your rookie year and how you learned to play roller derby.
My first year playing roller derby was pretty difficult but definitely worth it. I knew how to skate but nothing about roller derby. I didn’t have quad skates so I purchased some $30 skates and gear from Academy. I was in the fresh meat program for about two months. I finally passed my laps on the third try. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do: be a blocker or a jammer. I knew I wanted to start blocking and hitting asap. I always worked my butt off and tried my hardest no matter how difficult it was. I was drafted to my first team, Fallout Brigade, about two months later. I will be honest, it took me a while to be an okay blocker. I had to work twice as hard on my form and endurance and then later strategy.
It took me a while after I was drafted to think of a suitable derby name. I had been brainstorming but could only think of my name being something “peace”. Everyone who knows me knows that I love the ’60s and ’70s so it had to be something with “peace”. My friend Samantha suggested I use my initials “RAW” or flip it to say “WAR”. When she said that, I knew my derby name had to be PeaceWar. At first I thought my new derby name might sound too nice but it was totally me. I decided to go with it. At my first game, my teammates told me my job was to just go out there and hit the other team. I loved that I was in charge of being a wrecking ball for my jammer to just juke around the opposing blockers. My rookie year was so much fun and I learned so much. I am forever grateful to my trainers and coaches back then who believed in me and helped me learn all my basics my first year.
What is your skate gear of choice?
I absolutely love my Chaya Diamond custom boot with Shiva Clip 45-degree plate. It’s so awesome to not have any break-in time. I feel that my Chayas are an extension of my foot. My boot colors represent Christmas, all of my teams, and a color I like: turquoise. My favorite wheels are the Cosmo Juice Wheels. They work amazingly on just about every surface.
I love my S1 Helmet — keeps my head protected. I wear Pro-Designed gear, which is made to fit to my exact measurements. I am so thankful for my amazing equipment. Thank you Chaya Skates, Juice Wheels, S1 Helmet Co., and Pro-Designed, Inc. for believing in me always.
Do you have a pre-game ritual?
I like to eat a Bell Pepper or an Apple right before the game. Everyone always gives a silly look when they see me eating a giant bell pepper. I enjoy listening and dancing to fun music such as Bad Boy Bill, Pantera, Daddy Yankee, Selena, and Calle 13. Generally, I like music that relaxes my mind before a game. I like to get a good stretch in after warmups. I usually do my war paint/makeup before warmups. I like to watch a movie in Spanish to help keep my mind off derby. I always say a quick prayer to myself before the game.
Do you have a favorite motivational quote?
Yes I have a bunch of favorite quotes!
“Failure will never overtake me if my determination is strong enough,” by OG Mandino.
I also love all Arnold Schwarzenegger motivational quotes, including his six rules for success:
1. Trust yourself
2. Break some rules
3. Don’t be afraid to fail
4. Ignore the naysayers
5. Work like hell
6. Give something back
My teams love my silly hashtags. Here are some of them that really caught on: #200% #BeastMode #FSU #TurnItUp #400% #FallDownGetUp #BAA #BeastWar
Do you have a theme song?
There are so many songs I love but here are a couple of them that describe me: Pantera’s “Mouth for War”, Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”, Selena’s “La Carcacha”, Calle 13’s “Atrevete te te”, and Celia Cruz’s “Quimbara”.
What is your position of choice?
I love to jam as much as I love to block and pivot. I just love to skate all the time. My coaches tell me the goal and I work my butt off for the goal. Whatever the team needs.
Last year mid-season you made the switch from primarily jamming to primarily blocking. What prompted the change? How has your perspective of the sport changed with your new role?
My 2016 Captains Jackie and Stoneher asked me to be a jammer and I said, “Hell yes.” Then later in the season they asked me to be a blocker and I said, “Hell yes,” again. I have been trained to do both, and really whatever the team needs is my goal. I ultimately love to skate.
How would you describe your derby-playing style? Do you have a signature move?
I feel like my skating style is energetic, aggressive, “200 percent” type of attitude and never give up no matter how difficult.
I have a weird karate chop I did against the Angel City Derby Girls at the WFTDA-Recognized Big O Tournament last year while jamming. I was on one foot on my stopper while being blocked and just kept going on the one foot. I also do the Ambush really well, which means I just wrap my body on the opponent which is originally Barbara Ambush’s move. I have a silly juke I do, too, which is hand movement like salsa. I do have a signature war cry and my teammates love it.
How do you feel your love for dance and music has helped you in your roller derby skills?
My love for music and dance has helped immensely with footwork, communication, timing, rhythm, trust, confidence, and endurance for roller derby. All the footwork from dancing definitely translates on skates. Dancing also makes you very aware and of what your body can do or is trying to do. In roller derby it’s very important to be in tune with your mind and body. Roller derby is like a dance and similar to music. While blocking I try to match the jammers movements and stay in contact. If I were dancing with a partner I would need to feel and be in tune with their movements.
Please share your best derby moment (or moments).
My first derby game (and my first big fall) I had a pile up on top of my head. My home team, Fallout Brigade, winning champs in 2013. Winning MVP at my first Hell Mary bout for TXRG in 2014. Winning home team champs with my Hell Marys in 2014 and 2016.
The Big O 2016 I was asked to jam first vs VRDL received lead and scored the first four points of the game. I loved my First Big O tournament in 2014. My first time at WFTDA Champs 2014 in Tennessee and my Uncle Tim and Uncle Randy saw me play roller derby. I loved when the Firing Squad (TXRG B team) won champs at Full Metal Bracket in 2015. My favorite moments from this past 2016 season were from learning from my teammates and being able to skate at the WFTDA Playoffs and Champs, but I especially love going H.A.M. with my teammate Trauma. She has been such an amazing friend off the track and a great teammate.
What are some of your greatest roller derby accomplishments on the track?
I learned how to skate backwards from a 9-year-old who was the son of the rink owner. I am so appreciative that he taught me basics of how to skate backwards and I will never forget it. It was a huge personal accomplishment for me to be on the Texas Rollergirls and then to make the Texecutioners my first year in 2013. I am very thankful to have received Best League Offensive in 2015. 2016 International WFTDA D1 Playoffs in Montreal felt like a dream to me and I just really loved being there with my team, and being given the opportunity to skate was a huge accomplishment. I am still speechless when I think about the day I received WFTDA MVP at that tournament. This award has been such a huge honor. Thanks you so much, y’all!
I want to say thank you to Trauma and Virgo Vengeful for always believing in me. Love ya, sisters!
Off the track?
Off the track I am focused on growing as an adult, family, staying healthy, and learning new things. I work as an administrative assistant for Inland Waste Solutions. I work part-time at The Enchanted Florist. I also want to finish my goal of having my Cosmetology License. I really want to live life to the fullest and travel the world. I feel so happy that I have roller derby to get to meet new people have new experiences.
What has roller derby taught you about pushing your limits, either physically or mentally?
I believe in always pushing yourself out of your comfort zone physically and mentally, no matter how hard or difficult. It will always be worth it in the end. It is very important to have growth physically and mentally. I want to thank my teammates over the years for always making me feel challenged and forcing me out of my comfort zone.
What can you share about your coaching and other work with your local junior roller derby team?
I love to coach/teach adult and junior skaters when my work schedule and team schedules permit me to do so. I teach large groups and private lessons. Some of my favorite things to teach are basics, advanced footwork, backwards skating, blocking and endurance training. I am still brainstorming and testing some ideas on teaching skaters how to be more aggressive. My favorite thing about teaching is seeing the growth through time. It feels amazing to have helped a skater meet their goal. It is incredible how much talent the juniors have. I believe that roller derby for juniors is so good for their mind and health. It will mold them into badass young adults. Shout out to all the junior roller derby leagues out there! Keep up the good work and stay in school.
What was it like to be recognized this past fall as MVP at the D1 Playoffs in Montreal?
I am so thankful and honored that I was selected MVP of the WFTDA Playoffs in Montreal. I have only ever dreamed of receiving that award. It was such an epic moment for me. I was totally crying so hard. I was hoping that maybe I could be nominated and my teammates said that they knew it was me when they announced, “She always does everything 200 percent.” The Montreal tournament was so amazing. A huge thanks to New Skids On the Block for hosting such a wonderful tournament that I will never forget.
I want to thank my captains and coaches for believing in me and allowing me to play at playoffs. Most of all I want to thank my teammates Trauma and Virgo Vengeful for always believing in me and teaching me.
Who are your derby heroes?
My heroes are all the original skaters who started roller derby and those who keep making roller derby more and more competitive every year. I am so proud of all the women, men, and juniors making their dreams happen everyday, whether it is with roller derby or not. It is very important to reach your goals in life. My mom is also my hero for always being a smart, strong, independent woman.
What have of the toughest losses of your career taught you?
It is important to acknowledge the small victories and not always the losses. Don’t ever give up on whatever your dream or goal may be.
Have you held any leadership positions in your league? How have those positively impacted your personal roller derby career?
I have mostly been a league trainer and a part-time Sponsorship Account Manager, and always helping all the committees when I can. This year I decided to add to my league jobs by being a manager for Texas Rollergirls Sponsorship Team. I love being a league trainer because I get to help my leaguemates and the rec league grow. It is very important to help if you can in a management role for roller derby leagues. Each league may have a different structure but there is always a need to make league better and lighten the workload for others in management positions. It has been a very positive learning experience for me. I will continue to help where I can for many years to come.
What is your job outside of roller derby? And how, if at all, has it contributed to your experience of roller derby?
I work at Inland Waste Solutions full-time as an administrative assistant. I also work at the Enchanted Florist part-time and take odd jobs as they come. I worked as a waitress before at Olive Garden and then Opal Divines. All my work experience has helped me with multitasking and with getting to work with all types of people, growing as an adult, and being more open-minded.
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?
It has been difficult to find a balance between my derby life and real life. I have to stay organized and use time management tools to stay focused on my real life and derby life success. I have learned with time that I have to put my real life first and foremost so that I can play roller derby and do other things. I made this hashtag with my Hell Mary team and it’s one of our team mottos: #BAA. It’s important to do what you need to do in your real life before anything. #BAA which means “Being An Adult.”
What advice do you have for people who want to play roller derby?
I want to say that roller derby has made a huge positive impact in my life and everyone should join a league. When you are new to roller derby it is very important to learn all your basics and don’t rush anything. Be ready to work your butt off. Teamwork is very important. Make sure you to take care of yourself — your health comes first. It’s important to always ask questions to the more veteran skaters. Roller derby is a sport; remember to have fun and stay away from drama.
Do you have a special message to your fans?
I want to say thank you so much for all your kindness and support. Y’all are awesome! Perseverance is the key to success and hard work always pays off.
Quiero decir muchisimas gracias por todo su amabilidad y su apoyo! Ustedes son impresionantes! La perseverancia es la clave del éxito y el trabajo duro siempre da sus frutos.
Do you have any game footage or other videos that you would like to share?
I love Arnold’s speeches!