Q-and-A with a DC Rollergirl
Last Saturday was the home season opener for the DC Rollergirls, the eight-year-old flat-track derby league that plays to the happy, dulcet shouts of “Don’t be a douche” and “Suck on it, sister.” The event was kicked off by Mayor Vince Gray, who primed the crowd by declaring that “the D.C. government is not shutting down.” After league defending champ Scare Force One beat the Majority Whips, Washington City Paper spoke with Scare Force MVP blocker and league president, Velocityraptor, aka 30-year-old Adrienne Schreiber.
Washington City Paper: How’d you get started in roller derby?
VELOCITYRAPTOR: My mom (laughs). She sent me newspaper clippings of a girl I went to gymnastics with years ago who was skating for Harrisburg, Pa., where I’m from. And she’s like, ‘Look at this cool thing she’s doing.” And I’m like, “That’s really neat.” And she said, “No. Go look at it.”
WCP: Your mom wanted you to do a contact sport?
VELOCITYRAPTOR: She’s awesome. And then my coworkers took me to a bout for my birthday in 2009 and I loved it. The league asked for volunteers. I was like, "Heck no, I want to do it." I emailed and said, "What’s this about try outs, how do I get in there?" Fresh meat was starting in two weeks and I ordered my gear that night.
WCP: Fresh meat?
VELOCITYRAPTOR: It’s what we call our brand new girls. Once they get through the training program, we call them “tenderized” and then they’re allowed to skate with the league.
WCP: So what are you, “well done”?
VELOCITYRAPTOR: We’re just called league members.
WCP: Worst injury.
VELOCITYRAPTOR: I had a broken rib once. It was my own fault, which was extra embarrassing. I went in and it was one of those cartoon feet out from under you thing. I took off a couple of weeks, but once I could cough and sleep I decided, “Okay, I’m all right.” But in the league there have been some pretty horrific ankle breaks, broken collar bones. I mean, it’s a full contact sport.
WCP: Day job?
VELOCITYRAPTOR: I work at Planned Parenthood in administration. And we opened Department of Skate [City Paper’s 2013 Reader’s Poll winner for Best Skate Shop and Best New Retail Store] in February. I basically have three fulltime jobs, between being president of the league [third term], my day job, and this whole new business.
WCP: Where’d you go to school?
WCP: What’d you study?
VELOCITYRAPTOR: My undergraduate degree was in French and I had minors in psychology and music, and I took some grad classes in neuroscience. I’m all over the place. Have we covered the fact that I don’t sleep much?
WCP: Where do you live?
VELOCITYRAPTOR: Over by the convention center—it’s just called “downtown.” Could we have a more derby-fied name for that neighborhood? We have a lot down here!
WCP: Do you roller skate all over town?
VELOCITYRAPTOR: Pretty much. We hold practices at an elementary school over by Union Station and it’s a pretty quick zip down Massachusetts Avenue from my apartment. Well, it’s not quick. It’s actually kind of terrifying. The sidewalks are uneven so you have to be in the street and that is a terrifying road to skate on. I’ve made better choices in my life.
WCP: How long will you do roller derby for?
VELOCITYRAPTOR: Until I’m too broken to do it. Although by then I might be all titanium and a robot, so I could keep playing.
Photo by Shutterthug