Interview: Roller Derby Swashbuckler Of The Salty Dolls – Gnome Chompsky

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The Adelaide Roller Derby season is in full swing and the multistate derby super tournament, The Great Southern Slam, is just around the corner. I caught up with Salty Dolls superstar, Gnome Chompsky, to talk about what goes into TGSS and what it is to be a derby skater.

The Great Southern Slam is looking to be big this year. Do you have any role in the comp this year?
I was lucky enough to be drafted into the Pot Luck team. So, we have 2 ADRD travel teams, the Adelaides and the Radelaides. They’re a part of the TGSS competition. The Pot Luck team is a random group that was drawn from a hat and I was lucky enough to get into that team. The draw is made from all eligible skaters from all the participating organisations.

Wow, that’s going to be an interesting side. Hopefully, you can pull off an upset. ADRD has always been a lively group made of great people and the Saltys seem just as energetic.
Yeah, it’s just the real big mix of personalities and people. In everyday normal life you make friends with people who are somewhat like yourself. Roller Derby brings everyone from all walks of life and we’re all brought together through our love of roller derby.

That sounds like a really great environment and with that is ADRD growing in Adelaide? What is ADRD’s next step?
Not really sure at the moment. We’re amping up our publicity this year and starting to get bigger crowds coming in. There are also the several other leagues within the city.

Yeah, I’m aware of Murder City and Light City Roller derby.
There’s also the Rockabellas out in Gawler and also the youth teams.

Well, hopefully you don’t go up against the youth teams.
Well there are a few people that have come from the youth leagues up to ADRD. They absolutely destroy me. I’m sure the rest of the kids would do the same.

So what’s your advice for someone who wants to get into Roller Derby? How do they get in?
First of all, don’t be afraid to start. I had some experience in skating when I tried out but my partner didn’t and he tried out to be a ref at the same time I applied. He was like a giraffe on wheels but he developed quickly.
Come out to a few games, check out what it’s like. And we have our raw and fresh meat camps at the end of the season in August.

Is it easy balancing derby life and your regular life?
It’s challenging at times. The only reason it took so long for me to get in was I was working and studying and doing other things. I finally got into a position where I could attend derby and be a part of it. I guess it’s flexible in what you can manage if you can’t commit to it as much as other people. I’ve never had that feeling of guilt or that I’m not pulling my weight. Everyone has personal circumstances.

What are your personal goals this year in roller derby?
I’m looking at developing my jamming skills. I’m not too good at it yet but the Salty’s are a really good team with development and good at letting you try out different roles. My main goal is to not embarrass myself in front of the crowd when I’m jamming.

Competition in ADRD has always been fierce but which team would you say have the biggest target on their back?
I think the Dies, they’re an amazingly strong team this year. They haven’t lost a bout yet. Everyone is going to be gunning to take them down but of course in a loving and friendly way.

Who are the star players to look out for in the league?
That’s a tough one. I’ve got a bit of a crush on basically everybody. I would say probably IV from the Hearses. She came from the junior league and is absolutely incredible.
Honestly, there are so many people in the league with different talents. They’re all so good, it’s like picking a favourite child.

Photography by Stephen Muller

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