Player Profile: Danimal

BlakeIn the first of our player profiles we catch up with Danimal, Captain of the Super Smash Brollers A-Team.

How long have you been playing roller derby?

I started roller derby as a referee with Fair City Rollers in Perth about 4 and a quarter years ago but I’ve been playing for the last 3.

Did you skate before you started roller derby? 

I used to skate on in-lines when I was younger but not on quads. I took that up when I joined.

Did you play any other sports before you started roller derby?

I did, but again it was mostly when I was younger. As a teenager I was playing a lot of basketball, roller hockey, rugby etc. but at the time I started derby I hadn’t done much exercise for a while.

How has playing roller derby affected your overall health and fitness?

As I say, before derby I was not very healthy at all, not very fit and I was a lot heavier than I am now.

Skating is really hard when you’re in that state and you quickly realise that you will either have to commit to becoming better, or pack it in altogether. It was an easy choice to make though, roller derby sucks you in and I fell in love with it straight away. So I started eating a little bit better (although I wasn’t drinking any less at weekends and after parties) and I joined a gym and I got stuck in to training!

Just over 4 years later and I’m in a much better place physically. My fitness and stamina is in a good place. I’m a big guy, I’m still not happy with my weight, but I’m about 5 stone lighter than I was when I first started roller derby. That, to me, is mental!

How often do you practice on skates?

At the moment I train on skates 5 hours a week over 2 sessions. In summer we head out now and again for an outdoor skate and I love going to open scrims to get some variety in too.

What additional off-skates training do you do and how often?

Okay, so at the time I’m doing this I haven’t done as much as I should so far in 2015. I really need to get back into the routine, and I will be this week! But normally… I go to the gym after work on weekdays. I just work on cardio followed by a few weights, but mostly cardio. Cross-trainer is my favourite.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

True story – I joined roller derby because the after-parties are amazing. I never knew it would end up being such a massive part of my lifestyle!

What’s your favourite roller derby photo of you and why?


Long answer, and quite soppy – I’m not even sorry!

I chose that picture for a few reasons. First off, it’s a really cool picture! I love what the photographer (ZeroG Photography) did with the colours – there was a few comments on the day that the contrasting orange and blue kits on track were reminiscent of a “roller derby Irn-Bru can” and this accentuates that!

This was taken at the 2013 Men’s European Roller Derby Cup in our second game of the day against the Jakey Bites, a team of which I was one of the founding members.

At the time I had only lived in Nottingham and been training with SSB for about 4 months, but I already felt at home due to the lads and lasses of SSB/NRG (now NRD) taking me in as soon as I got here and making me feel welcome.

This was the first time I’d skated with my old team since leaving Scotland and it was so good to be alongside derby brothers old and new. Skating on track with my new team I was as comfortable as if I’d skated on track with them for years. Skating on track against my old team felt like I’d never been away from them.

SSB lost that game and I was a bit gutted because I really wanted to win this one! We still had a bit to learn as a team before we would take our first victory though.

This picture is my favourite derby photo because it has me amongst players of 2 completely different teams based about 350 miles apart, but I know them all.

It reminds me how much I love Roller Derby, because no matter where you end up, if you have derby then you have a family and it only gets bigger as you go.

What is your post-game refreshment of choice?

Beer, the quality of which usually declines rapidly as the night goes on.

I’ll start the night with some premium ales from Brewdog at the after party, but when we move on to other bars and clubs it’s not uncommon to find me with a pint of Carling!

If you had a theme tune what would it be?

Huey Lewis and the News – Hip to be Square