Featured Cadet: JAME O’SINBIN
Tell us a bit about yourself. Do you have kids, what is your career, do you have pets, etc.?
I am a Social Worker and support adults with Developmental Disabilities. I am also in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. I enjoy surfing, snowboarding, and playing hockey (I have to add Roller Derby to that list now).
When did you join SIDR?
I attended the April 2018 Recruitment Event, and I started skating in May
How did you first hear about us, and what led you to want to become an SIDR skater or Ref?
My co-worker is on the team and mentioned that I should be a ref since she knew I could skate. I went to the home bout in April, and it looked like a lot of fun. I was amazed by the fact that the teams were playing both offense and defense at the same time. It looked really challenging, so I wanted to know more about it! I was looking for something fun and athletic to do, and roller derby fit both of those ideas.
What was your bootcamp recruitment experience like?
It was a lot of fun and challenging. I had been a skater for most of my life, but I had never done some of the skills like knee taps. I realized I was out of shape…the coaches were great in demonstrating all of the skills and giving feedback. They were tough and honest, but really supportive.
What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of derby so far?
I have yet to master the plow stop on quad skates! Since learning the rules, the most challenging part has been recognizing game strategy and looking for penalties/points in real game situations. The game is really fast and intense. It all seemed like chaos at first, but I think I am really starting to put it all together now.
What has derby done for you both physically and mentally?
I’m in much better shape now. I have lost a bunch of weight and feel stronger all around. I think I am mentally sharper in my observations. I can say that I learn something new with every practice. I ask a lot of questions, and I am trying new things, like pushing myself for a high speed stop on my weaker foot. A ref has to know the rules and has to be assertive when calling out penalties and spot on accurate when tallying points, so I am working on both of those skills. I have gained so much since joining the league. The friends are great, too. I immediately gained a group of friends who welcomed me in and have been a huge support!
What are your derby goals?
First goal is to be a better ref who really knows the rules inside and out. To be better at recognizing things at full game speed. It would be great to become a Head Ref one day! My other goal is to become a better skater on quads. I may look into men’s roller derby as a skater in the future…when I get better.
What quote helps you to get through challenging times in order for your to push yourself to reach your goals?
“Nobody’s a natural. You work hard to get good, and then work to get better. It’s hard to stay on top.” – Paul Coffey. He’s one of the greatest defensemen in hockey history…I know it’s from another sport, but he was an icon for me as a kid, and the quote always stuck with me. It reminds me that all the effort you put in will actually pay off because you can always get better.
Based on your experience, what advice would you give someone who is brand new to derby?
Start and keep going! It is an amazing sport. It’s hard and a lot of fun. The team told me that I am going to fall, but they supported me and kept me motivated. Trust your equipment, trust your teammates and coaches, and trust yourself. There is a lot you can learn about yourself about how far you can push your limits and by how often you can pick yourself up.
Did Jame O’s story inspire you to try roller derby?
We are having a recruitment bootcamp on September 8th – Skaters, Refs, and Officials wanted! Register here