A TXRD Player’s Journey from Beginner Skater to All-Star
On this week’s episode, I sit down with Texas Roller Derby (TXRD) All-Star Milla Juke-a-bitch.
Milla has been a roller derby player with TXRD for the last seven years. She is an all-star player, team captain for the Cherry Bombs and even trains new roller derby players on the sport. But, things certainly didn’t start that way for Milla.
On today’s episode, Milla and I talk about:
- Her journey as a skater. Starting as a brand new skater in 2010 with very little childhood experience roller skating, she decided she wanted to be a roller derby player. She says she was a horrible skater. Now, after skating for 9 years, she’s one of the best in the league – making it to the All Scar Army every season (TXRD’s All-Star Team).
- What inspired her to become a roller derby player.
- What it was like trying to get into the league – she had to try out multiple times to even have a chance to be an alternate player. We discuss how she stuck with the sport even when she didn’t make the cut and what kept her glued to it.
- What it’s like playing for a roller derby team. TXRD is popular here in Austin, TX and so Milla and her teammates play in front of large crowds at the Palmer Event Center. We discuss what it’s like playing in front of crowds.
- How to train new derby players. As a roller derby trainer herself, Milla talks about the advice she gives to new derby players just thinking about starting out.
- And we cover much more. Check it out!
Photos of Milla Juke-a-bitch
Here are links to the items we discussed during the show.
- Texas Roller Derby (TXRD) Website
- TXRD Historian YouTube Channel
- Texas Roller Derby on Facebook
- Texas Roller Derby Twitter
- Playland Skate Center – Jeff & Milla’s home rink here in Austin.
- Veloway – An awesome outdoor trail for bikes and skaters only – no walkers, runners or pets. I have some video of me skating this park a few months back that I’ll post soon.
- Whip It
- Milla’s movie inspiration that made her want to play roller derby and join TXRD. A film directed by Drew Barrymore about the league.
- Milla’s Equipment
Episode 12 Transcript
Jeff [0:04] Hey, everybody! Welcome to the Roller Skate Dad Podcast. This is Episode #12. Let’s get started.
Announcer [0:21] Welcome to the Roller Skate Dad Podcast. The show that covers everything and anything in the wonderful world of roller skating. Now here’s your host, the Roller Skate Dad himself, Jeff Stone.
Jeff [0:37] Hey, everybody! I want to welcome you to the Roller Skate Dad Podcast. On today’s episode, I have TXRD Texas Roller Derby, All Star and Cherry Bombs Captain Milla Juke-a-bitch on the show. So Milla has been skating with TXRD The Texas Roller Derby here in Austin, Texas, for the last seven years. And she has a pretty interesting story to tell. Up until seven years ago, Milla had actually never even roller skated. She then saw the roller derby movie Whip It! and decided that she wanted to be a roller derby player. All right, let’s get started.Expand To View Full Transcript
Jeff [1:19] Hi, Milla. Welcome to the Roller Skate Dad Podcast. I want to thank you so much for being here.
Milla [1:25] Thanks for having me.
Jeff [1:26] Awesome. Well, instead of me giving a big, long winded explanation about who you are and what you do and why you’re on the podcast, why don’t you tell the audience a little bit about yourself?
Milla [1:39] Ah, sure I am I go by Milla Juke-a-bitch. I skate with TXRD, Texas Roller derby. It’s the bank track league here in Austin, and I’ve been skating for about seven years. When I started playing derby. Well, I was one of those people that saw the movie Whip It! and was like, “I want to do that” even though I did not know how to skate. And so began a long journey to figuring out how to skate, then figuring how to skate well and hit people while doing so.
Jeff [2:13] That’s awesome. And so now, today you’re actually you’re playing maybe tell us a little bit about the team you’re on and
Milla [2:21] Yeah, yeah, I’m a Cherry Bomb. There are five teams in TXRD (The Cherry Bombs, Putas del Fuego, Holy Rollers, Hellcats and Rhinestone Cowgirls). So our team, The Cherry Bombs, we won champs in 2016-2017. We had a rough year last year. Lots of injuries, but we’re coming back strong this year.
Jeff [2:44] So I know when you and I were emailing back and forth before you came on the show, you were telling me that you started from zero.
Milla [2:51] Yeah.
Jeff [2:51] I’m curious. When did you first start skating?
Milla [2:58] 2010. So I saw Whip It in 2009 when it came out and I was living in Maryland at the time. And, I was very enamored and I went to a roller rink and was so bad and I I was there just rolling around in circles for hours. But not because it was so much fun because I didn’t know how to stop and so. And there was some people doing, like, artistic dancing and roller skating. And they’re like, you know, this this wouldn’t be beyond you if you would want to be into this. And And, ah, I was like, Oh, man, I want to hit people on skates, not do this. And so, I felt like a failure. I kind of gave up on it for a while. I had moved to Texas for a job, and when I was unpacking stuff I didn’t have like my Internet and and everything set up and cable. And so I popped in. I had Whip It, and so I put the DVD in and as it was playing, they said Austin, Texas and TXRD. And these are not things that popped into my brain when I saw it the first time because I was living in Maryland and I was like, Wait a minute is this real? Is TXRD a real thing? And I had like a flip phone at the time, so I didn’t have Internet. And so I got in the car and I drove to the library. I looked up TXRD and I figured out when they’re next game was and it wasn’t for a month. But I went to that and I was hooked and I bought skates online that next day or that evening. And, I started. I went to Playland, which is a rink in town and all the little derby brats would buzz me and knock me down. I wouldn’t and I had. I wouldn’t wear my my protective gear because I didn’t want people knowing that I wanted to play derby because I was so bad, like, don’t make fun of me. But then the league. So I kept going to TXRD games and they started up academy classes Polyurethane and Lazy Bones ran them. And so I was in their very first class, and that is how I kind of got my feet under me.
Jeff [5:27] Wow, that’s amazing. So I mean, you really you didn’t skate at all is a kid then?
Milla [5:31] No, I said I probably skated twice in my life before deciding to play roller derby. Because it was, like, you know, in PE when they bring you those those big boxes of skates. And in 2 PE classes you would roll around a little bit. Like that is the extent of my skating up until then.
Jeff [5:54] Wow, that’s amazing. So what made you want to play roller derby?
Milla [5:58] I have always I love sports. I played sports as a kid: volleyball, softball, basketball. Um, and I I love football. So it’s like girls don’t have an aggressive sport like football that we can just hit people. So, I just think it was just really cool to see, like, these very powerful women, like knock the crap out of each other. And it was just like it was so exciting. The atmosphere was just like nuts.
Jeff [6:27] Yeah, I’ve been to a match before. It is. It’s intense.
Milla [6:30] Yeah, like it so much. You watch it like at practice. You’re kind of, you know, you take it easy a little bit. It’s gets a little heated or whatever. But it’s just like on game day, there is like so much adrenaline and everybody just so hype. And, you just want to make your opponent look like a fool.
Jeff [6:51] So I’m curious. I mean, in the early days isn’t really that far back for you. I mean, we’re only talking about 2010 here, so I’m curious, like, you know, what was it like in those early days when you were first learning how to play?
Milla [7:06] I was so tragic. I went to our old warehouse was on St Elmo. And it was a really crappy place. It had like a giant divot like crater in the floor on the way to the bathroom. And I was so bad that I never went to the restroom in that warehouse because I couldn’t make it over there without falling down. It was like, I can’t get over the crater. And ah, it was I don’t know what kind of madness drove me to think I could do it. But it’s just like everybody was so nice. I went. And even though I probably had no business with wheels on my feet, nobody ever made me feel like I couldn’t do it or that I shouldn’t do it. Everybody’s just really very encouraging.
Jeff [7:52] Were you expecting something different when you first joined?
Milla [7:56] I didn’t know what to expect? I I mean, they’re all you know, when you watch Ah, game or something, there’s there’s a lot of scary girls. So you think, Oh, they’re so tough and they would never be my friend or whatever. But the secret of derby is just like everybody is kind of a weirdo and they’re just as weird as you are. And and ah, there’s actually like a lot of geeks in derby. Sister Mary Jane is an old Holy Roller in the league. And one time she said that this is a group of girls that hated girls. So you like got together and you get these people. It’s like, Oh yeah. I understand.
Jeff [8:37] That’s interesting. I had a photographer on my show, a few episodes back named Felisha Graham, and she actually followed around the flat track team here in Austin. And she said the exact same thing to me. She said that her her experience being around roller derby teams for almost a decade was that a lot of the girls that were in roller derby before they joined roller derby didn’t really like girls. But now that they were in roller derby, they you know, they just couldn’t see not being a part of a group of women.
Milla [9:15] Yeah, well, it’s like you found your tribe. It’s ah, you know, the the other girls, You know, you grow up, you’re a weirdo. You try to get along with whoever you grew up around and whatever, and just like Oh, wait. These just weren’t my people. I found them now.
Jeff [9:33] Yeah. The one thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is everybody’s a weirdo. So so during those times when you were first learning, I mean, how did you stick with it?
Milla [9:45] I was just really enamored by the whole just learning. There was so much to learn. I was so bad and so any time I would get any little tidbit, it was just like, okay. And I would just keep trying and like, the thing that you had trouble with the last time, like you found yourself doing that because this new thing you were learning was now the hard thing. And so it was just, like, constantly, like building brick by brick and, like, everything was always knew. And like, you respect the people that are teaching you so much that you’re just like, I am so happy that you know my name and you’re speaking to me, It was just so exciting,
Jeff [10:27] Because we’re these, actually, the players that were teaching?
Milla [10:30] Yeah, so like I would go to games and watch my teacher. I would root for her. And ah, that’s And you, you start picking out people once, Once you got a little better skating, you kind of picked out people that, kind of where your body type or that skated the way you would want to skate if only you could be that good and start watching them and seeing how they do things and, Ah, try to pick me things up. So it’s just it’s a constant learning thing. And, um, I had a really good group in that first academy class that we all we’re like, “Hey, do you want to go to Playland and work on our box turns? Hey, you want to go do that thing a plank pyramid? It was a good time.
Jeff [11:15] Yeah, So you did a lot of just I guess, practicing then on your own time, outside of even team practice.
Milla [11:23] Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, there. It was a long time before I had any sort of team practice. It’s like every every Saturday, there would be an academy class. But we would get together on Tuesday for adult night at Playland and or go to the Veloway once you got a little bit more stable and comfortable with outdoor wheels and such. But at Playland, I found like just skating around and talking with people made me not think about what my feet were doing. And so it’s like just the act of of being there and kind of socializing you’re working on your skills, too.
Jeff [12:02] Yeah, definitely being able to do two things at one time, right?
Milla [12:05] Yeah, absolutely.
Jeff [12:07] So you’re there. You’re practicing with the you know, with, You know, the instructors, How did you actually get started and get onto a team?
Milla [12:17] So our process is that there are tryouts, like in the middle of the year and the end of the year. And so the academy classes, they were grooming you and teaching you the things that you needed to know for the tryouts. And we were practicing for the tryouts. And so when you got there, you weren’t so bamboozled by the whole thing. Um, so I tried out. I absolutely was not really ready. And I had never, like, completed a box turn without falling down I don’t think until the day I did my eval. And, then I actually like, did it correctly. There was, like, 70 girls that tried out, and they took 30. And I was, like, ranked 15th or something, and I was like, “Wow, I tricked them so good”. I was just like, “I had a good day”. And so after you are you make it through tryouts. You we have a newbie program, and you’re in that for…it’s a three month process, and each month there’s cuts so that you have another evaluation. And the first month you do the same skills again. And then there’s a round of cuts, and then the second month, you add contact and hitting and stuff. And then there’s another round of cuts and then the last month it’s bouting. And so it depends on like how many people we need. Like how many people have retired and to pull into the alternate pool, the hired guns. And so then you if you make it through that, you’re a hired gun for 6 months and you can be chosen to play as an alternate for the various teams. And then there’s a midseason draft and there’s an end of season draft. And so my first round I got cut my first month. I couldn’t trick them for that long. Dusty Doublewide, who was one of our trainers she said, “This isn’t a no, it’s a not right now”. And she said, “I hope that you come back” and so I did. I was, you know, still excited. And ah, the second time it was…I was better. I went back to academy classes and I realized in that month I had gotten a whole lot better. And so then when it came for tryouts, I made it in pretty easily. I went from, like, 15th to 7th and and then I got to the 2nd month or I got to the final month, but I was not good at bouting. I still didn’t, like, know what I was doing or how, what to pay attention to. And so I got cut in that final month. So, they only took six and I was like, “Oh, my gosh, I was so close”. So I came back a third time. And the third time I was first in my class. And it was everybody was kind of like hoping for me, it’s like, “Oh, I hope I hope Jenna gets through stuff”. And I say all the time that getting cut those times was absolutely necessary for me to learn what I needed to learn. Because once I got in the league, I had been through this and I had figured out bouting some that I wasn’t lost. When I was asked to be an alternate, I was like, ready. There was still a long way to go. You’re still like, real stupid when you get into the league because everything is, like, so much faster and there’s so much to pay attention to. But I feel like it would have done me a great disservice to have made it in that second time or the first time especially.
Jeff [16:00] So, each of these times you’re talking about those were years?
Milla [16:04] So it was like a half a year. So it’s like you failed. You go. You try some more, then you wait for the next tryout. So there’s two a year. So it was like a year and a half of trying to get in.
Jeff [16:18] So what was that like? I mean, going and trying. And then failing. And then I mean, what kept you going?
Milla [16:24] The friends were good. So we had each time you would go through academy and stuff, you go and you have a group of people that you’re like rooting for. But also you’re competing against. And some of them would get through and someone would stay with you. And and so we just kind of, like, pump each other up, like, “Oh, you’re going to try again, right?” And so each time you see your friends go off and be successful. And there’s a part of you kind of have to take a little time to kind of mourn what has happened. But, like the goal is to get in the league. And to try to be one of those skaters you admire, you know?
Jeff [17:09] Yeah. So you finally make the team, You’re on a team or you’re an alternate. I guess. Right? You’re saying.
Milla [17:16] Yeah, I’m an alternate for six months, and I am so like I said, I was ready at this time, so I got picked up for every single game for the next six months. So I got to play with every team. I have jerseys for every team that I still cherish. And I was the first one to do that. I think a couple people have done it since then, but it was it was awesome. And I feel like that super helped me kind of be buddies with like everybody in the league. Because it’s like there’s not just Cherry Bombs that I looked up to. It’s like I looked up to Holy Rollers and Hellcats. And and a lot of them were cool with me, like even after I got drafted, like there was one practice. It was like the first one after I got drafted and I did something. And, Dixie Sanchez goes, “Hey, can I give you some advice?” And I’m like, “Yes, please.” I was like because I was so worried, like the encouragement and the advice would dry up, but people were still willing. You know.
Jeff [18:23] That’s great. What was it like competing in front of an audience for that first time?
Milla [18:28] So my first game, I got to play with the Rhinestone Cowgirls against the All Scar Army, which is the team…they’re voted as the best in the league. And so they would play the champions of the last year to essentially like, “Hey, you’re not that great. We’re going to kick your butt.” So I got to skate in 2 jams that game and I don’t remember. There’s a thing called jamnesia and it’s real. So I got to jam and I got on the on the jam line. And like a boss, she starts to lay on me like lean on me real hard I’m thinking “Oh, my God. Don’t fall down. Don’t fall down. Don’t fall down. Why are you doing this to me?” And then the whistle blows and I don’t remember anything. Then, the whistle blows again, the jam is over and I’m like, “Oh, I’m alive But I don’t remember any thing.” The second time that I jammed again and I do remember that one because I ended up getting out and, ah, somebody I respect very much chased me out of the pack and was yelling, “You better run mother f’er!” And I was just like swinging my arm back. And I was like, “She’s still chasing me!”
Jeff [19:48] I’m already out, stop chasing me.
Milla [19:50] I’m already out! Leave me alone. And so I got, I got a couple points and and that was it. That was my debut.
Jeff [19:58] Well, does the audience just kind of fade away? Do you even do even notice them when you’re out there?
Milla [20:03] I don’t actually notice the audience that much, unless I am intending to engage with the audience like I’m ham it up. I’m wanting them to cheer or I’m being a jerk, and I want them to see it and react in some way. And so then, it’s just like, yeah, come on audience or whatever. But in when you’re just kind of in the pack and you’re hitting people and you’re looking for the jammer ah, it’s I don’t really notice the audience. I do notice there was one time I got railed really severely hit right in front of, like, a standing room only area. And I like went, “Puh!” and I hit my gut, and I just heard them all go “Ooh!”. Yeah, I agree with those moans.
Jeff [20:50] You felt that, huh?
Milla [20:52] Oh yeah. And then it happened again on that same corner, and I I yelled and it was the same person I was like, “Oh, no, not again.” I heard everybody laugh. Those are the moments I notice the audience.
Jeff [21:04] So when you were first starting out and you know, you were telling your family and your friends what you were doing, what what did the people that you you know, grew up with? I mean, obviously, they it doesn’t sound like they were skaters if you didn’t skate a lot as a kid. What did they think? What did they think when you told them, “I’m gonna be a roller derby player, this is what I’m gonna do.”?
Milla [21:24] I kept it very quiet to start, because I was like, “I might fail at this. So this is just going to be something I’m doing.” But I did, like I called my parents, when I signed up for the academy classes. I was like, “Guess what I just did?” And my mom didn’t think I was going to play roller. She’s like, “Oh, she’s just learning to skate.” And, so, she didn’t think I was going to go through with it. But now, like she’s she’s super into it. They call her Mama Milla. All of the skaters love her. She like texts people on bout day, like, “Oh, I hope you have a good game.” Yeah, but friends from home, they super didn’t expect it from me because, like when I played volleyball like we wore spandex shorts and stuff. And, like when I was in ninth grade, I like, threw a fit about having to wear spandex, because it just seemed so revealing. And then, like my second game, I played with the Putas del Fuego and I was just, like, in booty shorts, and it’s just like, “Whatever this is what I’m doing now.”
Jeff [22:27] That’s awesome. And so now here you are. You’ve gone from a beginner. Somebody that didn’t even know how to skate. Now you’ve been playing on a team for how many years? Now?
Milla [22:38] This is seven.
Jeff [22:39] This is the seventh year, and now you’re you’ve You were also telling me you’re an all star as well.
Milla [22:47] So the All Scar Army, the team that I had to play against first. It’s voted on every year for who’s the best in the league. The first year I was an alternate and and skated with the Rhinestones against the All Scar Army. My first official year, we actually won the championship. The Cherry Bombs did. And so we were the ones getting beat up that following year. And then they changed the formula. So we we brought in, ah, different team to play the All Scar Army. And so ever since then, I have been voted on to, the All Scar Army, which has been, ah, crazy in my mind because, you know, who am I?
Jeff [23:28] Obviously one of the best if you’re on the All Star team every year. Right? So how is that voted? Is it voted by the players? The fans? Both?
Milla [23:36] Yeah, the players.
Jeff [23:38] It’s a big honor then.
Milla [23:40] Right. It’s like your peers are saying, Hey, you’re good and you’re kind of scary sometimes.
Jeff [23:47] Well, I’m going to switch gears just a little bit from, you know, you starting out to more of like what it’s like now for you as as a roller derby player. You know, I’m curious. You kind of alluded to it a little bit earlier. You were saying, You know, you like to hit people, but I was I was wondering, like, what are the things that you like most about roller derby?
Milla [24:10] The camaraderie, I think is a big thing. Like I love my team and my league mates. The other day I had like, a really bad day, and I went to practice in a terrible mood. And before I even had my skates on, I was like, laughing and I was completely turned around. So it was just like I just like being around those people, and they’re just great for like your brain to just kind of let go of everything that’s happened and hitting people doesn’t hurt either. It’s a little bit cheaper than a psychiatrist.
Jeff [24:48] Yes, I think it is. So what’s it like being a roller Derby girl? You know, tell me a little bit about like, what’s your What’s your week look like? And and and you know what? For those like me and others who aren’t in, you know, in this world every day, tell us a little bit about what it’s like.
Milla [25:10] Yeah, so each week there are plenty of practices you can go to. Each day there’s two practices, so you have to get eight a month in order to skate in the bout the next month. And so our practices are on Wednesday evenings and the Hellcats are like right after us. So it’s like Wednesday for sure you’re going to go to bomb practice. But there’s like an open league practice, like on a Monday and Thursday. Or like a travel team, practice or skills practice on Saturday. So you kind of can pick where you’re getting your eight practices at. And so generally I go to two or three a week. If it’s a bout week, you have closed bout practices the Thursday prior and the Monday prior and and then your team practices. And then, like on a bout day, like, if you’re not skating, you have to build the track, like or tear down the track. Everybody has to have a bout job, and it’s all hands on deck. And ah, so we can put on, like, this massive party for everybody for the game.
Jeff [26:30] Oh, wow, Okay, I didn’t realize that. So the the actual other skaters that aren’t in a bout they have, ah lot to do on bout day.
Milla [26:37] Yeah, it’s It’s a very busy day that takes like fifteen people to build the track and fifteen to take it down. And it’s it can be, a long day. But when you have like we make fun that the bombs we just had a great build at the last game, we’re like “Bomb crew is best crew.”
Jeff [26:56] That’s great. What’s the hardest thing about being a derby player?
Milla [27:01] Time commitment is always hard because you are expected to do a lot of things. You have the eight practices. You have the bout jobs. You have to make five membership points a month, which is like a lot of times you get it from You also have to have a league job. So my league job is I’m the hired gun manager. So all the people coming in the alternates, I kind of oversee them and make sure that they’re going to things that they’re supposed to, and they know what they need to do. And if they’re having brain weasels, they can talk to me and not feel like a crazy person. So that’s, you know, depending on what your league job is like, it’s you’re talking to people all day over like messenger, texting and and, ah, you have to keep up with I’m the captain of the Cherry Bombs, so it’s like I’ll check and make sure my teammates are making their practices and and their membership points and stuff. We tell people when they’re coming in, it’s like we say, it’s a part time job, but really, it’s like a full-time shop.
Jeff [28:07] It’s like, You know, everybody’s gotta have a second full time job, right? So I’m curious. You know, you were talking about all the practices that you guys have. Are there other things that you do to try to keep in shape? You know what you’re training like?
Milla [28:22] So this is the part where I’m a garbage person. I mostly just skate to stay in shape. There are a lot of people that do like crossfit and work out. Ah, one of my friends like they were doing like aerials or like pole dancing. There’s like a lot of things. Yoga, whatever. But I I’m kind of bad in that I mostly do PT if I’m injured and yoga if my back hurts and just skate when I can and try not to eat like a garbage person when a game is about to come. So I’m definitely not the height of exercise health.
Jeff [29:05] That’s great. Well, I also noticed too, from, you know, looking through the website that it seems like each team only plays like once every six to eight weeks. So I was curious. Does that make it difficult as well? That kind of stay on top of things just because the you know your particular team doesn’t play like every week or every, you know.
Milla [29:26] Well, the season, it’s ah, it’s so everybody has to play each other wwice once, No, once. Ah, so it’s you would think like not, you know, playing a game so regularly would kind of like maybe you dip in interest or whatever, but it’s just like there’s so much going on. Like even though I’m not playing, I am responsible for making sure that the game I’m not playing in can be played by, like doing my bout jobs and stuff. And we always have something. So we have in house bouts that happen. We have boot camps where we teach people how to skate and open skates, and we were always doing something. So ah, there’s rarely. I have to look to my Derby calendar to plan my life. If anybody wants to do anything ever, because there’s always something.
Jeff [30:22] So, Yeah, I I didn’t realize that I didn’t realize that you guys had all these additional jobs on top of just playing.
Milla [30:29] Yeah, Yeah, it takes. It takes a village.
Jeff [30:32] Makes sense, though. Yeah. So I’m curious. Roller derby for seven years, you’ve got to have had some injuries. What kind of injuries have you had?
Milla [30:40] Yeah, the most severe was probably I fractured the tibial plane of my knee. The big bone that if a cave man had had a femur in their hand and they whacked you in the head with it, that would be the part. The part that hits you in the head. It’s such a big bone that the doctor did not believe me. They looked at X-rays, and they’re like, “I don’t know, it looks fine”. And I, like, demanded to have an MRI because it wasn’t normal. Because I couldn’t, like, lean on it. And they’re like, “Oh, yeah, we can see that marrow is is dripping out of a crack in your bones, so maybe don’t skate for six weeks.”
Jeff [31:21] Oh, man. For six weeks.
Milla [31:24] Yeah, that one was hard. I’ve also had like ankle sprains and and kind of I messed my neck up once, but that was from sleeping. I went to practice when I shouldn’t have, when it was still messed up, and that made it worse. So it was actually a sleeping injury.
Jeff [31:42] How do you prevent injuries? I mean, how do you keep from getting injured with all the hitting that’s going on out there?
Milla [31:47] There’s certain, like plyometric exercises that we’ll do to, like, strengthen your legs and your your ankles and and if you have good core strength, that will protect your back. So it’s just kind of making sure the trainers are doing the right things to kind of to pump up everybody’s kind of ability to resist injury. You can’t prevent it just because, like, weird stuff happens and that you can’t plan but things like, Oh, I twisted this because I wasn’t strong enough to get out of this thing like those can be prevented. But, you know, you can’t prevent everything.
Jeff [32:29] So I know you said that you like to hit people. I keep coming back to that.
Milla [32:35] I shouldn’t have said that. I shouldn’t have said that because we make a joke when we’re interviewing people, as a part of their tryout, if they’d come in and they’re like, “I just like to hit people”. We’re like, “Send that person away.” Look for their crazy eyes is what we say?
Jeff [32:52] That’s awesome. I had a question, though, around that. Are you ever are you ever sorry for hitting somebody too hard?
Milla [32:59] Um, like if it results in an injury like you kind of feel bad about it, but we say, like if I hit somebody hard, it means I respect you. Dusty Doublewide was always really great because she is a scary lady that could kill you. And so she would dial it back and give you what you could take. And so it’s like she’d wreck you sometimes. But like if she wrecked you, you knew she respected you. And so that’s kind of what you do. If you hit me like just a little tap. I’m like, “Oh, man, that’s not respect.”
Jeff [33:38] That’s funny. So So it’s Ah, sign of affection is what you’re telling me.
Milla [33:42] It is. Absolutely. And I mean, are my team we’re weird. We just we like to hit each other and giggle. Like that’s the joke.
Jeff [33:51] So I take it with all the different volunteering that you guys have to do for each other at these bouts that the players aren’t paid anything for playing.
Milla [34:00] Oh, no. Yeah. People, I was asked at the last bout they’re like, “Oh, who gets all the money?” And I was like, “Oh, no, no, no.” We bring in money in order to pay for rent and, you know, electric and and to rent this space that we have. Because we have a a practice space that we have to rent, and then we also have to rent where we have the bouts, and such, so it’s just like – it’s a lot of out and in. So it’s like it all just kind of evens out. If you don’t love it, you wouldn’t stick with it.
Jeff [34:31] So I’m curious to know. Do you have a signature move or maybe, like a favorite way to get around someone or take somebody out?
Milla [34:39] I do. I like to sweep people up like it’s…you take your your leg and you kind of point up and you get like your your thigh on their thigh and it, like, moves their their foot so it’s going up. And they just have, like, no control over their body. And so I’m just like “I own you now. I am taking you where I want you to go.” And I’m kind of known for being mouthy, like I I never stop jabbering in the pack. And, ah, some of my favorite times in the pack are when like I’m having a conversation with someone that’s like very calm. Like one time I was jamming and I had passed everybody but Anita Confess. And I go, “Ninja, I need Anita. I only need Anita. Please get Anita.” Like so calm.
Jeff [35:28] So what? What are some of your favorite things to say to people while you’re out on the floor?
Milla [35:33] Oh, I’m not much on on smack talk or anything like that. I’m to…I mean, I will yell and scream. So I’m a cover band of just the people that I used to watch. And that I loved watching what they did. And so I just do what they do. And then people attribute to me, and I’m like, “Oh, no, no, I’m on the, um on the shoulders of giants here.” Because one of the things that I do is when the jammer’s out, I will chase after them and scream, and it scares the crap out of him. But it all goes back to that very first game where Dixie Sanchez was yelling. “You better run Mother F’er.” I was like, That was a lot of fun. Everybody remembered that I got a great picture out of it. I want to be that.
Jeff [36:20] So you’re paying it back, right?
Milla [36:24] I’m paying it back, yeah.
Jeff [36:27] So you were saying that, you know, this is like something that lets you know, people get their their anger out. I was wondering if if you think roller derby is just a great way to let loose and let go of anger.
Milla [36:38] Yeah, I would say so. There’s a joke. Like when people retire. Ah, there was There was one skater that her husband was like, “You gotta go skate, baby. You’re getting real mad.”
Jeff [36:52] She’s taking it out on him.
Milla [36:54] Yeah, yeah. It’s just like there’s no release valve otherwise, so you gotta find different ways to cope, obviously.
Jeff [37:00] So how important is equipment to you?
Milla [37:04] Oh, very, very, very important. So I learned the reason that I fractured my knee was because I didn’t replace my kneepads. So I had twisted my, like my MCL. It was stupid. I messed up my ankle. And then I came back to quick from the ankle. And then I tried to protect the ankle, and so I pulled the MCL. And so, and then the the knee hurt for a while, and I just assumed that’s the way it was. And so I wasn’t paying attention that when I was falling, that it was hurting my knee. I just thought my knee hurts now. But what was happening is that there was a divot where all the cushion had been smushed out. And so I was basically just hitting the plastic into my knee into the ground. And so when that happened, I looked and it was so stupid because it was so preventable. Um, I wear 183 knee pads because they’re like super super thick. And, it’s like falling on a cloud, they say.
Jeff [38:11] That’s awesome. So ah, pads, I take it are extremely important. It sounds like like getting the right one’s?
Milla [38:18] Knees are the most important. It’s like elbows. You’d only notice that they are there when they fall down and fail you when you hit your elbow on something because you never seem to hit your elbow until they’re not there. They slide down. And wrist guards are very important. My friend, she was down at Running of the Bulls in Louisiana, in New Orleans, and she forgot her wrist guards at the hotel, and her husband was going to go back to get them.
And between that and him coming back, she fell down and broke her wrist.
Jeff [38:52] Oh, no.
Milla [38:53] Yeah. So always wear your risk cards.
Jeff [38:56] Always. Do you have a favorite, as far as like boots or wheels or anything from a skate perspective?
Milla [39:04] The boots I have right now are Solaris boots. They’re kind of the new hotness. Everybody kind of has them. And Arius plates. It took a while to break in for me. I had, like, a giant blister on the arch of my foot. And I have to wear, like, thick socks in order to for that to go away. I think they’re better now. I kind of broken them in. But I was on Riedell 265s with Avenger Plates for like years. And I really love those, too, so.
Jeff [39:32] I’m curious. I mean, I think I already know the answer to this, but I’m going to ask you anyway. So your name is hilarious. Mallia Juke-a-bitch.
Milla [39:42] Milla Juke-a-bitch, yes
Jeff [39:43] Milla Juke-a-bitch. So I take it that’s after the actress, right?
Milla [39:46] Yeah. Yeah, And my number is 5th. So 5th Element.
Jeff [39:51] I was going to ask you how you came up with that name. So was that a favorite movie of yours?
Milla [39:56] Well, it was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth to come up with a name. Because even after I saw Whip It initially and had no skating ability whatsoever, me and my brother and my family, we were trying to figure out like, “Oh, what a skate name be? That’s cool.” And we’re throwing them around and nothing ever came up. And when I kept thinking all through, when I was going through the newbie program and my family, they would like, call me with, like ideas and I would tell them it was stupid and I would get hung up on because, everybody thinks they’re idea’s the best one. And you have to be kind of like original. You can’t have ah, first name or last name that’s similar to somebody in the league. And at one point there was a website called Two Evils, that every roller girl had to like register their name so it couldn’t be taken by anybody else. But at a certain point, derby got too big for that to be sustainable. So I would just was thinking of verbs on the plane. I was just like and juke came to my brain and I thought of Milla Juke-a-bitch, and I was like, “I think that’s it.”
Jeff [41:07] That’s awesome. When I first saw your name, I was like, “Wait a minute” and I had to think about it for a minute and then I was like, “Oh, I know what that’s a play off of that’s awesome.” Your bio is pretty funny too, so I’ve got to read this for the the audience because it’s hilarious. “Infected with a viral strain developed by the military, Milla experiences permanently elevated levels of aggression, escaped from the top secret program and unable to take out her hostilities on black ops missions for the man, she has taken up roller derby joining the ranks of TXRD.” So I have to ask, if this is Milla, are you different on the floor versus off?
Milla [41:49] Um, I think that Milla was always there. She’s just more amped up and out in your face version of me. Yeah, my brother wrote that, by the way.
Jeff [42:04] Did he really? It’s really well done. It’s awesome.
Milla [42:06] Yeah, I was just like, “Hey, can you what would you do for a bio?”And he sent me that. And I’m like, “That’s perfect.” Here. Send.
Jeff [42:14] He’s a very good writer. He did a good job. Well, so I’m a little curious, You know, you you went from being, you know, brand new beginner skater back in 2010. Now you’re an all star on, you know, a TXRD team and a captain. And it sounds like now you’re actually helping a lot of the newer skaters that are coming in.
Milla [42:36] Yeah.
Jeff [42:37] So I was wondering, what advice do you give to skaters who maybe aren’t even in, you know, one of these academy programs yet or in any of these new programs yet? But they’re just thinking about derby. What kind of advice do you give them?
Milla [42:53] Ah, to just try. Like there. I always I regale them with tales of my failure. Because I was like, “you cannot possibly be worse than I was. So right now as you are, you are better than I was so please just try. Like, I swear, it’ll be worth it.”
Jeff [43:12] And so are you actually, now a part of, like, helping train new skaters that are coming in?
Milla [43:18] Yeah, I’m on the training team, so I train Ah, the people that are in the league. But I also do help with the the newbie program sometimes they’ll bring me in is like a guest trainer and the thing I like about training the most is that I can look at what somebody’s doing, like “show me a skill that you’re having trouble with,” and it’s like I could tell you three or four things that you could do to make that better right now. So, I like tweaking them and just seeing them like improve like immediately.
Jeff [43:48] I know you were saying in the beginning, you actually had some trouble with some certain skills. Are there certain ones that kind of stick out for you as far as things that were just really difficult to learn?
Milla [43:58] Yeah, so box turns are hard for everybody, and I tell everybody that even now everybody has a bad side. So it’s like I turn right. I don’t turn left. I’m like Zoo Lander, so I still have a hard time. But it’s like I’ll manage to do it like at speed in a bout if, like, I need to stop somebody and the only way is to go that way, like my brain shuts off and I just do it. But there’s so much of it that’s just in your head. Like to rotate down the track that it gets in people’s head. And so, ah, figuring out how to teach people to get past those brain weasels. That’s the hard part.
Jeff [44:42] Yeah, I was going to ask you, What do you What do you think the hardest thing is for new skaters, derby skaters when they’re first starting out?
Milla [44:49] I think it’s really hard to know what to pay attention to, like, especially when you are bouting especially. There is so much stimuli going on. I don’t know if I should pay attention to my teammates or the people that are trying to hit me or my jammer that’s coming in or the other jammer. And it’s like If I pay too much attention to one thing, I’m going to get blindsided by something else. And so it’s just…Smarty Pants told us that it’s because as soon as the whistle blows, you have a you have a plan in your brain and the whistle blows and your brain just starts screaming. And it’s like yes, and when the whistle blows again, it’ll it’ll stop. But it’s just like, Oh, what was I even supposed to be doing there? My body has no idea what just what just happened. And everybody tells you like, at some point it will click and you will understand what’s going on in the pack. You will know what not to pay attention to, and it’s just going to be one day. You’ll realize that you’re there, but it takes a while.
Jeff [45:58] When was that moment for you, when it just clicked.
Milla [46:01] Um, the first time it clicked, it was at a Rhinestone practice. Dilldozer was was a very good pivot in the pack, and she was like, telling me things very calmly, like the jammers coming up.
We’re going to go up hear and get her, and it’s like, OK, good, now let’s slow this down. And it was just like that, that calm voice that I try to do now for people. It’s just like, “Don’t pay attention to everything else. Listen to me, listen to what I’m saying and do what I say.”
Jeff [46:37] Yeah. Sometimes you just have to take the actions and stop overthinking it, right?
Milla [46:40] Yeah.
Jeff [46:41] Yeah. Yeah, that’s interesting. Well, awesome. Milla, I want to thank you so much for being here. If people want to learn more about you or the Texas Roller Derby, where should they go?
Milla [46:51] Ah, you can go to www.txrd.com. We’re also on Facebook. TXRD Roller Derby. You should be able to look it up. And if you want to see old bouts, I have a YouTube channel called TXRD Historian that has years and years of things for you to watch.
Jeff [47:13] Oh, that’s awesome. I didn’t know about that. Tell me more about that.
Milla [47:16] There you go. Yeah. So at some point we had we were doing streams. Ah, with, like, multi camera like set ups. Just volunteers that were interested in that kind of thing. And we made a bunch of DVDs to sell. And so the ones that we have leftover, I’ve been ripping those and and putting them on. We had a deal with a KCWX out in San Antonio for seven years where they had our game’s on on TV and so those are online as well. And any time I find random, I found like, mini-DVs with just like practices and weird stuff. And I’m just like I’ve been working through it steadily. I’m the league archivist. And so I’m just trying to save everything for posterity.
Jeff [48:04] Nice. Well, I’m definitely gonna have to have you on the show again, and we’re going to talk more about that. That sounds like a whole lot of fun going through all of the history of the league.
Milla [48:16] Yeah, it’s I have so much junk in my garage. I’m trying to digitize everything. It’s a mess.
Jeff [48:23] So well, that’s great. Was there anything else that you wanted to share? Anything that I should have asked? Any question that you’re like, “I wish he would have asked me this.”
Milla [48:31] No, I just I think anybody that’s interested in roller derby should give it a try. We’re having we have academy classes going on all the time. Everybody’s really nice. If you come to a about we have a recruitment table and sometimes I’m there and I will answer all your questions because I love talking about their being, which is why I’m here.
Jeff [48:50] Well, I want to thank you again so much for being here. And, ah, we’ll definitely have you on the show in the future as well. So thanks so much, Milla.
Milla [48:57] Thank you.
Jeff [48:58] All right, bye bye.
Milla [48:59] Bye.
Jeff [49:00] All right. Well, that sure was a fun episode. I want to thank, Milla so much for coming on the Roller Skate Dad Podcast and spending time with me and us here. If you’re interested in any of the things that Milla and I talked about and you want more information or you want links to the things that Milla mentioned, be sure to check out the show notes. The show notes are a great place to get links from myself or from the guests that are mentioned during the show. You can get to the show notes for this episode by going to RollerSkateDad.com/12.
Jeff [49:33] Ratings and reviews are what make the Roller Skate Dad Podcast available to more and more people. So, if you’ve been listening to the Roller Skate Dad Podcast for these last twelve episodes, I’d really appreciate a rating and review in the podcasting platform that you’re listening from. Please take a few minutes today and leave me a rating and a review wherever you listen and thank you.
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Jeff [50:29] All right, everybody that’s another episode in the books. I want to thank you guys again so much for being here. And, until the next time. Get on out there and skate.
Announcer [50:40] Thank you for listening to the Roller Skate Dad Podcast at www.rollerskatedad.com. If you liked what you heard today, please be sure to subscribe, rate and review the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google or wherever you’re listening.
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Did you like what you heard? Do you want to hear more? Check out these additional episodes:
- Episode 1 – Get Out There & Skate
- Episode 2 – The Roller Skate Wheels Episode
- Episode 3 – The Roller Skate Bearings Show
- Episode 4 – Teaching Roller Skating to Others
- Episode 5 – Roller Skating Injuries & Protective Gear
- Episode 6 – Avid Roller Skater Alberto Quinones
- Episode 7 – Rollergirls: The Story of Flat Track Derby
- Episode 8 – The Roller Skate Boots Show
- Episode 9 – Starting a Roller Skating Rink
- Episode 10 – United Skates Documentary with Tina Brown and Dyana Winkler
- Episode 11 – The Skate Critic with Ginger Mathews
Until the next episode, get on out there and skate!