January 2020 Skater of the Month – Jenny Matthews-Wasalaski

Interview with Jenny Matthews-Wasalaski by Heather Gunnin

Dub City Roller Derby

Hey there Jen, Thanks for allowing me to interview you.

(Heather) Let’s start with a few questions, first let’s get your demographics out of the way, could you give me your name, age, where you live, and team you play for.

(Jenny) My name is Jenny Matthews-Wasalaski and I as of October just hit the BIG 40!   I live in Jupiter, Florida I just recently transferred from NEW JAX CITY to play back locally with DUB CITY ROLLER DERBY where It all started!!!!

(Heather) As a friend I’ve known you for quite some time, but would you let our readers know how did you get into roller derby?

(Jenny) I started racing quads when I was 8 years old.  I converted to inlines during the time it started transitioning and dominating the speed skating scene.  Its funny that we are doing this interview since I just recently came across one of our national championship 4 Mix relay finals from 96’.  After that nationals I went back into focusing on volleyball and received a scholarship to play at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan.  While, I was gearing up for season I got a letter in the mail in regards to a sports entertainment roller derby show in Orlando, Florida looking for athletes to audition.

1999 TNNs RollerJam – The California Quakes

My college volleyball coach caught wind of the letter, and immediately contacted me and told me he’d hold my scholarship to go south and audition. He said “volleyball will always be here and a spot for you, this is a once and a lifetime opportunity”.  My car was packed and I was on my way to Orlando. Well, with his push and those years on inlines helped when I landed a spot on this little TV show back in the late 90s early 00s called ROLLERJAM.   It was there that I was facing you as a competitor again, and introduced to roller derby for the first time, but not my last!  In 2015, I decided to trade back in the inlines to quads and started playing flat track roller derby. In 2018 I was skating alongside the best teammates and skaters in the world at the 2018 WFTDA Championships in New Orleans Louisiana!

2018 WFTDA Playoffs, Jacksonville Roller Derby secures a spot in the 2018 WFTDA Championships on a come-from-behind victory.

(Heather) What has roller derby brought to your life in a positive way?  

(Jenny) Roller derby has brought an incredible sense of strength and power, both physically and mentally.  Like, any sport training is intense, but with roller derby there is no way to train for it other than actually doing it.  You must show up and be ready to take hits and impact for hours and hours. You must push your body and mind to complete exhaustion, you show up not only for yourself, but for your line, for your jammers, for your friends, for your team.  And when you feel like you have nothing left, you quickly realize you have an entire community supporting you.

(Heather) Are there any new tournaments you or your team have set your sights on? 

(Jenny) I just recently transferred back to play locally with DUB CITY ROLLER DERBY and I’m really excited about the season and skaters we have coming into this 2020 season. This year we have already accepted to play at March Badness in South Carolina and  Dust Devil in Arizona in April. So we are hitting the ground hard and early hoping to grab a spot in the 2020 Cups Tournament this year!

(Heather) A big topic this time of year is recruitment, how does your team approach obtaining “Fresh Meat”?

(Jenny) Our league has a meet up page on local Facebook pages inviting anyone and everyone to join us and visit.  We also have open recruitment night where skates and gear are provided for them to borrow. We welcome fresh meat skaters at our league practices so they get the opportunity to see how the fresh meat program skates you through getting to the next levels.  We also encourage our fresh meat skaters to do some NSOing as a way to participate and be involved in times where they may not be able to join in the game, yet. I think the more a vet can interact with fresh meat and share their own personal stories helps the newer skaters to be more positive about the progression of themselves in the sport  and the importance of the program.

(Heather) Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you would like the audience to know about yourself, hobbies, kids, anything that might be of interest?

 

(Jenny) Um, where to start?  How much time do we have?  lol. I have done some interesting and fun things throughout the years that’s for sure.  I skated and performed on TNN’s RollerJam, I was a contestant on ABC’s Season 5 of The Bachelor, I was on MTV’s Making The Video with Kid Rock, and  32 years later I’m still passionately skating all over the world in MY BONTS, with the help and support from my team and my family.

THE BACHELOR – ABC

Those who don’t already know me,  I also EXTREME COUPON ( no, I was not on that show, should be though) and  it kinda makes me giggle saying that out loud actually after rambling off the stuff up top!  Extreme Couponing started off when I was laid off of my job, I wanted to save a little more at the grocery store while I was venturing into my next career.  Well, it just so happened that “EXTREME COUPONING” came on TV and I got hooked into watching it. Half way into the show I was like I’m going to learn how to do this.  Sounds crazy right? I learned!

Toys being loaded into the Teamsouthflorida.com truck for the families of our service men and women. December 2019

 

Today, I have now turned a small money saving plan for my family into a driven passion to help others in need. I’m only one person, but I am still able to aid in helping donate goods and supplies to local charities through couponing.  Every month we do a donation to Fury Friends Animal Shelter here in Jupiter Florida, we’ve taken care of our vets at the VA hospital and through Wounded Warriors and their children, as well as Toys for Tots. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then in October 2018 when both the Panhandle and the Carolinas were affected by the devastation of Hurricane Michael I took to Facebook with a simple post about wanting to find ways to raise money so I could coupon and donate the supplies to the victims of the storm.  That post generated over $3,200 from friends and family in 2 weeks and we as a team were able to donate over $7,000 in supplies from the money raised. It was the most I had been able to give at a single time and with the help of Blue Line Moving all the supplies were delivered to both the Carolinas and the Panhandle!

Watch the video about the Hurricane Michael donations!

To date, from Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Dorian that ravaged the Bahamas we have collectively raised over $5,500 and turned it into over $14,000 in supplies from couponing.  

I could have not done all of this if is wasn’t for the trust and support from friends, family and strangers who just hearing my passion and story of donating wanted to be able to help others as well!

 

Now, how do we get on THE ELLEN SHOW and take this to another level?? lol 

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