Congratulations to Mandy Thompson, Roller Derby Weekly’s first Skater of the Month. Heather caught up with Mandy to ask her a few questions.
(Heather) What’s your name and derby name, age , where you live and what team you play for as well as how long you have been playing.
(Mandy) My name is Mandy Thompson or B.F. Skinya and I skate for deadly rival roller derby. I am 30 years old and I live in Tampa, FL. I played roller derby for five years in Oklahoma and returned to derby in Florida three months ago. I’ve skated both banked track and flat track derby.
(Heather) What piqued your interest and got you started in Roller Derby?
(Mandy) I went to a friend’s banked track game and fell in love with the athleticism and community. Shortly after, she invited me to a practice, and I went. It was very different from anything I’ve ever seen or been a part of, so I joined the team.
(Heather) I got the privilege of coming and watching one of your practices on the bank track. What a fantastic program you are running. What are some of the dynamics that go into running such a large program?
(Mandy) A lot of teamwork. It takes a lot of people working hard to make the team, the practices and the games successful. It also takes a lot of time and dedication to do it all so everyone has to be active in training and promoting the league.
(Heather) What would you like to see with Roller Derby in the next 2-3 years from where it is now?
(Mandy) I feel like roller derby will continue to grow and become bigger. It’s already made so much progress in the past few years. I feel like it will be seen as a legitimate, tough sport it truly is. It would be great seeing it regularly on TV, especially the banked track.
(Heather) Tell me a little bit about yourself and what are some of the things you are doing to make your community a better place?
(Mandy) One of the reasons I moved to this part of Florida was so I could rejoin banked track roller derby. I missed skating the bank and was happy to see that deadly rival had the track.
My derby name is based off B.F. Skinner. He was a psychologist who studied conditioning. I’m a mental health therapist so I really wanted something that played on that.
Roller derby helps get me involved in the community. We work with local businesses for our bout production and for fundraisers. It allows us to cross promote each other and build those strong relationships in the community. We also sign up for events that help raise money for local charities as well. Our team really makes it a priority to be a positive part of the local community.