BeKevorkian makes history this season not only as ARG’s first skater to transfer from Atlanta Junior Roller Derby, but also as our youngest rollergirl. Her determination and drive show maturity far beyond her years. We look forward to seeing her star rise in the coming seasons. Here she shares her story of hard work, dedication, and encouragement from her number one fan.
The first time I’d ever heard of derby was when I watched the movie “Whip It”. I thought roller derby seemed pretty awesome. So, as a surprise for my 17th birthday my mom bought my best friend and I tickets to an Atlanta Roller Girls bout. It was a fast, tough contact sport, and I was really impressed with how strong and confident the women playing seemed. They were serious about the game, but smiling and having a seriously good time too. I made a comment about how fun it looked but that it also looked really hard and my Mom said, “You could do it! I know you could do it! I think you should try it!” (Fun side note: She was already busy thinking up derby names that night.)
Lady Skatepants was an “Ask Me” Girl during the bout and so she sat with us and explained the rules of derby. She agreed that I could probably do it, told me about the Atlanta Junior Roller Derby League (formerly named Atlanta Derby Brats) and encouraged me to check it out. Watching live roller derby was a blast! Seeing my first bout was really exciting, and it still is.
After attending that first bout I knew that I really wanted to give derby a try. Somehow Mama Vorkian (that’s my Mom’s name in the derby world) pulled together enough money to buy my skates and gear, and I walked onto the rink in socked feet for my first Brats session asking if they’d teach me to skate (the trainers were: Spanx You from MDD, N.M.E. who was ARG Fresh Meat at the time and Kelly DuBois who was Rec League). I’d never skated before in my life!
All of that spring I was taught basic roller skating skills and techniques on Saturday mornings with derby coaches, went to speed skating lessons with Jim Blair on Sundays, and then I’d spend Monday-Wednesday nights at the skating rink by myself trying to master the new things I was learning. After my first 5 months, I tried out for and made the Brats travel team. At those tryouts I fell and hit my head, but I got up to keep going. Queen Loseyateefa was there. When she saw me get back up to continue skating she said, “Way to go! Let’s do this.” and then skated the remaining endurance laps with me.
On the Brats, I was coached by the super amazing Deathskull (and Tanya Hyde, Hate Ashbury, Helga, Queen, and Nutella, and several other ARG skaters). Skully constantly pushed me to be the best skater I could be, she was encouraging and never let me settle for less than my best.
After one short year, last February I aged-out of the junior league. I was pretty bummed because at the time ARG only allowed women 21 and older to try out for Fresh Meat. It would be another four years before I was 21! This concerned me because I worried that during those few years things might occur that would distract me from my derby career and dim my desire to become an Atlanta Rollergirl. A few weeks passed and I got a call from Skully telling me the league had decided to open up Fresh Meat try outs to 18+. I was so psyched!
In April 2014 I made the Fresh Meat cut! I’d worked hard as a Derby Brat, but the 9 months as a Meatie were like nothing I’ve ever experienced! All work, work, work – tons of intense workouts, tons of skating in a hot warehouse with no AC for hours, lots of falling down, and lots of challenging skills that were extremely hard to master. There are countless times this sport has challenged me more than I could have imagined but there is absolutely NOTHING that compares with meeting those challenges head on and tackling them. No matter how much you learn and how many skills you master – there is always more, always more to work on, things to improve and perfect. But in a league with the supportive and encouraging women like we have in ARG, you’re never working alone.
In addition to the league, my mother has been my biggest fan and my greatest source of encouragement. From day one she’s continuously told me how strong I am mentally and physically. On the toughest days, when I’d feel alone trying to tackle new skills or when I’d start defeating myself before I even laced up my skates, she’d be there to give me the best talks and remind me of my dreams and that all the hard work pays off eventually. She was there to toughen me up when I’d feel bad for myself because I couldn’t do a pivot, or making her way past me at ARG Block Parties to say, “You’re skating like you’re tired. Step it up.” Sometimes they’d be pep-talks, other times she’d be a hard ass – she always knows what I need to hear, when I need to hear it.
Mama Vorkian really is amazing. She’s spent the last 2 years helping me realize my derby dreams! Because of the amount of time I’ve spent learning how to skate on 8 wheels, I haven’t learned how to drive on 4! So she has driven me to and from every derby practice. And because she is single parent on a tight budget with no extra gas to waste, she sat in the parking lot at headquarters EVERY practice. She was always there to greet me with a smile of support and encouragement and listen to every detail of pace lines, jamming successes, and more. She is and will always be my #1 fan. Mama Vorkian Rocks!
Since my 17th birthday I’ve wanted to be an Atlanta Rollergirl and now here I am! Two solid years of literal blood, sweat, tears, lots of hard work, and determination. Plus, the unrelenting support of my mother. I am beyond thrilled to think I’ll be playing as an Atlanta Rollergirl in 2015!