Karma is a bitch, and she can be too if you are on the track wearing a different colored jersey. This Rollergirl was voted 2009’s Most Improved Player, and one half of 2009’s Best Duo along with Sk8r-Kinney. She wears number 3 on her back, and starred in CRG’s first commercial this year. Today we talk with Karma Krash.
Thadd Scott: Let’s start with your derby name. How did you come up with it?
Karma Krash: In my early days when very few of us had any real skill or knowledge of the game, you wanted a “thing” or gimmick to be remembered by, so you could stand out. I actually came up with my gimmick first and created my name around that. The first thing that came to mind was the saying “karma’s a bitch.” I thought I could print that on my bottoms under my skirt and flash it proudly when ever I had a good play, so I needed a name that had karma in it. I wanted to go with just, Karma, but it was taken. Karma Krash had a ring to it, and I wasn’t very steady on my skates to begin with so I did spend a lot of time crashing haha! Now that the focus is much more about the sport it just all seems silly. The name stuck, but I lost the gimmick.
TS: What kind of work do you do outside of roller derby?
KK: I am a nurse at an Internal Medicine Doctor’s Office. It pays the bills, and allows plenty of derby time!! Hopefully will be going back to school very soon too! I am excited about that!
TS: What drew you to wanting to be a Rollergirl?
KK: One of my best friends came to me one day and asked if I wanted to start a Roller Derby Team. She had been watching the Rollergirls Series on A&E and she knew it was something she wanted to do. I had seen the show as well and thought, sure why not. I figured we would just be getting a group of ten or so girls together to play in the park on weekends are something. I couldn’t even really skate, and had no idea how the game worked. She sounded super excited about it so I was in! I had no clue what it would turn out to be! A league, a business, an obsession!
TS: How long have you been with CRG, and is this your first league?
KK: This is my second season with CRG, but I got my derby start in 2006 when I co-founded the Hard Knox Rollergirls of Knoxville TN.
TS: Trying out for the team, what was that experience like?
KK: The season before I joined CRG I began dating Sk8r-Kinney, as a result I attended most of that seasons games and helped NSO some. I got to know a lot of the skaters during that season so I wasn’t totally a stranger walking into my first practice. That helped socially, but physically I had NO idea how tough it would be! My previous league hadn’t seen a lot of national competition, and didn’t have the amount of skill and training CRG did. I wanted to cry after every practice for about a month when I first started. I had gone from being on the All-Star team in my pervious league to the slowest, most unskilled skater on CRG, or at least I felt that way. I remember at one of my first practices our coach, Quad Almighty asked me if I was ok, probably because I looked as though I was about to cry or pass out. I told him I was fine, just needed to put on my “big girl pants”. At our Roll-Out party we were asked to write down a word and goal for the season. Big girl pants became my word and to skate on the Black Sheep became my goal. “Suck it up, work hard and put those big girl pants on” and it worked. I was able to attend Regionals that season and skate with the Black Sheep. It was the perfect end to my first season with CRG.
TS: Thinking back to your first bout in front of fans, what was that feeling like?
KK: I think I was so nervous I blocked all that out. Man, that seems like forever ago. I was so excited and nervous! Not only was it my first bout, but also it was our leagues first bout. We had no clue how many people would show up, and how they would respond. I remember hearing my family cheering for me, which was the best feeling. My mom made a sign that said, “Karma Krash needs to clean her room.” It was random, so it was funny. I remember someone did a write up of that game and said something like, Karma Krash may need to clean her room, but she mopped the floor with the Black Betties (the opposing team that evening). The feeling I got from that first game was totally unique! The cheers, the nerves, coming together with my team. WINNING with my team! I was definitely hooked.
TS: You starred in the first Rollergirl commercial for this year, a video that is close to 10,000 views on Youtube. Can you tell us about that?
KK: I was so honored when I was asked to do the first commercial! Shocked too! They picked me? Sweet! It was such a fun opportunity. I had no idea how the filming process worked, and it was neat to see that. Plum Street is just the best group of people! Not only are they good at what they do, they are a fun group to work with. They made the shoot fly by. CRG’s partnership with Plum Street this season really has been such a positive thing. 3 quality commercials and ALL of our home games being streamed live online. We are lucky, most leagues don’t have that. I am just glad I didn’t have much of a speaking part. Running into something was easy. But lines? No thank you! I think I had to run into that copier 40 times! I was so bruised, but it was worth it. I think the final product looked great. I have people all the time after games and some times in public stop and ask me if I am the girl who runs into the copier. I can’t believe how many views it has gotten. That’s so great for CRG and Plum Street.
TS: What have you learned from roller derby that has helped you in other aspects of your life?
KK: I think the biggest thing is confidence. Derby has made me a much more confident person and that flows over to all aspects of my life! Also it has made me more disciplined. Playing derby and pushing yourself really gives you a sense that you can do anything! With your team behind you and working as hard as you can, it will happen.
TS: What team has been your biggest competition so far?
KK: I know some other people have said it too, but its hard to consider anyone else big competition when you have to play against the level of talent we practice against every week! Games are fun, but practice is the real challenge! When it comes to other leagues and games we have scheduled I definitely think the teams that are our biggest competition are still to come! Kansas City and Bay Area are both ranked above us on DNN (Derby News Network) of course we want to take them out. We want to go to Nationals, which is the ultimate goal we are working towards. If Regionals pan out the way we hope, that game against the #2 or 3 seed in our region is going to be the biggest competition. That’s were we have to lay it all down. Win or fail at our goal!
TS: There are leagues almost everywhere, what are a couple of cities you would like to travel to and play?
KK: Anywhere that has a beach!! We are going to San Francisco, that’s definitely one city I want to travel too! My other wish list cities? I hear Hawaii has a team! London would be great, and while we are over there hit as many European teams as possible! Oh!!! Australia has a few leagues too! Forget London, I want to play with Koalas!
TS: Regionals are coming up soon, and you are taking on Brewcity as your first bout. You beat them by 68 points earlier this year, does that win change your approach on how you handle them, or is it pedal to the medal as usual?
KK: NO!!!! That win doesn’t change a thing!!! Same game plan: KILL THEIR SPIRIT. We have to go into each game full tilt! NEVER underestimate an opponent. Time changes things; it’s a new day and could be a new team with a new strategy. We played San Diego at the end of last season, we had total control of the game from the beginning. We got a good lead and held it. We ended up with a solid win. We played them again this season for our home opener and it was a back and forth game where they ended up winning it in the last few jams. You just never know. One win does not secure another over the same team. It is a plus that we have already played them once, so we won’t be going into the game totally blind, which always calms my nerves a little. If I have played a team before I am not as antsy it seems, but besides that it changes nothing.
TS: Roller derby is the fastest growing sport in the United States right now, and a lot of women are interested in lacing up some skates and trying out. What advice would you give someone who wants to be a Rollergirl?
KK: My advice for women thinking about trying out. Don’t pigeon hole yourself into not doing it! When I talk to women about trying out they usually have some excuse, “I’m too old” or “I’m too small” or even “I’m to out of shape” and “I’m not mean enough.” There is no derby girl mold, and once you get into derby you will be surprised how little those things matter. If you have the time and you are willing to try as hard as you can and aren’t afraid of a little challenge, you will be successful! Don’t be intimidated. Oh and go to as many session skates as you can! That will help!
Karma Krash and her team the Black Sheep travel to Kansas City, MO for their next bout on August 22, where they take on the Kansas City Roller Warriors
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