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February - Poppy Panik

Skating Since: 2019

Derby Number: 326

Favorite skate brand: TSG


An Interview with...POPPY PANIK

What about derby caught your attention? When did you first start playing? 

Roller Derby started to creep into my life from different aspects, from friends and colleagues. I moved back to Ventura County a few years ago, so finding a community of strong women was important to me, I started back in 2019 but the pandemic and injury has really pushed back my derby career. 

What was that “one moment” when you knew playing derby was the right thing for you? 

The moment I knew playing derby was right for me happened when I took my first big hit. It wasn’t as scary as the anticipation led me to believe and I felt great knowing I could hit right back. It’s more than “one moment,” it’s the constant support from a community of strong humans who never let me doubt my abilities or worth. 

What’s something you’ve learned playing derby that has translated into another part of your life? Something I learned playing derby is the importance of trusting your team. I work pretty independently in most parts of my life, but the team dynamic is not just about working together but about trusting they have your back and being accountable for them to trust you. 

Do you have a favorite & a least favorite position? Can you elaborate? 

My favorite position is Pivot. I like the flexibility and adaptability of the position. My least favorite position is Jammer, I’d much rather be in defense than offense. 

What do you do to get ready for a bout? 

Due to the pandemic, I haven’t really had enough opportunities to create a routine for a bout. However I'll probably get ready the same way I get ready for a any other sport: hydrate, pack high protein snacks, stretch and a hype playlist.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about playing derby? 

Do it. Life is too short for a boring life. What the last few (covid) years have taught me is don’t wait for your life to settle to try something new, the future you might be waiting for may look drastically different. 

Finish this sentence: When I’m not playing derby, I am _____. 

When I'm not playing roller derby I am likely at the gym or in a meeting. 

Do you have a derby mentor? 

I do have a mentor. She was one of the people who encouraged me to try roller derby and even went to the first info night with me. I’ve adopted her and her husband as my “skate-godparents”. 

What keeps you motivated to keep playing when things get tough? 

My team. We worked hard together, so we will either succeed together or we will take the loss together. 

What’s your favorite part of skating with VCDD? 

My favorite part about skating with VCDD is the community/family that comes with the derby life. Someone is always willing to step up if I’ve ever needed anything.

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