Alison Perino's alter ego is Karla Marx, a mean blocker with the Tucson Roller Derby's Soviet-flavored Iron Curtain. Blockers on one team try to prevent the opposing team's jammer from overtaking them, while at the same time trying to help their own jammer get in front of the pack in order to score points. If all this talk of blockers and jammers leaves you scratching your head, rest assured that for many spectators, the game is really about watching gutsy women slap into each other, sometimes taking impressive falls into the crowds gathered around the track. To find out more about how roller derby is played, visit the Web site.
I love your name. What are some of the other women on your team called?
My captain is Doris Badinov, and my co-captain is Bolshe Vixen. Other blockers are Dot Stoevsky, Bella Russkia, Knuckles Sandovitch, Kali Ishnikov, Bianka Truhl--beyond control--and Dr. Z. Onatopp. We have twins on our team: one named Kassi Nova, the other issaK avoN.
I'm told the Iron Curtain lost the Saturday, Aug. 18, game against the VICE Squad, 102-46. What went wrong?
Honestly, as odd as this may sound, nothing really went wrong. Strategically, we played one of the best games I have ever seen Iron Curtain play. We got lead jammer for most of the jams; unfortunately, we had a lot of players in the penalty box, including our jammer, so we weren't able to put up the points that the other team did. VICE has a lot of very strong jammers, including Sami Automatic and Penny Tencherry, who did a great job last night. In my mind, the score doesn't ever really reflect the actual game play. Both teams fought very hard, and my team did an amazing job, worked together great, played with all their hearts and never gave up. In my eyes, that's just as good as winning.
You looked pretty good on June 9, even though the team lost to the newly formed Copper Queens. That must have been disappointing.
It was a hard letdown, but we learned from it and took that to practice and worked hard. We also watched game footage to see what we had done wrong and what we could improve on. Iron Curtain takes every loss in stride and tries to learn something new.
Why do you think you girls haven't won a game yet?
We've had a revolving door of skaters and captains, and different captains have different ideas of how to run a team. When you have different players all the time, it's hard, because they have to learn how to skate with the team, and you have to learn how to skate with a new player. Luckily, we kept the same 10 girls on our roster for all of 2006. At the start of the 2007 season, we lost one of our best pivots, Mandi Festo, when she moved to the Bay Area, and now she skates with Bay Area Derby (Girls). We also lost one of our rookie blocker/jammers, Honey Sickle. Luckily, we've kept the same core of girls so that we've been able to continue working on playing together as a team.
What's the attraction to roller derby for you?
It's a great release of stress, plus it's a really good source of exercise. It's also really fun; I always have a blast when I get to play. I've met some of the most amazing women and made some really great friends. When I'm having a really hard day, I know that I can go to my team practice, talk about it with my teammates and then knock them around.
Ever been injured? Describe in gruesome detail the most serious bruise you've gotten.
Luckily, I've never been seriously injured. I have, however, had a great many assorted bruises and rink rash. Rink rash is worse than a bruise, really. It's what happens when you fall, and you slide off the courts, and basically rub your skin off. When you wear fishnets, it comes out in a neat diamond pattern.
You're a Harry Potter fan, right? What did you think of the last book?
I really liked the last book; I read it in about two days. I don't want to say too much about it in case some of your readers haven't read it yet. I will say, though, that by the end, everyone is redeemed, and you learn something new about all the characters. ... I think the epilogue felt kind of rushed and thrown together. I didn't get a big feeling of closure, either. I keep thinking about some great stuff they can do in the next book, and then I remember there isn't a next book.