Rather than paraphrase, here's the breakdown of her derby experience (as translated into patch form) in her own words:
First of all, special thanks to my wife Roxanne, The Cat O’Mighty’s Meow, for sewing the square after I did the design work and prepared the pieces, and being so supportive in general of my derby life.
In the summer of 2008, when I had just started learning how to skate so I could play derby, I presumed I’d be trying out for the Boston league. Afterall, I live right outside the city. But being a graduate student, the timing of Boston tryouts in the middle of the Fall Semester just didn’t work out. in a very surprising sequence of events in the Spring of 2009, Pioneer Valley Roller Derby recruited a long time friend, SideSwipe, to come play for their men’s team, the Dirty Dozen. I wound up commuting out west to practices with him. When it became clear that I could actually start playing derby in 2009 for PVRD, I seized the chance and joined the women’s team, Western Mass Destruction. Having been born in 1959, the opportunity to start playing in 2009 was just too precious to pass up. I knew I couldn’t keep postponing the chance to play indefinitely. Commuting 95 miles twice a week to practice was not a problem!
I knew, however, that I may not be able to make a long term playing career as a WMD. When I finally made the decision to commit to join the team, I discussed this with teammate Bitches Bruze. She reassured me that whatever might happen in the future, I’d always have a green handgrenade inside! That comment was the inspiration for this square.
At the end of the 2009 season, PVRD moved to a new practice location 120 miles from home. That was 25 miles beyond the edge of insanity. So for the 2010 season I transferred to Central Mass Roller Derby to join their first bouting season, and shortened my commute to 45 miles.
The square is made with parts of old WMD scrimmage shirts, and with a green handgrenade inside part of my old worn pink fishnets. I never wore pink in my life before derby. In real life, it’s not even a good colour on me! But somehow it instantly became my personal highlight colour. The little leopard print heart is a swatch of the fabric I used to cover the logos on all my pad straps. When I painted the gold leopard pattern swath around the top of my helmet, that pattern also happened to leave a large pink heart on the top. I never used hearts before either. But that happenstance heart on the top of my helmet has become a really important symbol for me and captures the love I have for the game, my teammates and opponents, the refs, and all the support crew and fans that help make this fantastic part of my life all happen <3
2019 or Bust! (and beyond…) =^,^=