Coach Max

How did you get into derby?
I’m pretty sure I just saw a flier for the (then) Ohio Roller Girls, and at the time, I’d just stepped away from playing college hockey and was looking for a new endeavor. I attended some WannaBe Clinics with no real experience on roller skates and no real expectations as to where it would lead, and then all the volunteers and skaters there were encouraging me to try out. I figured I’d give it a whirl and see what happened. Six years later, here I am!

Do you have any other hobbies?
I play bass in a band, play some piano and guitar on my own, am a volunteer mentor for LGBTQIA youth at Kaleidoscope Youth Center, and pet all the dogs.

What is your favorite derby memory thus far?
Coaching at Rollercon in 2015 was probably one of my favorite memories. That whole week was full of so many amazing opportunities (including an opportunity to skate with Team USA skaters in the USA vs. ‘Merica bout!), and sort of proved to me that I could hang with the big dogs. One of my favorite OHRD memories is when we got an opportunity to compete at champs!

Who inspires you?
Women and trans folks everywhere. The mothers of the world. The folks who live with chronic mental illness. Badass fat babes who choose to celebrate their bodies, despite a world who tells them not to. All the folks who celebrate being different.

How/why did you pick your derby name?
My skater name, The Smacktivist, was inspired by the environmental activism I was doing in college at the time.

Do you have any pre- or post-bout rituals?
Used to be that, before a game, I’d test the floor and listen to my pump-up music and kind of keep to myself. I think this season I’ll be checking in with skaters, running through line-ups, and making sure folks are all taken care of and ready to skate hard and have fun!

How has derby impacted your life?
Derby changed the trajectory of my life in a huge way. Before I found derby, I felt very much like I didn’t have strengths that I could use to do meaningful work. I was always worried about the ways and amounts of space I took up in the world, and I was still very much absorbed in the idea that to be good meant to put everyone else before me. Derby taught me that taking up space is important and that I am allowed to center myself and my experiences in my life. That to be a good team player, I also had to be good to and listen to myself and my needs. Additionally, derby led me on this path of discovering my skills in coaching, leading teams, and discovering my gender identity for the first time in my life, in a really empowering and affirming way. Derby gave me a space where I felt encouraged to step into who I am, to be my authentic self, and to celebrate the messy and loud and strong parts of me that I otherwise always felt I needed to shrink.

Any other fun facts about yourself?
I volunteer with Kaleidoscope Youth Center and will be helping with their annual Youth Safety Summit. I do communication coaching and lead workshops on interpersonal effectiveness and interpersonal dynamics, and I am also an independent personal trainer. I also recently got accepted to graduate school at NYU Steinhardt for their Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness MA program, where I hope to find ways to bridge the gap between more traditional modalities of mental health counseling and my passion for fitness, as well as the physiological benefits of playing sports and being in a team environment.

Copyright 2018 Ohio Roller Derby // Photos by Dorn Byg, Earl Sod, Joe Mac, Candace Moser-Stafford, & Others Where Credited // All Rights Reserved