What is it like being a coach for OHRG?
Inspector Muffin: Although coaching had given me more gray hairs over the last two years than I wish to have, I wouldn’t want to coach anyone else. I’ve always been an advocate for people volunteering with derby, regardless of the role they volunteer for, so I appreciate everyone that puts time toward this sport. I’d be lying if I said coaching didn’t have its challenges. I have to learn how to deal with 20+ different personalities, and they’ve got to learn how to deal with me. Personally speaking… sometimes I’m too hard on myself, and I definitely wear my emotions on my sleeve, but coaching Ohio has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. With such a small league, it’s nice to see league members go out of their way for each other and support one another, even outside of derby. I look at our league as a family, and it’s one that I’m proud to be a part of. Professionally speaking… I think my derby announcing career has helped me the most when it comes to coaching. For three years, I was announcing at tournaments and watching derby almost daily so I’ve seen the trends, what works, and what costs teams the win at the end of bouts. I think that experience has helped me be a successful game manager, and thankfully, over the past two years I’ve had co-coaches in HellionBOI and Bratislava Bruiser that have run the bench and let me just worry about gameplay, which is more of what’s in my wheelhouse.
What goals do you have for the team next season?
Inspector Muffin: My goal is the same goal that the skaters should have… and that is to lift they Hyrda Trophy. Only one team can have that feeling every year, and it would be an honor if our skaters could do that.
What goals do you have for yourself next season?
Inspector Muffin: My goal every season is to put the team in the best possible situation to be successful. Whether that means I scout more, get more involved in training aspects, or whatever. I’ll do whatever the team needs me to do. I do have a particular goal of continuing to develop upcoming skaters within the league. They’ll be the future of the charter team when the veterans eventually retire, and I want that transition to be as seamless as possible without having those “down” years that a lot of other teams experience.
How did you get involved with derby in the first place?
Inspector Muffin: Retired skater Pippi RipYourStockings got me into the sport back in 2005 when the league just started. My wife and I went to the bouts to cheer her on and after a few seasons, she joined the league as a skater. I was still a fan for about a year, but threw myself into the rulebook to better understand what was going on. One day, we didn’t have an announcer for one of our home bouts, and since I knew the rules, I filled in as announcer. Fast-forward five years and I have a lot less money due to traveling and no free time. Filling in that one day changed my life completely.
How did you choose your derby name?
Inspector Muffin: This is an easy and a tough question to answer. Most people in derby know me as Inspector Muffin, but it’s a name I’ve been phasing out over the last year. I originally picked that name because of where I was in my life at the time. I was a Private Investigator for six years, so “Inspector” seemed like a good place to start when it came time to choose a derby name. I was also involved with the Ohio Village Muffins, a vintage base ball team that plays historically accurate baseball as it was played back in the 1860s… hence the “Muffin” part of my name. It was never supposed to be interpreted as dirty, or as a play on words, but as the times change I understand the importance of intent vs impact, and I understand how others may interpret my name as offensive. So, over the last year, I’ve been coaching under my legal name, and I’ve just been announcing under the handle of Inspector. I’m not sure if I’ll just stick with Inspector this year, or use some hybrid between derby and legal names like I did at playoffs and go by Inspector Marron.
What is your favorite derby moment from this past season?
Inspector Muffin: As a coach, I typically scout our opponents and come up with the best strategy I can for beating that team. Our strategies vary depending on who we’re playing, and I get super excited when I see my plan executed successfully and we come out victorious. By far, the highlight of this past season was defeating a much higher-ranked Charm City team in front of our home crowd. That bout was insane, but our strategy was flawless and everyone bought into it. It was a total team win and really kicked our season off well.
Do you have any good luck charms?
Inspector Muffin: I don’t have any good luck charms, per say. I do have a lucky pair of underwear that I’ll wear for big games, and so far they’ve been pretty good to me. I’m more of a creature of routine, so before bouts there are several things that I’ll do that are more habit-based rather than things I do for luck. A lot of my routines are so minor, I don’t think the skaters even realize I do them, even though some of the skaters are involved in them. They’ll never be allowed to retire as long as I’m coach because they’re part of my pre-bout routines, even if they don’t know it.
Lastly, what is some advice for those that are interested in coaching or volunteering?
Inspector Muffin: Coaching is a different animal than anything else. People will love you and hate you, and sometimes both in the same day. During the season, coaching consumes so much of my time, it’s borderline ridiculous. But if it’s something you want to do, go for it. If volunteering in some other aspect of derby is something you want to do as well, go for it. Volunteering with derby is whatever you make it. I’ve seen people make careers out of derby, whether that’s getting into broadcasting, paid positions with the WFTDA, or opening their own business. Derby can be a lifestyle and it can be very good to you if you are passionate about it. If volunteering is something you are thinking about, contact your local league and get involved. Try out different things and see what fits best. You’ll never know if you love something unless you check it out.
Photographs by: Joe Mac
Interview by: BerMurder Triangle