How did you get into Derby?
I was working on my dissertation and needed something to get my aggression out. I joined the Silicon Valley Roller Girls in San Jose, CA, in 2008. It was great to find derby because I could barely skate. Feeling incompetent and frustrated with skating made me feel much more efficacious as an academic. Wow, that was a really academic thing to say.
What is the story behind your derby name?
I chose “Ava Tarr” because I research virtual reality, video games, and avatars, so it seemed appropriate. Thankfully, people no longer ask me if it’s associated with a crappy James Cameron movie. My number, 1101, is my favorite number in binary code. I started using my real name in conjunction because I love the tradition and practice of derby names, but I also want to make sure people understand that we are a legitimate, competitive sport and our team competes on a global level.
What is your favorite position to play on the track?
I block. Exclusively. And I love it. Who wants to be the deer when you can be the hunter?
Do you have any special rituals/how do you prepare for a bout?
I work all the time, so my special ritual is getting as much work done as possible before derby o’clock. Other than that, I try to eat the same thing before bouts for fueling purposes.
What are some goals you have for this season?
I would like to become a more sensual and alluring crustacean. Otherwise, I want to outperform our ranking at playoffs–and at all opportunities before then.
Do you have any hobbies?
Eating. Research. Reading. Learning. All things physical.
Do you have any jobs do you have with OHRD, if so what are they?
I’ve been on the training committee for several years. It’s a fun challenge to keep up with evolving strategies and rules interpretations. I also love coming up with new drills, even if some of them are ridiculous. I help run the league Twitter account, and when I have time, I also put my English degree to use editing various league materials.
What has been your favorite memory so far while playing with OHRD?
It’s hard to surpass going to the world championship in 2013 from the standpoint of league accomplishment, but so much of derby is about camaraderie and team experiences. My favorite memory is probably getting married to my lovely derby wife, Zee “Loraine Acid” Gulertekin, on our packed bus trip back home after both our A-team and B-team rocked the Brew Ha Ha tournament. Our coach, BFF, led an a cappella rendition of “The Final Countdown,” and a vat of liquified vodka gummy worms was served.
Is there any derby gear that you can’t live without?
I would never skate without my hockey helmet.
What is your favorite color?
Green, duh. I’ve been fortunate enough to only play for derby teams with green and black as team colors. I don’t know what I’d do if I was forced to don something pink.
Lastly, what is some advice for those that are interested in skating or trying out?
Sports like derby require persistence and a team-oriented attitude. In the long run, derby is more than a sport; it’s a lifestyle. You have to put in as much time off the track as you do on the track, whether that’s learning rules, working out, watching tape, or helping the league run smoothly.
Photos by: Joe Mac
Interview by: BerMurder Triangle