As 2018 is slowly but surely coming to an end, we took some time to reflect on ALL THE THINGS that have happened this year — because memories are nearly as sweet as the adventure itself!
It has been a whirlwind of a year here at STEAKS. We got to be part of many amazing events such as the Roller Derby World Cup, RollerCon (which included our first CIB skatepark sessions), WFTDA Champs and STEAKS parties with skater-owned skate shops. We grew the company. We launched a new site. We launched new products. We connected with many of you at events and on social media and we had the best #steakscrew a skater-owned company could hope for!
This is why we invited our Crew to reflect on the past year with us. We asked only two questions.
Here is the first:
Some of our skaters took on different challenges in 2018 and are proud of what they learned from their new experiences:
What I am most proud of from my 2018 season is finding a new way to love this sport even more, through coaching. It was a crazy, scary and daunting new step to move away from London and my Brawling teammates and try coaching a team a long way from where I was living, but boy did it make me realise how rewarding working with a group of new people is. I learnt so much about myself and even more layers to this sport. I really feel so motivated again like I am looking at roller derby through new eyes.
This season I made a transition from primary jammer to pivot for the Dallas All-Stars. It was something I’ve been wanting to try for a few years now, but I was told my consistency was needed in the jammer rotation. We ended up with a lot of capable jammers at tryouts, so when my captain asked me if I was up for switching to pivot this year I was ecstatic. The change in roles on the track took a lot of work and allowing myself to fail in the process of learning. Then, our league awarded me with Most Valuable Pivot and Triple Threat for the 2018 season, and my home team awarded me with Most Valuable Player! The feeling of joy and gratitude over being recognized for all that hard work was just so awesome.
After playing derby for 10 years, taking a small break to let my body heal properly.
This year has been plenty of challenges for me with two main changes. The most important of my Derby one is my transfer from WFTDA team (Paris RollerGirls AllStars) to an MRDA team. I’m really proud to be a part of Manneken Beasts travel team and so thankful to have been a part of our charter team for the Men’s European Cup in Newcastle last November.
Achieving personal goals and finishing awesome projects is a pretty cool way to finish out 2018, too! A couple of our crew members shared how they were able to get the most out of their skating year:
Even though I (and the team) did not reach our highest/ultimate goal this season, I still have many proud achievements!
After 5 years of being a captain and part of the leadership team of the Helsinki All-stars, I started my season with a mission to have more fun and enjoy the ride of roller derby. I cut down on my many responsibilities and did a huge reset of my personal goals for this year.
I can say now that it was a success, so I reached my goal! Re-setting goals makes you think more about the whole picture of where you are now and where you want to be in 1-6-12 months.
I am proud that I was able to hold the pressure at the last jam of 2 of our most important games this season: our last playoff game against London and our first game at Champs against Crime City (again), that both played themselves until the last jam. Those are the moments I dread the most, and I wasn’t sure I could trust myself! I always try to do my best, but in those moments it feels like I should do more than my best and at the same time, not do anything too risky. I will keep working on my mental game for 2019 to be ready for it!
2018 brought us tons of roller derby action all over the world! We’re talking about the Women’s and Men’s World Cups, WFTDA and MRDA Champs, the Junior (JRDA) World Cup and the WFTDA Continental Cup — just to name a few. The STEAKS crew were very busy making us proud:
My biggest achievement this past year would have to be participating in the JRDA World Cup representing Team USA East and winning silver. I had the best experience skating with and against some of the best skaters in JRDA. Along with that, I had the honor of being captain for one of the games against Team USA West, who ended the tournament as World Champions!
I am most proud of being privileged enough to earn a postseason selection trifecta! I played at WFTDA B Champs against some of the greatest skaters in the world (I even got lead AND points against Victorian and Gotham!). I announced at the MRDA North American Qualifiers and the Men’s European Cup. I also was lucky to have been selected as OPR at the Kalamazoo WFTDA Continental Cup and the MRDA International Championships, and I had the opportunity to officiate the Gold Medal game of both.
The Hydra!!! The whole team worked so hard the whole year. Nothing was taken for granted and every second was spent with a focus on the end goal. It felt like we were prepared for everything. Most of our games this year were so hard and that made winning feel even better. I feel extremely honoured to be a part of the great Wheels Of Justice and call myself a champion.
My proudest achievement of 2018 is representing my country at the World Cup. Wearing the blue jersey while singing and signing the Italian national anthem in sign language was such an emotional moment for me. I felt like I was part of a big project: Making roller derby known in Italy and making all our friends and families proud of us.
It’s definitely a toss up. Feeling most proud of placing 4th overall at MRDA Champs with the Vancouver Murder and 5th overall with Team Canada at the World Cup in Barcelona! The Murder exceeded our expectations and it was some of the most fun roller derby I have played in a long time!
I am most proud of my travel team “Swarm” receiving an invite to WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs and playing with a roster of only 11!
We’re all about team spirit, so it comes as no surprise that some of our skaters’ proudest moments were the challenges they faced with their teams:
I’m most proud of my team going to Champs this year. We had a lot to overcome with losing most of our core blockers. At the beginning of the season, no one was sure what was going to happen and we had a few really hard games, but we came together as a team.
This year my team faced a series of challenges and it was super hard, so I’m proud of them for ending the year happy, and feeling more united than ever.
I’m proud to be the captain of my amazing team. They are all strong and inspiring women.
Losing so badly in Montreal and then getting our act together to play 3 great games at WFTDA Playoffs in A Coruna! I mean we were REALLY bad. It took a lot to get over it mentally. I’m proud we did! We were soooo close to getting to Champs again!
The second (and possibly the most interesting) question we asked our STEAKS crew:
Here’s what they shared:
My athlete crush is Rachel Atherton, a Downhill MTB athlete who is just an incredible athlete at the top of her field. She is totally inspirational. Even though she has gone through injury setbacks, she just comes back and dominates the sport again. Relentless, smart and she loves her sport so much and gives back a lot too.
I really don’t have one crush… I actually had several during the whole year.
The first was Lorrae Evans (Team Australia) at the World Cup in Manchester. She had such an impressive track awareness together with fierce determination. And she is snack-addicted like me!
Secondly, at the Men’s World Cup in Barcelona I was impressed by Spencer Sleep (Captain of Team Canada). He was very calm, focused and supportive with his team while on the track (and what massive shoulder hits he was giving to the opponents).
But my real crush of 2018 goes to a whole team: the Manneken Beasts (Brussels) who are such a funny and lovely team, always willing to help and support each other. They really embrace the team spirit. Besides that they are also great on track!
OMG hard question, so much talented skaters, but I could say Katja (@kateskatess). I love how she skates and I met her at the Skate Love Barcelona. She’s so nice 🙂
My 2018 crush this year was really hard to choose. I loved every single people I got to meet this year (and because I went to Rollercon for the first time, there were a LOT) but if I had to choose one, it would be Barrett from Denver <3 my Chaya buddy! I am happy I got to know this radiant, positive and caring human being.
”The bambi on ice”, Erin Jackson. I met her at the Derby Revolution 2017 bootcamp, where we both were coaching. What I knew about her after our first 5 minute talk was that she is a lovely genuine person who loves to nap and always has 3 huge bags with her that are full of sports gear; inline, ice, derby. (The bags were h-u-g-e. 😀 ) She is an amazing athlete and she definitely is my 2018 athlete crush.
Erin Jackson, speed skater on Team USA (and jammer for New Jax All-Stars and USA Roller Derby). She’s an absolute beast for competing in the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games after only a few months of training on the ice — and she’s still training and shaving time off her time. I can’t wait to watch her medal in the future.
I admire so many athletes in our sport. I could write paragraphs about so many wonderful humans that make our sport what it is. I’ll keep it short though. Through mental fortitude, unmatched agility, strength, self-awareness and humbleness, these people have changed how I look at the sport and how I look at myself. I will continue to look to them in 2019.
Rosie Peacock (Glasgow Men’s Roller Derby), Keiran Duncan (Official for Rose City Rollers), ZipBlock (Atlanta Roller Girls)
Gal of Fray (Rose City Rollers)! I was already a fan before she became Champs MVP and I’m so happy for her. She is so impressive as a blocker AND even more when she takes the (jammer) cover. She seems small and thin but she really takes advantage of (her size).
Casey Stoney (English soccer player). This hasn’t changed since I first watched her play at the 2012 Olympics.
Can “an athlete” be a whole team? I’m going to say yes and give some love to the WFTDA team I coach, the E-Ville Dead. Their hard work and subsequent rise in ranking in only their second WFTDA season is just incredible. These skaters inspire me every day!
My 2018 athlete crush can’t be placed on one person. I adore my whole travel team “Swarm”. They are the ones who motivate me to play this sport and why I spend hours training every week.
My 2018’s athlete crush is Goofy from Manneken Beasts, it’s not because he is one of my teammates but he is a really talented skater and an inspiring human being.
He is always pushing himself off and on skates, travelling from Italy to practice in Brussels with us and dedicate to the team and his teammates.
Can I say, my teammates?? For years and years, I had derby/athletic crushes and great admiration for people in the sport. This year I only had time to admire my own teammates whereas the other great high-level skaters were the physical enemy. With my new team, I got to finally compete at the same level as them. No time for heart eyes 😍!
But also if this answer is too lame just write Kid Block is a total babe.
We loved the diversity of the answers, which also show how different seasons run for each individual skater. The important message: no matter what your season looked like, there is always something to be proud of! So we are inviting you to think about it: What are you most proud of this year? Share in the comments – or simply reflect on your own! It’s fun either way! 🖤💎
Want to join this awesome crew of athletes in 2019? Apply to become part of the STEAKS CREW! Not quite there yet? Apply for our STEAKS Rookie Program. Application deadline for both programs is Jan 5, 2018.