HEAD COACH – Jim Morrissey (aka “Jimm Reaper”)
How did you get involved in roller derby?
I read a post on Facebook from a friend about roller derby recruitment in Waterford, so I went along to check it out. The second I stepped through the door I was sold, this was most definitely for me.
Did you have any reservations about coaching a roller derby team?
Well to be fair, coaching was never my intention, I wanted to be involved but I was thinking maybe helping out with the club side of things, rather than the team itself. Mainly because I have no sporting experience whatsoever, I still get shivers when I think back to P.E. in school, not a happy time for me. Things turned out very different, before I knew what was happening the team was asking me to be their coach. So to clarify, coach strangers at a sport I knew nothing about with absolutely no experience in any kind of sport, yeah, you could say I had reservations about it, but it was the best decision I had ever made.
What is the most rewarding part of coaching?
That’s simple. To see skaters progress and grow both on and off the track.
What has been the most challenging?
When I know that there is more ability in a skater and they give in. That makes me work even harder. I want them to achieve the goals they set for themselves. I always want more for them.
When you’re not putting skaters through their paces, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I don’t have any spare time… (laughing) …no seriously, my whole life is derby, when I’m not coaching it, I’m reading, watching, learning, talking about derby.
So what is it that drives you?
I love this sport, and the derby subculture, also, being very hard-headed, and having a tendency to obsess helps.
What inspires you?
I try to learn from other leagues around, see what they are doing see what works and what doesn’t, but if I am to be honest, it’s the skaters themselves. Without fail every training session, every bout I am humbled by the people who choose to lace up, whether it’s someone on wheels for the first time or a seasoned veteran, the feeling is the same.
What are your future ambitions?
Long-term, world domination. Short-term, continue learning, developing Sirens, establishing a men’s tea
m and growing the sport of roller derby.
Do you have any advice for newbie skaters?
The only advice I can give is to not give up on yourself. This is not an easy sport, but if you are committed and accountable you will be successful. And please, please never forget the first rule of derby, “don’t be a douche”.
Do you have any favourite quotes?
“I am, because we are…” – John Mbiti
“We never really grow up; we only learn how to act in public.”
– Bryan White